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Official Spanish Correspondence Pertaining to Relations with the Uchiz Indians: Section 3 Letters from August 1779 – July 1783

José de Gálvez to the Governor of Havana; San Ildefonso, 29 August 1779

The King has determined that the principal objective of his arms in America during the war against the English is to remove them from the Gulf of Mexico and from the shores of the Mississippi (River), where their establishments are threatening our commerce as much as they are the security of our richest possessions. The present circumstances in Europe favor the success of this important enterprise, since Great Britain is weakened by its enormous defeats, oppressed by superior forces in both hemispheres, abandoned by the rest of the nations, who they have irritated for some time with their hateful predominance, and in danger of being attacked on their own Island by a French army of more than forty thousand men. It will be impossible to resist our efforts, directed with prudence and activity. But, as they wait for the aid that would be sent from Spain, we would undertake an operation that relies just as much on promptitude and constant pursuit (to avoid) missing, in the midst of delays, the opportune moment in which to execute it. His Majesty wants that, without delay, an expedition be formed, composed of the sea and land forces that can be assembled in those domains, and to attack Mobile and Pensacola, which are the keys to the Gulf of Mexico, destroying, sooner or later, the divisions which run across it (the Gulf) and cleansing the English from the shores of the Mississippi, which ought to be viewed as the wall which guards the vast empire of New Spain.

To this end, Your Excellency will designate all of the troops from the garrison of this Island (Cuba) which you can. The Viceroy of Mexico will do the same, with the two of you combining the number of troops which each one of you can contribute, arranging them according to the Plan and orders of the Governor of Louisiana, who is well-informed of the positions and forces of the enemy. Nevertheless, it will always be necessary to have four to five thousand men joined together, among them three hundred Dragoons, and perhaps a larger quantity of troops, in order to secure a blow of such consequence. Although the English do not have any strong fortifications in Pensacola, only some wooden batteries, it is expected for them to have greatly reinforced the garrison of that Place, (as they are) fully aware of its importance and anticipating our attacks....

The King want that this expedition have as commander in Chief, the Brigadier (General) don Bernardo de Gálvez, proprietary Governor of Louisiana, who has formed the Plan for the Expedition with anticipation, has acquired practical knowledge of those Countries and maintains (sources of) intelligence among the enemy. He has been informed of the diversions which the troops of the United States of America plan to make in Georgia at the same time and has earned the friendship of the Choctaw and other Indian Nations converting them from the English party and making sure that they would always see at the front of this enterprise a different kind of Chief. Finally, his providences, and perhaps a combination of happy coincidences, have acquired him credit amongst the members of the American Congress and have spread the respect of His name throughout the English establishments near Louisiana. The knowledge of all that is important for the war and the opinion (he carries) among the enemy have convinced His Majesty of election of said Governor, in preference of other officials with more experience that would without a doubt be more appropriate for any other enterprise....

At the same time that the attack by sea and land is executed against Pensacola and Mobile, the troops of the United States, numbering three thousand men, will invade San Agustín de la Florida, and will perhaps create another diversion on the high shores of the Mississippi. The Congress has offered to take these measures as indemnification for the expenditures of some sums which we have given them. Don Juan de Miralles, who has established himself in those states, with the notice which I am giving him by the hand of Your Excellency, will coordinate the timing and circumstances of making the attacks so that the expeditions are timed together....

In the case that the troops from this Island and New Spain join themselves together, without leaving either of the two objectives (Cuba and New Spain) defenseless, and are not sufficient (in number) for the conquest of Pensacola and Mobile, Your Excellency will ask the Governor of the French part of the Island of Santo Domingo for the necessary number of people, who will go on to complete the expedition or will remain to guard this Island (Cuba), whichever appears more convenient to Your Excellency.

Source: AGI Cuba 1290, f 181-184

Don Francisco Ruiz del Canto; Havana, 26 September 1779

[Relating] what occurred on the expedition, which I have just finished executing, to the Castle of San Marcos de Apalache, for which I left this Port on the 24th of July past and I have returned today.

On the eleventh day of my journey, which would have been the 2nd of this past August, after having traveled along those coast (of Florida) as prescribed by the Instruction of the Governor and Captain General, I saw the Anchorage of the point of Cazina, where I anchored on the afternoon of the 3rd. Not discovering a single sign of smoke nor a Person (anywhere) on the Beaches that surrounded it, I decided on the 4th to send Juan Pinzapal and Francisco Julipalca to go to the cited Castle, at a distance of two leagues. Not encountering a single Indian there, they instantly returned with this news. Because of this, I resolved to send the former (Pinzapal) to the Towns of the caciques (named) Unape and Tolope. Placing this into execution, he returned with the two (Unape and Tolope), along with other Chiefs and many People of both sexes, who in total composed around two hundred and fifty (people). They all arrived on the 8th with notable happiness, as was (made) particularly certain by the demonstrations of rejoicing which they made and the signs of affection with they manifested to me as well as to the rest of the Spaniards on the Boat’s crew.

Of course, I repeated the word that Estimapé had brought to them by order of the Governor and Captain General of this City (Havana), to which they happily and complacently answered that they would treat it as if they were in a formal Junta [war council].

They celebrated this on the morning of the 9th and afterward I gave them a brief relation of all that had occurred concerning this matter, in understanding with my instructions, which at the same time I had in my hands in order to better explain their content.

Then, the chief Nitajatique took the action of responding to me, saying that, although they did not understand the papers, they certainly believed what I explained to them by word of mouth, because they have always lived and continue to live satisfied with the tender love with which they have looked upon the Great King of Spain and of the truthfulness of Estimapé, who had never failed to deliver to them what he has offered. As such, that Castle and all of the land of West Florida would without a doubt be at the disposition of His Majesty. It would be Estimapé (and, in case of his falling ill or other occupation, to one of his Sons or Brothers) to whom they would submit themselves, since it (the Spanish conquest of West Florida) would be the happiest day which they had ever seen, and they conceded to him (the King of Spain) the love of their lives.

The English and the Bachinalques, as they (the Uchizes) call the (American) Colonists, had begged them for quite some time to enlist themselves to their devotion and that some of the Chiefs were of the opinion not to side with either of the two, founded in that they (all of the Indians) were brothers and, even though they were at war in the present, eventually there would be peace and they would unite against them (both the English and the Spanish). This is what had persuaded them to remain neutral and wait for the response to what they had sent to and asked of the Great King of Spain, by way of Estimapé. In this virtue they proceeded, since His Majesty was the only one to whom they ought to have been subjects and obey in total.

Despite said opinion of the old Chiefs, as the response from Spain took so long, they had three hundred or four hundred young men take party with the English, some of them impulsed by their evil hearts and others by the necessity in which they lived. These men placed themselves against the Baquinalques, whose war had been suspended for the past four months, during which the English did not cease to insist that they follow them, offering them much more than what they had previously paid and gifted.

The Emperor Escuchapé and the Caciques of the Towns of Cabeta, Cazista and Apalachicolo certainly lived with the concern that Estimapé would be angered by said war, but it became clear that they had had done precisely what he had not wanted them to do when they asked him which of the two parties they had to support. They were like the Dog that guards his house without siding with anyone; (when) the English came to bother them they would be able to snort at their pleas and gifts and they were to bark and bite at the Bachinalques.

And so that this would not happen again, Estimapé would come to see them (the Emperor and the Caciques), dispose of them and order them, as their Governor, as to what they have to do. Since at the time there were two English Gentlemen with twenty two Horses full of Clothing, Arms and munitions in the Town of Tamasle trying to solicit them, he would leave from there to advise and warn all of the Towns to the north of what had occurred so that they could go down to Apalache and wait for him. Because of this, they (the Englishmen) would not allow him to leave at all, since he would (seem to) be a fraud if he remained, or so the Junta concluded.

(Apparently the Emperor and said Caciques had proclaimed some kind of neutrality hostile to the Americans, which angered Estimapé, who was negotiating with the American-allied Spaniards. This brought about a political struggle between Estimapé and Escuchapé, and, according to the rumors here, Estimapé had been threatening a coup. Apparently, the Englishmen realised that he was planning to set the Uchiz Nation against them and so detained him in Tamasle, which is why the Junta had not received word from him yet.)

Without delay I proceeded to submit to the Gifts which I carried, destined for every Town, and all at once managed to dine with, gift and entertain the chiefs, their Women and their Children, leaving them all very happy by means of other supplies, goods and effects.

Finally the Junta determined on the 27th that I would return to this City in the company of three chiefs which they nominated, so that they would bring (notice of) his (Estimapé’s)word. Having embarked with them on the 30th, and experiencing a strong storm on the 1st of the current month which obligated us to break the masts, we navigated together to the Port of San Nivel, where we encountered a small Boat of Spanish fishermen who gave us word of many English Corsairs. At this point, the Indians entered into terror and communicated to me that they wanted to return. Because of this, I begged the Captain of the Boat, Miguel de Arboleda, that he take us to the Tampa Bay. There I would despatch them in the Canoe at my Schooner service, which I gave them so that the three would safely travel to San Marcos de Apalache. They assured me that there they would go and promptly maintain themselves in wait for the response of Estimapé.

From some Indians that arrived at Apalache from Pensacola on the 28th of August, I was informed that in that Plaza (Pensacola) there is a very under-manned garrison and few munitions, since the large part of their troops had just set out with the Arms, Gunpowder and balls to carry themselves to the shores of the Mississippi River, that the fortress which they have there is in the same state as it was when the Spaniards turned it over to them and they had only added a Battery on the Bay across from it.

The Castle of Apalache, along with the small Fort erected in front of it in the spot named la Cantera, remains with the same stone Walls and Vaulted Roofs that they had when the Spaniards turned them over to the English, but without any of its wooden constructions which the English burned a short time ago. In this manner, not only have they not left standing any of the houses of the Commander and troops, Stores and Church, but they even tore out the Doors and windows of the Limestone and Pebble structures and took them along with them....

Source: AGI Cuba 1290, f 221-223

Juan Josef Eligio de la Puente,Havana, 30 September 1779

Account of the cost of the Supplies, effects and good submitted to don Francisco Ruiz del Canto as gifts for the Indians of the Uchiz Nation of the Province of Cabeta, and maintenance for the same don Francisco, for the three Indians that he carried in his company, as follows

43 Loads of Casabe, 86 pesos
42 Fanegas of Corn, 147 pesos
18 3/4 Fanegas of Salt, 46 pesos 7 reales
25 Loads of Tobacco in 1250 bunches, 312 pesos 4 reales
25 Barrels of Honey, 117 pesos 4 reales
25 Barrels of Cane Brandy, 175 pesos
10 Barrels of Red Wine, 110 pesos
18 Machetes with their sheaths, 45 pesos
1 Case of ground Sugar, 29 pesos 1 real
6 small Cans, each one with 2 pounds of ground Tobacco, 10 pesos 4 reales
6 small Cases for said Tobacco, 2 pesos 4 reales
2 lightweight white Shirts, 7 pesos 4 reales
50 plain white Shirts, 82 pesos 2 reales
25 striped white Shirts, 39 pesos 7 reales
4 Dozen white Handkerchiefs, 22 pesos
94 1/2 Varas of Ordinary blue Cloth, 278 pesos 2 reales
171 Varas of Yarn Ribbon made of Sheep’s Wool, 10 pesos 7 reales
4 Dozen small Mirrors, 12 pesos 6 reales
4 Dozen pair of Scissors, 8 pesos
36 shaving Razors, 10 pesos 4 reales
20 Large cutting Razors, 2 pesos 4 reales
200 Bone Smoking Pipes 4 pesos 4 reales
36 Combs for cleansing Wool or Silk, 4 pesos 4 reales
40 Ivory Combs, 9 pesos
4 Pounds of crude yarn, 8 pesos 6 reales
4 Pounds of white yarn, 11 pesos 6 reales
2,000 sewing Needles, half of them thick and half of them thin, 4 pesos 4 reales
228 Varas of colored Indiana [cotton or linen cloth colored on only one side], 228 pesos
4 Ounces of Vermilion, 3 pesos 4 reales
5 black Sombreros, 7 pesos 4 reales
1/2 pound of Glass Beads, 3 pesos
176 Varas of Silk or imitation silk Ribbon, 37 pesos
30 Pair of Earrings, 8 pesos 6 reales
12 small empty Barrels of capacity, 10 pesos 4 reales
6 Rifles, 66 pesos
10 pesos 2 reales of cost for 25 sacks for carrying Salt, (including) the yarn used to sew them and their transport, 10 pesos 2 reales
300 pesos in silver for Bizcocho, Beef, Pork, Rice, Coffee, Butter, Cheese, Sweets and fruits submitted to the referred Ruiz del Canto in order to provide food to the Chiefs and maintain the 3 Indians which accompanied them
1 Cedar Chest for holding goods, 1 peso 4 reales
84 Sacks from Campeche for carrying the Corn, 31 pesos 4 reales
23 Pesos 4 1/2 reales for transport

More which has been paid and spent in the referenced Expedition, after the aforementioned date
2000 pesos paid to the Captain Lorenzo Rodríguez for the freight of the Schooner which he owns, in which don Francisco Ruiz del Canto and the three Indians which accompanied him came and left
150 pesos paid to the Soldiers for the return trip of the mentioned three Indians
30 pesos of cost for a Canoe which was bought in the Port of San Nivel so that the three chiefs who came to this City (Havana) to bring the response of their ambassadors, carried by Canto, could return to San Marcos de Apalache
17 pesos spent, 14 on a Rifle and 3 on a Cauldron, for the use of the same three chiefs on the expressed return trip

Total: 4521 pesos 4 1/2 reales

Source: AGI Cuba 1290, f 24-25

José de Gálvez to the Governor of Havana; San Ildefonso, 3 October 1779

By means of Your Excellency’s reserved (letter) of the 26th of June past, number 76, and the documents which accompany it, the King has been informed of the providences taken in order to acquire news of the state in which Pensacola is found and of the dispositions of the Uchiz Indians, to whose commission Your Excellency has sent don Francisco Ruiz del Canto, subject to total confidence and discretion. He goes (off) in charge of dealing with the expressed Indians, to try to attract them with gifts of supplies and effects. (He will) pass through the Castle of San Marcos de Apalache, and give us exact information of the Talapuses, Apiscas and other barbarian nations that surround the English establishments, and place into practice all of the rest of the points contained in the instruction which he carried for the arrangement of his operations. All has merited the Royal approval and His Majesty does not doubt that these very opportune and well-executed methods will produce the effect for which they are intended. I [send] this Royal Order to Your Excellency for your intelligence and government.

Source: AGI Cuba 1290, f 187-188

Instruction of what don Juan Francisco Ruiz del Canto has to observe and execute, in the commission to which he was destined in the Sloop Nuestra Señora del Carmen, of the Captain Josef de Castilla; Havana, 16 December 1779

In leaving from this Port, the cited Captain will be sent with bow facing North, a quarter to the Northeast, navigating to enter himself, wind and current permitting, into the Kay named Marquis, or named the Boca grande, from which he is to follow the coast of West Florida and navigate in this way to Bacisa Cove, in which he will set anchor. From there, Ruiz del Canto will dispatch, in the small canoe for which effect it will be carried, the two Indians, Juan Pinzapal and Pablo Juchique. They will travel until they recognize the anchorage of the Point of Cacina and the fort of San Marcos de Apalache, (see) if it is occupied by the English and not to give warning to the Uchiz Indians who are there or in its immediate area, for the aforementioned Ruiz del Canto is to carry them the response to what they sent Estimapé to speak with him about, so that it could be repeated to the Governor and Captain General of this City.

(With) this diligence facilitated and (with) Ruiz del Canto incorporated with the Indians of those Towns, he will meet with their chiefs and will tell them of what Estimapé said, that he can not go to see them now, due to his being sick, and neither could any of this sons, due to their being very Young, and that his brother Josef is not here.

That, so that Estimapé could comply with his task and desires, he arranged to deliver them by way of the same Ruiz del Canto to the Governor and Captain General of this City, who wrote without delay to the Great King of Spain, and that His Majesty consequently, due to the love which he has always professed for them and continues to profess, resolved to, in light of how disgustedly they live with the English and their lies and evil Hearts, declare war on them in order to return and take those Provinces from them and that the Spaniards have come to possess them, to achieve that they live in such satisfaction and consolation.

That, to the effect of achieving the best (possible outcome), and, in brief, as Estimapé advises, begs and persuades them, they live entirely at the disposition of don Bernardo de Gálvez, Governor of Louisiana and that they of course obey his orders. Without a doubt, this will result, at the end, in their benefit and that, in the case of occupying them in the war against the English and their Indian allies, the same Governor will provide them with the corresponding arms and Munitions, at the same time as the other necessities for their maintenance and clothing. And the same for the Talapuzes, to whom, except for those who find themselves there [alongside the Uchizes in Apalache], they were ordered to say this on the behalf of Estimapé, who waits very confidently. They were not to falter on a single point of this task, since it will be the secure method by which the Master of their lives (the King) can concede them the pleasure with which he sees them and have the complacency to eat and drink with them.

That they receive the gifts which the King of Spain now sends them, by the hand of Estimapé, in test of his paternal Love, with which (Ruiz del Canto) will proceed to turn over to the Emperor Escuchapé, if he has come down (there); and it not, to the cacique Nitajaqui, of the Town of Cazuque, that which is stated in the included relation.

Ruiz del Canto, (upon) seeing the semblance of the good or bad of the Indians and assured of the reasons with which they respond to him, will depart, without the loss of (much) time, and participate it (his findings) to don Bernardo de Gálvez, Governor of Louisiana, who he will encounter in the Port of Mobile, to where he will precisely direct his trip, with the greatest care that he not be apprehended by the Enemy English, in (light of the) intelligence that our Embarkations of War were crossing those seas at the time.

He will leave the Indians well-advised that he goes carrying the word of the referred Governor, whom will order him to return in the same Sloop, and with his crew to give some embassy to the mentioned Indians, and he will place it into execution instantly, under the instructions that I will dispatch him with, and likewise, if I determine it, will prompt him to return to this Port (Havana).

Finally, it is expected that Ruiz del Canto, with his accredited conduct and love for the King, will procure to vigilant in the dispensation of the matter, due to how much it interests the Royal Service, devoting all of himself toward the present matter, and under the precaution that our Enemy, the English, not penetrate to learn anything related to his Commission, and so he has to take care that he not encounter them for any reason. And, if such a disgrace occurs, he will procure, with anticipation, to destroy the Instruction in water, or burn it, so that they cannot, for any reason, learn its content.

Source: AGI Cuba 1291, f 22-23

Governor of Havana, Diego Joseph Navarro to José de Gálvez; Havana, 22 December 1779

Considering how important (it is) to remain loyal to what is ordered on the part of His Majesty, according to what is offered, and that in the current circumstances they are ready to employ themselves in what the Governor of Louisiana orders of them: don Juan Eligio de la Puente, Accountant of this Tribunal of Accounts was advised to charter, from the Royal Estate, a small Boat in which don Francisco Ruiz del Canto could travel to Apalache with the new gifts for the Emperor and Caciques, administering to Canto the Instruction of what he ought to observe in his Commission, according to what I communicated to him verbally.

Complying with what he was advised, don Juan Eligio chartered the Sloop Nuestra Señora del Carmen, its Captain Josef de Castilla, setting out from that Coast and forming with my approval the Instruction of which the attached is a Copy. He set sail on the 16th of the current (month) with the fruits and effects that are explained in the inserted Notice that I accompany to Your Excellency for you renowned knowledge, remaining to advise you of the cost of this disposition in a timely manner.

All that remains for me to fear is that some loss could occur while the Boats of War that left to cruise around Pensacola are returning to this Port and that the weather will remain so inconsistent that it would not permit the departure of the Expedition, which I believed to be near when I determined to send out the referred Canto. Luck wanting, he will be protected while helping the righteous intention for which he was sent.

Source: AGI Cuba 1291, f 20-21

By order of General James Campbell to the Colonel of Hornladen of the 3rd Regiment of Waldeck; Military Headquarters of Pensacola, 2 January 1780.

I am directed by General Campbell to forward to you the enclose Instructions, and to inform you that the Detachment of Troops is not to March until (sic) to Morrow (sic) Morning as he will find  that the Indians will require all this day to have Ammunition & Provisions delivered out to them.

Care Shall be taken that you be informed this Evening of the forwardness of the Indians in their Preparations, that you may order the March to Morrow (sic) Morning at Such Hour as you Shall Duly Propose.

The other Corps are already acquainted with the Substance of the above, with Directions that they are to receive Orders from you for their March to Morrow (sic).

Source: AGI Cuba 1291, f 790. Transcribed from a letter written in English.

José de Gávlez to the Governor of Havana; El Pardo, 10 January 1780

By means of Your Excellency’s reserved (letter) of the 16th of October, number 89, and the relation which accompanies it, the King has been informed of the return of don Francisco Ruiz del Canto and the manner with which he has fulfilled his commission to investigate which Party the Uchiz Indians follow; he has attracted them to the devotion of the King of Spain. And (he has taken note) of the expenses that he has had in doing this, which Your Excellency has ordered satisfied by the Intendant of that Army. As well, he also (has taken note of) the state in which the Castle of Apalache is found and of what he informed concerning the Port of Pensacola.

All has earned the Royal approval. (Also) he has ordered me to advise Your Excellency to search for the methods by which to maintain the Uchizes at their good purposes, making them understand that they know it is more advantageous to be with Spaniards. (This includes) the Talapuches, who relate with the Governor of Louisiana, to whose devotion the Choctaw of West Florida, who previously followed the English party and have been won over by him, already belong.

Source: AGI Cuba 1290, f 205

Francisco Ruiz del Canto; Havana, 14 February 1780

Relation of what occurred from the afternoon of the 16th of December past, which in compliance with the Instruction with which I was dispatched by the Excellent Sir don Diego José Navarro, knight of the order of Santiago, Lieutenant General of the Royal Armies and Governor and Captain General of this Island (Cuba), left from this Port until today, the date in which I have returned to it.

Navigating with Bow facing North, a quarter to the Northeast, I discovered the morning of the 17th the Marques Cay, by whose heads to the West and the tortuguilla [the Tortugas, referring to a land formation that in shape resembled a turtle] I had verified my entrance. I continued to stay close to and sail up the West coast of Florida. I did this until I set down at the Punta de Cacina in Apalache, at which I arrived the 8th of the past January and immediately dispatched the Indian Juan Pinzapal and his companion in the Canoe so that they could travel to the Castle (of San Marcos), distance of two leagues, to give word of my arrival to the Uchizes, whom I had considered would guard me there.

Not encountering anyone, I continued without delay to the Town of Tamaslé, whose Cacique sent the notice to the others. On the 13th various chiefs came down with our Indians, whom they later joined. I communicated my message (to them), giving them gifts precisely as, in particular, I was told by said Instruction. They responded that the Emperor Escuchape had come to that same spot to receive Estimapé, with the caciques and captains of the Province of Cabeta. (They also told me) of the (T)alapuzes and that that time had passed in which he (Escuchape) believed they would come, (that) he had to return to his Town, in which he had just Died. (They told me) that the Cacique Nitajaqui would satisfy my word, since all of those present and absent, including the Talapuzes, would pledge themselves to whatever he says.

After this, they manifested, with the greatest expression to which they are accustomed, their recognition and gratitude for the gifts which I had been instructed to give them in the name of His Majesty, sent to them by the Excellent Governor of this Plaza (Havana). They continued speaking (as they have) on repeated occasions, having offered their obedience to the Great King of Spain. Equally (they responded) that they were his Vassals, (that they were) to possess that Castle (Castle of San Marcos) y Populate those lands, for which no discussion was required, since it was reiterating what their defunct Emperor and the rest of the Chiefs had promised.

That as soon as possible, they would be at the disposition of don Bernardo de Gálvez, Governor of Louisiana. They would not provide him with the slightest inconvenience, because, in addition to what they would achieve there, what they greatly desired was to employ themselves in the Service of the Great King of Spain. They had many notices of the generosity of that Knight, and especially of the affection with which, in general, he treated the indigenous Nations of those Countries. In terms that he himself passed along, he would not have to make use of the Uchizes, Talapuzes nor the Apiscas, since by having close at hand the numerous nation of the Choctaw, who they knew well, he would consequently employ them. However, despite this, some Talapuz and Apisca Chiefs would go to visit him and Revalidate their obedience, with the Uchizes remaining happily disposed towards whatever they would send him.

Although some of those last three nations are found in the Heart of Pensacola, it is known that they had gone with the urgent necessity of buying clothing and other utensils, in exchange for pelts, because they had been almost naked and lacked Hatchets, Binding, Cauldrons, etc. And so, there are no suspicions that they would take up Arms in favor of the English. To the contrary, the Spaniards always expected them to (eventually) lay siege to that Plaza, since they not only have on their side the said three nations, but they also believe that the Chalaques, Chickasaw and Chicasacs would do the same, with respect to reports that they all live disgustedly with the English.

That they (the Spaniards), it is true, have made and continue to make grand offers to the Indians because they (the Indians) are devoted to them and would take up Arms in order to join together with the Spaniards, but that all of the indigenous Nations of that continent have agreed not to make any promises, to conserve the peace amongst themselves and that most of their Friends will remain neutral.

That various families of Pensacola fear that the Spaniards will imprison them and have asked and begged the Uchizes that they allow them to travel through their land to the Province of Georgia, where they would travel with their Slaves and goods. And that some of the Uchizes, those of good report, conceded this, if they would compensate them adequately, and other (simply) robbed them of what they carried.

Concluding with what has been referenced, the last of many juntas, and reiterating to me their fidelity and love for His Majesty, I affably took my leave of the Indians and left Apalache on the 18th, navigating en route to Mobile to go and inform don Bernardo de Gálvez of what occurred of my diligence, as I was told to do in the Instruction. However, experiencing strong and contrary winds, with intolerable cold, I made the decision to land on the 22nd at St. Joseph’s Bay, where I met some Uchiz Indians who were hunting there. They came aboard to see me, with the same happiness and friendship as those of Apalache, for which I entertained them and gave them food out of what I was carrying. I stayed with them until the afternoon of the 28th, on which the weather improved and I left, following the coast for the mere ease with which it could be navigated.

On the 2nd of the current month, in the morning, I caught sight of the Mouth of the Port of Pensacola, where I discovered anchored there a Frigate of War of 32 to 34 Cannons and a Schooner of 10 to 12 (Cannons). Because of this, I decided to return immediately and, although the Battery which they had at the point of the Isle of Santa Rosa, alias la Siguenza, fired its cannons at me and raised the Flag of St. George, I did not correspond with a countersign. I rather aimed to Escape as quickly as I could manage, navigating toward Mobile, where, due to the lack of wind, I arrived on the morning of the 4th. Not discovering a single embarkation, I dispatched the Indian Juan Pinzapal and two other men in the Canoe so that they could disembark on the Cay which was at the entrance to the Port. They returned, as they verified, with the news that there was only a Corsair’s Schooner of 10 to 12 cannons in the port.

With such information, I resolved to return to this Port and, placing it into execution, the contrary wind did not permit me to move from the coast, neither that day or that night. I had to move at dawn of the following day, on which, at 4 in the afternoon, I discovered a little Schooner, who, without noticing me, continued on its journey to Pensacola. I determined to intercept it and managed to do so without difficulty to the sound of two shots.

I found four men inside (the schooner) and took aboard the three Englishmen and three Negroes which composed their Crew, instantly placing them at the service of this Port.

A little bit later, I had seen a quite large Frigate, and decided to ask the Imprisoned Captain if he knew who it was. He responded that it was an armed Merchant (ship) of 46 Cannons crossing over to that destination (Pensacola).

Without delay, I thought of defeat and took account at two (‘o clock) a strong gust of wind, which worked Schooner well. The ship began to take on too much water and, with the Seamen yelling and exclaiming that we were going to capsize, I decided to take control of the situation, which I managed at the cost of much work and danger, abandoning the prize, which I believe instantly went to the bottom of the Sea, and reducing my cargo to Corn and beans.

I rode out the storm the rest of that night, losing the Bowsprit of the Schooner and some sails. The dawn of the 6th came with more of a semblance of Serenity and favorable wind and I then returned to navigate towards this Port, where I encountered no one on the Path. I finished setting anchor with the expressed 6 prisoners, to whom I had not asked a single question concerning the State of Pensacola and Mobile, since they did not know Castilian and I did not know their language.

Source: AGI Cuba 1233, f 630-635

Notices given by Robert Holms, Citizen and Landowner of Pensacola, taken prisoner three leagues from Mobile on the 5th of the present month; Havana, 15 February 1780

That (he responded to the question of) the number of armed Civilians and Indians: That there are no Militias, nor armed Indians; that the Governor and the General of Arms are opposed (to arming Indians and Civilians). The former does not want any Militia and the former does not want the Indians (armed), nor does he permit them. The Governor of the Plaza orders that the Civilians stay in their homes to protect their families, the women and the children of Pensacola. (Because) in this (City) there are only 20 Houses of commerce and the other Citizens would be reduced to a very small number, they do not want to take up arms nor work without pay.

Source: AGI Cuba 1291, f 288-290. Only a portion of this document was included, that dealt with the number of armed civilians and Indians in Pensacola.

Governor of Havana Diego Josef de Navarro to the Governor of Louisiana Bernardo de Gálvez; Havana, 18 February 1780

In the Letter of the 31st of January and the Documents that accompany it (whose duplicates are included with this message), I instructed You, Sir, of what had been accorded to and to what they (the Generals of the War Junta) were disposed in consequence of the coming to this Plaza of the Lieutenant Colonel don Esteban Miró. Also, it will be mentioned to You, Sir, verbally by way of the Lieutenant Engineer don Francisco Xavier de Navas, who left this Port on the 10th of the current (month).

In addition to what has been said to You, Sir, on the 15th of the same (month) the troops boarded the ships and throughout the Plaza all (preparations had been) totally completed so that the Expedition could set sail the next day. My approval of their departure is only pending the disposition of the Commanding General of this Squadron, who has always assured me that the Boats of His Majesty will be ready promptly and that they wanted to take the precaution of not setting sail before I had time to write to Your, Sir, of what actions I have taken today, so that I could send you the attached Paper Number 1 of the News which don Francisco Ruiz del Canto has given. I commissioned him for a second time so that he could carry gifts to the Uchiz Indians and investigate if they remained on our side, as they had offered.

I provided this Individual (Ruiz del Canto) to, in such case, make them understand how convenient it was that they employ themselves in the objectives that You, Sir had in mind. For convenience, Canto would carry himself (there) after You Sir, sent news confirming that they (the troops) would continue traveling toward Mobile. (This is) because you conjectured that at the end of your Commission, You, Sir, would be there (yourself). However, the premeditated effect [departure from Havana and arrival at Mobile] did not occur because Weather to the contrary would not permit the departure from here of the Convoy. The Commissioned (Officer) decided to return to this Port and entered into the port on the 14th of this month. [Gálvez, traveling east from New Orleans, had anticipated meeting the Havana troops in Mobile for a joint attack. Bad weather forced the fleet departing Havana to return to port on 14 February].

With his (Ruiz del Canto’s) arrival and the luck of having captured Robert Holms, Citizen and Landowner of Pensacola, three leagues away from Mobile, the situation has been examined in light of the points and the orders which You, Sir, noted in Document Number 2. I accompany this document you so that you can direct the Enterprise against Pensacola with more certitude in light of what it explains. I add that the referred Holms has given this news under the threat that, if his testimony were false, when the Arms of the King obtain possession of or enter that Plaza (Pensacola), that his Landholdings will be the first to suffer the rigors of War. One the other hand, (he was told that), if it were truthful, (his Landholdings) would be looked upon as those of a Vassal of His Majesty and would be guarded as necessary so that they do not suffer the slightest detriment. It seems pertinent that I explain such circumstances to Your, Sir, for (the benefit of) your government.

As the expressed don Francisco Ruiz del Canto can (best) determine if You, Sir, should try to extend your hand to the Uchizes, I have placed him at your disposal, along with the Schooner Nuestra Señora del Carmen, its Captain Joseph del Canto, supported by funding from the Royal Estate. (This is) so that You, Sir, could employ it towards such an end [to determine the loyalty of the Uchizes], with respect to the practices of that coast [the Uchizes were accustomed to receiving Spaniards traveling in fishing boats, as they typically came into contact with Spanish fishermen in the Tampa Bay], and the knowledge which that Captain has of the mentioned Indians....

Source: AGI Cuba 1233, f 58-61

Juan Josef Eligio de la Puente; Account of the Cost of Supplies, Goods and effects turned over to don Francisco Ruiz del Canto for the gifting of the Uchiz Indians of the Province of Cabeta and Talapuzes and the maintenance of the same Canto with the three Indians that they carried in their Company, as Follows; Havana, 19 February 1780

Items Gifted
Bizcocho
Rice
Loads of Casabe
Brined Beef
Pork
Salt
Coffee
Honey
Brandy
Wine
Large Files
Tobacco
White Shirts
Indiana
Blue Cloth
Colored Cloth
Redingotes
Silk Ribbon
Wool
Vermilion
Small Buttons
Yarn Handkerchiefs
Silk Handkerchiefs
Escarmenadores [A tool or comb used for cleaning, combing and untangling wool or silk].
Small Combs
Crude Yarn
White Yarn
Scissors
Needles
Pendant or neckband of golden metal
Rifles
Gunpowder
Rifle Balls
Flint Stones
Machetes
A War Drum
Large Razors
Smoking Pipes
Small Cans
Small Cases
Fishing Nets
Soap
Fruits and sweets
Sacks of hemp
Barrels for said Sacks of hemp
Crates for the Packaging
Sacks for carrying the Salt
Yarn to sew the Sacks
4 reales paid to the Workers who sewed the Sacks
Crates for carrying the goods
Sacks for the packaging the Rice, Coffee and other (items)
26 pesos for the Transport
500 silver pesos currently administered to don Francisco Ruiz del Canto for the Purchase of his Food and that of the Indians in his company and to feed the Uchiz and Talapuz Chiefs
3000 pesos for Mathías González for the freight of the Sloop Nuestra Señora del Carmen
230 silver pesos currently paid to the three Indians that accompanied Ruiz del Canto

Total: 8,280 pesos

Source: AGI Cuba 1291, f 24-25

John Campbell to Bernardo de Gálvez, on board the frigate Movila, 9 April 1780

....The Indians allied with the English party plan to serve them by pillaging and destroying all inhabitants which are of the other Nation [Spanish inhabitants]. Those which have allied themselves with the Spanish party think that by right of reciprocation they can commit the same hostilities against the English inhabitants. The behavior of Your Excellency’s allies is authorized by the Hunters, who incite and provoke them, and I consequently feel justified to do the same, but I have not taken action in order to avoid shedding further blood in a war that we wage out of obligation and not of hate, and with the hope to incline Your Excellency to make a reciprocal concession, which places us under the horrible charge of inhumanity. If Your Excellency’s Indians would commit the same hostilities in the district of Mobile that they do in Louisiana, a large degree of the suffering would fall upon the English Vassals who exist in both Districts as a result of the Capitulations, and only wait for a favorable opportunity so that they can return to their Capital with the rest of their goods, and that would return naked and unhappy if Your Excellency, on your part, does not contribute to salvaging what little remains to them by freeing them from this lost portion of their Nation.

I do not think that Your Excellency has taken part in the madness that the English [residents of Mobile and the Mississippi shore] have devised against the French inhabitants of Mobile, because they have not taken Arms against us, as a large portion of those who came to attack the city were their own Friends and Family, and in such consequence I have dispensed of your motive in this and warned the English inhabitants of the Mississippi and Mobile that I never obliged them to take Arms against their compatriots. This supposes that I think, Sir, that my conduct appears just to those of Your Excellency’s party, who look upon with consideration and feel compassion for the goods and persons of the French inhabitants and Spaniards when the trouble I have had with the English is notorious.

In such confidence, I propose to Your Excellency that we separate the Indians from our national quarrels, as to place Arms in their hands is doubly troubling to all of humanity. On my part, Sir, you know that I do not employ them in any fashion and that such allies are more degrading than helpful.

I hope that Your Excellency takes this truth into account and that your decision results in the benefit of the English inhabitants; you would give me a favorable response and with it the satisfaction of employing myself in whatever manner you consider me capable of serving and aiding you.

Source: AGI Cuba 182A, f 245-246

Governor of Louisiana Bernardo de Gálvez to the Governor of Havana Diego Josef de Navarro; Mobile, 5 May 1780

By the Reserved Letter of Your Excellency with the date of the 18th of February past, I remain with the impression that, on the 15th of February, the boarding of the Troops (on the embarkation) was verified and that throughout the Plaza, all (preparations had been) totally completed so that the Expedition could set sail. Their departure has not been approved, only (because it is) pending the disposition of the Commanding General of the Squadron. He has always assured Your Excellency that the Boats of His Majesty will be ready promptly. They wanted to take precaution to not set sail before Your Excellency could write to me of what actions have been taken, so that you could include the accompanying paper number 1. (This is) regarding the news given by don Francisco Ruiz del Canto, commissioned for a second time to Carry gifts to the Uchiz Indians and investigate if they had remained on our side as they had offered, and the news given by the Englishman Robert Holms. I will put all of this (information) to the most convenient use in favor of the royal service. 

Source: AGI Cuba 1233, f 54-55

P. Juzan to unknown recipient [probably the governor of Lousiana, Bernardao de Galvez], Cambé, 15 June 1780

As I set out for Mobile, some Letters of Yours arrived, for which reason I saw that I could not leave the detachment. I will inform Your, Sir, of what has transpired here and of the notices which I have acquired.

Yesterday, the Savage arrived who had been sent to track down Colbert, and he had not been able to find him; he (the Savage) tells me that his Negroes are (searching) with great vigilance. Yesterday afternoon, two other Savages arrived with two Bulls and they told me that they had encountered Colbert and one of his children in Penti seven days ago. They were carrying three Prisoners, of which the Sergeant was tightly bound and the other two free but poorly treated.

The same Savages informed me that Tourneboule had also passed through the Villa de Concha seven day ago and that they had the mare war horse that they had taken in Mobile. They tell me that the opinion of the Chaqueta Chiefs is that Paye-Mataha, grand Chief of the Chickasaw, will not take Prisoners; to the contrary, he will apprehend those whom he can. I have also learned that there is a road which passes through Tombecbé and through which a lot of merchandise passes. Some of them say that the great Yasoux, Betune, is in Pensacola, without a doubt that he has traveled all the way to Naniaba, and from there he has returned. Two parties of Chaquetas have passed through Pensacola, one on the 8th of this month and the other on the 14th. They crossed over in canoes and, after having asked them much about what they were looking for, they responded to me that they were going to trade their pelts for merchandise. I know very well that the latter Party, composed of only 33 men and carried by Captain Oument of the village of Ylebatcha, one of our allies, does not have a single pelt to sell. I inform You equally that many (of them) come to pass through Pensacola, and that I am going to examine with all caution the reasons which motivate them (to do so).

I wait for Carrodet and Panimgo Mect to arrive at any hour. As soon as they do, I will begin fulfilling one of Your orders and follow them exactly. I think that if You, Sir, had the kindness to not concede a Passport to Pensacola for anyone, it would be useful to the good of the Service. You, Sir, ought not to have any respect for the English of these parts, since they are all either Enemies or Spies.

You have sent me word that Colbert has not wanted to kill me. This does not comfort me, for if you had not done so, I would still have feared him as well as our own, for I am certain that he is the one who had sent three Savages to trade for Corn and had presented me with a Ginga Shirt and six pelts. I threw them out and told them, while throwing kicks, that His Catholic Majesty only gives food to his Enemies when it is necessary. At that instant I gave them back the Corn. At the same moment, I gave our Spy the gift which You, Sir, had the kindness to send me. I have feared that this instance has such an effect that the Savages have not returned to speak with me since.

Lastabé has just arrived and absolutely wants to go to Pensacola to carry Pelts in order to obtain merchandise. The Chief of those in Mobile has given them some baggage. I could not do it (go over there) since they tell me that their women are nude and it would give me shame.

In closing, sir, I do not desire anything else than to attack our Enemies in order to accredit You, Sir, with my zeal and fidelity and I hope for this satisfaction....

..I beg You that you send me 4 pounds of Vermilion for which the Savages have asked me.

Source: AGI Cuba 1233, f 643-645. P. Juzan P. Juzan was a Frenchman residing somewhere in the Louisiana-West Florida vicinity, apparently a spy for the Spanish Crown. Since not all of the Spaniards knew he was a spy, he was in danger of being shot.

The Governor of Havana, Diego Josef de Navarro to Josef de Ezpeleta; Havana, 1 August 1780

You, Sir, have informed me, by way of the letter (dated) the 17th of the past June and the documents which accompany it, of the news that You, Sir, just received from Monsieur Duparc of the declarations of four Prisoners of the lands and Sea forces which were taken by the Enemy in Pensacola on the 11th of June, and designs for what seems to be an anticipated auxiliary of four thousand Indians, according to the exposition of Duparc. Also, (you noted) of how You, Sir, have given this knowledge to the Governor of Louisiana, asking him at the same time for Munitions, materiel, and effect which pertain to the Relation that You, Sir, included to me dated the 16th of June.

Also, You, Sir, manifest to me that you can not persuade yourself that the enemy can attack the site of this Port (Havana), nor that of New Orleans, with the forces that they have, even though the Indians are aiding them, However, if you intend to crush that Country in order to stock up on the spoils of war and determine that in P.D. [possibly Pensacola] it would be very opportune (to do so), I would send a detachment of fifty Dragoons with armaments and Beasts of burden which could be provided by way of Horses.

(I have) made a scrupulous examination of what You, Sir, ask for and of what exists in this Plaza. I have copied and sent (to you) the contents of the two attached copies of intelligence, which ought to help determine what cargo the captains of the Expedition will carry, in case we are not able to provide exactly what is specified in that same intelligence.

Equally, the Lieutenant Colonel don Ramón de Buelta Flores has set off with a lieutenant, a Second Lieutenant and fifty Dragoons, according to the terms which You, Sir, asked of them. They will go in support of Prest and Pagas until the end of September, as I ordered based solely on Your notice. In this task I particularly employed your accredited zeal in that I sent exactly as men as you had asked for. The honor of the Arms will be maintained, for which I promise myself to your talent and love of those Arms. Overall, You, Sir, will not lack, at any instant, plain knowledge of the movements of the Enemy nor of anything else that You, Sir, find necessary to know at the moment which you plan to attack. Due to the (impending) arrival of the Convoy, which we anticipate any day now and it will not be much longer, this Resolution will be taken up immediately....

Source: AGI Cuba 1233, f 648-652

Josef de Ezpeleta to the Governor of Havana Diego Josef de Navarro; Mobile, 7 September 1780

Since I wrote Your Excellency in my last Letter, dated the 2nd of August past, nothing new has occurred, except that the English have made prisoners of the Second Lieutenant don Bentura Guinea, a Corporal and five Soldiers who passed through New Orleans in the Schooner Baton Rus.

Also, the Choctaw Indians have not killed the Sergeant, two Soldiers and one wounded man, (for a total of) Four, who traveled as the Safeguard of an English Parliamentarian, for whose assassination I have asked the corresponding satisfaction of General Campbell as well as of the expressed Indian Nation, of which notices I remitted a copy to don Bernardo de Gálvez....

Source: AGI Cuba 1233, f 671-672

Juan Miguel Calvo to an unknown recipient; Havana, 15 October 1780

Ynculaiche, Indian of the Tamasle Nation of the Town of San Luis, one of the Province of Cabeta of the Coast of West Florida, traveled yesterday to this Port. He declares, by voice of Bartolomé Gallardo, Interpreter of his Language:

That, having been named by his respective Cacique to accompany the Captain Sacubay, who is of the Uchiz nation of the Town of Sabacú of the same Province (Cabeta), for which he and his chiefs were named and dispatched in order to bring word of what they offer to the Governor and Captain General of this City (Havana). Having, of course, set out on the Road and arriving with twelve other men, eight Women and six Children at the Southern part of the Tampa Bay, they encountered there the Fishing Boat which had sailed there, Its Captain informed Sacribaique of the great risk that he currently runs to travel here (Havana) and that he feared that they would be made prisoner by the English. The one who declares (the Indian Ynculaiche) resolved that he would go to communicate the novelties that he brought here, which are the following:

That ever since don Francisco Ruiz del Canto carried them the embassy that they, along with the Talapuz and Apisca Nations, would be promptly at the disposition of don Bernardo de Gálvez (Governor of Louisiana), they have not only been and continue to be (at Gálvez’s disposal), but, for whatever they could be used for, they decided to send the captain Estimaslaiche down to San Marcos de Apalache with one hundred fifty strong men. He has cited that they waited there for three moons and, seeing that the Spaniards were not coming and that they had already ran out of the means to sustain themselves, each one of them returned to their Town.

That the Talapuzes and Apiscas also send some chiefs to Pensacola, where they thought don Bernardo de Gálvez would be. They found themselves amongst the English, who they told that they had fled from the Spaniards. Although they (learned that the Spaniards) had taken Mobile, they departed to return (home) very sadly.

That the English of said Pensacola and those of San Agustín have sent various Gentlemen with clothing and other necessities with which (they hoped) to turn them against the Spanish, French and American colonists. However, they (the Indians) unanimously rejected their gifts, responding to them that for no reason would they agree to such a thing.

That they knew that the Choctaw and Alibamones were on the Spanish side and that the Chalaque and Chicasaw natives, but not the Cicasaes and Sabanuques, went down to Pensacola with large numbers of troops to help the English.

That also suspected that the Yufala Fugitives had placed themselves amongst the English party of San Agustín, since they knew that they (the English) had made them many promises so that they would unite with them.

That, in consequence of the referred desire of the Towns of Uchizes, Talapuzes and Apiscas, they were told by way of Estimape that the Governor and Captain General of this City needs them and what they have to do, in light of the fact that some of them Lack Arms, Gunpowder and balls with which they could fight. And so that (those without those items) would wait in Tampa, Sacubayque would carry their response to their Caciques and Chiefs.

That asking if the Indians were those that finished killing the Fishermen Josef Molian and his Companions, he responded that they did not entirely understand (the situation) until they encountered the Spaniards who had driven them here and had informed them of such an act. Concerning the matter, that in July the Yufala Fugitives were sent by the English of San Agustín, and not the three men and a Woman of the Sabanuque Nation. That Six moons ago, he heard in the Town of Tamasle that they came down, by way of the Santa Rosa River on the Coast of West Florida. They had no more information about them, nor did they know of what motive or destination with which they undertook such a narrow and irregular Road. He certainly had thought after they informed him that the referred deaths were, of course, malicious and that they were dispatched by the English of Pensacola, with the end that some of them had obtained news of the motives of those Spaniards.

All of this is in obedience of the verbal order which has been invested in me by the Governor and Captain General. He (Ynculaiche) declared it to be true and did not sign due to that he did not know how, nor did the interpreter, and it was done by don Juan Miguel Calvo at his insistence, in Havana on the fifteenth of October of one thousand seven hundred eighty.

Source: AGI Cuba 1300, f 428-429

The Governor of Louisiana, Bernardo de Gálvez, to the Governor of Havana Diego Josef de Navarro; Havana, 1 December 1780

It seems that the circumstances do not permit us to make a decision on when the expedition against Pensacola can be renewed, and that it could only take place in March (at the earliest). I can do no less than to inform Your Excellency what has been planned of an invasion from here (Havana), at which time that Province (West Florida) will fall under my command. It (West Florida) is, in this War, the only possession that we have that borders on the Enemy, surrounded by innumerable nations of Warrior Indians, capable of being pushed to commit the worst atrocities for the most futile of interests.

Pensacola continually threatens it (West Florida) with their preparations and they confide in the (promised) aid of General Clinton. The following was revealed to the English Minister in his uncertain letter (included) in our Gazette:

The Illinois were attacked in June of this same year by 900 men. They had retreated as if they were lost, but with spirit resolved to return in greater numbers. <>

In Georgia, I fear General Haldiman, who had armed an Expedition against the Americans, and I has now been disposed to return towards us. Mobile and its garrison are barely breathing and they have been sold out by the Choctaw, who from the English party passed over to ours and then from ours passed back to the English, who had believed themselves deceived.<>

All of this resonates with the conquest of Pensacola, since, free of the fear in which we remain today of being attacked through the bosom, our attention could be fixed on the area further north and only concern ourselves with the insults to be feared from the interior of that (Province). In light of the whining and fussing which has spoiled the Expedition, we need to be an Argos [a figure from Greek mythology, a cyclops with one hundred eyes used by the gods as a guardian] in whatever (manner) in that which we have to protect that Colony (West Florida) without a Castle, without a fortress and without troops, open in all parts to an invasion of the Enemy. But eyes are not sufficient to defend one’s country without forts, where half of the Vassals are newly conquered, disaffected towards the Sovereign (the King of Spain), of the opposing Religion (Protestantism) and desirous of seeing themselves under their previous Domination (as British subjects).

I need at least one thousand five hundred men in order to respond to all (of these challenges), the Calculation for which I have made. It is the most Economic, since I have to aid the Illinois who guard the English Forts on the (Mississippi) River and man (both) the new and old Spanish establishments. The fixed (regiment) of Louisiana is a skeleton of a Corps, where the large part of its few soldiers are the prisoners who [joined the army to escape serving prison terms] took part. The people of the Country (Louisiana) whom I employed at the beginning of the War, as much for that reason (that of a declaration of war) as for the repeated Hurricanes and disasters which have befallen the province, find themselves in the greatest want, and it is not possible, nor would it be just, to continue to bring them to ruin instead of protecting them.

I do not think that either Your Excellency or the Junta could deny a solicitude (which is) so much a child of necessity; firstly because the King wants those Possessions (the Floridas and Louisiana) placed under [well-defended] cover, that they can not be of any other fashion; and secondly because it would greatly facilitate the Expedition if, from what I have (read) in the corresponding notices, I could manage to situated myself in the Ravines and secure the entrance of the Port.

With the idea of taking advantage of the (lull in) time and that in a single Junta all could be resolved, I will also say that Your Excellency, towards the end which you promote, that the two chambequins [a type of ship employed in naval warfare], with two Brigantines, or Packet boats, particularly the former. With those being the largest Boats which those Ports are capable (of supporting), it seems that you ought to signal them as destined (for the Expedition), since for whatever other purposes the rest of the embarkations of the Squadron are suitable.

Source: AGI Cuba 1233, f 303-306. Gálvez differentiates between West Florida and Pensacola. His forces have just finished conquering the province in its totality, save for Pensacola, which remains under British possession. Therefore, when he refers to West Florida, he is speaking of the portions which are under his control. Likewise, the term Pensacola refers to the areas under British control. The bosom, or “seno” as it was written in Spanish, was a Spanish expression for the Gulf of Mexico. The Gulf was believed to be a vulnerable point in Spain’s Empire, whereby communication and trade between Cuba and Mexico could be cut off. Many Spanish officials, including Gálvez, feared that British Florida was in strategic position to do such a thing. The Ravines, or Barrancas at the entrance to Pensacola Bay, are small islands intersected by rapid currents. Gálvez’s strategy was to establish a base there, from which he would launch a full-scale invasion of the Port and its corresponding forts.

Pedro Piernas to the Governor of Havana Diego Josef de Navarro; New Orleans, 16 January 1781

Last night at ten thirty, I had the satisfaction of learning that the English Frigates, who according to the previous notice which I sent to Your Excellency had entered the Mobile Bay, left out to Sea on Sunday the Seventh at Sunset.

I have received at the same time news of the function and attack executed by the enemies on the same day of the Seventh against the Military Detachment of the Village, three leagues away from Mobile. About this, there is a lack of more detailed news, except that I can advise Your Excellency that the enemy Frigates entered the Mobile River shortly afterward. The primary concern and worry of the Colonel don Joseph de Ezpeleta was to place the Boats there, which are loaded with cargo, in a state of defense. He contented himself with sending to the Detachment of the Hamlet or Village the order to be on the defensive, despite (the fact that) the enemies left in a rout. Of the Seven officials that came along with two hundred men, interspersed with many volunteers and one-hundred fifty Indians at the command of Colbert, they left the Colonel of the Waldeck (Regiment) and his Assistant, the Captain of the Grenadiers, in the Trench and stockade. Ten of them, along with two others, were injured and placed in the back, as well as another (injured man) who was turned over to them so that he could be cured. Later, they noticed that there was not sufficient reason to take the time (to cure him) during the retreat, and so declared him as wounded, along with three officials and sixteen other men who were gravely wounded. The Negro of a Landowner of Mobile, who had been made prisoner and had fortune (of being able) to flee, said that he had seen five Indians very badly hurt, that they were being carried by their companions. In the first recollection that he made of the function the following day, they (the English troops) had also encountered two dead Indians in a spot where they had seemingly been hidden. For our part, there had been the loss of an official (the Lieutenant General of the Regiment of the Infantry of Spain, don Manuel de Córdoba) and five dead Soldiers; another official and Fourteen Soldiers wounded; (and) of the Militias of color [free black militia men] of this Village (New Orleans), two dead and Six wounded.

According to the later notices, of which that Commander (Ezpeleta) promised to write to me in detail as soon as possible, they learned that the enemies had more than Sixty wounded.

Even though the Mail had been dispatched, I had it detained so that I could send this message to Your Excellency, which I will remit as a Duplicate, which add circumstances that I know could not make the troops less singularly elegized, and particularly the official that commanded the attacked Detachment, the Lieutenant of the Prince’s Infantry, don Ramón de Castro.

Source: AGI Cuba 1233, f 191-194

Josef de Ezpeleta to the Governor of Havana, Diego Josef de Navarro, Mobile, 16 January 1781

....From a Negro who has Deserted from Pensacola, we have learned that all or most of those wounded as a result of the last attack have died of fatigue on the Road and of the great amount of water (present), since it has not ceased to rain in those three days. This aggravated such Luck of the wounded, who say that very few of them will make it out alive.

He added that the death of the Colonel has been generally heartfelt, that the General wanted to return the Following day, in person, to attack, but that the officials removed him from the Head (of the troops). They explained that they were not going to allow him to sacrifice the Troops in this manner, not at a time in which the Plaza (of Pensacola) was threatened by a Siege.

The Indians have said that they no longer want to attack the Spaniards. Based on what I have learned of this species through others of their nation, I have decided to send them a Great Chief and eight others of high esteem to offer them free passage to their Country. They have Always wanted to retire and to not allow them to do so would make this a Cruel War in every way....

Source: AGI Cuba 1233, f 717-718

Pedro Piernas to the Governor of Havana Diego Josef de Navarro; New Orleans, 18 January 1781

Even though I have previously communicated to Your Excellency of what occurred in the attack on the Hamlet three leagues out from Mobile, an action which the enemy undertook with valor and bravery, I could not resist transmitting to the superior notice of Your Excellency the later notices of that Commander (José de Ezpeleta), which, for the most part, do not differ from what was communicated previously, based upon the verbal reports directed toward the Commander of the attack Port.

The enemies, numbered between one hundred eighty and two hundred men of assorted troops, with three hundred to five hundred Indians, according to declarations from the wounded Englishmen, and two four-inch Cannons, attacked the morning of the seventh of the current month at the Detachment of the Hamlet (at a distance of three leagues from Mobile)...

...The Militiamen of Color of this Village (New Orleans) which found themselves cut off by the enemy, were able to open a path and made the Breach by way of the Marina, where there were the Indians that had gone there the previous afternoon to carry supplies. They (the Enemy)Always took the precaution of ordering a (timely) retreat (to the Marina), in order not to leave us a (path by which to) retreat, which could have Served them as more of a prejudice than a benefit. The few (Indians) which they threw at the Trench were Sacrificed by our Gunfire, and by that of the enemies [caught in a crossfire]. The son of the Commander, who came charging at us, was impaled by our Bayonets....

Source: AGI Cuba 1233, f 198-201

Juan Josef Eligio de la Puente; Havana, 28 January 1781

Relation of the expenditures caused by the Indian of the Uchiz Nation named Ynculayche, who with four Women and four Children traveled from the Tampa Bay to this Port, where he arrived the morning of the Fourteenth of October past, leaving there awaiting (his return) the Captain Sacubayque with twelve other men, four Women and two Children, who, as with those before them, were aided with what is expressed below.

Gifts, food for Sea, and supplies for the Journey of all of the referred Indians to the Provinces of Cabeta
Eighteen and two-thirds varas of second-grade blue cloth, part of it for Fourteen pair of boots and the rest for as many loincloths
Twelve varas of said blue cloth at the same price for eight rags for the women
Five and a quarter varas of said blue cloth at the same price for the six Children
Forty-four varas of long-haired wool...for twenty-two Blankets
Nine varas of said wool at the same price for Six Children’s Blankets
Fourteen yarn Handkerchiefs
Sixty-four varas of Silk Ribbon
Two pieces of Wool Ribbon
Eight small ivory combs
Eight pair of scissors
Two pounds of crude yarn
Two pounds of white yarn
Ten varas of hemp cord...for a Canoe sail
Eight reales worth of Sewing Needles
Fourteen large Cutting Razors
Fourteen Barbarian Razors
Four pesos four reales worth of Soap
Two pounds of Vermilion
One arroba of Gunpowder Administered to the Royal Stores
Five hundred rifle balls
One hundred twenty-eight Flint stones
Fourteen barrels of Brandy with their Casks
Fourteen barrels of Honey
Fourteen arrobas of Sugar
Twenty loads of Casabe
Seven fanegas of corn
One Barrel of Honey for the Return Trip
Twenty-eight bunches of Tobacco
Two pesos worth of smoking Pipes
Twenty-four arrobas of Rice
One arroba of beef
Four quintales of Bizcocho
Eight dozen squash
Eight pesos worth of sweet potatoes
Two Horse-loads of plantains
Six pesos worth of Cane, Oranges and other fruits
Fifteen Jubas...for the Sugar, gunpowder and balls
Nine pesos three-and-a-half reales for Transport

Maintenance
Seven hundred Seventy-two pesos four reales spent in the maintenance, care and other necessities for the referred nine Indians in the one hundred three days that they stayed in this City, from when they arrived here on the morning of the Fourteenth of October of the last year until the night of the twenty-fourth of the current (month) when they Left; The seven hundred twelve pesos four reales being of the current silver and the other Seventy of (pesos) fuertes.
Seventy-Seven pesos two reales paid to Bartolomé Gallardo for caring for the said Indians, to the respect of Six reales per diem (per head) during the expressed one hundred three (days); The Seventy-one pesos two reales being of the current silver and the other Six of (pesos) fuertes.
Twenty pesos paid for rent of the house in which the annunciated Indians stayed; The eighteen pesos being of the current silver and the other two of (pesos) fuertes.

Transport
One thousand pesos paid to the Captain Francisco Ruiz for the freight of the Schooner of his charge, in which he carried the mentioned Indians

Goods, Arms and other Utensils which, with consideration to said expenditure and that of the future which has not occurred; had to be bought and (now) Exist (in surplus)
Thirty-one dozen white Shirts
Fifteen varas of second-grade blue cloth
Nine Rifles with their cases
Fourteen dozen large Razors
Seven dozen pair of Scissors
three thick Rattles

Total: 1,305 pesos 6 1/2 reales

Source: AGI Cuba 1300, f 427-430

Governor of Havana Diego Josef Navarro to an unknown recipient [probably José de Gálvez], Havana, 2 March 1781

In the maintenance, food and gifts for the Uchiz Indians of the Province of Cabeta, and in order to approve of the conjecture of having some response, with the ultimate objective being the opportune investment of a sum of money with benefit to the Royal Estate, with respect to the consideration of the extinction of the macuquina silver piece [currency used in Latin America by colonial-era Spanish merchants], 4,805 pesos and 6 reales have been spent and employed by the senior Accountant of the Tribunal of Accounts don Juan Eligio de la Puente, whom I commissioned for this effect. This quantity is expressed in the attached relation and I have ordered it satisfied by the Royal Estate, in the same way that we conserve in deposit the Shirts, Cloth, Rifles, Razors, Scissors and thick rattles that have remained in surplus after the departure of the Indian Ynasychi, which are expressed in the same relation that I pass to Your Excellency so that it would serve you to present this extraordinary expenditure to His Majesty so that it can meet his sovereign approval.

Source: AGI Cuba 1300, f 425

The Governor of Louisiana, Bernardo de Gálvez, to the Governor of West Florida, Peter Chester, unknown location, 19 April 1781

I have not had the honor of Receiving a response to what I last wrote to Your Excellency, dated the 9th of the present month. In the City [Pensacola] many dependents from Ft. George are quartered along with a guard, some of them waging War as if they were in a holy place. The Indians opened fire yesterday on the poor, unarmed family of a Citizen that came in a canoe, being as that under the protection of my Camp, there were many English there. My intent is not to make useless complaints, neither one way nor the other, but solely to advertise to Your Excellency that I cannot allow this to continue, in the waging of war with such consideration and disadvantage, having in my hand complete power to do the same; I suggest to Your Excellency that you tell me for the last time whether you think it possible to preserve the Village as it is now; what I have is a guard and some Commissaries within its limits and if it is not possible to separate the Indians from the act of waging war, that they do not know how to act humanely, so that I can know what I have to do in the face of such deceit, without being held responsible for the horrors that certainly will occur at the hands of one party or the other in the Village and Camp of Pensacola.

I desire that Your Excellency, along with General Campbell, evade any undesirable actions, that [would gain] nothing in regard to the object of the war, [but] could dishonor our memory.

Source: AGI Cuba 182A, f 341 Gálvez explains that he has been compassionate in allowing Chester’s Indian allies to remain in Pensacola. He does not desire to act more harshly, but he is at a disadvantage by exposing his troops and innocent civillians to attack. The issue at stake, he feels, is whether these Indians can be trusted to act “civilized” or must be treated with force.

The Governor of Louisiana, Bernardo de Gálvez, to the Governor of Havana, Diego Josef de Navarro; The camp in front of Pensacola, 24 April 1781

(At) 12 (‘o clock) of the current day, in which our Camp moved itself to the spot where we are currently found and from which we ought to head out to begin two attacks, the enemies made a movement of troops and Indians, with whom we had a slight confrontation. The Fire commenced at three in the afternoon and concluded at five, with us managing to force the Enemy to retreat. Of our part, there had been a Death and nine wounded, I myself being one of the ones to have suck luck. However, with great happiness (I report) that, although the wound could [have been] mortal, I had a free hand which I placed over the area where the ball struck, losing its force against a finger whose bone it fractured, and the rest passed over the belly, leaving a graze mark. The Fort George made some fire with its artillery and Mortars and, although the (cannon) balls reached the head of our Camp, they did not cause any damage....

Source: AGI Cuba 1233, f 379-380

Juan Josef Eligio de la Puente; Havana, 3 May 1781

Relation of the expenditures Caused by the five Indians that will be identified by their names, who arrived at this Port from that of San Nivel on the twentieth of March past, in the Sloop San Antonio of the Captain Juan Bermudez, and returned for the same destination [San Nivel] on the twenty-seventh of April in the Schooner San José and as the cargo of Agustín de Sosa.

Names of said Indians
Men           
Tentachepe

Women
Masme

Children
Mormechepe (male)
Masgolle (female)
Tosleche (female)

Gifts, Food for Sea and supplies for the Journey of the referred Indians
Five Loads of Casabe, 12 pesos 4 reales
Ten arrobas of Rice, 20 pesos
One arroba of Pork, 4 pesos
One fanega of corn, 7 pesos
One Barrel of Cane Brandy, 7 pesos
Two Barrels of honey, and their containers, 8 pesos 2 reales
Two arrobas of white Sugar, 4 pesos
Four bunches of Tobacco, 3 pesos
Six varas of Indiana, or Zaraza [cotton cloth stamped with images], 9 pesos
Eighteen varas of new Hemp Rope for a sail for the Canoe of said Indian, 18 pesos
Three-and-a-half varas of narrow coarse canvas, 2 pesos 5 reales
Eight pounds of gunpowder, 3 pesos
Twelve pounds of rifle balls, 6 pesos
Twenty-five flint stones, 2 reales
Two pesos worth of vegetables
One peso four reales worth of Squash
One peso worth of melons
Two pesos worth of transport and other small goods which had been purchased

Gifts which had been made, of the goods that exist in my power (to give) and for which the quantity spent is not included in the margin as it was already given in the relation of the 28th of January past
Ten varas of blue cloth for blankets, rags, Boots and loincloths
One white Shirt, men’s
One large Razor
Two pair of scissors

Maintenance
One hundred thirty-eight pesos six reales spent in the maintenance of said five Indians, in the thirty-seven day that they remained in this City, counted form the morning of the twentieth of March until the afternoon of the twenty-sixth of April past when they Left for their destination, to the respect of Six reales per head (per diem)
Twenty-seven pesos six reales (total); eighteen pesos six reales paid to Antonio Lendian for attending to the said Indians for twenty-five days and the remaining nine pesos (paid) to the female Indian Josefa Domínguez who attended to the twelve; the both of them regulated (at the price of) six reales (per head) per diem

Transport
Two hundred pesos paid to the Captain Agustín de Sosa, for the freight of the Schooner of his charge, San Jose, and the Spirit in which he carried the aforementioned five Indians

Total:  477 pesos 5 reales

Source: AGI Cuba 1300, f 677-678. Apparently, Eligio de la Puente’s reference to the twelve Indians concerns another group of Indians who came to Havana that he does not mention anywhere else in this relation.

The Governor of Havana, Diego Josef de Navarro, to José de Gálvez; Havana, 23 May 1781

In the maintenance, food and gifts for 5 Uchiz Indians who arrived at this Port from that of San Nivel in the fishing Sloop San Antonio, Its Captain Juan Bermudes, and in the freight for the Schooner San José, which returned them to their destination (San Nivel), 477 pesos and 5 reales have been invested, as manifested in the accompanying relation, formed by don Juan Eligio de la Puente, Accountant of this Tribunal of Accounts, whom I commissioned for this effect. Having advised the Intendant of the Army of the above for the satisfaction of this expenditure, as comprehended in the reserved (letters), I participate to Your Excellency that it would serve for you to make it present to His Majesty so that it can meet his Royal approval.

Source: AGI Cuba 1300, f 675-676

John Campbell to Bernardo de Gálvez; Pensacola, 25 May 1781

After the explanations which had been made to Your Excellency in regards to the provisions and Munitions deposited in the two small Ships, which were found at the head of the Escambé River for the usage and maintenance of the Indian auxiliaries of Pensacola, invaded by Spanish Armed Forces. I did not expect that Your Excellency would have thought to accuse me of being in compliance with or conscious of such an act that would imply a breaking of the truce, and even less that Your Excellency would have taken inaction, and an impossibility on my part to do so, as an infraction of the Capitulation of Ft. George.

The food and munitions of which you speak (as they appear from the different Letters, in which they were given to the Indians so that they would come to our aid) ought to have been deposited in a ship on the Escambé River for their use and benefit. The food and munitions were in one of the ships, but the Indians had long before arrived to help us. As such, the Indians were ipso facto in possession of the goods (it not being helpful either to Your Excellency nor to myself to recover them) long before any of the articles of capitulation had been mentioned or proposed to Your Excellency; or, to put it more clearly, before the necessity of making concessions became apparent; because at that time it was judged necessary that those Ships traveled down the Escambé River, in order to prevent them from falling into the hands of the enemy, who was attacking us. From this very instant the goods remained under the power, guard and custody of the Indians, who looked after them and protected them as their very own property, and they would not have let their own friends take them, much less their enemies. In this manner, at the time of the Capitulations these articles were not in the possession, guard or custody of the British troops, and consequently they could not be understood as such, even in the most liberal interpretation of the articles of Capitulation.

Having clearly expressed this matter, far from looking for blame in the matter, or for some type of crime, allow me, Your Excellency, to add that by looking at this matter realistically, I think that I could be argued that I have complied with what is stipulated in the capitulation with the most through and scrupulous attention in all that was within my power; because, despite the slim hopes that I had that the Indians would have saved the ships after having taken from the munitions and food, despite not complying with what was dictated to me by the sentiments of honor buried deep within my chest, and not wanting that I would have anything to do with such an action, that not even in thought did I consider it, my primary concern was to send instructions to the captains of these ships, in order to save them, if it were possible, and return with them to Pensacola, so that they could finally be turned over to His Catholic Majesty. Now I leave it to Your Excellency to place judgment upon the reason of this accusation, or complaint, and I have the honor of being, sir, the most obedient and humble servant of Your Excellency.

Source: AGI Cuba 182A, f 285-286

John Campbell to Bernardo de Gálvez; Pensacola, 27 May 1781

I have just received the letter from Your Excellency dated yesterday, and I do not understand how I could have faltered in the respect and consideration that you could expect or require of me in my situation as Major General of the Armies of His Britannic Majesty, Spanish prisoner of War under the terms of the Capitulation of Fort George, and rules of war. One cannot really consider a fault what the heart does not recognize, and my understanding is not sufficient to accuse me of any intention or calculation in this matter. But at the same time, sir, do not consider my state to be so vile that I can not expect the dignity, attention and respect that is owed to one of my Class and character, nor that I consider myself as not having the faculties to defend myself with spirit and dignity when one attacks me or accuses me.

It is under these premises, sir, that I confess that I myself do not know how nor in what way to give the satisfaction that Your Excellency requires without offending in the process any desire or intention; but as Your Excellency has established at the beginning that the things that ought to be mentioned clearly by Your Excellency, and to respond of the same manner, I declare for a second time on my honor that in my last letter to Your Excellency about this matter that I express the true, impartial and sincere state of this matter, as I best understand it and believe it, and I now add and propose that it is possible that Colonel McGillivray, and not the Indians, had taken the supplies. Because, sir, in the first place I know and am well informed that the Indians (due to the unforeseen and unthought of accident of the advanced Redoubt) not having had the provisions that they needed for their return arrived on the necessary Ships, and being compelled by hunger due to the lack of provisions, and as the natural impulses of one’s needs are so strong that they cannot be resisted by even those with such fierce character such as that of the Indians, and that he considered the supplies as his own, they could not have any other idea, judging from my own concept of human nature; and who would be able to reason with barbarians that they should  consider circumstances that were greater than those of the aid and supplies on which their present ailment and their sustenance for many days depended? On the other hand, sir, there is Mr. Smith, who confirms that generally it was the Indians who took the food, only allowing Colonel McGillivray to take what he himself needed for that day, but, having with him a number of Horses, he gave them to the Creek Indians, whom he held in particularly high esteem, in order to aid them in their journey. That he had horses, I have the right to know, since during the siege of Fort George he risked their lives and rented them out, twice to the Government for free, in order to carry the food and Munitions that they needed in the Royal Redoubt of the Marina: as for the rest, sir, Colonel McGillivray was not the first, the second, nor the third that had authority over the Indians. Mr. Cameron, Superintendent of the Indians for His Majesty, was present, although unavailable, after Mr. Bethune (who I am certain did not subject himself to more than the mandated inspection and orders of Mr. Cameron) along with Mr McIntosh found themselves as deputy Superintendents, and Colonel McGillvray, another (Deputy Superintendent) only in name, and representative of his Commission over the Upper Creeks (a rank or post inferior to those previously mentioned). With what evidence can one say that Colonel McGillvray was the only person who was involved, particularly with the knowledge of the disinterest which he maintained, and according to those would not have had the slightest interest, even when they were in power?

The disappearance of the Indians does not surprise me; what astounds me more is that they have not entirely destroyed the Ships, which is what their threats, as I recorded them in my previous Letter, Your Excellency, had led me to believe. I am certain that only the operations and efforts of Colonel McGillivray according to my orders have been the primary methods through with the Ships were saved.

I confess that the arguments that the two of us value seem strange at first, since I understand the proper question is if I had been to blame for an infraction of the Capitulation. I say and confess that the munitions and food were given by me to the Indians before I saw myself as being restricted or constrained by some obligation to the Spanish; I say that I have made every effort (as I have judged the obligation that pertains to my position) in order to preserve the Ships for Spain. I say in addition (even when those Ships would have been destroyed in spite of my orders) with all the orders I have given and having employed my efforts to preserve them, I find myself at peace with, and with sufficient justice excused of, what I am accused and attributed. But, sir, those Ships have been conserved and turned over to Spain with very little damage found on the Sloop, with only piece cut off its large mast, when Mr. Smith left it in the Encamé River due to a lack of a crew. The damage made to the narrow Ship is very light and of such little importance that it hardly deserves attention, even when considering it as an infraction.

There only remains one more point to be made on the matter, and that is the word effects that Your Excellency frequently expresses in your letter, which makes me presume that you understand there to have been something other than food and munitions placed in the Ships: but if such a supposition has been made, I do not know of anything in particular; and even though I have made Mr. Rosse come to guard the Warehouse of Indian effects in order to assure it beyond possible doubt, this individual declared nothing other than what had been aboard those two Ships, and in this same context is Mr. Smith, who could not ignore what he had received on board.

Source: AGI Cuba 182A, f 289-292. The accident of the advanced Redoubt” refers to a situation in which the main redoubt of the British defensive position lost a large section of its wall due to a gunpowder explosion. It was this accident that allowed the Spanish forces easy passage into the British fortifications and forced their surrender on 8 May 1781.

José de Gálvez [Minister of the Indies], written for the King of Spain; San Lorenzo, 30 October 1781

Your Governor and Captain General of the provinces of West Florida, don Bernardo de Gálvez, recognizes that ever since, by the agreement and cessation of France, the province of Louisiana entered under my dominion, that don Gilberto Antonio de Maxent, Colonel of my Royal Armies and Commander of all the white Militias of said Province, has distinguished himself singularly to my Royal service for his loyalty, zeal and affection, extending his fidelity to the sacrifice of large amounts of money, and exposing his life to the greatest risks in order the sustain with dignity the rights of my Royal Crown. For these actions, and for his good personal qualities, since being here, he has made himself deserving of all that has been entrusted to him, these various commissions of my Royal service that he performed with such exactitude and care (among Others that of bringing about, on behalf of Spain, the arrangement and formation of Inventories, for the formal submission of the Province) in which work he has maintained my interests with such vigilance that he saved my Royal Estate from the embezzlement of 117,000 pesos fuertes by some French commissaries, and convincing my Governors that, among other things, the security and happiness of the said province was intimately linked to good harmony with the numerous savage Indian nations that circle it. And that harmony could only maintain itself through the opportunistic giving of gifts to the principal leaders and a trade of goods and effects suited to their needs and wants. Also, in place from the beginning of don Gilberto Antonio Maxent’s term, were the maintenance of good relations with said nations, secured by his notorious funds, by his well-orchestrated tour in Europe, by his local acquaintances and, over all, by his having known how to gain the confidence of those same savages, which he achieved by performing admirably in such an important commission. Having corresponded the occurrence of these events, the expressed don Gilberto Antonio has continued in said role with popular satisfaction; and at the same time, he has not faltered nor fatigued in disciplining the Militias of his command in terms of conducting a very useful service in the campaign, as had been proven by what happened on the 3rd [meaning is unclear], which have been made under your command since the declaration of hostilities against Great Britain.

You, as well as your predecessors, should be satisfied by the efficacy with which Maxent had executed all of his Commissions (the political as well as the Military). You entrusted him before the War with the task of passing in front of Manchak in order to secretly report on the state of the English and the spot which they could have attacked, and in effect, after having remained amongst them for forty-two days, he brought us an exact description of their forces and the preparations with which they doubtless intended to launch an invasion of New Orleans. When you determined afterward, with notice of my declaration of war, to go in person to attack the Enemy in their own establishments on the Mississippi River, he was, under you orders, at the head of the Militias and found himself present at the conquest that you made of the three forts of Manchak, Baton Rouge and Natchez, having been the first that entered, by way of a gun hole made in the side of the fort of Manchak, which you took by surprise on the 7th of September 1779. Of the same luck, he continued on the serve in the Expedition that you made in order to conquer the plaza of Mobile, in which he devoted himself to your valor and active dispositions. He had saved the lives of the officials and soldiers of the company of Grenadiers and of one and a half riflemen of the second Battalion of the Regiment of Spanish Infantry, of the 280 men of the Militias under his command and of the respective crews that boarded the three Boats that sank at the entrance to Mobile Bay, in which said troops and seamen remained there two days and nights in great affliction and danger without receiving aid. Finally, he found himself present, under your orders, at the conquest of Pensacola, in which he contributed to all of the trench works and to repel, at the head of the Militias, the frequent attacks of the barbaric Indians allied with the English party. He also had supplied my Royal Estate with more than 6000 pesos designated for the salaries and pay of officials and soldiers of the said Militias, in addition to having placed in my Royal Bank of New Orleans, by way of an interest-free loan, more than 60,000 pesos in order to, in part, attend to the indispensable expenditures of the Expedition.

Now that the glorious conquests which were mentioned have concluded happily, you can plan on placing into effect the most effective arbitration in order to have promptly the dispensation of the goods and effects with respect to the gifts and commerce pertaining to the Savage Indian Nations as the only method of maintaining the friendship of the allies that you have cultivated since being assigned to the post of Governor of Louisiana and to attract to my devotion those that were formerly with the English. Considering that the said don Gilberto Antonio Maxent has the contacts and circumstances necessary to acquire stockpiles of goods in Europe with the appropriate economy, proportion and arrangements, you should resolve to send him to those kingdoms with our instructions on the matter. And having presented himself effectively in my court, he has proposed to me an arrangement with them, among other methods, to make the provinces of your command flourish, a plan to engender good harmony and communication with the Indians. This consists in copying and having on hand in New Orleans a selection of goods valued up to 80,000 pesos fuertes for the purpose of gifts, which should be used to attract the Nations to the Spanish party; another selection of goods to the sum of 200,000 pesos to provide to the traders that will be sent to trade with them; and finally a permanent reserve fund of 100,000 pesos of the same merchandise in case of the breakout of War or other event which could interrupt or hinder commerce with Europe. In order to verify these stockpiles, Maxent has offered to constitute himself, and in effect has constituted himself, to my Royal Order with the precise obligation to first frequent the Factories of this peninsula [Iberian Peninsula: Spain and Portugal] with the purpose of buying goods here, and later travel to France to buy there what he cannot find here, or cannot obtain at a price proportionate to the faculties of those who have to consume them. In addition, he has made various propositions that I have accepted, with the extensions and declarations found convenient, in order that this Commission carries out its obligation in a manner most advantageous to my Royal Estate. And having agreed spontaneously to accept only 50,000 pesos for now, he has offered to wait for the remaining 330,000 until all the 380,000 peso assortment of good has arrived, at which time he will deposit the goods in my Royal Bank of Mexico.

Having already fulfilled by these methods the principal objective of Maxent’s mission, and considering the vast responsibilities of the Government and Captaincy General of the Provinces under Your command, together with the important commissions that I have also confided in you, you will not be permitted to embark on any Trips with the express purpose of establishing and protecting the Commerce with the Indian Nations, nor will you occupy yourself in it, as it is the least important of the things which your job demands of you to dispense and preside over the distribution of the gifts. I have found it convenient to have a subject authorized, as it corresponds to the mission, so that under your direction and orders he will exercise the indicated functions. With this in mind and with attention to the services of the said don Gilberto Antonio de Maxent, I have come to name him Lieutenant Governor and Captain General of the said Provinces of West Florida and over all that pertains to the Indian nations which inhabit them. And I order that you accept him and recognize him as your Lieutenant, giving him, in compliance with what has been placed under the consideration of this Royal Decree, civil and military jurisdiction, which he is permitted to exercise in all circumstances, and things relative to the Government and commerce of those same nations, as well as the faculties, priorities, prerogatives and other circumstances that correspond to him, that which you will have guarded well and according to my will. In the same manner I order you to inform said don Gilberto Antonio de Maxent of the salary which he ought to enjoy as your Lieutenant, with respect to the Indian Nations, or in its absence the annual Financial Aid which you deem just and precise in order to pay for the trips that he ought to take to the said nations and to maintain a subject that will serve him as secretary of his post. This notice you will place attached to this very same Dispatch so that in its virtue and that of the receipts or letters of the payment of interest which are paid to my principal Treasury in New Orleans, the quantity that you deem without any sort of markdown due to a half-year [so that he will not suffer an income penalty for a mid-year promotion], and without the necessity of any other document or certificate to justify the sums which would be given by the Treasury. Finally, it is my Royal will that you give to the enunciated don Gilberto Antonio de Maxent the instructions you possess when convenient, along with the restrictions, preventions and declarations that you judge opportune, for the best and most exact performance and exercise of his Office, for the general Use of the Provinces under your Command and for the good of my Royal service....

Source: AGI Cuba 182A, f 633-636

José de Gálvez to the Governor of Louisiana Bernardo de Gálvez; El Pardo, 18 March 1782

The King has qualified as Just and exact the reflections made by Your Excellency in the letter of the 26th of May of last year, number 29, and in other previous (letters concerning) a competent response from New Orleans of Goods and merchandise for the gifting and treatment of the Indian nations that inhabit the provinces of West Florida under your command. In consequence, the resolution which Your Excellency took care to send to those Kingdoms, by way of the Colonel don Gilberto Antonio de Maxent, Commander of the white Militia of Louisiana, has also merited his Royal approval, in light of your being a Subject of notorious honor, and of the instruction in which it would be suitable for the matter with which you are entrusted by His Majesty of making the necessary stockpiles, with the corresponding knowledge, economy and proportions.

In effect, after Official (Maxent) came to this Court, he obtained the Royal approval of the plan that he presented in order to maintain the friendship and commerce with the Indians. It was set, as it were told, to promptly verify and send the eighty thousand Pesos in Goods with which to make at one time the gifts that Your Excellency had offered to the Indian Nations once the happy and glorious conquest of Pensacola had been completed. Also, two hundred thousand (pesos) to be sent in merchandise and effects accommodated to provide for the traders that were to negotiate with those same nations. And to remit and conserve by count of the Royal Estate in New Orleans another one hundred thousand pesos worth of Goods in a permanent depository, with the objective to provide for the traders without fail, not even in the case of it the Commerce with Europe being interrupted or intercepted.

In addition, His Majesty accepted, with particular approval, the offer that the same Maxent made to search the Factories of Spain in order to obtain the effects pertaining to his intent, and afterward to go to those of France to purchase those which the Spanish Factories would lack, in order to fill out his assortments. Finally, His Majesty condescended in admitting, in the proper manner, the promise or contract that the said official made in his own name and in that of don Miguel Fortier, Merchant of New Orleans, to complete in full the proposed plan, running the stockpiles, ordering and administration of the referred effects and merchandise in the form and terms provided in the Royal order communicated to the Intendant of Louisiana, of which a copy accompanies (this letter).

With the objective of the coming of the Colonel don Gilberto de Maxent to those Kingdoms complied with in such manner, the King has considered that, in order to maintain his beneficent gaze over said Provinces (Louisiana and the Floridas), he will order that a sufficiently decorated subject is to reside in them under the direction and orders of Your Excellency to care to establish and protect the commerce with the Indians and to preside over the distribution of the gifts. With this consideration, and in commendation of the services of Maxent and of the voluntary sacrifice that he has offered in making his interests calmly and comfortably out of love for the Royal service and the good of the Provinces, it has served His Majesty to name him (Maxent) Lieutenant of Your Excellency as Governor and Captain General of those (Provinces), in all respect to the Indians nations that inhabit them, as is disposed in the attached Royal Decree that has been directed to you for you compliance. The will of the King, of course, is that Your Excellency arrange for the compliance of the referred Decree, or dispatch, and remit it to New Orleans with the instructions that are prescribed in the same (Decree), to the end that, (upon) the arrival of Maxent to that City (New Orleans), he can be received and take possession of his position.

Source: AGI Cuba 182A, f 637-638

José de Gálvez to the Intendant of Louisiana; El Pardo, 18 March 1782

Experience has demonstrated that the conservations and prosperity of that Province (Louisiana) and the rest of West Florida depend on the friendship with the Indian nations who inhabit them, and this can only be achieved by way of gifts and a trade well-sustained, that provides them (the Indians) with European goods which they need while at the same time it (provides) easy passage to their fur stores. Convinced of this truth by his own observation, the Lieutenant General don Bernardo de Gálvez, Governor and Captain General of the same provinces (Louisiana and West Florida) after he verified his total conquest with the rendition of Pensacola, promised his Indian allies as well as those who followed the English party, in the name of the King, that His Majesty would give them the corresponding gifts and provide them with a Commerce so extensive and inalterable that it would fulfill all of their desires within eighteen months. In order to realize this offer, he determined to send Colonel don Gilberto Antonio Maxent, Commander of the white Militia of that Province (Louisiana), to Spain, in the intelligence of his being a Subject practiced and instructed in all that concerns the matter and of renowned value and credibility, with the end that His Majesty would entrust him with the stockpiles of Goods and merchandise necessary to maintain said friendship and commerce (with the Indians).

Maxent presented himself effectively in this Court and demonstrated that, according to how the General had already announced how to maintain trade with the savage nations, it was indispensable to have a sufficient response of merchandise in that Plaza of New Orleans in order to attract the Indians by means of gifts and to provide for the traders that were to conduct the commerce with them. Likewise, he demonstrated that the selection of Goods and effects necessary for the gifts offered, would require a one time payment of more or less eighty thousand pesos, and that it would ascend to two hundred thousand when including the provisions for the Traders. Finally, he made it clear with evidence that it would be very prescient and convenient to maintain, from the account of the Royal Treasury, a permanent deposit of the Merchandise and goods of consumption for the Nations in New Orleans, with a total value of One hundred thousand Pesos, since without this precaution some of them had deserted from our party and alliance, and that a breakout of War would be able to interrupt the commerce if we lacked that Deposit. The King of course agreed on the (proposed) quantity of gifts and in the budget maintained the trade with the Indians and also approved the deposit as useful and precise, until that, with the Peace, the Commerce of that Colony would change. In consequence, Maxent offered to and constituted himself in the precise obligation of frequenting first the Factories of Spain, to take from them the Goods that would be suitable for his purpose, and afterward to leave to France with the corresponding faculties and Passports, with the end of buying there the rest of the Merchandise and effects that he would need in order to complete his assortment.

On the other hand, desiring to remove all risk or contingency of loss for the Royal Estate, and in proof of his zeal for the Royal service and good of the Colony, in accord with don Miguel Fortier, merchant of that (Province, Louisiana), he made in his name and in the name of this (man, Fortier) the following propositions:

That with all possible brevity he would stockpile and dispatch from his account, (avoiding) risk to that Province (Louisiana), the three hundred eighty thousand Pesos fuertes of indicated merchandise and Goods, as well as the gifts, with which he would supply the traders and establish the permanent deposit.<>

That, despite the value of the Gifts having raised due to the risks of war, he would turn over the effects for the gifts to the Royal Stores of that Plaza of New Orleans at a price ten percent cheaper than the price to which don Luis Ranzon agreed to administer in 1770 in the span of five years, which were destined for gifts and receptions for the Indians, and about which he would even adjust the quantity paid for the purchased effects by Your Majesty’s account up until the declaration of War. In respect of the existence of said contract in the Accountancy of that Province, he proposed that, with the arrangement of the prices stipulated in that (contract) and with the referred deduction of ten percent, he would arrange, by way of You, Sir, and the aforementioned office of accounts, the one hundred eighty thousand pesos of Goods when their deposit has been verified and then the competent document which would inform Maxent of the deposit would be dispatched to him.<>

That the merchandise pertaining to the Supplying of the traders having been placed in charge of the referred don Miguel Fortier, who, upon the arrival of those effects in Louisiana would be obligated to turn over the two hundred thousand pesos to the Royal Treasury within the term of eighteen months after the publication of the peace (treaty) in the Colony, the Colonel don Gilberto Antonio de Maxent, guaranteeing with abundance the obligation of that Merchant (Fortier); of the manner that he only had to consider this quantity as a loan which with the competent security that His Majesty promotes toward the trade of these Provinces.<>

That, to the end that they would suffer no detriment nor anything less that the goods that are to exist in the permanent deposit, Fortier would have a key to the Store, with the ability to exchange those would have been expressed with others of equal value; and he would be obligated to respond within ten years of whatever would have resulted of them without the Royal Estate running more risk in that span that that of Fires. And in attention to what of His Majesty’s Stores in that city (New Orleans), it was more appropriate for the annunciated objective, immediate to the Plaza, for that to be the destination for the custody of the effects.<>

That although it was of course necessary to have in cash in Europe the three hundred eighty thousand pesos fuertes for the value and cost of the goods that were to be remitted to that Province; considering the urgent graces of the State, they would be content with what would be administered in cash, (which would be) only fifty thousand Pesos fuertes, apportioning the remaining three hundred (thirty) thousand from the Savings Banks of Mexico, due immediately, to have submitted to the Ministers of the Royal Estate of that Province the one hundred thousand Pesos fuertes of goods for the gifts and permanent deposit and to have given Fortier the obligation of administering the two hundred thousand remaining under the care of Maxent.

That, so that the Royal Estate would have a complete security, the referred don Miguel Fortier would fulfill the compliance of all that has been expressed in every which way, and (with respect) to the great abundance (of funds), that obligation, with its notorious funds and wealth, would not only be entrusted to the Colonel don Gilberto Antonio de Maxent, but that the corresponding deposit would also be given to the favor of the Royal Estate to the tune of perceiving the fifty thousand Pesos fuertes and the apportioning of the three hundred thirty thousand pesos from the Savings Banks of Mexico<>

After His Majesty having examined with all attention the six preceding conditions, he has deigned it appropriate to approve them in all their parts and consequently submitted the apportionment of the fifty thousand pesos fuertes from the General Depository of the Indies and the duplicate of the three hundred thirty thousand from Mexico to the referred don Gilberto Antonio de Maxent, having given here the corresponding writing of the deposit slip of which accompanies a Copy.

Having already fulfilled by those methods the principal objective of the mission of that official, and considering the vast attentions of the Governor and Captain General of the Provinces of West Florida Combined with the other important commissions of the Royal Service entrusted to the Lieutenant General don Bernardo de Gálvez, he is not permitted to begin the trips that are necessary to make to the Indian nations in order to establish and protect the commerce with them, nor to occupy himself in such, as it is the least important of things which he job demands of him to arrange for and proceed to the distribution of the gifts. His Majesty has deign to nominate Maxent as Second Lieutenant in the Government and Captaincy General of the mentioned Provinces of West Florida (and) in all respective to the Indian Nations that inhabit them.

At the same time he has authorized the Captain General, so that in compliance of the Royal Decree or dispatch of the referred nomination, to declare the civil and Military Jurisdiction that he has to exercise in cases and things relative to the Government of the Indians as pertaining to his Lieutenant, along with the corresponding faculties; that his give him the salary that he ought to enjoy, or in its defect, the annual financial aid that he deems Just and precise in order to defray the costs of trips and maintain his Secretary; which salary, or financial aid, ought to be paid in that Treasury without any form of rebate [reduction in salary] for reason of a Half year; and that I give him (Maxent) convenient instructions for the exercise of his position.

I participate this Royal order to You, Sir, for you intelligence and all that it contains for you to have for your part that most exact and punctual Compliance.

Source: AGI Cuba 182A, f 639-644

Josef de Gálvez al Señor don Bernardo de Gálvez; El Pardo, 25 February 1783

With respect to the 12 of September past, the Intendant of the Province of Louisiana notes the tranquility that the colony currently enjoys at all of its posts, even those of the opposing Party. The Uchiz Nation has returned the prisoners that they took in Mobile and Colonel Miró hopes that by the end of this month, the principal Chiefs in Natchez will agree to a peace that the French had never been able to achieve, and to secure the free navigation of the Mississippi, dispelling the tensions that are produced by the chaos of War, since by not throwing out the English in Savannah by force, they achieve with this alliance an advantage due to their situation and well-known cruelty; but in order that the primary objective of the daily disbursements of food, goods and gunpowder [which they (the English) consume] would not diminish during the War without risking the tranquility of the Province, and it was very convenient that in Peacetime they were given rules that assured the most proper management and economy, because without the house of Tribute will experience the same disorder that did the English Ministry, constantly creating new employees, and with them, reasons to spend money...

Source: AGI Cuba 182A, f 107

Bernardo de Gálvez’s response to José de Gálvez’ 18 March 1782 letter; Havana, 7 July 1783

I have sworn to what His Majesty ordered in the above Royal Dispatch, of which concerns the assumption the principal Accountancy of the Population and friendship of the Indians of the Provinces of Louisiana and West Florida. He (Maxent) will exercise the Civil and Military Jurisdictions in all cases and things relative to the Government of the Indians, with honor, grace and preeminence that as Lieutenant Governor and Captain General of the said territory are required and pertain under the immediate responsibility of my substitute, or interim Governor that represents me in that Province, arranging for the limitation of his post to what he will be allowed to him in a separate Instruction. As of now, it has been arranged for 600 pesos to go yearly to the person that he elects as his Secretary, which will be sufficient for the Treasury of Population and Indians in the established form and I reserve the right to fix the Salary or Financial Aid that he ought to enjoy for the reasons expressed in the Royal Dispatch until I consult with His Majesty about the particular manner in which he determines to be of his Royal liking. 

Source: AGI Cuba 182A, 636r-636v