Letter to Mateo Gonzalez Manrique from Andrew Jackson

Head Quarters 7 Military Dist Town Mobile
Septr 9th. 1814


        I had the honor to receive your letter of the 30th. ultimo by the hands of Lieut Gillmar of his Majestys Army. Were I clothed with diplomatic powers by my government, for the purpose of discussing the various topics embraced, in the wide range of chimerical injuries of which you complain, and which have long since been adjusted between our governments. I could easily demonstrate that the united States have been always faithful to their treaties, stedfast in their friendship, and that they claim no Territory but what they are entitled to by valid treaties, That they have endured many insults from the Governors of Spain, and other officers, which amounted to open acts of hostility, and if sanctioned by the government of Spain, to open acts of war, without notification of the intention. Such as furnishing the Savages with implements of war, exciting them to hostilities, writing them letters of congratulation on the successful use of those implements in the destruction of Fort Mimms, The capture of the property of our citizens at Sea, and if not refusing at least witholding compensation therefor, But not having those powers delligated to me I shall not assume them. And consequently not answer your letter in that particular, Leaving the  renewal of matters already adjusted, to the proper representatives of our respective governments. I have the honor to be entrusted by my government with the Military command of the 7 district charged with the protection of their territory as described by proper officers. and the safety of the citizins living within the same. I feel my ability to discharge the task assigned me--and trust your Excellency will at all times find me willing to the faithful performance of that duty.
       I agree with your Excellency that a spirit of candour and polite language should at all times characterise the communications betwen the the officers of rank of two friendly nations, and assert without the fear of contradiction that my letter to you of the 12 July was couched in the most respectful and unexceptionable language, and that I only requested, (and did not demand as you have so often asserted) the caption & confinement of the ringleaders of that lawless banditti of the creek nation-- who had taken refuge in your Town, that they might be brought to atone for a violation of all laws moral divine and civil--This I had a right to do, (even in the extent you have assumed for me) by the treaty,  which [I] sent you for inspection, and again return, with a request that you will change your translaitor, feeling a confidence that the former one must have deceived you. What answer I received from your Excellency a reference to your letter is only necessary to find insult, upon insult to my government, and the greatest disrespect for myself.  The whole letter breathing nothing but hostility grounded upon assumed facts, and false charges, entirely evading an answer to any enquiry made in my letter, All of which were founded on the basis of Justice, and good understanding towards your government--Consequently you could not have expected from me any other than the rejoinder of which you complain. At length you have come out with a declaration of what I have long been informed--That you have armed the Indians, but not for the purposes you have alledged "self defence" or you would not previous to the declaration have dispatched one hundred of them to commit depredations upon the citizens and property of the united States--This party have either killed or made prisoners, a white man, and two of Mr. Dolievs negroes. I shall arm my Indians--You have thrown the gauntlet, and I take it up. The law of nations Justifies the persuit of an enemy into the territory of a nutral nation when that nation, has had due notice of the hostility, and yet suffers them to take shelter within her territory. This I am well advised was the case on the Escamba of which you complain. No doubt can remain of your knowledge of the attack upon the House of Mr Dolieve, as your declaration of having armed the Indians is made on the 30th. Ultimo and the attack on the 3rd. Inst. I now inform you that on the 5th. one of my officers made prisoner three Spanish Sailors and that they will be held as a security for the restoration of Mr Dolieves overseer, and negroes--Should these men have been murdered by your Indians, you will recollect the promise I made to your Excellency, of an Eye for an Eye Tooth for Tooth, and Scalp for Scalp.
      I shall expect you to notify me of the fate of these men, and if living that they be immediately restored--when the three sailors will be released. I can but express my astonishment at your protest against the Cession of the creek territory, lying within the acknowledged Jurisdiction of the United States, {and} To which Spain never has set up even the colour of claim, and which has been ratified by the principal chiefs and warriors of the whole nation in due form. Yet this astonishment subsides when I compare, and find the protest upon a footing with the ballance of your letter and conduct, from whence the united States can produce a Justification for any consequences which may ensue, And I will remark to you that my government can, and will defend every inch of the Territory she claims, as well as protect her citizens from insult, and depredation, regardless of the political revolutions of Europe. And although she has at all times been studious of preserving a good understanding with all nations, Yet she has sacred rights which must not be trampled on with impunity.
       Spain had better look to her own intestine commotions before she walks forth in all that majesty of strength and power, which you threaten to draw down upon the united States. It is well known that the British Flag has been and now is flying in one of your Forts, And your Excellency has been good enough to acknowledge the arming and affording protection to our other enemies the fugitive creeks, and all this under the plea of the most strict nutraility, consequently your Excellency will not be surprised, but on the contrary provide for my troops and Indians a Fort in your Town, should I take it into my head to pay you a visit--
        Your Excellency will in future be pleased not to view me as a diplomatic character (unless proclaimed by the mouths of my cannon), and withold your chimerical insulting charges against  my government for a Ear more inclined to listen to slander than mine.
        With a tender of the respect and regard due to the high station, you occupy, I have the honor to be yr. mo obedt Servt

                                                                                                            Andrew Jackson
                                                                                                            Major Genl. Comdg.

Courtesy of the Andrew Jackson Papers Project

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