James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Abraham Bradley Jr., 10 September 1813

From Abraham Bradley Jr.

General Post Office Septemr. 10. 1813


I have the to inclose a letter from Judge Toulmin, conformable to his wish, giving an account of the hostilities which have been commenced by the Creeks against the Whites & also signifying his wish to be considered a candidate for the office of District Judge.1 With the greatest respect I am sir your obedient Servt

Abraham Bradley jun

Our agent at Point Look Out states that to yesterday noon, none of the ennemy’s cruisers had been seen so high as the mouth of this river, since the fleet sailed down the bay.

RC and enclosures (DNA: RG 107, LRRS, B-315:7). RC docketed as received in the War Department on 14 Sept. 1813. For enclosures, see n. 1.

1Bradley enclosed a letter from Harry Toulmin to Gideon Granger, 8 Aug. 1813 (7 pp.), with Toulmin’s enclosures, which included a statement by William Pierce, 1 Aug. 1813 (1 p.) with Pierce’s covering letter to Toulmin of the same date (1 p.), and depositions sworn before Toulmin on 2 Aug. 1813 by David Tate (2 pp.) and Samuel Manac (3 pp.). Toulmin reported to Granger that “about a month” previously he had attempted to resume sending the mail, but that it had been captured by Creek Indians and taken to Pensacola. Warren R. Dodge, who had been sent to that town to retrieve the mail, had not yet returned. Toulmin requested “definite instructions or discretionary powers” to address the mail delivery problems caused by the Creek attacks and expressed his fear that the Choctaws would also become hostile. The war contagion had spread quickly among the Creeks, Toulmin noted, and all of the settlements above Mobile were now “regarded as being in the highest danger.” He did not believe that their forts provided adequate protection against the Indians. In conclusion, Toulmin asked Granger to forward the enclosures to JM and to recommend him for the office of district judge in the Mississippi Territory.

The enclosed statement by William Pierce reported that he was in Pensacola “about the 21st. of last month” when “between 2 and 300 Creek Indians” had arrived to demand ammunition from Gov. Mateo González Manrique, informing the governor that 4,800 Creeks in 19 towns were in favor of war with the United States. Ignoring attempts to dissuade him by merchant John Innerarity and an interpreter named Emanuel, González Manrique had promised to provide the ammunition. In his covering letter to Toulmin, Pierce noted that he would have sworn to his statement but there was no magistrate available.

David Tate deposed that he had gone to Pensacola with Pierce and had learned there that a friend of his, “who was intimate with the Governor,” had tried to persuade González Manrique not to accede to the Creeks’ demand, but that the governor “observed that it had been customary to furnish the Indians with a little ammunition & that he must do so again.” The friend also reported that “on the next day a letter was to be interpreted to the Indians which they had brought from a British general in Canada, and which they alledged contained a request to the Governor to furnish them with arms & ammunition, but that the Governor said it contained only a recommendation of them as friendly Indians.” Tate found, in addition, that the governor had refused the Creeks’ demand that he open the mail they had stolen and interpret it to them.

The deposition of Samuel Manac, a Creek warrior, stated that Tecumseh and thirty other “northern indians” had attended the council of the Creek nation in late October 1812, where Tecumseh gave a speech. Near the end of the year, “about 40” Creeks took up the “no[r]thern custom” of dancing the war dance before battle rather than after; Manac estimated that approximately half of the Creek nation had subsequently joined them. About 11 July, Manac met a party of Indians led by High Head Jim who told him they were on their way to Pensacola with “a letter from a British general, which would enable them to receive ammunition from the Governor: that it had been given to the little Warrior, and saved by his nephew when he was killed.” The Choctaws had joined the war against the United States, High Head Jim claimed, and would help the Creeks carry out a coordinated attack on numerous white settlements when the Indians had obtained enough ammunition.

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