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).As noted in chapter 4, in the second decade of the nineteenth centuryAmerican military forces and armed planter bands carried out a series ofinvasions into Spanish Florida. Porter (1951,254) states bluntly that the origi-nal impulse for these incursions was American expansionism, caused by the300Flight to FreedomFigure 30. Joseph Chatoyer byAgostino Brunias,1773
same land hunger that targeted Canada at that time, though the objectivewas later expanded to include securing the frontier against Maroon settle-ments and activities. Having taken formal possession of the Spanish territoryin 1821(following a treaty of cession signed in 1819), the American govern-ment moved fairly quickly to expel the Maroons by a policy of persuasionand coercion. In 1823, under pressure from the American government, theSeminole Indian leaders signed a treaty agreeing to the removal of their peo-ple from the fertile northern areas to an area below Tampa. Mulroy (1993,27)informs us that most of the projected area for the reservation was uncul-tivable swampland, and that during the next few years many Maroons andIndians became wanderers, stealing cattle from White settlers in order tosurvive. Others refused to abide by the treaty and remained on the “ceded”land. The result was continued friction between Seminoles and WhiteAmericans, with further attempts by the latter to herd the Indians andMaroons into reservations in Indian Territory west of the Mississippi, andfurther resistance by the oppressed. This gradually set the stage for theSecond Seminole War (Porter 1943,390–421; chapter 4).The situation relating to the fertile lands around Le Maniel was resolvedin a somewhat different manner. The colonial authorities reached an initialagreement with the Maroon leaders in 1785, in many ways similar to the ear-lier Jamaican treaties, but with the important proviso that they would shifttheir settlement from their present location to another spot that the Frenchwould allocate to them. The French wanted to remove the Maroons becauseof concern that they would not be controllable in their present habitat, andthat the Spanish settlers, who carried on a lucrative business with theMaroons, might influence them against the French. Debbasch asserts thatthis is exactly what happened, and that it led to the Maroons’ refusal, in thefollowing year, to relocate. However, although the Maroons rejected the pro-posed treaty, they declared that they would cease attacks on the French andreturn runaways to their overlords for a bounty. They kept their word, at leastin regard to attacks against the colonists. In fact, the French considered theirword to be so good that requests for land grants in the area multiplied rap-idly. Debbasch (1979,148) considered this as tantamount to a coup on thepart of the French, since they were able to resolve the Maroon problem“without having to undergo the humiliation of a formal treaty”.