In the latter part of January, 1833, the General Assembly of Virginia passed a resolution asking Congress to modify the tariff, and also to appoint a commissioner to South Carolina and endeavor to conciliate that State. The commissioner appointed was Benjamin Watkins Leigh. On his request, Mr. James Hamilton, president of the South Carolina convention, called it to assemble, when it rescinded the ordinance, the troops which had been called were disbanded, and the whole State and country were happily relieved of an impending internecine war. Congress had passed the compromise act, and the United States troops and vessels which had been sent to Charleston were withdrawn, and peace and quiet again dawned on the lately excited city.
Mr. Leigh, the Commissioner of Virginia to South Carolina, says of General Scott’s part of that historic period: ... “General Scott had a large acquaintance with the people of Charleston; he was their friend; but his situation was such that many of the people—the great majority of them—looked upon him as a public enemy.... He thought, as I thought, that the first drop of blood shed in civil war—in civil war between the United States and one of the States—would prove an immedicable wound, which would end in a change of our institutions. He was resolved, if possible, to prevent a resort to arms, and nothing could have been more judicious than his conduct. Far from being prone to take offense, he kept his temper under the strictest guard, and was most careful to avoid giving occasion for offense; yet he held himself ready to act if it should become necessary, and he let it be known that he strictly understood the situation. He sought the society of the leading nullifiers, and was in their company as much as they would let him be, but he took care never to say a word to them on the subject of political differences; he treated them as friends. From the beginning to the end his conduct was as conciliatory as it was firm and sincere, evincing that he knew his duty and was resolved to perform it, and yet his principal object and purpose was peace. He was perfectly successful, when the least imprudence might have resulted in a serious collision.”
Events that led to the war in Florida—Treaty of Camp Moultrie and its stipulations—Complaints of Indians and whites—Treaty of Payne’s Landing—Objections of the Indians to complying with the latter treaty—Councils and talks with the Seminoles—Assiola—Murder of mail carrier Dalton—Murder of Charley Amathla—Dade’s massacre—Murder of General Thompson and others—General Clinch—Depredations by the Indians on the whites and by the latter on the Indians—Volunteers—Military departments of Gaines and Scott.
It is proper to give as brief a resume as the subject will permit of the events that led to the outbreak of hostilities in Florida.