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WILLIAM A. BOWLES.
absent, arrived at the moment, and would have undeceived the Indians, but in vain ; until one warrior cried out, “If you tell the truth, make the paper talk.” Taking the hint, Paro asked the travellers for their journal. They had none. Had they any written documents? One of them had by chance an old letter in his pocket; from which, by Paro's direction he proceeded slowly and gravely to pretend to read a complete history of their flight from Natchez; upon which the Indians, well knowing what conduct would meet the wishes of their great chieftain, gave up their evil purposes, received and refreshed the weary wanderers, and set them forward again, rested and recruited, on their journey to the eastward.
Leclerc Milfort, a year or two after McGillivray's" death, returned to France, where he published an account of his life among the Creeks. And it was not long before the common ruin of the Indian tribes, these two able leaders being gone, began to come upon the Creeks, until they were utterly overcome, and scattered away from their native seats.
The name of William Augustus Bowles was mentioned above. Although his life and adventures are not strictly within the line of this narrative, his character was so extraordinary and his experiences so romantic as to justify the brief digression necessary to sketch them.
Born in Maryland in 1762, Bowles, a precocions, unruly and daring boy, at the age of fourteen enlisted as a private in the British army, served a year against his countrymen, became an ensign, accompanied his regiment to Jamaica, and thence to Pensacola. Here he is disranked for insubordination; and thoroughly disgusted with military discipline, and a wild, restless, and fearless rover by nature, he contemptuously strips off his uniform, flings it into the sea, and flees northward into the forest with some Creeks. Living upon the Tallapoosa river for several years, he thoroughly acquires the Indian language; and marrying the daughter of a chief, he rises to considerable influence amongst the savages, and the white traders and vagabonds of the region. Indeed, few men have ever possessed more completely the qualifications of a commander of savages, thieves, and pirates; for he had a noble and commanding person, an insinuating and prepossessing address, exceedingly handsome and expressive features, a quick, comprehensive, versatile and powerful intellect, the most daring personal courage, and at the same time a heart without feeling, principle, or honor-utterly abandoned and debased.
At the head of a party of Creeks, he assists General Campbell in his stubborn defence of Pensacola against Governor Galvez in 1781 ; accompanies the dislodged garrison to New York; falling readily
ESTABLISHES A TRADING POST.
again into the habitudes of civilized life, yet gravitating to the loosest, he joins à company of comedians, goes with them to New Providence, the capital of the Bahamas, and here supports himself successfully -by acting, and by painting portraits ; for in this elegant pursuit also he was fitted to become even a master: Lord Dunmore, having a quarrel with the great Indian trading-house of Panton, Leslie & Co., which had become closely leagued, as has already been stated, with the Spanish authorities in Florida, and with McGillivray, now selected Bowles to establish a trading-house on the Chattahoochie for the purpose of injuring the business of the obnoxious firm. Busily bestirring himself in this enterprise, known already as a powerful and dangerous intriguer, McGillivray, whom Bowles hated and despised, and whose interests were endangered, sends word to him by Milfort that if he does not leave the nation in twenty-four hours his ears will be taken off. Knowing that McGillivray could fulfill the threat, and probably considering that his head would most likely accompany his ears, he quickly flees back to New Providence, and along with a delegation of Creeks, Seminoles, and Cherokees, is sent to England, professedly to assist in soliciting government aid to the tribes in repelling the aggressions of the Americans. Here he is well received, enriched with many presents, and returning to New Providence, embarks in a schooner which he teaches his Indians to help him navigate, and cruises up and down the Gulf against Panton's commerce. He takes his vessels, runs them up obscure bayous, and around the plundered goods he and his savage crew, along with abandoned whites, make the lonely woods and swamps resound with the noise of their mad debauchery. Lavishly distributing his spoils amongst the Indians, his influence over them grows apace; and impudently entering the Creek nation, he openly excites opposition to McGillivray, who had just returned from New York, and against whom there was already some dissatisfaction on account of the treaty then made. McGillivray departs to New Orleans; Bowles and his partisans says he will never dare show his face upon the Coosa again. But he comes back, nevertheless; and the unlucky Bowles, whose schemes, like all those of unbounded villains, seeming to lack any coherence or power, and to possess some inherent fatality of ill success, being seized by his contrivance is sent in chains to the Spanish governor at New Orleans, and thence to Madrid. Here he is closely imprisoned, and is long beset with offers of high rank and large pay, if he will take service with Spain and use in her behalf his Indian influence. But, probably from his intense hatred towards McGillivray, he obstinately refused. The Spaniards, counting upon his reputation as a debauchee, change their
IMPRISONED BY THE SPANISH.
tactics, and while keeping him in safe confinement, furnish him splendid apartments, many servants, and all manner of luxurious living. He eats, drinks, and, is merry, but still refuses. Then they threaten him
. with transportation to the pestilent dungeons of Manilla ; and the obstinate and reckless deviltry of the man still holding out, they send him there in irons, and there he remains three or four years, until in 1797, he is ordered back to Spain. Hearing on the voyage that Spain and England are at war, he escapes at Ascension Island, and by way of Sierra Leone reaches England; is welcomed by Mr. Pitt and the Duke of Portland, again munificently provided with the resources due to so serviceable a villain, and again dispatched in an armed schooner detailed for that service, to cruise again against Panton in the Gulf. Here, wrecked near the mouth of the Apalachicola, he is discovered by Ellicott, American commissioner to run the southern boundary line of Alabama and Mississippi; and obtaining provisions from that officer, Bowles in return supplies him many valuable charts and directions for the navigation of the intricate waters around the peninsula of Florida. In his conversations with Ellicott the freebooter repeatedly avows the most bitter enmity to the Americans and to Spain; and his intention to maintain an unending warfare upon the Florida ports of the latter power, with the Creek warriors; whom he