A southern-born defender of states' rights, Jesup was no friend to abolitionists. He did not offer freedom on any idealistic grounds. Rather, by his own explanation he made the offer for pragmatic purposes. "It is highly important to the slave-holding States," wrote Jesup, "that these Negroes be sent out of the country." In Jesup's opinion, the Black Seminoles were so rebellious, they had to be shipped west. His officers shared the feeling. Sprague, the veteran and first historian of the war, relayed the general attitude:
"The negroes ... have, for their numbers, been the most formidable foe, more bloodthirsty, active, and revengeful, than the Indians .... The negro, returned to his original owner, might have remained a few days, when he again would have fled to the swamps, more vindictive than ever.... Ten resolute negroes, with a knowledge of the country, are sufficient to desolate the frontier, from one extent to the other."
Mahon 202, ASPMA 7: 882, Kieffer 182-3, Sprague Origin 309.
Part 2, War: l