Title Reviewed:
The Georgia Florida Frontier, 1793–1796: Spanish Reaction to French Intrigue and American Designs

Author Reviewed:
Richard K. Murdoch

Alfred B. Thomas


Indiana Magazine of History, Volume 48, Issue 1, pp 93-94

Article Type:
Book Review

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The GeorgiaFlorida Frontier, 1793–1796: Spanish Reaction to French Intrigue and American Designs. By Richard K. Murdoch. Volume 40, University of CaliforniaPublications in History. (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1951, pp. ix, 208. Bibliography and index. $2.00.)

Murdoch's study is a careful, detailed analysis, based upon wide research of the events on the Florida- Georgia border, 1793–1796. In 1793, the French consul at Charleston, Citizen Mangourit, representing Genet, elaborated plans for the invasion of Florida and recruited prominent Georgians including General Elijah Clark. These failed, but Governor Quesada on the alert prepared for the attack by arresting French sympathizers, removing settlers from the frontier, seeking aid at Havana, placating the Creeks, and protesting to Governor Mathews of Georgia. Murdoch portrays well here and throughout the book the unusual abilities of the Spanish governor.

Hardly had this threat evaporated when Elijah Clark attempted a settlement in the Creek country beyond the Oconee River. Here the author skillfully reveals the conflict between the federal government and Georgia, ambitious Americans seeking land irrespective of Indians or Spaniards, the bearing of the incident upon the relation of Spain and the United States, and the capacity of Quesada to defend Spanish interests. The remainder of the study details with care incidents of similar character until peace is established in 1796.

The chief contribution of the book is the expert handling of details in "an examination of a small bit of the vast mosaic (of American history…." Although the author views his work with a westward look, his study has its chief significance as an aspect of the southward expansion of the United States. As such it is directly related to the colonial history of this movement, the fundamental insights of which are portrayed in the writings of Mary Ross, Herbert E. Bolton, and John T. Lanning. With this broad base included in his first chapter, his work would have been naturally linked with an expanding frontier and international conflict much older than the western movement. This comment, however, should not detract from the fine workmanship of the study.

University of Alabama

Alfred B. Thomas

Published by the Indiana University Department of History.