Dominion of British West Florida
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The Dominion of British West Florida is a micronation with aspirations to become recognised as a sovereign Commonwealth Realm within the British Commonwealth of Nations. The claims to Dominion status and independence from the United States of America are based on non-traditional interpretations of historical documents and events.
Claim to sovereignty
The claim of the right to sovereignty is based on a complicated chain of historical events:
1) The Treaty of Versailles of 1783 granted the Territory of Florida (The British colonies of East and West Florida) to the Spanish King, who was deposed by Napoleon, leaving no rightful successor to claim the territory.
2) The Treaty of Transfer of Florida to France signed by the Spanish prohibited Third party transfer of the Territory  and the territory claimed by the Dominion of British West Florida was not included in the transfer.
3) The annexation of West Florida by Presidential Proclamation, without the usual and required Congressional and Territory actions, was invalid under the United States Constitution, and international law.
The British Colony of West Florida was established as part of the Royal Proclamation of 1763. This Proclamation also created colonies which would become the Dominion of Canada. In 1767, the British moved the northern boundary to a line extending from the mouth of the Yazoo River east to the Chattahoochee River (32.28 north latitude), consisting of approximately the lower third of the present American States of Mississippi and Alabama.
In 1768, His Majesty, King George the Third, with the Parliament Assembled created the Office of Secretary of State for the Colonies. The aim of this action was to allow a more focused approach to the American Colonies. The creation of this office was seen by the Loyal Colonies of the North which became the Dominion of Canada, and the Southern Colonies of East and West Florida, and Greneda as proof that the King was aware of their special status and needs. Unfortunately it was seen by the unstable Middle 13 as a subterfuge. The efforts of His Majesty's government to maintain order and stability in the colonies ultimately failed.
It may be difficult for us to realize the mind-set of the Dominion of British Florida in 1776, but is seems pretty clear that its heart did not swell with admiration upon reading Thomas Jefferson's petulant letter to His Brittanic Majesty, King George III. When news came of the Declaration, an angry mod gathered in St Augustine's public square to announce its displeasure with the treasonous colonies. They burned the likeknesses of John Adams and John Hancock in effigy. In 1778 the colony of West Florida issued a proclamation declaring, "We hold in abhorrence the present unnatural and unparalleled rebillion raging in our neighboring colonies, with its leaders and abettors." 1778 was also the year of Carlisle Peace Commission, which was authorized by His Majesty King George III, and the Parliament of London to offer what would later be termed 'Dominion Status' to the Colonies. Under the Carlisle Commission Peace Plan, the colonies would have been granted local self-government, representation in Parliament, and retained King George III as Soveriegn. The present Government of British West Florida operates in the spirit of the Carlisle Commission.
As the Revolutionary War dragged on, both Floridas became problematic for His Majesty. In 1781, the Kingdom of Spain entered the war, and soon captured Pensacola. British loyalists who flocked to Florida during the Revolution were then forced to leave, and the Spanish inherited large plantations that the British had worked so hard to cultivate.
The Colony of British West Florida was surrendered to Spain as part of the 1783 Treaty of Versailles. Florida under the Spanish was also administered as two colonies. The Spanish Colony of West Florida was transfered to France in 1800 under the secret Treaty of San Ildefonso. The treaty contained clauses to prevent France from transfering the territory to any third party, and was less than explicit on the territorial limits.
In 1808 The Spanish King and his son, under threat of French arms, were removed from power and replaced by Napoleon's brother Joseph Bonaparte. Sovereignty over Florida reverted to the King George the Third, King of the Untied Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland with the demise of the legitimate Crown in Spain. (King George was King of the Great Britain when the Treaty granting Florida was signed, Ireland was added to the Empire forming the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in 1801, King George the Third was King of both Great Britain and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland!)
Dispite the loss of de jure sovereignty by the Kingdom of Spain, the area continued to be administered by Spain until the establishment of the short-lived Republic of West Florida. An Indpendent Republic of West Florida existed for Seventy-Four days (23 September - 10 December 1810). Following this unilateral declaration of independence by the citizens of the territory in 1810, President of the United States, James Madison unilaterally annexed the area by Presidential Proclamation on 27 October 1810. Unfortunately, Governor Fulwar Skipwith (Himself a Citizen of the United States) was forced, by American Arms, to accept occupation by the United States.
In 1819, the United States government recognized its responsibilities to Spain, and paid under, the Florida Purchase Treaty $5,000,000.00 to Spain for the territories of East and West Florida. No mention is ever made of the United States Recognizing its Duty to the Republic of West Florida, or the Citizens of the Republic. The United States does recognize that the military actions in West Florida in 1816-18, part of the First Seminole War, were actions in Foreign Territory.
In November 2005, the Third Restoration Effort began using the WWW to publicize the Dominion of British West Florida, its aims, and claims to Sovereignty. This effort was intended to encourage and motivate the People of the Dominion of British West Florida to participate more actively in their Government and to seek the recognition of other existing States.
The Dominion of British West Florida has a codified, published constitution constitution, based on a the Constitution of the United States of America, but incorporating many monarchist features. The Constitution spells out many of the same rights that are included in the United States Bill of Rights.
The Parliament consists of two Houses and the Governor-General. The House of Lords, the 'upper house' is non-elected and has full veto power over legislation. The House of Lords must give consent before a Treaty is Ratified. The House of Commons, or 'lower house' is elected, with representatives at large, by barony, and by intra-dominion governmental areas. The House of Commons has full veto authority over legislation, and is the House in which revenue bills must originate. The Governor-General is appointed by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom. The Governor-General also has full veto power over legislation.
The House of Lords functions as the Dominion's Supreme Court.
The House of Lords, as the upper house of Parliament is entrusted with the ensuring that due delibaration is taken on all matters presented to it. The House of Lords is intended to be a more reserved, more deliberate forum of elite wisdom. It consists of the most distinguished characters, distinguished for their Rank in Life and their Weight of Property. The House of Lords is a necessary fence against fickleness and passion. The procedures of the House of Lords depend not only on the Rules, but also on a variety of Customs and Traditions. The Lord Marshall enforces the rules of the House, and may warn or eject memebers that deviate from them.
When the House meets to try a Member, the Solicitor General enforces the Rules of the House, and may present the case against the Member. Any Member of the House of Lords can request a Trial be held following the Misconduct of any Member of the House of Lords, or of the Governor-General (in the event that the Governor-General is not be a member of the House of Lords)
The House of Lords' ability it call itself into session, and try a Member is the primary legal onstraint on the Governor-General.
The House of Commons is the lower house of the Parliament of British West Florida. Parliament also includes the Governor-General and the upper house, the House of Lords. The House of Commons has 90 members. The House of Commons is an elected body, consisting of the Members from three groups. Each County or Barony elects one member, this forms the 'County' or 'Barony' group. The second group, the members at large, are the top 30 vote receipts in the 'general election'. The final group, the 'area members' group are the top two vote receipts in each of the 'civitas' areas (two from each Earldom, Viscounty, and the March of Mobile).
The House of Commons has the Right and Duty to take up any and all matters that its members consider Right and Proper. This wide scope of competence allows the House to review existing laws, as well as those areas where new legislation might be needed. At times, the 'Sense of the People' bills authorized by the House of Commons, have provided Her Majesty with an opportunity to correct misunderstandings of her Desires, and those of her Governor-Generals.
One of the most significant powers of the House of Commons is that it, and it alone my initiate Bills of Revenue. No tax, duty, fee, or penalty Bill can be moved by the House of Lords. The House of Commons alone can introduce a bill to change, or create a revenue item. The House of Lords, may Accept, or Reject the changes, but they can not modify them without the consent of the House of Commons. The Queen herself, can not modify a Bill of Revenue with out the consent of the House of Commons, though she can Reject them by refusing to grant the 'Royal Assent'.
The House of Lords and the House of Commons have veto authority over Bills from the other house. The House of Lords can not initiate Bills of Revenue, but retains the veto power over those bills as well. The House of Commons must initiate all Bills of Revenue.
No bill becomes law until it is approved by both Houses of Parliament, and it is granted the 'Assent' by her Majesty or the Governor-General.
The Dominion of British West Florida still uses the £,s,d system, with one pound equal to 20 shillings of 12 pence each. Due to the rising value of silver, the Dominion has re-instated the ha'penny (½ penny), farthing (¼ penny), bit (1/8 penny) and mite (1/16 penny) coins.
Though the constitution of the Dominion of British West Florida prohibits the making of anything other than gold and silver coins legal tender, the Dominion does issue copper coins for the penny and smaller units. The Dominion also uses fractional coinage, the silver content of the pound coin is 1 troy ounce. This difference in intrinsic and stated values is used in conjunction with import duties to finance the government's operations.
- The Dominion of British West Florida Micronation's home page
- Loblolly Writers House Historical setting of British West Florida (1763-1783)
- University of Florida 'Readings' University of Florida History Reading on British West Florida as a PDF
- Report on the Use of US Forces Abroad U.S. Navy site listing the use of Force in 'Spanish Florida'
- The Dominion of British West Florida and Tips for Creating an American Separatist Cause