In 1693, the King of Spain seized the opportunity. Since the 1680s, runaway slaves from Carolina had been seeking refuge in St. Augustine. In 1693, the King officially welcomed such fugitives, issuing a declaration of freedom to all British slaves who fled to Spanish territory,
"[S]o that by their example and by my liberality others will do the same."
As a result of the edict, a steady stream of fugitives began to make their way south to Florida. British colonists complained bitterly of the exodus. They even accused Spanish ambassadors of posting copies of
the King's edict on trees near British plantations to encourage runaways.
Landers 25 citing Royal Decree of Charles II, Twyman 40.