Pennsylvania Archives, Second Series, Vol. IV.
Reprinted under direction of Charles Warren Stone,
Secretary of the Commonwealth.
Edited by John B. Linn and Wm. H. Egle, M. D.
Harrisburg: E. K. Meyers, State Printer, 1890.

File: s2v4a

Title Page.

Short bios of Alexander Addison, Thomas McKean, David Redick, William Findley


Perhaps no part of the history of Pennsylvania is less understood than the insurrection of 1794, commonly known as the "Whiskey Insurrection." A summary, therefore of the various excise laws of Pennsylvania, with their fate as indicating the temper of the people on that subject, together with a notice of the hardships the early settlers of Western Pennsylvania had to endure; the disturbance following the enactment of an Excise law by Congress, and of the measures, peaceable and military, taken to suppress them, will perhaps not be deemed improper in connection with the documents embraced in this volume.

On the 16th of March, 1684, the first Excise was imposed by the Assembly of the Province, in an act, entitled "Bill of Aid and Assistance of the Government."* This objectionable feature thereof was soon after repealed, and not renewed until the year 1738, when the Provincial Assembly passed, "An act for laying an excise on wine, rum, brandy and other spirits."† So unpopular was this act, that it remained in force only a few months.

In May, 1744,‡ it was again renewed by the Assembly, for the purpose of providing money without a general tax, not only to purchase arms and ammunition for defense, but to answer such demands as might be made upon the inhabitants of the Province by his Majesty for distressing the public enemy in America. This was not long in operation.

In the year 1772,§ the attention of the Assembly was once more called to the excise as a productive source of revenue, and a duty was levied on domestic and foreign spirits. At first, however, as to home distilled spirits it was not executed, and indeed, hardly any steps were taken for the purpose, particularly in the older counties. But during the Revolutionary war, the necessities of the State and a temporary unpopularity of distillation, owing to the immense amount of grain consumed, rendered the collection of duties both necessary and practicable, and a considerable revenue was thereby attained. Towards the end of the war, the act was repealed.

In 1780, Congress resolved that an allowance of an additional sum should be made to the army, to compensate for the depreciation of its pay. This was distributed among the States for discharge. Pennsylvania made several appropriations for the purpose, but the revenues so applied turned out to be unproductive. The depreciation fund was always favorably regarded, and upon an application of the officers of the Pennsylvania line,

* Notes of Assembly, I, 29.
† Dallas, I, 293.
‡ Dallas, I, 299.
§ Dallas, I, 634.

[4] another effort was made, the revenue arising from the excise remaining uncollected, was appropriated to this fund, and vigorous measures were taken for its collection.*

Great changes, however, had taken place in the disposition of the people since the first imposition of these duties. The neighboring States were free from the burthen, and in New Jersey, where a law had been passed for the purpose, its execution had been entirely prevented by a powerful combination. The Pennsylvania law, therefore, met with great opposition, especially west of the Allegheny, and there is no evidence that the excise was ever paid in that section.

The majority of the people in the western counties of the State were of Scotch-Irish descent. They had heard of the exaction and oppression in the old country under the excise laws—that houses were entered by excise officers, the most private apartments examined, and that confiscations and imprisonment followed if the smallest quantity of whiskey was discovered not marked with the official brand. They also remembered that resistance to the stamp act and duty on tea, at the commencement of the Revolution, began by the destruction of the tea and a refusal to use the royal stamps; that the design was not to break allegiance to the British throne, but to force a repeal of these odious laws. They were almost to a man enemies to the British government, and had contributed their full proportion in service in establishing the independence of America. To them no other tax of equal amount would have been half so odious. Holding these opinions, it is not to be wondered at that the more hot-headed resorted to threats of violence, and precipitated the riotous proceedings which are detailed in the documents herewith presented.

The condition of Western Pennsylvania at this period we shall not fully describe. Suffice it, however, to say that as late as the year of the insurrection freight in wagons to Philadelphia cost from five to ten dollars per hundred pounds. Salt sold for five dollars a bushel, while iron and steel cost from fifteen to twenty cents a pound. In that fertile region grain was abundantly produced, but there was no market, while the farmers east of the mountains were growing rich by means of the general war in Europe. Trade down the Ohio, despite its danger, had then no outlet, the lower Mississippi being in possession of the Spanish. The freight on a barrel of flour to Philadelphia was as much as it would bring in that market. "Wheat," says Rev. Dr. Carnahan, "was so plentiful and of so little value that it was a common practice to grind that of the best quality and feed it to the cattle, while rye, corn and barley would bring no price as food for man or beast. The only way left for the inhabitants to obtain a little money to purchase salt, iron and other articles necessary in carrying on their farming operations, was by distilling their grain and reducing it into a more portable form, and sending the whiskey over the mountains or down the Ohio to Kentucky, then rapidly filling up and affording a market for that article." The lawfulness or morality of making and drinking whiskey was not in that day called in question. When Western Pennsylvania was in the condition described, the Federal Constitution was adopted, and a most difficult problem, was presented, viz: How to provide ways and means to support

* Dallas, II, 162.

[5] the Government, to pay just and pressing revolutionary claims, and sustain an army to subdue the Indians still harassing the frontiers. The duties on goods imported were very far from adequate to the wants of the new Government. Taxes were laid on articles supposed to be the least necessary, and, among other things, on distilled liquors or on the stills with which they were manufactured.

The Constitution of the United States provided "that all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;" (section 8.) But it is manifest that the same article may be taxed alike in all the States, and yet the tax may be very unequal and oppressive in particular parts of the country. Excise on stills and whiskey operated in this way; little or no whiskey was manufactured in some of the States, and in different parts of the same State. The western people saw and felt that the excise pressed on them, who were the least able to bear the burden, more heavily than on any other part of the Union. They had more stills and made more whiskey than an equal population in any part of the country. There were very few or no large manufactories where grain was bought and cash paid. There was not capital in the country for that purpose. In some neighborhoods every fifth or sixth farmer was a distiller, who, during the winter season, manufactured his own grain and that of his neighbors into a portable and saleable article. They foresaw that what little money was brought into the country by the sale of whiskey, would be carried away in the form of excise duties.* The people of Western Pennsylvania then regarded a tax on whiskey in the same light as the citizens of the State would now a United States tax on coal and iron.

The State tax as heretofore remarked, having remained a dead letter for years, was repealed, a circumstance not likely to incline the people to submit to a similar law passed by Congress on the 3d of March, 1791, at the suggestion of Gen. Hamilton, then Secretary of the Treasury. This law laid an excise of four pence per gallon on all distilled spirits. The members from Western Pennsylvania, Smilie, of Fayette, and Findley, of Westmoreland, stoutly opposed the passage of the law, and on their return among their constituents loudly and openly disapproved of it. Albert Gallatin, then residing in Fayette county, also opposed the law by all constitutional methods. It was with some difficulty that any one could be found to accept the office of inspector in the western district on account of its unpopularity.

The first public meeting in opposition was held at Redstone Old Fort, 27th July, 1791, where it was concerted that county committees should meet at the four county seats of Fayette, Allegheny, Westmoreland, and Washington. On the 23d August the committee of Washington county passed resolutions, and published them in the Pittsburgh Gazette, to the effect that "any person who had accepted or might accept an office under Congress in order to carry the law into effect, should be considered inimical to the interests of the country, and recommending to the citizen of Washington county to treat every person accepting such office with contempt and absolutely to refuse all kind of communication with him and withhold from him all aid, support or comfort.

* Address of Rev. Dr. Carnahan.

[6] Delegates from the four counties met at Pittsburgh, on 7th September, 1791, and passed severe resolutions against the law. These meetings, composed of influential citizens, served to give consistency to the opposition.

On the 6th September, 1791, a party, armed and disguised, waylaid Robert Johnson, collector for Allegheny and Washington, near Pigeon creek, in Washington county, tarred and feathered him, cut off his hair and took away his horse, leaving him to travel on foot in that mortifying condition. Several persons were proceeded against for the outrage, but the deputy marshal dared not serve the process and "if he had attempted it, believes he should not have returned alive." The man sent privately with the process was seized, whipped, tarred and feathered, his money and horse taken from him, blindfolded and tied in the Woods, where he remained five hours.

In October, 1791, an unhappy person, named Wilson, who was in some measure "disordered in his intellects," and affected to be, perhaps thought he was, an exciseman, and was making inquiry for distillers, was pursued by a party in disguise, taken out of his bed, and carried several miles to a blacksmith's shop. There they stripped off his clothes and burned them, and having burned him with a hot iron in several places, they tarred and feathered him and dismissed him naked and wounded. The unhappy man conceived himself to be a martyr to the discharge of an important duty.

In Congress, 8th May, 1792, material modifications were made in the law, lightening the duty, allowing monthly payments, &c.

In August, 1792, government succeeded in getting the use of Wm. Faulkner's house, a captain in the United States army, for an inspection office. He was threatened with scalping, tarring and feathering, and compelled to promise not to let his house for that purpose, and to publish his promise in the Pittsburgh Gazette.

The President issued a proclamation 15th September, 1792, enjoining all persons to submit to the law, and desist from all unlawful proceedings. Government determined —first, to prosecute delinquents; second, to seize unexcised spirits on their way to market; and third, to make no purchases for the army except of such spirits as had paid duty.

In April, 1793, a party in disguise attacked in the night the house of Benjamin Wells, collector in Fayette county, but he being from home, they broke open his house, threatened, terrified and abused his family. Warrants were issued against the offenders by Judges Isaac Mason and James Findley, but the sheriff refused to execute them, whereupon he was indicted. On the 22d November they again attacked the house of Benjamin Wells in the night. They compelled him to publish a resignation of his office within two weeks in the papers, on pain of having his house burned.

Notwithstanding these excesses, the law appeared during the latter part of 1793 to be rather gaining ground. Several principal distillers complied, and others showed a disposition, but were restrained by fear.

In June, 1794, John Wells, the collector for Westmoreland, opened his office at the house of Philip Reagan, in that county. An attack was made in the night by a numerous body of men. Reagan expected them, and had prepared himself with guns [7] and one or two men. The firing commenced from the house, and the assailants fired at it for some time, without effect on either side. The insurgents then set fire to Reagan's barn, which they burned, and retired. In the course of a day or two 150 men returned to renew the attack. After some parleying, Reagan, rather than shed blood, proposed to capitulate, provided they would give him honorable terms and assurances that they would neither abuse his person nor property, he to give up his commission, and never again act as an exciseman. These stipulations were agreed to, reduced to writing and signed by the parties. Reagan then opened his door and came out with a keg of whiskey and treated them. However, after the whiskey was drunk, some of them began to say that he was let off too easy, and that he ought to be set up as a target to be shot at. Some were for tarring and feathering him, but others took his part, and said he had acted manfully, and that after capitulating they were bound to treat him honorably. At length they got to fighting amongst themselves. After this it was proposed and carried that Reagan should be court-martialled, and that they would march off right away to Ben. Wells, of Fayette county, the excise officer there, and catch him and try him and Reagan both together. They set out accordingly, taking Reagan along but when they arrived at Wells' house he was not there, so they set fire to it and burned it to the ground with all its contents. They left an ambush near the ruins, in order to seize Wells. Next morning he was taken, but during the night, as Reagan had escaped and Wells was very submissive with them, they let him off without further molestation.

The next attack was made on Captain Webster, the excise officer for Somerset county, by a company of about 150 men from Westmoreland. They took his commission from him, and made him promise never again to act as a collector of excise. An attempt was made by some of the party to fire his haystacks, but it was prevented by others. They marched homeward, taking Webster a few miles. Seeing him very submissive, they ordered him to mount a stump and repeat his promise never again to act as a collector of excise, and to hurrah three times for "Tom the Tinker," after which they dismissed him.

This term, "Tom the Tinker," came into popular use to designate the opposition to the excise law. It was not given by adversaries as a term of reproach, but assumed by the insurgents in disguise at an early period. "A certain John Holcroft," says Mr. Brackenridge, "was thought to have made the first application of it at the attack on Wm. Coughran, whose still was cut to pieces. This was humorously called mending his still. The menders, of course, must be tinkers, and the name collectively became Tom the Tinker." Advertisements were put up on trees and other conspicuous places, with the signature of Tom the Tinker, threatening individuals, admonishing or commanding them. Menacing letters, with the same signature, were sent to the Pittsburgh Gazette, with orders to publish them, and the editor did not dare refuse. "At Braddock's field the acclamation was, 'Hurrah for Tom the Tinker!' 'Are you a Tom Tinkers' man?' Every man was willing to be thought so, and some had great trouble to wipe off imputations to the contrary." Mr. Findley says "it afterwards appeared that the letters did not originate with Holcroft, though the inventor of them has never been discovered."

[8] The office in Washington opened to receive the annual entries of stills, after repeated attempts, was suppressed. At first the sign was pulled down. On the 6th of June, twelve persons, armed and painted black, broke into the house of John Lynn, where the office was kept, and, beguiling him by a promise of safety to come down stairs, they seized and tied him, threatened to hang him, took him into the woods, cut off his hair, tarred and feathered him, and swore him never again to allow the use of his house for an office, never to disclose their names, and never again to aid the excise; having done this, they bound him, naked to a tree and left him. He extricated himself next morning. They afterwards pulled down part of his house, and compelled him to seek an asylum elsewhere.

In Congress, on the 5th of June, 1794, the excise law was amended. Those, however, who desired not amendment, but absolute repeal, were thereby incited to push matters to a more violent crisis. It became indispensable for the government to meet the opposition with more decision. Process issued against a number of non-complying distillers in Fayette and Allegheny. Indictments were found against Robert Smilie and John M'Culloch, rioters, and process issued accordingly.

It was cause of great and just complaint in the western counties, that the federal courts sat only on the eastern side of the mountains, and that individuals were subjected to ruinous expenses when forced to attend them. The processes, requiring the delinquent distillers to appear at Philadelphia, arrived in the west at the period of harvest, when small parties of men were likely to be assembled together in the fields. In Fayette county the marshal executed his processes without interruption, though under discouraging circumstances. In that county the most influential citizens and distillers, had at a meeting, in the winter or spring previous, agreed to promote submission to the laws, on condition that a change should be made in the officers.

In Allegheny county, the marshal had successfully served all the processes except the last, when, unfortunately, he went into Pittsburgh. The next day, 15th July, 1794, he went in company with Gen. Neville, the inspector, to serve the last writ on a distiller named Miller, near Peter's creek. It is believed that had Major Lenox, the marshal, gone alone to serve that remaining one, there would have been no interruption. Unfortunately he called on the inspector to accompany him. Gen. Neville was a man of the most deserved popularity, says Judge Wilkinson, and in order to allay opposition to the law as far as possible, was appointed inspector for Western Pennsylvania. His appearing, however, in company with the marshal, excited the indignation of some of Miller's neighbors, and on the return of the marshal and inspector, they were followed by five or six men, armed, and a gun was discharged towards them, not, it is believed, with a design to injure, but to alarm them and show their dislike towards the inspector.

On the day of this occurrence, there was a military meeting at Mingo creek, about seven miles distant from the inspector's house, for the purpose of drafting men to go against the Indians. A report of the attack on the marshal and inspector was carried to this meeting, and on the day following at day-light, about thirty young men, headed by John Holcroft, the reputed" Tom the Tinker," assembled at the house of the inspector and de- [9] manded the delivery of his commission and official papers. This was refused, and the firing of guns commenced. It is not known who fired the first gun—the insurgents always maintaining that it came from the house, and their only intention was to alarm the inspector, and to cause him to deliver his papers.

The firing went on for some time from the house and from the assailants. At length a horn was sounded in the house, and then there was a discharge of firearms from the negro quarters, which stood apart from the mansion house. From the guns of the negroes, who probably used small shots, five or six of the insurgents were wounded, one of them mortally. Forthwith the report spread that the blood of Citizens had been shed, and a call was made on all who valued liberty or life to assemble at Mingo Creek meeting house, prepared to avenge the outrage. Some went willingly, others were compelled to go. A large number assembled at the place of rendezvous. Three men were appointed to direct the expedition, and Major Macfarlane, who had been an officer in the Pennsylvania Line of the Revolution, was chosen to command the armed force. When they came within half a mile of Neville's house, leaving those who had no firearms in charge of the horses, they advanced. After the first attack, Neville had left his house, and Major Kirkpatrick, with ten or twelve United States soldiers, had come to defend it. Kirkpatrick was allied to the family of Neville by marriage. When the assailants approached the house the three men who were to superintend the affair took their station on an eminence at a distance. Macfarlane and his men approached within gunshot and demanded Neville. It was answered that Neville was not in the house nor on the premises. His commission and official papers were then demanded, with a declaration that if not delivered they would be taken by force. Kirkpatrick replied that he had a sufficient force to defend the house, and he would not surrender the papers. Macfarlane informed him that he would wait until the women and children, which he observed were in the house, had withdrawn, and then he would commence the attack, unless his demands were complied with. The women withdrew and the firing began on both sides.

After several rounds, the firing seemed to cease from the house, and Macfarlane, supposing a parley was desired, stepped from behind a tree which protected him and ordered his men to stop. At that instant a ball from the house struck him, and he expired in a few minutes. Some of the assailants, without orders, applied a torch to the barn; from the barn the fire spread to the other outbuildings, and from them to the dwelling house. When the house caught fire, Kirkpatrick surrendered and was permitted to leave, with his command uninjured.

The death and funeral of Macfarlane greatly increased the excitement, and runners were sent forth to call a meeting of the people at Mingo Creek meeting house, to determine what measures were to be taken. In the town of Washington among others, the messenger urged David Bradford and Col. John Marshall, to attend the proposed meeting. At first, they both refused. Marshall said he would have nothing to do with the business; and Bradford declined on the ground that he was prosecuting attorney for the county, and that his services in that capacity might hereafter be called for. They afterwards changed their minds, attended the meeting, where hearing the [10] story of what they called the murder of Macfarlane their sympathies became excited, and from that moment they took a warm and active part. The prominent persons at this meeting were those named, and Messrs Parkinson, Cook and Brackenridge. The latter, it appears, attended for the purpose of gaining their confidence. He suggested that though what they had done might be morally right, yet it was legally wrong, and advised the propriety of consulting their fellow citizens. A meeting of delegates from the Western counties was therefore ordered to be held at Parkinson's Perry, now Monongahela City, on the 14th of August.

A night or two after the meeting at Mingo creek, Bradford and Marshall got possession of the Pittsburgh and Philadelphia mail. The postboy had been attacked and the mail taken from him by two men near Greensburg. The object was to ascertain what had been written to the east, respecting the disturbance. Letters were found giving sad accounts of their doings, and naming individuals concerned. Those of Gen. Gibson, Col. Presley Neville, Mr. Bryson and Mr. Edward Day, gave the greatest offense to the insurgents. The documents not referring to this affair were put into the mail bag and returned to the post office in Pittsburgh. The authors of the objectionable letters, were, in consequence, obliged to leave Pittsburgh by some circuitous route, or conceal, themselves, that it might be given out publicly that they were gone.

In the meantime, Bradford, and others, without a semblance of authority, issued a circular letter to the colonels of the several regiments in the western counties, requiring them to assemble their commands at the usual place of rendezvous, fully equipped with firearms and ammunition and four days' provision, and from thence to march to Braddock's field, so as to arrive on Friday, the 1st of August. Strange to say, it was in many instances promptly obeyed; many who despised it at heart did not dare to disobey it. Bradford afterwards denied that he gave such an order.

There were but three days between the date of the orders and the time of assemblage, yet a vast and excited multitude was brought together, many in companies, under arms. Some were well disposed towards the Government, but came for fear of being proscribed; others as mere spectators; others, such as Hugh H. Brackenridge and several from Pittsburgh, to put themselves, if possible, at the head of the multitude and restrain them, by organization and management, from proceeding to open outrage and rebellion. Great apprehension was entertained that the insurgents might proceed to Pittsburgh and burn the town. The obnoxious persons had been banished, as if by authority, in deference to the demand of the Tom Tinker men, and the Pittsburgh delegation were careful to announce the fact at Braddock's field. Probably the majority of those assembled were secretly well disposed towards the Government, but afraid to come out and avow it. Mr. Brackenridge thus describes the feeling that prevailed there and throughout the western counties: "A breath in favor of the law was sufficient to ruin any man. It was considered as a badge of toryism. A clergyman was not thought orthodox in the pulpit unless against the law. A physician was not capable of administering medicine, unless his principles were right in this respect. A lawyer could have got no practice without at least concealing his sentiments, if [11] for the law; nor could a merchant at a country store get custom. On the contrary, to talk against the law was the way to office and emolument. To go to the Legislature or to Congress, you must make a noise against it. It was the Shibboleth of safety, and the ladder of ambition."

It was proposed by Bradford to march and attack the garrison at Pittsburgh, but this was abandoned. Bradford now moved that the troops should go on to Pittsburgh. "Yes", said Brackenridge, "by all means; at least to give a proof that the strictest order can be observed, and no damage done. We will just march through, and, taking a turn, come out upon the banks of the Monongahela; and after taking a little whiskey with the inhabitants the troops will embark and cross the river." Officers having been appointed, Edward Cook and Bradford, generals, and Col. Blakenay, officer of the day, the insurgents marched in a body by the Monongahela road, to Pittsburgh.

By the wily management of the Pittsburgh gentlemen the greater part of the company, after being diverted by a treat, were got across the Monongahela. A few, however, remained, determined to burn Gen. Neville's house, in town, and Gen. Gibson's and others. By the influence of Col Cook, Marshall and others of the insurgent party, this outrage was prevented. Major Kirkpatrick's barn, across the river, was burned. If they had succeeded in burning two or three houses the whole town must have been [consumed]. "The people," says Mr. Brackenridge, "were mad. It never came into my head to use force on the occasion. I thought it safest to give good words and good drink, rather than balls and powder. It cost me four barrels of old whiskey that day, and I would rather spare that than a quart of blood."

An account of these turbulent proceedings reaching the State and national authorities, a conference was immediately held. Gov. Mifflin, on the 6th of August, appointed Chief Justice McKean and General William Irvine to proceed immediately to the western country to ascertain the facts relative to the late riots, and, if practicable, to bring the insurgents to a sense of their duty. The day following, President Washington issued a proclamation of warning, commanding "all persons being insurgents, on or before the first day of September, to disperse and retire peaceably to their respective abodes," at the same time directing the raising of troops, "to be held in readiness to march at a moment's warning." The quota of the States was as follows:

New Jersey

The same day Gov. Mifflin, of Pennsylvania, issued a similar proclamation, directing the quota of the State to be armed and equipped as speedily as possible. The Governor issued a second proclamation calling together the Assembly of the State in special session.

On the 8th, the President appointed James Ross, Jasper [12] Yeates and William Bradford forthwith to repair to the western counties and confer with such bodies or individuals as they may approve, "in order to quiet and extinguish the insurrection," giving them full instructions and ample powers concerning the same.

These proceedings in the east, had not been received west of the Alleghenies previous to the meeting called for the 14th of August, at Parkinson's Ferry. This, was composed of two hundred and sixty delegates elected by the respective counties of Westmoreland, Fayette, Allegheny, Washington and that part of Bedford lying west of the "mountains, and by the county of Ohio, in Virginia. Many had been sent with a view to stem the current of disorder until it had time to cool down. This however, was only to be accomplished, as some thought, not by open opposition, but by covert management. Col. Cook was appointed chairman, and Albert Gallatin secretary. Gallatin, Brackenridge and Judge Edgar, of Washington county, took a prominent part in the discussions. The intemperate resolutions were gradually softened down or explained away. The organic force of the insurrection was condensed into a committee of sixty, one from each township; and this committee was again represented by a standing executive committee of twelve. The committee of sixty was to meet at Redstone Old Fort on the 2d of September, and the standing committee were in the meantime to confer with the U. S. commissioners, whose arrival had been announced at Pittsburgh, during the meeting. To gain time and restore quietness was the great object with Gallatin and his friends. Mr. Gallatin presented with great force the folly of past resistance, and the ruinous consequences to the country of the continuance of the insurrection. He urged that the government was bound to vindicate the laws, and that it would surely send an overwhelming force against them. He placed the subject in a new light, and showed the insurrection to be a much more serious affair than it had before appeared.

The Pennsylvania commissioners reached Pittsburgh on the 17th. On the 20th the commissioners on the part of the Union, with those on the part of the State, met the committee appointed at the meeting at Parkinson's Ferry. At this conference, preliminary proceedings were taken which resulted in propositions by both bodies of commissioners, who explicitly declared that the exercise of the powers vested in them "to suspend prosecutions," "to engage for a general pardon and oblivion of them," "must be preceded by full and satisfactory assurances of a sincere determination in the people to obey the laws of the United States." The committee presented their grievances, dwelling principally, says Chief Justice McKean, on their being sued in the courts of the United States, and compelled to attend trials at the distance of three hundred miles from their places of abode, before judges and jurors who were strangers to them. Every argument against an excise was urged but it was clearly evidenced that there was an apprehension in the gentlemen of the committee themselves respecting the safety of their own persons and property, if they should even recommend what they conceived best for the people in the deplorable situation to which they had brought themselves.

The conference adjourned to the 28th of August, to meet the committee of sixty at Redstone Old Fort, now Brownsville, where, after two days' session, the propositions of the com- [13] missioners were finally recommended for acceptance. The meeting was opened by a long, sensible and eloquent speech by Mr. Gallatin, in favor of law and order. Mr. Brackenridge enforced and enlarged upon the arguments already advanced by Gallatin. Bradford, in opposition, let off almost intemperate harangue; but when he found the vote, 34 to 23, was against him, he retired in disgust. Afterwards, alleging that he was not supported by his friends, he signed the terms of submission, and advised others to do it. Judge Edgar summed up the argument for submission, and, by his pious and respectable character and his venerable appearance, won many over to his side.

Such was the fear of the popular phrensy that it was with difficulty a vote could be had at this meeting. No one would vote by standing up. None would write a yea or nay, lest his handwriting should be recognized. At last it was determined that yea and nay should be written by the secretary on the same pieces of paper, and be distributed, leaving each member to chew up or destroy one of the words, while he put the other in the box. This resulted in the appointment of another committee to confer with the commissioners, who were also empowered "to communicate throughout the several counties the day at which the sense of the people was expected to be taken" on this question, "Will the people submit to the laws of the United States upon the terms proposed by the Commissioners of the United States?"

The foregoing test of submission was to be signed individually by the citizens throughout the western counties before or on the 11th of September. Only ten days intervened, says Rev. Dr. Carnahan, between the offer of the new terms and the day on which each individual should secure an amnesty of the past by a written promise of submission to the laws. Four of these days passed before the terms were printed, leaving only six days to circulate information over a region much larger than the State of New Jersey. There was no opportunity to instruct the people respecting what was to be done. The consequence was that in some places the people did not meet at all.

All the commissioners had returned to Philadelphia before the day of signing, except James Ross who remained to carry the signatures to the government. Bradford and Marshall signed on the day appointed and to the credit of the former be it stated that he made a long speech, exhorting the people to submit. His declaration, signed by himself and a number of others, is found among the documents following.

The report of the commissioners, however, was so unfavorable that the President thought it necessary to send over the mountains the army already collected, but within a few days after Mr. Ross left with the papers signed, a sudden and great change took place in the sentiments and conduct of the insurgents. Various meetings were held and strong resolutions were passed, expressing their ready submission to the laws of the land. Ohio county, Virginia, was the only exception—the inhabitants of that district being as rebellious as ever.

The army, as previously stated, consisted of 12,950 men. Governor Henry Lee, of Virginia, was placed in chief command. Governor Thomas Mifflin, of Pennsylvania; Governor Richard Howell, of New Jersey; Governor Thomas S. Lee, of Maryland, and General Daniel Morgan, of Virginia, commanded the volunteers from the respective States. The President, accompanied by General Henry Knox, Sec- [14] retary of War, General Alex. Hamilton, Secretary of the Treasury, and Judge Richard Peters, of the United States District Court, set out for Western Pennsylvania on the 1st of October. On Friday His Excellency reached Harrisburg, and on the day following, Carlisle, where the main body of the army had preceded him.

The meeting of the Committee of Safety at Parkinson's Ferry on the 2d of October, appointed William Findley, of Westmoreland, and David Redick, of Washington county, commissioners to wait on the President and to assure him that submission and order could be restored without the aid of military force. They met President Washington at Carlisle on the 10th, where several interviews were had. They made known to him the change that had taken place, that the great body of the people who had no concern in the disorders, remained quietly at their home and attended to their business, had become convinced that the violence used would ruin the country; that they had formed themselves into associations to suppress disorder and to promote submission to the laws. The President in reply stated that as the army was already on its way to the disaffected region, the orders would not be countermanded, yet assured the delegates that no violence would be used, and all that was desired was to have the inhabitants come back to their allegiance.

The commissioners returned, called another meeting of the Committee of Safety at Parkinson's Ferry, on the 24th, and made their report. Assurances were received from all parts of the country that resistance to the laws had been abandoned, and that no excise officer would be molested in the execution of his duties. The same commissioners with the addition of Messrs. Ephraim Douglass and Thomas Morton, were appointed to meet the President on his arrival at Bedford, and inform him of the state of the country.

The President left Carlisle on the 11th of October, reaching Chambersburg on the same day, Williamsport on the 13th, and Fort Cumberland on the 14th, to review the left division of the army, consisting of the Virginia and Maryland volunteers. On the 19th, he reached Bedford where he remained two or three days, then returned to the Capital, which he reached on the 28th.

In the meantime, the commissioners appointed by the insurgents, finding that the President had left for the east, proceeded to Uniontown, to confer with Gen. Lee, in whose hands all power to treat with them had been delegated, who received them with civility, assuring that no exertions would be wanting on his part to prevent injury to the persons and property of the peaceable inhabitants. He bade the commissioners to "quiet the apprehensions of all on this score," that he expected on the part of "all good citizens the most active and faithful co-operation, which could not be more effectually given than by circulating in the most public manner, the truth among the people, and by inducing the various clubs which had so successfully poisoned the minds of the inhabitants to continue their usual meetings for the pious purpose of contradicting with their customary formalities their past pernicious doctrines. A conduct, he continued, so candid should partially atone for the injuries which, in a great degree, may be attributed to their instrumentality, and must have a propitious influence in administering a radical cure to the existing disorders." This report was printed and widely circulated. The General himself published [15] an address to the inhabitants of the "Four "Western Counties," recommending the subscribing "an oath to support the Constitution and obey the laws, and by entering into an association to protect and aid all the officers of government in the execution of their respective duties."

Notices were at once issued by all the justices of the peace that books were opened at their respective offices "to receive the tests or oaths of allegiance of all good citizens." At the same time Gen. Neville gave official notice for the immediate entering of all stills. At once the people attended to the requirements of the commander-in-chief of the army and the law, and on the 17th of November, general orders were issued for the immediate return of the troops, except a small detachment under Gen. Morgan, directed to remain at Pittsburgh "for the winter defense."

A formal investigation was held by Judge Peters, at which information was made against many who had really been guilty of no offense against the government. Some were released through the interposition of influential friends, while others less fortunate, were sent to Philadelphia on trial where they were imprisoned for ten or twelve months. Several were finally tried, one or two convicted, but subsequently pardoned.

In the language of Dr. Carnahan, "this occurrence was salutary, as an example, showing that the Federal Government was not a rope of sand which might be broken at the will of any section of the country, whenever any State or part of a State, thought a particular law might be oppressive."


June 23d, 1791.
The Legislature of this Commonwealth, ever attentive to the rights of their constituents, and conceiving it a duty incumbent on them to express their sentiments on such matters of a public nature as in their opinion have a tendency to destroy their rights, have agreed to the following resolutions:

Resolved, That any proceeding on the part of the United States tending to the collection of revenue by means of excise, established on principles subversive of peace, liberty and the rights of the citizens, ought to att[r]act the attention of this House.

Resolved, That no public urgency within the knowledge or contemplation of this House can, in their opinion, warrant the adoption of any species of taxation which shall violate those rights which are the basis of our government, and which would exhibit the singular spectacle of a nation resolutely oppressing the oppressed of others, in order to enslave itself.

Resolved, That these sentiments be communicated to the Senators representing the State of Pennsylvania in the Senate of the United States, with a hope that they will oppose every part of the excise bill now before the Congress which shall militate against the rights and liberties of the people.


the 7th of September, 1791.
The following gentlemen appeared from the counties of Westmoreland, Washington, Fayette and Allegheny, to take into consideration an act of Congress, laying duties upon spirits distilled within the United States, passed the 3d of March, 1791:

For Westmoreland county—Nehemiah Stokely and John Young, esquires.

For Washington county—Col. James Marshall, Rev. David Phillips and David Bradford, esquire.

[17] For Fayette county—Edward Cook, Nathaniel Bradly and John Oliphant, esquires.

For Allegheny county—Col. Thomas Morton, John Woods, Esq'r, and William Plumer, Esq'r.

Edward Cook, Esquire, was voted in the chair, and John Young appointed secretary.

Resolved, That having considered the laws of the late Congress, it is our opinion that in a very short time hasty strides have been made to all that is unjust and oppressive. We note particularly the exorbitant salaries of officers, the unreasonable interest of the public debt, and the making no discriminations between the original holders of public securities and the transferees, contrary to the ideas of natural justice in sanctioning an advantage which was not in the contemplation of the party himself to receive, and contrary to the municipal law of most nations and ours particularly, the carrying into effect an unconscionable bargain where an undue advantage has been taken of the ignorance or necessities of another; and also contrary to the interest and happiness of these States, being subversive of industry by common means, where men seem to make fortunes by the fortuitous concurrence of circumstances, rather than by economic, virtuous and useful employment. What is an evil still greater, the constituting a capital of nearly eighty millions of dollars in the hands of a few persons who may influence those occasionally, in power, to evade the Constitution. As an instance of this, already taken place, we note the act establishing a National Bank on the doctrine of implication, but more especially we bear testimony to what is a base offspring of the funding system, the excise law of Congress, entitled "An act laying duties upon distilled spirits within the United States," passed the 3d of March, 1791.

Resolved, That the said law is deservedly obnoxious to the feeling and interests of the people in general, as being attended with infringements on liberty, partial in its operations, attended with great expense in the collection, and liable to much abuse. It operates on a domestic manufacture, a manufacture not equal through the States. It is insulting to the feelings of the people to have their vessels marked, houses painted and ransacked, to be subject to informers, gaining by the occasional delinquency of others. It is a bad precedent tending to introduce the excise laws of Great Britain and of countries where the liberty, property and even the morals of the people are sported with, to gratify particular men in their ambitious and interested measures.

Resolved, That in the opinion of this committee, the duties imposed by the said act on spirits distilled from the produce of the [18] soil of the United States, will eventually discourage agriculture, and a manufacture highly beneficial in the present state of the country, that those duties which fall heavy, especially upon the western parts of the United States, which are, for the most part, newly settled, and where the aggregate of the citizens is of the laborious and poorer class, who have, not the means of procuring the wines, spirituous liquors, &c, imported from foreign countries.

Resolved, That there appears to be no substantial difference between a duty on what is manufactured from the produce of a country and the produce in its natural state, except, perhaps, that in the first in[s]tance, the article is more deserving of the encouragement of wise legislation as promotive of industry, the population and strength of the country at large. The excise on home-made spirituous liquors, affects particularly, the raising of grain, especially rye, and there can be no solid reason for taxing it more than any other article of the growth of the United States.

Resolved, That the foregoing representations be presented to the Legislature of the United States.

Resolved, That the following remonstrance be presented to the Legislature of Pennsylvania.

Resolved, That the following address, together with the whole proceedings of this committee, which were unanimously adopted, be printed in the Pittsburgh Gazette."

Signed by order of the Committee.

EDWARD COOK, Chairman.


AN ACT to repeal so much of every act or acts of Assembly of this State, as relates to the collection of excise duties.

Section 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in General Assembly met, and it is hereby enacted by the authority of the same. That so much of every act or acts of Assembly, as authorize the collection of any duty or duties upon wine, rum, brandy or other spirituous liquors, shall be and the same are hereby repealed.

Sec. 2. Provided always, and be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, That nothing herein contained shall be deemed or [19] construed to prevent the recovery of all such duties upon the said articles, as are now due to the Commonwealth; nor to release or take away any forfeiture or penalty, which any person or persons may have incurred by reason of the said acts of Assembly; but that all prosecutions commenced, or which may be commenced inconsequence thereof, may be prosecuted to as full effect as if such acts, or parts thereof, had not been repealed.

WILLIAM BINGHAM, Speaker of the House of Representatives.
RICHARD PETERS, Speaker of the Senate.

Approved—September the twenty-first, 1791.
THOMAS MIFFLIN, Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.


AN ACT concerning the duties on spirits distilled within the United States.

Section 1, Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That from and after the last day of June next, the present duties upon spirits distilled within the United States, and on stills, shall cease, and that in lieu, thereof, upon all spirits which after the said day shall be distilled within the United States and wholly or in parts from molasses, sugar or other foreign materials, there shall be paid the duties following, that is to say:

For every gallon of those spirits of the first class of proof, ten cents; for every gallon of those spirits of the second class of proof, eleven cents; for every gallon of those spirits of the third class of proof, twelve cents; for every gallon of those spirits of the fourth class of proof, fourteen cents; for every gallon of those spirits of the fifth class of proof, eighteen cents; for every gallon of those spirits of the sixth class of proof, twenty-five cents. And upon all spirits which after the said day, shall be distilled within the United States from materials of the growth or produce of the United States, in any city, town or village at any distillery at which there shall be one or more stills, which singly or together shall be of the capacity of four hundred gallons or upwards, there shall be paid the duties following, that is to say:

For every gallon of those spirits of the first class of proof, seven cents; for every gallon of those spirits of the second class of proof, [20] eight cents; for every gallon of those spirits of the third class of proof, nine cents; for every gallon of those spirits of the fourth class of proof, eleven cents; for every gallon of those spirits of the fifth class of proof, thirteen cents; for every gallon of those spirits of the sixth class of proof, eighteen cents. And upon stills which after the said day shall be employed in distilling spirits from materials of the growth or produce of the United States, at any other place than a city, town or village, or at any distillery in a city, town or village at which there shall be one or more stills, which singly, if only one, or together if more than one, shall be of less capacity than four hundred gallons, there shall be paid the yearly duty of fifty-four cents for every gallon of English wine measure of the capacity or content of each and every such still including the head thereof: Provided, That it shall be at the option of the proprietor or possessor of any such still, instead of the said yearly duty, either to pay seven cents for every gallon of spirits by him or her distilled, or to pay at the rate of ten cents per gallon of the capacity for each and every month of the employment of any such still; and in case the said proprietor or possessor shall elect to pay either the said rate of seven cents per gallon of the spirits by him or her,distilled, or the said monthly rate of ten cents, according to the capacity of his or her still or stills, he or she at the time of making entry of his or her still or stills in manner hereinafter directed, shall by writing under his or her hand, left at the office of inspection where such entry shall be made, notify the said election and if the same shall be to pay the said monthly rate of ten cents, shall demand a license for the term of time specifying the day of commencing and the day of ending during which he or she shall intend to work his or her still or stills, which license shall, without delay or expense, to the said proprietor or possessor be granted, and shall be signed by the supervisors of the revenue and countersigned by the officer at whose office application for the same shall have been made. And in the case of an election to pay the said monthly rate of ten cents, it shall not be lawful for any person by whom the same shall have been made to work his or her still or stills, at any time, within the year from the date of his or her entry thereof, other than that for which a license shall have been granted unless he or she shall have previously obtained another license for such further time, which upon like application shall and may be granted in like manner; and if any such person shall work his or her still or stills, contrary to the direction or provision aforesaid, he or she shall forfeit and pay for every such offense two hundred dollars; and in every case in which any proprietor or possessor of a [21] still or stills, subject to the payment of duty according to the capacity of such still or stills, shall not make election to pay according to one or the other of the alternatives aforesaid, or shall not duly comply therewith, he or she shall be liable to pay and shall pay the said yearly rate of fifty-four cents for every gallon of the capacity or capacities of his or her still or stills.

SEC. 2. And be it further enacted, That there be in each county comprehended within any district, at least one office of inspection, at which every person having or keeping a still or stills within such county, shall between the last day of May and the first day of July, in each year, make entry of such still or stills, and at which every person who being a resident within the county, shall procure a still or stills, or who removing within a county, shall bring therein a still or still[s], shall within thirty days after such procuring or removal, and before he or she shall begin to use such still or stills, make entry thereof. And every entry, besides describing each still and the capacity thereof, shall specify the place where, and the person in whose possession it is and the purpose for which it is intended, as whether for sale or use in distilling, and in the case of removal, shall specify the place from which every such still shall have been brought.

SEC. 3. And be it further enacted, That every proprietor and possessor of a still shall be jointly and severally liable for the duty thereupon; and that every owner of land, upon which any still shall be worked, shall be liable for the duty thereupon, unless the same shall be worked by a lawful and bona fide tenant of the land of an estate, not less than for the term of one year, or unless such owner can make it appear, that the possessor of or person by whom such still shall have been worked, was during the whole time of working the same, a trespasser or intruder on his land.

SEC. 4. And be it further enacted, That every officer of inspection within whose survey any distillery of Geneva or sweet cordials, subject to the payment of duty by the gallon of the spirits distilled thereon may be, shall forbear to visit or inspect, for a space not exceeding two hours in each day such part of the said distillery as he may be required by the proprietor, possessor or manager of such distillery to forbear to visit and inspect, for which purpose it shall be necessary for the said proprietor, possessor or manager, to give notice in writing to the said officer, describing therein particularly the part of such distillery, which it shall be his desire that the said officer may forbear to visit and inspect, and specifying the time of each day for which such forbearance shall be desired.

SEC. 5. And be it further enacted, That it shall be in the discretion of the Secretary of the Treasury to regulate as well the marks to be set upon the casks, vessels and packages contain- [22] ing distilled spirits, as the forms of the certificates which are to accompany the same, and that when any cask or vessel in which distilled spirits have been contained, shall have been emptied of its contents, it shall be lawful for the marks thereupon to be effaced by, or in the presence of an officer of inspection, and if the said cask or vessel shall afterwards be used for putting therein other spirits, the same may be marked anew.

SEC. 6. And be it further enacted, That instead of a notice of twenty-four hours, heretofore required to be given of the intent to export distilled spirits in order to the benefit of the drawback of the duties thereupon, six hours shall be sufficient.

SEC. 7. And be it further enacted, That there be an abatement for leakage at the rate of two per cent., in every case in which the duty shall be payable by the spirits distilled, to be allowed at the distillery where such spirits shall be made.

SEC. 8. And be it further enacted, That the officer of inspection within whose survey any still shall be, the duty whereupon is payable according to the capacity of the still, shall identify by progressive numbers and other proper marks every such still within his survey, and the duty thereupon shall operate as a specific lien upon the said still.

SEC. 9. And be it further enacted, That every distiller of, and dealer in spirits, who may have in his or her possession, distilled spirits not marked or certified, pursuant to the act, entitled "An Act repealing after the last day of June next, the duties heretofore laid upon distilled spirits imported from abroad, and laying others in their stead, and also upon spirits distilled within the United States, and for appropriating the same," shall prior to the last day of September next, report the spirits in his or her possession, in writing at some office of inspection, to the end that such spirits may be marked and certified as old stock. And that from and after the said last day of September next, casks and vessels of the capacity of twenty gallons and upwards, containing distilled spirits, which shall be found in the possession of any distiller or dealer in spirits, except at a distillery where the same were made, or in going from one place to another, without being marked according to law or without having a certificate from some proper officer, shall be liable to seizure and forfeiture, and that it shall be the duty of the several officers of inspection, upon request of any dealer or distiller to take measures for the marking of casks, vessels and packages containing distilled spirits, and to furnish such dealer or distiller, free from expense, with certificates to accompany the same: Provided, That it shall not be incumbent upon any such officer to mark or certify any cask, vessel or package which ought [23] to have been before marked or certified according to any law of the United States,

SEC. 10. And be it further enacted, That from and after the last day of April one thousand seven hundred and ninety-three, no distilled spirits, except anack and sweet cordials shall be brought into the United States from any foreign port or place, except in casks or vessels of the capacity of ninety gallons and upwards.

SEC. 11. And be it further enacted, That no drawback of the duty on distilled spirits which shall be exported after the last day of June next, shall be allowed upon any quantity less than one hundred gallons.

SEC. 12. And be it further enacted, That after the last day of June next, no distilled spirits shall be brought into the United States, from any foreign port or place, in any cask or vessel, which shall have been marked pursuant to any law of the United States concerning distilled spirits, on pain of forfeiture of the spirits so brought, and of the ship or vessel in which they shall be brought.

SEC. 18. And be it further enacted, That if the owner or possessor of any still or stills shall neglect to make entry thereof within the time and in manner prescribed by the second section of this act, such owner or possessor shall forfeit and pay the sum of two hundred and fifty dollars; and if any distilled spirits, except anack and sweet cordials, shall after the last day of April next, be brought into the United States in casks or vessels of less capacity than ninety gallons, all such spirits, and the casks and vessels containing the same, shall be subject to seizure and forfeiture, and every such penalty or forfeiture, shall be one-half to the use of the United States and the other half to the use of the person who shall first discover and make known the matter or thing whereby the same shall have been incurred.

SEC. 14. And be it further enacted and declared, That the duties hereby laid shall continue in force for the same time, and are hereby pledged and appropriated to and for the same purposes as those in lieu of which they are laid and pursuant to the act entitled "An Act repealing after the last day of June next the duties heretofore laid upon distilled spirits imported from abroad and laying others in their stead, and also upon spirits distilled within the United States and for appropriating the same."

SEC. 15. And be it further enacted, That to make good any deficiency which may happen in consequence of the reduction hereby made in the rates of the duties on spirits distilled within the United States, and on stills, so much of the product of the duties laid by the Act, entitled "An act for raising a far- [24] ther sum of money for the protection of the frontiers and for other purposes therein mentioned," as may be necessary, shall be and is hereby pledged and appropriated to the same purposes to and for which the duties hereby reduced were pledged and appropriated.

SEC. 16. And be it further enacted, That the President of the United States be authorized to make such allowances for their respective services to the supervisors, inspectors and other officers of inspection, as he shall deem reasonable and proper, so as the said allowances, together with the incidental expenses of collecting the duties on spirits distilled within the United States, shall not exceed seven and-a-half per centum of the total product of the duties on distilled spirits, for the period to which the said allowances shall relate, computing from the time the act, entitled "An Act repealing after the last day of June next, the duties heretofore laid upon distilled spirits imported from abroad and laying others in their stead, and also upon spirits distilled within the United States, and for appropriating the same," took effect: And provided also, That such allowance shall not exceed the annual amount of seventy thousand dollars, until the same shall be further ascertained by law.

SEC. 17. And be it further enacted, That the act, entitled "An Act repealing after the last day of June next, the duties heretofore laid upon distilled spirits imported from abroad and laying others in their stead, and also upon spirits distilled within the United States, and for appropriating the same," shall extend to and be in full force for the collection of the several duties hereinbefore mentioned, and for the recovery and distribution of the penalties and forfeitures herein contained, and generally for the execution of this act, as fully and effectually as if every regulation, restriction, penalty, provision, clause, matter and thing therein contained, were inserted in and re-enacted by this present act, subject only to the alterations hereby made.

JONATHAN TRUMBULL, Speaker of the House of Representatives.
RICHARD HENRY LEE, President pro tempore of the Senate.

Approved—May eighth, 1792,
GEORGE WASHINGTON, President of the United States.


At a meeting of sundry Inhabitants of the Western Counties of Pennsylvania, held at Pittsburgh, on the 21st day of August, 1792.

Present:—John Canon, William Wallace, Shesbazer Bentley, Bazel Bowel, Benjamin Parkinson, John Huey, John Badollet, John Hamilton, John McClellan, Neal Gillespie, David Bradford, Thomas Gaddis, Rev. David Philips, Albert Gallatin, Matthew Jamison, James Marshall, James Robinson, James Stewart, John Smilie, Robert McClure, Peter Lisle, Alexander Long, Samuel Wilson & Edward Cook.

Colonel John Canon was placed in the Chair, and Albert Gallatin appointed Clerk.

The Excise Law of Congress being taken under consideration and freely debated, a committee of five members was appointed to prepare a draught of Resolutions, expressing the sense of the Meeting on the subject of said Law.

Adjourned to 10 o'clock to-morrow.

August 22, 1792.

The Members of the Meeting having met according to adjournment, the Committee appointed yesterday made report, which being read twice and debated by paragraphs, was unanimously adopted as followeth, to wit:

Strongly impressed with a sense of the fatal consequences that must attend an Excise, convinced that a tax upon liquors, which are the common drink of a nation, operates in proportion to the number and not to the wealth of the people, and of course is unjust in itself and oppressive upon the poor; taught by the experience of other countries that internal taxes upon consumption from their very nature, never can effectually be carried into operation without vesting the officers appointed to collect them with powers most dangerous to the civil rights of freeman, and must in the end destroy the liberties of every country in which they are introduced. Feeling that the late excise law of Congress, from the present circumstances of our agriculture, our want of markets and the scarcity of a circulating medium, will bring immediate distress and ruin on the Western Country. We think it our duty to persist in our remonstrances to Congress, and in every other legal measure that may obstruct the operation of the Law until we are able to obtain its total repeal; Therefore,

Resolved, That David Bradford, James Marshall, Albert Galla-[26] tin, Peter Lisle and David Philips, be appointed for the purpose of drawing a remonstrance to Congress, stating our objections against the law that imposes duty upon spirituous liquors distilled within the United States, and praying for a repeal of the same, and that the chairman of this Meeting be directed to sign the same, in the name of the Meeting, and to take proper measures to have it presented to Congress at their next session.

Resolved, That in order that our measures may be carried on with regularity and concert, that William Wallace, Shesbazer Bentley, John Hamilton, Isaac Weaver, Benjamin Parkinson, David Redick, Thomas Stokely, Stephen Gapen, and Joseph Vanmetre, Andrew Rabb, Thomas Gaddis, Alexander Long, William Whiteside, John Oliphant, Robert McClure, James Long, Thomas Benjamin Patterson, James Stewart, Samuel Johnston, William Plumer and Matthew Jameson, be respectively appointed committees of correspondence for the counties of Washington, Fayette and Allegheny, and that it shall be their duty to correspond together and with such committee as shall be appointed for the same purpose in the county of Westmoreland, or with any committees of a similar nature that may be appointed in other parts of the United States, and also, if found necessary, to call together either general meetings of the people in their respective counties, or conference of the several committees.

AND WHEREAS some men may be found amongst us, so far lost to every sense of virtue and feeling for the distresses of this country, as to accept offices for the collection of the duty:

Resolved, therefore, That in future we will consider such persons as unworthy of our friendship; have no intercourse or dealings with them; withdraw from them every assistance, and withhold all the comforts of life which depend upon those duties that as men and fellow citizens we owe to each other; and upon all occasions treat them with that contempt they deserve; and that it be, and it is hereby most earnestly recommended to the people at large to follow the same line of conduct towards them.

On motion, Resolved, That the Minutes of this meeting be signed by the Chairman, attested by the Clerk and published in the Pittsburgh Gazette.

JOHN CANON, Chairman.


PHILADELPHIA, September 15, 1792.
By the President of the United States:


WHEREAS, Certain violent and unwarrantable proceedings have lately taken place, tending to obstruct the operation of the laws of the United States for raising a revenue upon spirits distilled within the same, enacted pursuant to express authority delegated in the Constitution of the United States; which proceedings are subversive of good order, contrary to the duty that every citizen owes to his country and to the laws, and of a nature dangerous to the very being of government:

And whereas, Such proceedings are the more unwarrantable, by reason of the moderation which has been heretofore shown on the part of the government, and of the disposition which has been manifested by the legislature, (who alone have authority to suspend the operation of laws,) to obviate causes of objection and to render the laws as acceptable as possible:

And whereas, It is the particular duty of the Executive "to take care that the laws be faithfully executed," and not only that duty, but the permanent interests and happiness of the people require that every legal and necessary step should be pursued, as well to prevent such violent and unwarrantable proceedings, as to bring to justice the infractors of the laws and secure obedience thereto.

Now, therefore, I, George Washington, President of the United States, do by these presents, most earnestly admonish and exhort all persons whom it may concern, to refrain and desist from all unlawful combinations and proceedings whatsoever, having for object or tending to obstruct the operation of the laws aforesaid, inasmuch as all lawful ways and means will be strictly put in execution for bringing to justice the infractors thereof, and securing obedience thereto.

And I do moreover charge and require all courts, magistrates and officers whom it may concern, according to the duties of their several offices, to exert the powers in them respectively vested by law, for the purposes aforesaid; thereby also enjoining and requiring all persons whomsoever, as they tender the welfare of their country, the just and due authority of government and the preservation of the public peace, to be aiding and assisting therein according to law.

In testimony whereof, I have caused the Seal of the United [28] States to be affixed to these presents, and Signed the same with my hand. Done the fifteenth day of September in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety-two, and of the Independence of the United States the seventeenth.


By the President, Th. Jefferson.


PHILADELPHIA, October 5, 1792.
To the President of the United States:
SIR:—I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your Excellency's letter, inclosing a copy of a proclamation, that you have issued in consequence of certain irregular and refractory proceedings, which have taken place, in particular parts of some of the States, contravening the laws for raising a revenue upon spirits, within the United States, and it affords me the sincerest satisfaction to find that you repose a just confidence in the exertions of the Executive of Pennsylvania, to further in every proper way the particular object of the measure which you have at this time adopted, as well as on every other occasion to promote a due obedience to the constitutional laws of the Union.

Previously to the publishing of your Proclamation, certain Rioters of the county of Chester, who in opposing the collection of the Revenue upon spirits, had committed an assault and battery on the officer were indicted, convicted and fined, and I am informed that the regular process had, likewise, issued against the perpetrators of a similar offence in the county of Allegheny. Every other necessary step which the law permits to be taken I will cheerfully pursue, in order to prevent or punish the repetition of delinquencies so hostile to the peace and happiness of the community, for independent of an earnest desire to contribute to the tranquility and honour of your administration, I am sensible that the prosperity of every individual State depends upon the prosperity of the Union, which can only be effected by a strict and faithful attention to our Federal obligations. Under these impressions, I have thought it proper to address a letter, (a copy of which I take the liberty to inclose to the Judges of the Supreme Court, and the Presidents of the Courts of Common Pleas, requesting that they will inculcate [29] the indispensable duty of obedience to the laws of the Union, and particularly as far as their jurisdiction extends, that they will charge the Grand Inquests convened in the several counties to enquire into and present offences of the nature to which your Proclamation refers.

I have the honour to be, Sir,
With perfect respect,
Your Excellency's Most Obed't
Humble Servant,


PHILADELPHIA, Oct'r 5th, 1792.
GENTLEMEN:—The President has communicated to me a copy of a Proclamation, which he issued in consequence of certain irregular and refractory proceedings that have taken place in particular parts of some of the States, contravening the laws for raising a revenue from spirits distilled within the United States; and I am desirous, in every proper way, to manifest my disposition to further the object of the particular measure, which he has, at this time, adopted, as well as to promote, on every occasion, a due obedience to the Constitutional laws of the Union.

Permit me, therefore, Gentlemen, to request that you will take every official opportunity to inculcate the indispensable duty of obedience to the acts of Congress, and, particularly that you will be pleased, as far as the jurisdiction of your court extends, to charge the Grand Juries of the several counties within your district, to enquire into and present all offences of the nature to which the Proclamation refers.

I am persuaded, Gentlemen, that you are convinced with me, that the prosperity of the States, individually, depends upon the prosperity of the Union, which can only be effected by a strict and faithful attention to our Federal obligations, and, viewing the vigilance and wisdom with which you discharge the other duties of your important station, I repose a perfect confidence in your exertions upon the particular subject that I have now suggested.

I am, with Great esteem, Gentlemen,
Your Most Obedient Servant,
To the Honorable, Thomas McKean, Esquire, Chief Justice, and his Associates of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.


PHILAD'A, 2d Nov'r, 1792.
SIR:—The Governor directs me to request that you will be pleased to transmit to him, by return of the post, transcripts of the records of all (if any) prosecutions, whether commenced or concluded, for Riots or other Breaches of the peace, committed in the county of ____, in opposition to the collection of the revenue on Spirits distilled within the United States.

I am, Sir, Your Most Obed't Serv't,
A. J. DALLAS, Sec'ry.

To the clerks of the Courts of General Quarter Sessions in the counties of Chester, Bedford, Bucks, Northumberland, Westmoreland, Washington, Fayette & Allegheny, respectively.


WASHINGTON, 4th Nov'r, 1792.
SIR:—I had the honour of your letter yesterday inclosing a copy of the President's proclamation, issued in consequence of certain refractory proceedings in the Excise law, and urging

*ALEXANDER ADDISON, was probably a native of Ireland, although of Scotch parentage, born in 1759. He was educated at Edinburgh, and was licensed to preach by the Presbytery of Aberlowe, Scotland. He emigrated to Pennsylvania, and, on Dec. 20, 1785, applied to the Presbytery of Redstone to be taken under their care. The examination did not prove altogether satisfactory, but permission was granted him to preach in the bounds of the Presbytery, application having been made from the town of Washington for the stated labors of Mr. Addison. Shortly after he gave up preaching and turned his attention to the law. He settled at Pittsburgh, where he practiced as a lawyer. He was president judge of the district which included the western counties for twelve years. He was removed, by impeachment, through political rancor. He was an accomplished scholar and a cultivated writer. He published "Observations on Gallatin's Speech," 1798; "Analysis of the Report of a Committee of the Va. Assembly," 1800; "Penn'a Reports," 1800. Dr. Carnahan says of him, "a more intelligent, learned, upright and fearless judge was not to be found in the State." His charge to the Grand Jury during the Insurrection is a noble monument of his talents and worth. He died November 24 1807.

[31] that I take every official opportunity of inculcating obedience to the Acts of Congress, and especially that I charge the Grand Juries of this District to enquire into and present all offences of the nature referred to by the Proclamation.

For the complimentary part of your letter I beg leave, together with my thanks, to offer you assurance, that it is my highest pride, and shall be my earnest study to deserve such sentiments, though I know I must in great measure depend for them on the indulgence of those who view my conduct. I wish you also to believe that there is no man either in private or official capacity more desirous than I to discharge those federal obligations on which the prosperity of the Union truly depends, and though I am not so partial to the Constitution and Laws of the United States as to believe that they have not in some instances mistaken their object and their means, yet I think there is no man who would with greater punctuality discharge the duties of an officer than according to the best of my judgment, I should in all cases, to which I may be properly called, in my official station.

Believing you anxious that all who act under you, or by your appointment, discharge their duties consonantly with the nature of their respective offices, find therefore desirous to possess information necessary to judge of their conduct, I think it incumbent on me to state what my conduct has been on the subject of the President's Proclamation.

The first act of violence alluded to in this Proclamation appeared in Washington county last winter, in tarring and feathering a Deputy Exciseman, and a person who carried letters, inclosing copies of process for the first offence, from the federal court. Similar outrages, attended with more or less aggravating circumstances, took place in each of the other counties of this circuit. I inclose that part of my charge to the Grand Juries at December sessions, which respected this subject. An Indictment was found against the rioters in Allegheny County; they were taken, pleaded not guilty, I think, and, at last, were discharged on the Habeas Corpus act, the Prosecutor having abandoned the prosecution. They had been guilty of a farther outrage, in carring [carrying] off certain persons, whom they suspected as witnesses, and detaining them till after the Grand Jury, who found the Bill, was dismissed. For this they were also indicted, some of them have been taken and fined, they are the least guilty, or miserably poor. The supposed ringleader is under recognizance to the next term. At Fayette County, after I had charged the Grand Jury, I happened to see a newspaper containing M. de la Fayette's letter, on his resigning the command of the National Guard, and as it inculcated, in a forcible man- [32] ner, the duty of submission to Government, I addressed the Jury a second time on the subject of the riot in that county, and read to them that letter. No Bill was found, as the Jury told me, for want of proof. A Bill was found in Washington County in consequence of a Recognizance taken by a Justice of the Peace. The usual proceedings have followed and the defendant's recognizance has been forfeited and sued. Nothing that I recollect on this subject required again any publick notice from me till after my last return from Philadelphia; soon after that an outrage of great enormity was committed in Washington, the nature of which you will see from my address to the Grand Jury of that county at last sessions which I have also inclosed, so far as relates to this matter. Besides this I sent for some persons who I had supposed could point out some of the rioters, but I received no satisfactory information from them. As the business was become of moment, I thought it proper to consult the other members of the court, and urged it as our duty to summon those and other witnesses to testify to the grand Jury what they knew. The other judges, or some of them seemed to entertain a different sentiment, and thought this would be stepping out of our line, and that it was not our duty to hunt after prosecutions; all hesitated and I could not obtain their consent to my proposition. My opinion is that no such clear evidence could have been produced as to give us reason to expect the finding of a Bill. Besides my general desire to preserve the peace and dignity of the State in this country, I had an additional motive for zeal in this matter. I have long entertained an opinion which the most serious reflection, (and I have given it a serious reflection,) has not altered but confirmed, that the powers of the federal courts in the extent given them by the judicial laws of the Union are useless or dangerous. Unless, because the State courts are capable in a proper manner of discharging almost all their duties. Dangerous, because if they exercise their powers they must either destroy the essence of the trial by Jury, or swallow up the State courts. It is better to have them useless than dangerous. If therefore, the State courts should punish and suppress these riots, the federal courts would have less or no inducement to interfere in them. If the State courts should not, the interference of the federal courts would be necessary; necessity would render this interference not unacceptable; habit would render the increasing interference pass without observation, and their power in all its dangerous extent would be fixed. My wish, therefore was that our State courts should suppress these riots and leave no reasonable desire in the federal courts to take notice of them.

At the end of last court in Washington, I received from Mr. [33] Clymer a letter which produced a correspondence, whence probably, for I have heard Mr. Clymer expressed dissatisfaction at the manner in which his application to me ended, the President's letter to you, and yours to me have proceeded. I therefore inclose copies of this correspondence, and I hope you will think as I do, that I should ill have sustained the dignity of that station with which you have honoured me, if for so frivolous a reason I had submitted to act in the subordinate capacity which he appears to have assigned me. Had he made any request of me as an officer, I should then have known how to answer him as such. Being impressed with a consciousness of having done my duty, I am desirous that in this and in every other part of my conduct I should have your approbation. For your approbation, and that of all whose opinion, from their capacity of judging, truly deserves regard, I consider as the best reward of that earnestness with which I strive to make my office effective and useful. This also suggests a wish that if my conjecture be well founded, (for it may be groundless,) that the President's address to you had in any respect my conduct as its object, you would if you think it proper have this letter and the inclosures or copies thereof transmitted to him.

It may be fit to take this opportunity of mentioning to you, that at the last court in this county, Joseph Bentley and Oswald Bentley, were convicted at a court of Goal Delivery of Burglary. In consequence of this they were sent to Philadelphia goal. By this conviction their estates are forfeited as directed by the laws & constitution of this State. Joseph, I believe, has a plantation. With what other property or with what incumbrance, or what property Oswald has, I know not.

You will perhaps submit this to the Attorney General for his consideration and directions.

I am, Sir, with Great Respect,
Your Most Obed't
and very Humb'l Serv't,

To Thomas Mifflin, Governor of Pennsylvania.


PHILAD'A, November 6, 1792.
The prosperous state of our revenue has been intimated. This would be still more the case were it not for the impedi- [34] ments which in some places continue to embarrass the collection of the duties on spirits distilled within the United States. These impediments have lessened and are lessening in local extent and as applied to the community at large, the contentment with the law appears to be progressive. But symptoms of increased opposition having lately manifested themselves in certain quarters, I judged a special interposition on my part proper and advisable, and under this impression, have issued a proclamation warning against all unlawful combinations and proceedings, having for their object or tending to obstruct the operation of the law in question, and announcing that all lawful ways and means would be strictly put in execution for bringing to justice the infractors thereof and securing obedience thereto.

Measures have also been taken for the prosecution of the Offenders; and Congress may be assured, that nothing within constitutional and legal limits which may depend on me, shall be wanting to assert and maintain the just authority of the laws. In fulfilling this trust, I shall count entirely upon the full co-operation of the other departments of the government, and upon the zealous support of all good citizens.

I cannot forbear to bring again into the view of the legislature the subject of a revision of the judiciary system. A representation from the judges of the supreme court, which will be laid before you, points out some inconveniences that are experienced. In the course of the execution of the laws considerations arise out of the structure of that system, which, in some cases, tend to relax their efficacy. As connected with this subject, provisions to facilitate the taking of bail upon processes out of the courts of the United States, and a supplementary definition of offences against the constitution and laws of the union, and of the punishment for such offences, will it is presumed, be found worthy of particular attention.


PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 8, 1792,
[Extract from a charge delivered by his Honor, the Chief Justice of the State of Pennsylvania, to the Grand Jury for the City and County of Philadelphia, at the opening of the present sessions of Oyer and Terminer and General Jail Delivery.]

Before I conclude, it grieves me that I have occasion to mention, that there has been an illegal combination to oppose the execution of the laws of the United States for raising a revenue upon spirits distilled within the same, insomuch as to constrain the President to issue his proclamation, exhorting all persons whom it may concern to restrain from all unlawful combinations and proceedings whatsoever, having for object or tending to obstruct the operation of the said laws, and charging and requiring all courts, magistrates and officers whom it may concern, to exert their lawful powers in bringing to justice the infractors thereof, and to secure obedience thereto; and enjoining all persons whomsoever, as they tender the welfare of their country, the just and due authority of government, and the preservation of the public peace, to be aiding and assisting therein according to law.

The Governor, anxious for a strict and faithful attention to our federal obligations, and convinced that the prosperity of the States individually, depends on the prosperity of the

* Thomas McKean was born in Chester county, March 19, 1734. After an academic and professional course of study, he was admitted an attorney, and soon after appointed deputy attorney general for Sussex county, Delaware. In 1757 he was elected clerk of the Pennsylvania Assembly, and from 1762 to 1769 was member thereof from the county of New Castle. In 1765 he assisted in framing the address of the Colonies to the British house of commons. In 1771 he was appointed collector of the port of New Castle; member of the Continental Congress in 1774, and annually re-elected until February, 1783. In 1778 he was a member of the convention which framed the articles of confederation, and in 1781 president of Congress. In addition to these duties, in 1777 he acted as President of Delaware, and until his election as Governor, from 1777 to 1799 held the office and executed the duties of chief justice of Pennsylvania. He was a promoter of and signer of the Declaration of Independence, commanded a battalion which served under Washington in the winter of 1776-77. He was elected Governor of Pennsylvania three terms, (1799 to 1809,) under the Constitution of 1790, of the convention framing which he was a member. He died at Philadelphia on the 24th of June, 1817.

[36] union, has been pleased, by a letter directed to the justices of the supreme court, on the 5th of last month, to request that we will take every official opportunity to inculcate the indispensable duty of obedience to the acts of Congress, and particularly, as far as our jurisdiction extends, to charge the Grand Juries to enquire into and present, all offences of the nature to which the President's proclamation refers.

It is strange that a people, but just rescued from the galling yoke of foreign bondage, having just got rid of a despotic government, will not submit to one free and equal. What avails it to be exempt from the chains of a precarious tyranny if men still continue slaves to caprice of their own corrupt nature? The smallest tax, though absolutely necessary for the public safety against a barbarous savage enemy, and tending also to promote industry and to restrain excess in the use of an intoxicating and destructive spirit, makes them restless and impatient. They quarrel with a constitution and government purchased at the expense of much blood and treasure, and framed by themselves; they despise the rulers of their own choice, and trample on laws of their own making. What occasion is there for such violent and unwarrantable proceedings? If any law shall bear heavy on the citizens or any class of them, why do they not represent the case to the proper legislature, composed of persons elected by themselves? If the complaint is founded in reason, they may be sure of redress. The disease must be known before the remedy can be applied. Men who regard order, tranquility and peace, men who love their country, will use all honest means to promote them; they will endeavor to enlighten the ignorant, to calm the passions of the violent, and by their advice, influence and example, to inculcate a due obedience to the laws, for where the laws end, there tyranny begins. Any government is preferable to none, a tyranny to an anarchy.

If any of the offences referred to in the proclamation of the President shall have been committed within this city or county, and have, or shall come to your knowledge, I rest assured you will present the offender to the court for trial and for punishment.

To which the Grand Jury returned the following answer: The Grand Jury of the city and county of Philadelphia, beg leave to return their thanks to the honorable the Chief Justice, for the charge delivered to them at the opening of the present sessions of Oyer and Terminer and General Jail Delivery, and do sincerely participate in the pain, expressed by your honor, on account of the late illegal combination among some of our western brethren, to oppose the laws of the United States, for raising a revenue on distilled spirits.

[37] It is a matter of great concern to us that an event so prejudicial to the public happiness, and so inconsistent with an enlightened attachment to liberty and law, should have occurred in a State of which we are citizens, and which is so deeply interested by its internal and local circumstances steadily to maintain public order.

Amidst these painful sensations, however, we beg leave to assure the honorable court, that we have not failed to exercise our vigilance and zeal in making diligent enquiry of all such offences as may have been committed within our jurisdiction, and are happy to assure you that we have found none of the nature referred to in the proclamation of the President of the United States, whose upright and mild but efficient administration of our excellent constitution and laws, we will, even strenuously support, both in our public and private capacities. We beg leave to request a copy of that part of your charge which relates to the President's proclamation for publication; being fully impressed that the sentiments contained in it, will meet the entire approbation of every good citizen.

In behalf of the Grand Jury unanimously.
JOHN BARRY, Foreman.


PHILAD'A, November 9, 1792.

At the same time that we avow the obligation of the government to afford its protection to every part of the union, we cannot refrain from expressing our regret that even a small portion of our fellow citizens in any quarter of it should have combined to oppose the operation of the law for the collection of duties on spirits distilled within the United States, a law repeatedly sanctioned by the authority of the nation, and at this juncture materially connected with the safety and protection of those who oppose it. Should the means already adopted fail in securing obedience to this law, such further measures as may be thought necessary to carry the same into complete operation, cannot fail to receive the approbation of the legislature and the support of every patriotic mind.

It yields us particular pleasure to learn that the productiveness of the revenue of the present year, will probably supercede the necessity of any additional tax for the service of the next.


PITTSBURGH, November 9th, 1792.
SIR:—I had the honour of a letter from Mr. Secretary Dallas, requesting that I would, by the return of the post, transmit to your Excellency, transcripts of the proceedings in any prosecutions which may have been commenced or concluded for Riots or other breaches of the peace committed in this county, in opposition to the collection of the Revenue on Spirits distilled within the United States.

There have not been any prosecutions instituted in this county for Riots or breaches of the peace committed in direct opposition to the Collection of that Revenue. But an Indictment was found at December Sessions, 1791, against Colonel Samuel Wilson, Samuel Johnston, James Wright, William Tucker and John Moffitt, for having Riotously assembled together, and assaulted, beat and, with a red-hot iron, burnt a certain Robert Wilson, whom it appeared by some part of the testimony, they had suspected of having been concerned in the collection of the Excise on liquors. But he was a young Schoolmaster who was looking for employment, and carried with him very reputable testimonials of his character. I do not know whether it was through fear of further injury, or from what cause, But before the offenders were taken upon the process of the Court, the young man who had been so abused, left this part of the country, and at last June Sessions, the Defendants, (except Samuel Johnston, who was not present,) were discharged by proclamation—no person appearing to prosecute against them. The testimony of John Bell, who is a good honest farmer, States that John Moffitt, one of the Defendants, told the deponent that He, (Moffitt) with several others, had knocked the man (speaking of Robert Wilson) down and beat and abused him severely, and burnt him with a hot iron, both behind and before, for he was an exciseman, tho' they had not seen his appointment or commission. William Richmond, on his oath, mentions that Samuel Johnston offered to tender an oath to Wilson, "that he would never act in the Department of the excise, either directly or indirectly, which oath Robert Wilson refused to take, alleging that he had nothing to do with that business, one way or other."

As the Indictment only states the Riot, assault, battery and burning, without mentioning anything of the Revenue law, and [39] as Robert Wilson, the injured person, actually had nothing to do with that law, I presume it will not be necessary for me to send a transcript of the proceedings.

I have the Honour to be,
Your Excellency's
most obedient servant,

His Excellency THOMAS MIFFLIN, Esquire, Governor of Pennsylvania.


WASHINGTON, 14th Nov'r, 1792.
SIR:—Yours of the 2d Inst. did not come to hand until after the departure of the post, etc. I should have endeavored to have complied with your request at the time and in the manner proposed by the Governour. I have now enclosed a transcript of the docket entry, with copy of the only indictment which has been found by the Grand Jury of this County, in consequence of an opposition to the Excise law of Congress. It is thought that "Hamilton" cannot be convicted on principles of law, on this Indictment. How it may turn Out, I don't know.

Your favor by post, on the Subject of electors, did not come to hand until after the day of election, nor was I at Washington, but at Pittsburgh on that day, under the care of a Physician.

* David Redick: was a native of Ireland, and a lawyer by profession, admitted to practice in Washington county in 1782, one year after its organization. In 1786 he was elected a member of the Supreme Executive Council, and in 1788 chosen Vice President of Pennsylvania, the duties of which office he continued to exercise until January 19, 1789. In October, 1787, he was appointed the agent of the State for communicating to the Governor of New York intelligence respecting Connecticut claims. In 1791 Mr. Redick was appointed prothonotary of Washington county, and the following year clerk of the courts. As a business man he was active and energetic, and we find him exercising the duties of a surveyor, having been appointed to survey the ten islands in the Ohio and Allegheny rivers, and divide the several tracts of land opposite Pittsburgh into building or town and outlots. At the time of the "Whiskey Insurrection" he took a prominent part in defense of law, order and the Constitution, and, with Mr. Findley, was appointed, October 2, 1794, to wait upon President Washington and Gov. Mifflin to explain the state of affairs in the western counties. The result of their commission is fully narrated in these papers. Mr. Redick died at Washington, September 28, 1805, and was buried with Masonic honors.

[40] I have been confined almost ever since I arrived from your city last. In my Illness, I have lost the use of my right arm and hand. The use of my fingers are so far restored, that yesterday and to-day I have, for the first time since last August, put pen to paper. There was no election held here for electors. I understand that two or three of our high-toned Gentlemen had address enough to prevent it, which would not have been the case, had I been in health and at home at the time; perhaps Coll. Marshal has written you more circumstantially on the subject.

I have enclosed the list, required by law, respecting fees taxed in my office. This is the second time I have sent this list off for your office; I hope it will now reach you.

I am Sir, with respect and esteem,
Your most ob't Serv't.,

J. A. Dallas.

April Sessions, 1792.

The Commonwealth vs. Daniel Hamilton.
Indictment Assault and Battery. A True Bill. Daniel Hamilton and James Kerr. Sent jointly and Severally in £500. Recognizance forfeited.

The Condition is that Daniel Hamilton appear at next Sessions and answer to Two Indictments found against him, the one for an assault and Battery said to be committed on Charles Morrow, the other, for an assault and Battery committed on John Connor.

Washington County, ss., April Sessions, one Thousand seven hundred and ninety-two.

The Grand Inquest for the Body of the County of Washington, upon their Oath and solemn affirmation respectively, do present that Daniel Hamilton, late of the county of Washington, Yeoman, on the fifteenth day of November, in the year of our Lord one Thousand seven hundred and ninety-one, with force and arms at the county of Washington aforesaid, in and upon one John Connor, in the peace of God and of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, then and there being an assault, did make, and him, the said John, did beat, wound and evilly treat so that his life was Greatly dispaired of, and other wrongs then and there did to the great Damage of the said John, and against the peace and Dignity of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

The above is a true copy from the original indictment.


November 21st, 1792.
DEAR GOVERNOR:—In consequence of what passed in a conversation with you respecting the duty imposed on Spirits distilled within the United States, I have consulted the Gentlemen, who are now in the city from the Western Counties, as well as carefully reflected, upon the circumstances relating to the subject, with in my own knowledge, in order to enable me to furnish you with some satisfactory information of the preva[i]ling disposition of the people in that Quarter, upon so interesting an occasion.

And I have the pleasure to assure you, as the result of my enquiries, that a disposition to Male treat the public officers or to make a riotous opposition to the execution of the Excise Law is neither manifested nor patronized by the leading Citizens who inhabit the Western Counties of this State; that the instances of such conduct have been few and too much magnified; that those which have happened, arose, probably, among the People residing in a very small part of the Western District; that whenever they were brought before the State courts the offenders have been legally punished with sufficient severity, and that in my opinion the federal Courts will meet with no interruption, unless it is attempted to transport the persons accused out of the proper Counties for trial. In that case, indeed, I will not undertake for the consequences. Permit me here to observe, that I have been informed that two respectable Citizens in the Town of Washington are indicted upon the Oath of an Hostler of low character; and that those Citizens are actually innocent. I know they are of good character and averse to riots. If they really are innocent, the prosecution may be considered as an unfortunate circumstance, Pregnant with dangerous effects. Those who understand the Excise law best, and are most zealous for to have it repealed, consider every thing riotous and indecent

* William Findley, born in the north of Ireland, 1750. He came to Pennsylvania in early life. Served in the Revolution, and at its close removed to Westmoreland county. Intelligent, and a fluent speaker, he soon became a politician; was a member of the State Legislature, of the Constitutional Convention of 1790, and member of Congress 1791-9 and 1803-17. He aided with Gallatin in his opposition to the United States Constitution. He published "A Review of the Funding System," 1794, "History of the Insurrection in Western Pennsylvania," 1796,and "Observations," vindicating religious liberty against S. B. Wylie. He died in Unity township, Westmoreland county, April 5, 1821.

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