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: s2v4c


Short bios of David Bradford, Josiah Harmar, Hugh Henry Brackenridge, Presley Neville


WASHINGTON, Aug. 6, 1794.
GENTLEMEN:—I presume you have heard of the spirited opposition given to the excise law in this States. Matters have been so brought to pass here, that all are under the necessity of bringing their minds to a final conclusion. This has been the question amongst us some days: Shall we disapprove of the conduct of those engaged against Neville the excise officer or approve? Or in other words, shall we suffer them to fall a sacrifice to Federal prosecution, or shall we support them? On the result of this business we have fully deliberated and have determined with head, heart, hand and voice that we will support, the opposition to the excise law. The crisis is now come, submission or opposition. We are determined in the opposition. We are determined in future to act agreeably to system, to form arrangements, guided by reason, prudence, fortitude and spirited conduct. We have proposed a general meeting of the four counties of Pennsylvania, and have invited our brethern in the neighboring counties in Virginia to come forward and join us in council and deliberation on this important crisis, and conclude upon measures interesting to the western counties of Pennsylvania and Virginia. A notification of this kind may be seen

* DAVID BRADFORD, a native of Maryland, was a prominent lawyer of Washington county, extensively known and wielded an immense influence. He was admitted to the bar in 1782, and the year after was appointed District Attorney General. He was one of the commissioners for the laying out and sale of lots at Fort McIntosh, now Beaver, in 1792-3, and from his correspondence seems to have been a person of great influence with the State authorities. At the time of the adoption of the Constitution he was a zealous Federalist. When the Convention of the four western counties met at Pittsburgh, September 7, 1791, Mr. Bradford was one of the three representatives from Washington county. He was one of the Committee calling the people to rendezvous at Braddock's Field, August 1, 1794. There, so great was his popularity and eloquence, he was unanimously elected the Major General to command the forces. When Government issued the amnesty proclamation, all the citizens were included except Bradford. No pardon was to be extended to him. He fled to Bayou Sara, in Louisiana Territory, then in possession of Spain, and died there. While a resident of Washington he was courted for his genial manners and warm-hearted disposition. He erected the first stone house at the county town, which is yet standing.

[96] in the Pittsburgh paper. Parkinson's Ferry is the place proposed, as most central, and the 14th of August the time. We solicit you (by all the ties that an union of interest can suggest) to come forward to join with us in our deliberations. The cause is common to us all; we invite you to come, even should you differ with us in opinion; we wish you to hear our reasons influencing our conduct.

Yours with esteem,


DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Aug't 7th, 1794.
SIR:—The President of the United States has directed me to acknowledge the Receipt of your letter of the 5th instant and to communicate to you the following reply:

In requesting an interview with you, on the subject of the recent disturbances in the western parts of Pennsylvania, the President, besides the desire of manifesting a respectful attention to the Chief Magistrate of a State immediately affected, was influenced by the hope that a free conference, guided by a united and comprehensive view of the Constitutions of the United States and of Pennsylvania, and of the respective institutions, authorities, rights and duties of the two Governments, would have assisted him in forming more precise Ideas of the nature of the co-operation, which could be established between them, and a better judgment of the plan, which it might be advisable for him to pursue, in the execution of his trust in so important and delicate a conjuncture. This having been his object, it is matter of some regret, that the course which has been suggested by you, as proper to be pursued, seems to have contemplated Pennsylvania in a light too separate and unconnected. The propriety of that course, in most, if not in all respects, would be susceptible of little question; if there were no Federal Government, Federal Laws, Federal Judiciary, or Federal Officers, if important laws of the United States, by a series of violent, as well as of artful expedients, had not been frustrated in their execution for more than three years—if officers immediately charged with that execution, after suffering much and repeated insult, abuse, personal ill treatment, and the destruction of property, had not been compelled for safety to fly the places of their residence, and the scenes of their official duties, if the service of the processes of a court of the United States, had not been resisted, the marshal of the District made, and detained for some [97] time prisoner and compelled for safety also to abandon the performance of his duty, and return by a circuitous route to the Seat of Government; if, in fine, a judge of the United States had not, in due form of law, notified to the President, ''that in the counties of Washington and Allegheny, in Pennsylvania, laws of the United States are opposed, and the execution thereof obstructed, by combination too powerful to be suppressed by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings or by the powers vested in the marshal of that District." It is true, your Excellency has remarked that in the plan suggested, you have only spoken as the Executive magistrate of Pennsylvania, charged with a general superintendence and care, that the laws of the Commonwealth be fully executed, leaving it implicitly to the Judgment of the President to choose, on such evidence as he approves, the measures for discharging the analogous trust, which is confided to him in relation to the laws of the Union. But it is impossible not to think that the current of the observations in your letter, especially as to the consequences which may result from the employment of coercive measures previous to the preliminary course which is indicated in it, may be construed to imply a virtual disapprobation of that plan of conduct on the part of the General Government in the actual stage of its affairs, which you acknowledge would be proper on the part of the government of Pennsylvania, if arrived at a similar stage. Let it be assumed here (to be more particularly shewn hereafter) that the Government of the United States is now at that point, where it is admitted, if the Government of Pennsylvania was, the employment of force, by its authority, would be justifiable, and let the following extracts be consulted for the truth of the inference which has been just expressed: "Will not the resort to force, inflame and cement the existing opposition? Will it not associate in a common resistance those who have hitherto peaceably, as well as those who have riotously expressed their abhorrence of the Excise? Will it not collect and combine every latent principle of discontent, arising from the supposed oppressive operations of the Federal Judiciary, the obstruction of the western navigation and a variety of other local sources? May not the magnitude of the opposition on the part of the ill disposed, or the dissatisfaction of a premature resort to arms, on the part of the well disposed citizens of the State, eventually involve the necessity of employing the Militia of other States? And the accumulation of discontent, which the jealousy engendered by that movement may produce, who can calculate, or who will be able to avert?"

[98] These important questions naturally give birth to the following serious reflections. The issues of human affairs are in the hand of Providence. Those entrusted with them in society have no other sure guide than the sincere and faithful discharge of their duty, according to the best of their judgments. In emergencies great and difficult, not to act with an energy proportioned to their magnitude and pressure, it is as dangerous as any other conceivable courses. In the present case, not to exert the means, which the laws prescribe for effectuating their own execution, would be to sacrifice those laws and with them the Constitution, the Government, the principles of social order, and the bulwarks of private right and security. What worse can happen from the exertion of those means?

If, as cannot be doubted, the great Body of the Citizens of the United States are attached to the Constitution, which they have established for the management of their common concerns, if they are resolved to support their own authority in that of the constitutional Laws, against disorderly and violent combinations of comparatively small portions of the community—if they are determined to protect each other in the enjoyment of security to person and property—if they are decided to preserve the character of republican Government, by evincing that it has adequate resources for maintaining the public order—if they are persuaded that their safety and their welfare are materially connected with the preservation of the Union, and consequently of a Government adequate to its exigencies; in fine, if they are disposed to continue that State of respectability and prosperity, which is now deservedly the admiration of mankind—the Enterprise to be accomplished, should a resort to force prove inevitable, though disagreeable and painful, cannot be arduous or alarming.

If in addition to these dispositions in the community at large, the officers of the Governments of the respective States, feeling it to be not only a patriotic, but a constitutional duty (inculcated by the oath enjoined upon all the officers of a State, legislative, Executive & Judicial) to support in their several stations the Constitution of the United States—shall be disposed as occasion may require (a thing as little to be doubted as the former) with sincerity and good faith to co-operate with the Government of the United States, to second with all their influence and weight its legal and necessary measures by a real and substantial concert; then the enterprise to be accomplished can hardly ever be deemed difficult.

But if contrary to the anticipations which are entertained of these favorable dispositions, the great Body of the people should be found indifferent to the preservation of the Government of the Union, or insensible to the necessity of vigorous exertions [99] to repel the dangor which threatens their most important interests, or if an unwillingness to encounter partial inconveniences should interfere with the discharge of what they owe to their permanent welfare, or if either yielding to the suggestions of particular prejudices, or misled by the arts which may be employed to infuse jealousy and discontent, they should suffer their zeal for the support of public order to be relaxed by an unfavorable opinion of the merits and tendency of the measures which may be adopted, if above all, it were possible, that any of the State Governments should, instead of prompting the exertions of the Citizens, assist directly or indirectly in damping their ardor, by giving a wrong biass to their judgment or by disseminating dissatisfaction with the proceedings of the General Government, or should counteract the success of those proceedings by any sinister influence whatever, then, indeed, no one can calculate, or may be able to avert, the fatal evils with which such a state of things would be pregnant. Then, indeed, the foundations of our political happiness may be deeply shaken, if not altogether overturned.

The President, however, can suppose none of these things. He cherishes an unqualified confidence in the virtue and good sense of the people, in the integrity and patriotism of the officers of the State Governments, and he counts absolutely on the same affectionate support which he has experienced upon all former occasions, and which he is conscious that the goodness of his intentions now, not less than heretofore, merits.

It has been promised to shew more particularly hereafter that the Government of the United States is now at that point where it is confessed if the State Government was, the employment of force on its part would be justifiable. This promise remains to be fulfilled.

The facts already noted establish the conclusion, but to render it palpable, it will be of use to apply them to the positions which your Excellency has been pleased to lay down.

You admit that as the offences committed respect the State, the military power of the Government ought to be employed where its judiciary authority, after a fair experiment, had proved incompetent to enforce obedience or to punish infractions of the law, that if the strength and audacity of a lawless combination shall baffle and destroy the efforts of the judiciary authority, to recover a penalty or inflict a punishment that authority may constitutionally claim the auxiliary intervention of the military power; that in the resort, at the requisition, and as an auxiliary of the Civil authority the military force of the State would be called forth. And you declare that the circumstances [100] of the case evidently require a firm and energetic conduct on the part both of the State and General Government.

For more than three years, as already observed, certain laws of the United States have been obstructed in their execution by disorderly combinations. Not only officers, whose immediate duty it was to carry them into effect, have suffered violent personal outrage and injury, and destruction of property, at different times, but similar persecution has been extended to private citizens who have aided, countenanced or only complied with the laws. The violences committed have been so frequent, and such in their degree as to have been matters of general notoriety and alarm, and it may be added that they have been abundantly within the knowledge and under the notice of the Judges and Marshals of Pennsylvania of superior as well as of inferior jurisdiction. If in particular instances they have been punished by the exertions of the magistrates, it is at least certain, that their efforts have been in the main ineffectual. The spirit has continued and, with some intervals of relaxation, has been progressive, manifesting itself in re-iterated excesses. The judiciary authority of the United States has also, prior to the attempt which preceded the late crisis, made some fruitless efforts. Under a former Marshal, an officer sent to execute process was deterred from it by the manifest danger of proceeding. These particulars serve to explain the extent, obstinacy and inveteracy of the evil.

But the facts which immediately decide the complection of the existing crisis are these. Numerous delinquencies existed with regard to a compliance with the laws laying duties on spirits distilled within the United States and upon Stills. An armed Banditti, in disguise, had recently gone to the house of an officer of the Revenue, in the night, attacked it, broken open the doors, and by menaces of instant death enforced by pistols presented at him, had compelled a surrender of his Commission and books of office. Cotemporary acts of violence had been perpetrated in other quarters. Processes issued out of a court of the United States to recover the penalties incident to non-compliance with the laws, and to bring to punishment the violent infractors of them, in the above mentioned case, against two of whom indictments had been found. The marshal of the District went in person to execute these processes. In the course of his duty he was actually fired upon on the high road by a body of armed men. Shortly after, other bodies of armed men (in the last instance amounting to several hundred persons) repeatedly attacked the house of the Inspector of the Revenue with the declared intention of compelling him to renounce his Office and of obstructing the execution of the laws. One of these Bodies of armed men made prisoner of the Marshal of the District, put [101] him in jeopardy of his life and did not release him till, for safety and to obtain his liberty, he engaged to forbear the further execution of the processes with which he was charged. In consequence of further requisitions and menaces of the insurgents, the Marshal, together with the Inspector of the Revenue, have been since under the necessity of flying secretly and by a circuitous route from the scene of these transactions towards the Seat of Government.

An associate Justice, pursuant to the provisions of the laws for that purpose, has in the manner already stated officially notified the President of the existence of combinations in two of the counties of this State to obstruct the execution of the Laws, too powerful to be suppressed by the Judiciary Authority or by the Powers of the Marshal.

Thus then, is it unequivocally and in due form, ascertained in reference to the Government of the United States. That the Judiciary authority, after a fair and full experiment, has proved incompetent to inforce obedience to, or to punish infractions of the laws, that the strength and audacity of certain lawless combinations have baffled and destroyed the efforts of the Judiciary authority, to recover penalties or inflict punishment, and that this authority, by a regular notification of this state of things, has in the last resort, as an auxiliary of the civil authority, claimed the intervention of the Military Power of the United States. It results from these facts, that the case exists when, according to the position advanced by your Excellency in reference to the State Government, the military power may, with due regard to all the requisite cautions, be rightfully interposed. And that the interposition of this power is called for, not only by principles of a firm and energetic conduct, on the part of the General Government, but by the indispensable duty, which the Constitution and the Laws prescribe to the Executive of the United States.

In this conclusion, your Excellency's discernment, on mature reflection cannot, it is presumed, fail to acquiesce, nor can it refuse its concurrence in the Opinion which the President entertains that he may reasonably expect when called for, the zealous cooperation of the militia of Pennsylvania, that as citizen, friends to law and order, they may comply with the call without anything that can be properly denominated "a passive obedience to the mandates of Government," and that as freemen, judging rightly of the cause and nature of the service proposed to them, they will feel themselves under the most sacred of obligations to accept and to perform it with alacrity. The theory of our political institutions knows no difference between the obligations of our citizens in such a case, whether it relate to the Gov- [102] ernment of the Union or of a State, and it is hoped and confided that a difference will be as little known to their affections or opinions.

Your Excellency, it is also presumed, will as little doubt, on the like mature reflection, that in such a case, the President could not, without an abdication of the undoubted rights and authorities of the United States and of his Duty, postpone the measures for which the laws of the United Stares provide, to a previous experiment of the plan which is delineated in your letter.

The people of the United States have established a Government for the management of their general interests. They have instituted Executive Organs for administering that government, and their Representatives have established the rules by which those organs are to act, when their authority in that of their government is attacked by lawless combinations of the citizens of part of a State, they could never be expected to approve that the care of vindicating their authority, of enforcing their laws, should be transferred from the officers of their own government to those of a State; and this, to wait the issue of a process so undeterminate in its duration, as that which it is proposed to pursue; comprehending a further and full experiment of the Judiciary authority of the State, a proclamation "to declare the sentiments of its Government, announce a determination to prosecute and punish offenders, and to exhort the citizens at large to pursue a peaceable and patriotic conduct;" the sending of commissioners "to address those who have embarked in the present combinations, upon the lawless nature find ruinous tendency of their proceedings, to inculcate the necessity of an immediate return to the Duty which they owe their country, and to promise, as far as the State is concerned, forgiveness of their past transactions, upon receiving a satisfactory assurance, that, in future, they will submit to the laws;" and finally, a call of the Legislature of Pennsylvania, "that the ultimate means of subduing the Spirit of Insurrection and of restoring tranquility and order may be prescribed by their wisdom und authority."

If there were no other objection to a transfer of this kind, the very important difference which is supposed to exist in the nature and consequences of the offences that have been committed in the contemplation of the laws of the United States and of those of Pennsylvania, would alone be a very serious obstacle.

The paramount considerations, which forbid an acquiescence in this course proceeding, render it unnecessary to discuss the probability of its success, else it might have been proper to [103] test the considerations, which have been mentioned as a ground of hope, by the inquiry, what was the precise extent of the success of past experiments, and especially, whether the execution of the Revenue Laws of Pennsylvania within the scene in question, was truly and effectually accomplished by them, or whether they did not rather terminate in a tacit compromise, by which appearances only were saved.

You are already, Sir, advised that the President, yielding to the impressions which have been stated, has determined to take measures for calling forth the militia, and that these measures contemplate the assembling a Body of between twelve and thirteen thousand men, from Pennsylvania and the neighboring States of Virginia, Maryland and New Jersey. The recourse thus early to the militia of the neighboring States proceeds from a probability of the insufficiency of that of Pennsylvania alone, to accomplish the object, your Excellency having in your conference with the President, confirmed the conclusion, which was deducible from the known local and other circumstances of the State, by the frank and express declaration which you made of your conviction of that insufficiency, in reference to the number which could be expected to be drawn forth for the purpose.

But while the President has conceived himself to be under an indispensable obligation to prepare for that eventual resort, he has still consulted the sentiment of regret which he expressed to you, at the possible necessity of an appeal to arms, and to avert it, if practicable, as well as to manifest his attention to the principle, that "a firm and energetic conduct does not preclude the exercise of a prudent and humane policy," he has (as you have been also advised) concluded upon the measure of sending, himself, Commissioners to the discontented counties, to make one more experiment of a conciliatory appeal to the reason, virtue and patriotism of their inhabitants, and has also signified to you how agreeable would be to him, your co-operation in the same expedient, which you have been pleased to afford. It can scarcely be requisite to add, that there is nothing he has more at heart, than that the issue of this experiment, by establishing the authority of the laws, may preclude the always calamitous necessity of an appeal to arms. It would plant a Thorn in the remainder of his path through life to have been obliged to employ force against fellow citizens, for giving solidity and permanency to blessings, which it has been his greatest happiness to co-operate with them in procuring for a much loved country.

The President receives with much pleasure the assurance you have repeated to him, that whatever requisition he may make, whatever duty he may impose, in pursuance of his constitu- [104] tional and legal powers, will on your part be promptly undertaken and faithfully discharged; and acknowledging, as an earnest of this and even more, the measures of co-operation which you are pursuing, he assures you in return that he relies fully on the most cordial aid and support from you in every way, which the Constitutions of the United States & of Pennsylvania shall authorize and present or future exigencies may require.

And he requests that you will construe, with a reference to this assurance of his Confidence, whatever remarks may have been made in the course of this reply to your letter; if it shall have happened that any of them have erred through a misconception of the sentiments and views which you may have meant to communicate.

With perfect respect,
I have the honor to be, Sir,
Your Excellency's mo. ob. serv.,
ED'W RANDOLPH, Secretary of State.

His Excellency Gov'r MIFFLIN.


WAR DEPARTMENT, August 7th, 1794
Sir:—The President of the United States, after the most solemn deliberation, has deemed it incumbent upon him to issue the proclamation herein enclosed, and to take other legal measures for causing the laws of the United States to be duly observed in the western parts of the State of Pennsylvania according to the purport of the said proclamation.

In pursuance of this determination, he has directed me to request your Excellency forthwith to issue your orders for organizing and holding in readiness to march at a moment's warning, a Corps of the Militia of Pennsylvania, amounting to Five thousand two hundred non-commissioned officers and privates, with a due proportion of commissioned officers, according to my letter of the 19 May last, armed and equipped as completely as possible, with the articles in possession of the State of Pennsylvania, or of the Individuals who shall compose the Corps.

If, however, it should be impracticable to arm and equip completely the said Corps, the deficiency will be furnished by the United States, on information thereof being transmitted to this office—as will, also, tents, camp kettles and other articles, of Camp Equipage, and Musket Cartridges, Artillery, and the Ammunition and apparatus thereunto belonging.

[105] It is desired that the Corps should consist of Four thousand five hundred Infantry, Five hundred Cavalry and Two hundred Artillery. This is mentioned as a general idea, but your Excellency will regulate its composition according to the facility with which troops of different descriptions may be obtained.

As soon as this Corps shall be in readiness, your Excellency will please to notify the same to this office. The time and place of rendezvous will be hereafter designated. The President defers naming them at present, and until the effect of certain pacific measures, which he is about trying with the deluded insurgents, shall be known.

An arrangement for furnishing rations and other necessary supplies will be hereafter notified.

The force to be called out will be according to the following Schedule:

  Infantry Cavalry Artillery  
New Jersey 1,500 500 100  
Pennsylvania 4,500 500 200  
Maryland 2,000 200 150  
Virginia 3,000 300    
Total 11,000 1,500 450 12,950

I have the honor to be, with great respect,
Your Excellency's obedient Servant,
H. KNOX, Sec'y of War.

His Excellency Governor Mifflin.


By Authority, By the President of the United States of America.


WHEREAS, Combinations to defeat the execution of the laws laying duties upon Spirits distilled within the United States and upon Stills, have from the time of the commencement of those laws existed in some of the Western parts of Pennsylvania:

And, whereas, The said combinations proceeding in the manner subversive equally of the just authority of government, and of the rights of individuals, have hitherto effected their dangerous and criminal purpose, by the influence of certain irregular meetings, whose proceedings have tended to encourage and uphold the spirit of opposition, by misrepresentations of the laws, cal-[106] culated to render them odious by endeavours to deter those who might be so disposed from accepting offices under them, through fear of public resentment and of injury to person and property; and to compel those who had accepted such offices, by actual violence, to surrender or to forbear the execution of them, by circulating vindictive menaces against all those who should otherwise directly or indirectly aid in the execution of the said laws, or who yielding to the dictates of conscience and to a sense of obligation should themselves comply therewith, by actually injuring and destroying the property of persons who were understood to have so complied, by inflicting cruel and humiliating punishments upon private citizens for no other cause than that of appearing to be the friends of the laws, by intercepting the public officers on the highways, abusing, assaulting and otherwise ill-treating them, by going to their houses in the night, gaining admittance by force, taking away their papers and committing outrages; employing for these unwarrantable purposes the agency of armed banditti, disguised in such manner, as for the most part to escape discovery:

And whereas, The endeavours of the Legislature to obviate objections to the said laws by lowering the duties and by other alterations conducive to the convenience of those whom they immediately effect, (though they have given satisfaction in other quarters,) and the endeavours of the Executive Officers to conciliate a compliance with the laws, by explanations, by forbearance, and even by particular accommodations founded on the suggestion of local considerations, have been disappointed of their effect by the machinations of persons whose industry to excite resistance has increased with every appearance of a disposition among the people to relax in their opposition and to acquiesce in the laws, insomuch that many persons in the said Western parts of Pennsylvania have at length been hardy enough to perpetrate acts, which I am advised, amount to treason, being overt acts of levying war against the United States; the said persons having on the sixteenth and seventeenth of July last past, proceeded in arms on the second day amounting to several hundred, to the House of John Neville, Inspector of the revenue for the fourth survey of the district of Pennsylvania, having repeatedly attacked the said House with the persons therein, wounding some of them; having seized David Lenox, Marshal of the district of Pennsylvania, who previous thereto had been fired upon while in the execution of his duty by a party of armed men, detaining him for some time prisoner, till, for the preservation of his life and the obtaining of his liberty, he found it necessary to enter into stipulations to forbear the execution of certain official duties touching processes issuing out [107] of a Court of the United States, and having finally obliged the said inspector of the revenue and the said Marshal from considerations of personal safety to fly from that part of the County, in order by a circuitous route to proceed to the seat of Government, avowing as the motives of these outrageous proceedings, an intention to prevent, by force of arms, the execution of the said laws, to oblige the said inspector of the revenue to renounce his said office to withstand by open violence the lawful authority of the United States, and to compel thereby an alteration in the measures of the Legislature and a repeal of the laws aforesaid:

And whereas, By a law of the United States, intitled "An Act to provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the laws of the Union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions," it is enacted that whenever the laws of the United States shall be opposed, or the execution thereof obstructed in any State by combinations too powerful to be suppressed by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings, or by the powers vested in the Marshal by that act, the same being notified by an associate Justice or a district Judge, it shall be lawful for the President of the United States to call forth the Militia of such State to suppress such combinations, and to cause the laws to be duly executed. And if the Militia of a State where such combinations may happen, shall refuse or be insufficient to suppress the same, it shall be lawful for the President, if the Legislature shall not be in session, to call forth and employ such number of the Militia of any other State or States most convenient thereto, as may be necessary; and the use of the militia so to be called forth maybe continued, if necessary, until the expiration of thirty days after the commencement of the ensuing session: Provided, always, That whenever it may be necessary, in the judgment of the President, to use the Militia force hereby directed to be called forth, the President shall forthwith, and previous thereto, by Proclamation, command such insurgents to disperse and retire peaceably to their respective abodes within a limited time:

And whereas, James Wilson, an associate justice, on the fourth instant, by writing under his hand, did, from evidence which had been laid before him, notify to me, that "in the counties of Washington and Allegheny, in Pennsylvania, laws of the United States are opposed, and the execution thereof obstructed by combinations too powerful to be suppressed by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings, or by the powers vested in the Marshal of the district:"

And whereas, It is, in my Judgment, necessary under the circumstances of the case, to take measures for calling forth the Militia in order to suppress the combinations aforesaid, and to cause the laws to be duly executed, and I have accordingly de- [108] termined so to do, feeling the deepest regret for the occasion, but withal, the most solemn conviction, that the essential interest of the Union demand it, that the very existence of the Government and the fundamental principles of social order are materially involved in the issue, and that the patriotism and firmness of all good citizens are seriously called upon as occasion may require, to aid in the suppression of so fatal a spirit;

Wherefore, and in pursuance of the proviso above recited, I GEORGE WASHINGTON, President of the United States, do hereby command all persons, being insurgents, as aforesaid, and all others whom it may concern, on or before the first day of September next, to disperse and retire peaceably to their respective abodes. And I do, moreover, warn all persons whomsoever, against aiding, abetting or comforting the perpetrators of the aforesaid treasonable acts; and do require all officers and other citizens, according to their respective duties and the laws of the !and, to exert their utmost endeavors to prevent and suppress such dangerous proceedings.

In Testimony, whereof, I have caused the seal {SEAL} of the United States of America to be affixed to these presents, and signed the same with my Hand. Done at the City of Philadelphia the seventh day of August, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-four, and of the Independence of the United States of America the Nineteenth.




Pennsylvania, ss:

{SEAL} In the name and by the authority of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, by THOMAS MIFFLIN, Governor of the said Commonwealth.


WHEREAS, Information has been received that several lawless bodies of armed men have, at sundry times, assembled in the county of Allegheny, within the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and being so assembled, have committed various cruel and aggravated acts of riot and arson; and more particularly, that on the 17th ultimo, one of the said lawless bodies of armed men attacked the dwelling house of John Nevill, Esq., Inspector [109] of the Revenue for the fourth survey of the district of Pennsylvania; and after firing upon and wounding sundry persons employed in protecting and defending the said dwelling house, set fire to, and totally burned and destroyed the same, together with the furniture and effects therein, and the barns, stables, and other buildings thereto adjoining and appurtenant:

And whereas, It appears from the Proclamation of the President of the United States, bearing date this day, as well as from other evidence, that the outrages and criminal proceedings aforesaid have been undertaken and prosecuted by certain unlawful combinations of persons, who thereby design to obstruct and have actually obstructed the execution of the laws of the United States; and that by reason thereof, in pursuance of the authority in him vested, he has resolved to call forth the militia, for the purpose of suppressing the said unlawful combinations, and of enforcing the execution of the laws so obstructed as aforesaid:

And whereas, Every good and enlightened citizen must perceive how unworthy it is thus riotously to oppose the Constitution and Laws of our country, (the Government and Laws of the State being herein as much affected as the Government and Laws of the United States) which were formed by the deliberate will of the People, and which (by the same legitimate authority) can, in a regular course, be peaceably amended or altered. How incompatible it is with the principles of a Republican Government, and dangerous in point of precedent, that a minority should attempt to control the majority, or a part of the community undertake to prescribes to the whole! how indispensable, though painful an obligation is imposed upon the officers of government, to employ the public force for the purpose of subduing and punishing such unwarrantable proceedings, when the judiciary authority has proved incompetent to the task; And how necessary it is, that the deluded rioters aforesaid should be bro't to a just sense of their duty, as a longer deviation from it, must inevitably be destructive of their own happiness, as well us injurious to the reputation and prosperity of their country:

And whereas, Entertaining a just sense of my federal obligations,and feeling a perfect conviction of the necessity of pursuing immediate measures to suppress the spirit of insurrection, which has appeared as aforesaid, and to restore tranquility and order—I have heretofore given instructions to the proper officers of the Commonwealth, to investigate the circumstances of the said riots, to ascertain the names of the rioters, and to institute the regular process of the law for bringing the offenders to justice;

Now, therefore, I have deemed it expedient, also to issue this proclamation, hereby publicly announcing my determination, [110] by all lawful means, to cause to be prosecuted and punished, all persons whomsoever, that have engaged or shall engage in any of the unlawful combinations or proceedings aforesaid: And further declaring, That whatever requisition the President of the United States shall make, or whatever duty he shall impose in pursuance of his constitutional and legal powers, for the purpose of maintaining the authority, and executing the laws of the United States—will, on my part, be promptly undertaken and faithfully discharged: And all judges, justices, sheriffs, coroners, constables and other officers of the Commonwealth, according to the duties of their respective stations, are hereby required and enjoined to employ all lawful means for discovering, apprehending, securing, trying and bringing to justice, each and every person concerned in the said riots and unlawful proceedings.

Given under my Hand and the Great Seal of the State, at Philadelphia, this seventh day of August, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety-four, and of the Commonwealth the Nineteenth.


By the Governor: A. J. DALLAS, Secretary of the Commonwealth.


Philadelphia, 8th Aug., 1794
SIR.—The President of the United States having deemed it incumbent upon him after the most solemn deliberation, to issue his proclamation, dated the 7th inst., and to take other legal measures for causing the laws of the United States to be duly observed in the Western parts of the State of Pennsylvania, according to the purport of the said proclamation, has issued his requisition, for forthwith organizing and holding in readiness, to march at a moment's warning, a corps of the militia of Pennsylvania, amounting to 5,200 non-commissioned officers and privates, with a due proportion of commissioned officers, according to the letter of the Secretary at war, dated the 19th of May last and communicated to you in my letter of the 21st of the same month; the corps to be armed and equipped as completely as possible with the articles in possession of the state of Pennsylvania or of the individuals who compose it.

You will, therefore, Sir, forthwith issue general orders for calling into actual service, and to be held in readiness to march at a moment's warning, the part of the militia specified in the [111] enclosed roll, by the classes most convenient to the citizens and best adapted to a prompt compliance with the President's requisition; the part so called not exceeding four classes of the militia of the respective brigades.

Should it be impracticable to arm and equip completely the said corps, you will give me the earliest possible notice thereof, that I may inform the President, who will direct the deficiency to be furnished by the department of war, as well as tents, camp-kettles and other articles of equipage, and musket cartridges, artillery and the apparatus thereunto belonging.

The time and place of rendezvous will be hereafter designated; and the arrangements for furnishing rations, and other necessary supplies, will be seasonably notified.

On this occasion, sir, I must entreat the pointed attention, as well on our part as on the part of the corps that is to be drafted, for the purpose of manifesting a just sense of the obedience which is due to the laws of our country, and the patriotic zeal with which the freemen of Pennsylvania, will on every emergency, maintain the government that they have established. It is to be seriously lamented, that an occasion should ever arise for arming one part of the community against another; but if every conciliatory measure that can be devised to rescue the inhabitants of the western counties from their delusion should be abortive, the officers of government might well be charged with an abandonment of their trust, if they omitted to employ any other legitimate means for enforcing obedience and submission to the laws. In that unhappy event, the issue must be, whether upon the pure principles of a republican government, the minority shall be allowed by violence to supersede the will of the majority; to substitute the law of arms for the law of reason, and fatally to convert the peace, happiness and order, which we now enjoy, into a scene of war, wretchedness & anarchy. If I am at all acquainted with the general character and feelings of my fellow citizens, they will not hesitate to decide this great and interesting question upon the principles of patriotism, which in this case are likewise the genuine principles of self-love, and should the awful necessity of an appeal to arms be matured beyond the power of amicable accommodation, I expect from every good citizen that firm and active support, by which the freedom and independence of our country were acquired and by which they must ever be preserved.

Still, however, I indulge an anxious hope, that the liberal forbearance of government, and the virtuous reflections of those, who at present oppose its legitimate measures, will avert the storm that threatens and enable us to embrace as brethren, those [112] who we must otherwise, for the sake of every social blessing, but with grief and commiseration, encounter as enemies.

You will be pleased, Sir, to omit no proper step for placing the corps in a state of readiness to march; and as soon as it is so, you will communicate the same to me.

I am, Sir, Your most obedient servant,

To JOSIAH HARMAR, Esq., Adjutant General of the Militia of Pennsylvania.

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Pennsylvania, ss: In the name and by the authority of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, by THOMAS MIFFLIN, Governor of the said Commonwealth, {SEAL}


WHEREAS, It appears in and by a Proclamation of the President of the United States bearing even date herewith, that certain acts have been perpetrated in the western parts of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, which he is advised amount to treason, being over acts of levying war against the United States; that James Wilson, an Associate Justice, on the fourth instant, by writing under his hand, did, from evidence which had been laid before him, notify to the President that in the counties of Washington and Allegheny, in Pennsylvania, laws of the United States are opposed and the execution thereof obstructed by combinations too powerful to be suppressed by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings or by the powers vested in the Marshal of the district; and that in the judgment of the President it is necessary, under the circumstances of the case, to take measures for calling forth the Militia in order to suppress the combinations aforesaid and to cause the laws to be duly executed:

And Whereas, It appears to me expedient, that on this extraordinary occasion, the General Assembly should be convened for the purpose of taking the premises into their serious consideration of devising the necessary means to maintain the peace and dignity of the commonwealth and of providing more effectually than the existing laws provide for organizing, arming and equipping the Militia, in order to insure a prompt and faithful compliance with the orders of government, and of such requisitions as the President shall make in pursuance of his constitutional and legal powers. Therefore, and by virtue of the authority in such case to me given, in and by the Constitution of the Commonwealth, I have issued this Proclamation, hereby convening the General Assembly to meet at the State House in the City of Philadelphia on Monday the first day of September next, and of which meeting all persons therein concerned are required to take due notice.

Given under my Hand and the Great Seal of the said Commonwealth at Philadelphia, this seventh day of August, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety-four, and of the Commonwealth the nineteenth.

By the Governor:
A. J. DALLAS, Secretary of the Commonwealth.


Philadelphia, Aug 8th, 1794.
SIR:—The Governor having issued orders for calling into actual service, and holding in readiness to march at a moment's warning a body of 5,200 militia, (in pursuance of the requisition of the President of the United States, contained in a letter from the Secretary at War, dated the 7th instant,) I have subjoined a copy of these orders to guide your conduct in organizing the quota consisting of 559, officers and privates included, to be drafted from your brigade; and I entreat, in the most earnest manner, that you will, with all possible dispatch, execute the business committed to you upon this important occasion. If it should be impracticable to arm and equip completely the above quota, either with the public arms and equipments in your custody, or with such as belong to the individuals who compose it, you will be pleased to take the earliest opportunity of letting me know your situation in that respect, in order that a proper application may be made to supply the deficiency.

It is unnecessary, I am persuaded, to add to the instructions of the Governor, either to explain the nature of the service or the necessity of exercising all your diligence to promote it: It may be proper to request, however, that you will be pleased to

*JOSIAH HARMAR was born in Philadelphia 1753. He was educated chiefly at Robert Proud's school. Made captain 1st Pennsylvania regiment in October, 1776; was its Lieutenant-Colonel in 1777, and until the close of the Revolution. He was in Washington's army in the campaigns of 1778-80; served under Greene in the South, 1781-2, and was made Brevet-Colonel First United States regiment September 30, 1783. In 1784 he took to France the ratification of the definitive treaty. As Indian agent of the North-West Territory, he was present at the treaty at Fort Stanwix, January 20, 1785. He was appointed Lieutenant Colonel of Infantry under the Confederation, August 12, 1784; Brevet Brigadier General by resolve of Congress, July 31, 1787, and General-in-Chief of the army, September 29, 1789. He commanded an expedition against the Miami Indians September 30, 1790, and partially defeated, October 22, 1790. Resigned January 1, 1792 and appointed Adjutant General of Pennsylvania, serving in that position during the whole of Governor Mifflin's administration. He was active in preparing and furnishing the Pennsylvania troops for the defence of the frontiers in 1793-4, and during the insurrection of 1794. He died at Philadelphia, August 20, 1813.

[116] employ the most expeditious conveyance, to report when your quota shall be in readiness to march.

I am Sir,
Your most obedient servant,
JOSIAH HARMAR, Adjutant General.

To LEWIS NICHOLA, ESQ., Brigade Inspector of the Philadelphia City Brigade of the Militia of Pennsylvania.


DEPARTMENT OF STATE, August 8, 1794.
Gentlemen:—In pursuance of instructions from the President of the United States, you, or any one or more of you, are hereby authorized and empowered, forthwith, to repair to the counties on the western side of the Allegheny mountain, in the State of Pennsylvania, there to confer with such bodies or individuals as you may approve, concerning the commotions, which are referred to in the proclamation of the President of the United States, bearing date the 7th day of August instant, and whatsoever promise or engagement you shall make in behalf of the Executive of the United States, the same will be ratified in the most ample manner.

Given under my hand and the seal of office of the Department of State, the eighth day of August, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-four. {SEAL}

EDMUND RANDOLPH, Secretary of State.



Department of State, August 8, 1794.
Gentlemen:—The recent events in the neighborhood of Pittsburgh, have called the attention of the President to the formation of some plan by which the insurrection may be suppressed.

The intelligence which has been transmitted, having been laid before Judge Wilson, he has granted a certificate, declaring that the opposition to the laws of the United States, in the counties of Washington and Allegheny, cannot be suppressed by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings, or the power of the marshal.

[117] You, or any one or more of you, are, therefore, authorized and appointed, forthwith to proceed to the scene of the insurrection, and to confer with any bodies of men or individuals, with whom you shall think proper to confer, in order to quiet and extinguish it. There is reason to believe that a collection of discontented individuals will be found at Mingo creek, on the fourteenth instant, and, as the object of their assembling is undoubtedly to concert measures relative to this very subject, it is indispensably necessary that you should press thither with the utmost expedition. It is uncertain whether they will remain together for a long or short time; therefore, the being on the ground on the day first named for their meeting, is necessary to prevent a miscarriage.

These are the outlines of your communication:

1st. To state the serious impressions which their conduct has excited in the mind of the Executive, and to dilate upon the dangers attending every Government where laws are obstructed in their execution.

2nd. To inform them that the evidence of the late transactions has been submitted to a judge of the Supreme Court, and that he has granted the above mentioned certificate, whence a power has arisen to the President to call out the militia to suppress the insurrection: (See the act of May 2, 1792.)

3rd. To represent to them how painful an idea it is to exercise such a power, and that it is the earnest wish of the President to render it unnecessary by those endeavors which humanity, a love of peace and tranquility, and the happiness of his fellow citizens dictate.

4th. You will then explain your appointment as commissioners, in a language and with sentiments most conciliatory, but reconcilable to the self-respect which this Government ought to observe.

5th. Whether you are to proceed further, and in what manner, must depend upon your judgment and discretion at the moment, after an estimate of the characters with whom you are conversing, their views, their influence, &c.

6th. Whensoever you shall come to the point at which it may be necessary to be explicit, you are to declare that, with respect to the excise law, the President is bound to consider it as much among the laws which he is to see executed, as any other. That as to the repeal of it, he cannot undertake to make any stipulation, that being a subject consigned by the Constitution to the Legislature, from whom alone a change of legislative measures can be obtained. That he is willing to grant an amnesty and perpetual oblivion for everything which has past [passed]; and cannot doubt, that any penalty to which the late transactions may [118] have given birth, under the laws and within the jurisdiction of Pennsylvania, may be also wiped away— but upon the following conditions:

That satisfactory assurances be given that the laws be no longer obstructed in their execution by any combinations, directly or indirectly, and that the offenders against whom process shall issue for a violation of or an opposition to the laws, shall not be protected from the free operation. Nothing will be enforced concerning the duties of former years, if they will fairly comply for the present year.

7th. If they speak of the hardship of being drawn to the federal courts at a distance, to that no other reply can be made than this: That the inconvenience, whatsoever it may be, was the act of their own representatives, and is continued as being still their sense; that, however on all occasions which will permit the State courts to be used without inconvenience to the United States, or danger of their being frustrated in the object of the suits and prosecutions, the State courts will be resorted to, but the choice of jurisdictions must always depend upon the discretion of the United States, and therefore, nothing more specific can be said at present.

8th. Whensoever you shall choose to speak of the ulterior measures of Government, you will say that orders have already issued for the proper militia to hold themselves in readiness, and that everything is prepared for their movement (as will be seen by the proclamation) and is known to yourselves from the communications of the Government, but that these movements will be suspended until you return.

9th. These are said to be the outlines, you will fill them up and modify them so as most effectually to prevent, if possible, the last dreadful necessity which the President so much deprecates; and you may in particular assure any individuals of pardon who will expiate their offence by a compliance with the law.

10th. You will keep the Executive minutely and constantly informed of all your proceedings, and will use expresses whensoever you think proper at the public expense.

11th. You will be allowed eight dollars per day and your expenses, and may employ a proper person to act as your clerk, who shall be paid whatsoever you may certify him to deserve. The sum of one thousand dollars is advanced to you on account.

12th. William Bradford is empowered to add the name of Thomas Smith, or any other proper person, if either J. Ross or J. Yeates shall refuse or be unable to attend.

EDMUND RANDOLPH, Secretary of State.

To James Ross, Jasper Yeates, William Bradford.


PITTSBURGH, August 8th, 1794.
SIR:—I received a few lines from you, Directed to A. Tannehill & myself, Requesting that we Would Exart ourselves In Bringing to Justice those who were concerned in Burning Gener'l Nevel's Buildings. I can, at present, say no more than that Our Laws, Property & all suffers the moment the Smalest attempt is made In Bringing forward any one person who Opposes the Excise Law. The people in this Part of the united States Seem determined. I hope mild Measures, by the heads of government, may be adopted; if otherwise, God alone knows the Event. I Supose you will, through Sundry Chanals, hear such Reports as may convince you & His Excellency the Governor, that it is not in our power to put your orders into Execution.

I'm, with Esteem, your
Most obedient Hum. Ser't,

To A. J. Dallas, ESQ., Sec'y, Philadelphia.


PITTSBURGH, August 8th, 1794.
SIR:—Have received no papers from you; your letter by the post is the first I have heard from you. I take the opportunity

*HUGH HENRY BRACKENRIDGE, was a native of Campbelton, Scotland, where he was born, in 1748. At the age of five he came with his father to Pennsylvania. He became a tutor at Princeton, having graduated at that College in 1771, and was master of an academy in Maryland when the Revolution broke out. He removed to Philadelphia and having studied divinity became a chaplain in the army. Relinquishing the pulpit for the bar, he edited for a time, the U. S. Magazine. In 1781 he settled at Pittsburgh. In 1786 was sent to the Legislature to attain the establishment of the county of Allegheny. Was made a judge in 1789, and from 1799, until his death, was judge of the Supreme Court of the State. The part he took in the Insurrection made him prominent. His course, in that affair, he vindicated in his "History of the Whiskey Insurrection," published the year after. Washington, Hamilton and Mifflin well understood his position. He published a poem on the "Rising Glory of America," 1774; "Eulogium of the Brave who fell in the contest with Great Britain, delivered at Philadelphia, July 4, 1779;" "Modern Chivalry, or the Adventures of Capt. Farrago," 1796, an admirable satire; "Oration, July 4, 1793;" "Gazette Publications collected," 1806. He died at Carlisle on the 25th of June, 1816.

120] to give you, in return, a summary of the present state of this Country, with respect to the opposition that exists to the Excise law. It has its Origin, not in any Anti-Federal spirit, I assure you. It is chiefly the principles and operations of the Law itself that renders it obnoxious. Be this as it may, the facts are these:

The opposition which, for some time, showed itself in resolves of Committees, in representations to Government, in Masked attacks on Insignificant Deputy Excise Officers—for only such would accept the Appointment—did at length, on the appearance of the Marshal, in this County, to serve process, break out in an open and direct attack on the Inspector of the Revenue himself, General Neville. These circumstances you will, by this time, have heard from the General himself, and from the Marshal, Major Lenox. Subsequent to their departure from the country, notice was given of a meeting on the Monongahela River, about 18 miles from the Town of Pittsburgh. Six delegates, of whom I was one, were sent from this Town. Nothing material was done at this meeting, but the measure agreed upon of a more general meeting, on the 14th August, near the same place, to take into view the present State of affairs of the Country.

Subsequent to this the Mail was intercepted. Characters in Pittsburgh became Obnoxious by letters found in which sentiments constructed to evince a bias in favour of the Excise Law were discovered. In consequence of this it was thought necessary to demand of the Town that those persons should be delivered up or expelled or any other obnoxious character that might reside there; also, that the Excise Office, still kept in Pittsburgh, or said to be kept there, should be pulled down; the House of Abraham Kirkpatrick burnt or pulled down, other Houses also that were the property of persons unfavourable to the cause. For this purpose, Circular letters were sent to the Battalions of the Counties, detachments from which met on Braddock's Field to the amount of at least five thousand Men on the second of the month. It was dreaded, on the part of the Town, that from the rage of the people involving the town in the general odium of abetting the excise law, it would be laid in Ashes. And I aver that it would have been the case, had it not been for the prompt and decisive resolutions of the Town to march out and meet them as Brethern, and comply with all demands. This had the effect, and the Battalion marched into Town on the third, and during their delay there and Cantonment in the neighbourhood, with a trifling exception of a Slight damage done to the property of Abraham Kirkpatrick, in the possession of his Tenant, which was afterward compensated, behaved with all the regularity and order of the French or [121] American Armies in their March through a Town during their Revolution with Great Britain.

The Town of Pittsburgh will send delegates to the meeting of the 14th instant. What the result will be I know not. I flatter myself nothing more than to send Commissioners to the President with an address, proposing that he shall delay any attempt to Suppress this Insurrection, as it will be stiled, untill the meeting of Congress. This will be the object, simply and alone, with all that labor to avert a Civil War.

On the part of the Government, I wou'd earnestly pray a delay, untill such address and Commissioners may come forward. This is my object in writing to you this letter, which I desire you to communicate, either by the Gazette or otherwise.

It will be said, this insurrection can be easily suppressed. It is but that of a part of four Counties. Be assured, it is that of the greater part, and I am induced to believe, the three Virginia counties this side the Mountain will fall in. The first measure, then, will be the Organization of a New Government, comprehending the three Virginia Counties and those of Pennsylvania to the Westward, to what extent I know not. This event, which I contemplate with great pain, will be the result of the necessity of self defense. For this reason, I earnestly and anxiously wish that delay on the part of the government may give time to bring about, if practicable, good Order and Subordination. By the time the Congress meets, there may be a favourable issue to the Negotiation with regard to the Navigation of the Mississippi, the Western posts, &c. A suspension of the excise law during the Indian War, a measure I proposed in a publication three years ago in Philadelphia, may perhaps suffice. Being then on an equal footing with other parts of the Union, if they submitted to the law, this Country might also.

I anticipate all that can be said with regard to the example, &c. I may be mistaken, but I am decisive in opinion that the United States cannot effect the operation of the Law in this Country. It is universally odious in the Neighbouring parts of all the Neighbouring States, and the militia, under the Law in the hands of the President, cannot be called out to reduce an opposition. The Midland Counties, I am persuaded, will not even suffer the militia of more distant parts of the Union to pass through them.

But the Excise Law is a branch of the Funding System, detested and abhorred by all the Philosophic Men & the yeomanry of America, those that hold certificates excepted. There is a growling, lurking discontent at this system, that is ready to burst out and discover itself everywhere. I candidly and decidedly tell you, the Chariot of Government has been driven Jehu-like, as to the [122] finances; like that of Phaeton, it has descended from the middle path, and is like to Burn up the American Earth.

Should an attempt be made to suppress these people, I am afraid the question will not be, whether you will March to Pittsburgh, but whether they will March to Philadelphia? accumulating in their course and swelling over the banks of the Susquehanna like a torrent, irresistible and devouring in its progress. There can be no equality of Contest between the rage of a Forrest and the abundance, indolence and opulence of a City. If the President has evinced a prudent and approved delay in the ease of the British Spoilations, in the Case of the Indian Tribes, much more humane and politic will it be to consult the internal peace of the Government, by avoiding force, until every means of accommodation are found unavailing. I deplore my personal situation. I deplore the situation of this Country, should a Civil War ensue.

An application to the British is spoken of, which may God avert. But what will not despair produce?

Your most obed't h'ble serv't, &c,

TENCH COXE, ESQ., Philadelphia.


Saturday, the 9th [2d?] August, 1794.

PRESENT: The President, The Governor, The Secretary of State, The Chief Justice, The Secretary of the Treasury, The Attorney General of the U. S., The Secretary at War, The Attorney General of the State, The Secretary of the Commonwealth.

The President opened the business by stating that it was hardly necessary to prepare the subject of the conference, as it was generally understood, and the circumstances which accompanied it were such as to strike at the root of all law & order; that he was clearly of opinion that the most spirited & firm measures were necessary to rescue the States as well as the general government from impending danger, for if such proceedings were tolerated there was an end to our Constitutions & laws. He then observed that there were some papers besides those already communicated to the Gov'r which would throw additional light on the subject, and he presented them to the Secretary of State who read them aloud.

[123] The papers consisted of letters from Gen'l Nevil, Presley Nevil, Maj. Lenox and Capt. Butler, a Deposition of Col. Menges and a deposition of the Post Rider whose mail had been stopped. In some of the letters were inclosed sundry extracts from the Pittsburgh Gazette which had been published in the papers of Phila.

The President declared his determination to go every length that the Constitution and Laws would permit, but no further; he expressed a wish for the co-operation of the State Government, and he enquired whether the Governor could not adopt some preliminary measures under the State Laws, as the measures of the Gen'l Gov't would be slow, and depended on the certificate of Judge Wilson, to whom the documents had been delivered for his consideration.

The Secretary of State read the act of Congress under which the Gen'l Gov't were proceeding and repeated the enquiries, whether some more expeditious, preliminary course, could not be pursued, referring to a particular act of the state.

The officers of the State Government remaining silent for some time, the Att'y Gen'l of the U. S. turned to the act of the 22d Sept., '83, authorizing calls of the Militia on sudden emergencies, but the Secretary of the Comm'th referred him to a note in the index, sub-joined to title militia, and suggested his opinion that the law referred to was repealed, whereupon the Att'y Gen'l of the U. S. asked the Sec'y of the Com'th, what was his opinion respecting the power of the Governor to call out the Militia on such occasions, to which the secretary replied, that as an individual he had no objection to give a private opinion—that independent of the law referred to, or any other special law, the executive Magistrate was charged with the care of seeing the laws faithfully executed, and that upon the requisition of the civil authority declaiming it incompetent to the task, the very nature of the Executive Magistrate's duty and obligations, required that he should aid the civil authority by an exertion of the military force of the Government.

The intention of proceeding against the Rioters in Allegheny co. being declared by the President, the Chief Justice expressed it as his positive opinion, that the judiciary power was equal to the task of quelling and punishing the riots, and that the employment of a military force, at this period, would be as bad as anything that the Rioters had done—equally unconstitutional and illegal.

The opinion of the Secretary of the Treasury was introduced by argument upon the general necessity of maintaining the Government in its regular authority. He referred to the various co-operating sources of opposition to the Constitution and laws of the U. S., (The Judiciary, excise, Mississippi navigation, [124] erecting a new State, &c., &c.,) and insisted upon the propriety of an immediate resort to Military force. He said that it would not be sufficient to quell the existing riot to restore us to the state in which we were a few weeks back; for, before the present outrages, there was equal opposition to the laws of the U. S., though not expressed in the same manner; but that now the crisis was arrived when it must be determined whether the Government can maintain itself, and that the exertion must be made, not only to quell the rioters, but to protect the officers of the Union in executing their offices, and in compelling obedience to the laws.

The Secretary of the Com'th stated, as information, that in a conversation with Judge Addison, the Judge had declared it, as his opinion that if the business was left to the courts, the rioters might be prosecuted and punished, and the matter peaceably terminated; but that a resort to military force, would unite in the resistance, the peaceable as well as the riotous opponents of the excise, upon the Idea that the military was intended to dragoon them equally into submission. He also stated that similar riots against the excise had been punished in the State courts.

The secretary of the Treasury observed, that the Judge alluded was among those who had most promoted the opposition in an insidious manner, that perhaps it would lead to a disagreeable animadversion to point out the particulars of the Judge's conduct; but that they were stated at large in a report to the President, which the President said was the case.

[Here the minutes of the conference suddenly terminate]


Aug. 9th, 1794.
SIR:—I make no doubt, Before your Excellency receives this, you will have rece'd from J. Bryson, Esq'r, a particular account of the disasters of our County. I am now so far on my way to Philadelphia, under a Guard of the Committee, who are to Escort me to the Town of Greensburg, where I shall, I hope, have the honour of Waiting on you in person.

I am with Respect, your Excellency's very humble Serv't,

THOS. MIFFLIN, Esqr., Governor of Penn'a, Philadelphia.


PHILADELPHIA, 9th August, 1794.
SIR:—I have the honor to inclose, for your information, a copy of the instructions which have been issued, in compliance with your requisition (communicated to me in a letter from the Secretary at War, dated the 7th instant) for organizing and holding in readiness to march, at a moment's warning, a corps of the Militia of Pennsylvania, amounting to Five thousand and two hundred non-commissioned officers and privates, with a due proportion of commissioned officers.

I am, with perfect respect, Sir,
Your Excellency's
Most Obed't H'ble Serv't

To the President of the United States.


PHILADELPHIA, 12th August, 1794.
SIR:—The Secretary of State has transmitted to me, in a letter dated the 7th of August, (but only received yesterday,) your Reply to my letter of the 5th instant.

For a variety of reasons it might be desirable, at this time, to avoid an extension of our correspondence upon the subject to which those letters particularly relate, but the nature of the remarks contained in your reply, and the sincerity of my desire to merit, on the clearest principles, the confidence, which you are pleased to repose in me, will justify, even under the present circumstances of the case, an attempt to explain any ambiguity, or to remove any prejudice that may have arisen, either from an inaccurate expression or an accidental misconception of the sentiments and views, which I meant to communicate.

That the course which I have suggested as proper to be pursued in relation to the recent disturbances in the Western parts of Pennsylvania, contemplates the state, in a light too separate and unconnected, is a position that I certainly did not intend to sanction, in any degree, that could wound your mind with a sentiment of regret. In submitting the construction of the facts, which must regulate the operation of the General Government, implicitly to your judgment; in cautiously avoiding any reference to the nature of the evidence from which those facts are [126] collected or to the conduct which the Government of the United States might pursue; in declaring that I spoke only as the Executive Magistrate of the State, charged with a general superintendence and care, that its laws be faithfully executed; and above all, in giving a full and unequivocal assurance, that whatever requisition you may make; whatever duty you may impose, in pursuance of your constitutional and legal powers, would, on my part, be promptly undertaken and faithfully discharged. I thought that I had manifested the strongest sense of my Federal obligations, and that, so far from regarding the State in a separate and unconnected light, I had expressly recognized the subjection of her individual authority to the national jurisdiction of the Union.

It is true, however, Sir, that I have only spoken as the executive Magistrate of the State; but, in that character it is a high gratification to find that, according to your opinion, likewise, "the propriety of the course which I suggested, would, in most, if not in all respects, be susceptible of little question." Permit me, then, to ask, in what other character could I have spoken, or what other language did the occasion require to be employed? If the co-operation of the Government of Pennsylvania was the object of our conference, your constitutional requisition as the Executive of the Union, and my official compliance as the Executive of the State, would indubitably ensure it; but, if a preliminary, a separate, an unconnected conduct was expected to be pursued by the Executive Magistrate of Pennsylvania, his separate and unconnected power and discretion must furnish the rule of proceeding; and, by that rule, agreeable to the admission which I have cited, "the propriety of my course would, in most, if not in all respects, be susceptible of little question." It must, therefore, in justice, be remembered, that a principal point in our conference, related to the expediency of my adopting, independent of the General Government, a preliminary measure (as it was then termed) under the authority of an act of the Legislature of Pennsylvania, which was passed on the 22d of September, 1783, and which the Attorney General of the United States thought to be in force; but which had, in fact, been repealed on the 11th of April, 1793.

Upon the strictest idea of co-operative measures, however, I do not conceive, Sir, that any other plan could have been suggested consistently with the powers of the Executive Magistrate of Pennsylvania, or with a reasonable attention, on my part, to a systematic and energetic course of proceeding. The complicated nature of the outrage which was committed upon the public peace, gave a jurisdiction to both Governments, but in the mode of prosecuting, or in the degree of punishing the offenders that [127] circumstance could not, I apprehend, alter or enlarge the powers of either. The State (as I observed in my last letter) could only exert itself in executing the laws or maintaining the authority of the Union, by the same means which she employed to execute and maintain her more peculiarly municipal laws and authority, and hence I inferred, and still venture to infer, that, if the course which I have suggested is the same that would have been pursued, had the Riot been unconnected with the system of Federal policy, its propriety cannot be rendered questionable, merely by taking into our view (what I have never ceased to contemplate) the existence of a Federal Government, Federal laws, Federal Judiciary and Federal officers. But would it have been thought more consonant with the principles of co-operation had I issued orders for an immediate, a separate and an unconnected call o[f] the Militia, under the special authority which was supposed to be given by a law or under the general authority which may be presumed to result from the Constitution? Let it be considered that you had already determined to exercise your legal powers in drafting a competent force of the Militia, and it will be allowed, that if I had undertaken, not only to comply promptly with your requisition, but to embody a distinct corps for the same service, an useless expense would have been incurred by the State, an unnecessary burthen would have been imposed on the citizens, and embarrassment and confusion would, probably, have been introduced instead of system and co-operation. Regarding it in this point of light, indeed it may be natural to think, that in the Judiciary, as well as the Military Department, the subject should be left entirely to the management, either of the State or of the General Government; for "the very important difference which is supposed to exist in the nature and consequences of the offences that have been committed in the contemplation of the laws of the United States and of those of Pennsylvania," must, otherwise, destroy that uniformity in the distinction of crimes and the apportionment of punishments which has always been deemed essential to a due administration of justice.

But let me not, Sir, be again misunderstood. I do not mean, by these observations, to intimate an opinion or to express a wish, that "the care of vindicating the authority or of enforcing the laws of the Union, should be transferred from the officers of the General Government to those of the State;" nor, after expressly avowing that I had cautiously avoided any reference to the conduct which the Government of the United States might pursue on this important occasion, did I think an opportunity could be found to infer, that I was desirous of imposing a suspension of your proceedings, for the purpose of waiting the issue of the process, which I designed to pursue. If, indeed "the [128] Government of the United States was at that point, where, it was admitted, if the Government of Pennsylvania was, the employment of force by its authority would be justifiable," I am pursuaded, that, on mature consideration, you will do me the justice to suppose that I meant to condemn or to prevent the adoption of those measures on the part of the General Government, which, in the same circumstances, I would have approved and promoted on the part of Pennsylvania. The extracts that are introduced into the letter of the Secretary of State, in order to support that inference, can only be justly applied to the case which was immediately in contemplation, the case of the State of Pennsylvania, whose Judiciary authority had not then, in my opinion, been sufficiently tried; they ought not, surely, to be applied to a case which I had cautiously excluded from my view, the case of the United States, whose Judiciary authority had, in your opinion, proved inadequate to the execution of the laws and the preservation of order. And if they shall be thus limited to their proper object, the justice and force of the argument which flows from them, can never be successfully controverted or denied. While you, Sir, were treading in the plain path designated by a positive law, with no other care than to preserve the forms which the Legislature had prescribed, and relieved from the weight of responsibility, by the legal operation of a Judge's certificate, I was called upon to act, not in conformity to a positive law, but in compliance with the duty which is supposed to result from the nature and constitution of the Executive Office.

The Legislature had prescribed no forms to regulate my course; no certificate to inform my judgment; every step must be dictated by my own discretion, and every error of construction or conduct, would be charged on my own character. Hence, arose an essential difference in our situations, and, I am confident that, on this ground alone, you will perceive a sufficient motive for my considering the objection, in point of law, to forbear the use of Military force, till the Judiciary authority has been tried, as well as the probable effects, in point of policy, which that awful appeal might produce.

For, Sir, it is certain, that at the time of our conference, there was no satisfactory evidence of the incompetency of the Judicial authority of Pennsylvania, to vindicate the violated laws. I, therefore, could not, as Executive Magistrate, proceed upon a Military plan; but, actuated by the genuine spirit of co-operation, not by a desire to sully the dignity or to alienate the powers of the General Government, I still hoped and expected to be able on this, as on former occasions, to support the laws of the Union, or to punish the violaters of them by an exertion [129] of the civil authority of the State Government, the State Judiciary and the State officers. This hope prompted the conciliatory course, which I determined to pursue, and which, so far as respects the appointment of Commissioners, you have been pleased to incorporate with your plan. And if, after all, the purposes of justice could be attained, obedience to the laws could be restored, and the horrors of a civil war could be averted, by the auxiliary intervention of the State Government, I am persuaded, you will join me in thinking, that the idea of placing the State in a separate and unconnected point of view, and the idea of making a transfer of the powers of the General Government, are not sufficiently clear or cogent to supersede such momentous considerations.

Having thus, generally, explained the principles contained in my letter of the 5th instant, permit me (without adverting to the material change that has since occurred in the State, of our information relatively to the Riots, and which is calculated to produce a corresponding change of sentiment and conduct,) to remark, that many of the facts that are mentioned by the Secretary of State, in order to shew that the Judiciary authority of the Union, after a fair and full experiment, had proved incompetent to enforce obedience or to punish infractions of the laws were, before that communication, totally unknown to me. But still, if it shall not be deemed a deviation from the restriction that I have determined to impose upon my correspondence, I would offer some doubts which in that respect occurred to my mind, on the evidence, as it appeared at the time of our conference. When I found that the Marshal had, without molestation, executed his office in the county of Fayette, that he was never insulted or opposed, till he acted in company with Gen'l Nevill, and that the virulence of the Rioters was directly manifested against the person and property of the latter gentleman, and only incidentally against the person of the former, I thought there was ground yet to suppose (and as long as it was reasonable, I wished to suppose) that a spirit of opposition to the officers employed under the Excise law, and not a spirit of opposition to the officers employed in the adminstration of justice was the immediate source of the outrages which we deprecate. It is true that these sources of opposition are equally reprehensible, and that their effects are alike unlawful, but on a question respecting the power of the judiciary authority to enforce obedience or to punish infractions of the law, it seems to be material to discriminate between the cases alluded to and to ascertain, with precision, the motives and the object of the Rioters.

[130] Again: As the Associate Judge had not, at that time, issued his certificate, it was proper to scrutinize, with strict attention, the nature of evidence on which an act of Government was to be founded. The constitution of the Union, as well as of the State, had cautiously provided, even in the case of an individual, that "no warrant should issue but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." And a much higher degree of caution might reasonably be exercised in a case that involved a numerous body of citizens in the imputation of Treason or Felony, and required a substitution of the Military for the Judicial instruments of coercion. The only affidavits that I recollect to have appeared at the time of our conference, were those containing the hearsay of Colo. Menges and the vague narrative of the Post Rider. The letters that had been received from a variety of respectable citizens, not being written under the sanction of an oath or affirmation could not acquire the legal force and validity of evidence from a mere authentication of the signatures of the respective writers. Under such circumstances doubts arose, not whether the means which the laws prescribe for effectuating their own execution should be exerted, but whether the existence of a specific case to which specific means of redress were appropriated by the laws, had been legally established; not whether the laws, the Constitution, the Government, the principles of social order, and the bulwarks of private right and security, should be sacrificed, but whether the plan proposed, was the best calculated to preserve those inestimable blessings: and recollecting a declaration, which was made in your presence, "that it would not be enough for a Military force to disperse the insurgents, and to restore matters to the situation in which they were two or three weeks before the Riots were committed, but that the force must be continued for the purpose of protecting the Officers of the Revenue, and securing a perfect acquiescence in the obnoxious law." I confess, Sir, the motives to caution and deliberation strike my mind with accumulated force. I hope, however, that it will never seriously be contended, that a military force ought now to be raised with any other view but to suppress the Rioters; or that, if raised with that view, it ought to be employed for any other. The dispersion of the Insurgents is, indeed, obviously the sole object for which the Act of Congress has authorized, the use of the Military force on occasions like the present; for, with a generous and laudable precaution, it expressly provides that even before that force may be called forth, a proclamation shall be issued commanding the Insurgents to disperse, and retire peaceably to their respective abodes, within a limited time.

[131] But the force of these topics I again refer implicitly to your decision, convinced, Sir, that the Goodness of your intentions now, not less than heretofore, merits an affectionate support from every description of your Fellow Citizens. For my own part, I derive a confidence from the heartfelt integrity of my views, the sincerity of my professions, which renders me invulnerable by any insinuation of practising a sinister or deceitful policy.

I pretend not to infallibility in the exercise of my private judgment or in the discharge of my public functions, but in the ardor of my attachment and in the fidelity of my services to our common country, I feel no limitation, and your Excellency, therefore, may justly be assured that in every way which the constitution of the United States and of Pennsylvania shall authorize, and present or future exigencies may require, you will receive my most cordial aid and support.

I am, with great respect, Sir,
Your Excellency's Most obed. Serv.,

To the President of the United States.


By the Commander-in-Chief of the militia of the State of Maryland:


Whereas, By a proclamation issued by the president of the United States, and dated at Philadelphia on the 7th day of August, 1794, it appears that combinations to defeat the execution of certain revenue laws of the United States, have, for some time past, existed in some of the western parts of the State of Pennsylvania, which combinations, proceeding at length to open insurrection, have produced several acts of outrage and violence, not only against the officers charged with the execution of those laws, but also against such other persons as, under the dictates of conscience, or a sense of obligation, have either aided in the execution or acquiesced in the operation of the said laws:

And whereas, By the second section of a law of congress, recited in the aforesaid proclamation, the President of the United States is authorized in certain cases and under certain restrictions, to call forth the militia to execute the laws of the Union and suppress insurrections; and the president having, as it appears by the said proclamation, determined to employ the means so [132] intrusted to him for enforcing obedience to the said laws; and having, through the secretary for the department of war, issued his requisition for organizing and holding in readiness to march at a moment's warning, a corps of the militia of this State, amounting to two thousand three hundred and fifty non-commissioned officers and privates, with a due proportion of commissioned officers, which requisition, made to me in quality of commander-in-chief of the militia of Maryland, it is incumbent on me to comply with and to bring to effect. I have, therefore, thought proper to issue the following orders:

The commanding officers of the several regiments and those of the extra battalions of militia shall, immediately on receipt of these orders, proceed to enroll, from each regiment, two sergeants, two corporals, and forty-one privates; and from each extra battalion, one sergeant, one corporal, and twenty privates, to be held in constant readiness for marching at a moment's warning to the places of rendezvous hereafter to be prescribed; the said enrollments to be made in the first place of such as may voluntarily offer their services, and completed (if any shall be still wanting) by a draught, to be made by lot from among the whole remaining number belonging to the regiment or battalion in which are comprehended, not only those persons who shall actually have attached themselves to particular companies, but likewise all who, by the prescriptions of the law for regulating and disciplining the militia of this State, are liable to be enrolled, and those who, although enrolled in corps of cavalry or artillery, shall not voluntarily offer themselves as dragoons or artillerists for the present service:

And whereas, A certain proportion of the body of militia so required is, by direction of the president, signified as aforesaid through the secretary of war, to be composed of cavalry and artillery, neither of which necessarily attached to the regiments of infantry, the several brigadier generals of the militia shall, on the receipt of these orders, call on the persons commanding troops of cavalry, and companies of artillery, within their districts, to make return to them, without delay, of their respective commands, in point of number and equipment, distinguishing such as shall voluntarily desire to be enrolled for this service, and the commanders of such corps in the districts for which there are hitherto no brigadiers commissioned, shall make similar returns to the lieutenant colonel commandant of infantry most convenient to them; and the several commanders of regiments shall, under the direction of their brigadiers, be active in ascertaining the number and names of such persons not hitherto enrolled in cavalry or artillery, as may be disposed to serve in either.

[133] Difficult as the task may be of making so sudden a draught from a militia so recently, and as yet so incompletely, organized, I expect, from the zeal and patriotism of the gentlemen who have accepted of commands in it, that the difficulties that may occur will in no instance prevent this requisition from being substantially complied with. Copies of the enrollments of infantry, by the field officers, and of cavalry and artillery, by the brigadiers, or superior officers of districts, are hereby strictly ordered to be made to me in the city of Annapolis, on or before the sixth day of September next.

Given at the city of Annapolis, this fourteenth day of August, 1794.



CARLISLE, August 14th, 1794.
I arrived here last night, having met on my way down to this place Judge Yeates and Mr. Bradford ten miles east of Bedford on Tuesday last, in the morning, and judge McKean and Gen'l Irwin near to Littleton, the same day in the evening. On my arrival at Greensburg I found a number of people assembled to Choose delegates to attend the General Meeting to be held this day. On my allighting at a tavern they surrounded the house and ordered me to quit the town in half an hour or I must abide the consequences. I then came to Gen'l Jack's and remained the remainder of the day with him. I am much afraid, from the present disposition of the people, nothing Good will result from the present meeting. Gen'l Jack assures me, in the County of Westmoreland the people have made choice of the most violent men to represent them at the Gen'l Meeting, and that nothing less than the repeal of the Excise Law will Satisfy them. I wish they may even treat the commissioners with common decency. I shall remain here until the return of the next post from pitsburg, as I have left Mrs. Gibson and the family there Should any Violent measures be adopted by the Gen'l Meeting she will leave that place, and I shall return to meet her. Inclosed is the Resolves of the Committee and their passport to me.

Should any thing offer in which I can serve my Country, at the Risque of my Life or Fortune, I hope your Excellency will command me.

I have honour to be your Excellency's most obedient humble serv't,


At a meeting of the Committee (of twenty-one) of the Town of Pittsburgh, on Monday morning, 4th Augu't, 1794, Report was made to them by the Committee of four, who were a part of the committee of Battallions on Braddock's fields, the 2d Inst., Vizt: That in Committee on Braddock's fields, it was stated on the part of the Committee of four, that the three prescribed persons of the Town of Pittsburgh, Vizt: Abraham Kirkpatrick, James Brison and Edward Day were expelled the Town and had disappeared.

It was then taken into view what other persons were obnoxious as being suspected of being friendly to the Excise Law, as might appear from letters by them written or otherwise; and on certain letters being read which had been intercepted in the Mail from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia, vizt: one from Colo. Presly Neville* to his father, containing in a certain paragraph, words unfavorable to the opposers of the Excise Law, tho' no persons in particular were named; but this being considered a sufficient evidence of his enmity to the cause, it was resolved that he should be expelled the Country within ten Days.

Also one letter from Gen'l John Gibson to the Governor of Pennsylvania, which in certain Paragraph evinc'd a like disposition, by a mistatement made by him in information, which information was thought not to be exact, and which he had too hastily credited; it was resolved that he should be subject to the like sentence, and that the committee of Pittsburgh should carry into effect these measures, necessary for the public safety.

Resolved, therefore, That notice of their respective sentences be forthwith given to these persons, and that they depart accordingly, and that a Guard be ordered for each of them to conduct them to a proper distance.

Resolved also, That a copy of this minute be given to each of those persons as a passport from the country.

In behalf of the committee,
JAMES CLOW, Chairman.

* Presley Neville, son Gen. John Neville, was born September 6, 1775 [1755] , at Winchester, Va. He was educated at the University of Pennsylvania, where he graduated in 1775. He served in the Revolution as aid to Gen. Lafayette, and at the capture of Charleston, was made prisoner. He was afterward Brigade Inspector of the Militia for Allegheny county. He was a member of the Assembly. Col. Neville married a daughter of Gen. Daniel Morgan. Was a prominent merchant of Pittsburgh for twenty-five years. He died in Clermont county, Ohio, on the first of December, 1818.


PITTSBURGH, August 4, 1794.
This is to certify to all whom it may concern, That the bearer hereof, Gen'l John Gibson, has been directed to depart the country, by order of the Committee of the Battalions of Washington, Fayette, Westmoreland & Allegany counties, assembled on Braddock's fields the 2d Inst.—which sentence the Committee to Pittsburgh were to carry into effect, & to furnish him with a guard to a proper distance. Let him therefore pass in safety aid without molestation.

By order of the Committee of Pittsburgh,
JAMES CLOW, Chairman.


August 14, 1794.
At a meeting of delegates duly elected by the respective counties of Westmoreland, Fayette, Allegheny, Washington and that, part of Bedford county lying west of the Allegheny mountain, in Pennsylvania, and by the county of Ohio in Virginia, convened at Parkinson's Ferry on Monongahela river, in order to take into consideration the situation of the Western Country.

Edward Cook was placed in the chair, Albert Gallatin appointed Secretary of the Meeting.

The transactions relative to the excise law that lately took place in the western country were stated; Whereupon, the following resolutions were, after having been debated and amended, adopted by the meeting:

1. Resolved, That taking citizens of the United States from their respective vicinage, to be tried for real or supposed offenses, is a violation of the rights of the citizens, is a forced and dangerous construction of the Constitution, and ought not under any pretense whatever, to be exercised by the judicial authority.

2. That a standing committee, to consist of one member from each township, be appointed for the purposes hereinafter mentioned, viz : To draft a remonstrance to Congress praying a repeal of the excise law, at the same time requesting that a more equal and less odious tax may be laid, and giving assurance to the representatives of the people that such tax will be cheerfully paid by the people of these counties.

[136] To make and publish a statement of the transactions which have lately taken place in this country relative to the excise law & of the causes which gave rise thereto, and to make a representation to the President on the subject.

To have power to call together a meeting either of a new representation of the people, or of the deputies here convened for the purpose of taking such further measures as the future situation of affairs may require, and in case of any sudden emergency to take such temporary measures as they may think necessary.

3. That we will exert ourselves, and that it be earnestly recommended to our fellow citizens to exert themselves in support of the municipal laws of the respective States, and especially in preventing any violence or outrage against the property and person of any individual.

4. That a committee, to consist of three members from each county, be appointed to meet any commissioners that have been, or may be appointed by the government, and report the result of this conference to the standing committee.


Westmoreland County—John Kirkpatrick, George Smith and John Powers.
Allegheny County—Hugh H. Brackenridge, Thomas Moreton and Mr. Lucas.
Washington—David Bradford, James Marshall, James Edgar.
Fayette—Albert Gallatin, Edward Cook, James Lang.
Bedford County—Herman Husbands.
Ohio County, Virginia—William Sutherland.
Ohio and Bedford counties not fully represented at the meeting.



RICHMOND, August 16, 1794.
The President of the United States having required, for immediate service, a second detachment of militia from this commonwealth, amounting to three thousand infantry and three hundred cavalry, exclusive of commissioned officers, The Commander-in-Chief directs the same to be forthwith appointed. The several divisions will furnish this corps in conformity to the detail to be transmitted from the Adjutant General's office, which will be regulated by the contiguity of the divisions to the [137] point of service by regard to the protection of the frontiers from the Indian enemy, and by attention to the safety of the seaboard in case of sudden war.

Major General Morgan will command the detachment, which is to be divided into two brigades, the first to be conducted by Brigadier Darke, the second by Brigadier Mathews.

The Commander-in-Chief anticipates the most honorable testimony in favor of the Virginian name, from the promptitude and zeal which he assures himself will be displayed by his brother soldiers on this deeply interesting occasion, and flatters himself that the detachment will be distinguished throughout their tour of duty, as well by their order in camp, as by their gallantry in the field. The time and places of rendezvous will be communicated in due season to the commanding officer, and the troops will be fully supplied with arms, camp equipage, and all necessary apparatus.

The principles which determine the rank of the general officers being established, their application will take place as soon as the requisite information is received, and the result will be immediately published in general orders.

In the meantime, to complete the settlement of rank, the Commander-in-Chief directs that a Board of General Officers consisting of Major Gen. Clark, and the Brigadiers Meade, Young, Marshal and Guerrant, assemble in the city of Richmond on the 26th instant, to ascertain the rank of the field officers, on which day the Adjutant General is directed to attend for the purpose of presenting every document and information in his possession relating to the subject.

The report of this board will be considered definite, and filed in the Adjutant General's office.

The Major Generals and Brigadiers are requested to appoint the Aid-de-Camps and Brigade Majors to which they are respectively entitled, and make communication thereof to the Adjutant General, who is required to report the same to the Commander-in-Chief without delay.

It is very important to the community that the cavalry, artillery and light companies be completed immediately, and always held complete. The Major Generals will be pleased never to lose sight of this object, for which purpose they are to require from their respective Brigades quarterly returns of the condition of the troops above mentioned, and are authorized to pursue any other measures in their judgment calculated to preserve the same in full strength and capacity.

By order of
HENRY LEE, Commander-in- Chief.


August 28th, 1794.
The Secretary of State presents his Compliments to Governor Mifflin, and has the honor to send him herein enclosed copy of a Letter from Messrs. Ross, Yeates& Bradford, dated at Pittsburgh, the 17 instant, which has already been communicated to him verbally.


PITTSBURGH, 17th August, 1794
SIR:—We think it of importance to take the earliest opportunity of stating to you the present situation of the Western part of Pennsylvania, & to request some eventual instructions on certain points which are likely to arise in the prosecution of our mission.

The meeting which assembled at Parkinson's Ferry, on the 14th instant, is said to have been composed of near 200 Members. The following is the best account of its proceedings that we have been able to collect:

All the Townships in the four Counties were represented, except four. Herman Husbands & one Philson attended as Deputies from Berlin, in Bedford County, but whether they were really & generally elected for that purpose is not ascertained. There was a feeble and partial deputation from Ohio County, in Virginia.

On the first day there assembled at the same place a considerable Body of men besides the Deputies, amounting to about 200 from different parts, but principally from Washington. After the verification of their authorities and the choice of their Officers, the meeting was opened by a speech made by David Bradford, who entered into a detail of the late disturbances, giving high encomiums to the conduct of those who destroyed Genl. Neville's house, and producing and reading the letters which had been intercepted when the Post was robbed of the Pittsburgh Mail. Some resolutions were then suggested, but these were superseded by others offered by James Marshall, of Washington, one of which proposed the erecting a Committee of Safety, for the purpose of organizing and calling forth the strength of the Country in order to resist hostilities, if necessary. The phrase- [139] ology of this resolution was softened down by some observations made by Mr. Gallatin, who observed that the word hostilities was wholly improper, & that it was not right to exhibit a determination to resort to force unless in their own defence. The resolve was therefore, modelled into the form in which it stands in the copy already transmitted to you, but its substance we apprehend to be the same, being intended to have in being a body invested with the popular authority of the Country.

The meeting having been informed of the appointment of Commissioners, elected a Committee of 12 to confer with them, and report to the Standing Committee which was adjourned to meet on the first Tuesday in September, at Redstone. Some were earnest for an immediate decision & some for an adjournment to an early day. But Mr. Gallatin observed, that it was plain, the Executive could give them no relief—that the President could not repeal or even suspend the excise acts, & that their policy was to gain time and protract the business until the meeting of Congress, and then endeavour to obtain a repeal of the acts. After the resolves were agreed on, the Proclamations of the President & of the Governor were mentioned, and it was proposed that the Secretary should read them, which was accordingly done. Some pause ensued, when a member rose and said that Proclamations could kill nobody, & as their business was done he thought it best to go home.

This was accordingly agreed to, & the meeting broke up on the 15 about 2 o'Clock. The Committee of conference agreed to meet the commissioners at this place on Wednesday next.

From the information we could collect there appears to us to have been three parties at that meeting, One which was at that time disposed to renounce all connection with the Government, & to maintain the present opposition by violence, without further appeals to Congress. This was not very numerous nor open; but one John Corbly, a baptist Preacher, openly declared to the meeting that it was too humiliating to offer any further petitions or remonstrances to Congress, & objected to the resolve on that subject. A second party are disposed to remain a part of the union, but at the same time to resist at all hazards the execution of the excise acts. These were numerous and violent, & evidently overawed the third or moderate party, which consisted of men of property, who, whatever might be their opinions of the excise, are disposed to submit to the national will rather than hazard the convulsions of a civil contest. The threats which have been expressed against all who countenance the excise, the banishment of some reputable citizens on that account, & the destruction of property, have produced an apparent unanimity of sentiment. We know, with certainty, that [140] many reputable citizens have been obliged to turn hypocrites, & even to appear as the leaders of these enragees. The Civil authority affords them no protection, as they dare not trust each other they have no point where they can rally in their own defence. Although a real majority (as we believe) of the meeting consisted of this Class of men, they did not dare to exert their influence, nor even venture to move for the recall of those whom the violent party had banished, altho' this was a matter they had much at heart. One of them had prepared a remonstrance demanding a repeal of the excise act, an act of oblivion, & a suspension of all measures of coercion until the sense of Congress was known, as the most moderate measure that could have been carried. The coming of the Commissioners prevented this from being offered.

We have some reason to believe that a majority of the Committee of 12 consist of men of this description. They will not, therefore, dare to express their real opinions, & we think they will not give any opinion to us, alledging that all they have to do is to hear & report. It is possible that even the Standing Committee may treat it in the same way, & refer the determination to a general meeting to be called in October or November. Mr. Gallatin's opinion, already mentioned, points to this policy. We shall endeavour to press on the Committee of conference, in the most solemn manner, the necessity of an immediate decision, & that they must call on the Standing Committee instantly, if they will not decide themselves.

We have great doubts whether we ought to stay in this country after the 1st September, or confer with any bodies assembled in, in this manner, after that day. But at the same time if the Committee should deny their power to call the body, or refuse to do it, we wish to be instructed whether we ought to wait the meeting on the 2d September.

We have it in contemplation to declare to the Committee that if they will not decide we will call county meetings & take the collective sense of the people for ourselves. We can hold our resolution of leaving the Country in suspense until the 1st September, before which day an Express may reach us. We consider our movement under these circumstances as an important & delicate one, & beg clear & definite instructions.

Our opinion at present is, that it is not possible to procure, by any conciliatory means, a determination to acquiesce in the execution of the excise acts; and that in the present disposition of the people nothing short of the repeal of them, accompanied by a general amnesty & act of oblivion, will satisfy them. We see not any prospect of inforcing the execution of the laws but by the physical strength of the nation. But no possible exer- [141] tions on our parts to prevent the calamity of a civil contest shall be spared.

The Proclamations seemed to excite neither indignation nor surprise. The insurgents had contemplated the measure, as a thing of course; and even so early as the meeting at Braddock's field conversed on the subject, and ventured to predict that Gen'l Morgan would command the militia that should be sent. It is very probable that it will be every day more & more necessary to have the means of a speedy & safe communication with the seat of Government. We, therefore, take the liberty of suggesting the propriety of keeping relay horses—one at this place, one at Bedford, one at Carlisle & one in the City of Philadelphia. Under these impressions we have directed the purchase of a horse at Bedford, which we will either sell on our return or dispose of to the Quarter Master.

We beg that the public prints may be transmitted to us by the Post, or other safe conveyance, and have the honor to be, Sir,

Your Obed't & hum. Servants,


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