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: s2v4e

Short bio: Jonathan Williams


PHILADELPHIA, 30th Aug., 1794.
D'R SIR:—The Governor has received your report of the 22nd instant, and for the relief of the public anxiety, has directed a part of it to be published. He directs me to signify to you, and the chief justice, his best thanks for the progress you have made in executing your disagreeable and difficult task. The prospect of success, however, will ensure to you the noblest reward, the gratitude of your fellow citizens. There are some malevolent spirits that would rather have the matter terminated by a display of Governmental power than by an honorable, though amicable, arrangement, but in general the steps that have been taken are highly satisfactory to the people.

I have not time to write to the chief Justice, but I will thank you to communicate this letter to him

With sincere esteem, I am, D'r Sir,
Your Most obed. Serv.,
A. J. DALLAS, Secretary.

To Gen'l WM. IRVINE.


PITTSBURGH, 31st Aug't, 1794.
DEAR SIR:—I rec'd yours by to-day's post. I have seen by the paper a great many tickets published, and among others the one you mentioned from Montgomery county, which is a mighty ridiculous one.

The excise conference was held at the time appointed, they did but little. In Pittsburgh, people would not join the meeting, and they broke up highly disgusted with us. They passed some resolves, the principal one was directed against the excise officers. They resolve for themselves, and recommend it to the people to hold no kind of communication, nor have any con- [196] nexion with the persons holding any office under that law. They have appointed a committee to meet in Washington, to form a remonstrance to Congress next session. If the Secretary of the Treasury would pursue the plan he had in contemplation last year, that of supplying the army by means of a commissary, I would pledge my head on the success of collecting the excise. I am confident I could then lay down a mode in which there need be no change in the law, and yet they would be obliged to pay without any considerable difficulty.

They have frightened Gen. Neville lately very much at Washington; he had advertised his office in that town, and was to attend on certain days. On the day he was to come the road was waylaid by a number of armed men disguised; he heard of it and did not go, and a day or two ago these men came to the town of Washington disguised as before, broke into the place where the office of inspection was kept, and made search for him in expectation of finding him there. It is hard to tell the lengths they might have gone had they found him.

There has been nothing done as yet about the election in this district, nor will there I think be anything considerable tried in it untill shortly before the election. Findley will run generally in this district, and I think you will be next to him. Woods, Scott and Smilie will all have their partizans, and consequently neither of them will run very high. The excise conference attempted nothing on the election. There had been so much said that the meeting was for that purpose, that they never mentioned it.

Am your friend.
And Hum. Ser't,



TRENTON, 1st Sept., 1794.
By the command of the President of the United States the troops in requisition from the State of New Jersey, which were detailed from Maj. G. Dayton's command, & from the cavalry and artillery of this State, by orders of the 23d of August last are to rendezvous at Trenton, where they will be provided with everything necessary for the expedition, and wait further orders. Dispositions have been made by order of the national executive for the supply of provisions, forage, fuel and transportation to [197] the general rendezvous at Trenton, where they will be met with tents and camp equipage necessary for their march. The troops from the 2d division will take up their line of march by the most direct route to New Brunswick, where they will apply to Mr. John Bray for provisions and forage, and those of the 3d, 4th and 1st divisions to Trenton, to which place the troops of the 2d will also proceed. The stipulated price of rations will be allowed from the time of march till their assembling at Trenton, to such as may not draw from the public stores, and chuse to furnish themselves, but if intermediate appointments are judged necessary to be made, three days' notice must be sent to Messrs. Hunt and Bray by the brigadiers commanding the detachment, who will take the necessary precautions. No longer time will be allowed for the arrival of the troops at rendezvous than what will appear to have been absolutely necessary for accomplishing their march, after receiving marching orders, which period the officers commanding companies, &c., are required to note with precision, together with the names of the places where they halt each night on the route.

The strictest regard to discipline and good order is to be observed on the march, and the rights of property are to be scrupulously preserved to individuals.

By order of the Commander-in-Chief.
ANT. W. WHITE, Adj. Gen.


PITTSBURGH, Sept. 1, 1794.
GENTLEMEN:—The committee appointed by the committee of safety at Redstone the 28th August last, to confer with the commissioners of the United States and State of Pennsylvania and agreeable to the resolution of the said committee do request:

1st. That the said commissioners do give an assurance on the part of the general government to an indemnity to all persons as to the arrearage of excise, that have not entered their stills to this date.

2d. Will the Commissioners, aforesaid, give to the eleventh day of October next, to take the sense of the people at large of the four counties west of Pennsylvania, and that part of Bedford west of the Allegheny mountains, and the Ohio county in Virginia, whether they will accede to the resolution of the said commissioners as stated at large in the conference with the [198] committee of conference met at Pittsburgh the 21st day of August last?

By order of the Committee.

The Honorable the Commissioners on the part of the United States and of the State of Pennsylvania.


PITTSBURGH, Sept. 1st, 1794.
GENTLEMEN:—We have received your letter of this date, & as time presses, have determined to give it an immediate answer, although we shall be prevented thereby from making so full and correct a reply as the importance of the subject requires.

In our correspondence with the late committee of conference, we detailed those assurances of submission to the laws which would have been deemed full and satisfactory, and which were necessary to the exercise of the powers vested in us. This detail was minutely settled in conference with a sub-committee of that body. From a desire on our part to accommodate and to render the proposals as unexceptionable as possible, they were altered and modified at their request, till being superior to all exception they received the unanimous approbation of those gentlemen. The detail thus settled, required from the standing committee assurances of their explicit determination to submit to the laws of the United States, that they would not directly or indirectly oppose the execution of the acts for raising a revenue upon distilled spirits and stills, and that they would support, as far as the laws require, the civil authority in affording the protection due to all officers and other citizens. These assurances have not been given. On the contrary, we learn with emotions, difficult to be repressed, that in the meeting of the committee at Redstone, resistance to the laws and open rebellion against the United States, were publicly advocated, and that two-fifths of the body, representing twenty-three townships, totally disapproved the proposals and preferred the convulsions of a civil contest to the indulgence offered them by their country. Even the members composing the majority, although by a secret and undistinguished vote, they expressed an opinion that it was the interest of the people to accede to the proposals, did not themselves accede to them, nor give the assurances, nor make the recommendations explicitly required of them. They have adjourned without day and the terms are broken on their part.

[199] We had reason for requiring these declarations and recommendations from that body. They were a representation (in fact) of the different townships in the western counties—they were a body in whom the people had chosen to place confidence—there were among them men whose advice and example have had influence in misleading the people, and it was proper they should be instrumental in recalling them to their duty; and their avowed determination to support the civil authority in protecting the officers, would have assisted in repressing the violence of turbulent individuals.

Our expectations have been unfortunately disappointed. The terms required have not been acceded to. You have been sent hither to demand new terms, and it is now necessary for us to decide whether we will return home or enter into other arrangements.

Upon reflection, we are satisfied, that the President of the United States, while he demands satisfactory proofs, that there will be in future a perfect submission to the laws, does not wish the great body of the people, should be finally concluded by the conduct or proceedings of any committee; and if the people themselves will make the declarations required of the standing committee, and give satisfactory proofs of a general and sincere determination to obey the laws, the benefit offered may still be obtained by those individuals, who shall explicitly avow their submission as hereinafter mentioned. It is difficult to decide in what manner the said declaration and determination of the people to submit peaceably, should be taken and ascertained. We have thought much on this subject, and are fully satisfied that a decision by ballot will be wholly unsatisfactory, and that it will be easy to produce by that means, an apparent but delusive unanimity. It is, therefore, necessary that the determination of every individual be publicly announced. In a crisis, and on a question like this, it is dishonorable to temporize. Every man ought to declare himself openly, and give his assurances of submission in a manner that cannot be questioned hereafter. If military coercion must finally take place, the government ought to know not only the numbers, but the names of the faithful citizens who may otherwise be in danger of being confounded with the guilty. It, therefore, remains with you to say whether, you will recommend such a mode of procedure, and will immediately arrange with us the manner, in which the sense of the people may be publicly taken, and written assurances of submission obtained within the time already limited. We require an explicit and speedy answer in writing. You request us to give assurances on the part of the United States, that an indemnity shall be granted as to the arrears of excise, to all persons [200] that have not entered their stills before this date. If it were proper to remit all arrears of duty, we cannot conceive, why those who have entered their stills, should not receive a similar indulgence with those who have refused; nor why you demand peculiar favors for the opposers of the acts, while you abandon those who have complied to the strictness of the laws. We have gone on that subject as far as we think advisable. The clause was introduced at the request of the late committee of conference; and even the style of expressing it was settled with them. We have, therefore, nothing more to add on this subject.

You require also, that time be given until the 11th day of October, in order to ascertain the sense of the people. That is wholly inadmissible. On the day of the conference, the time allowed was deemed sufficiently long; and we are sorry to perceive that delay only tends to produce an indisposition to decide. There are strong reasons obvious to a reflecting mind against prolonging the time a single hour. Nothing is required but a declaration of that duty which every man owes to his country, and every man before this day must have made up his mind on the subject. Six weeks have already elapsed since the ordinary exercise of civil authority has been forcibly suppressed, the officers of government expelled, and the persons and property of well disposed citizens exposed to the outrages of popular violence. The protection which is due to peaceable citizens, the respect which every government owes itself, and the interests of the United States demand that the authority of the laws be quickly restored.

To this, we may add, that the militia (which by late orders from the president have been encreased to 15,000 men, including 1,500 riflemen from Virginia, under the command of Major General Morgan) have received orders to assemble, and we cannot undertake that their march will be long suspended. All possible means to inform, to conciliate and to recall our fellow citizens to their duty, have been used. If their infatuation still continues, we regret, but are persuaded that further moderation and forbearance will but encrease it.

If the whole country shall declare their determination peaceably to submit, the hopes of the Executive will be fulfilled and if a part of the survey shall persist in their unjustifiable resistance to the lawful authority of their country, it is not the intention of the government to confound the innocent with the guilty. You may therefore assure the friends of order and the laws, that they may rely upon promptly receiving all the protection the government can give, and that effectual measures will be taken to suppress and punish the violence of those individ- [201] uals, who may endeavor to obstruct the execution of the laws and to involve their country in a scene of calamity, the extent and seriousness of which it is impossible to calculate.

It is easy to perceive from the whole scope of this letter, that no part of it is addressed to the gentlemen of Ohio county, in Virginia.




PITTSBURGH, Sept. 1st, 1794.
The alarming and awful situation of this country, at this time, are too well known to require a statement. On the part of government we are now offered a forgiveness of all that is past, on condition that we sincerely submit to the excise law, and all other laws. The question now is whether we will accept of the terms proposed or not.

The decision of this question is of such importance that I am sure it will receive a solemn consideration from every citizen of a sober mind. If we accept of the terms we shall have peace. If we reject them we shall have war. There is no medium between these extremes. For in the present state of this country it is impossible to expect from government a repeal of the excise law. Government is the whole people acting by their representatives. The will of these representatives must not be extorted by force or fear, otherwise those who thus constrain them exercise a tyranny over the rest of the people. We are a little more than a seventieth part of the United States. We ought not therefore to pretend to dictate laws to the whole, but whatever portion we may be, if one law is repealed at the call of armed men, government is destroyed; no law will have any force; every law will be disobeyed in some part of the Union. Government is therefore now compelled to enforce submission to this law, or to none. The whole force of the United States must be exerted to support its authority now, or the government of the United States must cease to exist. Submission or war therefore is the alternative.

[202] War is so dreadful a calamity that nothing can justify its admission, but an evil against which no other remedy remains. That the colonies, to relieve themselves from the tyranny of Britain, should have roused to war, no man will wonder. They had to acquire the first principle of liberty, an equal voice in framing their laws. The same was the case of France. Its constitution was overthrown, and one man has by inheritance acquired a power which he could transmit to his successor of making laws for the whole nation, but our constitution has already secured the most democratic principles of representation. Our complaint is only against the ordinary exercise of a legislation. We have now more than a just proportion of representatives. To fill our just proportion we may choose whom we please, and we ought not yet to despair, that in a legal manner we shall receive redress from every just complaint. The principles of liberty are completely established in our constitution. Those principles are that the will of a majority should control the few. We wish now for a liberty destructive of those principles which we formerly thought, and the French now fight to establish. Our complaint is that the many have not yet repealed a law at the request of the few, and therefore we rashly propose war.

If we determine on war, look forward to the consequences. Either we shall defeat the United States, or the United States will subdue us. If the United States subdue us, we shall at the end of the war be certainly not in a better situation than we are at present, for the same necessity the preservation of the authority of government will exist for enforcing the law then which exists for enforcing it now. We shall be in a worse condition, for government will then be under no obligation to grant us so favorable terms which are now offered; but may exact punishment for past offences, penalties for past delinquencies, compensation for past damages and re-imbursement of the expenses of the war. To these I might add the miseries attending the war. But as these will attend the war. in either event, I shall particularly allude to them, in supposition of our defeating the United States.

To me this event appears improbable to the last degree. A train of unfortunate delusions (for such I deem them) seem to occupy the minds of many in this country. It is said that no militia will come out against us; that if they do, we are so much superior in arms that we shall easily defeat them; that we can intercept them in the mountains and prevent their passage; that if they should come, they will march peaceably along and not disturb the citizens engaged in the lawful occupations of life, and that at the worst we can throw ourselves under the protection of the British.

[203] On such notions, these are my remarks. From all that I have heard or seen, there is a resentment in the people of the other side of the mountains against our conduct, on two grounds, as being contradictory to the principles of democracy which require obedience to a constitutional law; and as refusing to bear any part of a burden to which they have submitted. This resentment will not only carry vast numbers of them to comply with the regular call of the militia, but to step forward as volunteers. Supposing (which may yet be doubted) that they may at first be inferior to us in the art of fighting; the interests of the United States are so deeply involved in our submission that no expence will be spared to accomplish it. And should the draught of the militia be insufficient, certainly the legislature will enable the Executive to raise and maintain a standing body of forces to accomplish the object of government. They will come at different times, in different directions and accumulated numbers, for the whole force of the United States will be directed against us, so has the President, who never speaks till he has determined, declared by his proclamation. If this country reject the conditions offered, the whole country will be considered as in a State of rebellion; every man must be considered either as a citizen or as an enemy. If he says he is a citizen, he may be called upon by the force under the authority of government to unite in subduing its enemies. If he refuse, he becomes an enemy and as such may be treated. The army of government may live among us at free quarters, may reduce us to obedience by plunder, fire and sword.

Will the British receive us? The government of Canada dare not, without authority from London. And it is not to be supposed that Britain will risk the loss of the friendship and trade of the United States for so poor an object as our becoming her subjects. If she did, ought we not expect that the United States would seize her dominions on the eastern part of Canada and Nova Scotia, and intercept our communication with her. Against the whole force of the United States, exerted as we have reason to fear, what have we to rest on? Where are our arms? Where are our magazines of military stores? Or where can we obtain a supply of these articles, but from the United States, with whom we shall be at war. All communication between us and our fellow citizens on the east side of the mountains will be cut off. Even the supplies of the common articles of life, which we receive from them, will be prevented; and not a simple article of food or clothing much less of arms or amunition, will be furnished to us from that quarter. Army after army will be sent against us. In a state of open war we shall be considered as any other enemy, with the additional rancour attached to a [204] civil war. Our agriculture will be destroyed; our fields laid waste; our houses burnt; and, while we are fighting our fellow citizens on one side, the Indians (and God knows how soon) will attack us on the other. The consciences of many among ourselves will shrink back with horror, at the idea of drawing a sword against our brethren. They will call for neutrality. They will enter into associations for mutual defence. Many, who now from fear of danger or insult, put on the appearance of zeal and violence, will, when it comes to decisive exertion, draw back. But those who are for war will strive, by force to draw in those who are for peace. We shall attack and destroy each other, and fall by our hands. Our cornfields will be converted into fields of battle. No man will sow; for no man will be sure that he shall reap. Poverty, distress, and famine will extinguish us. All mutual confidence will be at an end, and all the bands of society will be dissolve. Every man will be afraid to speak to his neighbor. There will be no power of government to control the violence of the wicked. No man's life, no man's house, no man's goods, no man's wife, no man's daughter, will be safe. A scene of general destruction will take place. And, should government, weary of chastising us, at last leave us to ourselves, we shall be a miserable remnant, without wealth, commerce or virtue—a prey to the savages, or slaves to Britain. Are we prepared for a separation from the United States, and to exist as an independent people? This is a question which ought to be settled previously to our taking up arms against government. For to disobey a government, while by remaining in it, we admit its authority to command, is too absurd, and too contrary to the duty of citizens for any man of reason and virtue to support; especially where the government, like ours, is created and changeable by the people themselves, that is, by the whole people or a majority of the whole people. Our appeal to arms is therefore a declaration of independence, and must issue, either in separation or obedience. Government cannot recede farther than it has lone. It has already made sacrifices, which intitle it to grateful returns. It offers to forgive past offenses, and consider us as having never erred. It cannot, without a total extinction of all authority, repeal this law, while we disobey it Government must either subdue us, or cast us off. For, however we may flatter ourselves with the destructive hope of defeating government, we have no prospect of subduing it, and compelling the United States to retain us in the Union. Suppose us then a separate people, what prospect have we of being able to secure those objects, which are essential to the prosperity of this country, and of far more consequence than the repeal of the excise law? Shall we, at our own expense, subdue the Indians, seize the [205] western posts and open the Mississippi? Or will not the British, countenanced by the United States, retain the posts, and arm and protect the Indians against us? And will not the Spaniards, under the same countenance, block up the Mississippi and refuse, pre haps, all trade with us? At present there is a fair prospect of an accommodation with Britain and by the influence of the United States, we have reason to hope for a surrender of the Western posts and of consequence a peace with the Indians. There is also a negociation, industriously, and not unpromisingly conducted with Spain for the free navigation of the Mississippi. The continuance of our union with the United States may therefore, in a short time, secure us all our favorite objects. And there must be time, for we have to deal with sovereign and powerful nations, whose rights we cannot infringe; we must therefore solicit and not extort. But separated from the United States and, of course, from the friendship of France & the world, what hope have we to bend the haughty nations of Britain and Spain? We should be their sport or their slaves.

In rejecting the conditions now offered us by government, we cannot hope to extort a repeal of the excise law. If we would remove it by force, we must be able to cut ourselves off from the United States with the loss of our prosperity, our happiness, and perhaps our existence. A rejection of the conditions is a declaration of war, and war is the sure road to ruin.

Let us next consider what will be the consequence of our submission to government on the terms offered. We are restored to the peace and protection of government. We shall be tried for offenses and delinquencies by courts and juries in our neighborhood, but with these favorable terms we must submit to the excise law.

The peculiar objection which lay in the mouths of the people on this side of the mountains to this law was this, that from our local circumstances it drew from us a sum of money which was disproportioned to our wealth, and would soon exhaust our circulating medium. However necessary on those grounds an opposition to the excise law might be three years ago, it is less necessary now. Since that period the progress of this country to wealth has been amazingly rapid. There have been more public and private buildings raised and fewer sheriff sales for debt within this period than for nine years past preceding. Three years ago, I believe, there was hardly a burr millstone in this country, now there are perhaps a dozen. The quantity of money circulating among us is since greatly increased, and the value of all property is thereby greatly increased. In other words, the value of money, is greatly lessened, and thereby the value of the excise to be paid by us is greatly lessened. Then [206] there was hardly any trade to the Spanish settlements on the Mississippi; it was at any rate small, and confined to a few adventurers. The quantity of grain exported was but little, of course but little was withdrawn from our own consumption, and this little generally bought with goods. Now a very respectable trade is carried on to the Spanish settlements—our traders are treated with great civility by the Spaniards. The duty on our trade is reduced to a mere trifle, and there is very little difficulty in bringing away dollars in return. We shall soon have the whole supply of that market to ourselves. Last spring our best flour was sold there a dollar each barrel dearer than flour from New York. None of the traders now depend on goods for the purchase of wheat, but must purchase at a reasonable price in money. From this increased exportation of our grain the necessity of distillation is greatly lessened in degree, and will every day lessen. Government does not now as formerly supply the army with whiskey through contractors purchasing with goods, but employs agents to purchase it with money. Last year ten thousand dollars was laid out in this way by one agent in this country, and the execution of an order for ten thousand more was stopt only by the present troubles. The contractors themselves have these two last years purchased their supplies with cash. From these circumstances, and the pay and other expenses of the army, government sends far more money to this side of the mountains than it would draw back by the excise. At the commencement of this law a very great quantity of foreign spirits was consumed in this country, but so severe is the duty which this law lays on foreign spirits, that the people on the east side of the mountains drink such spirits at a very increased price, and our store keepers cannot afford to bring foreign spirits in any considerable quantity over the mountains.

As our circumstances are thus materially changed, so the law itself is changed also. Originally, the duty on a still was 60 cents per gallon, now it is 54. Originally the duty on the gallon of whiskey was 9 cents, now it is 7 cents. Another material alteration, is granting a license by the month, at 10 cents per gallon on the still, a provision peculiarly suited to a country, where few distillers work in summer.

I do not say, that, by these alterations in our circumstances and in the law, our objections to the excise law are removed, but they are surely lessened. We have reason to believe, that our remonstrance would be listened to more effectually, if, by obedience we put ourselves in a capacity of being heard; but it is natural to answer, why complain of a law which you have never obeyed. I will go yet further, and state an opinion, that [207] the easiest and speediest and I believe the only way to accomplish or object, a total repeal of this law, is instantly to accept of the conditions offered by government, honestly comply with them, and thus come fairly before the legislature with our remonstrance.

I have before stated the impossibility, that the legislature should repeal this law so long as we resist it. I will now explain to you on what grounds I form the opinion that they will repeal it as soon as possible, after, by our submission, we have restored them to their authority, and you may judge for yourselves of the probability of this opinion.

The present prospect of French affairs and the favorable reception which Mr. Jay, our ambassador, has met with in England, give reason to hope for a good understanding between us and Britain, and a consequent termination of the Indian war. I estimate two years, as a reasonable period for these causes to operate, and these effects to be produced. If the extraordinary expenses of the Indian war ceased, there is reason to expect, such is the increasing trade of America, that the imports would suffice for the ordinary expenses of government. If this be true, so generally is the excise on domestic produce disliked, and so imperfectly paid, that we have no reason to presume that the Legislature will keep it up longer than is necessary. You have now the grounds on which I state the opinion that it may be repealed in two years. If repealed then, it will have lasted five years; of these five, we shall, perhaps, if we comply now, be compelled to pay for only two years, and supposing the tax unequal, paying but two years out of five may correct the inequality, and, while we pay, a far greater sum for the expences of the war is circulated among us. Thus the Indian war occasioning the excise, bears with it a remedy, and when this remedy fails, there is reason to expect the evil may also fail.

Whether, therefore, we would avoid ruin, or whether we would obtain a repeal of the excise law, it appears evident to me that we have no way to gain our point, but by immediately accepting and faithfully performing the conditions proposed.

If we do not, we shall no more get cash for our whiskey. The army will be supplied with whiskey from Kentucky. And (a law passed last session authorizing it) our whiskey, if carried anywhere out of this country, will with the horses, carriages or boats be seized and forfeited. We shall, therefore, become the only consumers of our whiskey. It will again cease to be a cash article and again become a mere drug.

But it is said that if we submit now, we have nothing to expect from a remonstrance, for our past remonstrances have been ineffectual. I say it is too hasty to draw this conclusion. Besides what I formerly observed that we have never, by obedi- [208] ence, intitled ourselves to relief. I request your attention to the situation of the United States hitherto. The imports have not been sufficient for the expences of government including those of the Indian war. The excise law, therefore, could not be repealed unless some new fund was substituted in its stead. Now it is impossible to impose any tax whatever that will operate equally on all men. Suppose, therefore, some other tax imposed in lieu of this, while we continued to resist this. What would be the consequence? It might be as unpopular here, or in some other place, as this excise; the consequence would be, that from an experience of the weakness of government in failing to enforce the excise, the new tax would be resisted also and no tax would ever be enforced. Suppose a direct tax on a general valuation of property, there would be great frauds. Suppose a direct tax on lands. The amount of all direct taxes, in each State, must be in proportion to the number of its inhabitants. Now unless land or other property in quantity and value, bore the same proportion in each State with the number of inhabitants to the whole, the direct tax would in some States be unconstitutional, of course resisted. I am informed that in New England a direct tax would be as unpopular as the excise is here. Government, therefore, could not, with safety, substitute any other tax instead of the excise, till it had first shown that its authority was sufficient to enforce the excise.

Attend especially to the situation of the United States during the last session of Congress, and judge for yourselves, was that a time to release any established subject of taxation and try a new experiment? The whole world seemed to lower upon us. The Indians attacked our back settlements. The Algerines plundered, and the British captured our ships at sea. It was judged necessary for safety and justice to equip a fleet—to fortify our harbors, and to send out against the Indians two thousand volunteers from Kentucky. For all these purposes, the imports (diminished by the spoliations and the embargo) would come too slowly in, and it was found necessary to anticipate the revenue by enabling the President to borrow a million of dollars. Was this a time to press a repeal of the excise? From all these circumstances the failure of our past remonstrances is no sufficient reason to conclude, that after we have submitted to the authority of government, and after its embarrassments are removed, our future remonstrances will fail of a just effect.

On all these grounds, I do most earnestly exhort to an immediate acceptance of the conditions offered by the Commissioners, and a faithful performance of them on our part, as the only way in which we can hope for redress or escape ruin.

[209] I have thus expressed my sentiments honestly and freely, as at this crisis it becomes every man who has any regard to the welfare of this country, to take every occasion to do. This is not a time for concealment or dissimulation. Let every man speak out, and not by silence or falsehood deceive one another. Let a free currency of opinions restore mutual confidence and mutual safety, that the dagger of the assassin, the torch of the incendiary, and tongue of the slanderer be not feared. Let the energy of government be restored; let the public peace and the rights of persons and property be preserved sacred, and let every individual repose with confidence and safety on the protection of the law. Let the power of punishment be exerted only as our principles prescribed by courts and juries; let offences be ascertained only by the volumes of our laws. While a man's words and actions are lawful, let his safety be untouched, and let not individuals assume the public duty of repaying vengeance.

Do you, gentlemen, who, by your station, can do it so effectually, unite with me in expressing, propagating, and supporting these sentiments; and through you, both now and hereafter, let them be felt to be the voice of your country?

They are mine—and were an angel from Heaven to charge me, to make to you, as I should answer it at the tribunal of God, a faithful declaration of my opinion of the interests of this country, at this important period, I would, were it the last moment of my life, address you as I have now done. And, O! may the God of wisdom and peace inspire this people with discernment and virtue, remove from their minds blindness and passion, and save this country from becoming a field of blood.

[To this address the Grand Jury made the following note: "The above sentiments of peace and obedience to the laws would have received the sanction of the Grand Jury, but as a few members declined their assent, silence was thought better than an approbation not unanimous."]


PHILADELPHIA, September 2, 1794.

Gentlemen of the Senate and Gentlemen of the House of Representatives:

A solemn declaration of the President has announced that in pursuance of combinations to defeat the execution of the laws, [210] laying duties upon spirits distilled within the United States and upon stills, "many persons in the western parts of Pennsylvania had, at length, been hardy enough to perpetrate acts, which he is advised amount to treason, being overt acts of levying war against the United States." A communication to me has likewise expressed his determination "to take measures for calling forth the militia, in order to suppress those combinations, and to cause the laws to be duly executed." These occurrences have appeared, in my judgment, to be of a nature and tendency so interesting and momentous, as to claim, independent of every other consideration, an exercise of the executive authority, to convene the General Assembly upon extraordinary occasions.

I am sensible, Gentlemen, of the great inconveniency which, at this season of the year, must attend your compliance with the summons that has been accordingly issued; but experience justifies an expectation that you will consider every private sacrifice amply compensated by the opportunity of contributing to restore public tranquility and order. Unless, indeed, that wholesome subordination to the laws, which confers on virtue its merited safety, which secures to industry its laudable acquisitions, and which shelters freedom from the blasts of licentiousness, can be introduced and preserved, we pursue, in vain, the avocations of domestic life, and boast, without pretext, of equal rights and civil liberty.

The impracticability of combining social order with the principles of a free Republic, so long the favorite assertion of interested Statesmen, seemed already to have received a satisfactory refutation from the experiment which our country had made. The friends of Liberty who had rejoiced in the accomplishment of our Revolution beheld with still greater exultation, the peaceable and almost unanimous adoption of our Federal Constitution. The visible effect of this system, raised upon the firm basis of popular representation and directed to the legitimate objects of Government, attracted the attention, and hitherto have excited the admiration or the envy of mankind. If, indeed, we examine more particularly the operations of the government, we shall find that, elevating our Federal character from a state of degradation, the American Union has been rendered respectable among the nations of the earth. While Europe is involved in all the horrors of War and distracted by the embarrassment of her finances, we find our country preserved from a participation in the dreadful conflict and its treasury exhibiting no claim to diminish the profits of genius or labor; but what is necessary to protect a distant and defenceless frontier from savage depredation, to pay an honest debt, the price of our National Independ- [211] ence—or to defray the unavoidable expenses of Government, the price of our political establishment. In other countries, too, the disposition, the interest and the prosperity of the government may be distinguished from the disposition, the interest and the prosperity of the people; but so long as the spirit of our social compact continues to operate, so long as the laws are enacted by the immediate authority and maintained by the ready obedience of the citizens, that odious distinction cannot be generated here. With the prosperity of the American government, the prosperity of the American People must be coeval and commensurate. Thus the reputation which our government has acquired abroad, the peace which it has preserved at home, and the moderation of its fiscal demands, are intimately and obviously allied to the morality, the industry, the affluence and the happiness which appear in all the circles of domestic life.

But a period has unfortunately arrived which renders it indispensable to remark, that this scene so honorable and so beneficial to our country, can only be perpetuated by the efficient means which have produced it. The establishment of a free government, with a competent legislative power, and the certainty of submission to the laws when duly made, were the real sources of our prosperity. Nothing more will be necessary to convert all our enjoyments into cares, than the dissemination of an unmerited contempt for the government which the People have thus created, or the practice of an unconstitutional opposition to the laws which they have thus authorized to be enacted. Such proceedings indeed, are not less unreasonable in their nature, than pernicious in their consequences. It is unreasonable to oppose a measure which our Representatives have been empowered to adopt; it is unreasonable to risque the subversion of the government, merely to extort what a change of our representatives may procure. It is unreasonable to resist, by the force of arms, what could not be prevented by the force of argument; and, above all, it is unreasonable that the few should counteract the will of the many, or that a part of the community should undertake to prescribe to the whole.

I enquire not, Gentlemen, whether there was any original impolicy or whether there is any oppressive operation in the laws, which the present occasion particularly contemplates; it is enough for my object to know, that they exist by an authority competent to make them; for this knowledge (speaking as a Magistrate or as a freeman) is enough to convince me that they ought to be obeyed. If an abstract opinion controverting the policy of any legislative act, or if a partial inconvenience resulting from the operation of a general law, shall be deemed a sufficient vindication for disobedience and hostile opposition [212] to the Government, on what foundation can we longer rest the national hopes of respect, tranquility and order? In a country so extensive, with interests so various and with habits so diversified, can we expect from human wisdom a system of legislation, that shall reconcile every difference or gratify every prejudice? Or is there any principle of discrimination that will warrant a compliance with the local pretensions of one district, and justify the denial of a similar indulgence to the local pretensions of any district in the Union? Enquiries of this kind must inevitably terminate in a conviction that there is no alternative in a free country but a submission to the laws, ordained by the regular exercise of Constitutional authority, or a subjection to the anarchy produced invariably by a popular disregard of social obligation. Here, therefore, is the point for serious deliberation, for should the event be unpropitious to the laws, the glorious harvest of our Revolution will be wantonly laid waste; the foes of freedom and republicanism will acquire new energy from our disgrace; the present age will regard our conduct with contempt, and posterity will pronounce our names with destation. To us, Gentlemen, in particular, this dreadful reflection must bring additional pain, should the calamity which it contemplates be occasioned or promoted by the fatal example of Pennsylvania.

That the Acts of Congress, commonly called the Excise laws, had created considerable discontent in various parts of the State, and that this discontent had been manifested, not only by a non-compliance with the laws, but by an irregular and violent conduct towards the officers who were employed to execute them, have long been circumstances of public notoriety, and at an early period of my administration were mentioned as a proper subject for legislative animadvertion. With a design to facilitate the measures of the Federal Government, I employed likewise repeated opportunities to inculcate the indispensable duty of obedience to the laws, and from time to time I received with peculiar satisfaction the strongest assurances, that on the part of the State officers, every reasonable exertion would be made to conciliate the minds of their Fellow Citizens, and to effectuate the acts of the Union. It is to be lamented, however, that the result of these efforts has not corresponded with the expectation which I had formed. The spirit of lawless opposition seems to have acquired fresh vigor during a transient sleep, and being at length excited into action it has recently violated the public peace, overthrowing in its career the barriers of personal safety and the safeguards of private property. From the information which I have collected through various channels, and the result of which it is my duty, Gentlemen, to submit to your observation, [213] it may he conjectured that at the period of perpetrating the late outrageous Riots in the Western parts at the State, the principal source of discontent had been augmented by several collateral considerations. Under circumstances peculiarly inauspicious, therefore, the marshal of the District seems to have entered the western counties to serve certain judiciary process, by which a number of citizens who had omitted to enter their stills, agreeably to the act of Congress, were summoned to appear at a District Court to be holden in the City of Philadelphia. From the documents which I have had an opportunity of examining on the subject, it appears that this officer was allowed without injury or molestation to discharge his duty in the County of Fayette; that proceeding for the same purpose into the County of Allegheny, he requested the company and assistance of Gen. Nevill, the inspector of the Revenue; that while thus accompanied he suffered some insults, and encountered some opposition; that considerable bodies of armed men having at several times demanded the surrender of General Nevill's commission and papers, attacked and ultimately destroyed his house and other valuable property; that these rioters, (of whom a few were killed and many wounded,) having made the Marshal, together with other Citizens, prisoners, released that officer in consideration of a promise that he would not serve any more process on the Western side of the Allegheny mountain; that under a just apprehension of violence. General Nevill, before his house was destroyed, applied to two of the judges of the county of Allegheny for the protection of his property, but the judges on the 17th day of July, the day on which his house was destroyed, declared that they could not, in the present circumstances of the country, afford the protection that was requested, though they offered to institute prosecutions against the offenders, and that General Nevill and the Marshal, menaced with further outrage by the Rioters, had been under the necessity of repairing by a circuitous route to Philadelphia. To this outline of the information, which was received immediately after the riots, the stoppage of the public mail, the expulsion of several friends to government from Pittsburgh, and the measures taken to establish a correspondence and concert among the rioters, must be regarded as circumstances of great aggravation and alarm.

As soon as the intelligence of these lawless proceedings had arrived, letters were addressed, under my instructions, to every Judge, Justice, Sheriff, Brigade Inspector and, in short, to every public officer residing in the Western counties, expressing the regret and indignation, which the event had produced, and requiring an exertion of their influence and authority to suppress the tumults, and punish the offenders. The Attorney General [214] of the State was likewise desired to investigate the circumstances of the riot, to ascertain the names of the rioters, and to institute the regular process of the law for bringing the leaders to justice. This judiciary course of proceeding, the only one which, at that period, appeared lawful to be pursued on my part, was recommended likewise by the success that had attended it upon former occasions. Riots have heretofore been committed in opposition to the laws of Pennsylvania, but the rioters have been invariably punished by our Courts of Justice. In opposition to the laws of the United States; in opposition to the very laws now opposed, and in the very counties supposed to be combined in the present opposition, riots have likewise formerly occurred; but in every instance, supported by legal proof (and several such instances are specified in the documents that accompanied my address to the Legislature on the 7th of December, 1792,) the offenders have been indicted, convicted and punished by the Tribunals of the State. To support the authority of the Union, by an exertion of the authority of the State, has ever, indeed, constituted a favorite object of my official attention; and I shall always be persuaded that if the purposes of Justice can be attained, if obedience to the laws can be restored, and if the horrors of a civil war can be averted by that auxiliary intervention, no idea of placing an individual State in too distinct, too important a point of view, or of interfering with the exercise of a concurrent Federal jurisdiction, can be sufficiently clear or cogent to supersede such momentous considerations.

But it may be suggested, that the extent and violence of the late disturbances, required a more energetic course, and would have justified an immediate interposition of the militia. For my part, Gentlemen, I confess that in manifesting a zealous disposition to secure obedience to the Constitutions and laws of our country, I shall ever prefer the instruments of conciliation to those of coercion, and never, but in the last resort, countenance a dereliction of judiciary authority, for the exertion of military force. Before the President had determined to employ the militia on this occasion, the incompetency of the Judiciary Department of the Government of Pennsylvania, to vindicate the violated laws, had not been made sufficiently apparent. That the laws of the Union are the laws of the State, is a constitutional axiom that will never be controverted; but the mere circumstance, that the riots were committed in opposition to the laws of the Union, could neither enlarge nor alter the powers of the State Government, for in executing the laws or maintaining the authority of the Union, the officers of Pennsylvania can only employ the same means, by which the more peculiarly municipal laws and authority of the State, are exe- [215] cuted and maintained. Under a solemn conviction, then, that the military power of the Government ought not to be employed until its judiciary authority, after a fair experiment, has proved incompetent to inforce obedience or to punish infractions of the law, I conceived that nothing more was due to good faith and justice, than an assurance that the measures which were taken, would have been precisely the same, had the riot been unconnected with the system of Federal policy. If the riot had been unconnected with the system of Federal policy, the vindication of our laws, upon the arrival of the first intelligence, would have been left to the ordinary course of justice, and only in the last resort, at the requisition and as an auxiliary of the civil authority, would the military force of the State be called forth.

For it is of some importance, Gentlemen, to recollect, that at this time no positive law of the State exists, by which the exigency that will justify an appeal from the political to the physical strength of our country is defined; or by which the evidence to prove the existence of that exigency is regulated and prescribed. It is true, that in seasons of tumult and insurrection, when the civil authority has declared itself incompetent to the discharge of its functions, a duty may be presumed to result from the nature and Constitution of the Executive office, to aid the execution of the laws by every other legitimate means. But in the performance of a discretionary trust, so charged with official responsibility, as it affects the magistrate, and so exposed to patriot jealousy as it affects the citizens, every construction of the circumstances that occur should, in my judgment, be the effect of serious deliberation, and every step that is taken, in a military course, should be directed and circumscribed by the necessity which impels it. Besides, therefore, the recollection that in similar extremities the judiciary Department of our Government had maintained its authority by punishing the violaters of the public peace, and besides the defect, originally of satisfactory proof to evince, that on this occasion, its authority had failed; there were considerations of policy that added a powerful influence to recommend the lenient course, which, as an Executive Magistrate, I had determined to pursue.

In a free country, it must be expedient to convince the Citizens of the necessity that shall at any time induce the government to employ the coercive authority with which it is invested. To convince them that it is necessary to call forth the military power, for the purpose of executing the laws, it must be shewn that the judicial power has in vain attempted to punish those who violate them. The citizens of Pennsylvania (however a part of them may for a while be deluded) are the friends of law [216] and order, but when the inhabitants of one district shall be required to take arms against the inhabitants of another, their general character did not authorize me to expect a passive obedience to the mandates of Government. I believed, that as Freemen, they would enquire into the cause and nature of the service proposed to them, and, I believed, their alacrity in performing as well as in accepting it would essentially depend on their opinion of its justice and necessity. Hence, therefore, my solicitude to ascertain in the clearest manner, whether the judiciary authority had been tried in vain, for under an assurance that every other reasonable expedient had been previously resorted to, I was confident that the public opinion would sanction the most vigorous exertion of the whole force, which the constitution and laws of the State entrust to me, and that every good citizen would willingly lend his aid to strengthen and promote the measures that were thus unavoidably employed for restoring the authority of the laws.

Upon great political emergencies the effect, likewise, of every measure should be deliberately weighed. Anticipating the probable consequences of an awful appeal to arms, I could not avoid impressions, which are of a nature too painful, and too delicate for public recapitulation, but which will readily occur to every reflecting mind. From the situation that has been represented, I was relieved however, Gentlemen, by the conduct which the Federal Government has determined to adopt upon the occasion, and by which it is obvious that my interference in a separate and unconnected manner to embody any part of the militia, would be rendered uselessly expensive to the State, unnecessarily burthensome to the Citizens, and might be eventually introductory of embarrassment and confusion, instead of system and co-operation. The complicated nature of the outrages which were committed upon the public peace gave, indeed, a jurisdiction to both Governments; but, the judiciary, as well as in the military Department, it would perhaps be expedient that 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 when contemplated by the laws of the United States, and when contemplated by the laws of Pennsylvania, must otherwise destroy that uniformity in the definition of crimes, and the apportionment of punishments which has always been deemed essential to a due administration of justice.

You will perceive, gentlemen, from the documents which I have, directed to be laid before you, that treading in the regular path designated by an act of Congress, the President has received a [217] notification from an Associate Judge, stating according to the Act "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." The legal operation of this Certificate having authorized the President to call forth the Militia of this and of any other State to suppress such combinations, and to cause the laws to be duly executed, a requisition for that purpose has been accordingly issued, and copies of it will be communicated for your information. Leaving it, therefore, as I ought, implicitly to the judgment of the President, to chuse on such evidence as he approved, the measures for carrying the laws of the Union into effect, and feeling as I ought the influence of my Federal obligations, I did not hesitate to give a full and unequivocal assurance that whatever requisition he might make, whatever duty he might impose in pursuance of his constitutional and legal powers, would, on my part, be promptly undertaken and faithfully discharged. Actuated equally by the regard due to my immediate trust, and my desire to co-operate with the plans of the General Government, I have, likewise, published a Proclamation, declaring (as far as I can declare them) the sentiments of the Government, announcing a determination to punish the offenders, and exhorting the Citizens at large to pursue a peaceable and patriotic, conduct. I have engaged two respectable Citizens to act as Commissioners, for addressing those who have embarked in the present combination upon the lawless nature and ruinous tendency of their proceeding, and for inculcating the necessity of an immediate return to the duty which they owe to their country, and I have convened the Legislature, in order that those defects in the existing laws of the State which obstruct or retard the use of the proper instruments for maintaining the dignity of the Government, or for complying with the requisitions of the President may be amended, and that the ultimate means of subduing the spirit of insurrection, and of restoring tranquility and order, may be prescribed (consistently with the jurisdiction of Pennsylvania) by your wisdom and authority.

Having thus, Gentlemen, laid before you the circumstances that have attended the very serious event which has occasioned your present meeting, it cannot, I presume, be necessary to offer any further arguments to engage you in the indispensable task of providing, with a prompt, firm and patriotic policy, for the maintenance of an issue, in which the laws and existence of our government are critically involved. You will perceive from the papers, which the Secretary is directed to deliver, that every [218] conciliatory effort has been made, as well by the general government as by the State, to convince the deluded insurgents of their error, to reconcile them to their duty, and to re-establish the violated authority of the laws. You will be satisfied from the present state of our information, that the judiciary authority of the government is no longer competent to inforce obedience to the acts of Congress or to punish the outrageous offences which have been committed in the course of an opposition to them, and you will feel under the most sacred obligations of duty, under the strongest incentives of interest, the force of the resulting alternative, which now presents to our choice, a dereliction of our official trust, or the most vigorous exertion of our constitutional powers.

But not only as guardians of the public welfare and of the equal rights of our constituents, let me, likewise, call upon you gentlemen, let me solemnly call upon our fellow citizens of every description, as individuals bearing testimony against a lawless proceeding, to exercise all the influence of reason and example, in counteracting the fatal effects of a spirit, so hostile to the public order of Society and to the private happiness of man. There is no member of the community so elevated by opulence or so depressed by poverty, so weak or so feeble in the condition of his mind or body, but must feel his dependence upon the benignity of the laws. For a general submission to the law is the certain, though the only medium (as I have already intimated) by which the public is enabled to extend security to property and encouragement to industry, by which it arms the feeble against outrage and shelters the unfortunate from want. To violate this palladium, upon any pretext, is to set an example for violating it upon every pretext; and to permit it, in the first instance, with impunity, is, in effect, to invigorate every subsequent attack. The duty of the government being thus intimately combined with the interests of the people, I anxiously hope, that the ready and effectual aid which the public measure will receive at this crisis, from the zeal and spirit of a militia, composed of enlightened and patriotic freemen, will leave the enemies of Liberty hereafter without a pretext, for asserting that a standing army is necessary to maintain the authority of the laws.



PITTSBURGH, Sept. 2d, 1794.
GENTLEMEN:—We have received your letter of yesterday and after having duly considered its contents, we are all of opinion that it is the interest and duty of the people of the Western counties of Pennsylvania to submit to the execution of the laws of the United States, and of the State of Pennsylvania, upon the principles and terms stated by the commissioners; and we will heartily recommend this measure to them. We are also ready to enter into the detail with you of fixing and ascertaining the time, place and manner of collecting the sense of the people upon this very momentous subject.

Signed by the unanimous order of the committee.

To the commissioners of the United States and of the State of Pennsylvania.


CHAMBERSBURGH, Sept. 4th, 1794.
SIR:—I had the honor of receiving your orders of the 8th ult., on the evening of the 14th of the same Month. On the receipt of which I immediately began to write & issue the necessary orders for making the draught, but the weather being very unfavourable, retarded my progress a little, and from the manner in which I gave the Orders, I expected in a few days to have received a report of the State of the different Companies respecting Arms and Equipments, and in what time they would have their respective quotas in readiness to March. But notwithstanding I have wrote since repeatedly to some of the Captains, there is seven of them who has not made any report yet; and the Number returned, who are willing to hold themselves in readiness to March, does not amount to more than 29 privates, and they without Arms and Epuipments; besides the Company of light Infantry, in the fourth Regiment, who are unwilling to stand a draught, but chooses to go voluntarily; but I have reason to believe that the Captain will resign. What may be the report that those Captains will make, who have not yet reported, is uncertain; but I believe that few need be expected from them; and I think that I have reason to believe that few of those who are returned as holding [220] themselves in readiness to March, will March when the Orders are given.

I am, Sir,
your most obed't serv't,
JOH. CRAWFORD, Brigade Inspector of Franklin County.

JOSIAH HARMAR, Esquire, Adjutant Gen'l of the Militia of Pennsylvania.


BEDFORD, Sptem'r 5th, 1794.
SIR:—We have just arrived here from Pittsburgh on our way to Philadelphia, and being informed by the Commissioners of the United States that they intend to send an express from hence to the President, we embrace the opportunity of communicating to your Excellency the amount of what passed since the date of our last Letter. On Monday, the first instant, we had a conversation with the Committee of conference appointed by the standing committee at Brownsville on the 29th last month, and found their wishes were to have an assurance that all arrearages of Excise should be forgiven, and to have the time of taking the sense of the Freemen upon the terms proposed by the respective Commissioners postponed until the 11th day of October next. These the committee were desired to reduce to writing, which was done that night after they withdrew, and the next morning the Commissioners of the Union wrote an answer, which they were pleased to show us for our concurrence; though the subject matter did not relate immediately to the State, it was delivered to the committee of conference, and we met again soon after, and unanimously agreed to the time, places & manner of taking the assurances of the freemen of their future support of the laws of the Union and of the State.

Having left Pittsburgh on the morning of the third instant, we have not had time to copy these proceedings, and therefore for the first part of them must refer to the Secretary of the United States, the second part has been printed, and we have the honor to inclose a proof copy of them. We deemed it to be not only unnecessary but impolitic to remain any longer at Pittsburgh, having exhausted all our arguments and persuasions with such of the inhabitants of the four Western counties of this State as we had any opportunity of seeing.

[221] Upon the whole, Sir, we entertain a reasonable hope that the great mass of the People will comply with the terms proposed, and be dutiful citizens in future, and that their example & influence will in a few days prevail upon most of the residents as the same. However, it must not be concealed that there are several unruly and turbulent spirits in almost every township who will require correction and punishment, and these men having little or no property to lose may probably create new disturbances. Should our opinion prove to be well founded, it is probable the ordinary course of judicial powers may be sufficient to reduce them to submission and order without military aid.

In such an intricate and uncertain an affair we cannot presume to give any advice, and more especially as the worst will take place before the 16th instant, which must direct future measures.

We beg that want of time may appologize for our sending you this rough draft, and that you will believe us to be with great attachment & regard.

Sir, Your Excellency's
Most obedient humble servants,

His Excellency Governor MIFFLIN.


PHILADELPHIA, 5th Sept'r, 1794.
GENTLEMEN:—It is with sincere satisfaction, I contemplate the prospect of restoring harmony and order in the western parts of Pennsylvania without an appeal to arms. Your agency in producing so desirable an accommodation will yield the most pleasing and honorable reward, as well from the reflection of your own minds as in the approbation of our Fellow Citizens.

I observe, however, with some anxiety your intention of returning immediately to Philadelphia. The commissioners on the part of the Union, having expressed a similar intention, the Secretary of State informs me that they have been requested by the President to remain at Pittsburgh till the result of the meeting appointed for the 14th instant is known. Permit me to request the same from you. Many circumstances may yet occur to require explanation and conciliation, and it appears to [222] be necessary to a final arrangement that both sets of commissioners should be on the spot at the same time.

I am, with the sincerest
esteem and regard, Gentlemen,
Your Most obed. Serv.,



PITTSBURGH, 5th Sept'r, 1794.
D'R SIR:—I received your letter by this day's post. I wrote to you last post informing you there was no danger of the supplies for Lebeuf. I cannot conceive how the idea could have originated. We have always had a large supply of provisions at Cussawago & Fort Franklin, & only required a few men to escort, but could not get them from Lebeuf; & the disturbances in this country excludes all ideas of drafting the militia; but since I have rec'd the Governor's permission to embody the settlers at Cussawago, there can be no apprehension of a failure.

We were in some hope, that the terms proposed by the commissioners, would have quieted the disturbances here, but I am now confident we shall be involved in all the horrors of a civil war. The violences of the people will not permit them to listen to the cool voice of reason—every person of sensibility must feel the dreadful situation this country is reduced to, from a most improving & nourishing condition. I think we are now in a more dangerous situation than before the assemblying of the armed people at Bradock's field. I expect nothing else but another embodying for some dreadfull purpose.

You will have to wait patiently for the account you required me to send you, as we are greatly engaged to take care of ourselves.

Am, D'r Sir, your Hum. Serv't,

Col. CLEMENT BIDDLE, Philadelphia.


Pittsburgh, 5th Sept., 1794.
Sir:—In these times of suspicion and danger, I think it proper to communicate the inclosed as containing a part of my publick conduct as an officer. I can assure you, Sir, that on [223] this, and on all former occasions, in which I have, in like official capacity, endeavored to maintain the publick peace, I have spoken not only the language of duty but of the heart.

The issue of this business is altogether uncertain, and I cannot say that it is yet at all promising. If confusion and war should ensue, my presence in this country may be unnecessary, and my absence may even be compelled. Whether a restraint will be laid upon me either in going or staying, I know not, But I hope I shall have your approbation in adopting any measure that may appear the most prudent and useful.

You will please to consider this letter as intended only for your inspection or that of Mr. Dallas. If the publication of the Charge (See page 201) should by you or him, be thought proper, it may be done with as you please.

I am, Sir,
your most obed't serv't,

THOMAS MIFFLIN, Governor of Pennsylvania.


YORK TOWN, September 6th, 1794.
SIR:—I am sorry to say that too great delay has unavoidably taken place in drafting the quota of Militia required by your Orders of the 8th of August last—not so much from backwardness in the Militia of this County to step forward on the present important occasion, as from the unprepared State I was in to make a draft, through the former negligence or non-compliance of some Regiments with the Militia Law, particularly with respect to classing the Men. I have, however, been assiduous in the business, & fully expect the required quota in readiness in the course of next Week. I have to inform you, that no dependence can be put on any Arms or Equipments in the County being fit for service. I have received from the former County Lieutenant, near fifty Musquets, all unfit for service; some without Locks, and all without Bayonets; and though I have applied to the Gunsmiths here, cannot get them repaired. Upon the whole, we must, on the present occasion, depend upon a supply of Arms and equipments of all kinds, from Government, for the whole quota. I am fully convinced, Sir, for my own part, that, exclusive of the present necessity, 500, or 1,000, Stand of Arms & accoutrements in this County, carefully put into the hands of Select Volunteer Companies, would give new vigour to [224] the Troops, and be a means of a more immediate and cheerfull compliance with a call in case of any emergency. Indeed, the law, as it stands, I am sorry to say, holds forth no encouragement, but rather appears calculated to have a contrary tendency.

I am, Sir,
your most Obed't humble Servant,
A. RUSSELL, Brigade Inspector.

TO JOSIAH HARMAR, Esq'r, Adjutant Gen'l of the Militia of Pennsylvania.


PHILADELPHIA, 8th Sept'r, 1794.
SIR:—As I think that the honor of the State is peculiarly interested in manifesting a determination to suppress by every legitimate means the insurrection which exists in the Western Counties, I have waited, with the greatest anxiety, for the execution of the instructions that were issued, in order to organize a Body of Militia to be employed in that service, agreeably to the President's requisition of the 7th ultimo. It is with the utmost mortification, therefore, that I now discover in the returns which you have communicated to me so great an indisposition in some of the brigades to comply with that call, or so essential a defect of power in the officers to enforce it as leaves but little hope that our quota can be seasonably raised by the ordinary course of proceeding.

Thus situated, I must either expose the State to the reproach and disgrace of an official representation, declaring the incapacity or the unwillingness of its militia to assist in restoring the violated authority of the laws, or I must resort to the spirit and patriotism of individuals to supply immediately by voluntary enrolments the deficiency of the regular drafts. Impressed with the importance of the occasion, and attached to the reputation as well as to the peace of our country, I cannot hesitate in this alternative to prefer the latter measure.

You will be pleased, therefore, Sir, with all possible dispatch, to renew, in the most pressing terms, your instructions to the several Brigade Inspectors under the general orders of the eighth ult., and inform them, at the same time, that for the whole, or for so much of their respective quotas as cannot be seasonably supplied by regular drafts, they may admit and return the Voluntary enrolments of any well disposed citizens. For my own part, though I lament the dreadful necessity of an appeal to arms, I avow a readiness, personally to engage in the service [225] which our country at this crisis requires, and shall accompany my fellow citizens to the scene of duty with alacrity & confidence. Should even this arrangement fail, I invite every patriotic citizen to consider himself included in the requisition, and on the day which shall be appointed by the President for repairing to the rendezvous I will march with those who shall attend.

It is obvious, indeed, to every reflecting mind, that if our Governments are worth preserving, an immediate & decisive exertion must be made. The judiciary department having proved incompetent to discharge its functions, should the conciliatory efforts of the Executive be, likewise, abortive, we can have no other resource at this period than in the military strength of the Nation. Let every citizen then put his hand upon his heart and declare, whether anything has been omitted which could reasonably be employed to reconcile the Insurgents to their duty, and if nothing has been omitted, let him add, whether he is willing to abandon as a prey to anarchy, the freedom and independence which we have so recently rescued from the hand of usurpation? Or whether, as an alternative, he is prepared to leave them to the protection and support of a standing army? A free republic can only be established by the will of the people; it can only be perpetuated by their affection and attachment.

I shall submit these instructions to the Legislature, in whose aid and countenance on the present occasion I repose unlimited confidence, but I shall postpone any official communication to the President, till the effects of my proposition are ascertained.

I am, Sir,
Your most obedient servant,

To JOSIAH HARMAR, Esq., Adjut. Gen. of the Militia of Pennsylvania.


Monday, September 8, 1794.
SIR:—While we lament with sincere grief and mortification, the very serious event that has occasioned the exercise of the Executive authority, to convene the General Assembly upon extraordinary occasions, we entertain a just sense of the patriotic motives which have regulated your conduct at so critical a period, and on our part, shall consider any private sacrifice as [226] amply compensated, by the opportunity of contributing to restore public tranquility and order.

The judicious, liberal and energetic measures which appear to have been pursued, as well by the General as by the State Government, will, we trust, produce the most beneficial effects in convincing our deluded fellow citizens in the western parts of the State, of the necessity of an immediate return to the duty which they owe to their country. But however highly we approve and applaud the moderation that our governments have hitherto manifested, we cannot hesitate to declare, that if the issue of their conciliatory propositions should be unpropitious to our wishes, we will co-operate with you in the most vigorous exertions of our constitutional powers to restore the violated authority of the laws; for we are sensible Sir, that, unless that wholesome subordination to the laws, which confers on virtue its merited safety, which secures to industry its laudable acquisitions and which shelters freedom from the blasts of licentiousness, can be introduced and preserved, we shall boast without pretext, of equal rights and civil liberty.

Though we cherish the pleasing hope that the present concussion will terminate in the triumph of virtue and reason, we shall not, Sir, omit or suspend the necessary preparations to maintain, at all events, the dignity of the Commonwealth. In the course of our deliberations, the various subjects of your address will receive a due attention, and we indulge a perfect confidence that you will on all occasions, employ your constitutional powers and personal influence, to establish the public order of the State, and to advance the private happiness of our fellow citizens.

By order of the Senate,


WAR DEPARTMENT, Sept. 9th, 1794.
SIR:—The last intelligence from the Western Counties of this State, which has been communicated to you, leaves the issue of measures for an amicable accommodation so very doubtful, and the season for military operation is wearing away so fast, that the President, with great reluctance, finds himself under a necessity of putting in motion, without further delay, all the militia which have been called for.

I am, therefore, instructed by him to request that your Excellency will immediately cause the quota of this State to assemble. The general rendezvous appointed by the President, [227] for all those who may not lie westward of it, is Carlisle, where also the Jersey Militia will be ordered to repair without delay. Particular places of rendezvous for local convenience will be regulated by your Excellency. I was glad to understand from you, in conversation, that Philadelphia, Reading and Lancaster were intended, as at these places the United States have already contracts. Will it not be most convenient for the militia to bring with them their own supplies from their own homes or neighbourhoods to the places of first rendezvous to be compensated for them by the public?

The Superintendent of military Stores, Mr. Hodgdon, will wait upon you to ascertain what proportions of tents and camp equipage ought to be sent to the different places of rendezvous, in order that the Militia may be accommodated in the most convenient manner.

I shall in the course of the day call on your Excellency to adjust in a personal conference anything further that may occur.

The President, in making this final call, entertains a full confidence that Pennsylvania will upon an occasion which so immediately affects herself, as well as the general interests, display such zeal and energy as shall maintain unsullied her character for discernment, love of order, and true patriotism. It is unnecessary to add, that the part she shall act is of peculiar consequence to the welfare and reputation of the whole Union.

With the highest respect, I have the honor to be,
Your Excellency's Most obed't Serv't,
on behalf of the Sec'y of War.

His Excellency Governor MIFFLIN.


PHILA., Tuesday, September 9th, 1794.
The Governor deeming it proper upon this important occasion to call a meeting of the officers of the Militia of the City and County of Philadelphia and the other Counties, included in the requisition of the eighth of August last, to wit: The Counties of Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Bucks, Northampton, Berks, Lancaster, York, Dauphin. Cumberland and Franklin, this day instructed the adjutant General to issue General orders, for calling the officers of the City and County of Philadelphia, and several Counties, to meet the Governor on the days and at the places mentioned in the following Schedule:

[238] 1. Philadelphia, City and County, 10th September.
2. Chester, Turk's head, Monday, 15th September, 2 o'clock.
3. Delaware, Chester, Tuesday, 16th September, 2 o'clock.
4. Montgomery, Norristown, Friday, 19th September, 2 o'clock,
5. Bucks, Newtown, Saturday, 20th September, 2 o'clock.
6. Northampton, Allentown, Monday, 22d September,2 o'clock.
7. Berks, Reading, Wednesday, 24th September, 2 o'clock.
8. Lancaster, Lancaster, Friday, 26th September, 2 o'clock.
9. York, York, Monday, 29th September, 2 o'clock.
10. Dauphin, Harrisburgh, Wednesday, 1st October, 2 o'clock.
11. Cumberland, Carlisle, Thursday, 2d October, 2 o'clock.
12. Franklin, Chambersburgh, Friday, 3d October, 3 o'clock.


Resolutions adopted by a meeting of delegates consisting of two members duly elected from each militia company in Ohio county, in the State of Virginia, held in West Liberty, on the 8th and 9th days of September, 1794:

1. Resolved, As the opinion of this committee, That we conceive the excise system to be oppressive in its nature, and hostile to the liberties of the people, in particular to those of the Western country, and a nursery of vice; and the funding system a nursery to the excise; the revenue arising from thence is a nursery and support to sycophants.

2. Resolved, That a direct tax on real property would discourage the men of wealth from engrossing lands profusely, and would afford the industrious men of middle and low class an equal privilege with those of the rich—which ought to be the true object of a republican government.

3. Resolved, That we draft a remonstrance, praying the Congress of the United States of America to repeal the Act for raising a reveune from spirits distilled from the growth of the United States and stills; a land office west of the Ohio river be opened, and the free navigation of the Mississippi river be immediately procured: That William McKinley, Archibald Woods, John Connell, Robert McClure, and Robert Stephenson, do prepare and draft the same.

4. Resolved, That we hold a correspondence with our brethren in the neighbouring counties of Virginia and Pennsylvania.

5. Resolved, That the inhabitants of the United States, west of the Allegheny mountains, are entitled, not only by nature, but by treaty, to the free navigation of the Mississippi river; The Tardy and ineffectual negociations pursued by government, [229] are observed with concern and regret, as they are uniformly veiled with the most mysterious secrecy, which is a violation of the political rights of the citizens in general, as it declares that the people are unfit to be trusted with important facts.

6. Resolved, That the taking citizens of the United States from their respective counties, to be tried for real or supposed offences, is a violation of the rights of free citizens, and ought not to be exercised by the judicial authority.

7. Resolved, That the withholding the country west of the Ohio river from being settled, is repugnant to the true interest of the people. A generous land office ought to be opened, in order that the citizens in the Western country may have an equal privilege of procuring lands with Europeans, and those of our fellow citizens whose situation is not so remote from the seat of government.

8. Resolved, That the exorbitant wages allowed to the officers of the general government ought to be reduced and the wages of the soldiers in the army of the United States be immediately advanced.

9. Resolved, That we are ready and willing at the risk of our lives and property to support just and equitable laws, to deny our confidence to those members of government and others whose interest is different from that of the people at large, and at the same time revere those members who act from true republican principles, such as a Madison, a Findley, &c., &c.

10. Resolved, That the above be printed in the Pittsburgh Gazette.

Adjourned until the 18th inst.

Signed by order of the Committee.



PHILADELPHIA, 10th Sept., 1794.

To the Senate and, House of Representatives of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania:

GENTLEMEN:—The state of the negotiation with the deluded inhabitants of the western counties rendering it very doubtful whether peace and order can be restored without the aid of a military force, the President has requested me immediately to assemble the quota of the militia of this State destined for that [230] service. Under the circumstances which I have already described to you, I cannot withhold an active and personal interposition to prevent the disgrace that must attend the non-compliance with this requisition. I have, therefore, on the principles stated in my last message, exhorted the officers of the militia of the city and county of Philadelphia to exert themselves for their own honor and for the sake of their country, and I purpose to call on every brigade included in the requisition in the same manner and for the same purpose. Be assured, Gentlemen, our Fellow Citizens will on this occasion maintain their character as friends to law and order, and to ensure success, I have only to repeat an earnest solicitation that our joint exertions may not be defeated by a parsimonious policy.

The necessary attention to my executive duties under the President's requisition will probably require my absence from the city for a few days, but I shall make it a point to return before any objects of a legislative nature can be matured for my consideration.

I cannot avoid taking this opportunity to express my sanguine expectation that the continuance of a mutual confidence between the Legislative and Executive Departments of our Government will give energy to all our measures, and convince our Fellow Citizens that while we comprehend the extent of our duties, we are not wanting in zeal or power to perform them.



PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 10, 1794.

General Orders.

Col. Clement Biddle, the Quarter Master General of the State Militia is directed immediately to lay out an encampment for the quota of the city and county of Philadelphia Brigades under the President's requisition of the 7th instant, as near to the west bank of the Schuylkill as he can find a proper and convenient place. He will, likewise, forthwith provide the requisite supply of arms and Quarter Master Stores, and make the necessary arrangements for furnishing wagons, Bat. Horses, and all other supplies within his Department.

The Governor takes this opportunity of returning his most cordial thanks to the officers of the brigades of the city and county of Philadelphia, for the prompt and unanimous declaration of their determination to support the measures of govern- [231] ment at this crisis. A conduct so honorable and patriotic was to be expected from their past, and will ensure success to their future exertions, in the cause of their country. He is confident, that actuated by similar principles, every citizen will be eager to manifest his attachment to law and order, and that on Wednesday next, agreeably to appointment, the quota of the city and county of Philadelphia will rendezvous at the encampment; completely prepared to march. It is expected that each militia man will bring with him a blanket, and if convenient, a knapsack and canteen.

The adjutant of the several regiments and independent corps are desired to ascertain and report to the adjutant general before or on the day of rendezvous, the state of their drafts or voluntary enrollments of their respective regiments, and of their equipments.

In order to facilitate and expedite the public service, the adjutant general has obtained the consent of the Governor to employ major Rees as an assistant in his Department, of which due notice will be taken.

By order of the Commander-in-Chief,
JOSIAH HARMAR, Adjutant General of the Militia of Pennsylvania.


PHILADELPHIA, 10th September, 1794
General Orders.
The Governor requests that the Officers of the City and County Brigades will meet him in the Common Council Chamber, at the City Hall, at 12 o'clock this day, on business of great importance to the honor of the Militia and the peace of the Commonwealth.

By order of the Commander-in Chief,

JOSIAH HARMAR, Adjutant General of the Militia of Pennsylvania.


WEDNESDAY, September 10, 1794.
FELLOW CITIZENS:—I have convened you upon an occasion as interesting as any that has occurred since the establishment of our Independence, or even during the struggle to obtain it.

[232] You all know the state of the insurrection in the Western Counties. The hostile opposition to Government has subverted the powers of the Judiciary Department, and there is reason to apprehend that every conciliatory effort to recall the insurgents to a sense of the duty they owe to their country will prove ineffectual. I declare to you, with the utmost sincerity, that I have been anxious by every honorable means to avoid any appeal to arms, but all the General or State Government can do to restore peace upon other terms seem likely to be in vain. Even those who were employed by the insurgents to confer with our Commissioners, have acknowledged that nothing more could be reasonably expected from Government.

Under these circumstances, you are called upon to determine, as Freeman and officers, what part you will act. From the defects in the Militia System, or some other unfortunate cause, the attempts to obtain our quota of Militia by regular drafts have failed, and unless we can supply the deficiency by voluntarily enlistments, the Honor of the Militia will be tarnished, and the Peace of the Commonwealth perhaps irretrievably destroyed.

Thus reduced to the embarrassment of our present unprepared situation, I do not hesitate to declare, that I consider every patriotic citizen bound to lend an attentive assistance to the measures of government; but with respect to the militia officers in particular, I am impelled by the most sacred duty, which a Magistrate can feel, to require an explicit and immediate declaration of their determination to act at this crisis or a resignation of their Commissions that others may be appointed to perform the indispensable service which our Country demands.

In proposing this alternative to you, Gentlemen, I anticipated a decision the most honorable to yourselves and the most beneficial to the State. I shall, therefore, content myself, in that respect, with enquiring at what time you will be prepared, with your quotas, to join me in the march to the place of rendezvous. The President's request for assembling the Militia of Pennsylvania, was received yesterday, and we cannot indulge a moment's delay in complying with it, if we mean to rescue our Militia and our Government from the disgrace that threatens.

You will be pleased, my fellow citizens, to favor me freely and candidly with your sentiments on this occasion. With respect to my own opinion, it is this: That each officer should endeavour, either by drafts, or by voluntary enrollments, to raise as many men as he can, before the day fixed for their parading; and that on the day so fixed, they should muster at my tent, which shall be fixed in the neighborhood of the City, for the purpose of enrolling the Men, and instructing the officers in the route. I [223] shall proceed the same way in each County, including the present requisition, till I have completed the stipulated numbers; and I trust we shall yet reach the place of rendezvous in time to prevent all hazard of discredit and reproach.

The arms, ammunition, camp equipage and rations will be punctually and plentifully provided, and I have every reason to believe that the Legislature will be enabled to allow an additional pay, or an adequate bounty, for the service to which the Militia are now called; their families will likewise be paid a weekly reasonable sum out of that allowance from the respective county Treasuries.

Let us not, Gentlemen, be perplexed by prejudices or partial considerations unconnected with the subject. It is no matter of enquiry at this time whether any acts of Congress are politic or not, whether they ought to be repealed or not; the questions are whether our governments are worth preserving, and if so, whether we will tamely and silently see them destroyed, or openly and firmly appear in support of them. Listen to the Language of the Insurgents and your spirit will rise with indignation,—they not only assert that certain laws shall be repealed, let the sense of the majority be what it may, but they threaten us with the establishment of an Independent Government, or a return to the allegiance of Great Britain. Their cruelty and insolence towards General Neville and Major Lenox, the insults which they offered to the Commissioners on their return from their pacific mission, (surrounding their lodgings, and breaking their windows,) and the menaces of violence of the family of General Neville, should the Government proceed to enforce obedience to the laws, are circumstances so flagrant, so iniquitous, and so dastardly, that for my own part I consider the conduct of the Tories during the war to have been temperate and magnanimous compared with the course of the present opposition.

For the honor of the militia, for the sake of our laws, and for the preservation of the Republican principle, let us then, Gentlemen, unite, and remember that if we cannot reform, it is our duty to punish those who endeavour to plunder us of every right and privilege that is dear in the estimation of freemen.

It only remains to repeat my propositions. Are you willing to serve your country; to save your constitution, and to assist in securing from anarchy, as you did from despotism, the freedom and independence of America? You will not hesitate. Then, Gentlemen, when will your quotas be ready to attend?

Your immediate decision is necessary to enable me to regulate my tour through the other Counties.


PHILAD'A, 10th Sept., 1794.
SIR:—Honored with an appointment I conceive to be of importance, and solicitous to discharge the duties with advantage to my country and credit to myself, I beg leave to ask your opinion and orders on the following subjects, the necessity of which arises from my recent appointment:

The Brigade Inspector for the first Brigade, as far as orders have been given by him, has directed every Company to be divided into eight classes, of ten men each; the first ten are, I presume, the first in requisition for the western service, being eighty-three from each Regiment, officers included, Commanded by the Captain of the first Company, Lieutenant of the second, and Ensign of the fourth Company—so that the five Regiments composing the Philad'a Brigade will, with the Company Officers included,

furnish . . . 415 men.
Artillery Reg't, 10 men from each Company & Officers included . . . 84
Three Troops of Horse, 20 men each, including 4 officers . . . 60
Subtotal . . . 559
Three field officers and one adjutant . . . 4
Total . . . 563

being 4 above the requisition from the City. And as it is probable that all who are noticed for duty may not serve, nor furnish a substitute, shall the classes be completed by volunteers, or shall the 2d Class be resorted to? If from volunteers, are the Colonels and other officers authorized to promise them a compensation for their services, and that their service on this occasion will be considered as their tour of duty anticipated. In order to ascertain the sufficiency of the order for classing, would it not be advisable that the Adju't General or myself order the several Classes of artillery, Horse, Grenadiers, and Infantry, to parade for inspection on Saturday next, after which the number of volunteers necessary can be ascertained with precision?

The quota of the City of Philad'a being 559 men, it is presumed will assume the form of a Regiment, commanded by a Colonel and two Majors, aided by an adjutant; but as the Law is not so definite, as it might be, with regard to the appointment of these officers, I beg leave to ask whether I am correct in my opinion, that the Colonel of the 1st Regiment, first major of [235] the 2d Regiment, and 2d Major of the fourth Regiment, are to be immediately warned for this service, but as to an adjutant, no mention is made of him for Detachments or Classes. It is, however, proper that one should be warned for duty.and perhaps the Colonel commanding would prefer his own adjutant.

Drummers and Fifers it will be difficult to procure, unless handsome pay is offered; you will, therefore, be good enough to make me acquainted with the Compensation that will be made them, independent of the Pay granted by law. A regimental or State standard will be requisite, and it would, perhaps, be well that I were informed on this subject also.

You have been pleased to honor me with an appointment not contemplated by Law, and as in the execution I must incur expense for my support, should it be necessary for me to march with the Detachment; you will, I hope, pardon my mentioning the necessity of some provision therefor, if there be necessity for my services in Camp, of which I should wish immediate notice that I may provide accordingly. Is Wednesday the day on which the Detachment is to march and encamp, or only the day on which to have all in readiness for your review and order.

I am very respectfully, Sir,
your most obedient and humble servant,
JAMES REES, Dep'y Adj't General.

THOMAS MIFFLIN, ESQ., Governor of the State of Pennsylvania.


PHILAD'A, Sept. 10th, 1794.
SIR:—Anxious to evidence an attachment to the Governments of the Union and of the State in which I was born & educated, both of which have been established after many serious conflicts, in my opinion, upon genuine principles of Republicanism & Free Representation, I am naturally lead by your Example, as expressed in your letter to the Adjutant General, to offer my services as a Volunteer in the old City Troop, to assist in quelling the present unhappy Disturbances, which not only threaten the tranquility and good Order but even the Existence of the Union.

My Exertions, it is true, can be of small moment in the general Scale, but such as I can render, shou'd you think it compatible with the Duties I owe the Public at this time in the Character of Receiver Gen'l of the Land Office, you may always command, [236] and with promptitude your Commands I will endeavor to obey.

I have, Sir, the Honor to be,
Your Most Obedient & very H'ble Serv't,



Wednesday, September 10, 1794.
WHEREAS, The disaffection of some of the Brigades of the City Militia of Pennsylvania, to the service which they are constitutionally required to perform, by the President of the United States, as communicated in the message of the Governor of the 10th instant, (involving circumstances highly derogatory to the reputation and injurious to the interests of the Commonwealth,) demands the most serious attention of the Legislature to the investigation of the causes that have produced such a dereliction of duty. Such enquiries are more peculiarly necessary in the present instance, considering the object of this armament is to quell an insurrection of a deluded people in our own State, who have daringly avowed an open resistance to the operation of the laws—and further considering there is reason to believe, that our Sister States, who are more remotely affected by the consequences, have with singular alacrity furnished their respective quotas—therefore, in order to obtain the necessary information on the subject.

Resolved, That the Secretary of the Commonwealth be, forthwith, required to lay before the Senate copies of all official acts and proceedings of the Executive, as well as the returns that have been made by the militia Officers, that have relation to the calling out the apportioned Militia of this State, in compliance with the requisition of the President of the United States dated the 7th ultimo.

Extract from the Journal.

T. MATLACK, Clerk of the Senate.

A. J. DALLAS, Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.


PHILA., September 10, 1794.
In obedience to the resolution of the Senate, passed this day, requiring "the Secretary of the Commonwealth, forthwith, to lay before the Senate copies of all official acts and proceedings of the Executive, as well as the returns that have been made by the militia officers that have relation to the calling out the apportioned militia of this State, in compliance with the requisition of the President of the United States, dated the 7th ult., the Secretary of the Commonwealth respectfully reports:

That copies of all the official acts and proceedings of the State executive, in relation to the President's requisition of the 7th ult., were laid before each branch of the Legislature, together with the other documents referred to in the Governor's address, at the opening of the present sessions.

That besides the written documents, parol instructions were repeatedly given to the Adjutant General and other militia officers, for the exertion of every lawful means to ensure a punctual compliance with the requisition, and it appears, that in consequence of such instructions, the Adjutant General has, at several times, renewed his applications to the Brigade Inspectors. That the Inspector of the city of Philadelphia Brigade, has, almost daily, called at the Secretary's Office, with representations of the embarrassment which he experienced in complying with the requisition, and has repeatedly expressed his doubt of success, in consequence of the defects in the existing militia law. That notwithstanding the Governor issued his General orders in compliance with the President's requisition, on the very day it was received, and immediately forwarded the same by expresses to the several counties, no returns have been made from the City of Philadelphia, the county of Lancaster, the county of York, the county of Berks, the county of Franklin, and the county of Northampton.

That returns (copies of which are herewith delivered) have been received from Brigade Inspectors of the following counties, to wit:

1. Return from the county of Philadelphia, dated the 29 day of Aug., 1794, stating inconveniences in complying with the requisition, on account of the effects of the exoneration laws formerly past, and a general disapprobation of the militia law, and concluding with a declaration, that there is " very little prospect of commanding the quota of the county."

[238] 2. Return from the county of Bucks, dated the 5th day of Sept., 1794, stating that "the pay of the militia, so universally objected to, that there is no hope of completing the quota of the county upon the present terms of service."

3. Return from the county of Montgomery, dated the 3d Sept., 1794, Stating that "agreeable to the orders of the 8th of Aug., 1794, for drafting 332 Militia, officers included, the said corps is held in readiness to march at a moment's warning." The first part of this return, however, states such difficulties, as greatly diminish the probability of success in obtaining an actual organization of the corps.

4. Return from the county of Chester, dated the 28th August, 1794, stating that some officers have actually resigned and others wish to resign, and concluding with this remark: "The west and north-west of this county seem to dislike the service they are now ordered upon, and a great number in the other quarters are people, who as they say, are principled against taking up arms on any occasion; so that I believe unless the law is rigorously executed, it will be with great difficulty I shall be able to make up our quota; but be assured no exertions shall be wanting, &c."

5. Return from the county of Delaware dated the 6th Sept., 1794, stating a variety of difficulties that leave little hope of procuring by regular drafts the quota of this county.

6. Return from the county of Dauphin, dated the 29th August, 1794, stating that drafts had been made and orders given to hold the quota of this County in readiness to march, but concluding with this remark: "According to the information I have received from several parts of the County, it appears that the militia are not willing to march to quell the insurrection in the western parts of Pennsylvania. They say that they are ready to march according to the former orders against a foreign enemy, but not against the Citizens of their own State; so that, from circumstances, I have great reason to believe they will not turn out on the last call."

The Secretary respectfully begs leave to add that from a variety of documents, not called for by the Resolution of the Senate, and which it would require a considerable time to collect, there appears to be a general complaint of the want of arms throughout the State.

A. J. DALLAS, Secretary of the Commonwealth.


PHILADELPHIA, 11th Sept., 1794.


The President of the United States having issued his requisition for immediately assembling the quota of the militia of this State, drafted in pursuance of the general orders of the 8th ult, the Governor directs that the Adjutant General forthwith notify the same to the Major General, Brigadier Generals and Brigade Inspectors of the detachment, who will, with all possible dispatch, parade their respective quotas and march to the general rendezvous at Carlisle, in the county of Cumberland, in the following order and route, to wit:

1. The quota for the city and county of Philadelphia and county of Montgomery, to assemble at the camp on the west bank of Schuylkill, near Philadelphia, where they will be furnished with arms and equipments and camp equipage, and to march by the way of Reading and Harrisburgh to Carlisle.

2. The quota for the counties of Chester and Delaware to assemble at Downingtown, where they will be furnished with arms and equipments and camp equipage, and to march from thence by the way of Lancaster and Harrisburgh, where they will join Brigadier General Procter's brigade, and proceed to Carlisle.

3. The quota for the counties of Bucks, Northampton and Berks to assemble at Reading, where they will be furnished with arms and equipments and camp equipage, and march from thence by way of Harrisburgh to Carlisle.

4. The quota of Dauphin county to assemble at Harrisburgh, there to receive their arms, equipments and camp equipage, and join Brig. Gen'l Murray's brigade, and proceed to Carlisle.

5. The quota of Lancaster county to assemble at Lancaster, there to receive their arms, equipments and camp equipage, and to march by way of Harrisburgh to Carlisle.

6. The quota of York county to assemble at Yorktown, there to be furnished with arms, equipments and camp equipage, and to proceed direct to Carlisle.

7. The quota of Cumberland and Franklin counties to assemble at Carlisle, and there be furnished with arms, equipments and camp equipage.

It is expected that each militia man will bring with him a blanket, and if convenient, a knapsack and canteen.

The Quarter Master General will make the necessary arrangements for furnishing the several quotas of the militia as they arrive at the places appointed for assembling, with arms, accou- [240] trements and camp equipage, and provide for the supply of wood, straw and forage.

Each company complete will be allowed one covered waggon with four horses, which is to carry their tents and camp kettles, but to be incumbered as little as possible with baggage, as every man is to carry his own pack; and the waggons finding their own forage and provisions for the driver will be paid by the Quarter Master General of the State, at the rates to be established, and he requests that they may be engaged to continue in service during the expedition.

By order of the Governor.

JO8IAH HARMAR, Adjutant General of the militia of Pennsylvania.


MOUNTPLEASANT, Septem'r 11, 1794.
SIR:—Not being called upon in a Line of militia Duty, & being impressed with the eventfull Importance of the present Crisis, I cannot hesitate in making an offer of my personal services in any way you think proper to command. Should you, however, have no particular occasion for my services, my Intention is to join, as a private, one of the Bodys of Cavalry.

I am, with the greatest Deference & Respect,
Your most obed. & most humble servant,



PHILADELPHIA, 11th September, 1794.
SIR:—Orders will be delivered to you by ___ ___ for summoning the officers of your Brigade, to meet me at , at___, at ___

*JONATHAN WILLIAMS, was born in Boston, in 1752. He received a good education, was placed in a counting house, and made several commercial voyages to the West Indies. Visiting France in 1777, he was appointed U. S. commercial agent, and in 1785 returned with his grand-uncle, Dr. Franklin, to America. He was several years a judge of the court of common pleas of Philadelphia; appointed major of artillery, 16th February, 1801; inspector of fortification, December 4, 1801, and superintendent of West Point academy; Lieut. Col. engineers, July 8, 1802; Colonel, February 23, 1808. Elected to Congress from Philadelphia, 1814. Died in that city, May 16, 1815. Gen. Williams was the author of "Memoir on the use of the Thermometer in Navigation," 1799; "Elements of Fortification," (trans.) 1801, and "Kosciusko's Movement for Horse Artillery," 1808.

[241] o'clock, on ___ next, upon business of great importance to the honor of the Militia, and the peace of the Commonwealth.

You will pursue directions as ___ ___ shall give you for preventing any disappointment in the proposed meeting; as dispatch is of the utmost consequence to the object which I have in view.

I am, Sir,
Your Most Obed. Serv.

To ___ ___, Esq., Brigade Inspector of the ___ Brigade.
[N. B.—The above letter was sent only to the counties of Chester and Delaware.]


PHILA., 12th Sept'r, 1794.
SIR:—By the First section of the Militia act it is declared, that only such inhabitants as shall be of the age of Eighteen years, and under the age of Forty-five, are to be enrolled in the Militia. By the 11th Section of the Act, it is declared that the enrolled inhabitants of each company's bounds shall elect a Captain, Lieutenant and Ensign.

As, therefore, it appears from your report of the 25th ultimo, that the majority in favor of the Captain, Lieutenant and Ensign of the Fifth Company of the Fifth Regiment, was produced by the votes of three persons who were above the age of forty-five years, and one person under the age of eighteen years—the Governor is of opinion that those officers are not duly elected.

Should any doubt remain, however, you will be pleased to call on the Attorney General, who will subjoin his opinion to this letter.

I am, Sir,
Your most obed. H'ble. Serv.
A. J. DALLAS, Secretary.

To JOSEPH KER, Esq., Brigade Inspector of the Militia of the County of Philad'a.


PHILADELPHIA, Sep'r 12, 1794.
The Secretary of State, by the instruction of the President of the United States, has the honor of inclosing to his Excellency, the Governor of Pennsylvania, the inclosed letter from the Secretary of the Treasury.


His Excellency the Governor of Pennsylvania.


September 2, 1794.
SIR:—The state of my health since you were pleased to refer to me the letter from Governor Mifflin, of the 22 of August, has been such as to delay the necessary previous examination in order to a reply, and prevents now its being as full and particular as I had wished it to be.

I premise for greater clearness, that by official influence, I understand, that influence which is derived from official situation, whether exerted directly in the line of Office or collaterally and indirectly in other ways.

It will readily be concurred that a spirit like that which has been stated to have prevailed, would frequently discover itself in forms so plausibly disguised and with so much duplicity of aspect, as not to be capable of being rendered palpable by precise specification and proof. It appeared, for example, among other shapes in observations on the exceptionable nature of the Laws tending to foment disatisfaction with them—in recommendations of what has been called legal or constitutional opposition, in a disrespectful and disparaging demeanor towards the Officers charged with their execution, and in severe strictures on what were denominated rigorous and irregular proceedings of those Officers, calculated to foster public contempt and hatred of them—in ambiguous hints Susceptible of different interpretations, but easily applied by the passions of those to whom they were addressed to purposes of opposition. To enter into an exhibition of these instances would require a long detail, an appeal to persons now within the discontented Scene whose appre- [243] hensions would restrain them from becoming voluntary witnesses, and would after all be liable to specious controversy about their true import and nature.

I, therefore, confine myself to those instances of opposition and discountenance to the Laws by persons in Office which are uniquivocal.

Among those who composed the meeting, noticed in my report to you of the 5th of August, referred to by the Governor in his Letter, which was holden on the 23 of August, 1791, in the County of Washington, were the following public Officers of Pennsylvania,viz: James Marshall, Register and Recorder, David Bradford, Deputy to the Attorney General of the State, Henry Taylor and James Edgar, Associate Judges, Thomas Crooks, William Parker, Eli Jenkins and Thomas Sedgwick, Justices of the peace, and Peter Kidd, a Major of Militia.

Among those who composed the second meeting, noticed in the same Report, which was holden on the second of September 1791, at Pittsburgh, were, besides James Marshall and David Bradford, above mentioned, the following public Officers of Pennsylvania, viz: Edward Cook and Nathaniel Braden, Associate Judges, Nehemiah Stokely and Thomas Moreton, Colonels of Militia, the last a member of the Legislature of Pennsylvania, John Cannon and Albert Gallatin, members of the Legislature of Pennsylvania, the former since a Justice of the peace.

Among those who composed the third meeting, noticed in the same Report, and which was holden at Pittsburgh on the 21 of August, 1792, were, besides John Cannon, David Bradford, Albert Gallatin, James Marshall and Edward Cook, before mentioned, the following public Officers of Pennsylvania, viz: John Smilie, Member of the State Senate, Thomas Wilson and Samuel Greddes, Colonels of Militia, William Wallace, then Sheriff, now Colonel of Militia, John Hamilton, Sheriff and Colonel of Militia, and Bazil Bowel, Captain of Militia.

It may happen in some instances that the Offices annexed to particular names may not have been holden at the specified times of meeting. But this cannot materially affect the consequence to be drawn, as well, because it is believed, that the instances which may have been omitted to be noticed are very few, as because the conduct of the persons concerned has continued in a uniform Tenor of opposition.

This circumstance has been noted in the cases in which it was known to exist. These are of John Canon and William Wallace. It is understood that the former was appointed by the Governor a Justice of the peace in May last. The time of the appointment of the latter as Colonel of Militia is not particularly known.

The evidence to which immediate reference may be made of [244] the Agency of the foregoing persons at the meetings alluded to, may be found in the cotemporary public Gazettes of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, which contained the proceedings at large of those meetings with the names of the persons of whom they were respectively composed. The Governor can be at no loss to obtain more legal evidence of the fact if he desire it, and of the identity of the persons.

The following cases present other instances of opposition to the Laws by Officers of Pennsylvania: John Hamilton, before mentioned Sheriff of a county and Colonel of Militia, is affirmed by Jacob Forwood and Robert Johnson, Collector of the Revenue, to have been one of a party who seized the said Johnson when travelling about his duty, tarred and feathered him.

Caleb Mount, then a Captain, since a Major of Militia, stands charged before Isaac Meason and James Finley, Assistant Judges, by information upon oath of Benjamin Wells, Collector of the Revenue, and his wife, with being of a party that broke into the House of the Said Collector sometime in April, 1793.

Andrew Robb, a Justice of the peace, stands charged by information upon oath before Jacob Beason, another Justice of the peace, with having offered a reward of Ten pounds for killing the Excise man, meaning as was understood, Wells the Collector, This fact is stated on the information of the said Collector.

James McFarlane, who commanded the Rioters in the second attack upon the House of the Inspector of the Revenue, on the 17th of July last, was a Major of Militia.

David Hamilton, a Justice of the peace, was the person who previous to that attack, went to the House with a summons to surrender.

William Meetkirk, a Justice of the peace, Gabriel Blakney, a Colonel of Militia, and Absalom Beard, Inspector of Brigade, were three of four persons who went as a Committee from the Rioters assembled at Braddock's fields, on the ____ to demand of the Inhabitants of Pittsburgh, the expulsion of Kirkpatrick, Brison and Day, as friends to the Laws.

Edward Cook, the associate Judge already mentioned, was the Chairman of a Committee at the same place, which ordered the expulsion of John Gibson and Presly Neville for the same cause.

Satisfactory testimony of these several last mentioned facts, can be had from Abraham Kirkpatrick and Presly Neville, now in this City and well known to the Governor.

The following cases are instances of conduct in office, denoting an unfriendly temper towards the Laws:

James Wells, a Justice of the peace and an associate Judge, upon information of an assault committed upon John Wesbter, Collector of the Revenue, in the execution of his duty in an [245] attempt to seize some whiskey illegally distilled, told the Collector that he had never read so worthless a Law as the Revenue Law of Congress—that he expected no person in the Country would have been rascal enough to take a Commission under it, that if the whiskey had been seized, he would have thrown it into the road, and he was sorry the person who made the assault had not knocked down the Collector. No measures were taken to cause a redress for the assault. This statement is made on the information of the said Webster.

Jacob Stewart and William Boyd, Justices of the peace, severally declined to issue process against Jacob Snyder, a distiller who was charged before them, with having threatened another distiller named Stoffer, with the burning of his House or some other injury, if he should enter his still at an Office of Inspection. This statement is made on the information of Benjamin Wells, the Collector, who affirms to have received it from Stoffer.

Joseph Huston, Sheriff of the County of Fayette, stands indicted at a Circuit Court for having refused or declined the service of Warrants and Subpoenas issued by Isaac Meason and James Finley, assistant Judges of that County, in the case of the Riot which was committed at the House of a Collector of the Revenue, in April, 1793. This is the same with the instance mentioned in my Report.

The following is a case of peculiar and rather of a mixed complexion, relating both to conduct in office and conduct out of office, and including in it a specimen of that species of discountenance to the Laws which I have thought it most adviseable as a general rule, to forbear entering into, but which being in this instance, ascertainable by the acknowledgments of the party and by respectable testimony at hand, seems proper to form an exception to that rule, which may be useful, by way of example and illustration.

It is mentioned in my Report, that the Supervisor of the Revenue, in September, 1792, was sent into the refractory counties among other things to collect evidence of the persons concerned in the Riot, in Faulkner's case. When at Pittsburgh, he applied by letter to Alexander Addison, President of the Court of Common pleas, who resided at the Town of Washington, to engage his assistance, in taking the Depositions of persons who were named to him by the Supervisor as able to testify concerning infractions of the Laws, and in causing some of the best informed Witnesses to attend a Circuit Court of the United States about to be holden at York Town.

The Judge not content with declining an agency in the business, in his answer to the application, digresses into a Censure [246] on the Judiciary System of the United States, which he represents "as impracticable, unless it be intended to sacrifice to it the essential principles of the liberty of the Citizens and the Just authority of the STATE COURTS," and afterwards declares, that were it his duty to do what was requested of him, (which, however, he states in a manner different from what the Supervisor seems to have intended,) "he should do it with reluctance, because he should be serving a cause which he thought unfavourable to liberty and the Just authority of the State Courts."

Without examining the sufficiency of the reasons which led to declining the agency proposed to him—without commenting upon the observations which seek to derive a part of the Justification for it from the resentment of the people against the Laws, and the danger of losing their confidence by a compliance with what was desired of him; topics, the propriety of which in the mouth of a Magistrate might well be contested—it cannot admit of a doubt, that there was a great unfitness in a Judge of Pennsylvania indulging himself with gratuitous invectives against the Judicary System of the Government of the Union, pronouncing it to be impracticable, unfavourable to liberty and to the Just authority of the State Courts. It is difficult to perceive, in such a digression, the evidence of a temper cordial to the institutions and arrangements of the United States. The particulars of this affair have been long since in possession of the Governor.

Judge Addison in a letter, an extract from which was lately transmitted by the Governor to you, acknowleges in terms that he "had endeavoured to inculcate constitutional resistance" to the particular Laws in question. Here is proof by his own confession, that the weight of his influence was exerted against those Laws. It is not easy to understand what is meant by the terms "constitutional resistance." The Theory of every constitution pre-supposes as a first principle that the Laws are to be obeyed. There can therefore be no such thing as a "constitutional resistance" to Laws constitutionally enacted.

The only sense which I have been able to trace as that intended by these terms, and the equivalent ones, "legal resistance," "legal opposition," which have been frequently used by the opposers of the Laws, is that everything should be practiced to defeat the execution of the Laws short of actual violence or breach of the peace,—accordingly that endeavours should be used to prevent the accepting or holding offices under them by making it matter of popular contempt and reproach to do so, and by a humiliating and insulting treatment of those who should accept or hold those offices; that non-compliances with the Laws by persons having Stills should be countenanced and promoted; [247] that means of intimidation, guarded so as to escape legal animadversion should be superadded, to discourage compliances, to obstruct the establishment of offices of Inspection, and to deter from attempts to coerce delinquents; in fine, that every obstacle which was supposed not to amount to an indictable offence should be thrown in the way of the Laws.

The conduct of Judge Addison, in particular instances, as it has been represented, will perhaps afford no ill comment upon his expressions.

Benjamin Wells, Collector, declares that the said Judge then attending a Session of a Circuit Court as President, at a public House, in the presence of Isaac Meason, an Assistant Judge, expressed himself to him, Wells, in strong terms of disapprobation of the Laws laying duties on Spirits distilled within the United States, saying they were "unjust and unequitable; that the money to be raised was unnecessary, and that there was no use for it;" and afterwards at the same place, and during the same Session of the Circuit Court, sitting at dinner with a mixed company, spoke in terms of contempt of the Offices of the Inspector and Collectors of the Revenue, and of disrespect towards the Officers themselves. At the next term of the Court, Wells went to the same Tavern, but was informed by the Tavern Keeper and his Wife that he could not be received there, assigning for reason that Judge Addison had declared that if they took him in again he would leave the House.

Mr. Stokely, a member of the Pennsylvania Legislature for Washington, States that Judge Addison wrote a letter or letters in opposition to his election to the Legislature, and among other objections to him mentioned his having applied for or having had an intention to obtain an office in the Excise.

General Nevill, Inspector of the Revenue, mentions a circumstance of a light but of an unequivocal nature to evidence the prejudices against the Revenue Officers which were manifested by Judge Addison, even from the Bench. It seems that it was a practice, not unfrequent for the Judges when sitting in Court to invite within the bar such persons who came into the Hall as they deemed of respectability. Judge Addison, as General Neville affirms, repeatedly, since the time of the meeting at Pittsburgh, in August, 1792, has given such invitations openly from the Bench to those who were supposed to be of that description within view, omitting a similar call or invitation to that officer though present. He adds that his own son, Colonel Nevill, standing by his side in conversation with him, has been thus invited, while the like attention was withheld from him in a manner too marked to leave any doubt of the motive.

[248] As the call of the Governor is for particular cases, I forbear to adduce confirmations of the prevailing Spirit of the Officers alluded to from their extensive non-compliance with the Laws in their capacity of distillers, and from the neglect to bring to Justice offenders against them who were at the same time breakers of the Peace of Pennsylvania. I observe, indeed, on this point the Governor entertains a different impression from that which I have, but after the most diligent enquiry, I am not able to discover a Single case of the punishment of any such Offender. There were indeed indictments found against persons supposed to have been concerned in the violence upon the maniac Wilson, and against others supposed to have been concerned in an assault upon one John Conner, an old man, who had been unknowingly the bearer of the Letters containing processes which were sent by the Deputy Marshall as stated in my Reports, but it is not understood that any of these were prosecuted to Judgment. The only cases known of actual punishment are of persons concerned in forcibly carrying off certain Witnesses in the case of Wilson; but this was on a Collateral point, and the cases of indictment respecting transactions where humanity had been too much outraged to leave an option, and where even punishment might have been inflicted upon Ground distinct from that of suppressing opposition to the Laws.

I can learn no instance of the conviction and punishment of any person for a violence committed upon Officers or private Citizens clearly on account of their agency under or friendly disposition towards the Laws, which is the more remarkable, as the Rioters in Faulkner's case are asserted to have passed in open day through the Town of Washington, to have parleyed there with Inhabitants of the Town, and to have been afterwards entertained at two or three Houses.

I have contented myself, in the first instance, with indicating particular cases, and the sources of information without a formal exhibition of the evidence, because I could not foresee what cases in the view of the Governor would be proper for that animadversion which he seems to contemplate, because considerable delay would have attended the collection of formal evidence in all the cases, and because in many of them the evidence is as accessible to the Governor as to myself, but I stand ready to afford the aid of this Department in bringing forward testimony in any Cases in which the Governor may specifically desire it.

With the most perfect respect, I have the honor to be, Sir,

Your most obedient & humble Servant,

The President of The United States.


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