Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

employed. From a belief that, by a more formal concert, their operation might be defeated, certain self-created societies assumed the tone of condemnation. Hence, while the greater part of Pennsylvania itself were conforming themselves to the acts of excise, a few counties were resolved to frustrate them. It was now perceived that every expectation from the tenderness which had been hitherto pursued, was unavailing, and that further delay could only create an opinion of impotency or irresolution in the Government. Legal process, was, therefore, delivered to the Marshal, against the rioters and delinquent distillers. No sooner was he understood to be engaged in this duty, than the vengeance of armed men was aimed at his person, and the person and property of the Inspector of the Revenue. They fired upon the Marshal, arrested him, and detained him for some time as a prisoner. He was obliged, by the jeopardy of his life, to renounce the service of other process, on the West side of the Allegheny Mountain; and a deputation was afterwards sent to him to demand a surrender of that which he had served. A numerous body repeatedly attacked the house of the Inspector-seized his papers of office-and, finally destroyed, by fire, his buildings, and whatsoever they contained. Both of these officers, from a just regard to their safety, fled to the Seat of Government; it being avowed, that the motives to such outrages were to compel the resignation of the Inspector—to withstand, by force of arms, the authority of the United States, and thereby to extort a repeal of the laws of excise, and an alteration in the conduct of Government.

Upon the testimony of these facts, an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States notified to me that, “in the countics of Washington and Allegheny, in Pennsylvania, laws of the United States were 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 that District.” On this call, momentous in the extreme, I sought and weighed what might best subdue the crisis. On the one hand, the judiciary was pronounced to be stripped of its capacity to enforce the laws; crimes, which reached the very existence of social order, were perpetrated without control; the friends of Government were insulted, abused, and overawed into silence, or an apparent acquiescence; and to yield to the treasonable fury of so small a portion of the United States, would be to violate the fundamental principle of our Constitution, which enjoins that the will of the majority shall prevail." On the other, to array citizen against citizen-to publish the dishonor of such excesses to encounter the expense, and other embarrassments of so distant an expedition, were steps too delicate, too closely interwoven with many affecting considerations, to be lightly adopted. I postponed, therefore, the summoning of the Militia immediately into the field. But I required them to be held in readiness, that, if my anxious endeavors to reclaim the deluded, and to convince the malignant of their danger, should be fruitless, military force might be prepared to act before the season should be too far advanced.

My proclamation of the seventh of August last, was accordingly issued, and accompanied by the appointment of Commissioners, who were charged to repair to the scene of insurrection. They were authorized to confer with any bodies of men, or individuals. They were instructed to be candid and explicit in stating the sensations which had been excited in the Executive, and its earnest wish to avoid a resort to coercion. To represent, however, that, without submission, coercion must be the resort; but to invite them, at the same time, to return to the demeanor of faithful citizens, by such accommodations as lay within the sphere of Executive power. Pardon, too, was tendered to them by the Government of the United States, and that of Pennsylvania, upon no other condition, than a satisfactory assurance of obedience to the laws.

Although the report of the Commissioners marks their firmness and abilities, and must unite all virtuous men, by shewing that the means of conciliation have been ex. hausted, all of those who had committed or abetted the tumults, did not subscribe the mild form which was proposed, as the atonement; and the indications of a peaceable temper, were neither sufficiently general nor conclusive, to recommend or warrant the farther suspension of the march of the Militia.

Thus, the painful alterative could not be discarded. I ordered the Militia to march, after once more admonishing the insurgents, in my proclamation of the twenty-fifth of September last

it was a task too difficult to ascertain with precision the lowest degree of force, competent to the quelling of the insurrection. From a respect, indeed, to economy, and the ease of my fellow citizens belonging to the Militia, it would have gratified me to accomplish such an estimate. My very reluctance to ascribe too much importance to the opposition, had its extent been accurately seen, would have been a decided inducement to the smallest efficient numbers. In this uncertainty, therefore, I put into motion fifteen thousand men, as being an army which, according to all human calculation, would be prompt, and adequate in every view; and might, perhaps, by rendering resistance desperate, prevent the effusion of blood. Quotas had been assigned to the States of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia; the Governor of Pennsylvania having declared, on this occasion, an opinion which justified a requisition to the other States.

As Commander in Chief of the Militia, when called into the actual service of the United States, I have visited the places of general rendezvous, to obtain more exact information, and to direct a plan for ulterior movements. Had there been room for a persuasion, that the laws were secure from obstruction; that the Civil Magistrate was able to bring to justice such of the most culpable, as have not embraced the proffered terms of amnesty, and may be deemed fit objects of example; that the friends to peace and good government were not in need of that aid and countenance, which they ought always to receive, and I trust, ever will receive, against the vicious and turbulent, I should have caught, with avidity, the opportunity of restoring the Militia to their families and home. But succeeding intelligence has tended to manifest the necessity of what has been done; it being now confessed by those who were not inclined to exaggerate the ill conduct of the insurgents, that their malevolence was not pointed merely to a particular law, but that a spirit, inimical to all order, bas actuated many of the offenders. If the state of things had afforded reason for the continuance of my presence with the Army, it would not have been withholden. But every appearance assuring such an issue as will redound to the reputation and strength of the United States, I have judged it most proper to resume my duties at the Seat of Government, leaving the chief command with the Governor of Virginia.

Still, however, as it is probable, that, in a commotion like the present, whatsoever may be the pretence, the purposes of mischief and revenge may not be laid aside, the stationing of a snall force for a certain period in the four Western counties of PennsylFan'a, will be indispensable, whether we contemplate the situation of those who are connected with the execution of the laws, or of others who may have exposed them. selves by an honorable attachment to them. Thirty days from the commencement of this session being the legal limitation of the employinent of the Militia, Congress cannot be too early occupied with this subject.

Among the discussions which may arise from this aspect of our affairs, and from the documents whicà will be submitted to Congress, it will not escape their observation, that not only the Inspector of the Revenue, but other officers of the United States, in Pennsylvania, have, from their fidelity in the discharge of their functions, sustained material injuries to their property: The obligation and policy of indemnifying them, are strong and obvious. It may also merit attention, whether policy will not enlarge this provision to the retribution of other citizens, who, though not under the ties of office, may have suffered damage by their generous exertions for upholding the Constitution and the laws. The amount, even if all the injured were included, would not be great; and, on future emergencies, the Government would be amply repaid by the influence of an example, that he who incurs a loss in its defence, shall find a recompence in its liberality.

While there is cause to lament that occurrences of this nature should have disgraced the name, or interrupted the tranquillity of any part of our community, or should have diverted to a new application any portion of the public resources, there are not wanting real and substantial consolations for the misfortune. It has demonstrated that our prosperity rests on solid foundations; by furnishing an additional proof that my fellow citizens understand the true principles of government and liberty: that they feel their inseparable union: that, notwithstanding all the devices which have been used to sway them from their interest and duty, they are now as ready to maintain the authority of the laws against I'centious invasions, as they were to defend their rights against usurpation. It has been a spectacle, displaying to the highest advantage the value of Republican Government, to behold the most and the least wealthy of our citizens standing in the same ranks as private soldiers, pre-eminently distinguished by being the army of the constitution, undetered by a march of three hundred miles over rugged mountains, by the approach of an inclement season, or by any other discouragement. Nor ought I to omit to acknowledge the efficacious and patriotic co-operation which I have experienced from the Chief Magistrates of the States to which my requisitions have been addressed.

To every description, indeed, of citizens, let praise be given. But let them perse. vere in their affectionate vigilance over that precious depository of American happi. ness, the Constitution of the United States. Let them cherish it, too, for the sake of those who, from every clime, are daily seeking a dwelling in our land. And when, in the calm moments of reflection, they shall have retraced the origin and progress of the insurrection, let them determine whether it has not been fomented by combinations of men, who, careless of consequences, and disregarding the unerring truth that those who rouse cannot always appease a civil convulsion, have disseminated, from an ignorance or perversion of facts, suspicions, jealousies, and accusations, of the whole Government.

Having thus fulfilled the engagement which I took when I entered into office, “to the best of my ability to preserve, protect, and defend the constitution of the United States," on you, Gentlemen, and the People by whom you are deputed, I rely for support.

In the arrangements to which the possibility of a similar contingency will naturally draw your attention, it ought not to be forgotten that the militia laws have exhibited such striking defects, as could not have been supplied but by the zeal of our citizens. Besides the extraordinary expense and waste, which are not the least of the defects, every appeal to those laws is attended with a doubt on its success.

The devising and establishing of a well regulated militia, would be a genuine source of legislative honor, and a perfect title to public gratitude. I, therefore, entertain a hope that the present session will not pass without carrying to its full energy the power of organizing, arming, and disciplining the militia ; and thus providing, in the language of the constitution, for calling them forth to execute the laws of the Union, suppress insurrections, and repel invasions.

As auxiliary to the state of our defence, to which Congress can never too frequently recur, they will not omit to inquire, whether the fortifications, which have been already licensed by law, bę commensurate with our exigences.

The intelligence from the Army under the command of General Wayne, is a happy presage to our military operations against the hostile Indians North of the Ohio. From the advices which have been forwarded, the advance which he has made must have damped the ardor of the savages, and weakened their obstinacy, in waging war against the United States. And yet, even at this late hour, when our power to punish them cannot be questioned, we shall not be unwilling to cement a lasting peace, upon terms of candor, equity, and good neighborhood.

Towards none of the Indian tribes bave overtures of friendship been spared. The Creeks, in particular, are covered from encroachment by the interposition of the General Government, and that of Georgia. From a desire, also, to remove the discontents of the Six Nations, a settlement, meditated at Presqu'isle on Lake Erie, has been suspended; and an Agent is now endeavoring to rectify any misconception into which they may have fallen. But I cannot refrain from again pressing upon your deliberations, the plan which I recommended at the last session, for the improvement of harmony with all the Indians within our limits, by the fixing and conducting of trading houses, upon the principles then expressed. Gentlemen of the House of Representatives :

The time which has elapsed since the commencement of our fiscal measures, has developed our pecuniary resources, so as to open the way for a definitive plan for the redemption of the public debt. It is believed, that the result is such as to encourage Congress to consummate this work without delay. Nothing can more promote the permanent welfare of the nation, and nothing would be more grateful to our constituents. Indeed, whatsoever is unfinished of our system of public credit, cannot be benefitted by procrastination; and, as far as may be practicable, we ought to place that credit on grounds which cannot be disturbed, and to prevent that progressive accumulation of debt which must ultimately endanger all Governments.

An estimate of the necessary appropriations, including the expenditures into which we have been driven by the insurrection, will be submitted to Congress. Gentlemen of the Senate and of the House of Representatives :

The Mint of the United States has entered upon the coinage of the precious metals, and considerable sums of defective coins and bullion have been lodged with the Director by individuals. There is a pleasing prospect that the institution will, at no remote day, realize the expectation which was originally formed of its utility.

In subsequent coinmunications, certain circumstances of our intercourse with foreign nations will be transmitted to Congress. However, it may not be unseasonable to announce that my policy in our foreign transactions has been, to cultivate peace with all the world; to observe treaties with pure and absolute faith; to check every deviation from the line of impartiality; to explain what may have been misapprehended, and cor

rect what may have been injurious to any nation; and having thus acquired the right, to lose no time in acquiring the ability, to insist upon justice being done to ourselves.

Let us unite, therefore, in imploring the Supreme Ruler of Nations to spread his holy protection over these United States; to turn the machinations of the wicked to the confirming of our Constitution ; to enable us at all times to root out internal sedition, and put invasion to flight; to perpetuate to our country that prosperity, which his goodness has already conferred, and to verify the anticipations of this Government being a safeguard to human rights.

G. WASHINGTON. UNITED STATES, November the 19th, 1794. The President of the United States then withdrew, and the two Houses separated.

On motion, Ordered, That the speech of the President of the United States to both Houses be commited to a Committee of the Whole llouse to-morrow. And then the House adjourned until tomorrow morning eleven o'clock.

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 20.

Another member, to wit: William Findley, from Pennsylvania, appeared, and took his seat in the House.

The House, according to the order of the day, resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole House on the speech of the President of the United States to both Houses of Congress; and, after some time spent therein, Mr. Speaker resumed the chair, and Mr. Trumbull reported that the committee had, according to order, had the said speech under consideration, and come to a resolution thereupon; which he delivered in at the Clerk's table, where the same was twice read, and agreed toby the House, as followeth:

Resolved, That it is the opinion of this committee that a respectful address ought to be presented by the House of Representatives to the President of the United States, in answer to his speech to both Houses of Congress, at the commencement of this session, containing assurances that this House will take into consideration, the various and important matters recommended to their attention.

Ordered, That Mr. Madison, Mr. Sedgwick, and Mr. Scott, be appointed a committee to prepare an address, pursuant to the said resolution.

Rezolved, That this House will, to-morrow, again resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole House on the said speech.

A message from the Senate, by Mr. Otis, their Secretary :

Mr. Speaker : The Senate have agreed to the resolution of this House for the appointment of two Chaplains to Congress for the present session, and have elected the Right Reverend Bishop White, on their part. And then he withdrew.

The House then proceeded by ballot, to the apointment of a Chaplain to Congress, on the part of this House; and upon examining the ballots, a majority of the votes of the Whole House was found in favor of the Reverend Ashbel Green.

Ordered, That the Clerk of this House do acquaint the Senate therewith. A message was received from the President of the United States, by Mr. Dandridge, his Secretary, who delivered in sundry documents referred to in the President's speech to both Houses, from No. 1, to No. 8, inclusive, relative to the insurrection in the Counties of Washington and Alleghany, in the State of Pennsylvania; also, sundry communications from General Wayne; from the Governor of Georgia; from the Superintendent of Indian affairs in the Creek nation; and respecting the establishment of a post by the State of Pennsylvania at Presqu’ısłe; together with a letter from the Director of the Mint. And then he withdrew.

The said documents and communications were partly read, and ordered to lie on the table. And then the House adjourned until to-morrow morning eleven o'clock.

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 21.

A petition of Joseph M'Craken, of the County of Washington, in the State of New York, was presented to the House and read, praying compensation for services rendered, and moneys advanced, as a Captain in the Continental Army, during the late war. Also, a petition of Elisha Frizell

, of the State of Ner York, praving that he may receive an arrearage of pension due to him a military services rendered to the United States, during the late war.

Ordered, That the said petitions be referred to the Committee of Claims. Ordered, That a committee be appointed to prepare and bring in a bill for the relief of John R. Livingston; and that Mr. Coit, Mr. Gordon, and Mr. Neville, be the said cominittee.

Mr. William Smith, from the committee appointed, presented, according to order, a bill extending the privilege of franking to James White, the Delegate from the Southwestern Territory, and making provision for his compensation; which was received, and read the first time.

On motion, The said bill was read the second time, and ordered to be committed to a Committee of the Whole House on Monday next.

Mr. Madison, from the committee appointed, presented, according to order, an address to the President of the United States, in answer to his speech to both Houses of Congress; which was rea:1, and ordered to be committed to a Committee of the Whole House on Monday next.

The House, according to the order of the day, again resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole House on the speech of the President of the United States to both Houses of Congress; and, after some time spent therein, Mr. Speaker resumed the chair, and Mr. Trumbull reported that the committee had, according to order, again had the said speech under consideration, and come to several resolutions thereupon; which he delivered in at the Clerk's table, where the same were read, and are as follow:

1st. Resolved, That it is the opinion of this committee that provision ought to be made by law for raising a force, to be composed of the militia of the United States, to be stationed within the four Western Counties of Pennsylvania, for such period as may be requisite to secure the execution of the laws.

2d. Resolved, That it is the opinion of this committee that farther provision ought to be made by law for the redemption of the public debt.

3d. Resolved, That it is the opinion of this committee that a plan ought to be prepared for the better organizing, arming, and discipling the militia of the United States; and further to provide for calling them forth to execute the laws of the Union, suppress insurrections, and repel invasions.

4th. Resolved, That it is the opinion of this committee that inquiry ought to be made, whether the fortifications, which have already been licensed by law, are commensurate with the public exigence.

5th. Resolved, that it is the opinion of this committee that so much of the President's speech as relates to improving of harmony with the Indian nations within our limits, by fixing and conducting of trading houses, should be referred to a spec:al committee to report thereon.

The first, second, third, and fifth resolutions, were severally read the second time, and, on the question put thereupon, agreed to by the House.

The fourth resolution was read a second time, amended at the Clerk's table, and agreed to by the House, as followeth:

Resolved, That the President of the United States be requested to direct the proper officer to lay before this House a statement of the progress made in the fortifications licensed by law.

Ordered, That a bill or bills be brought in pursuant to the first resolution, and that Afr. Murray, Mr. Hillhouse, and Mr. Giles, do prepare and bring in the same.

Ordered, That a committee be appointed to prepare and report a plan, pursuant to the second resolution, and that Mr. William Smith, Mr. Ames, Mr. Fitzsimons, Mr. Duvall, and Mr. Nicholas, be the said committee.

Ordered, That Mr. Giles, Mr. Sedgwick, Mr. Heister, Mr. Locke, and Mr. Van Cortlandt, be appointed a committee, pursuant to the first part of the third resolution.

Ordered, That Mr. Dayton, Mr. Hartley, Mr. Benjamin Bourne, Mr. Harrison, and Mr. M'Dowell, be appointed a committee, pursuant to the second part of the third resolution.

Ordered, That Mr. Bailey and Mr. Armstrong be appointed a committee, to wait on President of the United States, with the fourth resolution.

Ordered, That Mr. Parker, Mr. Blount, Mr. Boudinot, Mr. Findley, and Mr. Greenup, be appointed a comunittee, pursuant to the fifth resolution.

Resolved, that this House will, on Monday next, again resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole House on the said speech.

Mr. Parker, from the committee to whom was referred the petition of Moses Myers, inade a report; which was read, and ordered to lie on the table.

A message, in writing, was received from the President of the United States, by Mr. Dandridge, his Secretary, as followeth :

« ZurückWeiter »