« ZurückWeiter »
ceived 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 Allegany mountains ; and a deputation was afterward 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, Aed 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 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 counties of Washington and Allegany, 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 tield; 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 7th 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 instrueted to be candid and explicit in stating the sensations which had been excited in the executive, and his 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 showing that the means of conciliation have been exhausted, all of those who had committed or abetted the tumults did not subscribe the mild form which was proposed as the atonement, 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 alternative could not be discarded. I ordered the militia to march, after once more admonishing the insurgents, in my proclamation on the 25th 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 homes. But succeed. ing 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 has 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 10 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 small force, for a certain period, in the four western counties of Pennsylvania 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 themselves by an honorable attachment to them. Thirty days from the commencement of this session being the legal limitation on the employment of the militia, Congress can not be too early occupied with this subject.
Among the discussions which may arise from this aspect of our affairs, and from the documents which 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 indemnisying 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 recompense in its liberalitv.
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 fellowcitizens 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 licentious 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—undeterred 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 acknowl. edge the efficacious and patriotic co-operations which I have experienced from the chief magistrates of the states to which my requisitions have been addressed.
To every description of citizens, indeed, let praise be given. But let them persevere in their affectionate vigilance over that precious depository of American happiness, 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 traced 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 can not 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 ex
pense 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 be commensurate with our existence.
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 can not be questioned, we shall not be unwilling to cement a lasting peace upon terms of candor, equity, and good neighborhood.
Toward none of the Indian tribes have 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 discontent 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 can not 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 the 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, whatever is unfinished of our system of public credit, can not be benefited by procrastination; and, as far as may be practicable, we ought to place that credit on grounds which can not 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 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 communications, 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 the treaties with pure and absolute faith ; to check every deviation from the line of impartiality ; to explain what may have been misapprehended, and correct 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 safe. guard to human rights.
SE V ENTH ANNUAL ADDRESS.
DECEMBER 8, 1795.
Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives :
I trust I do not deceive myself while I indulge the persuasion that I have never met you at any period when, more than at the present, the situation of our public affairs has afforded just cause for mutual congratulation, and for inviting you to join with me in profound gratitude to the Author of all good for the numerous and extraordinary blessings we enjoy.
The termination of the long, expensive, and distressing war in which we have been engaged with certain Indians northwest of the Ohio, is placed in the option of the United States by a treaty which the commander of our army has concluded provisionally with the hostile tribes in that region.
In the adjustment of the terms, the satisfaction of the Indians was deemed an object worthy no less of the policy than of the liberality of the United States as the necessary basis of durable tranquillity. The object, it is believed, has been fully attained. The articles agreed upon will immediately be laid before the senate for their consideration.
The Creek and Cherokee Indians, who alone of the southern tribes had annoyed our frontiers, have lately confirmed their pre-existing treaties with us, and were giving evidence of a sincere disposition to carry them into effect by the surrender of the prisoners and property they had taken. But we have to lament that the aid and prospect in this quarter has been once more clouded by wanton murders, which some citizens of Georgia are represented to have recently perpetrated on hunting parties of the Creeks, which have again subjected that frontier to disquietude and danger, which will be productive of further expense, and may occasion more effusion of blood. Measures are pursuing to prevent or mitigate the usual consequences of such outrages, and with the hope of their succeeding, at least, to avert general hostility.
A letter from the emperor of Morocco annoụnces to me his recognition