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1794.]

PROCEEDINGS OF THE MALCONTENTS.

555

insurgents, with power to grant pardons, and he issued an admonitory proclamation, after which he convened the Legislature to meet on the third of November.

The Federal and the State Commissioners reached the insurgent district while the convention at Parkinson's ferry was in session. It assembled on the fourteenth of August, and consisted of two hundred and twenty-six delegates,1 all from the western counties of Pennsylvania, except six from Ohio County in Virginia. They appointed Cook their Chairman, and Albert Gallatin, Secretary, though he at first declined the appointment. After some discussion, in which a part of them manifested a disposition to carry out their original purpose of resistance to the excise laws, they adopted four resolutions: first, against taking citizens out of the vicinage for trial; second, appointing a standing committee of sixty to ask of Congress a change of the excise law, and to make a statement of their proceedings; third, recommending submission to the laws of the several States, and a respect for the persons and property of individuals; fourth, appointing a sub-committee of fifteen to meet the Government Commissioners, and to report their proceedings. The resolutions were adopted by all, except Bradford, who favored a more violent course, and the meeting adjourned.

The sub-committee of fifteen met the public Commissioners some days later, at Pittsburg, and all of them, except one, were favorable to a conciliatory course. The

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556

PROCEEDINGS OF THE INSURGENTS. [CHAP. VII.

Commissioners required of the committee of sixty an explicit assurance of submission to the laws; a recommendation to their associates of a like submission; and meetings of the citizens to be held to confirm these assurances. All public prosecutions were to be suspended until the following July, when, if there had been no violation of the law in the interval, there should be a general amnesty. These terms were deemed reasonable by the sub-committee: but before the meeting of sixty took place, a body of armed men entered Brownsville, the place appointed for the meeting, and so alarmed the friends of accommodation, that they seemed to be driven from their purpose. Gallatin, however, was an exception; and the next day, he addressed the committee of sixty in favor of acceding to the proposals of the Commissioners; but nothing more could be effected than to pass a resolution that it would be to the interest of the people to accept those terms, without any promise or pledge of submission. After appointing a new committee of conference, the meeting adjourned."

The new committee required further time till the tenth of October, which the Commissioners deemed themselves unauthorised to grant. They required meetings in all the townships, in which the sense of the people should be taken.

Meetings were accordingly held in some of the townships, but they failed to procure the required pledges; and, in some, the proceedings were violent and disorderly. On the whole, it was the opinion of the well-disposed part of the population, that the inspection laws could not be executed in that part of the State; and that the interposition of the militia was indispensable.

The Commissioners returned to Philadelphia, and on

1 See Findley's and Breckenridge's Tracts on the insurrection.

1794.]

SUBMISSION BY THE INSURGENTS.

557

their report the President issued a second proclamation, on the twenty-fifth of September, in which he announced the march of the militia, and again commanded obedience to the laws.

The order requiring the militia to march was promptly obeyed in all the States except Pennsylvania, in which some pleaded defects in the militia law; but even in that State, after the Legislature met, the Governor was authorised to accept the services of volunteers. This aid he then, by a tour through the eastern counties, and his own personal exertions, was soon able to obtain. The militia of New Jersey and Pennsylvania were required to rendezvous at Bedford, and those of Maryland and Virginia at Cumberland. They were commanded by the Governors of their respective States, and the whole force was placed under the command of Governor Henry Lee, of Virginia.

The news that the militia were on the march increased the numbers of the moderate party. The standing committee of sixty met at Brownsville on the twenty-eighth of August; Cook the Chairman, and Gallatin the Secretary. The sub-committee offered a report, which recommended submission. It was ably and zealously supported by Gallatin; and also by Breckenridge, who had, in aiming to conciliate both parties, in some measure lost the confidence of both.

With a view of obtaining better terms from the Commissioners, another committee of twelve was appointed; but nothing decisive took place, and the Commissioners left the County. It is not unworthy of notice that Bradford, who was foremost in urging resistance to the law, was the first to seek safety in flight. He sought refuge in New Orleans.

A second convention was called to meet at Parkinson's

558

CONDITIONAL AMNESTY GRANTED. [CHAP. VII.

ferry on the second of October. A resolution of submission was passed, and a committee of two was appointed to convey it to the President at Carlisle. They were Findley, a member of Congress, and Reddick.

The President received these gentlemen courteously, but did not feel himself justified, from their representations, in stopping the march of the troops.

On the return of the committee, the Parkinson ferry convention met for the third time, and resolutions were passed, declaring the sufficiency of the civil authorities to execute the laws; affirming that the excise duties would be paid, and recommending all delinquents to surrender themselves. A committee of four was appointed to wait on the President-the two former Commissioners and two others.

Meanwhile, the President had returned to Philadel phia to prepare for the meeting of Congress, and Hamilton, who had remained behind, received the committee. Lee, then, as Commander-in-chief, issued a proclamation granting an amnesty to all who had submitted to the laws; and calling upon the inhabitants to take the oath of allegiance to the United States. Orders were issued and executed to seize those offenders who had not signed the declaration of submission, and send them to Philadel phia; and thus was this purpose of resisting the execution of the excise law completely defeated, and entire order restored in less than four months from the time of the burning of Neville's house, which was the first overt act of resistance. It was, however, deemed prudent to retain a force of two thousand five hundred militia during the winter, under General Morgan, to prevent a return of that spirit of disaffection which had so long prevailed in Pennsylvania.

The army sent to suppress the insurrection were them

1794.]

CAUSES OF INSUBORDINATION.

559

selves not free from a disposition to license and disorder, according to Findley; and that they did not proceed to other excesses, in their desire of vengeance against the insurgents, he imputed to the moderation of General Washington, and his resistless weight of character in the execution of his purposes.

It seems to require explanation that there should have been so many instances of a spirit of insubordination in the State of Pennsylvania. There were two examples of mutiny in the troops of that State during the Revolution, and two popular insurrections growing out of the excise laws. The cause is probably to be referred to the large proportion of foreigners in that State-mostly Irish and Germans-who, accustomed to the severe restraints of law in their native country, were, when released from those restraints as they are in the United States, tempted to abuse the unwonted liberty they here enjoyed. With them the authority of government was viewed with somewhat of the odium in which they had been reared, and not with that respect which men born to the enjoyment of civil liberty are apt to feel. The natural effect of republican government is to temper the love of liberty with the love of order.

On the subject of the excise, the mass of the people of Pennsylvania had their minds unduly excited by a writer in the newspaper who signed himself "Tom the Tinker." He at once inflamed those who were disposed to resist the law, and intimidated those who were inclined to submission, by the fear of popular hatred.

Congress was not organized until the nineteenth of December, for want of a quorum in the Senate. In the President's opening speech he gave a full detail of the insurrection, of the measures taken by the administration in suppressing it; and of the motives which had dictated

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