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The six sailors were soon brought on shore; the officers were convinced that they were all Americans, and the captain agreed that they might go where they pleased ; and that in the morning he would send their clothing on shore, give them written discharges, and certificates for their wages, and the consul freely offered to take them, and give the sailors the money for them: Whereupon entire good humour appeared fully restored, and the officers, with the consul, retired. In the morning the captain sent an officer on shore, who fully completed the business, agreeably to the captain's agreement. The certificates were in the following form:
These are to certify the honourable the principal officers and commissioners of his majesty's navy, that Samuel Brown served as able seaman on board his majesty's sloop Nautilus, under my command, from the 2d day of December, 1793, to the date hereof, when he was discharged, he being a subject of the United States of America; and that there is charged against him, in the ship's books, the sum of two pounds eighteen shillings and eight pence: Navy slops
1,1 19 10 Beds
Wages due, 1. 3 2 8. Given under my hand, on board the said sloop at Newport, Rhode Island, the 9th day of May, 1794.
H. W. BAYNTON. The whole amount of the wages due to the sailors, as adjusted by the captain, and agreed to by the sailors was 297. 98. 1d. sterling.
The foregoing statement, made by the request of the general assembly, is humbly submitted by the judges of the superior court, and the judge of the disirict court.
Newport, May 10, 1794. Henry Marchant, judge of the district court in and for
Rhode Island district. Daniel Owen, C. J. S, Court.
} Judges of Superior Court.
On due consideration whereof, It is voted and resolved, that the aforegoing report be, and the same is hereby accepted, And that his excellency the governour be requested to transmit a copy thereof to the Secretary of State of the United States, as soon as may be. A true copy. Witness,
HENRY WARD, Secretary.
State of Rhode Island, &c. In General Assembly, May Ses.
sion, A. D. 1794. Upon the application of H. W. Baynton, commander of the British sloop of war the Nautilus, for permission to purchase the 1.ecessary supplies to enable him to proceed to the port to which he is bound.
It is voted and resolved, That his excellency the governour cause the said ship to be supplied with four or five thousand pounds of bread, five hundred and sixty pounds of fresh beef and veal, and one hundred and fifty pair of shoes, with such precautions, and under such directions, as he shall think proper. A true copy. Witness,
HENRY WARD, Secretary.
Department of State, June 3, 1794. I hereby certify, that the foregoing is a true copy
of the original communication from governour Fenner to the Secretary of State.
GEO. TAYLOR, JUN.
THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES TO
HOUSES OF CONGRESS. NOV. 19, 1794,
Fellow citizens of the Senate,
and of the House of Representatives, When we call to mind the gracious indulgence of heaven, by which the American people became a nation ; when we survey the general prosperity of our country, and look forward to the riches, power, and happiness, to which it seems destined; with the deepest regret do 1 announce to you, that during your recess, some of the citizens of the United States have been found capable of an insurrection. It is due, however, to the character of our government, and to its stability, which cannot be shaken by the enemies of order, freely to unfold the course of this event.
During the session of the year 1790, it was expedient to exercise the legislative power, granted by the constitution of the United States, “ to lay and collect excises." In a majority of the states, scarcely an objection was heard to this mode of taxation. In some, indeed, alarms were at first conceived, until they were banished by reason and patriotism. In the four western counties of Pennsylvania, a prejudice, fostered and embittered by the artifice of men, who laboured for an ascendency over the will of others, by the guidance of their passions, produced symptoms of riot and violence. It is well known, that Congress did not hesitate to examine the complaints which were presented, and to relieve them, as far as justice dictated, or general convenience would permit. But the impression, which this moderation made on the discontented, did not correspond with what it deserved; the arts of delusion were no longer confined to the efforts of designing individuals.
The very forbearance to press prosecutions was misin, terpreted into a fear of urging the execution of the laws; and associations of men began to denounce threats against the officers employed. From a belief, that by a more formal concert, their operation might be defeated, certain self-created societies assumed the tone of condemnation. VOL. 11.
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
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 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 stript 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 reasonable 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 dishonour 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 endeavours 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 are 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 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 demeanour 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 exhaust ed, 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 further 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 of the 25th of Septemher last.