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FIRST SETTLERS OF WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA.
Fauchet appointed in his place. Genet did not return CHAP: . home, but became a citizen of the United States.
Through much toil and danger had the fertile valleys From of the Monongahela and its tributaries been settled. The 1768 pioneers were principally Scotch-Irish Presbyterians, from eastern Pennsylvania and Virginia. Their trials were as
1784. great as those of the early colonists. At first their families lived in blockhouses or forts, through fear of the Indians, while they, as they cleared the forest or tilled the soil, were always armed ; they even carried their rifles in their hands when on the Sabbath they assembled in the grove, or the rude log church, to hear the Gospel. The untrodden mountains lay between them and the settlements on the Atlantic slope. Across these mountains the only road was a bridle-path; the only conveyance a packhorse. Iron and salt could only be obtained as these pack-horses carried them across the mountains. Salt was worth eight dollars a bushel ; and often twenty bushels of wheat were given in exchange for one of salt. Their fertile fields produced an abundance of grain, especially wheat, from which they distilled the famed Monongahela whiskey, while their orchards were laden with apples and peaches from which they made brandies. To find a market for these, almost their only product, they must take a long and dangerous journey in flat-boats down the Ohio and the Mississippi to New Orleans, and thence by ship to the eastern markets.
The tax levied upon the manufacture of domestic spirits was opposed by many. It was no doubt looked upon as unequal, as it was appropriated to the support of the Federal government, while the tax itself fell upon only a small portion of the community. But nowhere was it so persistently resisted as by these settlers of the four western counties of Pennsylvania. They rose in open rebellion ; not only refused to pay the tax, but drove off the officers appointed to collect it. This opposition was
CHAP: not confined to obscure persons, but some of the most in
fluential encouraged the multitude to resist the law ; but 1794. their ministers, to a man, exerted all their influence in favor
of obedience. The more violent leaders openly boasted they would not only resist the law, but separate from Pennsylvania, and form a new State. They professed to have very little regard for the Federal government, and took encouragement from the same party that sustained Genet. To discover those who sent information of their high-handed measures to the government, these rebels robbed the mail ; they scoffed at the proclamation of the
Governor of the State and also at that of the President. Aug. Thus matters continued for nearly two years. It shows 1.
the excitement which prevailed, that at one time with only three days' notice, there assembled on Braddock's Field nearly seven thousand armed men. They had for their motto “Liberty and no excise." The assemblage passed many resolutions, indicating an intention to resort to further acts of violence.
This meeting was presided over by Colonel Edward Cook, one of the judges of Fayette county, who had taken an active part in resisting the enforcement of the law. Its secretary was Albert Gallatin, from the same county, a native of Switzerland, who had been in the country but a few years; a young man of superior education ; an ardent sympathizer with the French school of politics ; a violent opposer of the excise law. He had risen rapidly in popular favor, had been a member of the Legislature of the State, and also of a Convention to amend its Constitution.
Governor Mifflin wished to try the effect of a circular addressed to the insurgents, before calling out the militia. The circular was unheeded. The President issued a proclamation ordering the rebels to desist from their illegal proceedings; at the same time he called out the militia, who responded promptly to the call.
The leaders soon found that, after all, the Federal
THE WHISKEY INSURRECTION— MISSION TO ENGLAND.
authority had the power and was determined to enforce CHAP.
XXXLX. the law. The leaders became anxious to screen the people from the anger of the government, and themselves from 1794. the anger of the people.
Nov. Only when the militia, which had crossed the mountains, in two divisions, formed a juncture at Union Town, did the insurgents submit. A few arrests were made ; the most active leaders had fled the country. Thus ended “ The Whiskey Insurrection.” The vigor and energy displayed by the Federal government in putting down the insurgents added strength to its authority.
The belligerents in Europe, though professing friendship, had but little regard to the rights of Americans. While France was detaining their ships in her ports, England was issuing orders to her navy to seize and detain all vessels freighted with French goods, or laden with provisions for any French colony. These measures would ruin American commerce. Congress passed a resolution which forbid any trading vessel to leave an American port for sixty days. This was designed to annoy the British, by not furnishing provisions for their navy,-yet it operated just as much against the French, through whose particular friends the bill was passed.
A war with England was impending. To avert such a calamity, and to arrange the difficulties existing April. between the two countries, Washington resolved to send a special ambassador to the Court of St. James.
To this important mission he nominated the patriotic and pure-minded Chief Justice Jay. Jay was of Huguenot descent; as to his revolutionary services second only to the President himself; of the highest reputation as a jurist ; his integrity, learning and disinterestedness had
1783. won him universal respect. In addition, there was a propriety in the selection that conciliated all minds, for he was one of the commissioners who had negotiated the