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vailed ; but while the thunder only rumbled at a distance, were boasting of their strength and wishing for and threatening the militia by turns, intimating that the arms they should take from them would soon become a magazine in their hands."
Washington's Denunciation of Self-Created Societies
- Not Relished by Congress-Campaign of General Wayne-Hamilton Reports a Plan for the Redemption of the Public Debt-And Retires from his Post as Secretary of the Treasury—Is Succeeded by Oliver Wolcott-Resignation of Knox-Succeeded by Timothy Pickering-Close of the Session.
N his speech on the opening of Congress
(November 19th), Washington, in adverting to the insurrection in Western
Pennsylvania, did not hesitate to denounce “certain self-created societies” as “fomenters of it.” After detailing its commencement and progress, he observes : “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 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 acknowledge the efficacious and patriotic co-operation wlich I have experienced from the chief magistrates of the States to which my requisitions have been addressed.
" To every description, indeed, of citizens, iet praise le given; but let them persevere in their affectionate vigilance over that precious depository of American happiness, the Conwasbington's Speecb
stitution 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 are careless of consequences, and, disregarding the unerring truth, that those who arouse cannot always appease a civil convulsion, have disseminated from ignorance or perversion of facts, suspicions, jealousies, and accusations of the whole government."
This denunciation of the "self-created societies” was a bold step, by which he was sure to incur their resentment. It was not relished by some members of the Senate, but the majority gave it their approval. In the House, where the opposition party was the most powerful, this passage of the President's speech gave rise to much altercation, and, finally, the majority showed their disapprobation by passing it over in silence in the address voted in reply.
The “self-created-societies,” however, which had sprung up in various parts of the Union, had received their death-blow; they soon became odious in the public eye, and gradually disappeared ; following the fate of the Jacobin clubs in France.
It was with great satisfaction that Washington had been able to announce favorable intelligence of the campaign of General Wayne against the hostile Indians west of the Ohio. That brave commander had conducted it with a judgment and prudence little compatible with the hare-brained appellation he had acquired by his rashi exploits during the Revolution. Leaving liis winter encampment on the Ohio, in the spring (of 1794), he had advanced cautiously into the wild country west of it; skirmishing with bands of lurking savages, as he advanced, and establishing posts to keep up communication and secure the transmission of supplies. It was not until the 8th of August that he arrived at the junction of the rivers Au Glaize and Miami, in a fertile and populous region, where the Western Indians had their most important villages. Here he threw up some works, which he named Fort Defiance. Being strengthened by eleven hundred mounted rolunteers from Kentucky, his force exceeded that of the savage warriors who had collected to oppose him, whichi scarcely amounted to tiro thousand men. These, however, were strongly encamped in the vicinity of Fort Miami, a Britisli post, about thirty miles dis