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PUBLISHED FROM THE ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPTS DEPOSITED IN
THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
BY ORDER OF
THE JOINT LIBRARY COMMITTEE OF CONGRESS.
JOHN C, HAMILTON,
AUTHOR OF "THE LIFE OF HAMILTON.'.
VOL VAD DERIVA
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1850, by
JOHN C. HAMILTON,
District of New-York.
SECRETARY OF STATE TO MIFFLIN.
Draft by Hamilton.
PHILADELPHIA, August 7th, 1794. SIR:
The President of the United States has directed me to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 5th instant, and to communicate to you the following reply:
In requesting an interview with you on the subject of the recent disturbances in the western parts of Pennsylvania, the President, besides the desire of manifesting a respectful attention to the chief magistrate of a State immediately affected, was influenced by the hopes that a free conference, guided by a united and comprehensive view of the Constitutions of the United States and of Pennsylvania, and of the respective institutions, authorities, rights, and duties of the two governments, would have assisted him in forming more precise ideas of the nature of the co-operation which could be established between them, and a better judgment of the plan which it might be advisable for him to pursue, in the execution of his trust in so important and delicate a conjuncture. This having been his object, it is matter of some regret, that the course which has been suggested by you, as proper to be pursued, seems to have contemplated Pennsylvania in a light too separate and unconnected. The propriety of that course, in most, if not in all respects, would be susceptible of little question if there were no federal government, federal laws, federal judiciary, or federal officers; if important laws of the United States, by a series of violent, as well as of artful expedients, had not been frustrated in their execution for more than three years; if officers immediately charged with that execution, after suffering much and repeated insult, abuse, personal ill-treatment, and the destruction of property, had not been compelled for safety to fly the places of their residences, and the scenes of their official duties; if the service of the processes of a court of the United States had not been resisted; the marshal of the district made and detained for some time a prisoner, and compelled for safety also to abandon the performance of his duty, and return by a circuitous route to the seat of government; if, in fine, a judge of the United States had not in due form of law notified to the President, “ that in the counties of Washington and Alleghany, in Pennsylvania, laws of the United States are opposed, and the execution thereof obstructed by combinations too pow. erful to be suppressed by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings, or by the powers vested in the marshal of that district.” It is true, your excellency has remarked, that in the plan suggested you have only spoken as the executive magistrate of Pennsylvania, charged with a general superintendence and care, that the laws of the commonwealth be fully executed, leaving it implicitly to the judgment of the President to choose, on such evi. dence as he approves, the measures for discharging the analogous trust which is confided to him in relation to the laws of the Union. But it is impossible not to think that the current of the observations in your letter, especially, as to the consequences which may result from the employment of coercive measures, previous to the preliminary course which is indicated in it, may be construed to imply a virtual disapprobation of that plan of conduct, on the part of the general government, in the actual stage of its affairs, which you acknowledge would be proper on the part of the government of Pennsylvania, if arrived at a similar stage. Let it be assumed here (to be more particularly shown