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commander in chief of the forces to be employed Chap. V. in the meditated expedition. This gentleman had 1791. served through the war of the revolution with reputation, though it had never been his fortune to distinguish himself. The evacuation of Tyconderoga in 1777 had indeed, atone time, drawn on his military character a large share of public censure, but it was found upon inquiry to be unmerited. Possessing a sound and cultivated understanding, with unimpeached integrity, he had throughout the war preserved the friendship and good opinion of his general. Other motives, in addition to the persuasion of his fitness for the service, conduced to his appointment. With the sword, the olive branch was still to be tendered; and it was thought advisable to place them in the same hands. The governor, having been made officially the negotiator with the tribes inhabiting the territories over which he presided, being a military man acquainted with the country into which the war was to be carried, possessing considerable influence with the inhabitants of the frontiers, and whose situation was believed to enable him advantageously to superintend the preparations for the expedition, seemed to have claims to the station which were not easily to be overlooked. It was also a consideration of no small importance, that the high rank he had held in the American army, would obviate those difficulties in filling the inferior grades with men of experience, which might certainly be expected should a person who had acted in a less elevated station be selected for the chief command.
Chap. v. After making the necessary arrangements for 1791. recruiting the army, and establishing a council for conducting the ordinary executive business, which was to consist of the three secretaries, the "Em £ a president prepared to make his long contemplated STsouUcTM tour through the southern states.* In passing through them, he was received universally with the same marks of affectionate attachment, which he had experienced in the northern and central parts of the union. The addresses presented to him from all classes of his fellow citizens, exhibit a glow of expression which is the genuine offspring of ardent feeling, and evince that the attachment to his person and character which they professed, was undissembled. To the sensibilities which these demonstrations of the regard and esteem of good men could not fail to inspire, was added the high gratification produced by observing the rapid improvements of the country, and the advances made by the government, in acquiring the confidence of the people. The numerous letters written by the president after his return to Philadelphia attest the agreeable impressions made by these causes. "In my late tour through the southern states" said he in a letter of the 28th of July, to Mr. Gouverneur Morris, "I experienced great satisfaction in seeing the good effects of the general government in that part of the union.
• He stopped several days on the Potomac, where he executed finally the powers vested in him by the legislature for fixing on a place which should become the residence of congress, and the metropolis of the United States.
The people at large have felt the security which it Chap. v. gives, and the equal justice which it administers 1791, to them. The farmer, the merchant, and the mechanic, have seen their several interests attended to, and from thence they unite in placing a confidence in their representatives, as well as in those in whose hands the execution of the laws is placed. Industry has there taken place of idleness, and economy of dissipation. Two or three years of good crops, and a ready market for the produce of their lands, have put every one in good humour; and, in some instances, they even impute to the government what is due only to the goodness of Providence.
"The establishment of public credit is an immense point gained in our national concerns. This I believe exceeds the expectation of the most sanguine among us:...and a late instance, unparallelled in this country, has been given of the confidence reposed in our measures, by the rapidity with which the subscriptions to the bank of the United States were filled. In two hours after the books were opened by the commissioners, the whole number of shares was taken up, and four thousand more applied for than were allowed by the institution. This circumstance was not only pleasing as it related to the confidence in government, but also as it exhibited an unexpected proof of the resources of our citizens."
In a letter written about the same time to colonel Humphries, then the minister resident at Lisbon, he said "each day's experience of the government of the United States serves to confirm
Chap. v. its establishment, and to render it more popular. 1791. A ready acquiescence in the laws made under it, shows in a strong light the confidence which the people have in their representatives, and in the upright views of those who administer the government. At the time of passing a law imposing a duty on home made spirits, it was vehemently affirmed by many, that such a law could never be executed, particularly in Virginia and North Carolina. As it came in force only on the first of this month, little can be said of its effects from experience; but from the best information I could get, on my journey, respecting its operation on the minds of the people, (and I took some pains to obtain information on this point) there remains no doubt but it will be carried into effect, not only without opposition, but with very general approbation, in those very parts where it was foretold that it would never be submitted to by any one."
This visit made by the president to the southern states had undoubtedly some tendency to produce the good disposition he observed with so much pleasure. The affections are perhaps more intimately connected with the judgment than we are disposed to admit, and the appearance of the chief magistrate of the union, who was the object of general love and reverence, could not be without its influence in conciliating the minds of many to the government he administered, and to its measures. But this progress towards conciliation was perhaps less considerable than was indicated by appearances. The hostility to the government which was coeval with its existence, though Crap. v. diminished, was far from being subdued; and 1791. under this smooth exterior was concealed a mass of discontent, which, though it did not obtrude itself on the view of the man who united almost all hearts, was active in its exertions to effect its objects.
The difficulties which must impede the recruiting service in a country where coercion is not employed, and where the common wages of labour greatly exceed the pay of a soldier, protracted the completion of the regiments to a late season of the year; but the summer was not permitted to waste in total inaction.
The act passed at the last session for the defence of the frontiers, in addition to its other provisions, had given to the president an unlimited power to call mounted militia into the field; who should furnish their own horses, rations, and forage, and should be entitled to receive a high compensation while in service. Under this authority two expeditions had been conducted against the villages on the Wabash, in which with a very small loss, a few of the Indian warriors were killed, some of their old men, women and children, were made prisoners, and several of their towns, with extensive fields of corn, were destroyed. The first was led by general Scott in May, and the second by general Wilkinson in September. These desultory incursions had not much influence on the war. By the time the troops could reach the theatre of action, so many of their horses were disabled, and such a proportion of their provisions ex» vox. v. s s