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Chap vni. plished it. For if it is lawful for any one citizen 1794. of this state to leave it, it is equally so for any number of them to do it. It is also lawful to carry with them any quantity of provisions, arms, and ammunition; and if the act is lawful in itself, there is nothing but the particular intention with which it is done that can possibly make it unlawful. But I know of no law which inflicts a punishment on intention only; or any criterion by which to decide what would be sufficient evidence of that intention, if it was a proper subject for legal censure.
"I shall, upon all occasions, be averse to the exercise of any power which I do not consider myself as clearly and explicitly invested with, much less would I assume power to exercise it against men whom I consider as friends and brethren, in favour of a man whom I view as an enemy and a tyrant. I shall also feel but little inclination to take an active part in punishing or restraining any of my fellow citizens for a supposed intrusion only, to gratify or remove the fears of the minister of a prince who openly withholds from us an invaluable right, and who secretly instigates against us a most savage and cruel enemy."
Upon the receipt of this extraordinary letter, the executive directed general Wayne to establish a military post at fort Massac on the Ohio, for the purpose of stopping by force, if peaceful means should fail, any body of armed men who should be proceeding down that river.
This precaution appears to have been necessary. The preparations for the expedition were for some time carried on with considerable activity, andcHaP.vm. there is reason to believe that it was not absolutely 1794. relinquished until Spain ceased to be the enemy of France.*
Notwithstanding the temporary and partial embarrassment which the proceedings of the legislature of South Carolina had occasioned in the plan for invading the Floridas, that project was not abandoned, nor were those who engaged in it entirely disconcerted. In April, a French sloop of war arrived on the confines of Georgia and East Florida, with a small body of troops, who were landed on one of the islands on the coast south of the St. Mary, and who declared themselves to be part of a larger force which might soon be expected. Upon their arrival, several small corps of Americans who had engaged to serve the republic of France, assembled in Georgia, for the purpose, as was universally understood, of co-operating with the French against the neighbouring dominions of Spain.
On receiving this intelligence, the governor of Georgia was immediately requested to take the most effectual and decisive measures for suppressing these designs. He was assured that, if he should employ the militia, the expense would be
• Intercepted letters were laid before the president showing that this expedition had been communicated to some members of the national convention and approved- It was stated that Mr. Genet, with the rank of major general, was to be commander in chief of all forces raised on the American continent, and to direct their movements.
Chap Viii. borne by the United States; and he was authorized 1794. to call in, if necessary, the aid of the continental troops stationed in Georgia.
The interposition of government, and the inadequacy of the force to the object, seem to have disconcerted this expedition. Its leader conducted his followers into the Indian country, and endeavoured to make a settlement on their hunting grounds.
While these turbulent scenes were acting, the loud plaudits of France, which were dictated by a passionate devotion to that country, reechoed from every part of the American continent. The friendship of that republic for the United States, her respect for their rights, the ingratitude with which her continuing benefits were repaid, the injustice done her by the executive, its tameness under British insults, were the inexhaustible themes of loud, angry, and unceasing declamation. It required a firmness of mind, and a weight of character possessed only by the chief magistrate, to maintain the ground he had taken, against such an assemblage of passions and of prejudices.
It will be recollected, that in the preceding year, the attempt to treat with the hostile Indians had suspended the operations of general Wayne until the season for action had nearly passed away. After the total failure of negotiation, the campaign was opened with as much vigour as a prudent attention to circumstances would permit.
Expecting an attempt upon their villages, the Indians had collected in full force, with the apparent determination of risking a battle in their defence. A battle was desired by the American Chap. vm. general; but the consequences of another defeat, 1794. and of the loss of the present army, were too serious to warrant him in putting more to hazard by precipitate movements, than the circumstances of the war required. The continental troops, composing a legion which consisted of rather more than three thousand men, were dispersed along an extensive line; and the reinforcements of mounted militia which were to be drawn from Kentucky, were yet to be raised and organized. At the instance of the Indians, the collection of provisions at the head of the line had been suspended during the treaty, and the means of transportation were scattered. Such was the state of things in September, when intelligence was received that the pacific overtures of the United States had been totally rejected.
A sudden and rapid irruption into the country occupied by the enemy might be made; but the want of provisions would infallibly compel a retreat equally sudden and rapid. It was not by transient incursions of this description that the war was to be prosperously terminated. To effect that object, it was necessary not only to expel the savages, but also to prevent their return;....not only to enter the country, but to hold it by a chain of permanent posts.
Despairing of being enabled to complete this plan in the course of the autumn, general Wayne contented himself with collecting his army and penetrating about six miles in advance of fort Jefferson into the uninhabited country, where he
Chap.Viii. established himself for the winter, in a camp 1794. ca"ed Greensville, whence he might open the ensuing campaign to advantage. It was an additional recommendation to this movement, that, by taking a position within striking distance of the principal settlements of the hostile Indians, the excursions of their warriors were checked, and the frontiers of the United States protected. After fortifying the camp at Greensville, he took possession of the ground on which the Americans had been defeated in 1791, and there also a fort was erected, called fort Recovery.
Seeing only the dark side of eveTy measure adopted by the government, and not disinclined to militia expeditions made at the expense of the United States, th'e people of Kentucky loudly charged the executive with a total disregard of their safety, pronounced the legion entirely useless, declared that the Indians were to be kept in awe alone by militia, and insisted that the power should be deposited with some person in their state, to call them out at his discretion, at the charge of the United States.
Meanwhile, some steps were taken by the governor of Upper Canada which were well calculated to keep alive, and to increase the suspicions respecting the dispositions of Great Britain, that had been long entertained in the United States.
It was believed by the president, not without cause,* that the cabinet of London was disposed to avail itself of the non-execution of that article
* See Note, No. XIV. at the end of the volume.