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of whom nearly three thousand were unfit for duty, “being barefooted and otherwise naked.” Howe had with him but little more than twelve thousand fighting men. The British general made several attempts to provoke or entice Washington into the field, but the latter chose to receive the enemy in camp-each general choosing not to risk a battle without the advantage of ground. On one occasion General Howe attempted to surprise the American camp, but his design was frustrated by the cunning and coolness of a Quaker lady, Lydia Darrach. (See Montgomery county.) Washington finally concluded to go into winter quarters at Valley Forge. Here this faithful band of patriots, worn out with the fatigues of the summer's campaign, and destitute of all the necessaries of life, passed a most dreary winter. They erected log huts on the plan of a village, and so far were comfortably sheltered; but blankets, sufficient clothing, shoes, and oftentimes provisions, were but scantily provided. It was with great difficulty and anxiety that Washington kept his army together until spring. Congress, during the winter, held its sessions at York.
Attempts were made during the winter of 1777–78, by a set of restless and ambitious intriguers, to prejudice the minds of congress and the people against General Washington, and place the chief command in the hands of a more daring, but less prudent officer. They succeeded for a time in casting a cloud over his reputation, but it soon shone out more brilliant than ever.
In the spring of 1778, Great Britain sent over commissioners to attempt a reconciliation ; but their efforts were abortive. These commissioners, among other intrigues, secretly offered to Joseph Reed, then delegate to congress and afterwards president of the executive council of Pennsylvania, £10,000 sterling, with the best office in the colonies, to promote their plans. He promptly replied, “ I am not worth purchasing ; but such as I am, the king of Great Britain is not rich enough to do it.”
On the 6th February, 1778, France openly espoused the American cause, by a treaty with the commissioners, Franklin, Deane, and Lee, in Paris ; and news of the event reached congress at York, on the 2d May. The British kept possession of Philadelphia during the winter and spring. Sir William Howe returned to England, and was succeeded by Sir Henry Clinton, who, fearing a blockade of the Delaware by the French, evacuated Philadelphia on the 18th June, and took up his march across New Jersey towards New York. Washington moved his troops from winter quarters, and pursued the enemy. The brilliant action at Monmouth was the consequence. It took place on the 28th June.
Gen. Arnold, who had been wounded at Saratoga, took command in Philadelphia with a small detachment. It was about this time, doubtless, that he contracted those relations, by marriage in a distinguished tory family of Philadelphia, which afterwards led him into his base intimacy with the British officers.
During the occupation of Philadelphia by the British, a gang of lawless, desperate villains, roamed through the interior counties, stealing cattle and horses, for which they obtained a high price from the British in gold, too, a rare article in those paper-money days. Deprived of their means of sustenance by the withdrawal of the British, they commenced the business on their own account, forming a line of communication
through the Cumberland valley, and into the southern states. Southern horses were stolen and brought to the north, where they were not recognised-and vice versa—thus realizing the much vaunted project of "equalizing the exchanges." The robbers were eventually hunted down, tried, and hanged.
The Indians of the Six Nations, as well as the tribes in the western territory, had been induced by the British to take up the hatchet against the colonies. During the year 1777 they were principally engaged on the northern frontiers of New York, and Pennsylvania escaped their ravages, with the exception of a few marauding parties. In 1778 the garrison at Pittsburg was strengthened, and Fort M’Intosh was built at the mouth of Beaver. Notwithstanding the expected attacks from Indians on the north and west branches of the Susquehanna, the inhabitants of Northumberland county and of the Wyoming valley had promptly responded to the urgent calls of congress, and left exposed their own homes, by sending nearly all their fighting men to the campaigns in the lower country. While in this defenceless situation, the dark cloud of savage warfare burst upon them. Early in July, 1778, Col. John Butler, with a party of tory rangers, a detachment of Sir John Johnson's Royal Greens, and a large body of Indians, chiefly Senecas, led by Gi-en-gwah-toh, (not Brant,) descended the Susquehanna, and destroyed the flourishing settlements of the Wyoming valley. A few old men were hastily gathered for defence, with a few soldiers returned on a visit from the army; the women and children were sheltered in a stockade fort, where their defenders ought also to have remained; but their courage outweighed their prudence, they loved fighting from habit, and they chose to go out to meet the enemy. This little handful of men fought with more than Spartan courage, but numbers overpowered them—they were routed_many were cut down in the flight, and those captured were put to death with the hatchet. Col. Dennison, who escaped to the fort with a few others, succeeded in entering into a capitulation by which the women and children were to be preserved, and permitted to depart. The forlorn band of widows and orphans, with nothing but the clothing upon their persons, and what little provision, hastily gathered, could be carried in the hand, escaped through the wilderness of the Pokono mountains, sixty miles, to Stroudsburg, and thence to New England. Their cottages were given to the flames. *
Col. Hartley, with a small detachment from Muncy, soon after the battle, went up the Susquehanna, and destroyed the Indian villages at Wyalusing, Sheshequin, and Tioga. A month or two after the battle of Wyoming, a force of Indians and tories descended upon Fort Freeland, on the West Branch, about fourteen miles above Northumberland; and after a short struggle, forced the garrison to capitulate, taking the armed men into captivity. Mrs. Kirk, a ready-witted woman, threw petticoats upon her son, (old enough to bear arms) and smuggled him out with the women.
In the following year, June, 1779, Gen. Sullivan went up the Susquehanna with an army, and laid waste the Indian towns on the Tioga and Gen
See Luzerne county. The ordinary accounts of this affair, published at the time and copied into several histories of the revolution, were incorrect and greatly exaggerated.
esee rivers ; but this neither intimidated the savages nor prevented their incursions. Throughout the remainder of the war, they stole in small parties into all the frontier settlements, where blood and desolation marked their track. Col. Broadhead, about the same time, engaged in a successful expedition against the Senecas and Monseys on the Allegheny, destroying the villages and crops about the mouth of Brokenstraw, and above the Conewango.
In January, 1781, a revolt broke out among the Pennsylvania troops, then stationed at Morristown. About thirteen hundred men paraded under arms without their officers, and threatened to march to Philadelphia and demand a redress of their grievances from congress. They complained that they were detained beyond the time of their enlistment; that they suffered every hardship from a depreciated currency, and the want of provisions and clothing. The British generals seized the occasion to tempt them to join the royal cause, but they spurned the offer, and took the messengers as spies. By the coolness and prudence of Gen. Wayne and Gen. Joseph Reed, president of Pennsylvania, they were kindly treated with: an amnesty was granted, and a promise given that their grievances should be represented to congress. A great part of the line was disbanded during the winter, but recruited again in the spring.
The depreciation of the continental currency, with which congress had hitherto carried on the war, became now so great that further issues were impracticable; and it was necessary to devise some new basis for currency and public credit. Robert Morris, the chief financier of the revolution, proposed to congress, in May, 1781, the plan of the Bank of North America; and on the 31st December, of the same year, congress incorporated the institution. The states of Pennsylvania and Massachusetts also granted it additional charters. The capital, according to Mr. Morris's plan, was to consist of one thousand shares of four hundred dollars each; but it was afterwards raised to two million dollars. This bank had an immediate and highly beneficial effect upon the finances and commercial interests of the country. In 1785, on the complaint of many citizens of Chester county, the legislature of Pennsylvania revoked its charter ; but it continued to act under the congressional charter, and the legislature of 1787 again renewed it.
Peace was concluded in 1782–83, and the army was disbanded. Many of the soldiers were still without their pay. A part of the Pennsylvania troops, some three hundred in all, gathered round the statehouse in Philadelphia, with a view to overawe congress, and procure redress. The affair was quieted by Gen. Washington, without bloodshed.
Since the year 1768, the northwestern boundary of Indian purchases in the state ran from the Susquehanna, on the New York line, to Towanda creek; thence to the head of Pine creek; thence to its mouth, and
the West Branch to its source; thence over to Kittanning, and down the Ohio to the west line of the state. At a treaty held at Fort Stanwix, in Oct. 1785, the commissioners of the state purchased all the remaining land within its chartered limits. This purchase was confirmed by the Wyandots and Delawares, at Fort M'Intosh, in January, 1785. In 1789, the state purchased from the Indians, and in 1792 from the United States, the small triangle, now part of Erie county, necessary to secure to the state a good harbor on Lake Erie.
The vast territory, however, acquired by the treaty of 1784, was only purchased, but was not entered upon by the pioneers of Pennsylvania for ten years. The price of blood, as usual, was to be paid for it. The peace of 1783 with Great Britain quieted the Six Nations on the northern frontier, but not the Indians of the west—the Delawares, Twigtwees, Wyandots, &c.—now driven into the wilds of Ohio. A bloody and barbarous warfare was carried on against these tribes, by successive expeditions of M'Intosh in 1778, of Broadhead in 1780, of Crawford in 1782, of Harmar in 1789, of St. Clair in 1791, and of Wayne in 1792 to 1795. In addition to these larger expeditions, there was an under-current of partisan hostilities constantly maintained between the white savages of the frontier and the red, in which it is difficult to say on which side was exhibited the greatest atrocity.
By several laws of the state, and especially the land law of 1792, settlers were encouraged to enter upon the lands; but the disastrous campaigns of Harmar and St. Clair threw open the whole frontier west of the Ohio and Allegheny to savage hostilities. And from that time until Gen. Wayne's treaty at Greenville, on the 3d Aug. 1795, it was unsafe for families to cross the Allegheny into the newly granted lands. An immense number of warrants, however, had been taken out of the land-office, by the Holland Land Company and others; and in a very few instances, unsuccessful attempts had been made at actual settlement. By the act a settlement of five years was required to give title, “ unless prevented by the enemies of the United States;” and at the return of peace a lawsuit originated, which involved the titles of the Holland Land Company, and other companies and individuals, to a great part of the best lands included in that purchase.
In 1787, the convention met for forming the new constitution of the United States. The adoption of this prepared the way for a change in that of Pennsylvania. The constitution of 1776, tested by practical operation, had exhibited many defects. Thomas M'Kean, then chief-justice, said of it: "The balance of the one, the few, and the many is not well poised in the state; the legislature is too powerful for the executive and judicial branches. We have now but one branch—we must have another branch, a negative in the executive, stability in our laws, and permanency in our magistracy, before we shall be reputable, safe, and happy.” The convention for forming the new constitution convened at Philadelphia, on the 24th Nov. 1789, and was composed of the first talents that Pennsylvania could boast. M'Kean, Mifflin, Gallatin, Smiley, Findlay, Wilson, Lewis, Ross, Addison, Sitgreaves, and Pickering, were among the members. Thomas Miffin was elected president. The constitution, adopted in 1790, has been deservedly considered as an admirable model for a representative republic, securing force to the government and freedom to the people. At the first election under the new constitution, Gen. Thomas Mifflin was chosen governor, and continued to discharge the duties of the office during nine years, with great ability. The previous presidents of the executive council, under the constitution of 1776, had been Thomas Wharton, Jr., James Reed, William Moore, John Dickinson, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Mifflin.
The first Bank of the United States was incorporated by congress, and the act approved by Washington, in February, 1791. The idea of this in
stitution was conceived by Alexander Hamilton, then at the head of the treasury department, immediately after the adoption of the constitution. Its continuance was limited by the charter to the 4th March, 1811, at which time it expired, congress refusing to renew the charter. The capital was limited to $10,000,000, divided into shares of $400 each.
În 1791-4, an alarming insurrection took place in the southwestern counties around Pittsburg, in opposition to a law of congress laying an excise of four pence per gallon upon all distilled spirits. The excise officers were insulted, threatened, and prevented from discharging their duty. Several had their houses burned, and others their barns and haystacks. Other citizens, who took part with the government, were proscribed, and obliged to escape the rage of the mob. Immense public meetings were held, both of citizens and military men; liberty poles were erected, and preparations were made for an organized resistance. A few judicious men, disguising their real sentiments, managed to lead and moderate the movements of the insurgents, and finally to quell their impetuosity. President Washington called out the militia from Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, and Virginia, to the number of fifteen thousand. Gov. Lee, of Virginia, was commander-in-chief. Gov. Mifflin, in person, commanded the Pennsylvania troops. The insurgents were overawed by this force, even before it reached the seat of insurrection, and cheerfully accepted of the amnesty that was proclaimed. A few leaders were arrested, brought to Philadelphia, and tried in the U. S. Court. Two only were convicted, and these were afterwards pardoned. The excise officers resumed their duties without opposition.
Another insurrection, of less importance, in opposition to a direct tax of the United States, took place in 1798–99, among the Germans in Lehigh, Berks, Northampton, and a small portion of Bucks and Montgomery counties. It was headed by John Fries, who was convicted of treason and sentenced to be hung, but was afterwards pardoned by President Adams.
It has been stated above, that the controversy between the proprietary government and the Connecticut claimants on Wyoming lands, was postponed to the more pressing exigencies of the revolution, in which both parties made common cause. The Connecticut settlers had returned soon after Sullivan's expedition of 1779. In 1778, the title to these lands had been taken from the Penns and vested in the state. On the assertion of this new title on the part of the state, the controversy was opened anew, and was referred to congress, who appointed commissioners to meet at Trenton in the autumn of 1782. The commissioners, after hearing both parties, decided “ that Connecticut has no right to the land in controversy_and that the jurisdiction and pre-emption of all lands within the charter bounds of Pennsylvania, do of right belong to that state." The settlers cheerfully acquiesced in the change of jurisdiction, but claimed that, although “ Connecticut had no right to the land,” yet the Susquehanna Company had. The state proceeded to enforce her claims by a method very different from that of William Penn, and thereupon ensued a fierce and vindictive civil war, nearly as desolating as the previous irruptions of the tories and savages. At length, after a series of vacillating and ill-advised legislation, the state passed a law, in 1799 and 1801, compensating the Pennsylvanian claimants by a grant of lands elsewhere, or by a payment in money; and confirming to the Connecticut