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*** Where do you intend to stay?
“I have friends in the city. I shall go to them, if permitted. They are bitter rebels, and believe me to be the same. Doubtless, I can give you information on other matters, if you desire it. I shall of course conceal the change in my sentiments, and, although I shall not court their secrets, still, if they force them upon me, I shall deem it my duty to report them, if dangerous to the North.'
“After this he went away. Each day punctually at eleven he was on hand, and each day with some item of more or less interest. Although apparently free and unsuspected, he was nevertheless closely watched. We did not feel quite sure of him yet. The policeman on the beat where he lived had especial orders to watch the house and who and what passed in and out.
“A short note to the local provost-marshal of St. Mary's, a note to Commodore Dornin, securing the ever-willing coöperation of the navy in the Bay, resulted in the capture of the parties who were expected, and in securing Cotton Bonds to the nominal amount of thirty thousand dollars, which were forwarded to Washington and are now in the archives of the Government. Although the amount was smaller than was anticipated, still the report of Fairfax had been confirmed, and proved that he did have information, and was entitled to credit. When told of the matter, he replied that he was sure when he told me,' and that it must be borne in mind that the Confederate Government was making use of every means in its power to get these Bonds abroad, and that they were going in small lots on every blockade-runner they dare trust by land or sea.
“The surmise as to hearing from the State Department the day our friend had presented himself on his return was confirmed by receiving a telegram to the effect that “the Secretary would be pleased to talk upon certain matters at his house that evening, if convenient. A long and satisfactory interview was held with him in his library, the result of which was, if, after trial, the young man was deemed worthy, to accept his proposition, and pay such money as might be considered just and proper for the services rendered ; that verbal instructions should be given him to instantly, by mail, communicate anything out of ordinary course which might be of interest; that he should, besides this, in any case, write weekly, or at least fortnightly, the minutes of business transacted by the enemies of this Government; that his letters should be numbered, and signed with a fictitious name, and that he should never address or be addressed by the State Department-in short, he to be unknown to any one there. Passports signed in blank were provided, so there should be no record or opportunity officially furnished to serve as a trace, and it was further decided that he start at once. It was also arranged so that, should he prove false, we could, through our legation abroad, lay the whole matter before Messrs. Mason and Slidell, a course which would probably make Europe too hot to hold the gentleman, and necessitate his return where he would be duly watched for and properly received. All this was fully carried out, and in less than a week he sailed from New York, bearing by consent many letters from his acquaintances to their relatives and friends abroad, who were working with what has proved to be more zeal than.discretion for a lost cause. These were, so to speak, his credentials, for it was proof that the ‘sympathizers in the North still believed in and trusted him. Each week brought from him a communication, and nearly every letter was of importance. So jealously was this correspondence guarded, that the receipt of a letter necessitated a trip to Washington, and a personal interview with the Secretary of State; no allusion was allowed to be made in writing to this matter. But some of the trips paid-paid in being the means of saving to our nearly exhausted country millions of dollars. Time, as it rolled on, proved our correspondent to be faithful to us. Every move made by the Confederate emissaries was known at the State Department within fifteen days of transpiring, and measures taken to frustrate them if necessary. Every letter of importance written or received at rebel headquarters was either copied entire, or abstracts taken and forwarded, and, as I have since discovered, many times they were sorely puzzled as to how our Government should happen to guess so shrewdly at certain moves on their political chess-board, and be so fully prepared to meet them. A few items will demonstrate the value of this connection to us, which I will here say was to the last never even suspected, and of what benefit this arrangement of our far-seeing Secretary has been to the country at large.
“It was through this channel that information was received as to the • Burley raid,' on Lake Erie in time to meet and successfully crush it; by the same means we were kept accurately posted as to the whereabouts and expected goings of the Anglo-Southern cruisers. While the Florida lay at Brest repairing, our correspondent visited her, talked freely with her officers, sent full and complete description of them, their names, former rank in our navy, the armament, power and arrangements of the vessel, etc. Through these letters we were informed of the building upon the Clyde of two swift and powerful steamers of the Alabama class, and their positive destination and purposes, soon enough for our minister to present the matter to the English government, with such overwhelming proofs as to their intended occupation, that slow and perverse as John Bull proverbially is in such matters (and certainly was in anything tending to hinder Southern aid), they could not but notice this affair and the building was summarily stopped. This matter alone was source of great congratulation, for knowing how much one Alabama had done and was doing, toward destroying our commerce, it was easy to compute what two more, still more powerful, would be able to do.
“One remarkable plot was frustrated through this agency, of which few ever heard, or suspected. One letter gave certain information with all the detail, of a plan whereby one of our Pacific steamers, plying between California and Panama, was to be seized, armed with guns shipped from Europe for the purpose, and turned into a privateer to prey upon our commerce in those waters; but more especially to look after and capture the other steamers of the same line, and the treasure they were at that time carrying in quantities each trip. The plan was well conceived, organized and nearly matured, and the com manding officer was to be one of our old line naval officers, whose home was in Baltimore. A sufficient number of assistants were to rendezvous on the Isthmus at a certain specified time, to meet a designated steamer on her upward trip from Panama. All were to embark as passengers, and at a given signal when two or three days out, by force to take possession of the vessel, run it into a certain port on the coast of Mexico, and take on board the armament which was promised to be there in time, and was actually started for that purpose. The information was received by us, in point of fact, before it was by some of the parties on this side who were to be actors in the drama. We were informed when, and where, and to whom instructions and commissions were to be issued and the consequence was, we by intercepting some of them came into possession of documentary evidence sufficient to convict. Letting matters take their course we waited until the time had nearly come, when one fine evening the ex-captain was quietly arrested, to his intense surprise and disgust, and kept in confinement until the whole plan was disarranged and given up, then tried by court-martial and found guilty.
“But enough has been written to demonstrate that the arrangement, romantic, and almost improbable, as it might seem at first suggestion, was made, carried out, and proved of great benefit pecuniarily and otherwise to our struggling country. Some exceptions might be taken as to the propriety of the matter, but the old adage, 'All is fair in love and war,' can, we think, be fairly urged. At all events, in this case the end certainly seemed to justify the means."
THE NATION'S FIRST REBELLION
As long as the civilization of the world continues in an unbroken stream the Great War of the Rebellion will be clearly cut into the face of history as one of the grandest and saddest of civil convulsions; but although ninety years only have elapsed-on the fifteenth of August, 1884–since the nation's first rebellion had its birth, few there are who can tell when, where or how it came into being. * Yet, when the United States had but entered its third year as a nation, the so-called “Whiskey Insurrection” of Western Pennsylvania threatened its feeble life. Primarily, the uprising was against the imposition of an oppressive excise law, which policy seemed to be forced upon the government by the peculiarly embarrassing condition in which the country was placed by her long and desperate contest with England. All the best thought of the statesmen of Great Britain, from the early part of the seventeenth century to the latter portion of the eighteenth, and the stout hearts and arms of English yeomen for nearly two hundred years combined with an indignant outcry and a stubborn resistance against the imposition of a life-draining excise system. For over a century various excise laws had been imposed upon Pennsylvania, to aid England in “vexing the public enemy in America”; and later by the Colonial Congress and the Congress of the United States. In 1772 the excise law passed by the Government of the Penns, sixteen years before, was revived and made to include the natural products of the province, excepting what were for the private use of the owner. On the face of it this seems like a very severe law, and it certainly would have been, had it ever been enforced ; but, as it was assumed that all spirits distilled from the natural products of the Pennsylvania province were for the private use of the owner, the excise did not bear grievously upon the farmers of the country. At this time the manufacture of rum from molasses became quite profitable; but during the Revolutionary War, when the raw material could not be imported, the farmers commenced to make immense quantities of whiskey from their rye and wheat for the use of the army. So profitable did the industry become that it threatened to create a bread famine among the troops and a feed famine among the horses. The youth of the land were rushing to the stills, as to the saloons in these later days, and were becom. ing sots and worthless citizens It also must be remembered that on account of the low price of grain at the commencement of the war, and the drawing of farmers into the army, production was much less than usual. So here was a moral evil eating away the strength of the country, and an alarming material danger which threatened the very existence of the army. Good clergymen from their pulpits, and good citizens from the corners of the streets, found ample ground to decry and degrade the distilling business and to make it possible for the government to collect a considerable revenue, thus maintaining the army in fair condition and saving the coun. try from her enemy.
* The principal authorities consulted in the preparation of this paper have been the “ Pennsylvania Archives," Vol. IV., William Findley's “ History of the Western Insurrection,” “Incidents,” by H. H. Brackenridge, and “History of the Insurrection,” by his son, H. M. Brackenridge, Albert Gallatin's “ Memoirs," and the account of the troubles given by Townsend Ward in “Contributions to American History."
In the year 1780 Congress resolved that an allowance should be made to the army for the depreciation of its pay. This was distributed among the different States for discharge. Although ultimately redeemed at par, the paper bills issued upon the unstable credit of the State of Pennsylvania were, of course, much depreciated. A large tract of land west of the Allegheny River, and some confiscated property also, proved unproductive as a means of discharging the debt; therefore, upon application of the officers of the Pennsylvania line, a law was passed by which the revenue arising from the excise was to be appropriated in the payment of this debt of honor to the country's patriots and defenders. But notwithstanding the commendable object for which the duties were to be collected there were several reasons why the laws could not be enforced at this time in Western Pennsylvania. The first was that most of the settlers were of Scotch-Irish descent; many of them had experienced the working of the excise system in their own countries, and the very grain of their natures was repugnant to it. Secondly, it had been tried in the neighboring State of New Jersey and been thoroughly defeated. For a short period, however, the government did attempt to collect the tax, and considerable revenue was realized in Westmoreland County. At length, the people of Washington County became so exasperated at the insolent, unlawful conduct of one Graham, the exciseman, that they shaved him, cut off his hair, dressed his horse's mane and tail, brought him back into Westmoreland County, and let him go. Soon no one could be induced to accept a commission.
When the Federal Government was organized in 1789, the excise law remained unrepealed.* At this time wheat was so plentiful and of so little