From The Erection Of The County Of Delaware To The War Of 1812.
rations bad so moulded the opinions of their descendants that, throughout all our colonial and early State history, any excise tall was regarded with open disapproval by a large class of citizens. During the Revolutionary war the whole people submitted to the levying of duties on distilled liquors, yet at the conclusion of that contest those who were opposed to the measure combined and secured the repeal of the act of 1772 providing for the tax. Hence when Congress, on March 3, 1791, at the suggestion of Secretary Hamilton, imposed a duty of four pence per gallon on distilled liquors, the law was openly defied in Fayette, Alleghany, Westmoreland, and Washington Counties of this State. President Washington, on Sept. 15, 1792, issued a proclamation requiring all persons to cease their resistance and submit to the law, which failed to have the desired effect. On June 5, 1794, Congress amended the law, which action on its part, instead of satisfying those hostile to the tax, merely resulted in making them more clamorous for its absolute repeal. Deputy marshals and collectors, who had theretofore only been tarred and feathered, were now fired upon by large bodies of armed men and compelled to promise they would not attempt to exercise their authority. The Federal government, however, determined to enforce the law, and instructions were issued to indict those distillers who refused to pay the duties. These instructions on the part of the administration were productive of widespread disorder and organized open defiance. President Washington, on Aug. 9, 1794, published another proclamation, requiring all associations whose object was resistance to the excise law to disperse on or before the 1st of September following, at the same time directing a force of nearly thirteen thousand men to be immediately raised in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia to suppress the insurrectionary movement, which body of soldiers are required "to be held in readiness to march at a moment's warning."
On the same day Governor Mifflin called for the quota assigned to Pennsylvania, five thousand two hundred men, directing them to be armed and equipped as quickly as possible. The number of troops required from Delaware County was twenty cavalrymen and sixteen artillerymen, which force was to compose part of the Second Brigade of the Third Division, under command of Brig.-Gen. Thomas Proctor.1 The call, however, was not responded to with alacrity, for Secretary Dallas, in his report to the Senate of Pennsylvania, says, "Returns from the County of Delaware, dated the 6th of September, 1794, stating a variety of difficulties that leave little hope of procuring by regular drafts the quota of this county," and he reiterated that assertion in his "report relative to the want of promptness of the militia,"2 dated Jan. 16, 1795. Indeed, from a letter written by Attorney-General Ingersoll to Governor Mifflin, May 25,1795, it appears that in order to raise the quota in both Chester and Delaware Counties three thousand three hundred and ninety-six dollars had to be paid in bounties, Secretary Dallas pledging his personal credit to procure the amount expended.3 Why the quota of Delaware County was placed at only thirty-six men is difficult to understand, when we remember that in May of the same year, under the call of the President for ten thousand seven hundred and sixty-four militia in Pennsylvania to be held in readiness during the threatening difficulties on the frontier, our county was required to furnish two hundred and sixty-two men. And it is equally incomprehensible why any difficulty was had in raising thirty-six men in the Whiskey Insurrection, when it is considered that in May, 1794, Governor Mifflin had ordered Adjt. Gen. Harmer to immediately organize and equip the militia of Philadelphia and the county of Delaware to be in readiness, if needed, to prevent any breaches of the neutrality laws by the cruisers of England or France within this State, or the equipment of any privateer at Philadelphia by either of the belligerent powers.
In William Whitehead's "Historical Sketch of the Borough of Chester" (Directory of Chester, 1859-60) it is stated, "Chester sent a company of infantry to the scene of disturbance, under the command of Capt. William Graham." Dr. Smith merely says that Delaware County furnished a company under Capt. Graham, and refers to the Directory of Chester as authority for the statement. An article written in 1854 by William H. Dillingham, and published in the West Chester Republican (quoted at large in Martin's "History of Chester," pp. 169-170), entitled "Reminiscences of William Graham, Esq.," says, "He commanded a troop of cavalry in the western expedition." Benjamin M. Nead, Esq., of Harrisburg, in a sketch of the life of Brig.-Gen. Thomas Proctor (Penna. Mag. of History, vol. iv. p. 466.), states that "on August 7, 1794, Gen. Proctor was placed in command of the First Brigade, which marched with 1849 men, 96 of which were from Delaware county." The foregoing statement is the only one wherein the gross number of men is given, other than that which is presented in the text. The latter is derived from various papers (in the fourth volume, second series, Pennsylvania Archives) relating to the Whiskey Insurrection. Yet Mr. Nead may be correct in the number mentioned, for he is a gentleman whose assertion on an historical point is always worthy of respect and consideration. Unfortunately, I cannot find on record, at Media, the election returns for the year 1794. The troops called into service voted in the fields, and the duplicates for that year, if they could be found in the prothonotary's office, would give the names of every man from this county, and, of course, to obtain the number would be a simple matter of addition.|
2 Penna. Archives, 2d series, vol. iv. p. 306.
3 Ib., p. 532.
|However, Capt. William Graham, a lawyer, of Chester, raised a company of cavalry, the greater part of the organization being recruited or drafted from the neighborhood of Chester, and the quota of Delaware County was filled. When the troop was ready to march the ladies of Ridley townahip presented it with a white silk flag, trimmed with fringe of like material. On it was painted a figure of Washington in full military costume, to whom an American eagle was descending bearing in its claws a sprig of laurel, while from its mouth was a ribbon with the motto, "Liberty or Death." The allegorical picture was surrounded by flags, drums, cannons, and other military emblems.4||4 In 1840 this flag was in the possession of Dr. Joseph Wilson. It was carried in the great Whig procession, at Chester, on July 23d of that year by the delegation from Springfield.|