George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Edmund Randolph, 1 October 1792

To Edmund Randolph

Mount Vernn Octr 1st 1792.


It is highly important that the proceedings in the Indictments of those who have opposed themselves, unwarrantably, to the Laws laying a duty on distilled spirits, should be placed on legal ground & prosecuted properly; it is my desire therefore that you will attend the Circuit Court at York Town, to be holden the [ ] of this Month and see that, that business is conducted in a manner to which no exception can with propriety be taken: and for the further purpose also of giving to this measure of Government a more solemn & serious countenance aspect.1 I am &ca

G. W——n

ADfS, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters; LB, DLC:GW.

1For background on the civil disorder in western Pennsylvania occasioned by opponents of the excise tax on whiskey and GW’s response, see Alexander Hamilton to GW, 1 Sept., and notes, GW to Hamilton, 7 Sept., 1 Oct., and Randolph to GW, 10 Sept. 1792, and note 3. The grand jury of the U.S. Circuit Court for the Middle District, which met at York, Pa., on 11 Oct. 1792, indicted William Kerr and Alexander Beer (Berr), participants in the August 1792 attack on William Faulkner’s tavern, in which John Nevill, the inspector of the revenue, had established his office. On 13 Mar. 1793 GW wrote William Rawle, U.S. district attorney for Pennsylvania, instructing him to discontinue prosecution of the rioters.

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