George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Thomas Mifflin, 9 August 1794

From Thomas Mifflin

Phil. 9 Aug. 1794


I have the honor to inclose, for your information, a copy of the instructions which have been issued, in compliance with your requisition (communicated to me in a letter from the Secretary at War, dated the 7 inst.) for organizing and holding in readiness to march at a moment’s warning, a corps of the Militia of Pena, amounting to 5,200, non commissioned officers & privates, with a due proportion of Commissioned officers.1 I am, with perfect respect Sir Yr

Df, in the writing of Alexander James Dallas, PHarH: Executive Correspondence, 1790-99; LB, PHarH: Executive Letterbooks. On 11 Aug., GW sent this letter to Alexander Hamilton "to act upon during the Secy. of War’s absence" (JPP description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends , 317-18).

1Mifflin wrote Pennsylvania adjutant general Josiah Harmar on 8 Aug. instructing him to "forthwith issue General Orders" calling out militia in accordance with the requisition. Mifflin added, "I must entreat the most pointed attention, as well on your part, as on the part of the corps that is to be drafted, for the purpose of manifesting a just sense of the obedience which is due to the laws of our country, and the patriotic zeal with which the Freemen of Pennsylvania will, on every emergency, maintain the government that they have established." He "seriously lamented, that an occasion should ever arise for arming one part of the community against the other" and expressed hope for conciliation, but stated that if conciliation should fail, "the issue must be, whether, upon the pure principles of a Republican Government, the minority shall be allowed by violence to supercede the will of the majority; to substitute the law of arms, for the law of reason; and fatally to convert the peace, happiness, and order, which we now enjoy, into a scene of war, wretchedness, and anarchy" (PHarH: Executive Correspondence, 1790-99).

For Secretary of War Henry Knox’s letter to Mifflin of 7 Aug., see Proclamation, 7 Aug., source note.

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