To William Bradford1
Philadelphia Aug 8. 1794
My Dear Sir
General Nevil4 suggests that if a disposition to comply should appear, the best proof of it would be a request from the parties to Mr. Johnson to resume the exercise of his Office with assurances of support from them.5 This idea is well worth your attention; though I do not expect you will approach that point.
The repeal of the law6 is out of the question. The expectation of it can in no event be encouraged but if any alterations are suggested tending to render it in any respect more convenient assurances of the favourable consideration of these may be given as far as it is safe for the Executive to go & with the due guards. For in truth every admissible accommodation in this way would accord with the wishes of this Department.
With prayers for your health & success I remain truly Yrs
Wm. Bradford Esqr
ALS, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.
1. For background to this letter, see H and Henry Knox to George Washington, August 5, 1794, note 3. See also “Deposition of Francis Mentges,” August 1, 1794; “Conference Concerning the Insurrection in Western Pennsylvania,” August 2, 1794; H to Washington, August 2, 5, 1794; Edmund Randolph to Thomas Mifflin, August 7, 1794.
2. Bradford to Randolph, August 8, 1794 (ALS, Pennsylvania Miscellany, Whiskey Rebellion, Vol. I, Library of Congress).
3. In his letter to Randolph of August 8, 1794, Bradford requested a “separate [that is, separate from the instructions which had been sent] & general power to confer with any bodies of men or individuals for the purpose of allaying discontents and restoring order & the authority of the laws.…” On the same day, Randolph sent to Washington a copy of Bradford’s request, urging that “The separate powers, which he asks, tho’ they cannot with propriety be demanded by insurgents, will be forwarded by a special messenger, to gratify him, if the two other Secretaries approve of them” (LS, RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters, 1790–1799, National Archives). Washington responded affirmatively to Randolph on the same date (ALS, RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters, 1790–1799, National Archives). On August 10, 1794, Bradford wrote to Randolph that he had received the powers he had requested, and as a result the insurgents could not question the authority of the commissioners (ALS, Pennsylvania Miscellany, Whiskey Rebellion, Vol. I, Library of Congress).
4. John Neville, inspector of the revenue for Survey No. 4 in Pennsylvania. See “Deposition of Francis Mentges,” August 1, 1794, note 2.
5. Robert Johnson, collector of the revenue for the counties of Washington and Allegheny in Pennsylvania, had resigned his office on July 20, 1794. Johnson’s resignation reads as follows: “Finding the opposition to the revenue law more violent than I expected, regreting the mischief that has been done, and may from the continuation of measures—feeling the opposition changed from dignified rabble to a respectable party, think it my duty and do resign my commission” (Pennsylvania Archives, 2nd ser., IV description begins Pennsylvania Archives, 2nd ser., IV (n.p., 1876). description ends , 71). For Johnson’s earlier experiences with the insurgents, see H to Washington, August 5, 1794, note 18.