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This webpage reproduces an article in the
Mississippi Valley Historical Review
Vol. 11 No. 3 (Dec. 1924), pp376‑389

The text is in the public domain.

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and I believe it to be free of errors.
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p376 The Efforts of the Democratic Societies of the West to open the Navigation of the Mississippi

By E. Merton Coulter

In the early days of the American republic, before the spirit of coöperation had been developed and before the necessary interdependence of the sections upon each other had been realized, loyalty to the Union rested on the people lightly. This was especially true of the settlers living west of the Alleghenies. Early led there by the spirit of adventure and the lure of fertile land, they reduced the wilderness to cultivation and soon had their granaries bursting with wheat and corn, their warehouses filled with tobacco, and their smokehouses crammed with meat. Markets must be found and transportation to them secured. The eastern states afforded a market, but access to it by land across the mountains was manifestly impossible. Just as nature had unkindly blocked the way to the eastward by rearing trackless mountains, she had generously pointed the way to the southward in the swift currents of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. The Westerners, mostly Kentuckians at this time, were not slow in discovering the water route, and attempting its use. But here trouble arose. Spain stood astride the lower Mississippi, and by controlling its navigation, endeavored through plots and intrigues either to absorb the western settlers or to destroy them. The machinations of James Wilkinson in this connection are well-known. Kentucky successfully resisted the lure of Spain, but due to the weak efforts of the discredited government of the Confederation and to the inaction of the federal government, that followed it, she was unable to secure the free navigation of the Mississippi.

Such was the situation in 1783, when Citizen Genet landed in Charleston, his mind filled with grandiloquent ideas and scheming intrigues.1 Finding ready listeners throughout all the back-country p377on his way to Philadelphia, he was there rudely shocked by the discovery that President Washington was indisposed to lend the power of the young republic to his plans of war against Spain and Great Britain, the arch-enemies of republican France. Signs of party strife had already begun to appear, and the friends of France were soon loud in their condemnation of Washington and all others who showed their friendship for the British by refusing to come to the rescue of the French. About this time,2 certain prominent opponents of Washington's policy organized in Philadelphia a Democratic Society, modelled after the powerful and violent Jacobin clubs of France. Its ostensible purpose was to help France combat the combined monarchies of Europe and to prevent America from next falling a prey to these powers, which had sworn to crush liberty; but its real purpose was to weld together the rising opposition to Washington and to the Federalists. In July, 1793, the Society sent out a circular announcing the purpose of its organization, and calling upon the people to establish like societies. Discontented elements readily seized the idea, and before the end of the summer there were a dozen Democratic societies scattered over the country.3

There was no more fertile field in all the land for such a society than in the West, and especially in Kentucky. Here discontent was widespread and intense; the Mississippi still remained closed to navigation, and the federal government was doing little, apparently, to force Spain to open it. Ordinary methods of protest seemed to avail nothing; a new way would now be devised. John Bradford, who had set up the Kentucky Gazette six years earlier, proposed to a number of citizens of Lexington that they organize a Democratic Society,4 and on p378August 22, 1793, a preliminary meeting was held, which resolved that such a society ought to be formed, "embracing the laudable objects of the Philadelphia Democratic Society." At this meeting a committee was appointed to draw up articles of organization, and six days later the Kentucky Democratic Society was created, with John Breckinridge, one of the leaders of the state, as chairman and Thomas Bodley and Thomas Todd as clerks.5

A similar letter was sent out calling on the people of the West to form similar organizations, and before the end of the year there were thriving societies in Paris and Georgetown.6 Societies were also established in western Pennsylvania, but the Kentuckyº societies were the more active, and, hence, became the mouth-piece of the discontented West.

The general purpose of these societies was naturally in keeping with that of the parent organization at Philadelphia; but the definite impulse which had set them going was the desire to use every possible method of opening the Mississippi to navigation.7 They stirred up enthusiasm by erecting liberty poles, wearing the tri-colored cockade, and assuming the other customs and trappings characteristic of the French.8 Fortunately for Kentucky, it seemed that the schemes of Genet were leading directly to a solution of the Mississippi River problem — Kentuckians eagerly took notice. Soon after arriving at Philadelphia, Genet had broached to Jefferson a project for seizing Louisiana from Spain, making a favorable commercial treaty with the United States, and opening the navigation of the Mississippi. His plan embraced, in short, the raising of an army among the discontented Kentuckians with which to seize New Orleans. By September he had sent Andre Michaux into Kentucky, as an agent, who was soon followed by four other French emissaries, De Pauw, LaChaise, Mathourin, and Gignoux. George Rogers Clark, smarting under the ingratitude and neglect p379of Virginia and of the federal government, proved a ready listener — in fact he had anticipated Genet in the Louisiana scheme. Active preparations were now begun for raising and provisioning an army. The Democratic societies looked on with undisguised pleasure and hope, and according to Clark "made some advances in ammunition" and gave "all the encouragement in their power."9 Subscriptions of money were also given by members of these societies.10

As the bounds of patriotism and expediency could be easily overstepped in aiding this French scheme, the Democratic societies issued no public pronunciamentoes or addresses on the subject; but in December (1783), the Lexington society published two addresses on the general situation in the West, showing that its patience was almost exhausted. One was addressed "To the inhabitants of the United States, west of the Allegheny and Appalachian mountains," while the other was styled "A Remonstrance to the President and Congress of the United States of America." The former document appealed to the people to realize their serious situation and to seize the opportunities to act which the time afforded. The Mississippi River was theirs by nature and by compact. It was inconceivable that "the beneficent God of nature would have blessed this country with unparalleled fertility, and furnished it with a number of navigable streams," and yet would have intended that the products of the land should rot in the fields because a tyrannical and decadent power had closed the navigation of these rivers. It would be "criminal either to surrender or suffer it to be taken [away] . . . without the most arduous struggle." As if Nature's gift did not afford a claim strong enough, a compact had added its weight; for had not England granted the navigation of the Mississippi in the treaty of Paris in 1783? Yet more than eleven years had elapsed since then, and the river still remained closed. The old Confederation had made no attempt to secure an acknowledgement p380of the rights of the West, and, indeed, had taken no notice, except one time "by an unwarrantable and disgraceful proposition to barter away" its welfare.11 This Confederation was at length superseded by the present Federal Union, and the hopes of the West were then high that their rights would be secured. But what had been done? Six years had passed, the western settlers were still without their rights. In the meantime the eastern states had secured "every advantage which nature or compact" could give them. The inevitable conclusion was that the federal government was unwilling for the West to have the navigation of the Mississippi. The East was jealous of the West, and feared for it to become prosperous. Petitions and memorials had loaded the tables of Congress but without avail. All Westerners should now join in "a firm and manly remonstrance" to the President and to Congress and demand their "steady and effectual exertions." Not only was the present generation concerned, but the happiness of posterity was at stake. The time was ripe; Spain was engaged in war; the "golden opportunity" should not be allowed to pass. Democratic societies should be formed in every convenient district of the western country to bind the people into a union ever "watchful to seize the first favorable opportunity to gain" their object. This address was signed by John Breckinridge as chairman.12

The remonstrance to the President and to Congress was impatient and threatening. The people had gone west with the understanding that they would enjoy the outlet of the Mississippi; they had now waited long, and had not left Congress uninformed of the situation and of their desires. Then, with sarcasm, the remonstrance continued, "But alas! we still experience, p381that the strong nerved government of America, extends its arms of protection to all the branches of the union, but to your Remonstrants . . . It is competent to exact obedience; but not to make that return which can be the only just and natural exchange for it. . . . We think it is high time that we should be thoroughly informed of the situation on which your negotiations, if any, have left this right; for apathy itself has grown hopeless from long-disappointed expectation." They yielded to none in patriotism, "but patriotism, like every other thing, has its bounds. . . . To be subjected to all the burthens, and enjoy none of the benefits arising from government, is what we will never submit to." Referring to the excise taxes, it continued, "If the interest of Eastern America requires that we should be kept in poverty, it is unreasonable from such poverty to exact contributions. The first, if we cannot emerge from, we must learn to bear; but the latter, we can never be taught to submit to." The remonstrance closed with a definite threat: "We declare it [the free navigation of the Mississippi] to be a right which must be obtained; and do also declare, that if the General Government will not procure it for us, we shall hold ourselves not answerable for any consequences that may result from our own procurement of it."13

Very definite charges were here made against the federal government and dangerous threats, against it. The outstanding leaders of Kentucky were members of the Democratic societies and subscribed to their sentiments; many were officers high in the government of the commonwealth. James Brown was secretary of state; John Breckinridge was soon to become attorney-general; George Muter was chief justice of the highest court in the state; John Bradford was public printer and the influential editor of the Kentucky Gazette; and Thomas Todd was later to fill a high judicial position. Most of these Democrats were astute lawyers and logicians, and they were wary enough not to be caught without proof, if they should suddenly be asked to substantiate the charges they had been so freely making. To forearm themselves in this respect, they passed a resolution through p382the Kentucky Democratic Society, calling for a definite test to be made of their right to navigate the Mississippi River to its mouth. They were "to make an attempt in a peaceful manner, to go with an American bottom properly registered and cleared, into the sea through the channel of the Mississippi; that we may either procure an immediate acknowledgement of our right from the Spaniards; or if they obstruct us in the enjoyment of that right, that we may be able to lay before the Federal Government, such unequivocal proofs of their having done so, that they will be compelled to say, whether they will abandon or protect the inhabitants of the western country."14 According to a speech James Seagrove, a federal agent to the Indians, was said to have made to the Creeks, the Kentuckians were resolved that if Congress should not act after this test was made, they would march against Louisiana — that "if the Spaniards take this boat or detain it in its passage, they will go to find out who has done so."15

A committee of correspondence was appointed and an intensive propaganda campaign was now started to bind all the West together in support of the work of the Democratic societies.16 The address to the people, the remonstrance to the President and Congress, and the resolution on sending a boat down the Mississippi were widely distributed. Individuals and Democratic societies were asked to secure signatures to the remonstrance and to forward it to Congress.17 To some the boat resolution seemed eminently wise; while to others it appeared impractical and foolhardy. One citizen refused to sign the remonstrance until the test of sending the boat had been made.18 The Georgetown (Scott County) Society agreed with the remonstrance and circulated it for signatures, but it laid the boat resolution on the table.19 The Washington County (Pennsylvania) p383Democratic Society felt that the remonstrance did not apply to them so much as to Kentucky, yet they decided to send copies of it on to the President and to their representative in Congress.20 The Kentucky Society also opened a correspondence with the residents of the Southwestern Territory and with the Prince William County (Virginia) Society.21

In the meantime the expedition fomented by the French with George Rogers Clark at the head, was finding difficulty in getting started. Lack of funds seems to have been the greatest hindrance; certainly there was no lack of sympathy in high places in Kentucky. In fact, the French agents had early entered into communication with Governor Isaac Shelby, and although the Governor was too staid a patriot to be led into directly aiding uncertain schemes, he was so tardy in offering resistance to the movement that he aroused the suspicion and ire of the federal government.22 There is no evidence that Shelby was a member of the Kentucky Democratic Society, but he was closely associated with its most prominent members, as is shown in a letter from cause De Pauw to him in which he asked the governor to "Please to participate" some handbills "to that noble society of democrats."23 The French agents, especially LaChaise, kept in close touch with the Kentucky Democratic Society, urging it at times to make a direct appeal to the French National Convention. This the Society refused to do since as "Citizens of Kentucky and a part of the American Union, it would be p384improper at this period. . . ."24 In a short while, Genet had so outraged the federal government that it demanded his recall; and his successor, Fouchet, taking better counsel of the times and circumstances, terminated the expedition on March 6, 1794. But this movement was easier to start than to stop. LaChaise continued to correspond with the Kentucky Democrats on plans for conquering Louisiana and opening the Mississippi. In May (1794), he wrote them that he now turned from the federal government, which had checkmated him, to the Democratic societies; and inquired "Why should I not have the luck of that fanatic priest whose name, I have forgot, who preached in France and the other states of Europe for the conquest of Holy Land. Louisiana & its wretched inhabitants are assuredly more interesting thatº that barren Country. The Spaniards who defend the Mississippi are more worthy of contempt than the Ottomans."25 The Kentucky Democratic Society labored for some months yet with the hopes of ultimately receiving aid from France.26

The Society, however, was not depending altogether on help from France; in fact, the abandonment of the Genet scheme spurred it on. It had been holding frequent meetings, which were developing increasingly more violent sentiments, so heated, in fact, that Harry Innes, the judge of the Federal District Court for Kentucky, avoided them for fear they might lead to acts which later would become the cause for trials in his court.27 A Democrat in an article called the "Crisis" boldly said, "From government you have nothing to hope. They never did intend — nor will they ever invest you with the right to use the Mississippi. Its procurement depends wholly on ourselves."28 In May (1794), after hopes for the success of the French scheme had largely faded away, "a numerous meeting of respectable Citizens" from different parts of the state assembled in Lexington, p385"and after taking into consideration the degraded and deserted situation" of the country, "both as to its commerce and protection; and coolly deliberating thereon" gave vent to their bitter feelings in a series of thirteen resolutions. Spain still withheld their rights to the Mississippi, and the federal government had "adopted no effectual measures for its attainment." Even what had been done was concealed from them and "veiled in mysterious secrecy." Civil liberty was necessary sunk low, when the servants of the people were to deem their masters not worthy to be informed of what was being done. Not only was Spain depriving the West of its dearest rights; but Great Britain still held possession of much of the western country and was savagely inciting the Indians to pillage and slaughter. And what had the federal government done, except, indeed, to add outrage to injury, by sending John Jay, the bitterest enemy of the West, to make a treaty with that nation. The people must awake and prepare to strike as a unit, before it should be too late. To accomplish this, each county in the state should appoint a committee to consider their grievances, and at the proper time a state convention should be held, to deliberate on the steps to be taken to secure and protect their rights.29

A remonstrance to the President and to Congress was formulated, more dignified in language than the former one, but serious and firm in tone, and bearing the marks of an appeal that was to be a final one. Great Britain should be vigorously proceeded against for her barbarous conduct toward the western country, and Spain should be handed an ultimatum on the Mississippi River question.30

Although the French scheme had definitely fallen to pieces by the late summer of 1794, the Kentucky Democratic Society had entered into, perhaps, its most active period. Meetings were frequent, and a characteristic entry in the minutes was: "Society went into commeeº of the Whole on the subject of the p386Navigation of the Mississippi."31 As has already appeared, the Kentuckians were honestly haunted with the fear that the federal government was making no real efforts to secure their rights — hence its mysterious silence. One more effort would be made to find out what it was doing before they decided on direct and forcible action against Spain. On August 11 (1794), the Society met, with John Breckinridge in the chair, and appointed a committee of three to pointedly ask Col. John Edwards, one of the state's senators at Philadelphia, specific questions on the status of the Spanish negotiations. A long list was prepared, showing a suspicion throughout of the sincerity of the federal government. Some of the questions follow: "Do you believe it to be the earnest wish and desire of the Northern & Eastern politicians in Congress, that we should be invested with this right [free navigation of the Mississippi]?" "Do they in short view the rising importance of Western America with the eye of patriotic liberality, or with the spirit of Jealousy and disaffection?" "In short, from your whole knowledge of this subject, are you of opinion, that we have a right to ground any solid expectations in the present negotiations?"32

The address and general activities of the Democratic societies of the West were being heralded in the East and were causing considerable uneasiness. John Brown, one of the state's senators at Philadelphia, wrote Harry Innes that the utterances of the Kentucky Democratic Society "have excited some attention & perhaps, some apprehension lest the impatience of the Western brethren may precipitate them into some measure which may involve the U. States in an unequal contest."33 An Easterner, presumably a Virginian, wrote John Breckinridge that opinion was somewhat divided east of the mountains, that "some suppose your language is too pointed or rather arrogant to the supreme legislative Body of the United States, others think you only speak with that manly firmness which ought always to characterize a republican people when in quest of their rights."34 John Nicholas cautioned Breckinridge on the lack p387of restraint that characterized his utterances, warning him that his old Virginia friends, while approving of his "republican disposition," condemned his warmth.35

In September (1794), Breckinridge in a long letter burning with sarcasm and strong feeling, answered all the effeminate Easterners who disagreed with him and with the Kentucky Democratic Society. "Nature," he said, "has done every thing for us; Government every thing against us. I must confess however that the present state of Mississippi Business, produces serious and distressing reflections in the minds of every thinking man here. That it will not long remain in its present state, is beyond all doubt. No human policy, chicane tricks, or promises, can much longer assure the people here. They have for some time considered themselves as being deluded by Govt., and sacrificed to the narrow local policy of the Eastern States. You could not persuade a man here (unless an excise officer perhaps) that the Eastern States would not yield the whole commerce and with it the Happiness of all Western America, for some little commercial advantage to them, were it only in the codfish or molasses trade." He was utterly shocked at John Jay's appointment as an envoy to treat with Great Britain. "We have sat down with patience to wait the Event of his negotiations," he continued, "& God send, they may not shew us that we may fight or negotiate for ourselves.

"I am sorry to learn from my Virga. friends, that false reports are propogatedº there respecting our desire to separate from the Union, or to negotiate with the British or the Spaniards. Be assured both suggestions do us injustice. The latter are too contemptible to become allies, and even the name of the former is odious here as it was with you in '76. I wish the rulers of Ama revered the British as little as we do. Neither their policy nor their guineas, are current here. Our statesmen here have not yet learnt, how to draw from them those materials, which brighten both their ideas & their pocketts. Unassisted common sense & common honesty tells us, it is as criminal & treacherous in a British Subject to hire an Indian to murder our wives and children, as if he had committed the act, himself, and that p388the deed is no less attrocious because perpertrated on the West side of the Alleghany. But we may be wrong for we are too distant from the grand seat of information, and are too much hackneyed in the old fashioned principles of 1776, to receive much light, from the banking, funding & other new fashioned systems & schemes of policy which are the offspring and ornament of the present administration. As distant as our thoughts may be from a connection with the British or Spanish, at the present time, let Government take care they do not drive us to it. The Miss. we will have. If Government will not procure it for us, we must procure it for ourselves. Whether that will be done by the sword or by negotiation is yet to scan. The moment we certainly dispair of not procuring it through the General Government, from thence will our efforts begin, and let them take what direction they will; Congress must take them as they find them. This is my opinion respecting the temper & sentiments of the people here."36

So insistent became the demands of the Kentucky Democratic Society and of Kentuckians generally that the secret diplomacy of the federal government be bared, that Washington was forced to take notice of it, and in such a way as not to make an already dangerous situation develop into a crisis which might destroy the Union. Feeling that he might fail to make a sufficient explanation by correspondence, he sent as his personal representative, James Innes, in the fall of 1794, and by the early part of the following year he had greatly quieted the Kentuckians through information imparted to Governor Shelby. The status of the negotiations at Madrid was detailed as far as was consistent with the public good; and in due time news of the treaty signed in October of this year (1795), opening the Mississippi, was received with unfeigned rejoicing by the people throughout the West.37

As the situation that had originally produced the Democratic societies38 in the West was now solved, they quickly died down p389and were soon forgotten. Although they had at times opposed the excises and sympathized with the Whiskey Rebellion,39 and had bitterly attacked the British machinations with the Indians, they were chiefly concerned with the opening of the Mississippi. That they had any appreciable effect in hurrying negotiations with Spain seems unlikely, as Washington had realized from the first the desirability and actual necessity of forcing Spain to yield; but the skilful way in which they played upon the discontent of the West made them powerful organizations, which under leaders less wise, might have produced far-reaching results for evil.


The Author's Notes:

1 See F. J. Turner, "The Mangourit Correspondence in Respect to Genet's projected Attack upon the Floridas, 1793‑94" in American Historical Association, Annual Report, 1897 (Washington, 1898).

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2 John B. McMaster says the society was organized within a week after Genet arrived in Philadelphia. History of the People of the United States (New York, 1913), II, 109. Humphrey Marshall, the Kentucky historian, says that it was organized as early as March, 1793 (Genet did not reach Philadelphia until May), and that it was "remodelled after the arrival of Genet." History of Kentucky (Frankfort, 1824), II, 85, 126.

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3 McMaster, op. cit., II, 109, 110, 175‑78.

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4 Harry Innes MSS. in Library of Congress, XIX, 65. Bradford to James Innes, Oct. 30, 1808.

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5 Breckinridge had but recently arrived from Virginia. In 1795 he became attorney-general of the commonwealth, and was later made attorney-general of the United States, under Jefferson.

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6 Kentucky Gazette, Aug. 24, 31, Nov. 2, 1793; George W. Ranck, History of Lexington, Kentucky (Cincinnati, 1872), 181; Lewis and Richard H. Collins, History of Kentucky (Covington, 1882), I, 23, 277.

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7 Innes MSS., XIX, 65. Bradford to James Innes, Oct. 30, 1808.

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8 Ranck, op. cit., 181.

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9 American Historical Review, XVIII, 781‑82. For the correspondence concerning the whole venture, see "Correspondence of Clark and Genet" in American Historical Association, Annual Report, 1896, I, 930‑1107. For a general account, see William E. Connelley and E. Merton Coulter, History of Kentucky (Chicago, 1922), II, 325‑35.

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10 "Correspondence of Clark and Genet," 1073, 1074.

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11 This was a reference to John Jay's attempt in 1786 to make a treaty with Gardoqui, in which the government of the Confederation promised not to urge the right to navigate the Mississippi River for twenty-five years, in return for certain trade concessions on the part of Spain, which would benefit the East alone. See C. R. Fish, American Diplomacy (New York, 1915), 70, 71.

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12 The address was dated December 13, 1793. The original manuscript is in Innes MSS., XIX, 84; a contemporary broadside is in Breckinridge MSS., (in the Library of Congress), and copies are printed in American State Papers, Miscellaneous (Washington, 1834), I, 929, 930; William and Mary College Quarterly Historical Magazine, Second Series, II, 240‑43.

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13 Handbill in Breckinridge MSS. 1793; copy in William and Mary College Quarterly Historical Magazine, Second Series, II, 244‑46.

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14 Minutes in Innes MSS., XIX, 195.

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15 "Correspondence of Clark and Genet," 1055.

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16 This committee was composed of William Murray, James Hughes, James Brown, James Moore, and Robert Todd.

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17 For a copy of the letter addressed to George Muter see William and Mary College Quarterly Historical Magazine, Second Series, II, 239.

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18 Ibid., 246, 247. Letter to the Kentucky Democratic Society, Jan. 6, 1793. (The date, 1793, given here should read 1794.)

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19 Ibid., 247, 248; Innes MSS., XIX, 103‑105.

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20 William and Mary College Quarterly Historical Magazine, Second Series, II 248, 249. The Kentucky Democratic Society had previously agreed to correspond with the Pennsylvania Society at the latter's invitation, "assuring them of our strong desire & perfect willingness to open a correspondence with them, on the subject of our unredressed grievances & assuring them also, that being all equally fellow-sufferers we shall heartily coöperate with them. . . ." Innes MSS., XIX, 92. Minutes of the Society.

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21 William and Mary College Quarterly Historical Magazine, Second Series, II, 254‑56.

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22 American State Papers, Foreign Relations, I, 455‑58; Breckinridge MSS., 1794. See also A Review by Samuel M. Wilson of "Isaac Shelby and the Genet Mission" by Dr. Archibald Henderson (Lexington, 1920), pamphlet; Archibald Henderson, "Isaac Shelby and the Genet Mission" in Mississippi Valley Historical Review, VI, 451‑69; Connelley and Coulter, History of Kentucky, I, 336‑45.

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23 Marshall, op. cit., II, 101. Letter dated November 25, 1793. The handbill was a French address to the inhabitants of Louisiana inciting them to revolt against Spain.

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24 Innes MSS., XIX, 85. Also see Ibid., 86; and American State Papers, Miscellaneous, I, 931.

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25 Innes MSS., XIX, 87. May 19, 1794. Reprinted in William and Mary College Quarterly Historical Magazine, Second Series, II, 249‑50. See also Marshall, op. cit., II, 121.

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26 Ibid., 254‑56.

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27 Marshall, op. cit., II, 109.

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28 Ibid., 112.

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29 A broadside signed by George Muter as chairman and by John Bradford as clerk, in Breckinridge MSS., 1794. See also "Correspondence of Clark and Genet," 1056‑1058; Kentucky Gazette, May 21, 1794; Marshall, op. cit., II, 121, 122. Bourbon County (Paris) following the suggestion of these resolutions, elected a county committee consisting of two members from each militia company. Kentucky Gazette, July 12, 1794.

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30 American State Papers, Miscellaneous, I, 930‑31.

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31 Innes MSS., XIX, 89, 90.

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32 List in Breckinridge MSS., 1794.

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33 Innes MSS., XIX, 16, 16½. December 31, 1793.

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34 Breckinridge MSS., 1794. Alex. Stuart to Breckinridge,º n. p., n. d.

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35 Ibid. Letter dated July 15, 1794.

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36 Breckinridge MSS. Letter to Samuel Hopkins, Mecklenburg County, Virginia, September 14, 1794.

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37 For the general situation in the state at this time see Connelley and Coulter, History of Kentucky, I, 346‑58.

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38 The society at Lexington (Kentucky Democratic Society) was the most active and prominent of the organizations west of the mountains.

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39 The address of the Kentucky Democratic Society, December 13, 1793 said: "Money is to be taken from us by an odious and oppressive excise, but the means of procuring it by the exercise of our just right is denied." American State Papers, Miscellaneous, I, 929. See also McMaster, op. cit., II, 123‑24. General Anthony Wayne relieved the British and Indian situation north of the Ohio River through his expedition of 1794 and 1795.


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