[Philadelphia]: [Printed by Childs and Swaine], . 1 sheet ( pp.). Folio. 8 x 13.25 inches. Broadsheet. First edition. A very good copy, sharp impressions, minor browning at edges, a few old marginal stitch marks, nick to one corner, small inked numerals at upper margin, probably from prior collation. Evans 27852. ESTC W14568. NAIP w014568. Item #44065
Approved-May the ninth, 1794 and signed in type: "Go: Washington, President of the United States;" also signed in type, "John Adams, Vice-President," and "Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg, Speaker of the House."
"Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That the President of the United States be, and he is hereby authorized to require of the executives of the several states, to take effectual measures, as soon as may be, to organize, arm and equip, according to law, and hold in readiness to march at a moment's warning, the following proportions, respectively, of eighty thousand effective militia, officers included, to wit:"
Thus begins the first section of the act (with a long list of the numerical quotas for troops from each state) for a force capable to quelling a growing rebellion threatening the power of the Federal government.
Burdened by Revolutionary War debt assumed from the states to achieve ratification of the Constitution, the Federal government needed revenue, and Alexander Hamilton pushed for a excise tax on whiskey production. It did not go over well. Western farmers saw the tax as an abuse of Federal authority. In 1792, George Washington issued a proclamation against resistance to law, but to little avail. As violence against tax collectors increased, it was soon obvious stronger measures were needed against this first real rebellion to Federal authority, and thus this act was passed to prepare for its suppression should conditions warrant the use of force.
In his circular of the 19th of June to the Governors, enclosing a copy of the law, Secretary of War, Henry Knox wrote with Washington's approval:
"It is the earnest desire of the President that your Excellency would immediately take the most effectual means that the whole of the militia of Pennsylvania not comprised within the foregoing requisition, be armed and equipped according to law. The people of the United States encreasing rapidly in wealth, population, and importance among the nations, ought not to indulge the expectation of being exempt from those agitations and dangers, which seem inseparable from the human character. But it is our highest duty that we should be in a perfect condition to preserve and defend oureselves against every injury to which we may be liable as a nation. The President therefore hopes for a prompt and universal compliance with the law, as a measure upon which, under the protection of Heaven, our freedom and security may depend."
Three months later, a militia force of 12,950 men led by Washington, headed to western Pennsylvania and the rebellion collapsed.
There are two issues of this act: Evans 27852 and Shipton & Mooney 47286, the former 2 pages and the latter 1 page, both with few institutional holdings. OCLC show three locations of this edition of two pages: American Antiquarian Society, John Carter Brown Library, and Library Company of Philadelphia, but there is also one at the Library of Congress, which also holds the one page issue, found at two further libraries: Rutgers and Historical Society of Pennsylvania (at LCP).