Description

    General Edward Hand writes en route to suppress the Whiskey Rebellion

    Edward Hand (1744-1802) American General during the Revolution, Autograph Letter Signed, "Edwd Hand", one page 7.5" x 9", "Camp Forks of Youghisgeni", November 8, 1794 to Jasper Yates. "...the description of bad roads & deluges of rain in the mountains which would be neither new or Amusing to you -- indeed even now I can only tell you that the Right column lies near buds Ferry on the N E of Youhiogeni [?] -- and will I suppose soon move towards Pittsburgh -- the left Column lies between Buds & Parkinson's Ferrys - the light or advanced Corps from both Columns have yesterday or will to day Cross the Monongahela into Washington County - The Judicial Gentlemen are constantly laboring and will I hope in the end bring forth something - a few days must develop the plans of government - & I hope they will be successful - Mr Smith, Fr Judge advocate Duncan & Myself are perfectly well indeed the whole Army are uncommonly healthy..." The Whiskey Rebellion arose with the 1791 tax issued on distilled spirits, a measure supported by Hamilton in his role as Secretary of the Treasury to pay down the enormous debt incurred by the United States during the American Revolution. The tax levied a six-cent per-gallon tax on large volume distillers, while smaller operations were forced to pay nine-cents per-gallon. Most of the distillery operations in the Appalachian West were of the smaller variety and were thus adversely impacted by the tax. Over the next several years, a nascent rebellion grew initially in the form of non-payment of the tax then escalated into harassment directed at tax collectors in regions stretching form Georgia to Pennsylvania. After the tarring and feathering of a tax collector near Pittsburgh in the summer of 1794 (resulting in his death) and other mob actions, President Washington, remembering well the threat of Shay's Rebellion nearly ten years earlier, invoked the Militia Act of 1792. He summoned the militias of Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania to march to Pittsburgh. A force of 13,000, under the command of Washington, Hamilton and Henry Lee, marched into western Pennsylvania in September. In the wake of this massive show of force, the rebels quickly disappeared into the woods and the rebellion was easily suppressed. They managed to capture twenty barefoot men who were paraded down Market Street in Philadelphia. Two of them were charged with treason and sentenced to the gallows but Washington pardoned them on the grounds that one was a "simpleton" and the other "insane." The suppression of the rebellion had the unanticipated consequence of forcing many small whiskey producers further west into Kentucky and Tennessee, far out of reach of federal authority. Interestingly, in these regions distillers found excellent corn-growing country and discovered smooth, limestone-filtered water -- both proving quite suitable for the blending of the finest whiskey. The tax itself, largely uncollectible outside of western Pennsylvania, was repealed in 1802. Fine condition. From the Henry E. Luhrs Collection. Accompanied by LOA from PSA/DNA.


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    Auction Dates
    February, 2006
    20th-21st Monday-Tuesday
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