September 6, 1788
The daring insult offered to the laws of the state during the recess of your honorable House, by the insurgents of Wyoming, in carrying off the person of Thomas Pickering, Esq. Prothonotary of the County, called for the immediate interpolition of Government; more especially as there was no knowing to what further lengths their outrages might be carried, unless speedily checked.
For this purpose we issued Proclamations offering rewards for apprehending those offenders whose names were known, and made application to the Governments of New Jersey and New York to co-operate in our measures, and received the most friendly assurance of their support. We also obtained permission from the honorable Congress, that the troops of the Union, then on their march to the westward, should proceed, if found necessary, to Wyoming. These active measures, supported by the friends of Government in the Country, have been attended with success; Col. Pickering was released, and a number of rioters have been taken into custody, and apparent peace restored to the County. Sundry papes relating the above transactions are inclosed in No. 1.
In order to carry into effect your resolution of the twenty-seventh of March last, respecting the seventeen enumerated townships. We appointed Col. Stephen Balliot and Major W. Armstrong, commissioners to ascertain the quantity and quality of the particular tracts of land contained in the said townships. To their report, marked No. 2, we beg leave to refer you.
In compliance with your resolution of the 29th of February last, we have negociated, by means of our Delegates in Congress, with the United States for the tract of country, which on actual survey may appear to be their property, on Lake Erie, adjoining the northern boundary of this state. The report, with the documents on which the same is founded, are contained in the bundle No. 3.
The lowering the terms of lands in the New-Purchase, and freeing the surplus of the donation lands from the appropriations by which they are bound, are matters in our opinion worthy the attention of the house; by these means not only an old fund would be rendered productive, but a new one will be opened.
Impositions are practised by person selling adulterated plate. An office erected for the purpose of assaying and stamping all plate offered for sale, would tend to prevent fraud, and give security to the purchasers of that article.
The disabled Pensioners have lately been paid out of the unappropriated funds of the state. It appear that these funds are insufficient to discharge the demands made on them, and if the pensions are continued to be paid, some other provision is necessary.
The magazine for storing of gun-powder in this city is not only improperly situated, with respect to the town, but too small to contain the quantities now improted and manufactured in the neighborhood. We therefore think a revival and alteration of the law passed the 28th of March, 1787, respecting gun-powder, is now highly necessary.
The depreciation of our paper money calls for the attention of the legislature. We wish for a conference with a committee of your honorable house on this important subject.
We have called upon the respective county lieutenants for returns of persons subject to the performance of militia duties, and of those who have actually attended on muster-days, agreeably to your resolution of the 29th day of March last; these returns shall be laid before the General Assembly as soon as they come to hand.
We also herewith communicate a resolution of Congress, dated July 11, 1788, respecting pensioners—An extract of a letter from gen. Harmar, dated June 30, 1788—Copies of the ratifciation of the federal constitution by the States of Virginia, S. Carolina, and N. York, with amendmend proposed by Virginia & New York—Also a letter from the president of the convention of North Carolina, inclosing the proceedings of the said convention—A letter from Thomas Paine, Esq. dated at Paris, May 4, 1788, inclosing the opinion of the Academy of Sciences at Paris, on the principles and construction of the model for a bridge over the Schuylkill—A letter from general St. Clair, of July 4, and a resolution of Congress, of August 12, 1788, relative to the holding in readiness the milita on the frontiers to act in conjunction with the Federal troops in defending the western country against Indian hostilities—Two letters from Charles Thomson, Esq. secretary of Congress, dated the 20th and 25th days of August, 1788, the one inclosing a copy of the journal of Congress from the commencement of the federal year, to the 20th of August, 1788, and the other inclosing a requisition of the United States in Congress assembed, for the year 1788, and a memorial from captain John Armstrong.
Council-Chamber Philadelphia, Sept. 6, 1788.
Labels: Papers of Benjamin Franklin