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seven hundred savages, under the famous warrior Little Turtle. The militia fled, without firing a musket. The savages now turned upon the little handful of regulars, who stood their ground, and made a brave resistance with the bayonet until all were slain, excepting Captain Armstrong, Ensign Hartshorn, and five privates. The ensign was saved by falling behind a log, which screened him from his pursuers. Armstrong plunged into a swamp, where he sank up to his neck, and remained for several hours of the night within two hundred yards of the field of action, a spectator of the war-dance of the savages over the slain. The two officers who escaped thus narrowly, found their way back to the camp about six miles distant.*
The army, notwithstanding, effected the main purpose of the expedition in laying waste the Indian villages and destroying their winter's stock of provisions, after which it commenced its march back to Fort Washington. On the 21st of October, when it was halted about ten miles to the west of Chillicothe, an opportunity was given Colonel Hardin to wipe out the late disgrace of his arms. He was detached with a larger body of militia than before, and sixty regulars, under Major Willys, to seek and bring the savages to action. The accounts of these Indian wars are very confused. It appears, however, that he had another encounter with Little Turtle and his braves. It was a bloody battle, fought well on both sides. The militia behaved bravely, and lost many men and officers, as did the regulars; Major Willys fell at the commencement of the action. Colonel Hardin was at length
* Butler's Hist. of Kentucky, 192.
THE PRESIDENT'S SUSPENSE.
compelled to retreat, leaving the dead and wounded in the hands of the enemy. After he had rejoined the main force, the whole expedition made its way back to Fort Washington, on the banks of the Ohio.
During all this time, Washington had been rusticating at Mount Vernon, in utter ignorance of the events of this expedition. Week after week elapsed, without any tidings of its issue, progress, or even commencement. On the 2d of November he wrote to the Secretary of War, (General Knox,) expressing his surprise at this lack of information, and his anxiety as to the result of the enterprise, and requesting him to forward any official or other accounts that he might have relating to it.
"This matter," observed he, "favorable or otherwise in the issue, will require to be laid before Congress, that the motives which induced the expedition may appear." Nearly another month elapsed; the time for the reassembling of Congress was at hand, yet Washington was still without the desired information. It was not until the last of November, that he received a letter from Governor George Clinton, of New York, communicating particulars of the affair related to him by Brant, the celebrated Indian chief.
"If the information of Captain Brant be true," wrote Washington, in reply, "the issue of the expedition against the Indians will indeed prove unfortunate and disgraceful to the troops who suffered themselves to be ambuscaded."
VOL. V.- 6
CONGRESS REASSEMBLES AT PHILADELPHIA-RESIDENCE OF WASHINGTON AT THE NEW SEAT OF GOVERNMENT-THE STATE CARRIAGE-HAMILTON'S FINANCIAL ARRANGEMENTS-IMPORT AND EXCISE BILLPASSAGE OF A BILL FOR A NATIONAL BANK-JEFFERSON'S OBJECTIONS -FORMATION OF TWO POLITICAL PARTIES UNDER HAMILTON AND VIEWS-DISSATISFACTION OF CON
CONGRESS reassembled, according to adjournment, on the first Monday in December, at Philadelphia, which was now, for a time, the seat of government. A house belonging to Mr. Robert Morris, the financier, had been hired by Washington for his residence, and at his request, had undergone additions and alterations "in a plain and neat, and not by any means in an extravagant style."
His secretary, Mr. Lear, had made every preparation for his arrival and accommodation, and, among other things, had spoken of the rich and elegant style in which the state carriage was fitted up. was fitted up. "I had rather have heard," replied Washington, " that my repaired coach was plain and elegant than rich and elegant."
Congress, at its opening, was chiefly occupied in financial arrangements, intended to establish the public credit and provide for the expenses of government. According to the statement of the Secretary of the Treasury, an additional annual revenue of eight hundred and twenty-six thousand dollars would be required, principally to meet the additional charges arising from the assumption of the State debts. He proposed to raise it by an increase of the impost on foreign distilled spirits, and a tax by way of excise on spirits distilled at home. An Impost and Excise bill was accordingly introduced into Congress, and met with violent opposition. An attempt was made to strike out the excise, but failed, and the whole bill was finally carried through the House.
Mr. Hamilton, in his former Treasury report, had recommended the establishment of a National Bank; he now, in a special report, urged the policy of the measure. A bill, introduced in conformity with his views, was passed in the Senate, but vehemently opposed in the House; partly on considerations of policy; but chiefly on the ground of constitutionality. On one side it was denied that the constitution had given to Congress the power of incorporation; on the other side it was insisted that such power was incident to the power vested in Congress for raising money.
The question was argued at length, and with great ardor, and after passing the House of Representatives by a majority of nineteen votes, came before the executive for his approval. Washington was fully alive to the magnitude of the question and the interest felt in it by the opposing parties. The cabinet was divided
A NATIONAL BANK.
on it. Jefferson and Randolph denied its constitutionality; Hamilton and Knox maintained it. Washington required of each minister the reasons of his opinion in writing; and, after maturely weighing them, gave his sanction to the act, and the bill was carried into effect.
The objection of Jefferson to a bank was not merely on constitutional grounds. In his subsequent writings he avows himself opposed to banks, as introducing a paper instead of a cash system-raising up a moneyed aristocracy, and abandoning the public to the discretion of avarice and swindlers. Paper money might have some advantages, but its abuses were inevitable, and by breaking up the measure of value, it made a lottery of all private property. These objections he maintained to his dying day; but he had others, which may have been more cogent with him in the present instance. He considered the bank as a powerful engine intended by Hamilton to complete the machinery by which the whole action of the legislature was to be placed under the direction of the Treasury, and shaped to further a monarchical system of government. Washington, he affirmed, was not aware of the drift or effect of Hamilton's schemes. Unversed in financial projects and calculations and budgets, his approbation of them was bottomed on his confidence in the man."
Washington, however, was not prone to be swayed in his judgments by blind partiality. When he distrusted his own knowledge in regard to any important measure, he asked the written opinions of those of his council who he thought were better informed, and examined and weighed them, and put them to the test