National Archives at Philadelphia

Indictment of Daniel Hamilton

This document is the indictment charging Daniel Hamilton of Washington County, PA, with treason due to his participation in an armed insurrection at St. Clair, PA, in 1794. In response to the 1791 excise tax on distilled spirits, hundreds of western Pennsylvania farmers, primarily from the counties of Allegheny, Greene, Fayette, Washington, and Westmoreland, banded together to oppose the collection of the tax on their most important commodity, whiskey. 

The Whiskey Rebellion lasted through 1794 and was an important test of the federal government’s power in the face of grass-roots resistance. The Whiskey Rebels’ tactics included sending threatening messages to tax collectors in the form of legal notices, attacking government agents attempting to serve warrants, and employing tar and feathering to intimidate others wishing to enforce the tax. Eventually, George Washington led an army of 10,000 troops to suppress the insurgency; however, the rebels never engaged Washington’s army and around 20 individuals were arrested and tried for treason. While not all the court papers survived, several of the cases that were tried in the District of Pennsylvania are held by the National Archives at Philadelphia. Despite being indicted, only Hamilton was convicted, but later pardoned by President Washington.

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Indictment of Daniel Hamilton, dated 1794. National Archives Identifier: 352356400

View and download the Indictment of Daniel Hamilton on the National Archives Catalog. You can explore more records held in the National Archives at Philadelphia through the National Archives Catalog or by visiting the National Archives at Philadelphia. These records are located in Record Group 21: Records of the District Court of the United States, Series: Criminal Case Files.