To THE LONG list of Federalist measures and policies which produced adverse reactions and group divisions in Pennsylvania, one other should be added before turning to the Republican victory of 1799. This was a Federal tax law. The State's citizens, especially those in the western area, had already exhibited acute sensitivity in regard to levies in 1794, and now five years later riotous proceedings were to greet another tax. Although the Alien and Sedition Acts were resented because of their infringement of freedom of expression, they caused no organized violence. Writers and speakers were intimidated and some were arrested, but no one resorted to force. An attack on the purse was a different matter altogether, and to it some Pennsylvania citizens reacted in a series of disturbances known collectively, if somewhat grandiosely, as Fries' Rebellion.
While Congress was rushing through its belligerent anti-French legislation in the summer of 1798, it also made financial provision for a war which many, including Adams himself, thought imminent. 1 This hurried preparation took the form of two acts passed during the month of July, 1798. The first, passed on the ninth provided for the valuation of lands, dwelling houses and the enumeration of slaves. 2 For purposes of administration, commissioners were to be appointed to separate the states into districts and select assessors whose duty it was to collect enumeration lists. These lists were to "specify, in respect to dwelling houses, their situation, their dimensions or area, their number of stories, the number and dimensions of their windows" and the materials of which they were built. 3 The required enumeration of windows, incidentally, gave the assessment a popular name, the "window tax."
Toward this tax, the Pennsylvanians in the House took a favorable attitude, at least a majority of them voted for its final passage on June 13, 1798, by seven to two. In a non-partisan division, David Bard, Albert Gallatin, Andrew Gregg, John Hanna, John W. Kittera, Samuel Sitgreaves and Richard Thomas favored its passage, while only Joseph Hiester and Blair McClenachan disapproved. 4 Hiester, from Berks Luzerne, and Sitgreaves, who with John Chapman represented the