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An inquiry into the formation of Washington's Farewell address .. online

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He appears to have had no knowledge of any draught by
Hamilton, or of anything from Hamilton, but his corrections
and improvements of Washington's draught, the specific
character of which draught he had previously remarked,
there were no means of ascertaining. It is due to him to
state these circumstances ; because independently of them, it
will be found impossible to comprehend the process by which
he arrived at the conclusion, that the numerous alterations
in matter and style of that copy from which the Address
was printed, " were unquestionably made by Washington ;"
imless he used this language with a meaning which few
readers would apprehend from it.

It has been made perfectly clear already, that the auto-
graph copy of the Farewell Address was not made from a
copy of Washington's draught corrected and improved.
The letter of 25th August, 1796, from Washington to
Hamilton, proves that Washington selected Hamilton's
draught in preference to his own, whether in the original
or in the corrected form ; and it will be made equally clear,
that the alterations made by the autograph copy, of the an-
terior draught from which it was taken, are not " numerous
"alterations in matter or style" by Washington, in the
ordinary sense of these words, but are, to nearly the whole
extent of the change, a mere abridgment, by cancellation of
certain paragraphs of Hamilton's exemplar, from which the
autograph copy was made. The judgment of Mr. Sparks
was founded, no doubt, upon a state of the facts as they were

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then apparent to him, but most materially different from
the real state of them, as they now appear.

Other persons, as well as Mr. Sparks, have made their
suggestions in regard to the inferences which should be
made from these alterations in the autograph copy, now that
the cancelled passages have been restored and printed at the
foot of the page ; and I shall advert to one of those sugges-
tions presently, in connection with an important reference to
Mr. Jay's opinion expressed to Judge Peters.

It cannot admit of doubt, that when Washington pro-
ceeded to make that autograph copy, which was published
in the gazette, and recorded in the Department of State, he
had before him a draught of the Address, already prepared
by sarmhody. The autograph paper was not a first draught
— such a suggestion would not have a shadow of support. It
has been shown that there was a previous paper, with which
it corresponds marvellously in almost infinite points. But
what would be decisive, if nothing of the kind had been
shown, there are marks of finish, and some elaboration, in
the whole order and arrangement, and in entire pages of the
autograph copy, — ^in one place four in niunber, full and
closely printed pages, — ^where there does not appear to have
been the second touch oiP*a pen, nor an erasure or cancella-.
tion of any kind, by Washington or by anybody. Besides,
there are many long clauses, now appearing at the foot of
the pages, which, after being introduced by Washington into
the body of the copy, have been cancelled by him, with-
out having been changed, in the course of writing, by the
obliteration or interlineation of a word. The autograph has
several verbal alterations in other parts, such as a writer
might make in revising his own work, or the work of another

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122 NOT Hamilton's original draught,

man ; but in these important parts there is nothing of this
kind; and this is practically an infallible proof that the
autograph is so fer the copy of a previous draught. That
it was so throughout, before Washington began to revise
and alter it, will be made extremely probable, if not per-
fectly clear. The first inquiry is, whose and what was that
previous draught 1

It may be recollected that Hamilton sent his revision
of the amended original draught in a rough state to Wash-
ington, on the 6th September, 1796. It was received, pro-
bably, the next day, and the autograph was signed and
dated the 17th of September, nine or ten days afterwards.
It may also be recollected that Washington intended to have
it copied, or at least prepared for being copied, />r the presa^

Now, the draught that was before Washington when he
made his autograph copy, was not Hamilton's original draught.
That original draught, probably, never left Hamilton's pos-
session during his life. Though Hamilton's original draught
was the basis of the paper which he transcribed and sent
to Washington, and is also the basis of the autograph
copy, the alteration of words in many places, quite fre-
quently throughout the work — the change of paragraphs
by consolidation and division — the occasional introduction
of a new thought, and a new Une or two, in pages of the
autograph copy where there is not an interlineation or era-
sure by Washington, show that the copy from which Wash-
ington was writing, was a different paper. Whoever com-
pares the autograph copy with the original draught of
Hamilton, will be convinced of this.

The presTunption naturally arises, — and I state it at this

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time only as a presumption, — that the draught from which
Washington made his autograph copy, was Hamilton's
reciaicm. Setting aside for the moment Washington's own
alteration of words, in the autograph, which speak pretty
clearly for themselves, it was just such a draught as we
might expect Hamilton's revision to be.

The original draught, it may be recollected, bears an in-
dorsement, in Hamilton's handwriting, that it had been
" considerably amended." Words are changed, in the
manner that is shown in the two parallel columns on
page 93 of this essay, of a long clause, taken literally from
Hamilton's original draught, and the corresponding clause
taken from Washington's autograph copy, upon which the
cancelling or altering pen of Washington has not, according
to Mr. Irving's reprint, fallen in a single instance from be-
ginning to end. There are, perhaps, twenty verbal differ-
ences between the two clauses, such as a very critical writer
might make in an amendment and revision of his own com-
position ; but Washington does not appear to have made a
single one, by change or obliteration in the autograph copy;
and probably no other man than the author would have
thought it a needftd improvement to make more than a very
few of them.

In other instances, the order of a sentence or phrase is
improved, — a clause is added upon " education," — and two
or three paragraphs, which are in the original draught of
Hamilton, are left out altogether, and not noticed in any
way in the autograph copy. This is strong presimiptive
proof that it was Hamilton who left them out of his
amended copy.

Nearly a dozen paragraphs in the autograph were copied

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and then cancelled by Washington, and are now seen re-
stored at the foot of the pages in the printed copy of the
autograph. Some of these are, probably, the paragraphs
which Washington, in his letter of 25th August, told Ham-
ilton that he should expunge. "I shall expunge," — not
that he had expunged them, — as being " unimportant^^ &c.
&c. One of them is a long paragraph, so marked in the
printed copy of the autc^^ph. Hamilton had retouched
them all in Ms corrected and amended copy, or in his revU
don of the origmal draught, just as he had retouched other
paragraphs of that draught, and had left Washington to
expunge them, if he should see fit ; but Washington had
not touched a word before expunging them, but in two in-
stances, to be noticed hereafter. It looks as if Washington
had subsequently intended to retain them, but had afterwards
cancelled them, in conformity with his first intention.

All the appearances in the autograph — ^and some of them
will be ftirther corroborated — show that it was Hamilton's
revision of his amended copy of the original draught that
Washington first copied in extenso^ and then proceeded to
alter and to cancel. This, I repeat, is only presumption.
The main question will not be disturbed by its not being
well founded; though, if it be well founded, it becomes
demonstrative of the whole question.

The gentleman who is the present proprietor of the auto-
graph,. and whose remarks upon it are printed as a prefece
to the copy in Mr. Irving's work, afi;er seeing the original
draught of Hamilton, and reading certain letters between
Washington and Hamilton, in the possession of Mr. John
C. Hamilton, has expressed, with caution and modesty, the
following opinion: " It seems probable that this" — ^namely,

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the autograph copy of Washington — " is the very draught
*' sent to General Hamilton and Chief Justice Jay, as related
*' in the letter pf the latter." And again : " It appears from
** these communications," — the letters between Washington
and Hamilton, — " that the President, both in sending to him
*' a rough draught of the document, and at subsequent dates,
** requested him to prepare such an address as he thought
*' would be appropriate to the occasion ; that Washington
'' consulted him particularly and most minutely on many
*' points connected with it; and that, at different times,
** General Hamilton did forward to the President three
'' draughts of such a paper. The first was sent back to him,
" with suggestions for its correction and enlargement; from
*' the second draught, thus altered and improved, the manu-
*' script now printed may be supposed to have been prepared
" by Washington, and transmitted for final examination to
" General Hamilton and Judge Jay ; and with it the third
" draught was sent to the President, and may, probably, yet
*' be found among his papers." — The concluding remark of
this gentleman is all that we shall further extract : " The
''comparison of these two papers" — ^Hamilton's original
draught, which the writer speaks of as "probably the
** second of these draughts," compared with Washington's
autograph — " is exceedingly curious. It is difficult to con-
" ceive how two persons could express the same ideas, in
*' substantially the same language, and yet in such diversity
" in the construction of the sentences and the position of the
*' words."

I entirely agree with this gentleman in a part of these
remarks. It has been shown to be my supposition, that the
autograph copy of Washington was prepared from the

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amended or corrected copy of Hamilton's original draught,
altered and improved by his second, which I have called his
revision. The differences between the original draught and
Washington's autograph copy — ^noticed in this gentleman's
closing remark just quoted — are easily explained, upon the
theory that Washington adopted Hamilton's revision, and
not Hamilton's original draught, as the exemplar of the
autograph copy.

But I am compelled to express my dissent from the other
remarks and suggestions of the proprietor of the autograph.
The material feet, as he states it, is, in my opinion, rightly-
stated; but the history of Hamilton's agency, and the trans-
mission of the autograph copy to Hamilton and Jay, or of
any copy of the Farewell Address prepared by Washington,
after Hamilton's amended and revised copy had been sent to
him, are matters which I think this gentleman would have
regarded differently, if he had had all the letters and papers
in his own hands, for deliberate consideration and compari-
son. It is a patient and minute review of the whole of
them, side by side, including Mr. Jay's Ittter to Judge
Peters, that has obliged me to adopt the opinion, that the
supposed transmission is not only negatived by the corre-
spondence, but that it disregards the dates of the letters, the
course of the transaction as it is shown by the letters, and,
most of all, the statement of Mr. Jay himself

The first draught sent by Hamilton to Washington was
not sent back to Hamilton, " with suggestions for its correc-
tion a7id enlargement^^ Washington's letters of the 10th
and 25th of August are decisive to the contrary. Instead
of suggesting enlargement of that draught, the letter of the
10th August was only apprehensive of its being too large as

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it was; and instead of suggesting correction^ — though the
paper was sent back, at Hamilton's request, for revision, —
the letter of 25th August says that Washington " should
**have seen no occasion himself for its undergoing a re-
" vision." It says that he should expunge all that was
marked in the paper as unimportant, &c., and called atten-
tion to some marginal notes with a pencil, to obtain
Hamilton's mature consideration of the sentiments referred
to. With these very limited qualifications, the letter was a
full adoption of Hamilton's draught in all points.

It is also a misapprehension to suppose that Hamilton's
** second draught," from which " the manuscript now printed
" may be supposed to have been prepared by Washington,"
was " transmitted for final examination to General Hamilton
" and Jay."

There was no such transmission. The letters and dates
are plainly to the contrary. Time alone considered, there
was not sufficient time. The draught was sent back to
Washington, with a letter from Hamilton dated the 6th of
September, and the Farewell Address was copied with
Washington's own pen, and was signed and dated for the
gazette and for recording in the Department of State, the
17lli of September, 1796.

It must be recollected, that fifteen years after Mr. Jay had
been consulted about the corrections and emendations of " the
" President's draught," and the only time, so feir as his letter
imports, that he ever was consulted in regard to any draught
of the Farewell Address, he speaks in his letter of its having
been some time before the Address appeared ; and we know
that the Farewell Address appeared on the 19th September,
1796, in a public gazette of Philadelphia. The interval had

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impressed Mr. Jay's memory. It was long enough to have
made an impression which had lasted nearly fifteen years.
It is not conceivable that any interval whatever would have
been impressed as a distinct fact upon Mr. Jay's memory,
between the time of conference upon an autograph paper, the
exemplar of which was received by Washington on the 7th
of September at the earliest, copied with his own pen after
that, and then transmitted to Hamilton and Jay, reviewed,
corrected, and amended by Hamilton, a day fixed for an
interview with Jay to consult about it, and that subsequent
day given to the reading and approval of the emendations,
and after that review returned to Washington and more
fiilly corrected by him, before the 17 th September. Steam
speed is not equal to this. I say nothing of Mr. Jay's omit-
ting to write a word of its being an autograph of Washing-
ton, which he would have known and noticed as soon as any
one, nor of Hamilton's saying in the interview, that he had
thought it " best to write the whole over with amendments,"
&c. We cannot under such suggestions abandon Hamil-
ton's letter of 10th August.

But further: from the 6th of September, there was no
letter from Washington to Hamilton, but one of the same
date, which requested Hamilton to send the paper by Mr.
Kip, if not sent before, until the 2d November, six weeks
after the Farewell Address had been printed.* Mr. Jay's

• It is in this letter of 2d November, 1796, from Washington to Hamilton, a letter of
three pages, referring to the case of the minister of France, Adet, and asking Hamil*
ton's opinion on the course the Grovernment should take in regard to him, that Wash-
ington thus speaks of his unrestrained confidence and freedom of correspondence with
Hamilton : " As I have a very high opinion of Mr. Jay's judgment, candor, honor, and
" discretion (though I am not in the habit of writing so freely to him as to you), it would

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privity with the subject began and ended in the one inter-
Tiew, of which the result was sent to Washington on the
10th August. The supposition that the autograph ever
came back to Hamilton, either individually or for joint con-
sultation and alteration by Hamilton and Jay, is therefore
not only without authority from the correspondence, but is
in direct opposition to it, as well as ta Mr. Jay's letter to
Judge Peters.

But the decisive consideration against the transmission of
an autograph copy, or any other prepared copy, of the Fare-
ivell Address* to Hamilton and Jay for correction, and the
return of such copy corrected for the final Farewell Address,
is this. There was but one interview between Jay and
Hamilton on this subject — one interview, after the time for
it was previously arranged between them. Mr. Jay's letter
to Judge Peters mentions that, and no other, interview.
The proceedings at that interview are detailed by Mr. Jay
with great distinctness, both what was said and what was
done. The result of the interview is given with equal dis-
tinctness: it was the reading and approving of a paper
containing amendments of "the President's draught," as
Mr. Jay calls it, of which the original was left feir ; and the
amendments were so made, or arranged, that Washington
would perceive by inspection where they would find their
proper places in that draught. Now, let it be remarked,
such a correction of Washington's draught existed in ori-

** be very pleasing to me, if you would show him this letter (although it is a hurried
** one, my time having been much occupied since my arrival by the heads of departs
" ments, and with the papers which have been laid before me), and let me have foB
" consideration your joint opinions on the several matters herein stated." — HamHUm't
WarJcM, vol. vi, p. 159.


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180 Hamilton's cobbbotiohs of washinoton's dbaught.

ginal at Washington's death, and was found among Wasb*
ington's papen. It is the same which Hamilton returned
to Washington, on the 10th August, 1796. A copy of it is
in the possession of Mr. Sparks. I have seen and read a
copy of Mr. Sparks's copy.* It is suffident to say, that it

* A few days aAer this eaMy was put to press, and a part of it printed, I was favored
by Mr. John C. Hamilton with a copy of the paper containing Hamilton's corrections of
Washington's draught, received by him from Mr. Sparks ; the paper alluded to in Ham-
ilton's letter to Wastiiogton, dated 10th August, 1796. It is a paper of thirteen manu-
script pages, foolscap, sparsely written on one side of each leaf; and, except on the
first page, written in two columns. The beginning of it is obviotTily intended to be a
substitute for the beginning of Washinf^n's original draught of an Address, and modi-
fies it to some extent. After completing the correction of this part, there follows, in
the right hand column of the secc^d page, this line, as the beginning of a new para-
graph: **The period, &C. (take in the whole Address.)" The words "The period,''
are the initial words of Mr. Madison's draught. See Washington's Works, vol. xii, page
387. The words of the line between parentheses, are therefore a direction to go on
with the whole of Mr. Madison's draught.

The copy then proceeds, in the subsequent pages, to arrange, modify, and add to the
thoughts expressed in the paper entitled by Mr. Sparks, ** Hints, or Heads of Topics,'*
beginning with the following paragraph, written by Hamilton : " Had not particular
** occurrences intervened to exhibit our political situation, in some respects, under hew
*< attitudes, I should have thought it unnecessary to add anything to what precedes," &c.
This supplies the first sentence of the ** Hints, or Heads of Topics," which is as follows :
" Had the situation of our public affairs continued to wear the same aspect they assumed
** at the time the foregoing Address was drawn, I should not have taken the liberty of
•* troubling you, my fellow-citizens, with any new sentiment," &c. j and, after this first
paragraph closes, there is an asterisk, directing the reader to the top of the adjacent
column, on the left hand side, where Hamilton immediately introduces the subject of
the Union, (the last but one of Washington's wishes or vows in the* Heads, or Hints of
" Topics,") in these words : " Let me, then, conjure you, fellow-citizens, btill more ear-
" nestly than I have done, to hold fast to that Union which constitutes you one people j"
and he goes on through the following pages to page 8 of the manuscript, with an orderly
notice of other parts of the " Hints, or Heads of Topics," very much after the manner
of his original draught, introducing on page 8, opposite to a paragraph in regard to the
spirit of party, the following line, written lengthwise on the right hand margin : ** This
"is not in the first — maybe interwoven;" the first referring, no doubt, to Hamilton's
original and amended draught, already sent on. And then the paper proceeds %o the

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is a correction or emendation of Washington's original or
preparatory draught, and no more ; and in plan, and con-

^d of the amendments and of the paper itself in the same manner, closing with these
-words : ** The nation which indulges against another habitual hatred, or for another
** habitual fondness, is in some degree a slave. It is," &c. Immediately below which
is this direction : " To the end, as in the former." At the top of the left hand column
of this last page (13), and opposite to the concluding paragraph, of which I have given
the closing lines, are these words : " Varied from the first I sent, and I think for the
" better. If the first be preserved (? preferred), 'tis easy to incorporate this."

By recurring to Hamilton's original draught, in his Works, vol. vii, page 589, it will
readily be perceived, that the direction " to the end, as in the former," refers to the
middle of the second paragraph on that page, where these words occur : ^ That nation
•* which indulges towards another an habitual hatred, or an habitual fondness, is in some
•* de|;ree a slave. . . It is a slave to its animosity," &c. Hamilton's direction, therefore,
is to go on to the end of that paragraph, in the copy of his original and amended
draught, sent on the 30th July ; perhaps, also, to the end of Washington's Conclusion,

There is no further clause or direction on my copy of the paper, nor was there, I
presume, on the original. We may suppose, therefore, perhaps, that the corrections,
having supplied the place of Mr. Sparks's " Hints^ or Heads of Topics," Washington's
Oonelution, as I have called it, was to be followed to the end, after the paragraph
referred to in his own draught first sent.

This character of the paper I possess, which I think is here accurately described,
though it substantially accords with Mr. Jay's account of it, makes it difficult to believe
that at least parts of the ^* President's draught" were not read at that interview from
the very paper itself; for in the copy there are but two words written of Mr. Madison's
draught, nor yet any part of Washington's Conclusion, There is not even an express
direction at the end, to include that Conclusion. But as the subjects contained in the
" Hints, or Heads of Topics" had been corrected and amended by Hamilton, as far as
he intended, and as his own correcting paper did not supply any conclusion at all, the
fopner direction to go on " to the end, as in the former," may have comprehended the
Conclusion of Washington's paper, as well as the remainder of the paragraph in his
draught first sent

It would seem to follow, that the lapse of time had in some degree impaired Mr.
Jay's recollections of the interview. Parts of Washington's draught must have been
read from the paper. Neither Madison's draught nor Washington's Conclusion appears
in my copy. The paper, moreover, is not a transcript, as Mr. Sparks calls it, but Wash-
ington's paper ** corrected upon the general plan of it," as Hamilton's letter of 25th
June said it would be, with marks and references to show how the corrections or
amendments should be incorporated.

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132 Washington's original draught, the onlt paper

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Online LibraryHorace BinneyAn inquiry into the formation of Washington's Farewell address .. → online text (page 10 of 20)