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

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spicuously in extent or volume, is a totally different paper
from the Farewell Address, from Hamilton's original
draught, and from Washington's autograph copy, in either
stage of it, with or without the cancelled passages. But it im
certain, at the same time, that Hamilton's corrections, in
several particulars, followed the sentiments and language
of his original draught, with or without such variations as
he introduced into his amended copy, which he sent to
Washington on the 30th July, 1796, — the corrections of
Washington's draught having been begun and being under
way before he sent his amended copy to Washington.

It follows necessarily, from these premises, that the auto-
graph copy was not sent to Hamilton and Jay, and that they
had no interview to correct it, and that they did not correct
it ; and, if we may imply a negative from the full affirmative
evidence we possess, that neither Jay nor Hamilton ever
saw it. The paper which was read and approved in that
interview, and sent back, was Washington's original draught,
and not Hamilton's original draught, nor Hamilton's revi-
sion of that draught, nor Washington's autograph copy of
the Farewell Address, nor anything else but Washington's
original or preparatory draught amended, the same which
was sent to Washington on the 10th of August. The paper
thus sent to Washington was not the subject of a single
remark by him afterwards, except in his letter of 25th
August, when he inclosed to Hamilton, at his own request,
the amended copy of Hamilton's original draught, and said,
" I have given the paper herewith inclosed several serious
" and attentive readings, and prefer it greatly to the other
" draughtSj^^ — ^which other draughts were two only, Wash-
ington's original or preparatory draught, " left fair," as Mr.

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Jay says, and the emendations of it by Hamilton, which had
been read by Hamilton to Jay. The supposition, therefore,
that Hamilton and Jay, or Hamilton with Ja/s assistance,
made, by amendment or otherwise, a third draught, after
Washington had sent forward his autograph copy, or a pre-
pared copy, of the Farewell Address, for correction, con-
founds both dates and facts, and puts all the letters of
Washington and Hamilton, and Mr. Jay's letter to Judge
Peters, just as much as the others, completely out of joint.
Of course, a hasty or current perusal of Hamilton's letters
and original draught might have led to the same impression
in anybody, which the Preface to the copy of the autograph
in Mr. Irving's work expresses ; but the possession of those
letters for the requisite time in my hands, has enabled me
to look with great care into the whole series, and to get, I
think, the true bearing of all.

It may be very safely predicted that such a third draught
as the Preface in Mr. Irving's Appendix postulates, will
never be found, since no one of the letters I have referred
to, recognizes it as having existed, and, on the contrary, the
very connected story they tell implies, necessarily, that it
never did exist. That Hamilton's revision^ from which I
have supposed that Washington copied his autograph in
extenso in the first instance, before he altered any part of it, —
the same which the Prefece in Mr. Irving's Appendix calls
Hamilton's second draughty — will never be found, is another
matter. There can be no doubt that Washington, according
to his uniform habit, of which the traces are strong in regard
to the papers concerning the Farewell Address, did preserve
it up to the time of his death. In all probability, it will
not be found, if there has been anything illicit in its disap-

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pearance. If it shall be found, it will supersede this con-
jecture as to the immediate exemplar of the autograph copy;
but there is quite enough in the original draught of Ham-
ilton, compared with the autograph copy, to convert all the
conjectures, which the recovery of that revision would
supersede, into most reasonable certainty at the present

I assume, therefore, as reasonably well proved, that Wash-
ington wrote that autograph copy from the revision by Ham-
ilton of his original draught, amended or corrected, which
was sent to Washington on the 6th of September ; and that
Washington copied the whole of that revision in extenso, as
it was obviously his intention to do, when he wrote his letter
to Hamilton of the 25th of August ; and that afterwards he
cancelled and altered, as the cancelled passages and altered
words, now restored by Mr. Lenox, or by his direction, will
show. This, I repeat, is mere hypothesis; but the appear-
ances wiU be found to sustain it strongly ; and if they do not,
the main question will stand as it did before the suggestion
was made.

There are one or two facts or appearances noticed by the
proprietor of the autograph copy, which seem to cross this
theory of a complete transfer of the revision into that copy
in the first instance, before parts were cancelled. But, per-
haps, for want of access to the original of the printed copy,
they do not appear to me to be decisive ; and there are also
several facts or appearances which seem to be irreconcilable
with any other hypothesis, or with the actual condition of
the autograph copy, as the printed copy from it shows it to
be. I will consider the appearances or facts of each descrip-

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There is notiiing decisive in the fact which is noticed by
the pioprietor of the autograph copy, that some of " the altera-
" tiona were evidently made dunng the writing of th^ paper ^^
as " in these instances, a part and even the whole of a
" sentence is struck out, which afterwards occurs in the body
"of the Address."

These changes are certainly few and partial, and they may
have been made in the course of the writing, without con-
ducing materially to the proof that this was generally the
case with the other alterations.

The only instances of this nature which I have discovered,
though there may be others, are two, one on page 359 in
Mr. Irving's Appendix, and the other on page 360. The
last will be noticed in another place. On page 359, two
lines are transferred from an earlier part of a sentence to the
aid of a paragraph, which is the end of the same sentence.
It would probably require close inspection of the autograph
to determine that this change had been made " during the
" writing of the paper," and not afterwards. I do not mean
to question the fact, for I have not examined the autograph
in reference to this point ; but little if any more space would
have been necessary for the insertion of the two hues can-
celled, than is commonly left between paragraphs.

But supposing that in this, and in the other instance to be
noticed presently, Washington did transpose parts of a para-
graph " in the course of writing," and even cancel a short
paragraph, and write another leaving out a line or two of the
first, there is strong coimtervaiUng evidence against this as
being the general course.

There are ten clauses in small type at the foot of the pages
in Mr. Irving's Appendix which, by the Preface, are indi-

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cated as having been " struck out," I presume cancelled, in
the body of the autograph, and now restored by careM
examination, and placed at the bottom of the respective

One of these clauses on pages 362, 363, contains nineteen
lines and a fraction in the small type. Another of them on
pages 366, 367, contains nearly fifteen lines. A third on
page 363, contains nearly eleven Unes ; and the aggregate of
all the lines of the clauses referred to as having been so
struck out, and now restored and placed at foot, is a large
firaction of a line more than sixty lines. All these lines
were written in the body of the autograph, and then struck
out or cancelled. If they had been printed in the Appendix
in the same type with the body of the Address, they would
have filled three full pages of it, or nearly one-fifth of the
whole Address, as it now stands in Mr. Irving's Appendix.
Of course, I do not mean to be understood as speaking with
technical accuracy, for I have not asked the opinion of a
printer in regard to this fact. It cannot be supposed, I
think, that such masses as these were first written, and then
cancelled in the course of the writing.

There are two other clauses of like description in pages
361, 366, which might be added to the ten, but I distinguish
them to make a subsequent remark of my own more intel-

The natural and most probable, if not certain course, of
Washington, if it is regarded in the Ught of these clauses,
was to write over the whole draught he was copying, includ-
ing all of the clauses referred to, and then to go back and
alter words, or strike out paragraphs, as he should think fit.
To write out, and then to cancel, every part of these twelve

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paragraphs, " in the course of writing/' or " during the wri-
ting," is a much less reasonable supposition.

One striking fact in regard to all the clauses at the foot
of the pages, is, that but one of them bears a trace of verbal
alteration by Washington ; which is less than the most facile
and felicitous writer must have made in the first draught
of such long paragraphs. This only exception is on page
366 of Mr. Irving's Appendix, where amstituium is substi-
tuted for order^ and adherents for retainers. There must, I
think, have been some intention of Washington to retain
these paragraphs at the time these words were changed. The
rest must all have been fairly transcribed by Washington
into his autograph Address from the exemplar that was
before him. It can be shown demonstrably that Washington
did not compose any of the ten clauses referred to; and
therefore, if the supposition of his having made the cancella-
tion " during the writing," is suggested to give a more usual
appearance of authorship in Washington, it is of no avail ;
for, except in a few of the rather self-justifying thoughts,
Washington's authorship is not there, wherever else it may
be. It was his further consideration of these thoughts that
probably induced him to cancel more than one of these para-
graphs ; and the rest, only because they added to the length
of the Address.

Another fact equally worthy of notice, is, that when the
ten clauses first referred to were written and then struck
out, nothing was substituted in their place, except in two
instances, one on page 369, and the other on page 375. On
page 369, a clause which was written on a separate piece of
paper, is wafered on or over the passage that had been written
in the autograph copy egid then cancelled, and is now printed

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at foot. That wafered paper bears a clause which Wash-
ington, by his letter of September 1st, requested Hamilton
to introduce into his revision in regard to education gene-
rally, in connection with the subject of a university parti-
cularly ; and suggested that a section comprehending both
subjects *' would come in very properly after the one whidi
" relates to our reUgious obligations ; or, in a preceding part,
" as one of the recommendatory measures to counteract the
^' evils arising from geographical discriminations." Hamil-
ton, in his reply of September 4th, said, that " the idea of
" the university" would be most properly reserved for Wash-
ington's speech at the beginning of the session. " A general
" suggestion," he said, " respecting education will very fitly
" come into the Address." He introduced it, no doubt, in
his revision, in the very place which Washington first pointed
out, " after the clause which relates to ourceligious obliga-
" tions ;" and there Washington has wafered it over a
clause in recommendation of industry and frugality, which
had been cancelled by him, and is now found at the foot of
the printed page in Mr. Irving's Appendix. As Washington
was specially concerned in this education clause, and could
not have intended to omit it, the natural explanation of the
wafered paper is, that in copying the revision into his auto-
graph, perhaps from the education dause being written in
the margin of Hamilton's rough revision, and only referred
to by a mark of some kind in the place where it was to go,
Washington overlooked the clause in copying, and had left
no place in his copy-book for it, except by wafering it over
a very good and rather necessary paragraph on the subject
of industry and economy.

This little feet is very significant in regard to the manner

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of copying the Address. The clause upon education was of
great importance in Washington's estimation ; so much so,
as to have been asked for by a special ccanmunication to
Hamilton ; and it was to be the precursor of a recommenda-
tion to Congress at its approaching session, to establish a
national university. It must of necessity therefore appear
in some proper place in the Address. It could not be omit-
ted. It is not possible that Washington could have had any
objection to the paragraph upon the subject of industry and
frugality. Habits of this nature were not only of great
importance to the people, but they were his own habits, ob-
served by himself with due reference to his own station and
fortune, and inculcated upon all his family and dependants.
But more than this, it was a paragraph necessary to complete
Hamilton's view of the moral virtues to be inculcated, after
having given the first place to religion and morality in their
more solemn acceptation. His abstract announced " industry
" and economy," along with " religion and morals," as matters
upon which the draught was further to dilate ; and so he
introduced the notice in his original draught, and kept it in
the revision. Why was so good a paragraph obliterated, by
wafering over it the clause upon education 1

There is a little contrivance in some printing offices and
factories which consume much water, by which it is shown
when the supply pump has filled the cistern. It i& a float on
the water, and is sometimes called a telltale : for when it
shows itself above the top of the cistern, it is seen to bear a
label in pretty large letters, " Stop the pump." The wafered
clause over the paragraph on industry and economy, is a tell-
tale. It says that the copy-book was full, and that there was
no place to put it in where Washington had suggested it ought

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to go, but by wafering it over the not so indispensably ne-
cessary clause in regard to industry and economy ; and yet
this clause was eight pages distant from the close of the Ad-
dress. This is not demonstration, certainly, that the whole
copy was made before the cancellations were begun, but it is
an inducement or persuasion to that opinion.

But much better than these remarks to show that Wash-
ington did make that autograph copy from the revision before
he altered it, is the existence of a previous draught which it
closely follows in paragraphs, subjects, language, and above
all in the order of place or position of every part ; which
previous draught was amended and revised by its author be-
fore the autograph was made, and was so written, at Wash-
ington's instance, as to be readily followed in a copy for the
press, and which revision was in Washington's hands before
the autograph was begun, and was intended to revise the
previous amended draught, — not to alter its substance or
order, nor to add to it in any known particular, except that
which the wafered paper on education exhibits. More than
finite probabilities, as we have suggested, show that the ex-
emplar was in that paper, — the revision^ and that this was
the model from which the autograph was first written in ea-
tensoj and then altered as far as it was altered. We can,
however, confirm and add to these probabilities, by con-
sidering the character of Washington's alterations of the
autograph copy.

The ten clauses referred to, amounting together to sixty
lines and a fraction more, which have been restored since can-
cellation, and are now placed at the foot of the pages in the
Appendix, are one and all of them, in point of origin, derived
from Hamilton's original dratight, each one of them having

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been altered verbally, and not otherwise, by Hamilton's
amended copy, or revision, as we have a right to infer,
because the touch of Washington's pen does not appear upon
them, except in the two words on page 366, before referred
to. All these clauses, after being carried into the autograph
copy, were cancelled in the places where Hamilton's original
draught had placed them, the preceding and succeeding para-
graphs not being cancelled, but remaining in that autograph
copy precisely as they do in Hamilton's draught. It maybe
said of all the clauses which were cancelled by Washington,
that they are not surpassed in trut^ or pertinency by perhaps
any which were not cancelled. Some of them were founded
upon express suggestion by Washington in his preparatory
draught ; and the most probable motive for cancelling any
of them, — such of them at least as gave no offence to his
modesty, — ^was to abridge the length of the Address. The
cancellation of one of them appears to have been a necessity,
through oversight, because his copy-book was already full,
and there was no space left for the education clause. He was
therefore compelled to wafer it over the clause upon frugality
and economy, which Washington would hardly have yielded
to anything but to the clause upon which he had specially
instructed Hamilton. The cancelled and restored para-
graphs, which were derived in point of origin from Ham-
ilton's original draught, may be seen in the reprint of the
autograph copy, in the Appendix to this Inquiry, where the
margin opposite to each paragraph respectively, refers to the
page of Hamilton's original draught in the same Appendix,
where the clause of origin will be found inclosed within

I present in this place, as an illustration, one of the longest

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clauses which were so cancelled in the autograph copy, and

is now restored, and placed at the foot of the reprint, in

Mr. Irving's work, in pages 362, 363, together with the
corresponding clause in Hamilton's original draught.



Besides the more serious causes al- Besides the more serious causes which
ready hinted as threatening our Union, have been hinted at, as endangering
there is one less dangerous, but suffi- our Union, there is another less dan-
ciently dangerous to make it prudent to gerous, but against which it is necessary
be upon our guard against it. I aljude to be on our guard : I mean the petu-
to the petulance of party differences of lance of party differences of opinion,
opinion. It is not uncommon to hear It is not uncommon to hear the irrita-
the irritations which these excite vent tions which these excite vent themselves
themselves in declarations that the dif- in declarations that the different parts of
ferent parts of the United States are ill- the Union are ill-assorted, and cannot
affected to each other, in menaces that remain together — ^in menaces from the
the Union will be dissolved by this or inhabitants of one part to those of ano-
that measure. Intimations like these ther, that it will be dissolved by this or
are as indiscreet as they are intempe- that measure. Intimations of the kind
rate. Though frequently made with le- are as indiscreet as they are intempe-
vity, and without any really evil inten- rate. Though frequently made with lo-
tion, they have a tendency to produce vity, and without being in earnest, they
the consequences which they indicate, have a tendency to produce the con-
They teach the minds of men to consider sequence which they indicate. Thej
the Union as precarious ; — as an object teach the minds of men to consider the
to which they ought not to attach their Union as precarious, as an object to
hopes and fortunes ; — and thus chill the which they are not to attach their hopes
sentiment in its favor. By alarming the and fortunes, and thus weaken the sen-
pride of those to whom they are ad- timent in its &vor. By rousing the
dressed, they set ingenuity at work to resentment, and alarming the pride of
depreciate the value of the thing, and to those to whom they are addressed, they
discover reasons of indifference towards set ingenuity to work to depreciate the
it. This is not wise. It will be much value of the object, and to discov^
wiser to habituate ourselves to reverence motives of indifference to it. This is
the Union as the palladium of our na- not wise. Prudence demands that we
tional happiness; to accommodate our should habituate ourselves in all onr

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words and actions to that idea, and to words and actions to reverence the
discountenance whatever may suggest a Union as a sacred and inviolable pal-
suspicion that it can in any event be ladium of our happiness; and should
abandoned. — Irving's Washington, vol. discountenance whatever can lead to a
V, p. 362. suspicion that it can in any event be

abandoned. — Hamilton's Works, vol. vii,

p. 581.

These altogether verbal differences are such as a writer
might make in his own composition when amending or re-
vising it ; and the greater part of them at least are such as no
one but the author would think of. If this paragraph has
been accurately restored at the foot of the reprint of the
autograph copy in Mr. Irving's Appendix, Washington's pen
has not altered a word of it before he cancelled it.

I might add to the ten clauses referred to, another clause,
the last which Washington cancelled, and which has been
restored and placed at the foot of pages 376, 377. It stood
the last in the Farewell Address until it was cancelled, and
was the very last in Hamilton's original draught ; but Wash-
ington prepared the last clause now standing in the Farewell
Address, from the first cancelled clause from Hamilton's
revision, which may be found at the foot of page 357 of Mr.
Irving's Appendix.

The two other clauses which I distinguished from the ten,
to make my remark concerning them more intelligible, are
to be found, the first of them at the foot of page 360. That
clause which, for the reasons already given, I infer to have been
taken from Hamilton's revision, is not merely a verbal altera-
tion of the corresponding clause in Hamilton's original
draught, but is a reconstruction of a clause of that draught,
in the same relative place, first commenced by Hamilton in
his amended copy sent to Washington the 30th July, placed

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probably in the same state in his correction of Washington's
. draught sent to him the 10th August, and further enlarged
in his revision sent the 6th September. Washington has
struck Hamilton's revised clause from the end of a paragraph,
and has put in its place a clause almost identical with it,
omitting but a single line. This is the second of the in-
stances, so far as I have discovered, which bear upon the
inquiry suggested by the Preface to the autograph copy in
Mr. Irving's work, whether Washington made the altera-
tions in his autograph "during the writing" or after the
entire copy was made. To show the extent of the change,
the clause in Hamilton's original draught, enlarged in Ham-
ilton's correction of Washington's draught, and still further
extended in what I infer to be Hamilton's revision, and the
clause as it stands in the Farewell Address, are here pre-
sented in parallel columns.


original draught akd

correction of washing- reyision. farewell address,

ton's draught.

that 70a would cherish to- that yoa shoald cherish to- that yon shonld cherish a
wards it an affectionate wards it a cordial and im- cordial, habitual, and inl-
and inviolable attachment, movable attachment ; that movable attachment to it,
and that you should watch you should accustom your- accustoming yourselves to
for its preservation with selves to reverence it as the think and speak of it as the

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Online LibraryHorace BinneyAn inquiry into the formation of Washington's Farewell address .. → online text (page 11 of 20)