Horace Binney.

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

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many honors conferred on him — the steady confidence which, even
amidst discouraging scenes and efforts to poison its source, has ad-
hered to support him, and enabled him to be useful — ^marking, if
well placed, the virtue and wisdom of his countrymen. All the
return he can now make must be in the vows he will carry with him
to "his retirement : Ist, for a continuance of the Divine beneficence
to his country ; 2d, for the perpetuity of their union and brotherly
affection — ^for a good administration insured by a happy union of
watchfulness and confidence ; Sd, that happiness of people under
auspices of liberty may be complete ; 4th, that by a prudent use of
the blessing they may recommend to the affection, the praise, and
the adoption, of every nation yet a stranger to it.

X. Perhaps here he ought to end. But an unconquerable solici-
tude for the happiness of his country will not permit him to leave
the scene without availing himself of whatever confidence may
remain in him, to strengthen some sentiments which he believes to
be essential to their happiness, and to recommend some rules of con-
duct, the importance of which his own experience has more than
ever impressed upon him.

XI. To consider the Union as the rock of their salvation, pre-
senting summarily these ideas :

Safety* peM«»
•ad lilMrty and

1. The strength and greater security from external danger.

2. Internal peace, and avoiding the necessity of establishments

dangerous to liberty.

3. Avoidi the effects of foreign intrigue.

4. Breaks the force of faction by rendering combinations more


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Fitness of the parts for each other by their very discrimina-
tions :

1. The North, by its capacity for maritime strength and manu-

2. The agricultural South furnishing materials and requiring
those protections.

The Atlantic board to the western country by the strong interest
of peace, and

The Western, by the necessity of Atlantic maritime protection.

Cannot be secure of their great outlet otherwise— cannot trust a
foreign connection.

Solid interests invite to union. Speculation of difficulty of
government ought not to be indulged, nor momentary jealousies —
lead to impatience.

Faction and individual ambition are the only advisers of disunion.

Let confidence be cherished. Let the recent experience of the
West be a lesson against impatience and distrust.

XII. Cherish the actual government. It is the government of
our own choice, free in its principles, the guardian of our common
rights, the patron of our common interests, and containing within
itself a provision for its own amendment.

But let that provision be cautiously used — ^not abused ; changing
only in any material points as experience shall direct ; neither in-
dulging speculations of too much or too little force in the system ;
and remembering always the extent of our country.

Time and habit of great consequence to every government, of
whatever structure.

Discourage the spirit of faction, the bane of free government ;
and particularly avoid founding it on geographical discriminations.
Discountenance slander of public men. Let the departments of
government avoid interfering and mutual encroachment.

XIII. Morals, religion, industry, commerce, economy.
Cherish public credit — source of strength and security.
Adherence to systematic views.

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XrV. Cherish good faith, justice, and peace, with other nations :

1. Because religion and morality dictate it.

2. Because policy dictates it.

If these could exist, a nation invariably honest and faithful, the
benefits would be immense.

But avoid national antipathies or national attachments.

Dtiplay the eviU; fertile source of wars — ^instrument of ambitious

XV. Republics peculiarly exposed to foreign intrigue, those sen-
timents lay them open to it.

XVI. The great rule of our foreign politics ought to be to have
as little political connection as possible with foreign nations.

Cultivating commerce with all by gentle and
^^nt^t^^^^m- natural means, diffusing and diversifying it,
r.'^n'L'tJStrL'i:; \>^t forcing mthing-find cherish the sentiment
the!r commerce; how to enp- ^f independence, taking pride in the appella-

port them, not Meking/atorf. . .

tion of American.

XVII. Our separation from Europe renders standing alliances
inexpedient — subjecting our peace and interest to the primary and
complicated relations of European interests.

Keeping constantly in view to place ourselves upon a respect-
able defensive^ and if forced into controversy, trusting to con-
nections of the occasion.

XVIII. Our attitude imposing and rendering this policy safe.
But this must be with the exception of existing engagements, to

be preserved but not extended.

XIX. It is not expected that these admonitions can control the
course of the human passions, but if they only moderate them in
some instances, and now and then excite the reflections of virtuous
men heated by party spirit, my endeavor is rewarded.

XX. How far, in the administration of my present office my con-
duct has conformed to these principles, the public records must
witness. My conscience assures me that I believed myself to be
guided by them.

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XXI. Particularly in relation to the present war, the proclama-
tion of the 22d of April, 1793, is the key to my plan.
Touch wntimento Approvcd by youT voicc and that of your represent-

with regftrd to ,

conduct of bei- ativcs in Congress, the spirit of that measure has con-
A*"*^'~^h^ tinually guided me, uninfluenced by, and regardless of,
fabiLh s^ ^ *^^ complaints and attempts of any of the powers at
ernment. yf^kT OY their partisans to change them.

I thought our country had a right under all the cir-
Tim««wrything. oumstaucos to take this ground, and I was resolved as
far as depended on me to maintain it firmly.

XXn. However, in reviewing the course of my administration,
I may be unconscious of intentional errors, I am too sensible of my
own deficiencies not to believe that I may have fallen into many.
I deprecate the evils to which they may tend, and pray Heaven to
avert or mitigate and abridge them. I carry with me, nevertheless,
the hope that my motives will continue to be viewed with indulgence,
that after forty-five years of my life devoted to public service, with
a good zeal and upright views, the faults of deficient abilities will
be consigned to oblivion, and myself must soon be to the mansions
of rest.

XXIII. Neither interest nor ambition has been my impelling
motive. I never abused the power confided to me — I have not bet-
tered my fortune, retiring with it, no otherwise improved than by
the influence on property of the common blessings of my country : —
I retire with undefiled hands and an uncorrupted heart, and with
ardent vows for the welfare of that country, which has been the
native soil of myself and my ancestors ior four generations.

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No. m.

Hamilton's Works, Vol. VII, p. 676.

[Memorandum. — The clauses in this reprint which are inclosed by
brackets, with an exception of four words in the 26th paragraph,
that are bracketed in Hamilton's works, show the origin of the
cancelled passages in Washington's autograph copy of the Farewell
Address. The original of this draught is indorsed by Hamilton,
"Copy of the original draught considerably amended.*''}

August, 1796.

The period for a new election of a citizen to administer the execu-
tive government of the United States, being not very distant, and
the time actually arrived when your thoughts must be employed in
designating the person who is to be clothed with that important
trust for another term, it appears to me proper, and especially as it
may conduce to a more distinct expression of the public voice, that
I should now apprise you of the resolution I have formed to decline
being considered among the number of those out of whom a choice
is to be made.

I beg you, nevertheless,t to be assured that the resolution which
I annoimce, has not been taken without a strict regard to all the
considerations attached toj the relation which, as a dutiful citizen,
I bear§ to my|| country, and that in withdrawing the tender of my
service, which silence in my situation might imply, I am influenced
by no diminution of zeal for its future interest, nor by any deficiency

♦ This is a copy of the original draught in Hamilton's autograph. The notes
embrace the final alterations in thii draught, but there are many previous erasures
which can only be given in a fac-simile. — Ed.

f at the same time. J connected with — inseparable from — incident to.

§ bears. | his.

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of grateful B^spect for its past kindness, but by a full conviction
that such a step is compatible with both.

The acceptance of, and the continuance hitherto in the office to
which your suffrages have twice called me, has been a uniform sacri-
fice of private inclination to* the opinion of public duty coinciding
with what appeared to be your wishes. I had constantly hoped that
it would have been much earlier in my power, consistently with
motives which I was not at liberty to disregard, to return to that
retirement from which thosef motives had reluctantly drawn me.

The strength of my desire to withdraw previous to the last elec-
tion, had even led to the preparation of an address to declare it to
you, but deliberate^ reflection on the very critical and perplexed
posture of our affairs with foreign nations, and the unanimous advice
of men§ every way entitled to my confidence, obliged|| me to aban-
don the idea.

I rejoice that the state of your national concerns, external as well
as internal, no longer renders the pursuit of my inclination incom-
patible with the sentiment of duty or propriety, andf that whatever
partiality any portion of you may still retain for my services, they,
under the existing circumstances of our country, will not disapprove
the** resolutionft I have formed.

The impressions under which I first accepted the arduous trust of
Chief Magistrate of the United States, were explained on the proper
occasion. In the discharge of this trust, I can only say that I have,
with pure intentions, contributed towards the organization and ad-
ministration of the government the best exertions of which a very
fallible judgment was capable ; that conscious at JJ the outset of the
inferiority of my qualifications for the station, experience in my
own eyes, and perhaps still more in those of others, has not dimi-

j: mature.
IT whatever.

* combined with ai deference for.


2 persons.

1 impelled.


f f to retire.

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nished in me the diffidence of myself — and every day tbe increasing
weight of years admonishes me more and more that the shade of
retirement is as necessary* as it will be welcome to me. Satisfied
that if any circumstances have given a peculiar value to my services,
they were temporary, I have the consolation to believe, that while
inclination and prudence urge me to recede from the political scene,
patriotism does not forbid it. [May I also have that of knowing in
myt retreat, that the involuntary errors which I have probably
committed, have been the causes of no serious or lasting mischief to
my country, and thus be spared the anguish of regrets which would
disturb the repose of my retreat and embitter the remnant of my
life ! I may then expect to realize, without alloy, the pure enjoy-
ment of partaking, in the midst of my fellow-citizens, of the benign
influence of good laws under a free government ; the ultimate object
of all my wishes, and to which I look as the happy rewardj of our
mutual labors and dangers.]

In looking forward to the moment which is to terminate the
career of my public life, my sensations do not permit me to sus-
pend the deep acknowledgments required by that debt of gratitude,^
which I owe to my beloved country, for the many honors it has con-
ferred upon me, still more for the distinguished and steadfast confi-
dence it has reposed in me, and for the opportunities it has thus
afiForded me§ of manifesting my inviolable attachment, by services
faithful and persevering — ^however the inadequateness of my faculties
may have ill-seconded my|| zeal. If benefits have resulted to you,
my fellow-citizens, from these services, let it always be remembered
to your praise, and as an instructive example in our annals, that the
constancy of your support amidst appearances^" dubious, vicissitudes
of fortune often discouraging, and in situations in which, not unfre-

* to me. t retirement. J I hope. § I have thence enjoyed.

I have rendered their efforts unequal to my — disproportional.

% under circumstances in which the passions, agitated in every direction, were liable
to the greatest fluctuations.

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quently, waat of success has seconded the criticisms of malevolence,*
was the essential prop of the eflForts and the guarantee of the mea-
sures by which they were achieved.

Profoundly penetrated with this idea, I shall carry it with me to
my retirement, and to my grave, as a lively incitement to unceasing
vows (the only returns I can henceforth make) that Heaven may
continue to you the choicest tokens of its beneficence, merited by
motional piety and morality — ^that your union and brotherly affec-
tion may be perpetual — ^that the free Constitution, which is the
work of your own hands, may be sacredly maintained — ^that its ad-
ministration in every department may be stamped with wisdom and
virtue — that, in fine, the happiness of the people of these States,
under the auspices of liberty may be made complete, by so careful
a preservation, and so prudent a use of this blessing, as will acquire
them the glorious satisfaction of recommending it to the affection —
the praise — ^and the adoption of every nation which is yet a stranger
to it.

Here, perhaps, I ought to stop : but a solicitude for your welfare,
which cannot end but with my life, and the fear that there may
exist projects unfriendly to it, against which it may be necessary
you should be guatded, urge me in taking leave of you, to offer to
your solemn consideration and frequent review, some sentiments, the
result of mature reflection confirmed by observation and experience,
which appear to me essential to the permanency of your felicity as
a people. These will be offered with the more freedom, as you can
only see in them the disinterested advice of a parting friend, who
can have no personal motive to tincture or bias his counsel.

Interwoven as is the love of liberty with every fibre of your
hearts, no recommendation is necessary to fortify your attachment
TO IT. Next to this, that unity of government which constitutes
you one people, claims your vigilant care and guardianship — ^as a

' sometimes.

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main pillar of your real independence, of your peace, safety, free-
dom, and happiness.

[This being the point in your political fortress, against which the
batteries of internal and external enemies will be most constantly
and actively, however covertly and insidiously levelled, it is of the
utmost importance that you should appreciate, in its full force, the
immense value of your political union to your national and individual
happiness — ^that you should cherish towards it an affectionate and
immovable attachment, and that you should watch for its preserva-
tion with jealous solicitude.]

For this, you have every motive of sympathy and interest.
Children for the most part of a common country, that country
claims and ought to concentrate your affections. The name of
American must always gratify and exalt the just pride of patriotism,
more than any denomination which can be derived from local discri-
minations. You have with slight shades of difference the same
religion, manners, habits, and political institutions and principles —
you have, in a common cause, fought and triumphed together. The
independence and liberty you enjoy are the work of joint councils,
efforts, dangers, sufferings, and successes. By your union you
achieved them, by your union you will most effectually maintain

The considerations which address themselves to your sensibility,
are greatly* strengthenedf by those which apply to your interest.
Here, every portion of our country will find the most urgent and
commanding motives for guarding and preserving the union of the

The North inj intercourse with the South under the equ^ laws
of one government, will, in the productions of the latter, many of
them peculiar, find vast additional resources of maritime and com-
mercial enterprise.§ The South, in the same intercourse, will share

* even. f outweighed. J free and unfettered.

§ and precious materials of their manufacturing industry.

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in the benefits of the agency of the North, will find its agriculture
promoted and its commerce extended by turning into its own chan-
nels those means of navigation which the North more abundantly
afibrds ; and while it contributes to extend the national navigation,
will participate in the protection of a maritime strength to which
itself is unequally adapted. The East, in a like intercourse with
the West,* finds a valuable vent for the commodities which it brings
from abroad or manufactures at home. The West derives through
this channel an essential supply of its wants ; and what is far more
important to it, it must owe the secure and permanent enjoyment of
the indispensable outlets for its own productions to the weight,
mfluence, and maritime resources of the Atlantic States.f The
tenure by which it could hold this advantage either from its own
separate strength, or by an apostate and unnatural connection with
any foreign nation, must be intrinsically and necessarily precarious,
[at every moment liable to be disturbed by thej combinations of
those primary§ interests which constantly regulate the conduct of
every portion of Europe,] and where every part finds a particular
interest in the Union. All the parts of our country will find in
their Union|| strength, proportional security from external danger,
less frequent interruption of their peace with foreign nations ; and
what is far more valuable, an exemption from those broils and wars
between the parts if disunited, which, then, our rivalships, fomented
by foreign intrigue or the opposite alliances with foreign nations
engendered by their mutual jealousies, would inevitably produce.Tf
These considerations speak a conclusive language to every vir-

* and in the progressive improvement of internal navigation will more and more find.

t directed by an indissoluble commnnity of interests.

^ flactuating. $ Enropean.

fl greater independence, from the superior abundance and variety of production inci-
dent to the diversity of soil and climate. All the parts of it must find in the aggregate
assemblage and reaction of their mntoal population — production.

IT consequent exemption from the necessity of those military establishments upon a
large scale, which bear in every country s^ menacing an aspect towards liberty.


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tnous and considerate mind. They place the continuance of our
Union among the first objects of patriotic desire. Is there a donbt
whether a common government can long embrace so extensive a
sphere ? Let time and experience decide the question. Speculation
in such a case ought not to be listened to. And 'tis rational to
hope that the auxiliary* governments of the subdivisions, with -a
proper organization of the whole, will secure a favorable issue to
the experiment. ['Tis allowable to believe that the spirit of party,
the intrigues of foreign nations, the corruption and the ambition of
individuals, are likely to prove more formidable adversaries to the
unity of our empire, than any inherent difficulties in the scheme.
'Tis against these that the guardsf of national opinion, national
sympathy, national prudence and virtue, are to be erected.] With
such obvious motives to union, there will be always cause from the
fact itself to distrust the patriotism of those whoj may endeavor to
weaken its bands. And by all the love I bear you, my fellow-
citizens, I conjure§ you, as|| often as it appears, to frown upon the

[Besides the more serious causes which have been hinted at, as
endangering our Union, there is another less dangerous, but against
which it is necessary to be on our guard; I mean the petulance of
partyTf differences of opinion. It is not uncommon to hear the irri-
tations which these excite, vent themselves in declarations that the
different parts of the Union are ill-assorted and cannot remain
together — in menaces from the inhabitants of one part to those of
another, that it will be dissolved by this or that measure. Intima-
tions of the kind are as indiscreet as they are intemperate. Though
frequently made with levity and without being in earnest, they have
a tendency to produce the consequence which they indicate. They
teach the minds of men to consider the Union as precarious, as an

* agency of. f mounds.

X in any quarter. $ exhort — (writUnJirit)

I ** often''— instead of ** far." IT collisions and disgusts.

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object to which they are not to attach their hopes and fortunes, and
thus weaken the sentiment in its favor. By rousing the resentment
and alarming the pride of those to whom they are addressed, they
set ingenuity to work to depreciate the value of the object, and to
discover motives of indifference to it. This is not wise. Prudence
demands that we should habituate ourselves in all our words and
actions to reverence the Union as a sacred and inviolable palladium
of our happiness, and should discountenance whatever can lead to a
suspicion that it can in any event be abandoned.]

['Tis matter of serious concern that parties in this country, for
some time past, have been too much characterized by geographical
discriminations — Northern and Southern States, Atlantic and
Western country. These discriminations,* which are the mere
artifice of the spirit of party, (always dexterous to avail itself of
every source of sympathy, of every handle by which the passions
can be taken hold of, and which has been careful to turn to account
the circumstance of territorial vicinity, J) have furnished an argu-
ment against the Union as evidence of a real difierence of local
interests and views, and serve to hazard it, by organizing large
districts of country under the direction of § different factions, whose
passions and prejudices, rather than the true interests of the coun-
try, will be too apt to regulate the use of their influence. If it be
possible to correct this poison in the affairs of our country, it is
worthy the best endeavors of moderate and virtuous men to effect it.]

One of the expedients which the partisans of faction employ to-
wards strengthening their influence by local discriminations,!! is to
misrepresent the opinions and views of rival districts. The people
at large cannot be too much on their guard against the jealousies
which grow out of these misrepresentations. They tend to render
aliens to each other those who ought to be tied together by fraternal
affection. The western country have lately a useful lesson on

* of party. f sjrmpathy of. ^ neighbothood.

§ the leaders of. | within local spheres.

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this subject. Tbey have seen in the negotiation by the Executive,
and in the unanimous ratification of the treaty with Spain by the
Senate, and in the universal satisfaction at that event in all parts of
the country, a decisive proof how unfounded have been the suspi-
cions instilled"*" in them of a policy in the Atlantic States, and in
the different departments of the General Government, hostile to
their interests in relation to the Mississippi. They have seen two
treaties formed, which secure to them everything that they could
desire to confirm their prosperity. Will they not henceforth rely
for the preservation of these advantages on that Union by which
they were procured ? Will they not reject those counsellors who
would render them alien to their brethren and connect them with

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Online LibraryHorace BinneyAn inquiry into the formation of Washington's Farewell address .. → online text (page 15 of 20)