Horace Binney.

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

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litical safety and prosperity, adapting constantly your words and actions to that
momentous idea; that you should watch for its preservation with jealous anxiety,
discountenance whatever may suggest a suspicion that it can in any event be aban-
doned ; and frown upon the first dawning of any attempt to alienate any portion of
our Country from the rest, or to enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together the
several parts. — IStipra, p. 192.]

I of a common country by birth or choice IT to be

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You have in a common cause fought and triumphed together. — The
Independence and Liberty you possess are the work of joint councils^
and joint efforts — of common dangers, sufferings and successes. —

But these considerations, however powerfully they address them-
selves to your sensibility, are greatly outweighed by those which
apply more immediately to your Interest. — Here every portion of
our country finds the most commanding motives for carefully guard-
ing and preserving the Union of the whole.

The North in an [unrestrained]* intercourse with the Souths pro-
tected by the equal Laws of a common government, finds in the
productions of the latter [ f ] great additional resources of maritime
and commercial enterprise-^and precious materials of manufacturing
industry. — The South in the same intercourse, ^benefiting
by the agency of the North, sees its agriculture grow and
its commerce expand. Turning partly into its own channels the
seamen of the North, it finds its particular navigation invigorated; —
and while it contributes, in different ways, to nourish and increase
the general mass of the national navigation, it looks forward to the
protection of a maritime strength to which itself is unequally
adapted. — The Hast, in a like intercourse with the West, already
finds, and in the progressive improvement of interior communica*
tions, by land and water, will more and more find, a valuable vent
for the commodities which it brings from abroad, or manufactures at
home. — The West derives from the II(ist supplies requisite to its
growth and comfort, — and what is perhaps of still greater conse-
quence, it must of necessity owe the secure enjoyment of indispen-
sable outlets for its own productions to the weight, influence, and
the future maritime strength of the Atlantic side of the Union,
directed by an indissoluble community of interest, as one Nation.
[Any other]J tenure by which the West can hold this essential ad-
vantage, [whether derived]§ from its own separate strength, or from

* unfettered f many of the peculiar J The S either

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an apostate and unnatural connection with any foreign Power, must
be intrinsically precarious. [ * ]

[ f ] While [then] every part of our Country thus [feels]t an im-
mediate and particular interest in Union, all the parts§ [combined
cannot fail to find] in the united mass of means and efforts [ || ]
greater strength, greater resource, proportionably greater security
from external danger, a less frequent interruption of their peace by
foreign Nations ; and, [what isjTf of inestimable value ! they must
derive from Union an exemption from those broils and wars between
themselves which [so frequently]** afflict neighbouring countries,
not tied together by *the same government ; which their
own rivalships alone would be sufficient to produce; but
which opposite foreign alliances, attachments and intrigues would
stimulate and embitter. — Hence likewise they will avoid the neces-
sity of those overgrown Military establishments, which under any
form of Government are inauspicious to liberty, and which [are to
be regarded]tt as particularly hostile to Republican Liberty : In
this sense it is, .that your Union ought to be considered as a main
prop of your liberty, and that the love of the one ought to endear
to you the preservation of the other.

These considerations speak a persuasive language to [every]JJ
reflecting and virtuous mind, — [and]§§ exhibit the continuance of
the Union as a primary object of Patriotic desire. — Is there a
doubt, whether a common government can embrace so large a
sphere ? — ^Let experience solve it. — To listen to mere speculation in
such a case were criminal. — [We are authorised]|||| to hope that a

* liable every moment to be dismrbed by the fluctuating combinations of the primary
interests of Europe, which must be expected to regulate the conduct of the Nations of
which it is composed.— [fiSiqwo, p. 193.]

tAnd t finds 5 of it

I cannot fail to find f which is an advantage ** inevitably
tf there is reason to regard Xi ^^y §$ ^^7

II 'Tis natural

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proper organization of the whole^ with the auxiliary agency of
governments for the respective subdivisions, will afford a happy
issue to the experiment. 'Tis well worth a fair and full experi-
ment. [ * ] With such powerful and obvious motives to Union,
[affecting]t all parts of our country [J], while experience shall
not have demonstrated its impracticability, there will always be
[reason]! to distrust the patriotism of those, who in any quarter
may endeavour to weaken its bands. [ || ] —

♦In contemplating the causes which may disturb our

Union, it occurs as matter of serious concern, that [any

ground should have been furnished for characterizing parties by]T"

Q-eograpMcal discriminations — Northern and Southern — Atlantic

* It may not impossibly be found, that the spirit of party, the machinations of foreign
powers, the corruption and ambition of individual citizens are more formidable adver-
saries to the Unity of our Empire than any inherent difficulties in the scheme. Against
these the mounds of national opiniou, national sympathy and national jealousy ought to
be raised. — [£fupra, p. 194.]

f as X have § cause in the effect itself

I Besides the more serious causes already hinted as threatening our Union, there is
one less dangerous, but sufficiently dangerous to make it prudent to be upon our
guard against it I allude to the petulance of party differences of opinion. It is not
uncommon to hear the irritations which these excite vent themselves in declarations
that the different parts of the United States are ill affected to each other, in menaces
that the Union will be dissolved by this or that measure. Intimations like these are as
indiscreet as they are intemperate. Though frequently made with levity and withont
any really evil intention, 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
object to which they ought not to attach their hopes and fortunes ; — and thus chill the
sentiment in its favour. By alarming the pride of those to whom they are addressed,
they set ingenuity at work to depreciate the value of the thing, and to discover reasons
of indifference towards it This is not wise. — It will be much wiser to habituate our-
selves to reverence the Union as the palladium of our national happiness; to accommo-
date constantly our words and actions to that idea, and to discountenance whatever may
suggest a suspicion that it can in any event be abandoned. (In the margin opposite
Xl[n6 paragraph are the words, *♦ Not important enough.") — ISupra^ p. 194.]

IT our parties for some time past have been too much characterized by

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and Western; [whence designing men may endeavour to excite a
belief that there is a real difference of local interests and views.]*
One of the expedients of Party to acquire influence, within par-
ticular districts, is to misrepresent the opinions and aims of other
districts. — You cannot shield yourselves too much against the jea-
lousies and heartburnings which spring from these misrepresenta-
tions ; — They tend to render alien to each other those who ought to
be bound together by fraternal affection. — The inhabitants of our
Western country have lately had a useful lesson on this [head.]t —
They have seen, in the negotiation by the Executive, and in the

unanimous ratification by the Senate, of the Treaty with

♦Spain, and in the universal satisfaction at that event,

throughout the United States, a decisive proof how unfounded were
the suspicions propagated among them of a policy in the . General
Government and in the Atlantic States unfriendly to their interests
in regard to the Mississippi. — They have been witnesses to the
formation of two Treaties, that with G. Britain, and that with Spain,
which secure to them every thing they could desire, in respect to
our foreign Relations towards confirming their prosperity. — ^Will it
not be their wisdom to rely for the preservation of these advantages
on the Union by which they were procured ? — ^Will they not hence-
forth be deaf to those advisers, if such there are, who would sever
them from their Brethren, and connect them with Aliens ? —

To the eflScacy and permanency of your Union, a Government for

* These discriminations, the mere contrivance of the spirit of Party, (always

dexterous to seize every handle by which the passions can be wielded, and too skilful
not to turn to account the sympathy of neighbourhood,) have furnished an argument
against the Union as evidence of a real difference of local interests and view^ ; and
serve to hazard it by organizing larger districts of country, under the leaders of con-
tending factions ; whose rivalships, prejudices and schemes of ambition, rather than the
true interests of the Country, will direct the use of their influence. If it be possible to
correct this poison in the habit of our body politic, it is worthy the endeavours of the
moderate and the good to effect it. — [£fiipra, p. 195.]

f subject ^

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the whole is indispensable. — ^No alliances however strict between the
parts can be an adequate substitute. — They must inevitably expe-
rience the infractions and interruptions which all alliances in all
times have experienced. — Sensible of this momentous truth, you
have improved upon your first essay, by the adoption of a Constitu-
tion of Gt)vemment, better calculated than your former for an
intimate Union, and for the efficacious management of your common
concerns. — This government, the offspring of our own choice unin-
fluenced and unawed, adopted upon full investigation and mature
deliberation, completely free in its principles, in the distribution of
its powers, uniting security with energy, and containing within
itself a provision for its own amendment, has a just claim to your
confidence and your support. Respect for its authority, compliance
with its. Laws, acquiescence in its measures, are duties enjoined by
the fundamental maxims of true Liberty. — The basis of our political
systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their Con-
stitutions of Government. — ^But the Constitution which at any time
exists, 'till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole
People, is sacredly obligatory upon all. — The very idea of the power
and the right of the People to establish Government, presupposes
the duty of every individual to obey the established Government.

♦All obstructions to the execution of the Laws, alLcom-
binations and associations, under whatever plausible cha-
racter with [the real] design to direct, controul, counteract, or awe
the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities,
are destructive of this fundamental principle and of fatal ten-
dency. — They serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and
extraordinary force — to put, [ * ] in the place of the delegated will
of the Nation,* the will of a party ; — often a small but artful and
enterprizing minority of the community; — ^and, according to the
alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public adminis-

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tration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of
faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans
digested by conmion councils and modified by mutual interests, —
However combinations or associations of the above description may
now and then answer popular ends, [*] they are likely, in th^
course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cun*
ning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert
the Power of the People and to usurp for themselves the reins of
Government ; destroying afterwards the very engines which have
lifted them to unjust dominion. —

Towards the preservation of your Government, and the perma-
nency of your present happy state, it is requisite, not only that you
steadily discountenance irregular oppositions to its acknowledged
authority, but also that you resist with care [the]t spirit of innova*
tion upon its principles however specious the pretexts. — One method
of assault may be to effect, in the forms of the Constitution, altera-
tions which will impair the energy of the system, [and thus to]|
undermine what^ cannot be directly overthrown. — In all the changes
to which you may be invited, remember that time and habit are at
least as necessary to fix the true character of Governments, as of
other human institutions — that experience is the surest standard,
by which to test the real tendency of the existing Constitution of a
Country — that facility in changes upon the credit of mere hypo-
thesis and opinion exposes *to perpetual change, from the


endless variety of hypothesis and opinion : — and remember,
especially, that for the efficient management of your common inte-
rests, in a country so extensive as ours, a Government of as much
vigour as is consistent with the perfect security of Liberty is indis-
pensable, — Liberty itself will find in such a Government, with powers
properly distributed and adjusted, its surest Guardian. — [It is indeed
little else than a name, where the Government is too feeble to with-

* and purposes fa. J to

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Stand the enterprises of faction, to confine each member of the So-
ciety within the limits prescribed by the laws, and to maintain all
in the secore and tranquil enjoyment of the rights of person and

I have already intimated to you the danger of Parties in the
State, with particular reference to the founding of them on Geogra-
phical discriminations. — ^Let me now take a more comprehensive
yiew, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful
effects of the Spirit of Party, generally.

This Spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from [ourjf nature,

haying its root in the strongest passions of the [human] mind. — It

exists under different shapes in all Governments, more or less stifled,

controuled or repressed ; but in those of the popular form it is seen

in its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst enemy. — [ J ]

*^® alternate domination of one faction over another,

sharpened by the spirit of revenge natural to party dissen-

* Owing to you as I do a frank and free disclosnre of my heart, I shall not conceal
from you the belief 1 entertain, that your Government as at present constituted is far
more likely to prove too feeble than too powerful. — [Supra, p. 198.]

t human

j; In Republics of narrow extent, it is not difficult for those who at any time hold the
reins of Power, and command the ordinary public favor, to overturn the established
[constitution]* in favor of their own aggrandizement. — The same thing may likewise
be too often accomplished in such Republics, by partial combinations of men, who
though not in office, from birth, riches, or other sources of distinction, have extraordi*
nary influence and numerous [adherents.]f — By debauching the Military force, by sur-
prising some commanding citadel, or by some other sudden aud unforeseen movement
the fate of the Republic is decided. — But in Republics of large extent, usurpation can
scarcely make its way through these avenues. — The powers and opportunities of re-
sistance of a wide extended and numerous nation, defy the successful eflbrts of the
ordinary Military force, or of any collections which wealth and patrcmage may call to
their aid. — In such Republics, it is safe to assert, that the conflicts of popular factions
are the chief, if not the only inlets, of usurpation and Tyranny. — [5tipra, p. 198.]

• order f retainers

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sion, T^ch in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most
horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. — But this leads at
length to a more formal and permanent despotism. — The disorders
and miseries, which result, gradually incline the minds of men to
seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual :
and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able
or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the
purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of Public Liberty.

Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind, (which
nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight), the common and
continual mischiefs of the spirit of Party are sufficient to make it
the interest] and the duty of a wise People to discourage and re-
strain it. —

It serves always to distract the Public Councils and enfeeble the
Public administration. — ^It agitates the community with ill-founded
jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part
against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. — It
opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which find a
facilitated access [to the Government itself through the channds of
party passions. Thus, the policy and the will of one country, are
subjected to the policy and will of another.]*

There is an opinion that parties in free countries are useful
checks upon the Administration of the Government, and serve to
keep alive the Spirit of Liberty. — This within certain limits is pro-
bably true — and in Governments of a Monarchical cast, Patriotism

may look with indulgence, if not with favour, upon *the

spirit of party. — ^But in those of the popular character, in

Gtvernments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. —

From their natural tendency, it is certain there will always be

enough of that spirit for every salutary purpose, — and there being

* tlurongh the channels of party- passions. It frequently subjects the policy of our
own country to the policy of some foreign country, and even enslaves the wiU of our
Government to the will of some foreign Government — [5t^ra, p. 199.]

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constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be, by force of public
opinion, to* mitigate and assuage it. — ^A fire not to be quenched, it
demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame,
lest, [instead of warming, it should]* consume. —

It is important, likewise, that the habits of thinking in a free
country should inspire caution in those entrusted with its adminis-
tration, to confine themselves within their respective constitutional
spheres ; avoiding in the exercise of the powers of one department
to encroach upon another. — The spirit of encroachment tends to
consolidate the powers of all the departments in one, and thus to
create, [ f ] whatever [the form of government, a real] J despotism. —
A just estimate of that love of power, and [ § ] proneness to abuse
it, which predominates in the human heart, is sufficient to satisfy us
of the truth of this position. — The necessity of reciprocal checks in
the exercise of political power, by dividing and distributing it into
different depositories, and constituting each the Guardian of the
Public Weal [against]|| invasions by the others, has been evinced by
experiments ancient and modem ; some of them in our country and
under our own eyes. — To preserve them must be as necessary as to
institute them. — If in the opinion of the People, the distribution or
modification of the Constitutional powers be in any particular
wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way which the
Constitution designates. — But let there be no change by usurpation ;
for though this, in one instance may be the instrument of good,
it is the [customary]Tf weapon by which free governments are de-
stroyed. — ^The precedent [ ** ] must always greatly overbalance in
permanent evil any partial or [transient]tt benefit which the
use [ tt ] can at any time yield. — t

♦Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political
prosperity. Religion and morality are indispensable sup-

* it should not only warm, but t under % forms a

§ the H from IT usual and natural

** of its use tt temporary JJ itself

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ports. — ^In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who
should labour to subvert these great Pillars of human happiness,
these firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens. — The mere
Politician, equally with the pious man,, ought to respect and to
cherish them. — ^A volume could not trace all their connections with
private and public felicity. — ^Let it simply be asked where is the
security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of reli*
gious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of in-
vestigation in Courts of Justice ? And let us with caution indulge
the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. —
Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on
minds of peculiar structure — ^reason and experience both forbid us
to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious
principle. —

'Tis substantially true that virtue or morality is a necessary
spring of popular government. — The rule indeed extends with more
or less force to every species of Free Government. — ^Who that is a
sincere friend to it, can look with indifference upon attempts to
shake the foundation of the fabric ? —

[Promote then as an object of primary importance, institutions
for the general diffusion of knowledge. — ^In proportion as the struc-
ture of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential
that public opinion should be enlightened.] — *

As a very important source of strength and security, cherish

* Cultivate industry and frugality, as auxiliaries to good morals and sources of private
and public prosperity. — Is there not room to regret that our propensi^ to expense
exceeds our means for it? Is there not more luxury among us and more diffusively,
than suits the actual stage of our national progress ? Whatever may be the apology
for luxury in a country, mature in the Arts which are its minister^, and tlie cause of
national opulence — can it promote the advantage of a young country, almost wholly
agricultural, in the infancy of the arts, and certainly not in the maturity of wealth ? —
[fib^o, p. 201.]

(Over this paragraph in the original a piece of paper is wafered, on which the pas-
sage is written as printed in the text.)


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*pubKc credit. — One method of preserving it is to use it as
[sparingly]* as possible: — avoiding occasions of expense
by caltivating peace, bat remembering also that timely disburse-
ments to prepare for danger frequently prevent much greater dis-
bursements to repel it — ^avoiding likewise the accumulation of debt,
not only by [shunningjf occasions of expense, but by vigorous ex-
ertions in time of Peace to discharge the debts irhich unavoidable
wars may have occasioned, not ungenerously throwing upon poste-
rity the burthen which we ourselves ought to bear. The execution
of these maxims belongs to your Representatives, but it is neces-
sary that public opiiiion should [co-operate.] J — To facilitate to them
the performance of their duty, it is essential that you should prac-
tically bear in mind, that towards the payment of debts there must
be Revenue — ^that to have Revenue there must be taxes — ^that no
taxes can be devised which are not more or less, inconvenient and
unpleasant — ^that the intrinsic embarrassment inseparable from the
selection of the proper objects (which is always a choice of diffi-
culties) ought to be a decisive motive for a candid construction of
the conduct of the Government in making it, and for a spirit of
acquiescence in the measures for obtaining Revenue which the

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Online LibraryHorace BinneyAn inquiry into the formation of Washington's Farewell address .. → online text (page 19 of 20)