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

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Mr. Sparks is, that Mr. Jay could not know what alterations
and amendments had been made by Hamilton. This in-
ference is not quite just to Mr. Jay, nor is it quite logical,
from the premises which Mr. Jay states ; for the alterations
and amendments which had been made by Hamilton in

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transcribing it, might have been known by marks on the
transcript, or by Hamilton's manner of reading it or com-
menting upon it ; and in one of these ways it must have
been known, or Mr. Jay would have omitted to perform the
office which Hamilton, in Washington's behalf, had re-
quested of him, — ^that of giving an opinion upon the draught
which " the President had prepared." Without some such
knowledge of the draught, indeed without marks of some
kind on the transcript or on the draught, it is difficult to
understand how Mr. Jay could write as he does, that " by
" comparing it (the President's draught) with the paper
^' sent with it, he (the President) would immediately observe
'* the particular emendations and corrections that were pro-
'* posed, and would find them standing in their intended
^^ places. Hence he was enabled to review and to decide on
'' the whole matter with much greater clearness and facility,
'* than if he had received them in separate and detached
" notes, and with detailed references to the pages and lines
" where they were advised to be introduced." What clear-
ness and facility, and immediate observation, could Mr. Jay
have been able to predicate of alterations and amendments
to a draught of which he knew nothing, directly or indi-
rectly, wrought moreover into the body of the transcript,
without anything in original or transcript to guide to them ?
Or how could he know that they would be discovered, except
by a laborious collation of every part of Washington's
draught with every part of the transcript 1 It seems to be a
great injustice to Mr. Jay, to suppose that he could not know
what alterations and amendments Hamilton had made ; for
this is saying that he had only heard the transcript read,
and did not know what part was Washington's, and what


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Hamilton's, though the very point of reference to him, for
the joint opinion of Hamilton and himself^ was Washington's
draught, which was submitted to them for their opinion.

These remarks may seem to be superfluous ; for, whether
accurate or inaccurate, they have little bearing on the main
point. But in reading this portion of Mr. Sparks's note on
the Farewell Address, I have been at some loss to know,
why the omission to read " the President'? draught," at that
interview, and this inability of Mr. Jay to know what the
alterations and amendments of Hamilton were, are empha-
sized by Mr. Sparks ; and whether it implies a doubt on the
part of Mr. Sparks, that the draught sent by Washington to
Hamilton on the 15th May was before Mr. Jay at that in-
terview, or was the same paper which contained the quo-
tation of Madison's draught and the " Hints, or Heads of
" Topics," or was something else, unknown to Mr. Sparks,
leaving the character of that draught by Washington a
matter of still impenetrable obscurity.

Whatever may have been the state of Mr. Sparks's
opinion, when he wrote his remarks upon the Farewell
Address in the twelfth volume of Washington's Writings,
I have little doubt that, with the fuller information that has
since appeared, he cannot but be at present of the opinion that
Madison's draught and the " Hints, or Heads of Topics," with
the beginning and conclusion I have referred to, did consti-
tute the draught which Washington sent to Hamilton with
the letter of the 15th May. The fact, without any reason-
able doubt, is so; and that what purported to be the draught
of Washington, was before Hamilton and Jay at the time of
that interview, cannot be seriously questioned by anybody.

That is the important fact, that Washington's own

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draught was the subject that was before them, with Hamil-
ton's corrections of that draught ; and that no other draught
was before them. Washington's draught, and Hamilton's
transcript of that draught with corrections, were the two
matters before them, if they were two matters ; or the tran-
script of Washington's draught with Hamilton's corrections,
was the one matter before them, if it was one matter. And
nothing else was before them. And this settles entirely the
relevancy of Mr. Jp-y's letter.

Mr. Jay was perfectly ignorant at that time, and probably
to the end of his valuable life, that any original draught of
a Farewell Address by Hamilton was thought of, by either
Washington or Hamilton; and as much so, of course, of
the fact, that a copy of such a draught had been sent by
Hamilton to Washington, hefore the time of that interview.
The fact of such a draught by Hamilton, concerned himself
as well as Washington. It was a matter still pending. It
had no bearing upon the matter which concerned Wash-
ington only, to wit, his own draught, for the improvement
of which Hamilton, under Washington's authority, asked
the conference with Mr. Jay. Hamilton, therefore, appears
not to have confide* that independent matter to Mr. Jay.
It is from Mr. Jay's ignorance of this, and of some other cir-
cumstances, that his defective view of the question of the
Farewell Address proceeded, as will be further shown here-

Recurring now to the two leading papers, Washington's
preparatory draught and Hamilton's original draught, with-
out at present adverting to Hamilton's amendment and
revision of his own draught, I will so far anticipate the con-
clusion that may be drawn from a ftdler view of the whole

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matter, as to state my apprehension of the general relaticm
which they bear to the finished Farewell Address. An ana*
lysis of Hamilton's abstract and original draught hereafter
wiU demonstrate it

The fundamental or radical thoughts of the Farewell
Address appear in Washington's preparatory draught, and
without reference to plan or style, and with little obligation
otherwise to Madison's draught, which followed Washing-
ton's outline, they were originally and substantially Wash-
ington's. The selection of those thoughts was his. The
responsibflity for them was his. The individuality, for use
in the Farewell Address, was his. In what was most strictly
personal to him, the language of the preparatory draught
was frequently, and as often as it could be, brought into the
body of Hamilton's draught, and from that into the Address.
In other instances, also, the language of Washington was to
some extent incorporated with the thoughts. On the other
hand, the expurgation of Washington's draught was Hamil*
ton's. The plan of the Farewell Address was that of Hamil-
ton's original draught. The central and dominant thought
of the political part of his draught, and of that Address, was
selected by him from Washington's thdughts, and made the
governing principle of the whole. The bearing of other
thoughts upon that centre was devised by him, and the
separate suggestions which appeared in various places in
Washington's draught, Hamilton developed and augmented,
and worked into his draught ; and he sustained them, not in
the direct logical form, but with collateral illustrations and
supports of his own, by which he combined and justified the
thoughts of Washington, and made the whole of this por-
tion of the Address which followed his draught, as much an

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OP Washington's draught and Hamilton's draught. 8S

argument, as Washington's draught had made it a decla^
ration of his political faith.

It is unnecessary to speak of Hamilton's intellectual capa-
city for the part of the work that was assigned to him ; but
Ms special qualification for it was moral, as much as it was
intellectual. It was his full sympathy with Washington in
both his personal and political aspirations. He knew better
than any man what Washington felt and thought, and as
well as any man what Washington ought to feel on the
occasion, both as a President and as a man ; and he knew
better than Washington what Washington ought to say, and
idiat he ought to suppress, in matters which had person-
ally wronged him. Perhaps any man of sense and discretion
is a better judge in this last particular than the party him-
self; but Hamilton's special fitness as an adviser in such a
matter, sprang jfrom his true conception of Washington's
greatness, from sympathy with his glory, from a perfect
apprehension of the estimate which the world had formed
of him, from accordance with him as to both the men and
the policy that were opposed to him, and as to the proper
principles of administration under the Constitution ; while,
at the same time, Hamilton himself was free from every
particle of rivalry or competition with the great chief of the
country, and supremely elevated above the desire or thought
of vindicating any wrongs of his own, through the resent-
ments, in the same direction, of any person whatever.

Two men were never better fitted for just such a joint
work ; fitted by diflferent, and even by contrasting, qualities,
and by reciprocal trust and respect.

Hamilton habitually approved Washington's great pur-
poses, and generally his suggestions made upon deliberate

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consideration. Washington, on the other hand, approved
what Hamilton's constmctiTe as wdl as analytical mind
built np or developed from Washington's suggestions, or
corrected by wise qualifications ; and ceased to approve even
a suggestioa of his own, after Hamilton had shown that it
was out of place in the position given to it, or out of parallel
or keeping with the ideal which Washington's admirers
throughout the world had formed of him. Hamilton was
slow, therefore, to consent to Washington's abating any por-
tion of his claims through an excessive modesty, or impairing
them by condescending to rebuke the invectives which had
irritated him, as he knew him to be far above their reach on
the great theatre of the world ; though he was ready to be
overruled where Washington was to speak personally ; and
probably felt himself to be overruled, in retaining certain
parts of Mr. Madison's language.

Washington's practical and executive life — that great pre-
paration of his virtues for the destiny that awaited him — took
him away in early youth from long scholastic training in
letters, and made them of secondary pursuit with him after-
wards. He was not addicted to complex or formal compo-
sition, though he wrote well and effectively. The seeds of
all sound political and moral action were in him, and they
grew and expanded with his position, until it became the
highest in the country ; and his also was a singularly wise
judgment to apply the work of another in aid of his own
knowledge or design • but suggestiveness and facility were
not the most striking properties of his mind. Hamilton, on
the other hand, strenuously cultivated from his youth, his
remarkable genius for speculative inquiry, for political and
legal argument, and for arrangement and order in the mar-

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shalling of his thoughts for either persuasion or demonstra-
tion. His was the germinating, arranging, and exhibitive
mind, the mind to make a structure from the separate mate-
rials provided by the mind of Washington ; but no structure
that Hamilton or any one could raise, was beyond the accu-
rate survey and scrutiny of Washington, or his ability to
appreciate the nature and degree of the connection, depen-
dency, and coherence of the parts. Such was the adaptation
of Washington and Hamilton to the work of the Farewell

Hamilton's original draugJit^ as printed in the seventh
volume of his Works, — of which a corrected copy was sent
to Washington on the 30th July, 1796, — is the starting-
poiQt in the collation and comparison of Hamilton's work,
with the Farewell Address. The draught was altogether
Hamilton's preparation, and there, can be no doubt of the
genuineness and authenticity of this document. The ori-
ginal, in his handwriting, is deposited in the Department of
State. The copy in his Works has been published imder
the authority of Congress. It is printed in such a manner
as, by reference to words and sentences at the foot of the
pages, to indicate what are called in the first note, " the
"^naZ alterations in this draught," which does not mean
the final alterations, from the corrected copy sent to Washing-
ton the 30th July, nor from the revision sent to Washington
on the 6th September ; but the final alterations in this^ the
original draught, before it was amended and sent to Wash-
ington, on the 30th July.

The comparison of the Farewell Address must, in the
first instance, be made with this draught. The revision of
the draught, or, as Hamilton expressed it in his letter to

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Washington of 6th September, "the draught corrected
" agreeably to your intimations," was sent to Washington
on the 6th September, having been returned by Washington
to Hamilton for revision, at his request, on the 25th August.
It was not found, Mr. Sparks says, among the papers of
Washington. Doubtless Mr. Sparks has never seen it It
may, or may not, appear hereafiter.

The disappearance of this paper is remarkable. It is the
only paper which relates to the formation of the Farewell
Address, that has disappeared from the papers of Wash-
ington on this head, from the year 1792. All the other
papers, it will be seen, came into the hands of Mr. Sparks,
the editor of Washington's Writings. There were several
of them, without including the letters of Madison or
Hamilton ; — Madison's draught, Washington's copy of that
draught, his own paper, called by Mr. Sparks " Hints, or
*' Heads of Topics," Washington's completed paper sent to
Hamilton, and Hamilton's correction of that paper by incorpo-
ration of amendments. They were all foimd among the papers
of Washington. This copy of Hamilton's original draught,
his revision, is acknowledged by Washington, commented
upon by him several times by letter, was returned by Wash-
ington to Hamilton, sent back to Washington, after revision,
by Hamilton, according to Washington's urgent request, for
the purpose of being immediately copied and sent to the
press ; and though its safe arrival does not, from any letter
that remains, appear to have been expressly acknowledged
by Washington, the short clause on Education prepared by
Hamilton at Washington's instance, expressly mentioned by
Hamilton as having been made* in the revision^ and which
appears in Washington's Farewell Address, in the place which

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Washington pointed out in Hamilton's copy where it might
conveniently come in, — that little clause, if every other proof
had failed, is as full a letter of acknowledgment that the
revision had come back safely to Washington's hands, as the
most formal receipt which Washington could have signed:
All these papers were probably kept together by Wash-
ington in one place, after the Farewell Address was pub-
lished. We know Washington's extraordinary habits of
order and care in the arrangement and preservation of his
papers. His editor has shown it, in the preface to his work.
All the other papers I have described, remained at his death;
and they passed into the possession of his nephew and
legatee, Bushrod Washington, one of the most pure, single-
minded, conscientious, and virtuous men, whom this or any
other country has produced. AU the papers of Washington
were his special bequest to this nephew, the venerated
Judge of the Supreme Court, and of the Circuit Court of
the United States for the District of Pennsylvania. He
died in Philadelphia, on the 26th of November, 1829 ; and
four or five years before that time, he had placed in the
hands of Mr. Sparks the mass of Washington's papers, for
the preparation of an edition of Washington's Writings.

No person iq)on earth, who knew Bushrod Washington,
can possibly beUeve that such a paper as Hamilton's draught,
or any other important paper in Washington's cabinet at
Mount Vernon, could have been separated or displaced from
the mass by him, or with his consent, for the purpose of
concealment. It is equally impossible that it could have
been so separated and put aside by Mr. Sparks, or with his
consent. I have the ftdlest faith, and so must every one
have, who knows the character of Mr. Sparks, that this

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paper did not come into his possession. He has stated to
that effect, in a written list of the papers appertaining to
the Farewell Address, which was prepared several years
since, a copy of which I have seen.

♦ It would be dangerous, and is quite unnecessary, to
indulge in any speculations concerning the loss or displace-
ment of this paper. I should be willing to suppose it to
have been altogether an accident ; and so fer as imputations
from me are concerned, it must be considered as so regarded
on my part ; but there is an intimation (as Mr. Jay's reply
states it) in Judge Peters's letter to Mr. Jay of the 14th
March, 1811, that there were two copies of the Farewell
Address, in Hamilton's handwriting, of which Judge Peters
had been recently informed, — one among the papers of
General Hamilton, and another in the possession of a
certain person, whose name is not mentioned. As the only
two papers in Hamilton's handwriting, which could purport
to be copies of the Farewell Address, were the original
draught of Hamilton, and the copy sent to Washington,
namely, the paper now in question, there may doubtless be, .
in this intimation, a reference to the missing paper. But it
is useless to attempt to follow it out, with so imperfect a
light, which possibly may also be a deceptive one. One
remark, and one only, will suffice, before I proceed to other

The missing paper could not have been displaced or taken
with a view to assist the claims of Hamilton or his family
to the authorship of the Farewell Address. If there was
any consciousness in regard to the question of authorship,
by the person who took possession of it, the paper would
have been produced before this, if it had been of a nature to

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defeat those claims; and no friend to Hamilton's claims
would have suppressed it, if it had been found to make
those claims perfectly demonstrative without the trouble of

One consequence of the absence of this reviskni must be
kept in mind, — ^and it is quite an important one, unless it
can be supplied to some extent, as it probably can be.
As the original draught of Hamilton was "considerably
" amended," as well as revised and corrected by him, and as
Washington, also, altered some of the words of the revision^
we have no absolute assurance that the words of the Fare-
well Address which are not found in the original draughty
were contained in Hamilton's amended copy, or in his
revision of it; nor, on the other hand, that they were
placed in the Farewell Address by Washington himself.
And the like must be said of any part of the original
draugJity which is not found in the Farewell Address. We
have no absolute assurance that such part was struck out by
Hamilton, in his amended copy, or in the revision ; for it
may have been struck out by Washington after the revision
came to his hands. Either Hamilton or Washington may
have done it. Which of them did it, will be a question of
probabilities, when we look at the differences, as shown in
the light of Washington's autograph Address. The main
question of authorship, in the literary sense, wiU not however
be sensibly affected by the absence of Hamilton's revision.

In comparing the original draught of Hamilton with the
Farewell Address, which the reader must to a great degree
do for himself, the characteristics of identity in mechanism
aad substance will be foimd to be very strong in the follow-
ing particulars : 1. The length or extent of each is about the

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same, and the material almost wholly the same. The extent,
about nineteen printed pages, largely exceeds any draught
of Washington that consisted only of the materials noticed
in Mr. Sparks's Appendix, or were sent by Washington to
Hamilton with his letter of 15th May. It exceeds them
more than twofold, which is quite sufficient to account for
Washington's remark in his letter of 10th August : *' the
" doubt that occurs at first view is the length of it for a
" newspaper publication.*' 2. The number of paragraphs is
about the same. In the Farewell Address they are fifty-
one ; in the original draught they are fifty. But there have
been a few divisions and consolidations of original paragraphs
of the Farewell Address, as it stands in Washington's Works,
and one paragraph has certainly been added by Hamilton in
his revision, and two or three by him, or by Washington.
The final result is, that the paragraphs are still about the
same in number. 3. And this is material : the order or cd-
location of paragraphs, and the subjects of them^ from the
beginning to the end of the two papers, the original draught
and the Farewell Address, is one and the same, making
allowance for the division and consolidation of paragraphs
before named, and the expansion in two instances. There
is no transposition of the order that we have detected, except
in a partial degree, in a single instance, where part of a para-
graph at the end of page 576 and the beginning of page 577 of
the original draught in the seventh volume of Hamilton's
Works, is wrought into the last two clauses of the Farewell
Address. In more than twenty instances the paragraphs in the
Farewell Address begin with the identical words of the corres-
ponding paragraphs in the draught, treating of the same sub-
jects in almost the same language to the close. In at least nine

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other instances, a word at the beginning of a paragraph in
the draught is changed in the Farewell Address ; as essen-
tially for svhstantially ; cherish good faith, for observe good
fidth ; towards the execution, for in the execution ; in like
manner y for so likewise ; why should we forego^ for why forego ;
in reference to the present war of Europe^ for in relation to the
subsisting war in Europe ; after deliberate consideration^ for
after deliberate examination ; to the duration and efficacy of
your Uniony for to the efficacy and permanency of your Union ;
I have already observed^ for I have already intimated. In all
these instances the corresponding paragraphs proceed with
the same subject, and generally in the same language to the
close. Such differences are a conclusive proof of origin, by
uniform limitation of change, along with uniform continu-
ation of subject, and generally of words, without any change.
This conformity in subject and language may be illustrated
by a paragraph, taken as an instance, from the body of the
Farewell Address, being the sixteenth paragraph of that
Address, and the nineteenth of Hamilton's original draught,
six of Hamilton's previous paragraphs having been consoli-
dated in three in the Address, one having been divided into
two, and one altogether omitted.



To the duration and efficacy of jour To the effieacj and permanency of your
XJuion, a government extending over the Union, a government for the whole is in-
whole is indispensable. No alliances, how- dispensable. No alliances, however strict
ever strict between the parts, could be between the parts, can be an adequate
an adequate substitute. These could substitute ; they must inevitably experi-
not fail to be liable to the infractions ence the infractions and interruptions
and interruptions which all alliances in which all alliances in all times have ex«

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all times have safferecL Sensible of this perienced. Sensible of this momentoiLB
important troth, jou have lately esta- troth, joo have improved opon joor first
blished a Constitution of general govern- essay by the adoption of a Constitution
menty better calcolated than the former of government better calculated than

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Online LibraryHorace BinneyAn inquiry into the formation of Washington's Farewell address .. → online text (page 7 of 20)