Horace Binney.

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

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*- ^ Union, it occurs as matter of serious concern, that [any
.^round should have been furnished for characterizing parties by]l
Geographical discriminations — Northern and Southern — Atlantic

* It may not impossibly be found, that the spirit of party, the machinations of foreign
powers, the corruption anil 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 opinion, national sympathy and national jealousy ought to
be raised. — ISupra, p. 194.]

+ as X have § cause in the effect itself

n 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 without
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
ihia paragraph are the words, "Not important enough.")— [Sujsra, p. 194.]

H our parlies for some time past have been too much characterized by



and Wester7i; [whence designing men may endeavour to excite _
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.jf—
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, ■- "-• J
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 efficacy 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 views ; 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 tlie
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.— [Supra, p. 195.]

f subject


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 Government, better calculated than your former for an
intimate Union, and for the efficacious management of your common
concerns. — This government, the ofispring of our own choice unin-
fluenced and unawcd, 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.

.- ^^— . *A\\ obstructions to the execution of the Laws, all com-
[*36o] . . . . '.

bmations 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
cntcrprizing minority of the community; — and, according to the
alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public adminis-


tration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of
faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans
digested by common 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 the
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 tbe 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]| 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 p^o-»,^-|
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 fcoble to with-

* and purposes f ^ + '*^


Btantl 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 secure 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
view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful
effects of the Spirit of Party, generally.

This Spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from [our]t nature,

liaving 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. — [ | ]

*The alternate domination of one faction over another,
[*367] . . .

sharpened by the spirit of revenge natural to party dissen-

* Owing to you as I do a frank and free disclosure of my heart, I shall not conceal
frotn 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. 19S.]

t human

X 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 oAen 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.Jf — 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 efforts of the
ordinary Military force, or of any collections which wealth and patronage 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.— [Su;?ra, p. 19S.]

• order -j- retainers


sion, whicli 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, mure 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 channels 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
Governments 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

* througli the channels of party passions. It frequently subjects the iwlicy of our
own country to the policy of some foreign country, and even enslaves the will of our
Government to the will of some foreign Government.— [Si</>rn, p. 190.]


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 vigihince to prevent its bursting into a flame,
lest, [instead of wanning, 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 w^ithin 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]| 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 modern ; 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]^ weapon by which free governments are de-
stroyed. — The precedent [ ** ] must always greatly overbalance in
permanent evil any partial or [transient]t| benefit which the
^se [ tt ] can at any time yield. —

r*'^rQT *^^ ^^^ ^^^ dispositions and habits which lead to political
prosperity. Religion and morality are indispensable sup-

* it should not only warm, but f under | forms a

5 'he II from IT usual and natural

** of its use If temporary JJ itself


ports.— In vain would that man claim the tribute of, 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, ouglit 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 reli«Tion.

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 indijOTerence upon attempts to
shake the foundation of the fabric ? —

[Promote then as an object of primary importance, institutions
for. the general dLffusion 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 propensity 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 ministers, and the 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 ?—
[Supra, 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.)



♦public credit. — One method of preserving it is to use it as
' ' -' [sparingly]* as possible : — avoiding occasions of expense
bv cultivating peace, but 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 [shunning]t occasions of expense, but by vigorous ex-
ertions in time of Peace to discharge the debts which 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 opinion should [co-operate.]! — 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
public exigencies may at any time dictate. —

Observe good faith and justice towards all Nations. [§] Culti-
vate peace and harmony with all. — Religion and morality enjoin
this conduct ; and can it be that good policy does not equally enjoin
it ? — Tt will be worthy of a free, enlightened, and, at no distant
period, a great nation, to give to mankind the magnanimous and too
novel example of a People always guided by an exalted justice and
benevolence. — Who can doubt that in the course of time and things,
the fruits of such a plan would richly repay any temporary advan-

1''*'^ t avoiding J coincide

§ and cultivate peace and harmony with all, for in public as well as in private
transactions, I am persuaded that honesty M'ill always be found to be the best policy.—
[Supra, p. 202.]


tages "wliicli might be lost by a steady adherence to it ? Can it be
that Providence has not connected *the permanent felicity
of a Nation with its virtue? The experiment, at least, is -'

recommended by every sentiment which ennobles human nature. —
Alas ! is it rendered impossible by its vices ?

In the execution of such a plan nothing is more essential tlian
that [permanent, inveterate]* antipathies against particular nations
and passionate attachments for others should be excluded ; and that
in place of them just and amicable feelings towards all should be
cultivated. — The Nation, which indulges towards another [an]t
habitual hatred or [an]| habitual fondness, is in some degree a
slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its aflfection, cither of
which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interests. —
Antipathy in one Nation against another [ § ] disposes each more
readily to offer insult and injury, to lay hold of slight causes of
umbrage, and to be haughty and intractable, when accidental or
trifling occasions of dispute occur. — Hence frequent collisions, ob-
stinate, envenomed, and bloody contests. — The Nation prompted by
ill-will and resentment sometimes impels to War the Government,
contrary to [the best]|| calculations of policy. The Government
sometimes participates in the [national] propensity, and adopts
through passion what reason would reject ; — at other times, it makes
the animosity of the Nation subservient to projects of hostility
instigated by pride, ambition, and other sinister an<l pernicious
motives. — The peace often, sometimes perhaps the Liberty, of
Nations, has been the victim. —

So likewise a passionate attachment of one Nation for another
produces a variety of evils.— Sympathy for the favourite nation,
facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases
where no real common interest exists, and infusing into onc[^]

* rooted t ^ ^ "

§ begets of course a similar sentiment in that other,— [5u/»ra, p. 203.]

11 its own ^ another


the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation
in the (niarrel.s and wars of the latter, without adequate inducement
or iustification : It leads also to concessions to the favourite
^ "-^ *Nation of inivileges denied to others, "which is apt doubly
to injure the Nation making the concessions ; [ *] by unnecessarily
parting with what ought to have been retained,! and by exciting
jealousy, ill-will, and a disposition to retaliate in the parties from
whom equal privileges are withheld ; and it gives to ambitious, cor-
rupted, or deluded citizens, (Avho devote themselves to the favourite
Nation) facility to betray, or sacrifice the interests of their own
country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity : — gilding
with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commend-
alilo deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good,
the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption or infatua-
tion. —

As avenues to foreign ijifluence in innumerable ways, such at-
tachments are particularly alarming to the truly enlightened and
independent patriot. — How many opportunities do they afford to
tamper with domestic factions, to practise the arts of seduction, to
mislead public opinion, to influence or awe the public councils !
Such an attachment of a small or weak, towards a great and poAver-
ful nation, dooms the former to be the satellite of the latter.

Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence, [I conjure you
to] believe me, [fellow citizens], J the jealousy of a free people
ought to be [constantly]^' awake, since history and experience
prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of Re-
publican Government. — But that jealousy to be useful must be
impartial ; else it becomes the instrument of the very influence to
be avoided, instead of a defence against it. — Excessive partiality
for one foreign nation and excessive dislike of another, cause those
whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil

^*''y t 2dly J niy friends, § incessantly


and even second the arts of influence on the other.— Real Tatriots,
who may resist the intrigues of the fiivourite, arc liable to become
suspected and odious ; while its tools and dupes usurp the applause
and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests.

The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign Nations
*is, [in extending our commercial relations! to have with
them as little Political connection as possible.— So far as ^ '■• ' J
we have already formed engagements let them be fulfilled with [ * ]

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