« AnteriorContinuar »
· The ADDRESS of General WASHINGTON, on his RESIGNATION of the
Presidency of the United States.
TO THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES. Friends, and Fellow Citizens,
The impressions with which I first under
zen, to administer the executive, govern- the proper occasion. In the discharge of ment of the United States, being not far this trult
, I will only fay, that I have with dillant, and the time actually arrived, when good intentions contributed toward the ora your thoughts must be employed in design ganization and administration of the govern, nating: he person, who is to be clothed with ment, the best exertions of which a very falthat iinportant tiutt, it appears to me pro- bble judgment was capable. Not uriconper, elpecially as it may conduce to a more scious, in the outset, of the inferiority of distinct expression of the public voice, that my qualifications, experience in my own I should now apprise you of the resolution eyes, perhaps, still more in the eyes of I have formed, to decline being considered others, has strengthened the motives to dif. among the number of those out of whom a fidence of myself; and eve:y day the inchoice is to be made.
creating weight of years admonishes me I beg youk at the fame time, to do is the more and more, that the Thade of retirem justice to be assured, that this resolution has ment is as neceffary to me as it will be not been taken, without a ftri&t regard to welcome. Satisfied that if
circumall the considerations appertaining to the re- ftances have given peculiar v:lue to my serJation which binds a dutiful citizen to his vices, they were temporary, I have the concountry; and that, in withdrawing the ten- solation to believe, ihat while choice and der of lervice which filence in my lituation prudence invite me to quit the political might imply, I am influenced by no dimi- icene, patriotism does not forbid it. murion of zeal for your future interest ; no In looking forward to the moment which deficiency of grateful respect for your part is intended to terminate the career of my kindness; but am supported by a full con public life, my feelings do not permit me viction that the step is coinpatible with to fulpend the deep acknowledgment of that both.
debt of gratitude which I owe to my beThe acceptance of, and continuance hi- loved country, for the inany honours it has therto in the office to which your suffrages conferred upon me; ftill more for the sted, have twice called me, have been an uniform faft confidence with which it has supported facrifice of inclination to the opinion of du- me; and for the opportunities I have thence ty, and to a deference for what appeared to enjoyed of manitetting my inviolable at: be your desire. I constantly hoped, that it tachment, by fervices faithful and perfewould have been much earlier in any power, vering, though in usefulness unequal to my confiftently with motives which I was not zeal. If berxfits have resulted to our count ar liberis to disregard, to return to that re. try from these fèrvices, let it always be retirement, from which I had been reluctantly membered to your praise; and as an indrawn. The strength of my inclination to ftructive example in our annals, that under do this previous to the laft election, had even circumstances in which the paslions, agita!ed led to the preparation of an address to de- in every direction, were liable to millead, clare it to you ; but mature reflection on amid appearances fometimes dubious the then perplexed and critical poiture of vicissitudes of fortune often di.couragingour affairs with foreign nations, and the in fituarions in which not unfrequently unanimous advice of persons entitled to my want of success has countenanced the spirit confidence, impelled me to abandon the of criticism:he conitancy of your fupport idea.
was the essential prop of the efforts, and I rejoice, that the state of your concerns, guarantee of the plans by which they were external as well as internal, no longer ren. effected. Profoundly penetrated with this ders the pursuit of inclination incompatible idea, I shall carry it with me to my grave, with the sentiment of duty, or propriety: as a strong incitement to unceasing vows, and am persuaded whatever partiality may that heaven may continue to you the choibe retained for my services, that in the pre- cert tokens of its beneficence that your fent circumstances of our country, you will union and brotherly affection may be per not disapprove of my determination to re- petual--that the free constitution, which is tire.
the work of your handşa may be sacredly
maintained that its administration in every first dawning of every attempt to alienate department may be ftamped with wisdom any portion of our country' from the rest, and virtuehat, in fine, the happiness of or to enfeeble the sacred rjes which now link the people of thele states, under the auspices together its varicus parts... of liberiy, may be made complete, by so For this you have every inducement of carefu! a prefei vation and fo prudent a uife Sympathy and interett. Citizens, by birth of this blesing, as will acquire to them the or choice, of a common country, that counglory of recommending it io the applause, try has a right to concentrate your affecthe affection, and adoption of every valion tions. The name of America, which bewhich is yet a Itranger to ir.
longs to you in your national capacity, must Here, perhaps, i ought to stop. But à always exalt the just pride of patriotism, folicitude for your welfare, which cannot more than any appellation derived from loend Lut with my life, and the apprehension cal discriminations. With light shades of of danger, narural to that solicitude, urge difference, you have the same religious manme, on an occasion like the present, to offer ners, habits, and political principles. You to your folemn contemplation, and to re- have in a common cause 'fought and tricommend 10 your frequent review, some umphed together; the independence and liSentiments, which are the retult of much berty you posiels are the work of joint reflection, of no inconsiderable observation, councils, and joint efforts of common danand which appear to me all important to the gers, sufferings, and successes. permanency of your feliçity as a people. But these confiderations, however power. There will be cffered to you with the more fully they address themselves to your fensifreedom, as you can only see in them the bility, are greatly outweighed by those disinterested warnings of a partirg friend, which apply more immediately to your inwho can possibly have no personal motives terest
. Here every portion of our country to bias his countel. Nor can I forget as an finds the most commanding motives for encouragement to it, your indulgent recep- carefully guarding and preserving the unica tion of my fentiinents on a foi mer and not of the whole. diffimilar occasion.
The Nortlı, in an unreltrained intercourse Inięru oven as is the love of liberty with with the South, protected by the equal laws every ligament of your hearts, no recom- of a common government, finds in the promendation of mine is necesary to fortify or duction of the latter, great additional reconfirin the attachment,
fources of maritime and commercial enterThe unity of government which confti- prize, and precious materials of manufacrutes you cne people, is also now dear to' iuiing industry. The South in the fame you. It is jurily fo: for it is a main pil. intercourse, benefiting by the agency of lar in the edifice of your real independence, the North, fees its agriculture grow, and the fupport of your tranquillity at home, and its commerce expund. Turning partly your peace abroad ; of your safety; of your into its own channes the seamen of the prosperity į of that very liberty which you North, it finds iis particular navigation in1o highly prize. But as it is easy to forelee, vigorated; and while it contributes, in difthat from different causes, and from differ- ferent ways, to nourish and encrease the geent quarters, much pains will be taken, neral mails of the national navigation, it many artifices emp.cyed, to weaken in your looks forward to the protection of a mariminds ihe conviction of this truth; as this time strength, to which itself is unequally is the point in your political fortress against adapted. The East, in a like intercourse which the batteries of internal and external with the West, already finds, and in the enemies will be molt conitantly and actively progressive improvement of interior com(though often covertly and insidiously) die munications by land and water, will more rected, it is of infinite moinent that you and inore find a valuable vent for the comthould properly estimate the immense value modities which it brings from abroad, or of your national union to your collective and manufactures at home. The Welt derives individual' happiness; that you thould che- from the East supplies requisite to its growth pilh a cordial, habitual, and immovable at- and comfort; and what is, perhaps, of still tachment to it; accultoming yourselves to greater consequence, it must of necessity owe think and speak of it as of ihe palladium of the secure enjoyment of indispensable outlets your political Tafety and prosperity; watch for its own productions, to the weight, ining for its preservation with jealous anxiety; fluence, and the future maritime itrength discountenancing whatever may suggest even of the Atlantic side of the Union, directed
"suspicion that it can in any event be aban: by an indissoluble community of interest as doned ; and indignantly frowning upon the one nation. Any other teaure by which
the West can hold this essential advantage, of the expedients of party to acquire influ. whether derived from its own separate ence within particular diltricts, is to misre. strength, or from an apoftate and unnatural present the opinions and aims of other dirconnection with any foreign power, muit tricts. You cannot field yourselves too be intrinsically precarious.
much against the jealousies and heartWhile then every part of our country burnings which spring from these misreprethus feels an immediate and particular in- fentations; they tend to render alien to terest in union, all the parts combined can each other those who ought to be bound not fail to find in the united mass of means together by fraternal affection. The inhaand efforts greater strength, greater resource, bitants of our Western country have lately proportionably greater security from exter- had an useful lesson on this head; they have nal danger, a less frequent interruption of seen, in the negociation by the executive, their peace by foreign nations ! and what is and in the unanimous ratification by the feof ineltiinable value ! they must derive nate, of the titaty with Spain, and in the from union an exemption of those broils universal fatisfaction at the event throughand wars between theinselves, which so fre- out the United States, a decisive proof how quently rflict neighbouring countries, not unfounded were the suspicions propagated tied together by the fame government; among them, of a policy in the general gowhich their own rivalships alone would be vernment and in the Atlantic States unfufficient to produce, but which oppofi:efo. friendly to ileir interests in regard to the reign alliances, attachments, and intrigues, Miffillippi : they have been witnelles to the would stimulate and embitter. Hence formation of two 'treaties, that with Great likewise they will avoid the necessity of Britain and that with Spain, which secure those overgrown military establishments, to them every thing they could desire, in which, under any form of government are respect to our foreign relations, toward inauspicious to liberty, and which are to be confirming their prosperity! Will it not regarded as particulariy hoftile to republi- be their wisdom to rely, for the preservacan liberty : in this sense it is, that your tion of these advantages, on the union by union ought to be considered as a main which they were procured? Will they not prop of your liberty, and that the love of henceforth be deaf to those advisers, if such ihe one ought to endear to you the prefer- there are, who would fever them from their vation of the oiher.
brethren, and connect them with aliens ? These considerations speak a persuasive To the efficacy and permanency "language to every réficeting and virtuous union, a government for the whole is indirmind, and exhibit the continuance of the pensable. No alliance, however strici, between union as a primary object of patriotic de- the parts, can be an adequate subititare; they fire. Is there a doubt, whether a common must inevitahly experience the inftadiion's government can embrace fo large a Sphere? and interruptions which ali alliances, in all Let experience folve it. To listen to mere times, have experienced. Sensible of this speculations in such a case were criminal. momentous truth, you have improved upWe ale authorised to hope that a proper or on your first essay, by the adoption of a ganization of the whole, with the auxiliary constitution of government better calcu. agency of governments for the respective lated than your former for an intimate lubdivisions, will afford a happy iffue to the union, and for the efficacious management experiment. It is well worth a fair and full of your common concerns. experiment. With such powerful and ob- ment, the offspring of our own choice, unvious motives to union, affecting all parts influenced and unawet, adopted upon full of our country, while experience hall not investigation and mature deliberation, conhave demonstrated its impracticability, there pletely free in its principles, in the distribuwill always be reason to difturb the patriot- tion of its powers, uniting security with ism of those who in any quarter may endea. energy, and containing within itself a provour to weaken its bands.
vision for its own amendment, has a just In contemplating the causes which may
claim to your
confider.ce and your fupport. disturb our union, it occurs as matter of Respect for its authority, compliance with very serious concern, that any ground its laws, acquiescence in its measures, are should have been furnished for characteri- duties enjoined by the fundamental maxims zing parties by geographical discriminations of true liberty. The basis of our political fyf
Northern and Southern-Atlantic and tems is the right of the people to make and Western ; whence designing men may en
to alter their constitutions of government; deavour to excite a belief that there is a real but the constitution which at any time exdifference of local interests and views. One ists, till changed by an explicit and authen.
tic act of the whole people, is Sacredly obli- ment of as much vigour as is consistent gatory upon all. The very idea of the with the perfect security of liberty, is indirpower and the right of the people to efta. pensable. Liberty itself will find in such a blish government presupposes the duty of government, with powers properly diftrievery individual to obey the established go buted and adjusted, its furelt guardian. It vernment.
is, indeed, little else than a name, where All obitructions to the execution of the the government is too feeble to withstand! Jaws, all combinations and affociations, un- the enterprizes or factions, to confine each der whatever plausible character, with the member of the society within the limits prereal design to direct, controul, counteract, fcribed by the laws, and to maintain all in or awe the regular deliberation and action the secure and tranquil enjoyment of the of the conftituted authorities, are deftruc rights of person and property. tive of this fundamental principle, and of
I have already intimated to you the danfatal tendency: They serve to organize ger of parties in the fate, with particular fa&tion, to give it an artificial and ex. reference to the foundirg of them on gec Traordinary force to put in the place of graphical discriminations. Let me now the delegated wilt of the nation, the will of take a more comprehensive view, and warn a party,
often a small but artful and enter you in the molt folemn manner againt the prizing minor ty of the community; and, baneful effects of the spirit of party, geneaccording to the alternate triumphs of dif- rally. ferent parties, to make the public admini Íhis fpirit, unfortunately, is inseparable Atration ihe mirror of the ill-concerted and from our nature, having its root in the incongruous projects of faction, rather than Atrongelt passions of the human mind. It the organ of confitent and wholesome plans, exists under different hapes in all governo digested hy common councils, and modified mers, more or less stifled, controlled, or by mutual intereits.
repressed; but in those of the popular form, However combinations or associations of it is seen in its greatest rankness, and is the above description may now and then an truly their worlt enemy. fwer popular ends, they are likely, in the The alternate domination of one fa&tion course of time and things, to become potent over another, Aarpened by the spirit of reengines, by which cunning, ambitious, and venge, natural to party dissenlion, which in unprincipled men will be enabled to fub- different ages and countries has perpetrated vert the power of the penple, and to usurp the most horrid enormities, is itself a molt to themselves the reins of government, de horrid despotism : but this leads at length, Kroying afterward the very engines which to a more formal and permanent despotism have lifted them to unjust dominion. The disorders and miferies which relult,
Toward the preservation of your go- gradually incline the minds of men to seek vernment, and ihe permanency of your fecurity and repose in the absolute power
of present happy state, it is requisite, nct only an individual ; and sooner or later the chief that you steadily discountenance irregular of some prevailing faction, more able or oppositions to iis acknowledged authority, more fortunate thạn his compe:itors, turns but also that you refilt with care the spirit this disposition to the purposes of his own of innovation
its principles, however elevation, on the ruins of public liberty. pretexts. One method of af.
Without looking forward to an extrefault may be, to effect in the forms of the mity of this kind (which nevertheless ought conftitution alterations which will impair not to be entirely out of fight) the comthe energy of the fystem, and thus to under
mon and continual mischiefs of the spirit mine what cannot be directly overthrown. of party are sufficient to make it the interest In all the changes to which you may be in- and dury of a wise people to discourage and vited, rensember that time and habit are at restrain it. Jealt as necessary to fix the true character It ferves always to distract the public of governments as of other human institu- councils and enfeeble the public adinini. tions that experience is the forest standard, Itration. It agitates the community with by which to test the real tendency of the ill-founded jealoufies and false alarms existing conftitution of a country--that fa- kindles the animosity of one part againk cility in changes upon the credit of mere another, foments occasionally riot and in.. hypothesis and opinion, from the endless furrection. It opens the door to foreign variety of hypothesis and opinion ; and, le influence and corruption, which finds a fac member, especially, that for the efficient cilitated access to the government itself management of your common interests, in through the channels of party, passions, a country fo extensive as ours, a govern. Thus the policy and will of one country
are subjected to the policy and will of an- vain would that man claim the tribute of other
patriotism, who should labour to subvert There is an opinion that parties in free ihese great pillars of human happiness, these countries are useful checks upon the admi- firmest props of men and citizens. The nistration of the government, and serve to mere politician, equally with the pious man, keep alive the spirit of liberty. This within ought to respect and to cherith them. A certain limits is probably true : and in go. volume could not trace all their connection vernments of a monarchical cast, patriotism with private and public felicity. Let it be may look with indulgence, if not with fa- fimply asked, where is the security for provour, upon the spirit of party. But in perty, for reputation, for life, if the lense those of the popular charaéter, in govern- of religious obligation desert the oaths ments, purely elective, it is a spirit not to which are the instruments of investigation be encouraged. From their natural tendency, in courts of justice? And let us with cauit is certain there will always be enough of tion indulge the supposition, that morality that spirit for every falutary purpose. And can be maintained without religion. Whatthere being constant danger of excess, the ever may be conceded to the influence of re. effects ought to be, by force of public opi- fined education on minds of peculiar strucnion, to mitigate and assuage it. A fire ture, reason and experience both forbid us not to be quenched ; it demands an uniform to expect that national morality can previgilance to prevent its bursting into a vail in exclusion of religious principle. Aame, left, initead of warming, it Thould It is fubftantially true, that virtue or moconsume.
rality is a necessary spring of popular goIt is important likewise, that the habits vernment. The rule indeed extends with of thinking in a free country, should in more or less force to every species of free fpire caution in those entrusted with its ad- government. Who that is a sincere friend ministration, to confine themselves within to it, can look with indifference upon attheir refpective constitutional spheres, avoid- tempts to shake the foundation of the fan ing in the exercise of the powers of one de- bric? partment to encroach upon another. The Promote, then, as an object of primary Ipirit of encroachment tends to consolidate importance, institutions for the general dif. the powers of all departments in one, and fulion of knowledge. In proportion as the thus to create, whatever the form of go- structure of government gives force to pubvernment, a real despotism. A just esti- lic opinion, it is essential that public opimate of that love of power, and proneness nion should be enlightened. to abuse it, which predominates in the hu As a very important source of strength man heart, is sufficient to satisfy us of the and security cherith public credit. One metruth of this position. The necessity of re- thod of preserving it is to use it as sparingly ciprocal checks in the exercise of political as poflible; avoiding occasions of expence power, by dividing and distributing it into by cultivating peace, but remembering also different depositaries, and confituting each that timely disbursements to prepare for the guardian of the public weal against in danger frequently prevent much greater disa vasions by the others, has been evinced by burlements to repel it; avoiding, likewise, experiments ancient and modern; some of the accumulation of debt; not only by them in our country and under our own Munning occasions of expence, but by vieyes. To preserve them must be as necef- gorous exertions in time of peace to difSary as to institute them. If, in the opi. charge the debts which unavoidable wars nion of the people, the distribution or mo may have occafioned, not ungenerously dification of the constitutional power be in throwing upon posterity the burden which any particular wrong, let it be corrected by we ourselves ought to bear. The execu, an amendment in the way which the con. tion of these maxims belongs to your rea ftitution designates. But let there be no presentatives, but it is necessary that public change by usurpation ; for though this, in opinion thould co-operate. To facilitate one instance, may be the inftrument of to them the performance of their duty, it is good, it is the customary weapon by which elsential that you thould practically bear in free governments are destroyed. The pre- mind, that toward the payment of debts cedent must always greatly overbalance in there must be a revenue ; that to have a permanent evil any partial or transient be- revenue, there must be taxes; that no taxes nefit which the use can at any time yield. can be devised which are not more or less
Of all the dispositions and habits which inconvenient and unpleasant; that the inlead to political prosperity, religion and trinsic embarrassment inseparable from the morality are indispensable supports. In Lelection of their proper objects (which is