As avenues to foreign influence in innumerable ways, such attachments are particularly alarming to the truly enlightened and independent patriot. Observe good faith and justice towards all nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all.
Toward the preservation of your Government and the permanency 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 innovation upon its principles, however specious the pretexts.
He emphasizes how important it is for the government to be careful in choosing the Washingtons farewell address that will be taxed, but also reminds the American people that, no matter how hard the government tries, there will never be a tax which is not inconvenient, unpleasant, or seemingly an insult to those who must pay it.
These will be offered to you with the more freedom as you can only see in them the disinterested warnings of a parting friend, who can possibly have no personal motive to bias his counsel. The experiment, at least, is recommended by every sentiment which ennobles human nature.
I shall also carry with me the hope that my country will never cease to view them with indulgence, and that, after forty-five years of my life dedicated to its service with an upright zeal, the faults of incompetent abilities will be consigned to oblivion, as myself must soon be to the mansions of rest.
But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. From their natural tendency, it is certain there will always be enough of that spirit for every salutary purpose. Because for all our outward differences, we all share the same proud title: 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 geographical discriminations, Northern and Southern, Atlantic and Western; whence designing men may endeavor to excite a belief that there is a real difference of local interests and views.
As a very important source of strength and security, cherish public credit. It is substantially true that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The inhabitants of our Western country have lately had a useful lesson on this head. Union promised "greater strength, greater resource, [and] proportionately greater security from danger" than any state or region could enjoy alone.
It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest. But in my opinion it is unnecessary and would be unwise to extend them.
Sanctioned by your approving voice, and by that of your representatives in both houses of Congress, the spirit of that measure has continually governed me, uninfluenced by any attempts to deter or divert me from it. Hence, likewise, they will avoid the necessity of those overgrown military establishments which, under any form of government, are inauspicious to liberty, and which are to be regarded as particularly hostile to republican liberty.
It leads also Washingtons farewell address concessions to the favorite nation of privileges 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.
In the execution of such a plan nothing is more essential than 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.
But that jealousy, to be useful, must be impartial, else it becomes the instrument of the very influence to be avoided, instead of a defense against it. Washington departed the presidency and the nation's then capital city of Philadelphia in September with a characteristic sense of how to take dramatic advantage of the moment.
To listen to mere speculation in such a case were criminal. Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. The duty of holding a neutral conduct may be inferred, without any thing more, from the obligation which justice and humanity impose on every nation, in cases in which it is free to act, to maintain inviolate the relations of peace and amity towards other nations.
And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion.Washington’s Farewell Address was printed by David C. Claypoole’s American Daily Advertiser (Philadelphia), on 19 September Neither the proof sheet that Claypoole made for Washington’s examination nor the copy that Claypoole worked from in making the proof sheet has been found.
The strength of my inclination to do this, previous to the last election, had even led to the preparation of an address to declare it to you; but mature reflection on the then perplexed and critical posture of our affairs with foreign nations, and the unanimous advice of persons entitled to my confidence, impelled me to abandon the idea.
Washington’s Farewell Address, To announce his decision not to seek a third term as President, George Washington presented his Farewell Address in a newspaper article September 17, A free, easy-to-understand summary of Washington's Farewell Address that covers all of the key plot points in the document.
Citation: Washington's farewell address.
New York, New York Public Library, pg. ; Courtesy of the Milstein Division of United States History, Local History & Genealogy, The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations.
George Washington's Farewell Address announced that he would not seek a third term as president. Originally published in David C. Claypoole's American Daily Advertiser on September 19,Washington devoted much of the address to domestic issues of the time, warning against the rise of political parties and sectionalism as a threat to national unity.Download