Manuscript/Mixed Material George Washington, September 17, 1796, Farewell Address

About this Item

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 restrain 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 access39 to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy40 and and [ sic ] 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 probably true, and in Governments of a Monarchical cast Patriotism may look with endulgence, if not with layout, 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 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, lest41 instead of warming it should consume.

39. The words “through the channels of party passions. It frequently subjects the policy of our own country to” are crossed out.

40. The words “of some foreign country, and even enslaves the will of our Government to the will of some foreign Government.” are crossed out.

41. The words “it should not only warm but” are crossed out.

About this Item

Title
George Washington Papers, Series 2, Letterbooks 1754-1799: Letterbook 24, April 3, 1793 - March 3, 1797
Contributor Names
Washington, George, 1732-1799 (Author)
Created / Published
Subject Headings
-  United States
-  Manuscripts
Genre
Manuscripts
Call Number/Physical Location
series: Series 2, Letterbooks 1754-1799
MSS 44693: Reel 024
Source Collection
George Washington papers
Repository
Manuscript Division
Online Format
image
online text
pdf

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The George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress

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The Diaries of George Washington

The following statement is made by the Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia, the copyright owners of The Diaries of George Washington.

Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1976-79; a series of The Papers of George Washington. Copyright 1976-79 by the Rector and Visitors of University of Virginia. Used by permission of the publisher. The publisher is not responsible for the correctness and completeness of the images and texts as they appear in this online collection.

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Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Washington, George. George Washington Papers, Series 2, Letterbooks -1799: Letterbook 24, April 3, 1793 - March 3, 1797. 1793. Manuscript/Mixed Material. https://www.loc.gov/item/mgw2.024/.

APA citation style:

Washington, G. (1793) George Washington Papers, Series 2, Letterbooks -1799: Letterbook 24, April 3, 1793 - March 3, 1797. [Manuscript/Mixed Material] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/mgw2.024/.

MLA citation style:

Washington, George. George Washington Papers, Series 2, Letterbooks -1799: Letterbook 24, April 3, 1793 - March 3, 1797. 1793. Manuscript/Mixed Material. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/mgw2.024/>.

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