Washington's Farewell Address: 1796
Page 2:  On Unity

Here, perhaps, I ought to stop. But a solicitude for your welfare, which cannot end but with my life, and the
apprehension of danger, natural to that solicitude, urge me, on an occasion like the present, to offer to your
solemn contemplation, and to recommend to your frequent review, some sentiments which are the result of much
reflection, of no inconsiderable observation, and which appear to me all-important to the permanency of your
felicity as a people. 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. Nor can
I forget, as an encouragement to it, your indulgent reception of my sentiments on a former and not dissimilar
occasion. Interwoven as is the love of liberty with every ligament of your hearts, no recommendation of mine is
necessary to fortify or confirm the attachment.

The unity of government which constitutes you one people is also now dear to you. It is justly so, for it is a main
pillar in the edifice of your real independence, the support of your tranquility at home, your peace abroad; of your
safety; of your prosperity; of that very liberty which you so highly prize. But as it is easy to foresee that, from
different causes and from different quarters, much pains will be taken, many artifices employed to weaken in your
minds the conviction of this truth; as this is the point in your political fortress against which the batteries of internal
and external enemies will be most constantly and actively (though often covertly and insidiously) directed, it is of
infinite moment that you should properly estimate the immense value of your national union to your collective and
individual happiness; that you should cherish a cordial, habitual, and immovable attachment to it; accustoming
yourselves to think and speak of it as of the palladium of your political safety and prosperity; watching for its
preservation with jealous anxiety; discountenancing whatever may suggest even a suspicion that it can in any
event be abandoned; and indignantly frowning upon the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of
our country from the rest, or to enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together the various parts.

For this you have every inducement of sympathy and interest. Citizens, by birth or choice, of a common country,
that country has a right to concentrate your affections. The name of American, which belongs to you in your
national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of patriotism more than any appellation derived from local
discriminations. With slight shades of difference, you have the same religion, manners, habits, and political
principles. You have in a common cause fought and triumphed together; the independence and liberty you
possess are the work of joint counsels, and joint efforts of common dangers, sufferings, and successes.

But these considerations, however powerfully they address themselves to your sensibility, are greatly outweighed
by those which apply more immediately to your interest. Here every portion of our country finds the most
commanding motives for carefully guarding and preserving the union of the whole.

The North, in an unrestrained intercourse with the South, protected by the equal laws of a common government,
finds in the productions of the latter great additional resources of maritime and commercial enterprise and
precious materials of manufacturing industry.
The South, in the same intercourse, benefiting by the agency of the North, sees its agriculture grow and its
commerce expand. Turning partly into its own channels the seamen of the North, it finds its particular navigation
invigorated; and, while it contributes, in different ways, to nourish and increase the general mass of the national
navigation, it looks forward to the protection of a maritime strength, to which itself is unequally adapted. The East,
in a like intercourse with the West, already finds, and in the progressive improvement of interior communications
by land and water, will more and more find a valuable vent for the commodities which it brings from abroad, or
manufactures at home. The West derives from the East supplies requisite to its growth and comfort, and, what is
perhaps of still greater consequence, it must of necessity owe the secure enjoyment of indispensable outlets for
its own productions to the weight, influence, and the future maritime strength of the Atlantic side of the Union,
directed by an indissoluble community of interest as one nation. Any other tenure by which the West can hold this
essential advantage, whether derived from its own separate strength, or from an apostate and unnatural
connection with any foreign power, must be intrinsically precarious.

While, then, every part of our country thus feels an immediate and particular interest in union, all the parts
combined cannot fail to find in the united mass of means and efforts greater strength, greater resource,
proportionably greater security from external danger, a less frequent interruption of their peace by foreign
nations; and, what is of inestimable value, they must derive from union an exemption from those broils and wars
between themselves, which so frequently afflict neighboring countries not tied together by the same governments,
which their own rival ships alone would be sufficient to produce, but which opposite foreign alliances, attachments,
and intrigues would stimulate and embitter. 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. In this sense it is that your union ought to be considered as a
main prop of your liberty, and that the love of the one ought to endear to you the preservation of the other.

These considerations speak a persuasive language to every reflecting and virtuous mind, and exhibit the
continuance of the Union as a primary object of patriotic desire. Is there a doubt whether a common government
can embrace so large a sphere? Let experience solve it. To listen to mere speculation in such a case were
criminal. We are authorized to hope that a proper organization of the whole with the auxiliary agency of
governments for the respective subdivisions, will afford a happy issue to the experiment. It is well worth a fair and
full experiment. With such powerful and obvious motives to union, affecting all parts of our country, while
experience shall not have demonstrated its impracticability, there will always be reason to distrust the patriotism of
those who in any quarter may endeavor to weaken its bands.

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. One of the expedients of party to acquire influence within particular districts is to
misrepresent the opinions and aims of other districts. You cannot shield yourselves too much against the
jealousies and heartburnings which spring from these misrepresentations; 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; 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, 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 Great Britain, and that with Spain, which secure to them
everything 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 henceforth be deaf to those advisers, if such there are, who would sever them from their brethren and
connect them with aliens?
Page 3: On The Constitution
Page 1: Retirement
Creative Commons License
SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
The Illinois Conservative