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the giving us provocation; when we may choose peace or war, as our interest, guided by justice, shall counsel.
Why forego the advantages of so peculiar a situation? Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground? Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humour, or caprice.
It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances, with any portion of the foreign world; so far, I mean, as we are now at liberty to do it; for let me not be understood as capable of patronizing infidelity to existing engagements. I hold the maxim no less applicable to public than to private affairs, that honesty is always the best policy. I repeat it, therefore, let those engagements be observed in their genuine sense. But in my opinion it is unnecessary, and would be unwise to extend them.
Taking care always to keep ourselves, by suitable establishments, in a respectable defensive posture, we may safely trust to temporary alliances for extraordinary emergencies.
Harmony and a liberal intercourse with all nations, are recommended by policy, humanity, and interest. But even our commercial policy should hold an equal and impartial hand; neither seeking nor granting exclusive favours or preferences; consulting the natural course of things; diffusing and diversifying by gentle means the streams of commerce, but forcing nothing : establishing, with powers so disposed, in order to give trade a stable course, to define the rights of our merchants, and to enable the government to support them, conventional rales of intercourse, the best that present circumstances and mutual opinion will permit, but temporary, and liable to be from time to time abandoned or varied, as experience and circumstances shall dictate; constantly keeping in view, that it is folly in one nation to look for disinterested favours from another; that it must pay with a portion of its independence for whatever it may accept under that character; that by such acceptance, it may place itself in the condition of having given equivalents for nominal favours, and yet of being reproached with ingratitude for not giving more. There can be no greater error than to expect, or calculate upon real favours from nation to nation. It is an illusion which experience must cure—which a just pride ought to discard.
In offering to you, my countrymen, these counsels of an old and affectionate friend, I dare not hope they will make the strong and lasting impression I could wish; that they will control the usual current of the passions, or prevent our nation from running the course which bas hitherto marked the destiny of nations! but, if I may even flatter myself, that they may be productive of some partial benefit, some occasional good; that they may now and then recur to moderate the fury of party spirit; to warn against the mischiefs of foreign intrigue; to guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism; this hope will be a full recompense for the solicitude for your welfare, by which they have been dictated.
How far, in the discharge of my official duties, I have been guided by the principles which have been delineated, the public records and other evidences of my conduct must witness to you and to the world. To myself, the assurance of my own conscience is, that I have at least believed myself to be guided by them.
In relation to the still subsisting war in Europe, my proclamation of the 22d of April, 1793, is the index to my plan. 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.
After a deliberate examination, with the aid of the best lights I could obtain, I was well satisfied that our country, under all the circumstances of the case, had a right to take, and was bound in duty and interest, to take a neutral position. Having taken it, I determined, as far as should depend upon me, to maintain it with moderation, perseverance and firmness. The considerations which respect the right to hold this conduct, it is not necessary on this occasion to detail. I will only observe, that according to my understanding of the matter, that right, so far from being denied by any of the belligerent powers, has been virtually admitted by all.
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.
The inducements of interest for observing that conduct will be best referred to your own reflections and experience. With me, a predominant motive has been, to endeavour to gain time to our country to settle and mature its yet recent institutions, and to progress, without interruption, to that degree of strength and consistency, which is necessary to give it, humanly speaking, the command of its own fortunes.
Though, in reviewing the incidents of my administration, I am unconscious of intentional error, I am nevertheless too sensible of my defects, not to think it probable that I may have committed many errors.
Whatever they may be, 1 fervently beseech the Almighty to avert or mitigate the evils to which they may tend. 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.
Relying on its kindness in this as in other things, and actu ated by that fervent love towards it which is so natural to a man who views in it the native soil of himself and his progenitors for several generations, I anticipate with pleasing expectation that retreat, in which I promise myself to realize, without alloy, the sweet enjoyment of partaking, in the midst of my fellow-citizens, the benign influence of good laws under a free government; the ever favourite object of my heart, and the happy reward, as I trust, of our mutual cares, labours, and dangers.
G. WASHINGTON, United States, 17th September, 1796.
WASHINGTON, THE SIGNERS, AND PATRICK HENRY.
George WASHINGTON_born in the county of Westmoreland, Virginia, on the 22d day of February, A. D. 1732. He lost his father at an early age, and was indebted to the wisdom of his mother for the foundation of his subsequent greatness and un paralled usefulness—died on the 14th of December, A. D. 1799, at Mount Vernon, situated on the west bank of the Potomac, sixteen miles below the City of Washington. October 7, 1837, his remains were removed to a new vault, near the old one, and placed in a highly finished marble sarcophagus, constructed and presented by Mr. Struthers of this city. They were in a state of preservation, unprecedented in this climate.
In life, taken as a grand whole, he has had no equal. He was like the blazing luminary in the firmament, eclipsing the lights of other days and of his own time, with the more brilliant resulgence and greater volume of his own. His triumphant career crowned him with fresher and greener laurels, with a richer and nobler greatness, than can be justly claimed for any other man of ancient or modern history. A sacred halo surrounds his name, his fame is imperishable, his god-like actions will be rehearsed by millions yet unborn, his memory will be cherished and revered through all future time.
Adams, Samuel-born at Boston, Mass., Sept. 22, 1722. He was educated at Harvard college, for the gospel ministry, but was diverted from this profession by the event of the American Revolution—died, October 3, 1803.
ADAMS, John-born at Quincy, Mass., Oct. 19, 0. S., 30, N. S., 1735. He graduated at Harvard college, at the age of twentydied, July 4, 1826, about four o'clock in the afternoon, a few hours subsequent to the demise of Thomas Jefferson.
BARTLETT, Josiah-born at Amesbury, Mass., in Nov. 1729. He received an academical education, studied medicine under Dr. Ordway, became a successful practitioner--died, May 19, 1795.
BRAXTON, CARTER—born at Newington, Va., September 10, 1736, was educated at the college of William and Mary-died, of paralysis, October 10, 1797.
CARROLL, CHARLES, of Carrollton-born at Annapolis, Md., September 20, 1737—was a man of liberal views, pure patriotism, and universal charity. He died, November 14, 1832.
CLARK, ABRAHAM-born at Elizabethtown, N.J., February 15, 1726. He was a self-taught man, with a clear head and good heart-died suddenly, from a stroke of the sun, in June, 1794.
Clymer, George-born in Philadelphia, in 1739. He lost his father at the age of seven, and was brought up by his uncle, William Coleman. He was a man of great originality, a virtuoso, an amateur, a logician, a mathematician, and a philosopherdied, January 24, 1813.
Chase, Samuel_born in Somerset county, Md., April 17, 1741. He was a lawyer by profession, a man of warm temperament, bold, open, independent, honest, patriotic, and pure in motive. He headed the party that commenced the burning of stamped paper-died, June 19, 1811.
ELLERY, WILLIAM-born at Newport, R. I., Dec. 22, 1727. He was educated at Cambridge college, and graduated at the age of twenty. He was a successful practitioner at the bar, a man of energy and magnanimity of soul—died, Feb. 15, 1820.
Floyd, WILLIAM-born at Suffolk county, N. Y., Dec. 17, 1734. He was liberally educated, enjoyed an ample fortune, was a man of great urbanity and of an amiable disposition died, after four days' illness, August 1, 1821.
FRANKLIN, BENJAMIN—born, Jan. 17, 1706—was a self-made man, a sage, patriot, and philosopher. He was the first man who made a plaything of lightning, and invented the conductor of that powerful element—died at Philadelphia, April 17, 1790,
GERRY, ELBRIDGE-born at Marblehead, Mass., July 17,1744 He was a graduate of Harvard college, was in the front rank of