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which has at any time been brought into | zens by whose patriotic efforts, especially, view. But the Constitution is the guide the free institutions of the country had which I can never abandon. It has as- been obtained, and by whose right-minded signed to the President the power of mak- principles only, they could securely be ing treaties, with the advice and consent of maintained. To no such constituency had the Senate. It was doubtless supposed, that the Constitution given authority to comthese two branches of government would pel the chief magistrate in the performcombine, without passion, and with the ance of his duty. Therefore, after harbest means of information, those facts and ing obtained all the information within principles, upon which the success of our his reach, and regarding impartially the foreiga relations will always depend; that true interests of his country, his whole they ought not to substitute for their own country, and nothing but his country, conviction the opinions of others, or to Washington always took the responsiseek truth through any channel but that bility of shaping his official conduct acof a temperate and well-formed investi- cording to the dictates of the laws, of gation. Under this persuasion, I have re- his own best judgment, and of a pure solved on the manner of executing the duty conscience. before me. To the high responsibility at- But the perplexing trial to which the tached to it, I freely submit; and you, British treaty subjected the head of the gentlemen, are at liberty to make these government did not end with its ratificasentiments known as the grounds of my tion.
tion. The opposition, after having burned procedure. While I feel the most lively Mr. Jay in effigy for negotiating it, charged gratitude for the many instances of appro- the Senate with downright corruption for bation from my country, I can no other approving it, and pronounced Washington wise deserve it, than by obeying the dic-a dotard and a dupe for signing it, had yet tates of my conscience.” Washington one more chance of success, and one more always gave a courteous reception and a opportunity for calumny. The treaty had courteous reply to the expressions of pub- been ratified and published as the law of lic opinion, which, from time to time, were the land, but the action of the House of made to him respecting the manner in Representatives was still necessary for which he ought to fulfil the duties of the carrying it into effect. The House, therepresidency. He cheerfully received in fore, had it in its power to repudiate the formation from all sources. He sincerely act of the other branches of the governdesired to know the real wishes of his felment, by which the faith of the nation low citizens, and so to conduct himself in had been pledged, according to the prooffice as to obtain the approbation of the visions of the Constitution, to a foreign wisest and the best of them. But to ascer- power and before the world. This it was tain what were the settled convictions of proposed to do. Great activity was disthe great body of the American people, he played by the leaders of the party to cause looked first and chiefly to the Constitution, petitions to be sent in to the House of which they themselves had made and or- Representatives, praying that the treaty dained, through the instrumentality of might not be carried into execution. Emminds the most sagacious, the most pa boldened by the result of these efforts, the triotic, and the most virtuous in the land. members of the House, opposed to the Not to the resolves of the Democratic | Administration, proceeded to carry out societies, not to the resolutions of casual their plan by calling on the President for assemblages of citizens, not to the coun- copies of all the documents relating to sels of ambitious leaders of party, or the negotiation. This was done with the to the declamations of violent stirrers-up avowed design of enabling the House to of the populace, not to momentary pas- bring the treaty into judgment, and to desions or to inveterate prejudices, to local cide, on its merits, whether or not to wishes or personal caprices, to new-fangled sanction it. The doctrine set up was, in opinions or abstract theories, to foreign the words of Mr. Jefferson, addressed to wiles or domestic treason, did Washing- William B. Giles, “that when a treaty is ton look to learn what was the common made, involving matters confided by the Consense and will of that great mass of citi- stitution to the three branches of the Legis
lature conjointly, the Representatives are casion for representing him as not respectas free as the President and the Senate ing the wishes of the people expressed by were, to consider whether the national | their agents in the legislature, and furnish interest requires or forbids their giving the a pretext for the insinuation that circumforms and the force of law to the articles stances had occurred in the negotiation over which they have a power.” The ex- which the Administration feared to have pediency of exercising this power, in the exposed. But, on the other hand, Washpresent instance, was also urged from ington very well knew that an attempt had Monticello, in a letter to a fellow-laborer in been expressly made in the Convention the Senate, Colonel Monroe, on the ground which framed the Constitution, to confer that, “on the precedent now to be set, upon the House of Representatives a share will depend the future construction of our of the treaty-making power, as now claimed Constitution, and whether the powers of by it, and been defeated. The terms of legislation shall be transferred from the the Constitution confining this power exPresident, Senate and House of Repre-clusively to the President and Senate were sentatives to the President and Senate, plain and explicit. The general policy of and Piamingo or any other Indian, Alge- this provision was perfectly clear to his rine or other chief. It is fortunate that the mind. The precedents already established first decision is to be in a case so palpably by the action of the House, in carrying atrocious, as to have been predetermined into effect treaties before made without by all America.” Equally earnest were their co-operation, could not be disputed. Mr. Jefferson's representations of the duty Following, therefore, the simple direction devolving upon the popular branch of the adopted by him in signing the treaty, that legislature, addressed to one of its leaders, “there is but one straight course, and that Mr. Madison. “I see not much harm is to seek truth and pursue it steadily," in annihilating the whole treaty-making he refused to comply with the request of power, except as to making peace. If the Representatives. He gave
his reasons you decide in favor of your right to refuse for his refusal, concluding with the words co-operation in any case of treaty, I should following : “As, therefore, it is perfectly wonder on what occasion it is to be used, clear to my understanding, that the asif not in one where the rights, the inter- sent of the House of Representatives is ests, the honor and faith of our nation are not necessary to the validity of a treaty ; so grossly sacrificed; where a faction has as the treaty with Great Britain exhibits, entered into a conspiracy with the enemies in itself, all the objects requiring legislaof their country to chain down the legis- tive provision, and on these the papers lature at the feet of both; when the whole called for can throw no light; and as it is mass of your constituents have condemned essential to the due administration of the this work in the most unequivocal manner, government, that the boundaries fixed by and are looking to you as their last hope the Constitution between the different deto save them from the effects of the ava- partments, should be preserved; a just rice and the corruption of the first agent, regard to the Constitution and to the duty the revolutionary machinations, and the of my office, under all the circumstances incomprehensible acquiescence of the only of this case, forbids a compliance with honest man who has assented to it. I your request.' wish that his honesty and his political Thus did Washington, desirous as he errors may not furnish a second occasion was of gaining the approbation of his to exclaim, Curse on his virtues, they countrymen, put his whole popularity to have undone his country.”” The call for hazard, rather than swerve, but a hair's the papers, thus strongly advised, was breadth, from the line of duty. The remade; and being sustained by a large ward of his well-doing followed sooner majority in the House, and by its apparent than was expected. After time had been popularity with the people, placed Wash- given for fully discussing and reflecting ington in a delicate position. If taking upon the treaty, it turned out that the the opposition party a second time by noise of the partisans was not the voice of surprise, he should refuse to comply with the country. The yeomanry of the land *he request of the House, it might give oc- aroused at length by the general vociferation, and still more by the firmness mani- | public career. One great duty still refested by Washington amid the violence mained to be done. It was to give his of adversaries, and the silence of friends, parting counsels to the country which he for the moment overpowered, took their had so truly loved and cherished, served turn at petitioning, and sent into the House and saved. such an array of names, as supported by But the Farewell Address of the Father the eloquence of Fisher Ames, so far of his country is still so generally and broke down the spirit of the opposition as affectionately kept in the memory of the to obtain a partial withdrawal of the pre- | American people, that it is not necessary tensions of the Representatives, and the here to dwell on its doctrines. They were passage, by a small majority, of the neces- the same as the principles of his Adminissary laws for carrying the treaty into oper-tration, which we have endeavored briefly ation.
to delineate. With a wisdom which time This last and crowning measure of the has hallowed, while it has not surpassed, foreign policy of the Administration, put he urged first upon his countrymen the off the war with Great Britain until the importance of the union of the States, year 1812.
If it furnished a pretext for saying, “ It is of infinite moment, that you those outrages of the French government should properly estimate the immense on American commerce and American value of your national union to your colcitizens, which afterwards jeopardized the lective and individual happiness ; that you peace of the country, it was only owing to should cherish a cordial, habitual, and the culpable backwardness of Mr. Monroe immovable attachment to it; accustoming to explain the views of the Administration yourselves to think and speak of it as of in negotiating a treaty to which he was the palladium of your political safety and himself opposed, together with that reck- prosperity ; watching for its preservation less disregard of right, and thirst for with jealous anxiety; discountenancing plunder, which characterized the rise and whatever may suggest even a suspicion, fall of what was called the Republic of that it can in any event be abandoned ; France. The long wished for period, and indignantly frowning upon the first therefore had now arrived, when the new dawning of every attempt to alienate any ly launched vessel of the American State, portion of our country from the rest, or to having been safely conducted out of port, enfeeble the sacred ties which now link and ridden out the storms, not a spar together the various parts." Besides these gone, which had greeted her appearance means for preserving the unity of the naon the ocean she was destined so proudly tion, Washington habitually insisted upon to sail, the pilot felt at liberty to leave the duty of every citizen to stand by the the helm. It was the wish, it is believed, Constitution, and the government estabof a large majority of the people that lished under it, respecting its authority, Washington should continue in office still complying with its laws, and discounteanother term. He was pressed by nu- nancing not only all acts of direct dismerous solicitations to do so. But the obedience, all associations designed to critical period of the national affairs, which counteract or control the action of the conhad induced him to accept a second elec- stituted authorities, but also that spirit of tion, was overpassed. Neither Mr. Jeffer- innovation, which, under the forms of law, son nor any one else any longer “trembled” might insidiously undermine those great for the success of the experiment of self- pillars of the State, which it could not government. He had even gone so far presume directly to overthrow. Against as to declare, two years before, that the the baneful effects of party spirit, and the President was “getting into his dotage.” insidious wiles of foreign influence, he also But it was in the prime of a vigor which raised his warning voice. Would that it death alone could abate, although more had been better heeded! The danger, wearied, indeed, by the contests and too, of a despotic usurpation of power by calumnies of party than when he had be any single department of government enfore retired from service against the ene- croaching upon the others, was pointed mies of his country in the field, that out by the President, who never but once Washington now prepared to close up his applied his veto ; and also, of becoming
entangled in European alliances, by him | well to govern it. Fully convinced that who founded the American policy of neu- the character of the government would trality, as independent as peaceful. “I ever depend essentially upon the character want an American character, that the pow- of those who administered it, Washington ers of Europe may be convinced that we was in favor of a Wittmagemot or rule of act for ourselves, and not for others,” said Wise Men, statesmen thoroughly trained Washington, on another occasion; and in the school of learning and the school of this was the burden of his present coun- experience, and such as could not be exsels. Bui as it was not by the name of pected to spring up spontaneously out of Repudiators, that he wished his country- the earth, like demagogues and mushmen to be known among the nations, he rooms. The great importance of a pure did not fail to say to them, with his last native literature in shaping and elevating words, "cherish public credit.” Pay your the current opinions, the distinctive chardebts, even to the last half-penny, provide acter, the permanent policy and final dessufficient and permanent revenues, consent tiny of a people, was highly estimated by to taxation, were maxims with this states- Washington ; nor could his estimate have man, whose mind was sufficiently unsophis- been lower, if, from this point of time, he ticated to see a distinction between right could trace back the destructive career of
An instance is on record, French revolution to the licentious school showing that Washington could not even of writing founded by Voltaire and Rousendure the near company of a man who seau, or the happy permanence of English had dishonored his promise to pay; with institutions to the patriotic, conservative what chagrin then, it may be inferred, tone of her men of letters from the days would he have acknowledged his relation of Chaucer and Lord Bacon. Found a ship to States, to whom could be applied military academy, continued the same farwith the least degree of justice, the hyper- sighted sagacity, in order that when the bole, that they “ preferred any load of day of battle comes, the armies of the reinfamy, however great, to any burden of public may be led into the field by a skill taxation, however light.” He ever ad- which shall not be second to that taught ministered public affairs on the principles in the schools, and honored in the service of private morality. At the end of forty- of kings. “I want an American characfive years in the service of the State, he ter.” Lay the foundations of a navy, to had learned no other rule. Accordingly, be gradually increased with the national in closing his career, he could teach no prosperity, that to whatever seas, civilized higher wisdom than to point to honesty, or barbarian, the flag of America may be virtue, religion, as the only living springs borne, it may float over decks on which of free institutions. “I want an American her sons traffic in security, or fight with character ;" therefore employ means for fame. To protection, to commerce, add the diffusion of knowledge among the legislative protection to agriculture, nurse people. “The time is come,” said he in of steady habits and uncorrupted hearts. 1795, “when a plan of universal educa- Add it, said Washington's last speech to tion ought to be adopted in the United Congress, to domestic manufactures, that States. Establish a national university, the United States may become an indewas a recommendation frequently repeat-pendent nation within themselves; and, ed in his speeches to Congress, in order while maintaining liberal principles of inthat the American youth, coming up from tercourse with foreign powers, may oball sections to one Alma Mater, may form serve such a wise care of native interests those bonds of early friendship which time as shall eventually build up in this broad shall transmute into bonds of the State ; | land of plains and prairies, rivers and lakes, that the patriotism of the most promising coasts and mountains, a home where one minds
may not be contaminated by learn- distinct family of mankind, secure in the ing the higher arts and sciences in foreign practice of all the arts, and happy in the lands; that there may always be perma. enjoyment of all the blessings of the most nent provision in the country for rearing perfect civilization, may dwell in perpestatesmen fitted, by the possession of lib- tuity. eral knowledge and republican principles, Washington now descended from the
was never more
elevated office which he had received, | Mr. Giles, of Virginia, opposed its adopheld and resigned in a manner that, as tion, and declared that “he did not regret has been well said, changed mankind's the President's retiring from office. He ideas of political greatness. The success believed there were a thousand men in the which attended and followed his Adminis- United States, who were capable of filling tration was as remarkable, as the wisdom the presidential chair as well as it had of its principles is enduring. “The na
The na- been filled heretofore.” And among the tion,” says Mr. Sparks,
the names of the eleven who voted with prosperous than when Washington was at him, is recorded that of a youthful soldier, its head. Credit was restored, and estab- destined afterwards to receive the highest lished on a sound basis ; the public debt honors of his country, and who thus early was secured, and its ultimate payment showed that, with all his noble qualities, provided for; commerce had increased he was capable of being misled by ignoble beyond any former example; the amount advisers, and of being made the instruof tonnage in the ports of the United ment of calling into existence a party not States had nearly doubled; the imports unlike that of which he was then a memand exports had augmented in a consider-ber. The so-called democracy of the ably larger ratio ; and the revenue was present day lays claim, indeed, to an earlier much more abundant than had been ex- origin, and avow themselves to be the pected. The war with the Indians was lineal descendants of those opponents of conducted to a successful issue; and a Washington, whose course has been curpeace was concluded, which promised sorily sketched in these pages.
Most quiet to the frontier inhabitants, and ad-cheerfully, we will add, might the honors vantages to the uncivilized tribes. Treat- of such an ancestry be allowed, if they ies had been made with foreign powers,
were really due. Indeed, we know not in which long-standing disputes were why we should be very strenuous in gainamicably settled, contending claims ad- saying the ambitious vanity which would justed, and important privileges gained to trace back its pedigree to those Democrathe United States. The relations with | tic Societies, which, fathered by Citizen France alone remained in a state of incer-Genet, approved of the excesses of the titude and perplexity; and this was owing Reign of 'Terror, and which Washington to the condition of affairs in Europe, and characterized as "a most diabolical atnot to anything that had grown out of the tempt to destroy the best fabric of human acts or policy of the American govern- government and happiness that has ever
been presented for the acceptance of manWhether the country would have been kind." They boast of their popular name; equally prosperous, if Washington had de- let them remember that, when first adoptserted his high-toned principles to take up ed in this country, the name of Democrat the time-serving expedients of the opposi- was synonymous with that of Jacobin. tion party, is a question we leave to the They claim to be the original Jeffersonidemagogues to decide, if they like. But ans. Yes; begotten when Thomas Jefas there are warnings to be taken from the ferson led the party of opposition against wicked, as well as wisdom to be learned George Washington; when he subsidized of the good, we cannot forbear noticing such libellers as the Frenchman, Freneau, the fact, that this party, while it stopped and the Scotchman, Callender; when for the most part, its abuse of the charac-scorning to descend personally into what ter and conduct of Washington, the mo- he called the “bear-garden of newspaper ment his intention of retiring from office controversy,” he nevertheless did not diswas made public, still retained its venom dain to urge upon his correspondents the and its sting to the last. When at the necessity of sustaining, as the only means close of the Administration, it was pro- of preventing their party from being “enposed in the House of Representatives to tirely browbeaten,” the calumniating colpresent to the retiring President an ad- umns of the National Gazette and the Aurodress expressive of respect for his services, ra—papers, which Washington a short time
before had declared “outrages on common * Washington's Writings, vol. i. page 519. decency," and the latter of which, charg