« ForrigeFortsett »
u Friends and Fellow-Citizens,
" The period for a new election of a citizen to adminis. ter the executive government of the United States being not far distant, and the time actually arrived when your thoughts must be employed in designating the person who is to be clothed with that important trust, it appears to me proper, especially as it may conduce to a more distinct ex. pression of the public voice, that I should now apprize you of the resolution I have formed, to decline being considered among the number of those out of whom the choice is to be made.
“ I beg you at the same time to do me the justice to be assured, that this resolution has not been taken, without a strict regard to all the considerations appertaining to the relation which binds a dutiful citizen to his country; and that in withdrawing the tender of service, which silence in my situation might imply, I am influenced by no diminution of zeal for your future interest ; no deficiency of grateful respect for your past kindness; but am supported by a full conviction, that the step is compatible with both.
“ The acceptance of, and continuance hitherto in, the office to which your suffrages have twice called me, have been an uniform sacrifice of inclination to the opinion of duty, and to a deference for what appeared to be your desire. I constantly hoped that it would have been much earlier in my power, consistently with motives which I was not at liberty to disregard, to return to that retirement from which I had been reluctantly drawn. 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 unani. mous advice of persons entitled to my confidence, impelled me to abandon the idea.
“I rejoice that the state of your concerns, external as well as internal, no longer renders the pursui' of inclination incompatible with the sentiment of my duty or propriery; and am pursuaded whatever partiality may be retained for my services, that in the present circumstances of our country, you will not disapprove of my determination to retire.
“ The impressions with which I first undertook the ardu ous trus', were explained on the proper occasion. In the discharge of his rus, I will only say, that I have, wib good inien ions, con ributed toward the organiza ion and adminis ra:ion of he government, the best exertions of which a very fallible judgmen: was capable. No uncon. scious, in the oursel, of he inferiority of my qualifications, experience in my own eyes, perhaps still more in the eyes of o hers, has sirengthened the motives 10 diffidence of myself; and every day he increasing weight of years admonishes me more and more, that the shade of retirement is as necessary to me as it will be welcome. Satisfied that if any circums ances have given peculiar value to my services, they were temporary, I have the consolation io be. lieve, tha: while choice and prudence invite me to quit the poli ical scene, parriotism does no: forbid it.
" In looking forward to he moment which is 10 termi. nate he career of my polirical life, my feelings do not per: mit me to suspend the deep acknowledgment of that debt of gra'i ude which I owe 'o my beloved country, for the many honours ii has conferred upon me; silt more for the steadfas: confidence wirh which is has supported me ; and! for 'he oppor'unities I have thence enjoyed of manifes ing! my inviolable at achment, by services fai hful and persever. ing, though in usefulness unequal to my zeal. If benefits have resulted 10 our cousitry from hese services, let ji al. ways be remembered o your praise, and as an instrucive exanıple in our annals, har under circumstances in which the passions, agi a ed in every direction, were liable to mis. lead ; amidst appearances sometimes dubious ; vicissi udes of for unë ofien discouraging ; in situa ions in which not unfrequen'ly want of success has coun'enanced the spirit of cri icism; the cons'ancy of your suppor: was the essen: tial prop of the efforis and a guaran:ee of che plans by which hey were effecied. Profoundly penei rated wi h his idea, I shall carry it with me 10 my grave, as a strong in. citement o unceasing wishes, hat heaven may con inue to you he choices tokens of iis beneficence ; tha: your union and broiheriy affection may be perpetual ; 'hat the free con stilu’ion, which is he work of your hands, may be sacredly maintained ; :hat its adminis,ration in every department may be stamped wirb wisdom and virtue ; thar, in fine, he happiness of the people of these states, under the auspices
of liberty, may be made complete, by so careful a preservation and so prudent a use of this blessing, as will acquire to them the glory of recommending it to the applause, the affection, and the adoption, of every nation which is yet a stranger to it.
« 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 edilice of your real independence ; the support of your tranquillity 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 immoveable 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 COURtry, that country has a right to concentrate your affections. The name of American, which belongs to you in your na. tional capacity, must always exalt the just pride of patriotism, more than any appellation derived from local discriminations. With slight sliades 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 councils, and joint efforts ; of common dan. gers, sufferings, and successes.
6 But these considerations, however powerfully they address themselves to your sensibility, are greatly outweigh. ed 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 equat laws of a common governincnt, 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 18 unequally adapted. The east, in 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 stil! greater consequence, it must of necessity owe the secure enjoyments of indispensable outlets for its own productions, to the weight, influence, and the future maritime strength
the Auantic 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 connexion with any foreign power, must be intrinsically precarious.
“ While then every part of our country thus feels an im mediate and particular interest in union, all the parts combined cannot fail to find in the united mass of imeans 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 theniselves which so frequently afflict neighbouring countries, not tied together by the same government; which their own rivalships 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 endcar 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 governmeni can einbrace 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 l'espective subdivisions, will afford a happy issue to the experiment. It is well worth a ful and fair 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 rea. son to distrust the patriotism of those who, in any quarter, may endeavour 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