President Washington’s Farewell Address (1796)
Narrated by Steven C Johnson of Landing Strip
LISTEN HERE TO THE FULL ADDRESS
As a fair warning, this audio will be a challenge to listen to and understand for most people today.
It was delivered in a time when people had larger vocabularies and where words carried nuances and weights we are unfamiliar with. Washington was not warned to “dumb down” his language. For those simply looking to expand their vocabularies this speech will give a tremendous stretch. You may need to have a dictionary nearby.
This speech is also challenging for the delivery was presented in a day when attention spans were not limited to sound bites.
President Washington’s audience had a felt and vested interest in the success of their new country. The nation was in its toddlerhood, being just three decades old. The “cares, labors, and dangers” associated with the rebellion and establishment of their most novel government were still felt and jealously guarded. There was a determination in His audience to see the “experiment” succeed.
Although many moderns would like to undermine the President’s character, and the cause for which he gave his strength, in that day he was generally revered as, “First in war, first in peace, first in the hearts of his countrymen.” At times he was referred to as “His Excellency” because his character and competence exceeded his pay grade. It might be remembered that although George Washington was elected, his election looked more like a conscription by the people than a modern political race.
George Washington’s counsel, warning and admonitions could never be timelier. Take note as he addresses, “the fury of party spirit,” warns against “the mischiefs of foreign intrigue,” and warns to “guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism.”
It will take some auditory grit and determination to listen to and understand our President’s final message to his countrymen. You must note that President Washington’s concerns and admonitions are the wrestlings of our nation today.
I hope the wisdom, the warnings and optimism of our first President will be heard by modern patriots. I hope the hearing will help save us from our national amnesia and inspire us to go. further up and further in, to the vision, which inspired our founders to contend for a great republic.
Steven C Johnson
President George Washington’s farewell address,
September, 19th, 1796
LISTEN HERE TO THE FULL ADDRESS
Friends and Fellow Citizens:
The period for a new election of a citizen to administer 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 expression of the public voice, that I should now apprise you of the resolution I have formed, to decline being considered among the number of those out of whom a 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 a 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 unanimous 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 pursuit of inclination incompatible with the sentiment of duty or propriety, and am persuaded, whatever partiality may be retained for my services, that, in the present circumstances of our country, you will not disapprove my determination to retire.
The impressions with which I first undertook the arduous trust were explained on the proper occasion. In the discharge of this trust, I will only say that I have, with good intentions, contributed towards the organization and administration of the government the best exertions of which a very fallible judgment was capable. Not unconscious in the outset of the inferiority of my qualifications, experience in my own eyes, perhaps still more in the eyes of others, has strengthened the motives to diffidence of myself; and every day the 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 circumstances have given peculiar value to my services, they were temporary, I have the consolation to believe that, while choice and prudence invite me to quit the political scene, patriotism does not forbid it.
In looking forward to the moment which is intended to terminate the career of my public life, my feelings do not permit me to suspend the deep acknowledgment of that debt of gratitude which I owe to my beloved country for the many honors it has conferred upon me; still more for the steadfast confidence with which it has supported me; and for the opportunities I have thence enjoyed of manifesting my inviolable attachment, by services faithful and persevering, though in usefulness unequal to my zeal. If benefits have resulted to our country from these services, let it always be remembered to your praise, and as an instructive example in our annals, that under circumstances in which the passions, agitated in every direction, were liable to mislead, amidst appearances sometimes dubious, vicissitudes of fortune often discouraging, in situations in which not unfrequently want of success has countenanced the spirit of criticism, the constancy of your support was the essential prop of the efforts, and a guarantee of the plans by which they were effected. Profoundly penetrated with this idea, I shall carry it with me to my grave, as a strong incitement to unceasing vows that heaven may continue to you the choicest tokens of its beneficence; that your union and brotherly affection may be perpetual; that the free Constitution, which is the work of your hands, may be sacredly maintained; that its administration in every department may be stamped with wisdom and virtue; that, in fine, the 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 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 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?
To the efficacy and permanency of your Union, a government for the whole is indispensable. No alliance, however strict, between the parts can be an adequate substitute; they must inevitably experience the infractions and interruptions which all alliances in all times have experienced. Sensible of this momentous truth, you have improved upon your first essay, by the adoption of a constitution of government better calculated than your former for an intimate union, and for the efficacious management of your common concerns. This government, the offspring of our own choice, uninfluenced and unawed, adopted upon full investigation and mature deliberation, completely free in its principles, in the distribution of its powers, uniting security with energy, and containing within itself a provision for its own amendment, has a just claim to your confidence and your support. Respect for its authority, compliance with its laws, acquiescence in its measures, are duties enjoined by the fundamental maxims of true liberty. The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government. But the Constitution which at any time exists, till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon all. The very idea of the power and the right of the people to establish government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the established government.
All obstructions to the execution of the laws, all combinations and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle, and of fatal tendency. They serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels and modified by mutual interests.
However combinations or associations of the above description may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.
Towards the preservation of your government, and the permanency of your present happy state, it is requisite, not only that you steadily discountenance irregular oppositions to its acknowledged authority, but also that you resist with care the spirit of innovation upon its principles, however specious the pretexts. One method of assault may be to effect, in the forms of the Constitution, alterations which will impair the energy of the system, and thus to undermine what cannot be directly overthrown. In all the changes to which you may be invited, remember that time and habit are at least as necessary to fix the true character of governments as of other human institutions; that experience is the surest standard by which to test the real tendency of the existing constitution of a country; that facility in changes, upon the credit of mere hypothesis and opinion, exposes to perpetual change, from the endless variety of hypothesis and opinion; and remember, especially, that for the efficient management of your common interests, in a country so extensive as ours, a government of as much vigor as is consistent with the perfect security of liberty is indispensable. Liberty itself will find in such a government, with powers properly distributed and adjusted, its surest guardian. It is, indeed, little else than a name, where the government is too feeble to withstand the enterprises of faction, to confine each member of the society within the limits prescribed by the laws, and to maintain all in the secure and tranquil enjoyment of the rights of person and property.
I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the State, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party generally.
This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but, in those of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst enemy.
The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, 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 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 finds a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and 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 indulgence, if not with favor, 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, lest, instead of warming, it should consume.
It is important, likewise, that the habits of thinking in a free country should inspire caution in those entrusted with its administration, to confine themselves within their respective constitutional spheres, avoiding in the exercise of the powers of one department to encroach upon another. The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one, and thus to create, whatever the form of government, a real despotism. A just estimate of that love of power, and proneness to abuse it, which predominates in the human heart, is sufficient to satisfy us of the truth of this position. The necessity of reciprocal checks in the exercise of political power, by dividing and distributing it into different depositaries, and constituting each the guardian of the public weal against invasions by the others, has been evinced by experiments ancient and modern; some of them in our country and under our own eyes. To preserve them must be as necessary as to institute them. If, in the opinion of the people, the distribution or modification of the constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way which the Constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed. The precedent must always greatly overbalance in permanent evil any partial or transient benefit, which the use can at any time yield
Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice ? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.
It is substantially true that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Who that is a sincere friend to it can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric?
Promote then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.
As a very important source of strength and security, cherish public credit. One method of preserving it is to use it as sparingly as possible, avoiding occasions of expense by cultivating peace, but remembering also that timely disbursements to prepare for danger frequently prevent much greater disbursements to repel it, avoiding likewise the accumulation of debt, not only by shunning occasions of expense, but by vigorous exertion in time of peace to discharge the debts which unavoidable wars may have occasioned, not ungenerously throwing upon posterity the burden which we ourselves ought to bear. The execution of these maxims belongs to your representatives, but it is necessary that public opinion should co-operate. To facilitate to them the performance of their duty, it is essential that you should practically bear in mind that towards the payment of debts there must be revenue; that to have revenue there must be taxes; that no taxes can be devised which are not more or less inconvenient and unpleasant; that the intrinsic embarrassment, inseparable from the selection of the proper objects (which is always a choice of difficulties), ought to be a decisive motive for a candid construction of the conduct of the government in making it, and for a spirit of acquiescence in the measures for obtaining revenue, which the public exigencies may at any time dictate.
Observe good faith and justice towards all nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all. Religion and morality enjoin this conduct; and can it be, that good policy does not equally enjoin it? It will be worthy of a free, enlightened, and at no distant period, a great nation, to give to mankind the magnanimous and too novel example of a people always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence. Who can doubt that, in the course of time and things, the fruits of such a plan would richly repay any temporary advantages which might be lost by a steady adherence to it ? Can it be that Providence has not connected the permanent felicity of a nation with its virtue ? The experiment, at least, is recommended by every sentiment which ennobles human nature. Alas! is it rendered impossible by its vices?
In the execution of such a plan, nothing is more essential than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular nations, and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded; and that, in place of them, just and amicable feelings towards all should be cultivated. The nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest. Antipathy in one nation against another disposes each more readily to offer insult and injury, to lay hold of slight causes of umbrage, and to be haughty and intractable, when accidental or trifling occasions of dispute occur. Hence, frequent collisions, obstinate, envenomed, and bloody contests. The nation, prompted by ill-will and resentment, sometimes impels to war the government, contrary to the best calculations of policy. The government sometimes participates in the national propensity, and adopts through passion what reason would reject; at other times it makes the animosity of the nation subservient to projects of hostility instigated by pride, ambition, and other sinister and pernicious motives. The peace often, sometimes perhaps the liberty, of nations, has been the victim.
So likewise, a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification. It leads also to concessions to the favorite nation of privileges denied to others which is apt doubly to injure the nation making the concessions; by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained, and by exciting jealousy, ill-will, and a disposition to retaliate, in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld. And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens (who devote themselves to the favorite nation), facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity; gilding, with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation.
As avenues to foreign influence in innumerable ways, such attachments are particularly alarming to the truly enlightened and independent patriot. How many opportunities do they afford to tamper with domestic factions, to practice the arts of seduction, to mislead public opinion, to influence or awe the public councils? Such an attachment of a small or weak towards a great and powerful nation dooms the former to be the satellite of the latter.
Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellow-citizens) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government. But that jealousy to be useful must be impartial; else it becomes the instrument of the very influence to be avoided, instead of a defense against it. Excessive partiality for one foreign nation and excessive dislike of another cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Real patriots who may resist the intrigues of the favorite are liable to become suspected and odious, while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests.
The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements, let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop. Europe has a set of primary interests which to us have none; or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves by artificial ties in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities.
Our detached and distant situation invites and enables us to pursue a different course. If we remain one people under an efficient government. the period is not far off when we may defy material injury from external annoyance; when we may take such an attitude as will cause the neutrality we may at any time resolve upon to be scrupulously respected; when belligerent nations, under the impossibility of making acquisitions upon us, will not lightly hazard 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, humor 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 on a respectable defensive posture, we may safely trust to temporary alliances for extraordinary emergencies.
Harmony, 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 favors 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 rules 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 favors 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 favors, and yet of being reproached with ingratitude for not giving more. There can be no greater error than to expect or calculate upon real favors 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 has 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 twenty-second of April, I793, is the index of 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 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 anything 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 best be referred to your own reflections and experience. With me a predominant motive has been to endeavor 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, I 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 actuated 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-favorite object of my heart, and the happy reward, as I trust, of our mutual cares, labors, and dangers.
19th September, 1796
Worth watching: John Avlon talks about his book,
Steven C Johnson
“…the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed.”(1 Thessalonians 1:10)
There will be no disappointment among the saints at the appearing of Jesus. No one will say, “The advertisements and trailers made it look great, but the movie was a bust.”
Spielberg and Lucas have produced incredible stuff but nothing will compare with this wide-screen production!
Only a few shepherds saw it the first time but everyone will see the panoramic sequel. You won’t miss it, wherever you stand on the planet. In fact every eye will see His glorious coming with heaven’s epic entourage! The cast will be so immense that Christ’s escorts will seem like water droplets making up an all-encompassing cloud.
There are times when we are with family and friends and there is an immediate weather report.
“Hey guys! Come quick, you need to see this!” We are amazed as we come to the patio and see the glorious sunrise, torrential monsoon rains, a double rainbow or baseball sized hail.
We will need a new word to replace “awesome” when Christ returns.
We look forward to vacations, birthdays, graduations, weddings and births of babies. The Return is the Christian’s blessed hope and eager expectation. We are, “awaiting the blessed hope, even the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ.” (Titus 2:13). Whatever our age or circumstances, lovers of Jesus have something to look forward to!
In contrast, those who have stiff-armed Jesus must sober up!
How can we resist the One who has come to rescue us?
How can we say, “No” to the offer of His saving hand?
How can we say “No” to the advances of the Bride Groom?
They will hide in caves and call on the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” (Rev 6:16-17)
Adoration of the Lamb, Hubert and Jan van Eyck (ca. 1390 – 1441)
Many think of the Second Coming of Jesus as a doctrine rather than a
young woman’s hope for the perfect wedding to the perfect man.
The crown is not for those who “believe” that Jesus
is returning. It is for those who “long for” His returning.
Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day-and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. (2 Tim 4:8)
Steven C Johnson
I’ve had many learned professors.
When I think of them my heart fills with appreciation. Of all the instructors, my wife has been the master teacher. Classes with her are still ongoing for I have much yet to learn. As I look back on forty years in her classroom I could write books on lessons learned from Pamela.
One of the amazing courses I’ve taken with Professor Pam has been in nursing and midwifery. Sometimes she bring into the classroom living illustrations of her sagacity. I remember the names of four particular sessions:
Courage and determination in bringing forth Brian
Peace and certainty with Theresa
Grace and Joy with Anna
Boldness and resolve to bring forth Claire.
Each of the births was attended by different midwives with unique personalities and helpful gifts.
Pam has escorted and welcomed many other babies into our world. There are passages in scripture I would never appreciate as I do without this particular class in nursing and midwifery. I’ve seen laboring in prayer through the eyes of someone who has helped others labor in childbirth. I’ve seen the wonder of bringing hidden and unseen realities into the world through childbirth.
Paul knew how to labor in prayer for saints to come forth healthy and mature.
“My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you…” Galatian 4:19
I’ve come to see, labor pains do not leave us in futility but productively bring forth Kingdom Life!
When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a child has been born into the world”John 16:21.
Pam has helped me see God as the First Midwife. He helps us bring forth the things which have been seeded within us. Eve said,
“I’ve given birth to a man by the help of the Lord.”
His attending voice gives us the strength and courage to bring forth!
“The voice of the LORD makes the deer to calve” Psalm 29:9
We won’t run out of steam to give birth if we stay connected to our Midwife. We will be delivered!
- “Do I bring to the moment of birth and not give delivery?” says the LORD. “Do I close up the womb when I bring to delivery?” says your God.Isaiah 66:9
The scope of the reality of giving birth goes even to the national level through prayer-ways. I’ve had intense spiritual experiences and moments in prayer where, “for all the world,” I felt I was laboring in childbirth.
“Before she goes into labor,
she gives birth;
before the pains come upon her,
she delivers a son.
Who has ever heard of such things?
Who has ever seen things like this?
Can a country be born in a day
or a nation be brought forth in a moment?
Yet no sooner is Zion in labor
than she gives birth to her children. Isaiah 66:7-8
I know we men will never appreciate labor and delivery as women do, but still it is a good course for us to take, for the spiritual parallels are everywhere!
I’m blessed to have a woman in my house who has tutored me in many classes, including spiritual nursing and midwifery. Professor Pam is cute. I hope to be on my best behavior and become the teacher’s pet!
Would you like to chime in and share your insight into birthing in the Spirit?
Steven C Johnson
It’s tragic when our pastors are unaware of the very constitution this country abides by. America is bound and established by that constitution and states no government will make a law that infringes upon the free exercise of religion.
Some want to say religion must stay out of government. The constitution instead makes it clear government must stay out of the affairs of the church. When president Lyndon Baines Johnson tried to pull rank on the church, no one stood to address it. We gave up our podiums
The Black Robed Regiment
The podiums where the powerhouses of the revolution. They stated the truth about men’s character and about their place in political discourse. Fiery preachers spoke truth that other men feared! We must be rebaptized in Holy Fire! 🔥☄️
Today, is it the fear of a law or fear of a disease? Is God is using this lockdown to upend a weak and powerless church? Jesus dealt with the money changers by upending their businesses and so honoring His Father!
“My Father has called His house a house of prayer. You have made it a den of thieves!”
More than nice sounding words let us impact with words that result in power emanating and changing lives. Power like Peter, Paul and the disciples had ise videnced in speaking!
I yearn for the saints to get their courage and get their voice in pulpits and in everday matters. Surely,we must come out boldly as laid down, dead to self Sons and Daughters, and understand who He is in us!
Pamela C G Johnson
Listen to the blog here!
If we were fully awake and fully sensible, looking at a single blade of grass would throw us into conniptions of wonder and spasms of worship. Some of us might weep and fall to the ground, overcome. Others might feel supercharged, invigorated, and wanting to jump and shout. But first our eyes must be opened!
As it is now most of us say, “Right, big deal, a blade of grass. So, what.” We are asleep to the glory of God all about us. We see the world only in dull and off-focused monochrome.
The whole earth is presently saturated with the glowing, reverberating glory of God. But it goes unnoticed. We need not conclude there is no glory to behold. We are immersed in glory, but not sensible to it.
Birds see colors we don’t. Eagles outdistance our vision. There is more glory about us than we know! Our lack of perception is the issue.
As kids we watched the Wizard of Oz. The movie starts in black and white and when the door is opened to Oz the scene is revealed in vibrant Technicolor!
We were the first family on the street with a color TV. Neighbor kids came over to watch the magic! Disney employed the same effect as the Wizard of Oz. The pixy would fly in front of the black and white castle, tap her wand and “Splash!” the castle was covered in color.
The effect is used even in more modern movies. In Beauty and the Beast the curse is
lifted, people are restored to their rightful state and the castle comes alive with
berightness and color.
We meet amazing angelic creatures in Ezekiel 10. Verse 12 says, “Their entire
bodies, including their backs, their hands and their wings, were completely full of
eyes, as were their four wheels.” Do you suppose those creatures might have more
perceptive abilities than we do? No wonder they worship God! They sing about it!
And one called out to another and said,
“Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts,
The whole earth is full of His glory.”Isaiah 6:3
The world is darkened to His glory. Even we Christians who have gained windows into the glory see partially. But a Great Day of awakening is upon us where perceptiveness will shoot through the roof.
Habakkuk prophesied a day where the glory of the Lord will no longer be hidden. It will be perceived! “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.”
Next time you see a blade of grass find out how much of the magnificence of God is found drenching its structures! Wake up, world, and behold the glory! O, Lord, Open our eyes!
Let us know what you are perceiving of the glory of God!
Steven C Johnson
God gets a good laugh out of a conspiracy. So should we!
First of all, every “secret” plan of evil takes place before millions of watchful eyes. God and heaven’s assemblies see it all. Ultimately all cloak-and-dagger plots are revealed on earth as well.
Secondly, every plot to overthrow the Lord of Host and his plans are the smallest of potatoes. Jesus said, “If I cast out demons by the finger of God then know the Kingdom has come near you.” Those big bad demons Jesus portrays as tiny bugs on his sleeve, which he flicks off with a Mighty Finger. Heaven rumbles with laughter and evil is set a-trembling!
The One enthroned in heaven laughs;
the Lord taunts them.
Then He rebukes them in His anger,
and terrifies them in His fury:
“I have installed My King on Zion,
upon My holy mountain.” Psalm 2:4-6
Every Good Thriller must have a Conspiracy
Who would read a thriller novel without a conspiracy? The Bible contains lots of thriller conspiracy stories. There were plenty of conspiracies going on in Isaiah’s day. They talked about them in the corners and on social media.
Don’t call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy. Don’t fear what they fear, and don’t be terrified. Isaiah 8:12
There are loads of modern conspiracies. Yes, you bet’cha!! In fact, I think we could spend every moment ferreting them out: Political schemes, religious seditions, treacherous nations, mad-scientist chemical companies, social engineers, historical revisionists, cartoon producers – and don’t forget that sinister neighbor. But would you have time left to spend in adoration of God and pursuing His high purposes?
I think Isaiah would counsel; Sure there are conspiracies, but don’t see them the way the world does, and most certainly, don’t be afraid or terrified. Fear is so unbefitting a child of God. Laughter is more becoming!
Balancing our attitudes about intrigues
Sometimes the uncovering of a conspiracy can save the day, even a nation. Thank God, Benedict Arnold’s treachery was revealed. The revolution might have been lost! If you have a special calling to search out conspiracies then blessings on you! Perhaps you will save the day. The dominant temptation when searching out conspiracies is being seduced from of our Grand Mission.
How Jesus dealt with conspiracy
There are a dozen references to death plots against the Lord Jesus in the gospels. He knew the plots, yet you never hear Jesus say, “Poor me, everyone is out to kill me.” Jesus was focused! He lead the ranks on the last march to Jerusalem!
“As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. Luke 9:51.
They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way, and the disciples were astonished, while those who followed were afraid. Again, he took the Twelve aside and told them what was going to happen to him. Mark 10:32
Don’t slow down!
Conspiracies did not slow Jesus down! They should not slow us. Like Jesus on his way to Jerusalem, our steps should be more certain and emphatic!
One of our favorite conspiracies is about the anti-Christ. When people mention the anti-Christ I reply, “It’s not my responsibility to make sure the anti-Christ does his job. He’s on his own. If he makes a mess of it that’s his problem.”
Join our Conspiracy!
Won’t you join our conspiracy? Actually, it is an ancient scheme to redeem mankind and the fallen world. Heaven’s conspiracy motivated Jesus to go to the cross. It is motivating people to travel to the nations and even talk to their next-door neighbors. It is a conspiracy to overcome darkness with light. It’s not like most “Hush, Hush”conspiracies. It’s a shout-it-from-the-housetops conspiracy. It’s light and life in Jesus Christ the risen and transcendent Son of God!
May all the bad-guy conspiracies be uncovered and thwarted. Don’t miss your opportunity with God to laugh in the process. Rejoice in Father’s power to flick off the bugs! Then let’s resolutely get on with Kingdom Business, preparing a most Royal Welcome! Back to constructing The Landing Strip!
How will you be responding to the next conspiracy you hear? We welcome your feedback!
Steven C Johnson
“…then you will understand the fear of the LORD
and find the knowledge of God.” Prov 2:5
A NIGHT MESSAGE
Last night in a dream I was in a restaurant with a man who was a distinguished chemist. Other scientists were joining us for a secret meeting. Amazing things were being discovered, creating awe. The man I was with pointed to another man entering the room. He was extremely impressed with him as an astounding chemist. He said, “His name is actually Johnathan Dawntheus.”
Demitri Medeleev Father of the Periodic Table
INTERPRETING THE DREAM
Jonathan Dawntheus could be translated, YAHWEH HAS GIVEN THE DAWN OF A [RENEWED] KNOWLEDGE OF GOD TO US!
Incredible spiritual chemistry is being revealed! We use an expression; “There is a chemistry between them.” This is the chemistry between God and His people. We are beginning to see God as he really is through Biblical revelation and Spiritual experience! God is revealing Himself with relational chemistry breakthroughs.
FROM PARTIAL TO COMPLETE
Our knowledge of God has been fragmentary and dim. Now that is changing! We will nolong be partial and see through a distorted mirror. Face to face is coming with a new dawn! This is spiritual awakening.
As for me, I will be vindicated and will see your face; when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness. Psalm 17:15
I’ve often prayed, “Dear God, let me know you as you really are, and not simply as I have conceived you!” Of course, we have no business trying to conceive God. He is the One who conceived us! Our Father is downloading, to those who seek him, the full disclosure of His face.
ARE YOU SENSING LIGHT ON THE HORIZON?
Recently the birds have been chirping at 5:15. They know the dawn is coming! We also are chirping in anticipation! Early in the morning, before the sun comes up, we may go to the tomb of our old theology and find a living Christ!
AREN’T YOU ANXIOUS FOR THE DAY!
“I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.” Psalm 130:6
YOU HAVE THE POWER TO WAKE THE DAWN!
Awake, harp and lyre!
I will awaken the dawn. Psalm 108:2
Let your chirping be heard!
Steven C Johnson
TEACHING WATER SKIING
I used to teach people to water ski. Skiing is very doable for the person with average strength. What messes people up is getting things coordinated. Here is the formula:
Keep your skis together
Back straight and head up
Hold tight, and let the boat pull you up.
Find your equilibrium
Getting those elements in coordination is the challenge. I see the same principle of coordination in our Christian experience. Many have a challenging time coordinating the Christian virtues. Take for example, Humility and Boldness.
GETTING THE WOBBLE OUT OF HUMILITY AND BOLDNESS
We have no problem finding Bible verses on either humility or boldness. But we fumble integrating them. Humility and boldness are not in opposition. Wobbly ideas of humility and boldness lead to wobbly harmonizing.
Humility is not thinking of ourselves as small. It is seeing God as BIG! Boldness is not being cocky, but acting on truth with resolve.
JESUS’ CALLS TO ACTION ANSWERED WITH FALSE HUMILITY
When Jesus calls us to be His witnesses to the ends of the earth, we cannot answer, “I’m much too humble to be a witness.” To be humble does not mean to put your lamp under a basket when the Lord tells you to lift it up!
Jesus charges us “Let your light shine before men so they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Shall we answer, “O Jesus, I’m much to humble to do that?” Our failure to witness boldly may be defiant pride towards God and His will.
SEEING OUR PRESIDENT AS HUMBLE?
This may sound strange but I am seeing President Trump as a very humble man. I’m sure you could site one of his many statements to prove he is arrogant and self-absorbed.
But consider this: He has given up his wealth and comfort, to serve our nation at his own expense. He is volunteering 100 hours a week to help us. He is confronting wrong (draining the swamp) and boldly pulling for the right. He is seeking to restore America. His bold words and bold actions are signs of true humility towards the One who calls us to action.
WE MUST NOT BE COWARDS WHO CALL OURSELVES HUMBLE
Humility and boldness must go together! Not being bold is prideful or fearful. When the Commander calls us to war courageously, we must not beg off claiming humility. That “humility” may be nothing but cowardice or irresponsibility. Not being bold is defiance of God and disrespect for His assignments.
HUMILITY IN ACTION
Humble before God is boldly entering His awesome presence by the blood of Jesus.
Humble before God is boldness in exposing and confronting evil.
Humble with God is sharing Jesus fearlessly.
When He tells us to be bold and courageous, and we do our best to act bravely, that is humility toward God!
May you find that place of harmonic coordination, get up on your skis and glide on the water!
WHAT THINKEST THOU?
How are you at coordinating the Christian virtues of humility and boldness?
Steven C Johnson
Several years ago the Lord gave me the word, “Spiritual Shopping Spree.”
Perhaps there is someone in the universe who looks down on shopping sprees. “Sure they sound nice but shopping sprees can be exhausting. You’re given a few thousand dollars to freely spend but you still have to push the cart up and down the isles, make decisions about what to get, then push that heavy cart out to your car.”
I’ve found similar attitudes when it comes to prayer. “Sure Jesus says, ‘I will do whatever you ask in my name’ (John 14:13). But you still have to push the shopping cart, make the decisions about what you want and load up, and haul it home. And besides, what if you load up your cart just to find God won’t let you out of the store with it. It’s better not to pray, that way you will never be disappointed.”
Religious Lawyers come out as we pray to make sure we don’t ask the gracious Father too much, or expect too much from Him. They don’t want us to be disappointed when prayers are not answered.
They warn us that there are many qualifiers to Jesus’ generous offers. They go through lots of tiny print which no one else can find in the scriptures. They assure us that God answers prayer occasionally, and they have personally heard of it happening, but just don’t expect too much. They protect God from requests which are too big, and protect us from disappointment.
God has been slandered and portrayed as a miserly father, either unable or unwilling to keep His promises. “He plays bate and switch with us. Since he can always find fault in us He doesn’t need to keep His promises.”
O, that His name would once again be hollowed as the generous father, so faith will again find His promises realized! The Father of Lights is the generous giver of gifts. Awakening to Fresh Faith!
Jesus really meant what He said about prayer!
Don’t pass up the spiritual shopping spree!
Steven C Johnson