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formed engagements, let them be fulfilled with per. fect 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 ordina. ry 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 govern. ment, 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 acquisi. tions upon us, will not lightly hazard the giving ùs provocation ; when we may choose peace or war, as our interest, guided by justice, shall coun.
" Why forego the advantages of so peculiar a situation? Why quit our own to stand upon for... eign ground? Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle. our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humour, or caprice ?
" It is our true policy to steer clear of perma. nent 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 un. wise, to extend them.
.“ Taking care always to keep ourselves, by suitable establishments, on a respectable defensive posture, we may safely trust to temporary allian. ces for extraordinary emergencies.
“ Harmony, and a liberal intercourse with all nations, are recoinmended by policy, humanity, and interest. But even our commercial policy should hold an equal and impartial hand ; neither seeking nor granting exclusive favours or preferences; consulting the natural course of things ; diffusing and diversifying by gentle means, the streams of commerce, but forcing nothing; estab. lishing, 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 sup. port 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 favours. from another; that it niust 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 con. dition of having given equivalents for nominal fa. vours, and yet of being reproached with ingrati. túde for not giving more. There can be no greater error than to expect or calculate upon real favours from nation to nation. It is an illusion which experience must cure, which a just pride ought to discard.
" In offering to you, my countrymen, these counsels of an old and affectionate fricnd, 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 ev. en fatter 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 du. ties, 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 my. self to be guided by them.
". In relation to the still subsisting war in Europe, my proclamation of the 22d. of April, 1793, is the index to my plan. Sanctioned by your ap. proving voice, and by that of your representatives in both houses of Congress, the spirit of that meas. ure has continuall; governed me; uninfluenced by any attenipis 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 du. ty and interest to take, a neutral position. Having taken it, I determined, as far as should depend up. on me, to maintain it with moderation, perseverance, and firmness.
“ The considerations which respect the right to kold this conduct, it is not necessary on this occa. sion to detail. I will only observe, that according to my understanding of the matter, that right, so far from being denied by any of the belligerent powers, has been virtually admitted by all.
“ The duty of holding a neutral conduct may be inferred, without any thing more, from the obli. gation which justice and humanity impose'on ev. ery nation, in cases in which it is free to act, to mamtain inviolate the relations of peace and anity toward other nations.
" The inducements of interest for observing that conduct will best be referred to your own reflections and experience. With me, a predomi. nant motive has been to endeavour to gain time to our country to settle and mature its yet recent in. stirutions, and to progress, without interruption, to that degree of strength and consistency, which is necessary to give it, humanly speakuig, ihe command of its own fortunes.
" Though in reviewing the incidents of my administration, I am unconscious of intentioned error; I am nevertheless too sensible of my defects not to think it probable that I may have committed many errors. Whatever they inay be, I fer
vently 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 af. ter forty five years of my life dedicated to its ser: vice, 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 toward it, which is so natural to a man who views in it the native soil of himself and his progenitor's 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 fellowcitizens, the benign influence of good laws under a free government; the ever favourite object of my heart, and the happy reward, as I trust, of our mutual cares, -labours, and dangers.
“ United States, Sept. 17, 1796."
This valedictory address of the father of Iris. country, was received in every part of the union with the most unbounded veneration, and record. ed with the most pointed respect. Shortly after, the president, for the last time, met the national legislature in the senate chamber. His address on the occasion was higbly dignilied. He congruit. lated Congress on the internal situation of the United States ; on the progress which had been made for preserving peace with the Indians, ind meliorating their condition ; and, after stating the measures which had been adopted in execution of the treaties with Britain, Spain, and Aigiers, and