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It has always been a source of serious reflection and sincere regret with me that the youth of the United States should be sent to foreign countries for the purpose of education. Although there are doubtless many, under these circumstances, who escape the danger of contracting principles unfavorable to republican government, yet we ought to deprecate the hazard attending ardent and susceptible minds, from being too strongly and too early prepossessed in favor of other political systems before they are capable of appreciating their own.

GEORGE WASHINGTON, letter to the Commissioners of the Federal District, Jan. 28, 1795

Much indeed to be regretted, party disputes are now carried to such a length, and truth is so enveloped in mist and false representation, that it is extremely difficult to know through what channel to seek it. This difficulty to one, who is of no party, and whose sole wish is to pursue with undeviating steps a path which would lead this country to respectability, wealth, and happiness, is exceedingly to be lamented. But such, for wise purposes, it is presumed, is the turbulence of human passions in party disputes, when victory more than truth is the palm contended for.

GEORGE WASHINGTON, letter to Timothy Pickering, Jul. 27, 1795

Next to a conscientious discharge of my public duties, to carry along with me the approbation of my constituents would be the highest gratification my mind is susceptible of; but, the latter being secondary, I cannot make the former yield to it, unless some criterion more infallible than partial (if they are not party) meetings can be discovered, as the touchstone of public sentiment. If any power on earth could, or the Great Power above would, erect the standard of infallibility in political opinions, there is no being that inhabits this terrestrial globe that would resort to it with more eagerness than myself, so long as I remain a servant of the public. But as I have found no better guide hitherto than upright intentions and close investigation, I shall adhere to those maxims while I keep the watch; leaving it to those who will come after me to explore new ways, if they like or think them better.

GEORGE WASHINGTON, letter to Henry Knox, Sep. 20, 1795

It has always been and will continue to be my earnest desire to learn, and, as far as is consistent, to comply with, the public sentiment; but it is on great occasions only, and after time has been given for cool and deliberate reflection, that the real voice of the people can be known.

GEORGE WASHINGTON, letter to Edward Carrington, May 1, 1796

I am sure the mass of citizens in these United States mean well, and I firmly believe they will always act well whenever they can obtain a right understanding of matters; but in some parts of the Union, where the sentiments of their delegates and leaders are adverse to the government, and great pains are taken to inculcate a belief that their rights are assailed and their liberties endangered, it is not easy to accomplish this; especially, as is the case invariably, when the inventors and abettors of pernicious measures use infinite more industry in disseminating the poison than the well disposed part of the community to furnish the antidote.

GEORGE WASHINGTON, letter to John Jay, May 8, 1796

Serious misfortunes, originating in misrepresentation, frequently flow and spread before they can be dissipated by truth.

GEORGE WASHINGTON, letter to John Jay, May 8, 1796

I was no party man myself, and the first wish of my heart was, if parties did exist, to reconcile them.

GEORGE WASHINGTON, letter to Thomas Jefferson, Jul. 6, 1796

[It] is the juvenal period of life when friendships are formed, and habits established, that will stick by one.

GEORGE WASHINGTON, letter to Alexander Hamilton, Sep. 1, 1796

While ... every part of our Country thus feels an immediate and particular interest in Union, all the parts combined in the united mass of means and efforts cannot fail to find 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 government; which their own rivalships alone would be sufficient to produce; but which opposite foreign alliances, attachments, and intrigues would stimulate and embitter.

GEORGE WASHINGTON, Farewell Address to the people of the United States, Sep. 17, 1796

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 favour, 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 vigilence to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest instead of warming, it should consume.

GEORGE WASHINGTON, Farewell Address to the people of the United States, Sep. 17, 1796

It is important ... 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.

GEORGE WASHINGTON, Farewell Address to the people of the United States, Sep. 17, 1796

Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and morality are indispensable supports.

GEORGE WASHINGTON, Farewell Address to the people of the United States, Sep. 17, 1796

Observe good faith and justice towards all Nations.

GEORGE WASHINGTON, Farewell Address to the people of the United States, Sep. 17, 1796

The Nation which indulges towards another an habitual hatred or an 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.

GEORGE WASHINGTON, Farewell Address to the people of the United States, Sep. 17, 1796

It is at all times more easy to make enemies than friends.

GEORGE WASHINGTON, letter to George Washington Parke Custis, Nov. 28, 1796

To speak evil of any one, unless there is unequivocal proofs of their deserving it, is an injury for which there is no adequate reparation.

GEORGE WASHINGTON, letter to George Washington Parke Custis, Nov. 28, 1796

To acknowledge the receipt of letters is always proper, to remove doubts of their miscarriage.

GEORGE WASHINGTON, letter to George Washington Parke Custis, Nov. 28, 1796

In a republic, what species of knowledge can be equally important, and what duty more pressing on its legislature, than to patronize a plan for communicating it to those who are to be the future guardians of the liberties of the country?

GEORGE WASHINGTON, speech to Congress, Dec. 7, 1796

The art of war is at once comprehensive and complicated; ... it demands much previous study; and ... the possession of it, in its most improved and perfect state, is always a great moment to the security of a nation. This, therefore, ought to be a serious care of every government; and for this purpose, an academy, where a regular course of instruction is given, is an obvious expedient, which different nations have successfully employed.

GEORGE WASHINGTON, speech to Congress, Dec. 7, 1796


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