its acknowledged authority, but also that you resist with care the spirit of innovation upon its principles, however specious. I would be delighted if any of you choose to visit me in Florida, and if there is anything I can do for you, please do let me know. The considerations which respect the right to hold this conduct, it is not necessary on this occasion to detail. Promote then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. 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. And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Such an attachment of a small or weak towards a great and powerful nation dooms the former to be the satellite of the latter. 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. 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. Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.
Avalon Project - Washington s, farewell, address 1796
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You may mention high points (projects or otherwise) of your tenure. 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. Is there a doubt whether a common government can embrace so large a sphere? 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. To myself, the assurance of my own conscience is, that I have at least believed myself to be guided by them. 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. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but, in those essay on extinction of animals and plants of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst enemy. So far as we have already formed engagements, let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. 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.