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WASHINGTON'S FAREWELL ADDRESS
ments for others should be excluded;-and that in place of them just & amicable feelings towards all should be cultivated.-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.-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 illwill & 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 & 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 favourite 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 & Wars of the latter, without adequate inducement or justification:-It leads also to concessions to the favourite Nation of priviledges denied to others, which is apt doubly to injure the Nation making the concessions by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained-& by exciting jealousy, ill will, and a disposition to retaliate, in the parties from whom eql. priviledges are withheld: And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deludid citizens (who devote themselves to the favourite Nation) facility to betray, or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity;-gilding with the apearances 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 practise 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 & 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 defence 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 intriegues of the favourite, are liable to become suspected and odious; while its tools and dupes usurp the applause & 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 & collisions of her friendships, or enmities:
Our detached & 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, Humour or Caprice?—
"Tis 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 patronising infidility 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 respectably 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 favours or preferences; consulting the natural course of things; diffusing & deversifying by gentle means the streams of Commerce, but forcing nothing;establishing with Powers so disposed-in order to give to 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, & liable to be from time to time abandoned or varied, as experience and circumstances shall dictate; constantly keeping in view, that 'tis 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 favours and yet of being reproached with ingratitude for not giving more. There can be no greater error than to expect, or calculate upon real favours from Nation to Nation. "Tis 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 affection
WASHINGTON'S FAREWELL ADDRESS
ate friend, I dare not hope they will make the strong and lasting impression, I could wish that they will controul 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 & then recur to moderate the fury of party spirit, to warn against the mischiefs of foreign Intriegue, to guard against the Impostures of pretended patriotism—this hope will be a full recompence 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 22d. of April 1793 is the index to 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, maintain it, with moderation, perseverence & 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 any thing 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 & experience.-With me, a predominant motive has been to endeavour to gain time to our country to settle & mature its yet recent institutions, and to progress without interruption, to that degree of strength & 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
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 favourite object of my heart, and the happy reward, as I trust, of our mutual cares, labours and dangers
United States 1796 19th September
ALL THE preceding papers, except the last, are legal enactments. Washington's Farewell Address, on the other hand, is a presentation of American policy as privately advised by the chief founder of the Union. Like that, the Monroe Doctrine is an assertion, in this case official by the head of the nation, of a fundamental principle in American foreign policy, but it is not a law. Both of them, in spite of this distinct character, are truly Liberty Documents, because they present statements, which have been accepted by succeeding administrations and by the people as a whole, of conduct considered essential to the wellbeing and freedom of our land. The two great papers are intimately related; for much of Washington's advice was as to our foreign relations and a declaration of attitude toward them, of which the Monroe Doctrine is a logical result.
There was, however, legislative as well as diplomatic precedent for the policy which President Monroe pronounced in 1823. On January 15, 1811, at the time when it was feared that, because of conditions resulting from the Napoleonic Wars, the Spanish provinces in America, and especially East Florida, might pass to some other European nation, the justification of the occupation of East Florida by the United States was stated in a joint resolution of Congress, having the authority of a law, as follows:
"Taking into view the peculiar situation of Spain, and of her American provinces; and considering the influence which the destiny of the territory adjoining the southern border of the United States may have upon their security, tranquillity, and commerce: Therefore,
"Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That the United States, under the peculiar circumstances of the existing crisis, cannot, without serious inquietude, see any part of the said territory pass into the hands of any foreign power; and that a due regard to their own safety compels them to provide, under certain contingencies, for the temporary occupation of the said territory; they, at the same time, declare that the said territory shall, in their hands, remain subject to future negotiation."
There have been various occasions when warning has been given of the consistent adherence of this nation to the policy, because of the danger to other American nations, or the fear that foreign privileges or occupations there would threaten the safety of the United States, or the possibility of the transfer of American possessions from one European nation to another. On June 3, 1940,