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A few thoughts, not my own

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  • Gary Krause
    I know this is a long series of excerpts, but perhaps many of you will find words of value in what follows, knowing and considering the writer (identified at
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 19, 2001
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      I know this is a long series of excerpts, but perhaps
      many of you will find words of value in what follows,
      knowing and considering the writer (identified at

      "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. ...

      "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 tranquillity 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 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 councils
      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. 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. ...

      "Observe good faith and justice toward 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 possible
      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 toward all should be
      cultivated. The nation which indulges toward 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. ...

      "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. ...

      "Taking care always to keep ourselves by suitable
      establishments on a respectable defensive posture, we
      may safely trust to temporary alliances for
      extraordinary emergencies. ...

      "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 toward
      other nations. ...

      "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 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."

      -- George Washington,

      --------Farewell Address to the American People
      --------September 17, 1796


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