[WASHINGTON]. The Legacy of the Father of his Country. Address of George Washington ...to his Fellow Citizens on Declining Being Considered a Candidate for their future Suffrages. Boston: John Russell and by David West 1796. 16mo, 43pp. Early marbled paper wrappers (light rubbing). Provenance: “Ichabod Tucker” ink inscription on preliminary blank.
Second (Boston) edition. Washington’s Farewell Address was first printed by David Claypoole’s American Daily Advertiser (Philadelphia), on 19 September 1796. Other newspapers followed suit in printing the address. For that reason alone the editors of this edition in their foreward explained why they felt it necessary to preserve for posterity Washington’s Farewell Address as they felt the gazette and newspaper formats were too fragile and would not survive. (ABPC has recorded no sale of this book since 1975.)
Washington’s Farewell Address was written after years of exhaustion due to his advanced age, decades of service to his country, the duties of the presidency, and increased attacks by his political opponents. Washington’s address covered many topics concerning his Impending Retirement from Public Life (pp. 1-7), The Importance of Unity, and The Danger of Sectionalism (pp. 8-15), The Authority of the Constitution (pp.16-19), Danger of Political Parties (pp.20-25), The Importance of Checks and Balances(26), Religion, Morality, and Education (27-29),The Importance of Credit (page 30), Foreign Relations(pp.31-42), and Defense of the Proclamation of Neutrality (pp.45-49). By declining the third term, Washington established a precedent that remained until FDR, and solidified his reputation as a Founder interested only in serving the Republic, and not in satisfying his own ambition. To this day, Washington’s Farewell Address is considered to be one of the most important documents in American history and is read traditionally in the U.S. Senate on Washington’s Birthday, by a member of the Senate, alternating between political parties each year, and is read on the Senate floor. Evans 31530; Sabin 101553.