Monday, October 14, 2013


It is unlikely that there is anyone in the United States of America who would dispute the significance of George Washington's role in the war for independence, its founding as a constitutional republic, and his most reluctant service of two terms as their first president. Therefore, one would think that the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association (the organization which has long been engaged in preserving both his home and his legacy) and the Library of Congress would be the definitive gold-standard source for information and educational tools with regard to his presidential Farewell Address -- the most important document to have ever come from his hand.

Astonishingly, that is not the case.

The stark absence of attention commensurate with its importance, as opposed to an object of intense focus and brightest illumination of the Farewell Address, is a matter worthy of investigation and should be corrected. This writer has already reached out to Mount Vernon with regard to it's non-observance on 19th September and has yet to receive a response. Attempt will be made to contact the Library of Congress to address the deficiency but, considering the many layers and divisions of such a bureaucracy, the probability of locating the ideal contact is uncertain.

The Library of Congress Teachers Guide, like so many, has the incorrect date. It directs educators to a copy of a manuscript of the Farewell Address written by someone else and, although it may have some value as an artifact fine penmanship, it offers nothing that can't be found elsewhere. Wouldn't it be easier just to have it directed to the text? I will suggest they link to the Victor Hugo Paltsits book used as reference by those who prepared the intro at The Papers of George Washington page Lesson 3 - Group 4 does touch upon it but in a very limited capacity. The very last item at the bottom of the page is perhaps the best and most appropriate assignment:

Research how later generations have viewed Washington's Farewell Address.

A search at Mount Vernon's web site using keywords "farewell address" yields a link to page of the text at their site but, surprisingly, it was not at the top of the list. Their encyclopedia does have an entry for Alexander Hamilton but there is no mention of his having been called upon by His Excellency to provide assistance with editing the final draft. They even offer this book for sale, Washington's Farewell to His Officers, but none about his, by far more important, farewell to ``Friends, & Fellow-Citizens" and posterity.

(click on image to enlarge)

Well, it's easy to see that one book is missing from its space but I'm pretty certain it's not the one in question here for, as a matter of routine on several occasions over the past twenty years, I have made the rounds in the shops in the National Archives, Library of Congress (which is where I think I took that picture), U.S. Capitol, Supreme Court, etc. they, like, NEVER have any copies of President Washington's Farewell Address in inventory. And it's not like it's like its not in print, for same publisher has it in print and is available online and, wouldn't you know it--not only to they have the date wrong, they even say that it was delivered to assembled Members of Congress. Oh well, another item to add to my to-do list.  My guess is, is that it's the Declaration of Independence that's missing.

Andrew Jackson, seventh president of the United States, in his own brilliant Farewell Address, declared that;
the lessons contained in this invaluable legacy of Washington to his countrymen should be cherished in the heart of every citizen ... his paternal counsels would seem to be not merely the offspring of wisdom and foresight, but the voice of prophecy, foretelling events and warning us of the evil to come."
By contrast when this writer reached out to the folks at The Hermitage expressing his enthusiasm for the farewell addresses of both presidents establishment his Andrew Jackson Farewell Address Revivification and Preservation Project as well, he received an immediate response from Howard J. Kittell, their President and CEO.

Somewhere, the American people have lost their way. If our republic is to prosper and survive as a nation promoting peace, freedom, and justice, it is imperative that we return to our roots and firmly reestablish the principles of The Founding Father himself --as well as those of the man whose memory is disgraced in mockery by the Federal Reserve Bank by its use of his visage on their $20 private central-banknotes-- as the standard of governance.

One would think both of these entities would have a world-class online exhibit to feature the most indispensable document in the legacy of The Indispensable Man.

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