Magazine article USA TODAY

Scolded by George Washington: The Father of Our Country Returns from "Beyond the Veil of Heaven" to Warn about the Abuses to the Constitution and the Ideals That Led to This Nation's Founding

Magazine article USA TODAY

Scolded by George Washington: The Father of Our Country Returns from "Beyond the Veil of Heaven" to Warn about the Abuses to the Constitution and the Ideals That Led to This Nation's Founding

Article excerpt

Friends and citizens, I come before you from beyond the veil of Heaven. I come with reluctance, out of a sense of necessity and urgency. I am drawn by my ardent love for my Country, which neither death nor eternity can extinguish.

Throughout my mortal probation, no voice did I hear with greater clarity than the voice of my Country in time of need, and in no instance when my Country called me did I decline to rise and serve, even when enfeebled by age and disability and even when my overwhelming inclination was to withdraw from public service, as a wearied Traveller must do, to take leave from the great theatre of Action and the employments of public life.

So I rise again, called to duty by your prayers for relief and pleas for the Country to be saved. I have heard your appeals, have entreated with my Father in Heaven--that Almighty Being who rules over the Universe, who presides in the Councils of Heaven, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect--to allow my earthly condescension for but a moment, doing so for one solemn and critical purpose, to rekindle the Sacred Fire of Liberty.

I tender homage to that Great Author of every public and private good for this opportunity to appear before you one last time.

A solicitude for your welfare and the apprehension of danger, natural to that solicitude, urge me, on this occasion, to offer to your solemn contemplation sentiments which are the result of much reflection on usurpations of power that have replaced the limited Republic we entrusted to your care with an unlimited government more akin to that Absolute Monarchy of Tyrannical rule that robbed us of our Liberties before the Revolution.

I beseech you to remember that Character of Government we entrusted to you at the dawn of our experiment in Republican Government.

The foundation of our Empire was not laid in the gloomy age of Ignorance and Superstition, but at an Epocha when the rights of mankind were better understood and more clearly defined than at any former period. At that auspicious period, the United States came into existence as a Nation.

When we consider the magnitude of the prize we contended for in the Revolution, the doubtful outcome of that contest, and the favorable manner in which it was terminated, we were right then to see that the battle for Liberty was not only a just cause, but also a Divine one--affected by the hand of Providence.

The Citizens of America were then placed in the most enviable condition, as their own sole Lords and Masters, invested with plenipotentiary control over their own lives, liberties, and properties, save for unjust invasion of the equal rights of others.

As Liberty was the word on every Patriot's tongue during the Revolution, Liberty was the Patriotic purpose of our written Constitution --to be preserved by the restraints contained in that Great Charter.

We knew then our experiment in Republican Government would be tested, but we trusted in the Citizens of America to stand as a Bulwark of Liberty and guard against change by usurpation of power. Freedom could remain ours so long as we would defend it against the Designs of Ambitious Governors.

We then commenced the time of our political probation, to determine whether we would keep well lit the Sacred Fire of Liberty and, so, ensure a respectable, prosperous, and free Country, or whether we would violate that trust and devolve into disrepute, contempt, misery, and servitude.

Then as now the eyes of the World and of the Divine Author of Creation were upon us.

That sovereignty which of right remains in the Citizens of America has been removed over time by repeated expansions of the National Government beyond the limits of the Constitution.

Usurpation by usurpation what was once your prerogative as a Free People became the prerogative of Government, depriving you of Control over your own Destiny and presuming to dictate by Force of Law the Course of Commerce and who Among You may win and who Among You must lose in the Affairs of the Market. …

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