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Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1989.

AUTHOR: George Washington (1732–99)
QUOTATION: If in the opinion of the People, the distribution or modification of the Constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way which the Constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed.
ATTRIBUTION: President GEORGE WASHINGTON, farewell address, September 19, 1796.—The Writings of George Washington, ed. John C. Fitzpatrick, vol. 35, p. 229 (1940).

“The immediate occasion for Washington’s Address was the necessity of eliminating himself from the contest for the Presidency…. There has been considerable controversy over the question of the authorship of the Address, and Hamilton’s admirers claim that he was principally responsible for it.”—Henry Steele Commager, ed., Documents of American History, 10th ed., vol. 1, p. 169 (1973), where additional details about the authorship may also be found. The farewell address was not delivered by Washington but was published in Claypoole’s American Daily Advertiser, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, September 19, 1796. Fitzpatrick provides a lengthy account (Writings, vol. 35, footnote 84, pp. 214–15) of the publication of the address by Claypoole, and dates the address the 19th, from the date of its publication in the Advertiser, although Commager and others date it the 17th.
SUBJECTS: Constitution of the United States