"As a very important source of strength and security, cherish public credit. One method of preserving it is, to use it as sparingly as possible; avoiding occasions of expense by cultivating peace, but remembering also that timely disbursements to prepare for danger frequently prevent much greater disbursements to repel it; avoiding likewise the accumulation of debt, not only by shunning occasions of expense, but by vigorous exertions in time of peace to discharge the debts, which unavoidable wars may have occasioned, not ungenerously throwing upon posterity the burthen, which we ourselves ought to bear."

Farewell Address | Saturday, September 17, 1796

Editorial Notes

In the early years of Washington's administration he and Alexander Hamilton devoted much of their time to establishing America's public credit by ensuring the payment of pre-Revolutionary war debts.  Washington knew how difficult it had been to shore up American credit abroad and he advised Americans that a lasting peace with other nations would help prevent future large financial costs.

Farewell Address | Saturday, September 17, 1796

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