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The Frenchman’s Address to a Young Nation

This address to Americans by the Abbé Raynal was and is incredibly relevant and important to our country. Maybe even more so today.
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In keeping with our recent newspaper-focused research, we dug up this gem from the National Intelligencer and Washington Advertiser dated November 3rd, 1800. The newspaper was the first to publish in the District of Columbia, printing from October 1800 to January 1870.

We found an address by the Frenchman Guillaume Thomas François Raynal to the people of the young country of the United States of America.

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It is an incredibly prescient and surprisingly relevant piece today, maybe even more so. Below is the transcription:

PEOPLE of North America! let the example of all nations which have preceded you, and especially that of the mother country, instruct you. Be afraid of the influence of gold, which brings with luxury the corruption of manners and contempt of laws; be afraid of too unequal a distribution of riches, which shews a small number of citizens in wealth, and a great number in miser; whence arises the insolence of one, and the disgrace of the other, Guard against the spirit of conquest; the tranquility of the empire decreases as it is extended; have arms to defend yourselves, and have none to attack.

Seek ease and health in labour; prosperity, in agriculture and manufactures; strength, in good manners and virtue. Make the sciences and arts prosper, which distinguish the civilized man from the savage. Especially watch over the education of your children.

It is from public schools, be assured, that skillful magistrates, disciplined and courageous soldiers, good fathers, good husbands, good brothers, good friends, and honest men come forth. Wherever we see the youth depraved, that nation is on the decline. Let liberty have an immovable foundation in the wisdom of your contributions and let it be the cement which unites your states, which cannot be destroyed. Establish no legal preference in your different modes of worship. Superstition is every where innocent when it is neither protected nor persecuted; and let your duration be, if possible, equal to that of the world.

Raynal had died four years prior to this being published in the newspaper. Read it a couple of times because it’s really a powerful statement still after more than two centuries.

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