To Bigotry No Sanction

From George Washington to the Hebrew Congregation in Newport, Rhode Island, 18 August 1790

To the Hebrew Congregation in Newport, Rhode Island


While I receive, with much satisfaction, your Address replete with expressions of affection and esteem; I rejoice in the opportunity of assuring you, that I shall always retain a grateful remembrance of the cordial welcome I experienced in my visit to Newport, from all classes of Citizens.

The reflection on the days of difficulty and danger which are past is rendered the more sweet, from a consciousness that they are succeeded by days of uncommon prosperity and security. If we have wisdom to make the best use of the advantages with which we are now favored, we cannot fail, under the just administration of a good Government, to become a great and a happy people.

The Citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy: a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people, that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights. For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.

It would be inconsistent with the frankness of my character not to avow that I am pleased with your favorable opinion of my Administration, and fervent wishes for my felicity. May the Children of the Stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other Inhabitants; while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and figtree, and there shall be none to make him afraid. May the father of all mercies scatter light and not darkness in our paths, and make us all in our several vocations useful here, and in his own due time and way everlastingly happy.

Go. Washington

The historical background of this letter:

On 17 Aug. 1790 an address speaking on behalf of the “children of the Stock of Abraham” and signed by the warden of the Congregation Yeshuat Israel of Newport, Moses Seixas (a leading town merchant) was delivered to George Washington on the occasion of his visit to Newport, Rhode Island.

This is two years after the ratification of the US Constitution in 1788. The ink was hardly dry on the parchment.

The Jewish presence in that town dated back to the arrival of fifteen Sephardic Jewish families in 1658.

In 1677, ninety-nine years before the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the Jews bought land for a burial ground, but religious services were held in private homes until property for a synagogue was purchased in 1759 and a building was completed and dedicated in 1763.

At least twenty-five Jewish families lived in Newport by the time of the Revolution, making it the largest Jewish community in the colonies. Many left during the British occupation of the town, and the Jewish community in Newport had only begun to recover its former prominence at the time of Washington’s visit.

The address is brief, thanking God for the victory over the British, and expressing deep thanksgiving for the new form of government, particularly since, under the British crown (as in all European states without exception) the Jews were “Deprived as we heretofore have been of the invaluable rights of free Citizens” and not given “an equal part” in the government.

Washington answers with the chivalrous graciousness and gravity known to all gentlemen of that era. Note that he says that “we” (meaning Jews, Christians, and all Americans alike) can use the blessings of liberty to become a great and a happy people.

Note the use of the singular. Washington is not saying America shall be two peoples, Jews and Christians, living under one multilingual or multicultural empire.

He then expressly says that all possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. It is not a grant by one class to another, nor a gift given by one people to another.

He is speaking of the freedom of religion, the right of each citizen to worship God in the manner he sincerely sees fit. Please note that these words of his were penned a year before the Bill of Rights was ratified. The ideal of America was present before the specifics were enacted into law.

A certain microscopic faction of persons claiming to be an alternative form of far right (but they are actually collectivists, that is, on the Left) has recently promoted the argument, based on the proposition that the Founders, in using the words “to ourselves and our posterity” in the Preamble to the Constitution.

The faction claims that this wording by the Founding Fathers was meant deliberately to include only whites and deliberately to exclude (depending on which version of the argument one hears) Jews, Frenchmen, Germans, Italians, Irish, Spaniards, Portuguese, free Negros, American Indians, and Chinamen.

The same facetious argument is proposed on the grounds that the Naturalization Act of 1790 restricted citizenship to “any alien, being a free white person” who had been in the U.S. for two years. The argument asserts that the Jews, free Negroes, Irishmen, Germans and non-Anglosaxons already living in the colonies for years (or centuries) before 1790 were therefore never meant to be citizens, and that all the naturalization laws amended and voting into law since that time for some reason do not count.

The same argument proposes that when the Declaration of Independence speaks of the proposition that all men are created equal is self evident, and all men are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that this passage was supposed to say “all white men” but Jefferson was a Francophile, so his ideas, and the ideas of everyone moved to assent to his language, does not really count.

The same argument proposes that when Lincoln spoke of the United States as conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal, he was speaking absurd wickedness.

To them, anyone speaking in favor of the American dream or the American Constitution, is speaking in favor of a “proposition nation” or believes in the theory of “magic dirt.”

Such phrases merely demark the Overton Window of acceptable speech. If a Commie calls you a reactionary, or an Altie says you believe in a “proposition nation” he signals that he is too virtuous to continue further to debate you.

Their claim is that the bloodline contains genetic markers allowing one to be American, and that very idea that someone can be naturalized by an act of Congress is absurd and contemptible: as if the soil of America were magical, and merely to place one’s foot here were sufficient to be counted as a true American.

None of them, to my knowledge, has bothered to explain why it is absurd and evil to ascribe the magical power of citizenship to magic dirt, but rational and good to ascribe the magical power of citizenship to magical genetic markers in the bloodline.

The argument, or, rather the un-argued assertion, proposed by the Left is that illegal aliens should be given the vote, in-state tuition, and welfare benefits on the grounds that the trespassing alien, by being here, and not the Congress representing the will of the people, has the right to say who is and who is not a citizen.

The Alties and the Lefties, in this as in so many things, are identical except for orientation. The Lefties destroy the very concept of citizenship by saying no one new to the nation can be excluded; the Alties by saying no one new to the nation can be included.

Both are crass materialists.

The idea that anyone joining in the spirit of America, the America ideals, the American Way, the American dream, should and could be an American citizen as soon as he can get here, no matter what his paperwork says, and no matter his bloodline or background; and that likewise anyone betraying that spirit is not a real, redblooded American, even if his paperwork says otherwise, is an idea Leftists and their Altie twins despise. To both, race is everything; soul, spirit, mind, and ideals are nothing. Except their ideals. Or something.

To the one, race war is as inevitable as the world revolution of the proletarian is to the other. One foretells the race war will lead to an ethnicly cleansed state, to the other, socialism will lead to utopia.

The Left claims that equality under the law cannot exist under republican forms of government and never has. Only benevolent totalitarianism can usher it in, one where Washington’s promise of universal liberty is first abolished.

The Left claims that the United States was built on slavery, institutional racism, imperialism and rapine from the beginning. The federal government existed only to trample minorities.

Strange that George Washington did not mention to the Jews their inferior status, and did not tell them to avoid insolence, putting on airs, or risking retaliation should they attempt to vote or stand for public office. One would almost think he did not believe some men were born with saddles on their backs, and others born with spurs on their heels.

The Alt Right claim is that multilingual, multinational, or multiethnic commonwealths cannot and should not exist and never have. “Diversity plus proximity equals war” is their outcry and battle-slogan. So neither the Roman Republic or the British Empire exist in their history books, nor Spain, nor France, nor Germany, nor Russia.

Apparently, in their history, the United States never existed either, or else we were meant to be all-White and only-White and anti-Jewish from the get go.

And apparently, George Washington never got the memo.