There are two things (as I have often declared) which in my opinion, are indispensably necessary to the well being and good government of our public Affairs; these are, greater powers to Congress, and more responsibility and permanency in the executive bodies. If individual States conceive themselves at liberty to reject, or alter any act of Congress, which in a full representation of them, has been solemnly debated and decided on; it will be madness in us, to think of prosecuting the War.
George Washington, letter to James Duane, December 26, 1780
Nullification was a bad idea even before we had a constitution with a Federal supremacy clause.
We shou’d not, in imitations of some nations which have been celebrated for a false kind of patriotism, wish to aggrandize our own Republic at the expence of the freedom & happiness of the rest of mankind.
George Washington, fragments of a draft of a First Inaugural Address, 1789
My first wish is, That Congress may be convinced of the impropriety of relying upon the Militia, and of the necessity of raising a larger standing Army than what they have voted. The saving in the article of Stores, Provisions and in a thousand other things, by having nothing to do with Militia unless in cases of extraordinary emergency, & such as could not be expected in the common course of events, would amply support a large Army, which well officered would be daily improving, instead of continuing a destructive, expensive disorderly Mob.
I am clear in Opinion, that if 40,000 Men had been kept in constant pay since the first commencement of Hostilities, and the Militia had been excused doing duty during that period, the Continent would have saved Money. When I reflect on the losses we have sustained for want of good Troops, the certainty of this is placed beyond a doubt in my mind.
George Washington, letter to John Hancock, December 5, 1776
If we shall be faithless to, and regardless of those who have lent their money, given their personal Services, and spilt their Blood; and who are now returning home poor and pennyless; in what light shall we be considered?
George Washington, letter to John Augustine Washington, June 15, 1783
Do not then in your contemplation of the marriage state, look for perfect felicity before you consent to wed. Nor conceive, from the fine tales the Poets and lovers of old have told us, of the transports of mutual love, that Heaven has taken its abode on earth: Nor do not deceive yourself in supposing, that the only mean by which these are to be obtained, is to drink deep of the cup, and revel in an ocean of love. Love is a mighty pretty thing; but like all other delicious things, it is cloying; and when the first transports of the passion begins to subside, which it assuredly will do, and yield, oftentimes too late, to more sober reflections, it serves to evince, that love is too dainty a food to live upon alone.
George Washington, letter to Elizabeth Parke Custis, September 14, 1794
That last sentence didn’t actually end there, but it should have. Washington could write a run-on sentence, but not always one that was easy to follow.
Experience has taught us, that men will not adopt & carry into execution, measures the best calculated for their own good without the intervention of a coercive power. I do not conceive we can exist long as a nation, without having lodges somewhere a power which will pervade the whole Union in as energetic a manner, as the authority of the different state goverments extends over the several States. To be fearful of vesting Congress, constituted as that body is, with ample authorities for national purposes, appears to me the very climax of popular absurdity and madness.
George Washington, letter to John Jay, August 15, 1786
My first wish is, That Congress may be convinced of the impropriety of relying upon the Militia, and of the necessity of raising a larger standing Army than what they have voted. The saving in the article of Stores, Provisions and in a thousand other things, by having nothing to do with Militia unless in cases of extraordinary exigency, & such as could not be expected in the common course of events, would amply support a large Army, which well officered would be daily improving, instead of continuing a destructive, expensive, disorderly Mob.
George Washington, letter to John Hancock, December 5, 1776
Even then, the statement of the (future) second amendment was not true.
It is necessary that we should not lose sight of an important truth, which continually receives new confirmations, namely, that the provisions heretofore made with a view to the protection of the Indians, from the violences of the lawless part of our frontier inhabitants are insufficient. It is demonstrated that these violences can now be perpetrated with impunity.
George Washington, Seventh Annual message to Congress, December 8, 1795
It is obviously impracticable in the federal government of these States; to secure all rights of independent sovereignty to each, and yet provide for the interest and safety of all - Individuals entering into society, must give up a share of liberty to preserve the rest. The magnitude of the sacrifice must depend as well on situation and circumstance, as on the object to be obtained. It is at all times difficult to draw with precision the line between those rights which must be surrendered, and those which may be reserved; and on the present occasion this difficulty was encreased by a difference among the several States as to their situation, extent, habits, and particular interests.
George Washington, to the Continental Congress, September 17, 1787
When the Constitutional Convention was over, Washington gave this short speech explaining a concept that some people do not understand to this day.
We now have a National character to establish; and it is of the utmost importance to stamp favourable impressions upon it; let justice then be one of its characteristics, and gratitude another.
George Washington, letter to Theodorick Bland, April 4, 1783