George Washington Farewell Address Candle Stand

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After two terms as president, George Washington chose not to serve a third term but instead to retire to Mount Vernon. In September 1796 he presented his Farewell Address to the country he had served for more than 20 years. Published in the Philadelphia newspaper, The American Daily Advertiser, the Farewell Address was Washington's final advice to his countrymen. He urged all Americans to support the newly formed nation and put aside regional or party divisions. "Your Union ought to be considered as a main prop of your liberty, the love of the one ought to endear to you the preservation of the other."
Since 1896 the United States Senate has marked Washington's birthday by having a member read the Farewell Address aloud in a legislative session.
According to family tradition, President Washington worked on his Farewell Address by the light of this brass candle stand. The reflector magnifies the light of the candles in adjustable candlesticks. The back of the reflector is lined with green silk. The candle stand and other relics of George and Martha Washington were sold to the United States government in 1878 by the Lewis family (descendents of George Washington's nephew, Lawrence Lewis, and Martha Washington's granddaughter, Nelly Custis Lewis). The relics were housed in the Patent Office until 1883, when they were transferred to the Smithsonian Institution.
related event
George Washington's Farewell Address
National Museum of American History
associated person; user
Washington, George
associated person
Lewis, Lawrence
Lewis, Nelly Custis
Physical Description
green (back of reflector color)
brass (overall material)
silk (reflector material)
overall: 22 in x 11 1/2 in; 55.88 cm x 29.21 cm
base: 5 11/16 in; 14.44625 cm
See more items in
Political History: Political History, Presidential History Collection
Domestic Furnishings
Government, Politics, and Reform
The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Object Name
candle stand
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Related Publication
Washington's farewell address to the people of the United States