Front Page Titles (by Subject) BENJAMIN KISSAM TO JAY. - The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, vol. 1 (1763-1781)
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BENJAMIN KISSAM TO JAY. - John Jay, The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, vol. 1 (1763-1781) 
The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, ed. Henry P. Johnston, A.M. (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1890-93). Vol. 1 (1763-1781).
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BENJAMIN KISSAM TO JAY.
I just now received your long letter of the 12th inst., and am not a little pleased with the humour and freedom of sentiment which characterize it. It would give me pain if I thought you could even suspect me capable of wishing to impose any restraint upon you, in this high and inestimable privilege of friendship. Because I can see no reason why the rights of one relation in life should destroy those of another, I detest that forbidding pride which, with formal ceremony, can stalk over the social rights of others, and elevate the soul in a vain conceit of its own dignity and importance; founded merely in some adventitious circumstance of relative superiority. Take this, therefore, if you please, as a nolli prosequi for the heinous crime of writing a free and familiar letter to me; with this further, that whenever you transgress in the other extreme, you must not expect to meet with the same mercy.
I really believe, Jay, your pen was directed by the rapid whirl of imagination; nay, I am convinced that this whirl was begun, continued, and ended with a strong tide. I can’t help conceiving it under the idea of a mill-tide, which keeps the wheels in a quick rotation, save only with this difference, that the motion of that is uniform, yours irregular—an irregularity, however, that bespeaks the grandeur, not the meanness of the intellectual source from whence the current flows. . . .
I will now explain to you what I meant by asking how business went in the office. And first, negatively, I did not want a list or the number of the new causes; neither was I anxious to know how often you visited the office. But, as a regard to your modesty on the one hand, and your veracity on the other, has induced you to evade an answer to the last, I will, nevertheless, solve the dilemma for you by saying, that I believe you have too much veracity to assume a false modesty, and that you are too honest to declare an untruth. And, as you have left me between two extremes, I shall take the middle way; and do suppose that, upon the whole, you attend the office as much as you ought to do; so that you see I save both your modesty and veracity, and answer the question as you state it into the bargain.
But, affirmatively, I am to tell you, that I did mean to ask in general, whether my business decreased much by my absence; and whether my returns at the last term were pretty good; and whether care has been taken to put that business forward as much as possible. I conclude, however, that though you did not take me, as the Irishman said, yet these things have been properly attended to.
Here we are, and are likely to be so, I am afraid, these ten days. There are no less than forty-seven persons charged, all upon three several indictments, with the murder of those persons who lost their lives in the affray with the sheriff. Four or five of them are in jail, and will be tried this day: what their fate will be, God only knows; it is terrible to think that so many lives should be at stake upon the principles of a constructive murder: for I suppose that the immediate agency of but a very few of the party can be proved. . . .
I am, your affectionate friend,
Albany, the 25th of August, 1766.