Front Page Titles (by Subject) LETTER TO THE COMMITTEE OF CORRESPONDENCE, BOSTON. 1 - The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, vol. 1 (1763-1781)
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LETTER TO THE COMMITTEE OF CORRESPONDENCE, BOSTON. 1 - 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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LETTER TO THE COMMITTEE OF CORRESPONDENCE, BOSTON.1
New York, May 23, 1774.
The alarming measures of the British Parliament relative to your ancient and respectable town, which has so long been the seat of freedom, fill the inhabitants of this city with inexpressible concern. As a sister colony, suffering in defence of the rights of America, we consider your injuries as a common cause, to the redress of which it is equally our duty, and our interest to contribute. But what ought to be done in a situation so truly critical, while it employs the anxious thoughts of every generous mind, is very hard to be determined.
Our citizens have thought it necessary to appoint a large committee, consisting of fifty-one persons to correspond with our sister colonies on this and every other matter of public moment, and at ten o’clock this forenoon, we were first assembled. Your letter enclosing the vote of the town of Boston and the letter of your Committee of Correspondence were immediately taken into consideration.
While we think you justly entitled to the thanks of your sister colonies for asking their advice on a case of such extensive consequences, we lament our inability to relieve your anxiety by a decisive opinion. The cause is general, and concerns a whole continent who are equally interested with you and us; and we foresee that no remedy can be of avail unless it proceeds from the joint act and approbation of all. From a virtuous and spirited union much may be expected, while the feeble efforts of a few will only be attended with mischief and disappointment to themselves and triumph to the adversaries of liberty.
Upon these reasons we conclude, that a Congress of Deputies from the colonies in general is of the utmost moment; that it ought to be assembled without delay, and some unanimous resolutions formed in this fatal emergency, not only respecting your deplorable circumstances, but for the security of our common rights. Such being our sentiments, it must be premature to pronounce any judgment on the expedient which you have suggested. We beg, however, that you will do us the justice to believe that we shall continue to act with a firm and becoming regard to American freedom, and to co-operate with our sister colonies in every measure that shall be thought salutary and conducive to the public good.
We have nothing to add, but that we sincerely condole with you in your unexampled distress, and to request your speedy opinion of the proposed Congress, that if it should meet with your approbation, we may exert our utmost endeavours to carry it into execution.
John Jay. Com. on Draft of Letter.]
[1 ]Jay’s public career begins with his participation in the meetings held by citizens of New York during the alarm and excitement consequent on the passage of the Boston Port Bill, March 31, 1774. At the first meeting, May 16, 1774, a committee of fifty, with Isaac Low as chairman, was nominated to correspond with the other colonies “upon all matters of moment,” and on the 19th “a great concourse of the inhabitants” assembled at the Coffee House and confirmed the nominations. Of this committee, known as the Committee of Correspondence, Jay was a member. On the 23d it met in the forenoon and appointed a sub-committee, consisting of Messrs. McDougall, Low, Duane, and Jay, to report “at 8 o’clock P.M.” the draft of an answer to a communication from the Boston Committee of Correspondence. The citizens of Boston had held a meeting May 13th, and voted “That it is the opinion of this town that if the other Colonies come into a joint resolution to stop all importations from Great Britain, and exportations to Great Britain, and every part of the West Indies, till the Act for blocking up this harbour be repealed, the same will prove the salvation of North America and her liberties.” The answer from New York appears above, it being the draft of the sub-committee, of which Jay, as stated, was a member. Its historical importance lies in the fact that while suggestions for holding a general congress of the colonies to consult on common rights had previously been made in Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere, the proposition to the same effect from New York was framed in such pointed terms as to hasten action in the matter and, with a similar call from Virginia, to lead to the assemblage of the famous Congress in September following. This New York draft was possibly from Jay’s own pen.