Front Page Titles (by Subject) JAY TO ROBERT MORRIS. - The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, vol. 1 (1763-1781)
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JAY TO ROBERT MORRIS. - 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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JAY TO ROBERT MORRIS.
Fishkills, Octr. 6, 1776.
The enclosed is a part of the late invisible parts of Mr. Deane’s letters. You will perceive some blanks in it. Mr. D. it seems did not write with his usual care and accuracy. There are many blots in one of the letters and in one or two instances the lines cross and run into one another. Little material is however illegible. I am happy to find our affairs wear so pleasing an aspect in France.
This most certainly will not be the last campaign, and in my opinion Lord Howe’s operations cannot be so successful and decisive as greatly to lessen the ideas which foreign nations have conceived of our importance. I am rather inclined to think that our declaring Independence in the face of so powerful a fleet and army will impress them with an opinion of our strength and spirit; and when they are informed how little our country is in the enemy’s possession, they will unite in declaring us invincible by the arms of Britain.
If the works carrying on by the General for obstructing the navigation of Hudson’s River at Mount Washington prove effectual, Lord Howe must rest content with the City of New York for this campaign. For altho it is not impossible for him to land a large body of troops on the shores of the Sound and thereby divide our forces, yet no great matters can by that means be achieved. Our communication with the army by the Sound is already cut off by the ships of war; and any strong Post they might take on the shore would not much injure our communication by land. But should they on the contrary be able suddenly to penetrate the North River with a few ships of war and a number of transports, they would effectually destroy all communication between the upper country and the army by land and water. For before the shores would be put in such a state of defence as to prevent their landing with success, they might possess themselves of Posts and Passes, by nature so strong as to be long tenable against a much superior force.
Should an event of this sort take place, we should be in a disagreeable situation. Flour and lumber could not then be carried to the army but by a circuitous route thro abominable roads, and it is a matter of some doubt whether our utmost exertions to supply them would be successful. Had I been vested with absolute power in this State, I have often said and still think that I would last spring have desolated all Long Island, Staten-Island, the City and County of New York, and all that part of the County of Westchester which lies below the mountains. I would then have stationed the main body of the army in the mountains on the east, and eight or ten thousand men in the highlands on the west side of the river. I would have directed the river at Fort Montgomery, which is nearly at the southern extremity of the mountains to be so shallowed as to afford only depth sufficient for an Albany sloop, and all the southern passes and defiles in the mountains to be strongly fortified. Nor do I think the shallowing of the river a romantic scheme. Rocky mountains rise immediately from the shores. The breadth is not very great though the depth is. But what cannot eight or ten thousand men well worked effect? According to this plan of defence the State would be absolutely impregnable against all the world on the Sea side, and would have nothing to fear except from the way of the lake. Should the enemy gain the river even below the mountains, I think I foresee that a retreat would become necessary, and I can’t forbear wishing that a desire of saving a few acres may not lead us into difficulty. Such is the situation of this State at present and so various and I may say successful have been the arts of Govr. Tryon and his adherents to spread the seeds of disaffection among us that I cannot at present obtain permission to return to Congress. Our Convention continues unanimous in all its measures and to do them justice are diligent as well as zealous in the cause.
As long as your whimsical constituents shall permit the gentleman to whom I am writing to remain among the number of those honest and able patriots in Congress, in whose hands I think the Interest of America very safe, the Congress will possess too great a stock of abilities to perceive the absence of my little mite. It gives me pleasure however to reflect that your remarks on this subject, however ill founded, would have been dictated only by that friendly partiality which you have shown me, and which in this instance has been permitted to impose on your judgment. I wish the Secret Committee would communicate no other intelligence to the Congress at large, than what may be necessary to promote the common weal, not gratify the curiosity of individuals. I hint this, because a copy of a letter from A. L. to that Committee has lately been sent by a member of Congress to a gentleman of his acquaintance who is not a member of Congress. I came by this intelligence in such a way as to speak with certainty, for I have seen the copy, but at the same time in such a way as not to be able with propriety to mention names. You will be pleased therefore to make no other use of this information than to induce the greater caution in the Committee. For as to binding certain members in the house to secresy by oaths or otherwise would be just as absurd as to swear Lee (no matter which of them) to look or feel like Ned Rutledge.
Had Mr. Deane mentioned to me his having conversed with you relative to the mode of writing I communicated to him, I should most certainly have spoken to you on the subject, and will when we meet give you the same information respecting it that I did to him. I am Dr. Sir, with respect and esteem your most obt. servt.