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1779. - 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 GENERAL LAFAYETTE.
Philadelphia, 3d January, 1779.
The Congress have directed me to observe to you, that the plan for emancipating Canada1 was conceived at a time when, from various movements of the enemy, there was the highest reason to expect a speedy and total evacuation of all the ports they held in these States. These indications, however, proved false, and the probability of their quitting this country in the course of the winter is become very slender; nor is it by any means certain that they will do it in the spring. Prudence therefore dictates that the arms of America should be employed in expelling the enemy from her own shores before the liberation of a neighbouring province is undertaken, as the proportion of force necessary for our defence must be determined by the future operations and designs of the enemy, which cannot now be known; and as, in case of another campaign, it may happen to be very inconvenient if not impossible for us to furnish our proposed quota of troops for the emancipation of Canada. Congress think they ought not, under such circumstances, to draw their good ally into a measure the issue of which, depending on a variety of contingencies, is very uncertain, and might be very ruinous.
Major-General the Marquis de Lafayette.
JAY TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.
Philadelphia, 13th January, 1779.
Not a single line have you received from me since my arrival. This, as you say, does not look very friendly. I confess it, and, what is more in my favour, feel it.
Business, I know, cannot excuse a total silence, though it may palliate a partial one. I won’t plead it, for I never admitted it; nor do I now write merely to keep fair with my own principles. Inclination more than consistency prompts me on this occasion.
I presume your Legislature is by this time convened. Now is the season for exertion. Attend regularly. Confirm those who esteem you and their country. Convert or confound those who would sacrifice either to private views.
Will any consideration induce you to visit another quarter of the globe? I don’t know that you will be called upon, but I am not sure that you may not. My conduct will be greatly influenced by your inclination.
I had almost persuaded myself to write a letter to your brother Ned, urging him to come to this college, and offering my service to prepare the way for his reception. But as, on reflection, I apprehend it might stimulate him to a measure in which, perhaps, his mamma or brother might not concur, I decline it for the present. I cannot forbear, however, observing to you that, in my opinion, his genius and his years call for a further degree of cultivation than can be obtained at Hurley. I wish to be useful to every lad of talents and cleverness; and I assure you that desire will always be increased when these recommendations are possessed by one so nearly connected with a gentleman and a family who have particular claims to my esteem and respect.
I am, your friend,
P.S.—Don’t be too lazy or too busy to let me know how you do.
JAY TO ROBERT MORRIS.
Philadelphia, 15th February, 1779.
When characters rendered amiable by virtues and important by talents, are exposed to suspicions, and become subjects of investigation, the sensibility of individuals as well as the interest of the public are concerned in the event of the inquiry.1
It gives me, therefore, great pleasure to transmit to you an unanimous act of Congress of the 11th instant, not only acquitting your conduct in the transaction it relates to of blame, but giving it that express approbation, which patriotism in the public, and integrity in every walk of life always merit and seldom fail ultimately to receive.
I am, sir, with great respect and esteem, your most obedient servant,
JAY TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.
Philadelphia, 16th February, 1779.
Your favour of the third instant came to hand this morning. The satisfaction my letter afforded you flatters as well as pleases me. It argues a remembrance of former times; for which, and other reasons, I shall give you no more opportunities of joining the assembly of angels in rejoicing over penitent mortals. Not that I mean, on the one hand, to enter the state of reprobation and become a hardened sinner, or, on the other, enlist with those saints who slip not with their foot.
This letter, written on the very day I received yours, will become evidence of my having gone through the whole process of amendment. Divines, you know, describe it as consisting of conviction, contrition, and conversion. Whether I shall persevere or not is a subject on which time will utter the surest prophecies.
The complexions of resignation, of soft complaint, and joyless sensibility, are so blended in your letter, that, if anonymous, one would suppose it written by a wayworn traveller through this vale of tears, who, journeying towards his distant haven through sultry and dreary paths, at length lays his languid limbs under some friendly shade, and permits the effusions of his soul to escape in words. My friend, a mind unbraced and nerves relaxed are not fit company for each other. It was not a man whom the poet tells us pined in thought, and sat like patience on a monument smiling at grief. In such rugged times as these other sensations are to be cherished. Rural scenes, domestic bliss, and the charming group of pleasures found in the train of peace, fly at the approach of war, and are seldom to be found in fields stained with blood, or habitations polluted by outrage and desolation. I admire your sensibility, nor would I wish to see less milk in your veins; you would be less amiable. In my opinion, however, your reasoning is not quite just. I think a man’s happiness requires that he should condescend to keep himself free from fleas and wasps, as well as from thieves and robbers.
When the present session of your Legislature is ended, take a ride and see us. You will find many here happy to see you. I have something, though not very interesting, to say to you on the subject of politics, but as it is now very late, and I have been writing letters constantly since dinner, I am really too much fatigued to proceed. Make my compliments to Mrs. Livingston, who I presume is with you. Adieu.
I am, your friend,
JAY TO KITTY LIVINGSTON.1
Philadelphia, 27th February, 1779.
. . . . . . .
A report has just reached here that the enemy have visited Elizabethtown, and burnt your father’s house. This, if true, is a misfortune to the family, which I hope they will bear with proper fortitude and dignity. Similar losses have been my lot; but they never have, and I hope never will, cost me an hour’s sleep. Perseverance in doing what we think right, and resignation to the dispensations of the great Governor of the world, offer a shield against the darts of this sort of affliction to every body that will use it. Adieu.
ALEXANDER HAMILTON TO JAY.
Head-quarters, March 14th, 1779.
Colonel Laurens, who will have the honour of delivering you this letter, is on his way to South Carolina, on a project which I think, in the present situation of affairs there, is a very good one, and deserves every kind of support and encouragement. This is to raise two, three, or four battalions of negroes, with the assistance of the government of that State, by contributions from the owners, in proportion to the number they possess. If you should think proper to enter upon the subject with him, he will give you a detail of his plan. He wishes to have it recommended by Congress to the State; and, as an inducement, that they would engage to take those battalions into continental pay.
It appears to me that an expedient of this kind, in the present state of southern affairs, is the most rational that can be adopted, and promises very important advantages. Indeed, I hardly see how a sufficient force can be collected in that quarter without it; and the enemy’s operations there are growing infinitely serious and formidable. I have not the least doubt that the negroes will make very excellent soldiers with proper management; and I will venture to pronounce that they cannot be put into better hands than those of Mr. Laurens. He has all the zeal, intelligence, enterprise, and every other qualification necessary to succeed in such an undertaking. It is a maxim with some great military judges, that with sensible officers, soldiers can hardly be too stupid; and, on this principle, it is thought that the Russians would make the best troops in the world, if they were under other officers than their own. The King of Prussia is among the number who maintain this doctrine, and has a very emphatical saying on the occasion, which I do not exactly recollect. I mention this, because I hear it frequently objected to the scheme of imbodying negroes, that they are too stupid to make soldiers. This is so far from appearing to me a valid objection, that I think their want of cultivation (for their natural faculties are probably as good as ours) joined to that habit of subordination, which they acquire from a life of servitude, will make them sooner become soldiers than our white inhabitants. Let officers be men of sense and sentiment, and the nearer the soldiers approach to machines, perhaps the better.
I foresee that this project will have to combat much opposition from prejudice and self-interest. The contempt we have been taught to entertain for the blacks, makes us fancy many things that are founded neither in reason nor experience; and an unwillingness to part with property of so valuable a kind, will furnish a thousand arguments to show the impracticability, or pernicious tendency, of a scheme which requires such a sacrifice. But it should be considered, that if we do not make use of them in this way, the enemy probably will; and that the best way to counteract the temptations they will hold out, will be to offer them ourselves. An essential part of the plan is to give them their freedom with their muskets. This will secure their fidelity, animate their courage, and, I believe, will have a good influence upon those who remain, by opening a door to their emancipation. This circumstance, I confess, has no small weight in inducing me to wish the success of the project; for the dictates of humanity and true policy equally interest me in favour of this unfortunate class of men.
With the truest respect and esteem,
|Bills emitted and circulating||$159,948,880|
|Moneys borrowed before the 1st of March, 1778, the interest of which is payable in France||7,545,19667/90|
|Moneys borrowed since the 1st of March, 1778, the interest of which is payable here||26,188,909|
|Money due abroad, not exactly known, the balances not having been transmitted, supposed to be about||4,000,000|
For your further satisfaction, we shall order a particular account of the several emissions, with the times limited for their redemption, and also of the several loans, the interest allowed on each, and the terms assigned for their payment, to be prepared and published.
The taxes have as yet brought into the treasury no more than $3,027,560; so that all the moneys supplied to Congress by the people of America amount to more than 36,761,665 dollars and 67-90ths, that being the sum of the loans and taxes received. Judge then of the necessity of emissions, and learn from whom and from whence that necessity arose.
We are also to inform you that on the first day of September instant we resolved, “that we would on no account whatever emit more bills of credit than to make the whole amount of such bills two hundred millions of dollars”; and as the sum emitted and in circulation amounted to $159,948,880, and the sum of $40,051,120 remained to complete the two hundred million above mentioned, we on the third day of September instant further resolved, “that we would emit such part only of the said sum of 40,051,120 dollars as should be absolutely necessary for public exigences before adequate supplies could otherwise be obtained, relying for such supplies on the exertions of the several States.”
Exclusive of the great and ordinary expenses incident to the war, the depreciation of the currency has so swelled the prices of every necessary article, and of consequence made such additions to the usual amount of expenditures, that very considerable supplies must be immediately provided by loans and taxes; and we unanimously declare it to be essential to the welfare of these States, that the taxes already called for be paid into the Continental treasury by the time recommended for that purpose. It is also highly proper that you should extend your views beyond that period, and prepare in season as well for bringing your respective quotas of troops into the field early the next campaign, as for providing the supplies necessary in the course of it. We shall take care to apprize you from time to time of the state of the treasury, and to recommend the proper measures for supplying it. To keep your battalions full, to encourage loans, and to assess your taxes with prudence, collect them with firmness, and pay them with punctuality, is all that will be requisite on your part. Further ways and means of providing for the public exigences are now under consideration, and will soon be laid before you.
Having thus given you a short and plain state of your debt, and pointed out the necessity of punctuality in furnishing the supplies already required, we shall proceed to make a few remarks on the depreciation of the currency, to which we entreat your attention.
The depreciation of bills of credit is always either natural, or artificial, or both. The latter is our case. The moment the sum in circulation exceeded what was necessary as a medium in commerce, it began and continued to depreciate in proportion as the amount of the surplus increased; and that proportion would hold good until the sum emitted should become so great as nearly to equal the value of the capital or stock on the credit of which the bills were issued. Supposing, therefore, that $30,000,000 was necessary for a circulating medium, and that $160,000,000 had issued, the natural depreciation is but little more than as 5 to 1; but the actual depreciation exceeds that proportion, and that excess is artificial. The natural depreciation is to be removed only by lessening the quantity of money in circulation. It will regain its primitive value whenever it shall be reduced to the sum necessary for a medium of commerce. This is only to be effected by loans and taxes.
The artificial depreciation is a more serious subject, and merits minute investigation. A distrust, however occasioned, entertained by the mass of the people, either in the ability or inclination of the United States, to redeem their bills, is the cause of it. Let us inquire how far reason will justify a distrust in the ability of the United States.
The ability of the United States must depend upon two things: first, the success of the present revolution; and, secondly, on the sufficiency of the natural wealth, value, and resources of the country.
That the time has been when honest men might, without being chargeable with timidity, have doubted the success of the present revolution, we admit; but that period is passed. The independence of America is now as fixed as fate, and the petulant efforts of Britain to break it down are as vain and fruitless as the raging of the waves which beat against her cliffs. Let those who are still afflicted with these doubts consider the character and condition of our enemies. Let them remember that we are contending against a kingdom crumbling into pieces; a nation without public virtue, and a people sold to and betrayed by their own representatives; against a prince governed by his passions, and a ministry without confidence or wisdom; against armies half paid and generals half trusted; against a government equal only to plans of plunder, conflagration, and murder—a government, by the most impious violations of the rights of religion, justice, humanity, and mankind, courting the vengeance of Heaven, and revolting from the protection of Providence. Against the fury of these enemies you made successful resistance, when single, alone, and friendless, in the days of weakness and infancy, before your hands had been taught to war or your fingers to fight. And can there be any reason to apprehend that the Divine Disposer of human events, after having separated us from the house of bondage, and led us safe through a sea of blood towards the land of liberty and promise, will leave the work of our political redemption unfinished, and either permit us to perish in a wilderness of difficulties, or suffer us to be carried back in chains to that country of oppression, from whose tyranny he hath mercifully delivered us with a stretched-out arm?
In close alliance with one of the most powerful nations in Europe, which has generously made our cause her own, in amity with many others, and enjoying the good-will of all, what danger have we to fear from Britain? Instead of acquiring accessions of territory by conquest, the limits of her empire daily contract; her fleets no longer rule the ocean, nor are her armies invincible by land. How many of her standards, wrested from the hands of her champions, are among your trophies, and have graced the triumphs of your troops? And how great is the number of those who, sent to bind you in fetters, have become your captives, and received their lives at your hands? In short, whoever considers that these States are daily increasing in power; that their armies have become veteran; that their governments, founded in freedom, are established; that their fertile country and their affectionate ally furnish them with ample supplies; that the Spanish monarch, well prepared for war, with fleets and armies ready for combat, and a treasury overflowing with wealth, has entered the lists against Britain; that the other European nations, often insulted by her pride, and alarmed at the strides of her ambition, have left her to her fate; that Ireland, wearied with her oppressions, is panting for liberty; and even Scotland displeased and uneasy at her edicts;—whoever considers these things, instead of doubting the issue of the war, will rejoice in the glorious, the sure, and certain prospect of success. This point being established, the next question is, whether the natural wealth, value, and resources of the country will be equal to the payment of the debt.
Let us suppose, for the sake of argument, that, at the conclusion of the war, the emissions should amount to 200,000,000; that, exclusive of supplies from taxes, which will not be inconsiderable, the loans should amount to 100,000,000, then the whole national debt of the United States would be 300,000,000. There are at present 3,000,000 of inhabitants in the thirteen States; three hundred millions of dollars, divided among three millions of people, would give to each person one hundred dollars; and is there an individual in America unable, in the course of eighteen or twenty years, to pay it again? Suppose the whole debt assessed, as it ought to be, on the inhabitants in proportion to their respective estates, what then would be the share of the poorer people? Perhaps not ten dollars. Besides, as this debt will not be payable immediately, but probably twenty years allotted for it, the number of inhabitants by that time in America will be far more than double their present amount. It is well known that the inhabitants of this country increased almost in the ratio of compound interest. By natural population they doubled every twenty years; and how great may be the host of emigrants from other countries, cannot be ascertained. We have the highest reason to believe the number will be immense. Suppose that only ten thousand should arrive the first year after the war, what will those ten thousand, with their families, count in twenty years’ time? Probably double the number. This observation applies with proportionable force to the emigrants of every successive year. Thus, you see, great part of your debt will be payable, not merely by the present number of inhabitants, but by that number swelled and increased by the natural population of the present inhabitants, by multitudes of emigrants daily arriving from other countries, and by the natural population of those successive emigrants, so that every person’s share of the debt will be constantly diminishing by others coming to pay a proportion of it.
These are advantages which none but young countries enjoy. The number of inhabitants in every country in Europe remains nearly the same from one century to another. No country will produce more people than it can subsist; and every country, if free and cultivated, will produce as many as it can maintain. Hence we may form some idea of the future population of these States. Extensive wildernesses, now scarcely known or explored, remain yet to be cultivated, and vast lakes and rivers, whose waters have for ages rolled in silence and obscurity to the ocean, are yet to hear the din of industry, become subservient to commerce, and boast delightful villas, gilded spires, and spacious cities rising on their banks.
Thus much for the number of persons to pay the debt. The next point is their ability. They who inquire how many millions of acres are contained only in the settled part of North America, and how much each acre is worth, will acquire very enlarged, and yet very inadequate ideas of the value of this country. But those who will carry their inquiries further, and learn that we heretofore paid an annual tax to Britain of three millions sterling in the way of trade, and still grew rich; that our commerce was then confined to her; that we were obliged to carry our commodities to her market, and consequently sell them at her price; that we were compelled to purchase foreign commodities at her stores, and on her terms, and were forbid to establish any manufactories incompatible with her views of gain; that in future the whole world will be open to us, and we shall be at liberty to purchase from those who will sell on the best terms, and to sell to those who will give the best prices; that as the country increases in number of inhabitants and cultivation, the production of the earth will be proportionably increased, and the riches of the whole proportionably greater;—whoever examines the force of these and similar observations, must smile at the ignorance of those who doubt the ability of the United States to redeem their bills.
Let it also be remembered that paper money is the only kind of money which cannot “make to itself wings and fly away.” It remains with us, it will not forsake us, it is always ready and at hand for the purpose of commerce or taxes, and every industrious man can find it. On the contrary, should Britain, like Nineveh (and for the same reason), yet find mercy, and escape the storm ready to burst upon her, she will find her national debt in a very different situation. Her territory diminished, her people wasted, her commerce ruined, her monopolies gone, she must provide for the discharge of her immense debt by taxes, to be paid in specie, in gold, or silver, perhaps now buried in the mines of Mexico or Peru, or still concealed in the brooks and rivulets of Africa or Hindostan.
Having shown that there is no reason to doubt the ability of the United States to pay their debt, let us next inquire whether as much can be said for their inclination. Under this head three things are to be attended to:
1st. Whether, and in what manner, the faith of the United States has been pledged for the redemption of their bills.
2d. Whether they have put themselves in a political capacity to redeem them; and
3d. Whether, admitting the two former propositions, there is any reason to apprehend a wanton violation of the public faith.
1st. It must be evident to every man who reads the journals of Congress, or looks at the face of one of their bills, that Congress have pledged the faith of their constituents for the redemption of them. And it must be equally evident, not only that they had authority to do so, but that their constituents have actually ratified their acts by receiving their bills, passing laws establishing their currency, and punishing those who counterfeit them. So that it may with truth be said that the people have pledged their faith for the redemption of them, not only collectively by their representatives, but individually.
2d. Whether the United States have put themselves in a political capacity to redeem their bills, is a question which calls for more full discussion.
Our enemies, as well foreign as domestic, have laboured to raise doubts on this head. They argue that the Confederation of the States remains yet to be perfected; that the Union may be dissolved, Congress be abolished, and each State, resuming its delegated powers, proceed in future to hold and exercise all the rights of sovereignty appertaining to an independent state. In such an event, say they, the Continental bills of credit, created and supported by the Union, would die with it. This position being assumed, they next proceed to assert this event to be probable, and in proof of it urge our divisions, our parties, our separate interests, distinct manners, former prejudices, and many other arguments equally plausible and equally fallacious. Examine this matter.
For every purpose essential to the defence of these States in the progress of the present war, and necessary to the attainment of the objects of it, these States now are as fully, legally, and absolutely confederated as it is possible for them to be. Read the credentials of the different delegates who composed the Congress in 1774, 1775, and part of 1776. You will find that they establish a Union for the express purpose of opposing the oppressions of Britain, and obtaining redress of grievances. On the 4th of July, 1776, your representatives in Congress, perceiving that nothing less than unconditional submission would satisfy our enemies, did, in the name of the people of the Thirteen United Colonies, declare them to be free and independent States; and “for the support of that declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, did mutually pledge to each other their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honour.” Was ever confederation more formal, more solemn, or explicit? It has been expressly assented to, and ratified by every State in the Union. Accordingly, for the direct support of this declaration, that is, for the support of the independence of these States, armies have been raised, and bills of credit emitted, and loans made to pay and supply them. The redemption, therefore, of these bills, the payment of these debts, and the settlement of the accounts of the several States, for expenditures or services for the common benefit, and in this common cause, are among the objects of this Confederation; and, consequently, while all or any of its objects remain unattained, it cannot, so far as it may respect such objects, be dissolved consistently with the laws of God or man.
But we are persuaded, and our enemies will find, that our Union is not to end here. They are mistaken when they suppose us kept together only by a sense of present danger. It is a fact, which they only will dispute, that the people of these States were never so cordially united as at this day. By having been obliged to mix with each other, former prejudices have worn off, and their several manners become blended. A sense of common permanent interest, mutual affection (having been brethren in affliction), the ties of consanguinity daily extending, constant reciprocity of good offices, similarity in language, in governments, and therefore in manners, the importance, weight, and splendour of the Union,—all conspire in forming a strong chain of connection, which must for ever bind us together. The United Provinces of the Netherlands, and the United Cantons of Switzerland, became free and independent under circumstances very like ours; their independence has been long established, and yet their confederacies continue in full vigour. What reason can be assigned why our Union should be less lasting? or why should the people of these States be supposed less wise than the inhabitants of those? You are not uninformed that a plan for the perpetual Confederation has been prepared, and that twelve of the thirteen States have already acceded to it. But enough has been said to show that for every purpose of the present war, and all things incident to it, there does at present exist a perfect solemn confederation, and therefore, that the States now are, and always will be, in political capacity to redeem their bills, pay their debts, and settle their accounts.
3d. Whether, admitting the ability and political capacity of the United States to redeem their bills, there is any reason to apprehend a wanton violation of the public faith?
It is with great regret and reluctance that we can prevail upon ourselves to take the least notice of a question which involves in it a doubt so injurious to the honour and dignity of America.
The enemy, aware that the strength of America lay in the union of her citizens and the wisdom and integrity of those to whom they committed the direction of their affairs, have taken unwearied pains to disunite and alarm the people, to depreciate the abilities and virtue of their rulers, and to impair the confidence reposed in them by their constituents. To this end, repeated attempts have been made to draw an absurd and fanciful line of distinction between the Congress and the people, and to create an opinion and a belief that their interests and views were different and opposed. Hence the ridiculous tales, the invidious insinuations, and the whimsical suspicions that have been forged and propagated by disguised emissaries and traitors in the garb of patriots. Hence has proceeded the notable discovery, that as the Congress made the money they also can destroy it, and that it will exist no longer than they find it convenient to permit it. It is not surprising that in a free country, where the tongues and pens of such people are and must be licensed, such political heresies should be inculcated and diffused; but it is really astonishing that the mind of a single virtuous citizen in America should be influenced by them. It certainly cannot be necessary to remind you, that your representatives here are chosen from among yourselves; that you are, or ought to be, acquainted with their several characters; that they are sent here to speak your sentiments, and that it is constantly in your power to remove such as do not. You surely are convinced that it is no more in their power to annihilate your money than your independence, and that any act of theirs for either of those purposes would be null and void.
We should pay an ill compliment to the understanding and honour of every true American, were we to adduce many arguments to show the baseness or bad policy of violating our national faith, or omitting to pursue the measures necessary to preserve it. A bankrupt, faithless republic would be a novelty in the political world, and appear among reputable nations like a common prostitute among chaste and respectable matrons. The pride of America revolts from the idea; her citizens know for what purpose these emissions were made, and have repeatedly plighted their faith for the redemption of them; they are to be found in every man’s possession, and every man is interested in their being redeemed; they must therefore entertain a high opinion of American credulity who suppose the people capable of believing, on due reflection, that all America will, against the faith, the honour, and the interest of all America, be ever prevailed upon to countenance, support, or permit so ruinous, so disgraceful a measure. We are convinced that the efforts and arts of our enemies will not be wanting to draw us into this humiliating and contemptible situation. Impelled by malice and the suggestions of chagrin and disappointment at not being able to bend our necks to their yoke, they will endeavour to force or seduce us to commit this unpardonable sin, in order to subject us to the punishment due to it, and that we may henceforth be a reproach and a byword among the nations. Apprized of these consequences, knowing the value of national character, and impressed with a due sense of the immutable laws of justice and honour, it is impossible that America should think without horror of such an execrable deed.
If, then, neither our ability nor inclination to discharge the public debt is justly questionable, let our conduct correspond with this confidence, and let us rescue our credit from its present imputations. Had the attention of America to this object been unremitted, had taxes been seasonably imposed and collected, had proper loans been made, had laws been passed and executed for punishing those who maliciously endeavoured to injure the public credit,—had these and many other things equally necessary been done, and had our currency, notwithstanding all these efforts, declined to its present degree of depreciation, our case would indeed have been deplorable. But as these exertions have not been made, we may yet experience the good effects which naturally result from them. Our former negligences, therefore, should now animate us with hope, and teach us not to despair of removing, by vigilance and application, the evils which supineness and inattention have produced.
It has been already observed, that in order to prevent the further natural depreciation of our bills, we have resolved to stop the press, and to call upon you for supplies by loans and taxes. You are in capacity to afford them, and are bound by the strongest ties to do it. Leave us not, therefore, without supplies, nor let in that flood of evils which would follow from such a neglect. It would be an event most grateful to our enemies; and, depend upon it, they will redouble their artifices and industry to compass it. Be, therefore, upon your guard, and examine well the policy of every measure and the evidence of every report that may be proposed or mentioned to you before you adopt the one or believe the other. Recollect that it is the price of the liberty, the peace, and the safety of yourselves and posterity that now is required; that peace, liberty, and safety, for the attainment and security of which you have so often and so solemnly declared your readiness to sacrifice your lives and fortunes. The war, though drawing fast to a successful issue, still rages. Disdain to leave the whole business of your defence to your ally. Be mindful that the brightest prospects may be clouded, and that prudence bids us be prepared for every event. Provide, therefore, for continuing your armies in the field till victory and peace shall lead them home; and avoid the reproach of permitting the currency to depreciate in your hands when, by yielding a part to taxes and loans, the whole might have been appreciated and preserved. Humanity as well as justice makes this demand upon you. The complaints of ruined widows, and the cries of fatherless children, whose whole support has been placed in your hands and melted away, have doubtless reached you; take care that they ascend no higher. Rouse, therefore; strive who shall do most for his country; rekindle that flame of patriotism which, at the mention of disgrace and slavery, blazed throughout America and animated all her citizens. Determine to finish the contest as you began it, honestly and gloriously. Let it never be said, that America had no sooner become independent than she became insolvent, or that her infant glories and growing fame were obscured and tarnished by broken contracts and violated faith, in the very hour when all the nations of the earth were admiring and almost adoring the splendour of her rising.
By the unanimous consent of Congress,
Philadelphia, Sept. 13, 1779.
JAY TO FREDERICK JAY.
Philadelphia, 16th September, 1779.
I am now to inform you that I have resigned the office of chief justice [of New York]; and if the State should incline to keep me here, I shall consent to stay, provided either you or Sir James1 will undertake to attend constantly to our good old father and his unfortunate family: otherwise I shall at all events return for that purpose. Sir James has his doubts respecting his future destination; and therefore his return is precarious at present. I wish to know, without delay, the result of your reflections on this subject. Should you succeed with Wadsworth, I think you would then be in capacity to serve them as well as ever: if you live on Harris’ farm, you will not. Make up your mind on this matter: if you find you cannot pay necessary attention to Fishkill, prevent my election, and let me know your intention by the first opportunity. I am, dear Fredy,
Your affectionate brother,
JAY TO GOVERNOR CLINTON.
Philadelphia, 25th September, 1779.
Whether the resolutions of Congress of the 24th inst., providing for the settlement of all disputes between New York and her neighbours, as well as revolted citizens, will please my constituents as much as they do me is uncertain. Nor am I convinced of the prudence of committing to paper all the reasons which induce me to think them (all circumstances considered) perfectly right. Some of them, however, I shall communicate. My first object on coming here was to prevail upon Congress to interpose, though in the smallest degree; well knowing, that if they once interfered ever so little, they might with more ease be led to a further and more effectual interposition.
Soon after my arrival, I found the following objections to an interference with Vermont generally prevailing.
1st. That Congress, being instituted for the sole purpose of opposing the tyranny of Britain, and afterward of establishing our independence, had no authority to interfere in the particular quarrels of any State. Hence all their former resolutions on the subject were merely negative. 2d. That the confederation had not yet taken place, and that the business should be postponed till all the States had acceded: an event then daily expected. 3d. That it was an improper season to interfere, and that the attention of Congress ought not to be diverted from the general objects of the war. 4th. That harsh measures against Vermont might induce them to join the enemy and increase their force. 5th. That they possessed a strong country, were numerous, warlike, and determined; and that more force would be required to reduce them, than could be spared from the general defence.
These were some of the ostensible objections. Besides which I had reason to suspect the following private ones:
1st. That divers persons of some consequence in Congress and New England expected to advance their fortunes by lands in Vermont. 2d. That Vermont, acquiring strength by time, would become actually independent, and afterward acknowledged to be so. 3d. That being settled by New England people, and raised into consequence by New England politics, it would be a fifth New England State, and become a valuable accession of strength both in and out of Congress. 4th. That ancient animosities between New York and New England naturally inclining the former to side with the middle and southern States, the less formidable she was the better, and therefore the loss or separation of that territory was rather to be wished for than opposed. These and many other considerations of the like nature induced me to postpone bringing on the matter till I could have an opportunity of preparing the way for it by acquiring a knowledge of the characters then in Congress, etc.
It is also proper to observe that the House was for the greater part of the winter so heated by divisions on points of general importance, that it would have been improper and imprudent to have called upon them to decide on this delicate business till more temper and calmness had taken place. When these began to appear the subject was introduced, and you have had a copy of the resolutions proposed by New York on that occasion. Against them all objections before mentioned operated, with this additional one, that it would be highly unjust and impolitic to determine against Vermont, without previous inquiry into the merits of their claims, and giving them an opportunity of being heard. This objection, so far as it respected their claim to independence, was absurd though plausible; but it was not to be overcome; and though we might have carried a resolution against it by a slender majority, that majority would have consisted of southern members against a violent opposition from New England and their adherents. A resolution carried under such circumstances would rather have encouraged than disheartened Vermont, and was, therefore, ineligible.
Hence I conceived it to be expedient to promote the measure of appointing a committee of inquiry; knowing that if Congress proceeded to inquire, it would be a ground for pressing them to go further and determine, especially as I was apprised that the result of these inquiries would be in our favour.
The committee, you know, never had a formal meeting; it, nevertheless, had its use. The individual reports of the members who composed it advanced our cause; and even Mr. Witherspoon, who was and is suspected by New York, made representations in our favour.
Your last resolutions were of infinite service, by evincing the moderation, justice, and liberality, and, at the same time, the spirit of the State. On the other hand, the law of Vermont for whipping, cropping, and branding your magistrates made an impression greatly to their disadvantage. Before these emotions should have time to subside, as well in observance of our instructions, I pressed Congress from day to day to adopt such measures as the public exigencies called for, and thereby prevent the flames of civil war from raging. It would not, I believe, have been difficult to have obtained what some among you would call very spirited and pointed resolutions, but which, in my opinion, would have been very imprudent ones; because, among other reasons, they would not have been unanimous. You will find the recitals and particular resolutions numbered in the margin of the copy herewith enclosed, from 1 to 13. I shall trouble you with a few explanatory remarks on each of them, under heads numbered in like manner.
1st and 2d. These recitals were inserted to show the reason why Congress now proceed without the report of the committee, after having resolved to postpone the further consideration of the subject till their report should be made.
3d. This recital justifies the facts set forth in your representations, and in case an appeal to the public should become necessary, may be used with advantage to New York.
4th. This recital destroys the doctrine that the Union (independent of the articles of confederation) had no other object than security against foreign invasions.
5th. This recital is calculated to impress the people with an opinion of the reasonableness and policy of the requisition or recommendation which follows, and therefore will the more readily induce those States to adopt the measures recommended to them.
6th. You may inquire for what reason I consented to this recital, as it puts Massachusetts and New Hampshire on a footing with New York; whereas I well knew that New York alone had a right to claim jurisdiction over Vermont. My reasons were these: Vermont extends over Connecticut River into the acknowledged jurisdiction of New Hampshire; as to Massachusetts, the recital admits only her claims, not her title; and it is as impossible to deny the existence of claims when made, as it is to prevent them. Their delegates pointedly asserted and insisted on the claim of Massachusetts; and it appeared to me expedient to provide for a speedy determination of all claims against us, however ill-founded. You may further ask why Vermont is made a party? The reason is this: that by being allowed a hearing, the candour and moderation of Congress may be rescued from aspersions; and that these people, after having been fully heard, may have nothing to say or complain of, in case the decision of Congress be against them, of which I have no doubt.
7th. It is true that by this resolution the merits of former settlements with these States will be again the subject of inquiry, discussion, and decision; and therefore it may at first sight appear improper; but these settlements will still remain strong evidence of our rights, however objectionable they may be represented to be by those States. Nor will Congress be easily prevailed upon to annul them, because in that case all their boundaries would be afloat. Besides, in my opinion, it is much better for New York to gain a permanent peace with their neighbours by submitting to these inconveniences, than by an impolitic adherence to strict rights, and a rigid observance of the dictates of dignity and pride, remain exposed to perpetual dissensions and encroachment. Peace and established boundaries, under our circumstances, are, I think, almost inestimable.
8th. The reason of this is assigned in the last sentence under the 6th head.
9th. For the same purpose of preserving the appearance of equality in claims, whatever difference there may be in titles, the three States are mentioned in this recommendation, The object of it is a settlement of all disputes respecting interfering grants, in case Vermont should be abolished, and that district in part, or in the whole, adjudged to either of the three States.
10th. I am sure you will admit my prudence in giving your voice for this resolution.
11th. As it was not absolutely certain that New Hampshire and Massachusetts would pass the laws in question, and as I was sure that New York would, it appeared to me highly expedient to provide, by this resolution, that the dispute between New York and Vermont should be determined, whether the other two States came in or no; and, lest the former guarantee contained in the tenth resolution might be construed to be contingent, and to depend on the event of all the three States adopting the measures recommended to them, it is here repeated. You will observe that neither of the three States are to vote on the decision.
12th. On the plan of hearing Vermont, this resolution, however inconvenient, became indispensable. Care, however, has been taken in it to exempt all persons from their jurisdiction who profess allegiance to either of the three States. But you will say, Why to the three States? Why not to New York only; from whom they revolted, and under whose actual jurisdiction they last were? Because it would have clashed with the equality of claims before mentioned, and the least opposition to which would have prevented these resolutions from being unanimous; a circumstance, in my opinion, infinitely more valuable than the preservation of useless etiquette. And, further, because the district is here so described as to extend over the river and affect New Hampshire. In a word, the necessity of the resolution was so obvious that there was no avoiding it. These inconveniences will be temporary, and, if the principles laid down in it are observed, will not be very great; especially as Congress have determined a violation of it to be a breach of the peace of the confederacy, and have declared their resolution to maintain it.
13th. This resolution needs no comment, the policy and justice of it being extremely evident. Anxious to avoid a moment’s delay in sending you these resolutions, I have not time by this opportunity of adding any thing further than that upon this occasion I have acted according to the best of my judgment, after having maturely considered and well weighed the force and tendency of every consideration and circumstance affecting the business in question. When I first received my special commission, I did not apprehend that this matter was in a more particular manner confided to me than to my colleagues, though some of them considered it in that light. The commission vested me with no further power than what any other of your delegates possessed; nor was any matter given more particularly in charge to me than to the others by the Legislature. Their late instructions, however, speak a different language. I am satisfied to be viewed in that light, that is, to be the responsible man; and, provided the measures I adopt are not thwarted, I am confident that I shall be able to bring all these matters to a happy conclusion. I hope, however, that this will not be considered as a hint for my being continued in the delegation; I assure you, nothing but an adherence to the resolutions and principles of action I adopted and professed at the commencement of the war would induce me to remain here at the expense of health as well as property; for though I shall always be ready to serve my country when called upon, I shall always be happy to find it consistent with my duty to remain a private citizen.
I am, sir,
Your most obedient servant,
JAY TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.1
Philadelphia, 4th October, 1779.
It gives me very sensible pleasure to find, from the act of Congress enclosed in your Excellency’s polite favour of the 1st inst., that my conduct in the chair and the execution of public business has been honoured by the approbation of Congress. The testimony given of it by this act demands my warmest acknowledgments. Be pleased, sir, to assure the Congress, that my happiness is inseparable from the welfare and esteem of my country, and that my endeavours to promote the one and merit the other, shall continue unremitted.
I have the honour to be,
With great respect and esteem,
Your excellency’s most obedient servant,
ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON TO JAY.
Kingston, 6th October, 1779.
I have just now heard that you are upon the point of leaving us. I might have expected to have received this intelligence from yourself, rather than from loose report, since there is scarce a transaction in the world in which I feel myself more interested. I rejoice at it as it advances your fortune and reputation. I lament it, as it adds to the losses I have already felt in the course of this war, that of a friend whom I had sense enough to value, even before age had ripened my judgment, and whom an after acquaintance with the world has taught me to think inestimable. I call it a loss, for I have but little prospect of seeing you here again. You will now move in a more enlarged sphere, and will hardly think of recrossing the Atlantic, till the blood runs too slowly in our veins to keep up the ardour of friendship. I was going to give you a long detail of State politics, but they are now unworthy your attention. Besides that, I by no means feel myself disposed at this moment to view them in any other than the most contemptible light, or to execrate them for detaining me here, when I so ardently wish to receive your last adieu. When do you embark, and where? If from Boston, tell me when to meet you at Fishkill, and perhaps (if the Legislature adjourn) to accompany you. If this pleasure is denied me, believe that you and yours are attended by every tender wish which the sincerest friendship can dictate. I will not wrong you so much as to ask you to omit no occasion of lessening the pain I feel in your absence, by writing to me by every conveyance; your own heart has and will for ever suggest that thought. Adieu, my dear John.
May you be as happy as I wish you,
Robert R. Livingston.
GENERAL WASHINGTON TO JAY.
West-Point, October 7, 1779.
Among the number of your friends, permit me also to congratulate you, and my country, on your late honourable and important appointment. Be assured, sir, that my pleasure on this occasion, though it may be equalled, cannot be exceeded by that of any other.
I do most sincerely wish you a pleasant and agreeable passage, the most perfect and honourable accomplishment of your ministry, and a safe return to the bosom of a grateful country.
With the greatest regard, and sincerest personal attachment, I have the honour to be,
Your most obedient and
Affectionate humble servant,
EDMUND PENDLETON TO JAY.
Edmunsbury, October 11, 1779.
I congratulate you, sir, upon your appointment to represent the American States at the court of Madrid; the just testimony of that confidence which the honourable body you have presided over, have in your abilities and integrity. May health, success, and every felicity accompany you; but, while I am sensible of the advantages we shall reap from your eminent services there, I have my fears that they will be missed, importantly, where you now are; and that the spirit of party, almost laid to sleep, will revive upon your absence. I cordially wish you may be able to heal the new-made breach between Spain and Britain since France appears disposed to peace, and I am mistaken if the court of London are not ready to make up with us, if nothing respecting our allies hinders it. Indeed we want an honourable peace; but I hope there lives not a wretch who wishes it upon terms of dishonour to our noble allies.
I am, sir, with unfeigned regard,
Your most obliged and obedient servant,
JAY TO GENERAL WASHINGTON.
Philadelphia, 14th October, 1779.
My Dear Sir:
Your very kind letter of the 7th inst., gave me all that pleasure which accompanies marks of cordial esteem and attachment from those whose commendation is praise, and whose friendship is discriminate.
Among the objects of my mission are some which, however just, will not be easily attained, and therefore its success will be precarious, and probably partial. The only satisfaction I promise myself from this appointment, will flow from the rectitude with which the duties of it will be discharged, and not from a prospect of general approbation.
God grant that the time may not be far distant when peace and liberty shall lead you from the field, to enjoy, in silence and retirement, the luxury of reflecting that you had saved your country.
Adieu, my dear sir,
With sincere affection and esteem,
I am your friend and servant,
INSTRUCTIONS TO JAY AS MINISTER TO SPAIN.1
By the treaties subsisting between his most Christian Majesty and the United States of America, a power is reserved to his Catholic Majesty to accede to the said treaties and to participate in their stipulations at such time as he shall judge proper, it being well understood nevertheless, that if any of the stipulations of the said treaties are not agreeable to the King of Spain, his Catholic Majesty may propose other conditions analogous to the principal aim of the alliance and conformable to the rules of equality, reciprocity and friendship. Congress is sensible of the friendly regard to these States manifested by his most Christian Majesty and these United States; and therefore that nothing may be wanting on their part to facilitate the views of his most Christian Majesty and to obtain a treaty of alliance and of amity and commerce with his Catholic Majesty, have thought proper to anticipate any propositions which his Catholic Majesty might make on that subject by yielding up to him those objects which they conclude he may have principally in view, and for that purpose have come to the following resolution,
“That if his Catholic Majesty shall accede to the said treaties and in concurrence with France and the United States of America continue the present war with Great Britain for the purpose expressed in the treaties aforesaid, he shall not thereby be precluded from securing to himself the Floridas; on the contrary if he shall obtain the Floridas from Great Britain, these United States will guaranty the same to his Catholic Majesty; provided always that the United States shall enjoy the free navigation of the river Mississippi into and from the Sea.”
You are therefore to communicate to his most Christian Majesty the desire of Congress to enter into a treaty of alliance and of amity and commerce with his Catholic Majesty and to request his favourable interposition for that purpose; at the same time you are to make such proposals to his Catholic Majesty as in your judgment, from circumstances, will be proper for obtaining for the United States of America equal advantages with those which are secured to them by the treaties with his most Christian Majesty, observing always the resolution aforesaid as the ultimatum of these United States. You are particularly to endeavour to obtain some convenient port or ports below the 31st degree of north latitude on the river Mississippi free for all merchant vessels, goods, wares and merchandize, belonging to the inhabitants of these States.
The distressed state of our finances and the great depreciation of our paper money incline Congress to hope that his Catholic Majesty, if he shall conclude a treaty with these States, will be induced to lend them money; you are therefore to represent to him the great distress of these States on that account, and to solicit a loan of five million of dollars upon the best terms in your power not exceeding six per centum per annum, effectually to enable them to co-operate with the allies against the common enemy. But before you make any proposition to his Catholic Majesty for a loan, you are to endeavour to obtain a subsidy in consideration of the guaranty aforesaid.
You are to use your utmost endeavours for obtaining permission for the citizens and inhabitants of these States to lade and take on board their vessels salt at the island of Salt Tortuga; and also to cut, load and bring away logwood and mahogany in and from the bay of Honduras and its rivers, and to build on its shores storehouses and magazines for the woodcutters and their families in the extent ceded to his Britannic Majesty by the seventeenth article of the definitive treaty concluded at Paris the tenth day of February, 1763, or in as great extent as can be obtained.
Given at Philadelphia this Sixteenth day of October in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy nine and in the fourth year of our Independence, by the Congress of the United States of America.
Saml. Huntington, President.
Attest, Chas. Thompson, Secy.
The honble. John Jay, Minister Plenipotentiary appointed to negotiate a treaty of amity and commerce and of alliance with his Catholic Majesty.
MRS. JAY TO HER MOTHER.1
On Board of the “Confederacy,” 12th December, 1779.
About 4 o’clock in the morning of the 7th November, we were alarmed by an unusual noise upon deck, and what particularly surprised me was the lamentations of persons in distress. I called upon the captain to inform me of the cause of the confusion that I imagined to prevail; but my brother desired me to remain perfectly composed, for that he had been upon deck but half an hour before, and left every thing in perfect security.
Perfect security! vain words! Don’t you think so? And so indeed they proved; for in that small space of time we had been deprived of nothing less than our bowsprit, foremast, main-mast, and mizen-mast; so that we were in an awkward situation, rendered still more so by a pretty high sough-east wind, and a very rough sea. However, our misfortunes were only begun. The injury received by our rudder the next morning served to complete them, as we were ready to conclude. The groans that distressed me were uttered by two men who had suffered from the fall of the masts; one of them was much bruised, and the other had his arm and hand broken: the former recovered, but the latter, poor fellow! survived not many days the amputation of his arm.
Will it not be painful to my dear mamma to imagine to herself the situation of her children at that time? Her children did I say? Rather let her imagine the dangerous situation of more than three hundred souls, tossed about in the midst of the ocean in a vessel dismasted and under no command, at a season too that threatened approaching inclemency of weather. And would you for a moment suppose me capable of regretting that I had for a time bid adieu to my native land, in order to accompany my beloved friend? Would you have despaired of ever embracing your affectionate children? or would you have again recommended them to Him who appointed to the waters their bounds—who saith unto the waves thus far shalt thou go, and to the winds, peace, be still! Mamma’s known piety and fortitude sufficiently suggest the answer to the two latter queries; and to the former it becomes me to reply. I assure you that in no period of our distress, though ever so alarming, did I once repine, but incited by his amiable example, I gave fear to the winds, and cheerfully resigned myself to the disposal of the Almighty.
After our misfortunes of the 7th and 8th of November (the memorable era from which we now date all events relative to ourselves), a council of the officers was held to consider where it was most expedient to bend our course. It was unanimously concluded that it would be impossible to reach Europe at this season with a ship in the condition that ours was. They were likewise united in opinion that the southern direction was the only one that offered a prospect of safety; and of the islands, Martinico was the most eligible, for its commodious harbour, and the probability of being supplied with materials to refit. Accordingly, the first fair wind that offered (which was not till near three weeks from the above-mentioned era), was embraced in pursuance of the advice given by the officers; and, after having passed through very squally latitudes, we are now in smooth seas, having the advantage of trade-winds which blow directly for the islands; nor are we, if the calculations made are just, more than 200 miles distant from the destined port.
JAY TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.
Martinico, St. Pierre, 25th December, 1779.
I have done what, perhaps, I shall be blamed for; but my pride as an American, and my feelings as a man, were not on this occasion to be resisted. The officers of the Confederacy were here without money, or the means of getting any. The idea of our officers being obliged to sneak, as they phrase it, from the company of French officers for fear of running in debt with them for a bottle of wine, or a bowl of punch, because not able to pay for their share of the reckoning, was too humiliating to be tolerable, and too destructive to that pride and opinion of independent equality which I wish to see influence all our officers. Besides, some of them wanted necessaries too much to be comfortable, or in this country decent. In a word, I have drawn on the fund pointed out for the payment of part of my salary, for one hundred guineas in their favour, to be divided among them according to their respective ranks. Indeed, it would have given me pleasure to have done something towards covering the nakedness of the crew, but the expense I have been put to by coming here, and the preparations for another voyage would not admit of it.
I have the honor to be, sir,
With great esteem and personal regard,
Your excellency’s most obedient and humble Servant,
[1 ]Respecting the proposed Canada expedition see Washington to Jay, April 14, 1779.
[1 ]In a letter to Congress of January 28, 1779, Robert Morris called attention to “insinuations” thrown out against his integrity as a member of the Secret Committee of Congress, and demanded an investigation of his conduct and accounts. He was completely vindicated.
[1 ]Mrs. Jay’s sister. The report of the burning of Gov. Livingston’s house proved not to be true. His daughter Susan, it appears, bravely stood her ground in the mansion and succeeded in inducing the British officers to spare it. Hearing of this, Jay wrote a few days later in a note to his wife: “I wish to know the particulars of Susan’s convention with Lord Cathcart. It is said she had the advantage of him in the treaty, and displayed much fortitude as well as address on the occasion. Pray how did John Lawrence fare? We hear he was in the house and was made a prisoner? Did they release or carry him off?”
[1 ]This letter from Judge Benson is of interest, not only as referring to the Vermont controversy, but as throwing light on the current expedients for raising war taxes, making loans, and meeting the depreciation of the currency. It is to be read in connection with Jay’s letter to Governor Clinton, following.
[1 ]Compare Jay’s letter to Governor Clinton of September 25, 1779. To understand all the allusions to the Vermont controversy in these letters, as well as in Benson’s preceding, reference must be made to the literature on the subject in the histories of New York, Vermont, and New Hampshire, and in the proceedings of the Continental Congress.
[1 ]The above letter was prepared by Mr. Jay, at the request of Congress, September 8, 1779, to accompany the resolutions of that body of the 1st and 3d inst., “for stopping the further emission of bills of credit.”
[1 ]Sir James Jay, elder brother of John, knighted by George III. in 1763, on the occasion of the presentation of an address from the governors of King’s (Columbia) College.
[1 ]This letter refers to another important step in Jay’s official career as noticed in the Preface. On or about September 28, 1779, Congress appointed him “minister plenipotentiary to negotiate a treaty of amity and commerce and of alliance” between the United States and Spain. He resigned the presidency of Congress on the 28th, and was succeeded in that office by Samuel Huntington, of Connecticut. The “act of Congress” referred to above included the usual resolutions complimentary to the retiring president. See letters following from Livingston, Washington, and Pendleton.
[1 ]Jay’s instructions, preserved among his own papers, differ from the form as given in Sparks’ “Diplomatic Correspondence,” vol. vii., p. 169, in containing the additional clause at the end respecting trade with the Tortugas and Honduras, and being of later date.
[1 ]Upon receiving his instructions as Minister to Spain, Jay embarked from Chester, below Philadelphia, October 26, 1779, on the Continental frigate Confederacy, 36 guns, Captain Seth Harding, bound for some port in France. He was to proceed to Madrid by way of Paris. His party consisted of Mrs. Jay, her brother, Lieut.-Col. Brockholst Livingston, as Jay’s private secretary, and Hon. William Carmichael, of Maryland, as Secretary of the Legation. The French Minister, M. Gerard, who had been relieved by Luzerne, was also a passenger with them, returning to France. The above letter, with others following, contain some details of the trying experiences endured by the party before reaching the Continent. Obliged by storm and accidents to sail to Martinique, in the West Indies, they re-embarked from that port in a French ship and arrived at Cadiz, January 22, 1780. It was not until April that Jay was fairly established at Madrid.