Front Page Titles (by Subject) JAY TO COUNT DE VERGENNES. 1 - The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, vol. 1 (1763-1781)
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JAY TO COUNT DE VERGENNES. 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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JAY TO COUNT DE VERGENNES.1
Cadiz, 27th January, 1780.
It is with very sensible pleasure that I commence a correspondence with a Minister, of whose disposition and abilities to promote the happiness of my country we have received repeated proofs, and on a subject that affords His Most Christian Majesty an opportunity of perceiving the desire and endeavours of the United States to become cordial and steadfast friends and allies to an illustrious branch of his royal house.
By the treaties subsisting between His Most Christian Majesty and the United States of America, His Most Christian Majesty, in consequence of his intimate union with the King of Spain, did expressly reserve to his Catholic Majesty the power of acceding to the said treaties, and to participate in their stipulations at such time as he should judge proper. It being well understood, nevertheless, that if any of the said stipulations should not be agreeable to the King of Spain, his Catholic Majesty might propose other conditions analogous to the principal aim of the alliance, and conformable to the rules of equity, reciprocity, and friendship. And the Deputy of the said States, empowered to treat with Spain, did promise to sign, on the first requisition of his Catholic Majesty, the act or acts necessary to communicate to him the stipulations of the treaties above mentioned, and to endeavor in good faith the adjustment of the points in which the King of Spain might propose any alteration, conformable to the principles of equality, reciprocity, and perfect amity.
But as the above reservation has always been no less agreeable to the United States than to their great and good ally, both considerations conspired in inducing them to make the first advances towards attaining the object of it. And, therefore, instead of waiting till the requisitions mentioned in the said article should be made, they have thought proper to assure his Majesty, not only of their readiness to comply with the terms of it, but of their desire to obtain his confidence and alliance, by carrying it immediately into execution on the most liberal principles. Trusting also that the same wise reasons which induced his most Christian Majesty to give birth to the said article would lead him to facilitate the endeavours of his allies to execute it, they resolved that their desire to enter into the said treaties should be communicated to his Majesty, and that his favorable interposition should be requested.
The more fully to effect these purposes, the Congress were pleased, in September last, to do me the honour of appointing me their Minister Plenipotentiary, and, in pursuance of this appointment, I sailed from America for France on the 26th of October last, with M. Gerard, who was so obliging as to wait till I could embark in the frigate assigned for his service. After being thirteen days at sea, the frigate was dismasted, and her rudder so much damaged that it was thought imprudent to proceed on our voyage. We therefore steered for Martinique, and arrived there on the 18th of December. I cannot on this occasion forbear expressing my warmest acknowledgments for the very polite attention and hospitality with which we were received and treated, both by the officers of government and many respectable inhabitants of that island. We left Martinique on the 28th day of the same month in the Aurora, in which I expected to have gone to Toulon, but on touching at this place, it appeared that the further prosecution of our voyage had become impracticable without running risks that could not be justified.
Thus circumstanced, the respect due to his Most Catholic Majesty demanded an immediate communication of my appointment and arrival, which I had the honour to make in a letter to his Excellency, Don Joseph Galvez, of the Council of his Catholic Majesty, and general Secretary of State for the Department of the Indies, of which the enclosed is a copy.
Will you therefore, sir, be so obliging as to lay this circumstance before his Most Christian Majesty, and permit me, through your Excellency, to assure him of 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?
I am happy in being able to assure you that the United States consider a cordial union between France, Spain, and them as a very desirable and most important object, and they view the provision which his Most Christian Majesty has made for it by the above-mentioned article, not only as evincive of his attention to his royal ally, but of his regard to them.
Under these views and these impressions, they are most sincerely disposed, by the liberality and candour of their conduct, to render the proposed treaties speedy in their accomplishment and perpetual in their duration.
Your Excellency will receive this letter by M. Gerard, who is so obliging as to take charge of it, and to whom the Congress have been pleased to give such ample testimonies of their esteem and confidence, as to enable him to exert his talents with great advantage on every occasion interesting to them.
I cannot conclude without indulging myself in the pleasure of acknowledging how much we are indebted to the politeness and attention of the Marquis de La Flolte, and the other officers of the Aurora, during the course of our voyage.
With great respect and esteem, I have the honour to be, etc.,
[1 ]Minister of Foreign Affairs at the French Court.