Front Page Titles (by Subject) JAY TO DON JOSEPH GALVEZ. 1 - The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, vol. 1 (1763-1781)
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JAY TO DON JOSEPH GALVEZ. 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 DON JOSEPH GALVEZ.1
Cadiz, 27th January, 1780.
Permit me through your Excellency to have the honour of representing to His Most Catholic Majesty, that on the sixth day of February, 1778, the respective Plenipotentiaries of His Most Christian Majesty, and the United States of America, by whom the treaties now subsisting between them were concluded, did make and subscribe a secret article in the words following, viz.:
“The Most Christian King declares, in consequence of the intimate union which subsists between him and the King of Spain, that in concluding with the United States of America this treaty of amity and commerce, and that of eventual and defensive alliance, his Majesty had intended, and intends to reserve expressly, as he reserves by this present separate and secret act, to his Catholic Majesty, the power of acceding 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. The deputies of the United States, in the name of their constituents, accept the present declaration to its full extent; and the deputy of the said States, who is fully empowered to treat with Spain, promises 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 written. And the said deputy shall endeavour, in good faith, the adjustment of the points in which the King of Spain may propose any alteration, conformable to the principles of equality, reciprocity, and perfect amity; he the said deputy not doubting but the person or persons, empowered by his Catholic Majesty to treat with the United States, will do the same with regard to any alterations of the same kind, that may be thought necessary by the said Plenipotentiary of the United States.”
The Congress, willing to manifest their readiness fully to comply with an article, which they have reason to believe particularly agreeable to their great and good ally, and being desirous of establishing perpetual amity and harmony with a prince and nation whom they greatly respect, and with whom various circumstances lead them to wish for the most cordial and permanent friendship, have thought proper to request his most Catholic Majesty to accede to the said treaties, and thereby preclude the necessity of that measure’s originating in the manner specified in the article. For this purpose they have done me the honour to appoint me Minister Plenipotentiary, and directed me to communicate to his most Catholic Majesty the desire of Congress on this subject, and to request his favourable interposition. They also made it my duty to give his most Catholic Majesty the fullest assurances of their sincere disposition to cultivate his friendship and confidence; and authorized me, in their behalf, to enter into such treaties of alliance, amity, and commerce, as would become the foundations of perpetual peace to Spain and the United States, and the source of extensive advantages to both.
Thus commissioned, I embarked without delay on board the frigate, which had been appointed to carry the Sieur Gerard to France, and sailed with him for that kingdom, from Pennsylvania, on the 26th day of October last.
But after having been thirteen days at sea, the frigate was dismasted, and her rudder so greatly injured as to oblige us to alter our course and steer for Martinique. We arrived there on the 18th day of December last; and sailed from thence on the 28th day of the same month in a French frigate which was bound to Toulon, but had orders to touch at this port for intelligence. We arrived here the 22d instant, and received information of recent events, which rendered the further prosecution of our voyage too hazardous to be prudent.
Providence having thus been pleased to bring me directly to Spain, the respect due to his Most Catholic Majesty forbids me to postpone communicating to him my appointment and arrival; and the same motive will induce me to remain here till he shall be pleased to signify to me his pleasure. For although nothing would afford me more sensible pleasure, than the honour of presenting to his Majesty the despatches, which I am charged by Congress to deliver to him, yet on this, as on every other occasion, it shall be my study to execute the trust reposed in me in the manner most pleasing to his Majesty, agreeable to the true intent and meaning of the article above mentioned.
And that his most Christian Majesty may have the highest evidence of the intention and desire of Congress fully and faithfully to execute this article, I shall immediately do myself the honour of communicating the same, together with my appointment and arrival; and I flatter myself that the request of Congress for his favourable interposition will meet with the same friendly attention which he has uniformly extended to all their concerns, and of which I am too sensible not to derive the highest satisfaction from acknowledging it on every occasion.
Mr. Carmichael, my secretary, will have the honour of delivering this despatch to your Excellency, as well as of giving every information in his power to afford. This gentleman was a member of Congress at the time of his appointment, and will be able more fully to express the ardour with which the United States desire to establish a union with France and Spain, on principles productive of such mutual attachment and reciprocal benefits as to secure to each the blessings of uninterrupted tranquillity.
I have the honour to be, with great consideration and respect, &c.
P. S.—I do myself the honour of transmitting to your Excellency, herewith enclosed, a copy of my letter to his Excellency the Count de Vergennes.
[1 ]Jay understood from the French Minister, M. Gerard, that Galvez was the proper court official at Madrid to whom his despatches should be addressed. This proved to be a mistake, Count de Florida Blanca, with whom he subsequently communicated, being the secretary charged with colonial affairs.