Front Page Titles (by Subject) JAY TO EGBERT BENSON. - The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, vol. 1 (1763-1781)
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
JAY TO EGBERT BENSON. - 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).
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
JAY TO EGBERT BENSON.
St. Ildefonso, 17th September, 1780.
I have written many letters to my friends in the State of New York since I left America, but have not yet received a single line from any of them. Is not this a little hard? Am I to suppose that all your letters have miscarried, or that your attention has been too much engaged by affairs at home to extend to an old friend abroad? Whatever is the cause I assure you I regret it. While America continues the theatre of the war, it is natural to desire intelligence of what may be passing on it. This satisfaction I seldom enjoy though I often ought.
As few private opportunities offer of conveying letters to the other side, I frequently write by the post. This letter will go that way. It must therefore be proportionately reserved. Indeed I make it a rule to write on the subject of politics only to Congress, and though various other subjects present themselves, yet as it is not the fashion in this country either to let one’s tongue or pen run very freely, I think it best not to be singular. Your government ought by this time to have received many of my letters and, I may add, have answered some of them. Has your legislature thought of their western country? I incline to think it time. By no means sleep over Vermont. Our people would not apply the maxim, obsta principiis, at first; further delays will be equally unwise especially considering the resolutions of Congress on that subject. I am told you have made R. Morris, Chief-Justice; this is well. I had my apprehensions about this matter. In my opinion Duer should not be forgotten; he is capable of serving the State, and it would be bad policy to let any useful man leave it who can be retained with advantage in it.
The State of New York is never out of my mind nor heart, and I am often disposed to write much respecting its affairs, but I have so little information respecting its present political objects and operations that I am afraid to attempt it. An excellent law might be made out of the Pennsylvania one for the gradual abolition of slavery. Till America comes into this measure, her prayers to Heaven for liberty will be impious. This is a strong expression, but it is just. Were I in your legislature, I would prepare a bill for the purpose with great care, and I would never leave moving it till it became a law or I ceased to be a member. I believe God governs this world, and I believe it to be a maxim in his as in our court, that those who ask for equity ought to do it. Remember me to my old friends.
I am very much yours,