Front Page Titles (by Subject) JAY TO SILAS DEANE. - The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, vol. 1 (1763-1781)
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JAY TO SILAS DEANE. - 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 SILAS DEANE.
Madrid, 26th December, 1780.
At length your first letter, contrary to my expectations, has arrived, and my attention to it shall not be wanting. I have also received your favour of the 18th September; since which more of my letters than one have, I hope, reached you, this being the fourth.
I have read, considered, and reconsidered the facts and reflections you communicate, and am persuaded that the consequences you draw, though in a certain degree just, are not quite so extensive as you seem to suppose. I am not free from similar apprehensions, but they are not so strong as yours. But however well founded they may be, they ought only to increase our prudence. If I had leisure, it would give me pleasure to go largely into this subject; at present I cannot, because matters of more immediate importance engage me.
That you have been hardly treated I know, and shall never hesitate to say; but I cannot think the cases of the gentlemen are similar, or prove the points to which you apply them. You was blamed, not for omitting finally to settle your accounts in France, but for not being in capacity to show (when in America) what those accounts were; and I don’t know that those gentlemen were or will be chargeable with the like incapacity. I mention this only to show the distinction between the cases.
How far the distinction is important, or how far that incapacity could justify the treatment it occasioned, are other questions. For my own part I think it could not justify it. It will also remain a question how far your measures were prudent. I think some of them were, and some not; but this inquiry requires many considerations, and combinations, and circumstances, which I must defer for the present. The discoveries you allude to respecting secret practices surprise me exceedingly; I have no such suspicions: perhaps you may give more weight to circumstances than they may merit. The inquiry nevertheless is very important, and while any doubts remain, the pursuit should be continued. Justice demands that we should not even in our opinions injure men who may be innocent; and prudence also demands that we permit not a good heart to impose on a good head,—a case by no means uncommon.
I wish there were twenty other motives than those you mention for your passing to Spain, exclusive of the satisfaction it will give me to see you. The matters you mention are highly interesting in a public and a private view. They cannot be so well handled in letters as conversation. Whether it will be in my power to meet you I cannot predict, and therefore cannot promise. It would be agreeable, but I have hitherto found so many matters not to be neglected constantly demanding my attention, that I cannot flatter myself with being more disengaged till the greater objects of my coming here shall be either attained or become unattainable. If I should nevertheless be able, I will; if not, I hope you will come on.
The attachment you express for your country, notwithstanding your complaints of her ingratitude, does you much honour. The injustice of resenting on a whole people the mistakes or transgressions of a few is obvious; but there are comparatively not many who, under similar circumstances, either think right or act so. Truth is seldom so immersed in darkness as not to be capable of being brought to light if attempted in season; and as the mass of the people mean well, they will finally do justice, though their mistakes and passions sometimes delay it. Persevere therefore, do good to your country, and evince the rectitude of your conduct while in her service. I believe you honest, and I think you injured. The considerations will always prompt me to every friendly office in my power to render. I must again advise you to collect, review, and ascertain precisely the evidence you may have or can obtain of the duplicity of the persons you allude to, whoever they may be. I see this business in many important lights, and the time may come when you may rejoice in all the trouble you may now be at about it. Nay, all this evidence, provided it should appear material, ought to be committed to paper, and not permitted to diminish or die in or with your memory; put it in the power of your friends to vindicate your reputation when you may be no more. It will be of particular importance to your son, to whom you cannot leave a better inheritance than a good, nor a worse one than a bad or doubtful, reputation. Remember too that time is spending, men forgetting or dying, papers wasting, etc., and therefore the sooner you reduce these matters to a certainty the better.
Mrs. Jay and the Colonel desire to be particularly remembered to you. This will go under cover to Dr. Franklin. Be pleased to assure him of my regard and esteem, of which also believe you have no little share.
I am, dear sir, very sincerely yours, etc.,