Front Page Titles (by Subject) 1781. - The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, vol. 1 (1763-1781)
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1781. - 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 ELBRIDGE GERRY.
Madrid, 9th January, 1781.
I should have much wondered what could have detained my letter, mentioned in yours of September last, so long from you, had not my correspondence been strangely interrupted ever since my arrival.
Your Constitution gives me much satisfaction. It appears to me to be, upon the whole, wisely formed and well digested. I find that it describes your State as being in New England, as well as in America. Perhaps it would be better if these distinctions were permitted to die away.
Your predictions respecting the fate of Lord Cornwallis have, thank God! been verified. It is a glorious, joyful, and important event. Britain feels the force of that stroke, and other nations begin to doubt less of the continuance of our independence. Further successes must prepare the way for peace; and I hope that victory will stimulate instead of relaxing our exertions.
Although myself and family have most severely suffered by the Continental money, I am resigned to its fate. Provided we preserve our liberty and independence, I shall be content. Under their auspices, in a fruitful country, and by patient industry, a competence may always be acquired, and I shall never cease to prefer a little with freedom, to opulence without it.
Your account of the plenty which abounds in our country is very flattering, and ought to excite our gratitude to the Hand that gives it. While our governments tax wisely, reward merit, and punish offenders, we shall have little to fear. The public has been too much a prey to peculation. Economy and strict accounts ought to be, and continue, among the first objects of our attention.
I have not heard any thing for a long time respecting our disputed lines. In my opinion, few things demand more immediate care than this subject; and I differ from those who think that such matters had better be postponed till after the war. At present, a sense of common danger guarantees our union. We have neither time nor inclination to dispute among ourselves. Peace will give us leisure, and leisure often finds improper occasions for employment. I most sincerely wish that no disputes may survive the war; and that, on the return of peace, we may congratulate each other on our deliverance and prospects of uninterrupted felicity, without finding ourselves exposed to differences and litigations, which never fail to make impressions injurious to that cordiality and confidence which both our interest and our duty call upon us to cultivate and cherish.
Mrs. Jay charges me to present her compliments to you. I am, dear sir, with great and sincere esteem, your most obedient and very humble servant,
INSTRUCTIONS FROM CONGRESS TO JAY.
In Congress, February 15th, 1781.
Congress having since their instructions to you of the 29th of September, 1779, and 4th of October, 1780, relative to the claim of the United States to the free navigation of the river Mississippi, and to a free port or ports below the thirty-first degree of north latitude, resumed the consideration of that subject, and being desirous to manifest to all the world, and particularly to his Catholic Majesty, the moderation of their views, the high value they place on the friendship of his Catholic Majesty, and their disposition to remove every reasonable obstacle to his accession to the alliance subsisting between his Most Christian Majesty and these United States, in order to unite the more closely in their measures and operations three powers who have so great a unity of interests, and thereby to compel the common enemy to a speedy, just, and honorable peace; have resolved, and you are hereby instructed to recede from the instructions above referred to, so far as they insist on the free navigation of that part of the river Mississippi, which lies below the thirtyfirst degree of north latitude, and on a free port or ports below the same; provided such cession shall be unalterably insisted upon by Spain; and provided the free navigation of the said river, above the said degree of north latitude, shall be acknowledged and guarantied by his Catholic Majesty to the citizens of the United States in common with his own subjects. It is the order of Congress, at the same time, that you exert every possible effort to obtain from his Catholic Majesty the use of the river aforesaid, with a free port or ports below the said thirtyfirst degree of north latitude for the citizens of the United States, under such regulations and restrictions only, as may be a necessary safeguard against illicit commerce.
I am, etc.
end of volume I.