Front Page Titles (by Subject) JAY TO BENJAMIN VAUGHAN. - The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, vol. 3 (1782-1793)
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JAY TO BENJAMIN VAUGHAN. - John Jay, The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, vol. 3 (1782-1793) 
The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, ed. Henry P. Johnston, A.M. (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1890-93). Vol. 3 (1782-1793).
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JAY TO BENJAMIN VAUGHAN.
Paris, 28th March, 1783.
Whence came the idea, that the moment a minister loses a question in Parliament he must be displaced? That kings should adopt such a maxim is not very unnatural, but that a free Parliament should think an influential dictator over them necessary to the government of the kingdom, seems rather a new opinion. Perhaps it arose gradually from the practices of the Court and the decay of public virtue during the last hundred years.
So far as the peace respects France and America, I am persuaded it was wise in Britain to conclude it. The cessions to France are not, in my opinion, extravagant; and the terms settled with America, by removing all causes of future variance, certainly lead to conciliation and friendship.
It appears to me that the discussion of this subject might have been more ample and satisfactory. Why was not Parliament told of our offers as to commerce, and the mutual navigation of the American waters? The word reciprocity would not then have been deemed so nugatory.
We have received particular instructions on the business of commerce, and Mr. Fitzherbert has been informed of our readiness to add to the provisional treaty an article for opening and regulating the trade between us on principles as liberal and reciprocal as you please. What more can be said or done? Mr. Pitt’s bill was a good one, a wise one, and one that will forever do honour to the extent and policy of his views, and to those of the administration under whose auspices it was formed. For my own part, however, I think that America need not be exceedingly anxious about the matter; for it will be in our power to derive, from a navigation act of our own, full as many advantages as we should lose by the restrictions of your laws.
The objections drawn from your treaties with Russia, etc., appear to me weak, and have been answered; but why not give them similar terms, on similar conditions? They furnish you with raw materials chiefly, and you them with manufactures only. The gain, therefore, must be yours. With respect to carriage and navigation, they stand in a very different predicament from us.
As to the tories who have received damage from us, why so much noise about them, and so little said or thought of whigs, who have suffered ten times as much from these same tories, not to mention the desolations of an unjust and licentious war.
We forget our sufferings, and even agree to recommend to favour a set of men of whom very few would consider the having their deserts in the light of a blessing. How does reciprocity stand in this account?
Some, it seems, think that New York should be retained as a rod to drive us on in this business of the tories. Strange that the idea of driving us should still be entertained. I pledge myself to you that, should such a design be adopted and become apparent, the refugees will get nothing, and the progress of reconciliation will be as slow as the warmest Gallican could wish.
I hear there is to be a Congress here; that is, that Britain and France have requested the two imperial Courts to send mediatorial ambassadors here for the purpose of being witnesses to the execution of the definitive treaties,—a very important errand, no doubt, and very complimentary to those sovereigns. Is it probable that a Congress should be called for that poor, single, simple purpose? Why your Court agreed to it is hard to conceive.
I have written to my countrymen, that Lord Shelburne’s system respecting them appeared to me to be liberal and conciliatory, but that his hesitations about avowing the acknowledgment of our independence, discouraged extensive confidence without further facts. I always think it best to be candid and explicit. I hope we shall soon be in the full possession of our country and of peace, and as we expect to have no further cause of quarrel with Great Britain, we can have no inducement to wish or to do her injury; on the contrary, we may become as sensible to her future good offices as we have been to her former evil ones. A little good-natured wisdom often does more in politics than much slippery craft. By the former, the French acquired the esteem and gratitude of America, and by the latter, their minister is impairing it.
Thus I have written you a hasty letter. Since the receipt of yours until this moment I have been promising myself the pleasure of paying you a visit. I now find it probable that I shall be detained here some time longer.
Mrs. Jay charges me to say civil things to you. You are a favourite of hers, and deserve to be so of everybody. Our little girl is well, and when able to speak shall be taught to send you her compliments. I shall reply to certain parts of your letter in my next; at present I am pressed for time. I must not, however, forget my worthy friend, Mr. Oswald. He deserves well of his country, and posterity will not only approve, but commend his conduct. Assure him of my esteem and attachment, and believe me to be, with the best wishes for the health and happiness of Mrs. Vaughan and your little daughter, Dear sir,
Your sincere and affectionate friend,