Front Page Titles (by Subject) JAY TO GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. - The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, vol. 3 (1782-1793)
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JAY TO GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. - 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 GOUVERNEUR MORRIS.
Passy, 24th September, 1783.
The sight of your friendly letter of the 25th of July last, and of those it recommends, gave me much pleasure. Marks of remembrance from old acquaintances, and the society of fellow-citizens in a foreign country, excite agreeable sensations. I have, as yet, met with neither men nor things on this side of the water which abate my predilection, or, if you please, my prejudices, in favour of those on the other. I have but few attachments in Europe much stronger than those we sometimes feel for an accidental fellow-traveller, or for a good inn and a civil landlord. We leave our approbation, and good wishes, and a certain degree of regard with them, by way of paying that part of the reckoning and travelling expenses which money cannot always defray. My affections are deeply rooted in America, and are of too long standing to admit of transplantation. In short, my friend, I can never become so far a citizen of the world as to view every part of it with equal regard; and perhaps nature is wiser in tying our hearts to our native soil, than they are who think they divest themselves of foibles in proportion as they wear away those bonds. It is not difficult to regard men of every nation as members of the same family; but when placed in that point of view, my fellow-citizens appear to me as my brethren, and the others as related to me only in the more distant and adventitious degrees.
I am glad my letter by Mr. Grigby gave you reason to infer an alteration for the better in the state of my health, because I flatter myself it afforded pleasure to my friends. The fact is, that my disorder has been gradually declining ever since I left the city; but although the pain in my breast has diminished, it still continues, and daily tells me memento mori. As to the fever which the influenza left me, it has at last, thank God, taken its leave. During all my sickness I have been happy in preserving a constant flow of spirits; and cheerfulness, that agreeable companion, has never forsaken me. I hope a trip to Bath will so patch up my “house of clay” as to render it tenantable a good while longer; a thorough repair I do not promise myself.
Your account of my son pleases me. I expect and wish to see him next summer; for it is time to lay the foundation of those habits and principles by which I am desirous that his conduct through life should be influenced. Nature has not given to children any instinctive affections for their parents; and youth, that fair season of virtue and ingenuousness, presents the only opportunity for our perfectly gaining their hearts. This conspires with a great variety of other considerations to call me home; and I should not be satisfied with myself if I prolonged my excursion from private life beyond the term which, for public reasons, I at first prescribed it. When a man’s conduct ceases to be uniform and consistent, it ceases to be proper. My little girls are well, and their mother is not much otherwise. So much for domestic matters; now for a few lines on politics.
While there are knaves and fools in the world, there will be wars in it; and that nations should make war against nations is less surprising than their living in uninterrupted peace and harmony.
You have heard that the Ottoman and Russian empires are on the point of unsheathing the sword. The objects of the contest are more easy to discern than the issue; but if Russia should extend her navigation to Constantinople, we may be the better for it. That circumstance is an additional motive to our forming a treaty of commerce with her. Your commercial and geographical knowledge render it unnecessary for me to enlarge on this subject. But whatever we may have to do abroad, it is of little consequence when compared to what we have to do at home.
I am perfectly convinced that no time is to be lost in raising and maintaining a national spirit in America. Power to govern the confederacy, as to all general purposes, should be granted and exercised. The governments of the different States should be wound up, and become vigorous. America is beheld with jealousy, and jealousy is seldom idle. Settle your boundaries without delay. It is better that some improper limits should be fixed, than any left in dispute. In a word, every thing conducive to union and constitutional energy of government should be cultivated, cherished, and protected, and all counsels and measures of a contrary complexion should at least be suspected of impolitic views and objects.
The rapid progress of luxury at Philadelphia is a frequent topic of conversation here; and what is a little remarkable, I have not heard a single person speak of it in terms of approbation.
Believe me to be your friend and servant,