Front Page Titles (by Subject) JAY TO ALEXANDER HAMILTON. - The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, vol. 3 (1782-1793)
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JAY TO ALEXANDER HAMILTON. - 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 ALEXANDER HAMILTON.
Passy, 28th September, 1783.
Mr. Carter lately delivered to me your friendly letter of the 25th of July last. You were always of the number of those whom I esteemed, and your correspondence would have been both interesting and agreeable. I had heard of your marriage, and it gave me pleasure, as well because it added to your happiness, as because it tended to fix your residence in a State, of which I long wished you to be, and remain a citizen.
The character and talents of delegates to Congress daily become more and more important, and I regret your declining that appointment at this interesting period. Respect, however, is due to the considerations which influence you; but as they do not oppose your accepting a place in the Legislature, I hope the public will still continue to derive advantage from your services. Much remains to be done, and labourers do not abound.
I am happy to hear that the terms of peace, and the conduct of your negotiators, give general satisfaction; but there are some of our countrymen, it seems, who are not content, and that too with an article which I thought to be very unexceptionable, viz., the one ascertaining our boundaries. Perhaps those gentlemen are latitudinarians.
The American newspapers, for some months past, contain advices that do us harm. Violences, and associations against the tories, pay an ill compliment to government, and impeach our good faith in the opinions of some, and our magnanimity in the opinions of many. Our reputation also suffers from the apparent reluctance to taxes, and the ease with which we incur debts without providing for their payment. The complaints of the army—the jealousies respecting Congress—the circumstances which induced their leaving Philadelphia—and the too little appearance of a national spirit, pervading, uniting, and invigorating the confederacy, are considered as omens which portend diminution of our respectability, power, and felicity. I hope that, as the wheel turns round, other and better indications will soon appear. I am persuaded that America possesses too much wisdom and virtue to permit her brilliant prospects to fade away for the want of either. But, whatever time may produce, certain it is that our reputation and our affairs suffer from present appearances.
The tories are as much pitied in these countries as they are execrated in ours. An undue degree of severity towards them would, therefore, be impolitic as well as unjustifiable. They who incline to involve that whole class of men in indiscriminate punishment and ruin, certainly carry the matter too far. It would be an instance of unnecessary rigour, and unmanly revenge, without a parallel, except in the annals of religious rage, in times of bigotry and blindness. What does it signify where nine tenths of these people are buried? I would rather see the sweat of their brows fertilizing our fields than those of our neighbours, in which it would certainly water those seeds of hatred which, if so cultivated, may produce a hedge of thorns against us. Shall all be pardoned then? By no means. Banish and confiscate the estates of such of them as have been either faithless or cruel, and forgive the rest.
Victory and peace should, in my opinion, be followed by clemency, moderation, and benevolence, and we should be careful not to sully the glory of the revolution by licentiousness and cruelty. These are my sentiments, and however unpopular they may be, I have not the least desire to conceal or disguise them.
Be pleased to present my best compliments to Mrs. Hamilton, and believe me to be, with great esteem and regard, dear sir, your most obedient, humble servant,