Front Page Titles (by Subject) JAY TO JOHN WITHERSPOON. - The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, vol. 3 (1782-1793)
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JAY TO JOHN WITHERSPOON. - 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 JOHN WITHERSPOON.
Chaillot,near Paris, 6th April, 1784.
I had last evening the pleasure of receiving your favour of the 27th ult. I congratulate you on your safe arrival, and sincerely wish that the same good fortune may attend your return.
While our country remained part of the British empire, there was no impropriety in soliciting the aid of our distant brethren and fellow-subjects for any liberal and public purposes. It was natural that the younger branches of the political family should request and accept the assistance of the elder. But as the United States neither have, nor can have, such relations with any nations in the world; as the rank they hold, and ought to assert, implies ability to provide for all the ordinary objects of their government; and as the diffusion of knowledge among a republican people is and ought to be one of the constant and most important of those objects, I cannot think it consistent with the dignity of a free and independent people, to solicit donations for that or any other purpose, from the subjects of any prince or state whatever.
The public, with us, are, in my opinion, so deeply interested in the education of our citizens, that universities, etc., ought no longer to be regarded in the light of mere private corporations. The government should extend to them their constant care; and the State treasuries afford them necessary supplies.
The success which might attend such applications in this country can only be matter of conjecture. The raising money by subscription has not been so customary in France as in Britain, and my opinion is that you would collect very little. If indeed the court should set the example, and really wish to promote it, the thing would then become fashionable; and I am inclined to think that even the fashion of giving would have a great run for a few weeks. As to books, the consideration that every American student who in a long lapse of years might open those books would read the name of the donor, added to the vanity of authors, and others who may be zealous to extend the reputation of French literature, would probably procure you some. As to apparatus, the best instruments and machines are made in England; and the greater as well as better part of those used here are, I am told, brought from thence. I am much mistaken if Europe, in general, does not wish that we were less knowing than we are already. But if it was probable that such applications would be attended with ever so great success, yet, as I think they can be properly made only in the United States, I could not prevail upon myself to advise the experiment.
If, however, you should visit Paris, I assure you it will give me great pleasure to see you, and to be instrumental in rendering it agreeable to you. We have been fellow-labourers in the same field, and if you come, we will rejoice together in celebrating “harvest home.”
With respect to the disagreeable voyage in which your son shared with us, I won’t say jubes renovare dolorem, because I am habituated to reflect on events of that sort with tranquillity. It was one of those, however, which tried all who were concerned in it; and I must do your son the justice to say that none of us preserved more equanimity and good-humour throughout the whole than he did, and he had a full share of unpleasant circumstances, as well as some others of us. I am, dear sir,
Your most obedient and very humble servant,