Front Page Titles (by Subject) JAY TO R. LUSHINGTON. - The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, vol. 3 (1782-1793)
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JAY TO R. LUSHINGTON. - 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 R. LUSHINGTON.
New York, 15th March, 1786.
I have been favoured with your letter of the 22d ult., and immediately communicated it to the Committee of our Society for promoting the liberation of slaves and protecting such as may be manumitted.1 They are taking proper measures on the occasion, and I flatter myself that our Legislature will interpose to prevent such enormities in future.
It is much to be wished that slavery may be abolished. The honour of the States, as well as justice and humanity, in my opinion, loudly call upon them to emancipate these unhappy people. To contend for our own liberty, and to deny that blessing to others, involves an inconsistency not to be excused.2
Whatever may be the issue of the endeavours of you and others to promote this desirable end, the reflection that they are prompted by the best motives affords good reasons for persevering in them.
I am, sir, your most obedient and humble servant,
[1 ]This Society was organized early in 1785, and held its first quarterly meeting on May 12th of that year at the “Coffee House” in New York. Its officers were President, John Jay; Vice-President, Samuel Franklin; Treasurer, John Murray, Jr.; Secretary, John Keese. In 1808 it was incorporated under special act of the Legislature, and supported a free school for the education of negro children, which in 1807 had an attendance of about one hundred.
[2 ]Jay favored, and with others petitioned for, the total prohibition of the exportation of slaves from New York to the Southern States in order to prevent, as far as possible, the separation of families and increase of their miseries. As to slavery at home he believed in gradual or considerate emancipation, and followed out his theory in practice, as in the case of the negro boy he purchased in the West Indies in 1779 and released in 1787. “Life of Jay,” vol. i., p. 230. On Oct. 1, 1798, he wrote: “I purchase slaves and manumit them at proper ages, and when their faithful services shall have afforded a reasonable return.”