Front Page Titles (by Subject) EDWARD RUTLEDGE TO JAY. - The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, vol. 3 (1782-1793)
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EDWARD RUTLEDGE TO JAY. - 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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EDWARD RUTLEDGE TO JAY.
[Charleston, S. C.] Nov. 12, 1786.
My Dear Sir:
After a disagreeable passage and a variety of weather Tinker has at last safely landed us in Charleston, where I have resumed the character of a busy man and have a clear prospect of passing an active Winter between my professional, and political occupations. But altho’ my exertions shall be equally great, the individual, and the public will not be equally benefited. That spirit of faction which is prevalent in other States has extended her influence to this, and is too manifest not to be descerned, even when it assumes the shape of instruction. It is really very curious to observe how the people of this world are made the dupes of a word. “Liberty” is the motto; every attempt to restrain licentiousness or give efficacy to Government is charged audaciously on the real advocates for Freedom as an attack upon Liberty. On my return home, I found several of my compatriots so highly disgusted with the artifices of some unworthy characters, that they had determined to withdraw from the theatre of public action, to scenes of retirement and ease. But I have the pleasure to think that I have prevailed on them to change their resolutions and to continue in responsible stations: for indeed, my Friend, if the field is to be abandoned by men of Virtue, either from the clamour of the worthless, or the ingratitude of the foolish part of the faction, the condition of humanity would be wretched indeed. Whereas, if men who have given decided and repeated proofs of their love to their Country, unite together and show a firmness similar to that to which they displayed thro’ the war, I am convinced that sooner or later they will vanquish their enemies, and leave to themselves and their posterity all the ends of good Government.
The subject of the western waters I found was in the possession of many of our people on my arrival. Various are their opinions; the majority of those, with whom I have conversed, believe we should be benefited by a limited cession of it to Spain, or rather a cession for a limited time. But then we must take care and be explicit on one head: we must not be called on by Spain at a future day, to guarantee the cession. That will be absolutely impracticable; she should understand clearly, the extent of our engagement. If from our relinquishment at present, she can retain for a number of years, the exclusive navigation of the river, it is well—it will stop migration, it will concenter force, because the settlers can have no vent for the productions of that country but down the Mississippi, and, therefore, think they will not be fond of immediately inhabiting her banks. But when the time shall arrive, when the inhabitants shall be very numerous, will it not be worth the while of Spain to permit them the navigation of the river, give them the benefit of their labor, encourage in them the spirit of agriculture, and divert their minds from conquests? I should suppose it would. It will behoove Spain to consider the affair with much attention; consider too the genius as well as the interest of those western Settlers and ever carry in her remembrance that in her cession of American territory, Great Britain cherished an idea that she was sowing the seeds of discord between the States and Spain. Again, suppose at some future day Britain should set on foot, by the way of Canada and the Lakes, a negociation with the Western people, and assist them in opening not only the passage of the river, but the way to the Southern World, how is this to be counteracted? Would it not become Spain to put on the spirit of accommodation with the settlers of the distant Country and prevent by such a measure, such an injurious union? I am too little acquainted with the wisdom of that Court, to say what they will do, and after all, the changes in men and measures leave a vast field for speculation into distant ages. What is the wisdom of the most wise to-day, is depreciated into nothing to-morrow. But we must nevertheless act, and acting from the best of our judgment, endeavor to justify wisdom of her children. I am limited in time and have been repeatedly interrupted by clients since I began this letter. You shall hear from me as opportunities offer. Mrs. Rutledge has been confined to the house ever since we landed; but she is too much obliged to Mrs. Jay to forget her in any situation. We both remember her with very affectionate respect. She sends Mrs. Jay a barrel of potatoes; they are not large, but I believe they are good; size, you know, is not a characteristic of goodness. The vegetation has not as yet ceased. It will before Tinker returns, when I will send you the Fringe and Pride of India trees. I wish they may flourish. In truth I wish every thing which belongs to you may flourish; and that you may live to enjoy your family, and the fruit of your labor. Adieu, my dear Friend, and believe that I am warmly attached to your family and yourself.
P. S. Tell Peter, Henry wishes this post-script may contain affectionate remembrance.