Front Page Titles (by Subject) JAY TO THOMAS JEFFERSON. - The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, vol. 3 (1782-1793)
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JAY TO THOMAS JEFFERSON. - 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 THOMAS JEFFERSON.
Office for Foreign Affairs,
The situation of our captive countrymen at Algiers is much to be lamented, and the more so as their deliverance is difficult to effect. Congress cannot command money for that, nor indeed for other very important purposes; their requisitions produce little, and government (if it may be called a government) is so inadequate to its objects, that essential alterations or essential evils must take place. If our government would draw forth the resources of the country, which, notwithstanding all appearances to the contrary, are abundant, I should prefer war to tribute, and carry our Mediterranean trade in vessels armed and manned at the public expense. I daily become more and more confirmed in the opinion, that government should be divided into executive, legislative, and judicial departments. Congress is unequal to the first, very fit for the second, and but ill calculated for the third; and so much time is spent in deliberation, that the season for action often passes by before they decide on what should be done; nor is there much more secrecy than expedition in their measures. These inconveniences arise, not from personal disqualifications, but from the nature and construction of the government.
If Congress had money to purchase peace of Algiers, or to redeem the captives there, it certainly would, according to their present ideas, be well to lose no time in doing both; neither pains nor expense, if within any tolerable limits, should be spared to ransom our fellow-citizens. But the truth is, that no money is to be expected at present from hence; nor do I think it would be right to make new loans until we have at least some prospect of paying the interest due on former ones.
Our country is fertile, abounding in useful productions, and those productions in demand and bearing a good price; yet relaxation in government and extravagance in individuals create much public and private distress, and much public and private want of good faith.
The public papers will tell you how much reason we have to apprehend an Indian war, and to suspect that Britain instigates it. In my opinion, our Indian affairs have been ill managed. Details would be tedious. Indians have been murdered by our people in cold blood, and no satisfaction given; nor are they pleased with the avidity with which we seek to acquire their lands. Would it not be wiser gradually to extend our settlements as want of room should make it necessary, than to pitch our tents through the wilderness in a great variety of places, far distant from each other, and from those advantages of education, civilization, law, and government which compact settlements and neighbourhoods afford? Shall we not fill the wilderness with white savages?—and will they not become more formidable to us than the tawny ones which now inhabit it?
As to the sums of money expected from the sale of those lands, I suspect we shall be deceived; for, at whatever price they may be sold, the collection and payment of it will not be easily accomplished.
I have the honor to be, etc.