Front Page Titles (by Subject) JAY TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. - The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, vol. 3 (1782-1793)
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JAY TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. - 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 THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.
Office for Foreign Affairs,
In obedience to the order of Congress directing me to give information of the state of my negotiation with the Encargado de Negocios of Spain, I have the honour of informing your Excellency that . . . I have had several conferences with Mr. Gardoqui on the well-known points in difference between us, viz., on the navigation of the river Mississippi and on the limits.
With respect to the first point we have had repeated conversations which produced nothing but debate, and in the course of which we did not advance one single step nearer to each other. He continued and still continues decided in refusing to admit us to navigate the river below our limits on any terms or conditions, nor will he consent to any article declaring our rights in express terms, and stipulating to forbear the use ofit for a given time. But he did not appear to me so decidedly opposed to the same ideas in the way of implication, though he did not say so. I drew that inference from a number of circumstances, but yet he said nothing so unequivocal to warrant it, as to commit himself. I thought it therefore advisable to try how far he would silently yield to that idea; and therefore drew up articles in a variety of shapes clearly implying the right, and expressly forbearing the use during the term of the treaty. These drafts he positively refused to admit; and finding that arguments in support of them rather irritated than convinced him, we parted without doing any thing. Subsequent conferences took place, and he continuing inflexible in refusing the articles as they stood, we gradually but very cautiously talked of amendments. It was my business to endeavour to change the dress but retain the spirit and sense. Many difficulties and questions, unnecessary to detail, occurred. It was, however, finally so adjusted as in my opinion to save the right and only suspend the use during the term of the treaty, at the expiration of which this and every other article in it would become null and void. . . .
Congress will doubtless observe that the reasons assigned in this article for forbearance militate against a supposition of his Majesty’s having an exclusive right; for it does not either admit his right or relinquish ours, but, on the contrary, in order to avoid and obviate differences and questions, to suit his Majesty’s system of government and policy, to meet the King’s wishes, and to evince our sense of his friendship, it only stipulates not to use, etc.
On that and every other occasion I thought it best to be very candid with Mr. Gardoqui. I told him that he must not conclude that what I might think expedient would also be deemed so by Congress, and hoped that when he considered they were sitting in the same place with us, he would see the propriety of my observing the greatest delicacy and respect towards them.
As to the limits, I have reason from him to believe that, notwithstanding the extent of their claims, he would, in case all other matters were satisfactorily adjusted, so far recede as to give up to us all the territories not comprehended within the Floridas as ascertained by our separate and secret article with Great Britain, of which I early perceived that he was well informed.
As he could not in any manner be drawn lower down than this line, it struck me that it would be prudent to confine, if possible, all questions of limits to the land between the two lines; and therefore hinted the expediency of settling the dispute, so limited, by Commissioners.
He expressed no reluctance to this, and I believe he has written for instructions on that point, but am not certain. He seemed very cautious of committing himself, and I cannot now say that he admitted our right to extend down to the first line, but only gave me to understand that all other things being agreed, his Majesty from motives of accommodation might be content with that limitation.
These are the facts, and so matters at present stand between him and me. A variety of circumstances and considerations which I need not mention, render this negotiation dilatory, unpleasant, and unpromising; and it is much to be wished that the United States could jointly and unanimously adopt and pursue some fixed and stable plan of policy in regard to Spain, especially during the residence of Mr. Gardoqui, who, I do verily believe, is sincerely disposed to do everything useful and acceptable to America that his instructions and the essential interests of his country, as understood by him and his master, will permit.
I have the honour to be with great respect and esteem your Excellency’s most obedient and humble servant,