Front Page Titles (by Subject) BENJAMIN VAUGHAN TO JAY. - The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, vol. 3 (1782-1793)
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BENJAMIN VAUGHAN 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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BENJAMIN VAUGHAN TO JAY.
London, August 4th, 1790.
My dear Sir,
I am much obliged to you for your kind letter, and the sermon which accompanied it, which I should in preference call a discourse, considering its length, matter, and occasion. The letter I carried with me to Paris on account of the hint respecting sheep, and the Duke of Rochefoucauld has retained it, which you will not be displeased at, since in his hands it will do most good. My journey to Paris was partly to see the historical and philosophical fact of the 14th ult., especially as Deputies had assembled from all quarters of France. The spectacle was rather curious, than interesting, owing to the extreme bad management of the procession and ceremony. Notwithstanding the distance was too great for perfect sight and hearing, yet the feelings of every person were sufficiently alive to have admitted of some affecting, as well as sublime scenes, being presented out of the vast materials which offered themselves. Your friend the Marquis de la Fayette (called in public documents the Sieur De la Fayette) stands responsible for the chief of this bad management, by which I perceive that he has essentially lowered himself in the opinion of thinking people, especially the military. In other respects my journey answered sufficiently my views in undertaking it. The people of France seem to me to have thoroughly imbibed the spirit of the revolution, with a few exceptions not worthy of mention. I went by Calais and Arras, and returned by Caen and Cherbourg, and every where I saw signs of unanimity or acquiescence the most complete. The celebration of the 14th in my route home, I found had been universal and enthusiastic, the military combining to outward appearance without exception, and (a certain proportion of the officers allowed for,) with cordiality also. This good will to the revolution was to be expected; but what struck me most was a sort of family-feeling and fraternity which every member of the national guard seemed to have to every other member of it, however strange to him; and that every man seemed to endeavor to make his private feelings give way to the public interests.
No good man can have witnessed these scenes without being edified, as well as animated. He might sometimes smile, but I think other nations err much more by being short of the truth than the French do by going beyond it. It seems to me that the seed has fallen upon the best soil, all considered, (that is, upon the fittest and most productive) that could be found in Europe; and I hope it will be a lasting one. I trust our friends in America will not be jealous at hearing, that the French revolution is thought by much the most instructive of any upon record, and as agitating the greatest assemblage of principles respecting human and even domestic society. They had more to do than America, which has led them to aim at every thing. The American revolution was little more than the separation of partnership accounts. When you weed our nonsence out of your laws, and cease to quote an English law authority in your courts, you will make an important addition to your own revolution; but I fear your lawyers are too powerful to allow of the simplicity and perspicuity called for by common sense. Trade is another crooked plant in your plantation. Religion you have set pretty straight. A few more things well done will create both a love and knowledge of better order, for they will operate as guides to the eye and feelings.—As your people, considering them as persons who have a share in public proceedings, read few books, it is well worth the consideration of the leading persons in America to set on foot better newspapers than those you possess, as well as better magazines; or which will be much easier, to improve those already established. One of the best newspapers I have seen from your continent was one published somewhere in the woods, to the N. W., if I may judge from some specimens I casually saw of it, consisting in part of exclusively well judged extracts from books. Surely nothing can be more easy than this part of such an undertaking, where there is a good library. Forgive my zeal, which you must allow impartial.
You will expect some politics from me. — France is well disposed to peace, but there are some intriguing spirits who wish to bring on war; and I was very sorry to hear a person, whom I have before named in this letter, accused as being one. My authority was not a slight one, and the intelligence shocked me so much, that I did not wish to have any conversation with him, when at Paris. I wish he could borrow a little of your general’s dignity, which would have an astonishing effect just now in France.
We seem here to have little objection to war of any kind; but I conceive we shall be saved a German war by a pacification between Prussia and Austria, somewhat at the expence of Prussia, who has lately gained a naval victory of some consequence, but which has suffered a subsequent drawback by a smaller victory of the King of Sweden. Spain is yet at issue, but by the inaction of our fleet, you may judge we are not wanting in good hopes of an accommodation. Ireland was becoming restive, but I think matters will settle there for the present, tho’ the system of corrupting with money, titles, and places has got to a disagreeable height there, so as to give a wise minister some alarm for its supposed necessity and consequences. A war, I have little doubt, would discover upon the first successes, great dissatisfaction in Ireland, and some in Scotland. Some weak debates have lately occurred in the French national assembly, but they have ended in a very essential object, the giving arms to the nation at the public expence.
I forgot to tell you that Cherbourg is already a safe harbor. How long it will last, how it will be defended, and whether it can easily be entered, are questions of which I am incompetent to the discussion. The breakwater may be finished this year. The forts are scarcely ⅔ finished, and nothing has lately been done in them.
The freedom with which I write will put you in mind of the freedom with which I used to speak, and tell you the cause of it, namely your kindness in favor of it. — I beg my affectionate respects to Mrs. Jay. Mrs. V. joins me in every good wish to you and yours. I am, dear Sir,
Your respectful and affectionate friend and servant,