Front Page Titles (by Subject) DRAFT OF PROCLAMATION OF NEUTRALITY, BY JOHN JAY. 1 - The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, vol. 3 (1782-1793)
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DRAFT OF PROCLAMATION OF NEUTRALITY, BY JOHN JAY. 1 - 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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DRAFT OF PROCLAMATION OF NEUTRALITY, BY JOHN JAY.1
Whereas every nation has a right to change and modify their constitution and government in such a manner as they may think most conducive to their welfare and happiness, and whereas a new form of government has taken place and actually exists in France, that event is to be regarded as the act of the nation until that presumption shall be destroyed by fact; and although certain circumstances have attended that revolution, which are greatly to be regretted, yet the United States as a nation have no right to decide on measures which regard only the internal and domestic affairs of others. They who actually administer the government of any nation are by foreign nations to be regarded as its lawful rulers so long as they continue to be recognized and obeyed by the great body of their people.
And whereas royalty has been in fact abolished in France, and a new government does there at present exist and is in actual operation, it is proper that the intercourse between this nation and that should be conducted through the medium of the government in fact, and although the misfortunes, to whatever cause they may be imputed, which the late King of France and others have suffered in the course of that revolution, or which that nation may yet experience, are to be regretted by the friends of humanity, and particularly by the people of America to whom both that king and that nation have done essential services, yet it is no less the duty than the interest of the United States strictly to observe that conduct towards all nations which the laws of nations prescribe.
And whereas war actually exists between France on the one side and Austria, Prussia, Great Britain, and the United Netherlands on the other; and whereas on the one hand we have abundant reason to give thanks unto Almighty God that the United States are not involved in that calamity, so on the other hand it is our duty by a conduct strictly neutral and inoffensive to cultivate and preserve peace, with a firm determination, nevertheless, always to prefer war to injustice and disgrace.
I do therefore most earnestly advise and require the citizens of the United States to be circumspect in their conduct towards all nations and particularly those now at war, to demean themselves in every respect in the manner becoming a nation at peace with all the world, and to unite in rendering thanks to a beneficial Providence for the peace and prosperity we enjoy, and devoutly to entreat the continuance of these-invaluable blessings. I do expressly require that the citizens of the United States abstain from acting hostilely against any of the belligerent powers under commissions from either. Such conduct would tend to provoke hostilities against their country, and would in every respect be highly reprehensible; for while the people of all other states abstain from doing injury to any of our people, it would be unjust and wicked in any of our people to do injuries to them.
I do also enjoin all magistrates and others in authority to be watchful and diligent in preventing any aggressions from being committed against foreign nations and their people; and to cause all offenders to be prosecuted and punished in an exemplary manner. I do also recommend it to my fellow-citizens in general to omit such public discussions as may tend not only to cause divisions and parties among ourselves, and thereby impair that union on which our strength depends, but also give unnecessary cause of offence and irritation to foreign powers. And I cannot forbear expressing a wish that our printers may study to be impartial in the representation of facts, and observe much prudence relative to such strictures and animadversions as may render the disposition of foreign governments and rulers unfriendly to the people of the United States.
April 11th, 1793.
[1 ]See preceding letters. The proclamation as issued by Washington, April 22, 1793, which was more general and condensed than Jay’s draft, appears in “Hamilton’s Works,” “American State Papers,” etc.