Front Page Titles (by Subject) LORD GRENVILLE TO JAY. - The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, vol. 4 (1794-1826)
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LORD GRENVILLE TO JAY. - John Jay, The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, vol. 4 (1794-1826) 
The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, ed. Henry P. Johnston, A.M. (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1890-93). Vol. 4 (1794-1826).
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LORD GRENVILLE TO JAY.
Downing St., August 1, 1794.
The undersigned, Secretary of State, has had the honor to lay before the King, the ministerial note which he has received from Mr. Jay, envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary from the United States of America, respecting the alleged irregularity of the capture and condemnation of several American vessels, and also respecting the circumstances of personal severity by which those proceedings are stated to have been accompanied in some particular instances.
The undersigned is authorized to assure Mr. Jay, that it is His Majesty’s wish that the most complete and impartial justice should be done to all the citizens of America, who may, in fact, have been injured by any of the proceedings above mentioned. All experience shows that a naval war, extending over the four quarters of the globe, must unavoidably be productive of some inconveniences to the commerce of neutral nations, and that no care can prevent some irregularities in the course of those proceedings, which are universally recognized as resulting from the just rights incident to all belligerent Powers. But the King will always be desirous that these inconveniences and irregularities should be as much limited as the nature of the case will admit, and that the fullest opportunity should be given to all to prefer their complaints, and to obtain redress and compensation where they are due.
In Mr. Jay’s note, mention is made of several cases where the parties have hitherto omitted to prefer their claims, and of others where no appeals have been made from the sentences of condemnation pronounced in the first instance.
As to the cases of the first description, Lord Grenville apprehends that the regular course of law is still open to the claimants; and that, by preferring appeals to the commissioners of prize causes here, against the sentence of the courts below, the whole merits of those cases may be brought forward, and the most complete justice obtained.
In the cases of the second description the proceedings might, in some instances, be more difficult, from the lapse of time usually allotted for preferring appeals. But His Majesty being anxious that no temporary or local circumstances, such as those to which Mr. Jay refers in his note, should impede the course of substantial justice, has been pleased to refer it to the proper officers to consider of a mode of enlarging the time for receiving the appeals in those cases, in order to admit the claimants to bring their complaints before the regular court appointed for that purpose.
The undersigned has no doubt, that, in this manner, a very considerable part of the injuries alleged to have been suffered by the Americans may, if the complaints are well founded, be redressed in the usual course of judicial proceeding, at a very small expense to the parties, and without any other interposition of His Majesty’s Government than is above stated. Until the result and effect of these proceedings shall be known, no definite judgment can be formed respecting the nature and extent of those cases, (if any such shall ultimately be found to exist) where it shall not have been practicable to obtain substantial redress in this mode. But he does not hesitate to say, beforehand, that, if cases shall then be found to exist to such an extent as properly to call for the interposition of Government, where, without the fault of the parties complaining, they shall be unable, from whatever circumstances, to procure such redress, in the ordinary course of law, as the justice of their cases may entitle them to expect, His Majesty will be anxious that justice should, at all events, be done, and will readily enter into the discussion of the measures to be adopted, and the principles to be established for that purpose.
With respect to all acts of personal severity and violence, as the King must entirely disapprove every such transaction, so His Majesty’s courts are always open for the punishment of offences of this nature; and for giving redress to the sufferers in every case, where the fact can be established by satisfactory proof; nor does it appear that any case of that nature can exist where there would be the smallest difficulty of obtaining, in that mode, substantial and exemplary justice.
On the subject of the impress, Lord Grenville has only to assure Mr. Jay, that if, in any instance, American seamen have been impressed into the King’s service, it has been contrary to the King’s desire; though such cases may have occasionally arisen from the difficulty of discriminating between British and American seamen, especially where there so often exists an interest and intention to deceive.
Whenever any representation has been made to Lord Grenville on this subject, he has never failed to receive His Majesty’s command for putting it in a proper course in order that the facts might be inquired into, and ascertained; and to the extent that the persons in question might be released, if the facts appeared to be satisfactorily established.
With respect to the desire expressed by Mr. Jay that new orders might be given with a view to prevent, as far as it is possible, the giving any just ground of complaint on this head, Lord Grenville has no reason to doubt that His Majesty’s intentions respecting this point are already sufficiently understood by His Majesty’s officers employed on that service; but he has, nevertheless, obtained His Majesty’s permission to assure Mr. Jay, that instructions, to the effect desired, will be renewed, in consequence of his application.
The undersigned avails himself, with pleasure, of this opportunity to renew to Mr. Jay his assurances of his sincere esteem and consideration.