Front Page Titles (by Subject) JAY TO JUDGE PETERS. - The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, vol. 4 (1794-1826)
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JAY TO JUDGE PETERS. - 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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JAY TO JUDGE PETERS.
Bedford, January 25, 1819.
I have read your letter of the 12th ult. more than once. Mutuality of friendly feelings always affords gratification; and the kindness which pervades your letter has made its proper impressions.
As you are in the seventy-fifth year of your age, and I in the seventy-fourth of mine, our leases have expired. We are holding over, and others will soon occupy our places. What to do, and where to go, would be perplexing questions, had not our beneficent Lessor offered us better and permanent habitations.
The death of an excellent daughter last spring was an afflicting event, and I feel it. Convinced that her happiness was augmented by it, I had no reason to grieve on her account. I derived consolation, as well as resignation, from reflecting that unerring wisdom had directed that dispensation, and that I was still blessed with the surviving children, who (like their sister) had never given me any other uneasiness than what had arisen from their sickness or afflictions.
Considering the times which have passed over us, I am glad you continued in office. Might not reports of some select cases decided in your court be useful? And would they not be more correctly prepared for the press by yourself than by others?
In my opinion, you did well to abstain from speculations. I thought so, and did so. It is, I believe, a just and not a new remark, that a proper education and proper habits, with a moderate share of property, form a better provision for a child, than that greater degree of wealth, which not infrequently leads the unexperienced to idleness and its results.
I have looked into the book which you had the goodness to send me, and for which I thank you. I have read the address, and the notices for a young farmer. They will do good. Although unable to attend much to my own agricultural affairs, yet books and conversation on such subjects entertain me. I wish I could give you a good account of my Tunisian sheep, but the dogs have put it out of my power. I regret the loss they caused; but I regret it less than another loss, which more nearly affects my convenience. I allude to the death of a favourite mare, which I had rode for twenty-three years with great satisfaction. She lately died suddenly and unexpectedly, in the twenty-ninth year of her age. She was the third in succession, which died in my service. The grandam was given to me by my father in 1765. That circumstance associated with various others in attaching me to them.
Agricultural societies are multiplying in this State. One has been formed in this county, and I am the nominal president; having only the will and not the ability to render active services. They have prepared a representation to the Legislature respecting agriculture, and the expediency of establishing an agricultural society for the whole State.
The traits of parsimonious and reluctant commendation observable in some of your British letters, give more intelligence than the writers meant to convey. As almost every vagrant leaf we pick up will inform us of the kind of tree which produced it, so these traits discover the feelings which originated them. It is a pity that such feelings should exist; but they are the offspring of human nature, which is not what it should be, nor what it once was. That Britons should reflect on our former and present state and condition, without regret, without mortification, and without apprehensions of rivalry and perhaps of danger, can hardly be expected. A doubt whether Britannia will always “rule the waves,” cannot have a welcome reception in her mind. Our rapid progress in trade, navigation, and the arts cannot correspond with her views and wishes. The strength resulting from our increasing resources and population recommends a kind of policy and a degree of accommodation not congenial with the temper and propensities of such a nation. Superiors seldom see with complacency inferiors rising towards equality, and by means which may not improbably carry them beyond it. There is, nevertheless, great worth in Britain.
I have not seen Dr. Franklin’s Life. As he concurred in the opinion of Count deVergennes, that we should proceed to treat for peace with Great Britain without a previous admission of our independence, he may, in his own mind, have acquitted the Count of the motives to which I ascribed his giving us that opinion; and also have considered his subsequent explanations on that and certain other topics as satisfactory. After my return in 1784, I was informed of the debate in Congress on the proposed resolution which you mention. In my opinion, Mr. Madison voted consistently. I omit explaining this at present, for it cannot be done in a few words. My letter to Congress respecting the negotiation contained a full and correct statement of facts. Many years have since elapsed, but my sentiments relative to the policy adopted by France on that occasion continue unaltered.
But it is time to conclude, and I will do it by thanking you for affording me so agreeable an occasion to assure you of the esteem and regard, with which I continue