Front Page Titles (by Subject) GEORGE A. OTIS TO JAY. - The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, vol. 4 (1794-1826)
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GEORGE A. OTIS 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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GEORGE A. OTIS TO JAY.
Quincy, 19th February, 1822.
I did not receive your very kind and very gratifying communication of the 13th January, 1821, until after I had rejoined my family in this place; and consequently, not till after it was too late to profit, in passing homeward, of your very obliging permission to pay you my respects personally; a satisfaction which I regret in proportion to the just sense I have of its value.
Your remarks on the first volume of Botta, confirmed as they were by Presidents Adams and Jefferson, were communicated to the reviewers of my translation of that author, and were by them introduced into their account of the work published in the North American Review for July, 1821.
. . . . . . . .
With respect to the animadversions which you did me the honor to address to me upon the first volume, and which I took the liberty to communicate to the late Presidents Adams and Jefferson, the former of these gentlemen wrote me as follows:
“I cannot refrain from expressing the pleasure I have received from the reasoning of Mr. Jay upon the passage in Botta, ‘that anterior to the Revolution there existed in the colonies a desire of independence.’ There is a great ambiguity in this expression. It is true, there always existed in the colonies a desire of independence of parliament in the articles of internal taxation and internal policy, and a very general, if not an universal opinion, that they were constitutionally entitled to it, and as general a determination, if possible, to maintain and defend it; but there never existed a desire of independence of the crown, or of general regulations of commerce, for the equal and impartial benefit of all parts of the empire. It is true, there might be times and circumstances in which an individual or a few individuals might entertain and express a wish, that America was independent in all respects; but these were ‘rari nantes in gurgite vasto.’ For example, in 1756-57 and ’58, the conduct of the British generals, Shirley, Braddock, Loudon, Webb and Abercrombie, was so absurd, disastrous and destructive, that a very general opinion prevailed that the war was conducted by a mixture of ignorance, treachery and cowardice; and some persons wished we had nothing to do with Great Britain forever. Of this number I distinctly remember, I was myself one, fully believing that we were able to defend ourselves against the French and Indians, without any assistance or embarassments from Great Britain. In ’58 and ’59 when Amherst and Wolfe had changed the fortune of the war, by a more able and faithful conduct of it, I again rejoiced in the name of Briton, and should have rejoiced in it to this day, had not the king and parliament committed high treason and rebellion against America, as soon as they had conquered Canada and made peace with France. That there existed a general desire of independence of the crown in any part of America before the Revolution, is as far from truth as the zenith is from the nadir. The encroaching disposition of Great Britain, it was early foreseen by many wise men in all the States, would one day attempt to enslave them by an unlimited submission to Parliament, and rule them with a rod of iron. That this attempt would produce resistance on the part of America and an awful struggle, was also foreseen but dreaded and deprecated as the greatest calamity that could befall them. For my own part, there was not a moment during the Revolution when I would not have given everything I possessed for a restoration to the state of things before the contest began, provided we could have had a sufficient security for its continuance,” etc., etc.
Mr. Jefferson says in fewer words:
“I confirm, by my belief, Mr. Jay’s criticisms on the passages quoted from Botta. I can answer for its truth from this State southwardly, and northwardly I believe to New York, for which State Mr. Jay himself is a competent witness. What, eastward of that, might have been the dispositions towards England before the commencement of hostilities, I know not; before that I never had heard a whisper of a disposition to separate from Great Britain; and after that, its possibility was contemplated with affliction by all,” etc.
With many acknowledgments for the attentions with which you have deigned to honour my undertaking, and the encouraging tone with which you were pleased to cheer me on to its accomplishment, I pray you to be assured of the profound veneration and perfect esteem of, sir,
Your much obliged and most humble servant,
George Alexander Otis.