An Enduring Amity

Editor’s Note: Jennifer E. Steenshorne is our third and final contributor to “John Jay at SHEAR 2018.” Steenshorne is the Director & Editor in Chief of the George Washington Papers. Previous to this post, she served as Associate Editor of the John Jay Papers.  http://gwpapers.virginia.edu/about/editors/

The standard accounts of the Jay Treaty negotiations depict a sporadic series of private one-on-one meetings with British Foreign Secretary William Grenville, resulting in the signing of the treaty on 19 November 1794. However, Jay’s letters and dispatches, his son Peter Augustus’s diary and letters, invitations and calling cards, newspaper accounts, and his secretary John Trumbull’s memoirs reveal a more complicated series of events. Jay was reunited with the Shelburne circle, courted by both the radical opposition and the cabinet, and entertained by bankers, merchants, and aristocrats. While they tried to cultivate Jay to press their own interests, Jay strategically mined these contacts in American interests.

After a crossing of twenty-five days, Jay arrived at Falmouth on the evening of 8 June 1794. Accompanying Jay was his secretary, the painter John Trumbull; his 18-year-old son Peter Augustus Jay; and his enslaved manservant, Peter (or Peet) Williams.

Surviving calling cards, invitations to play cards, attend the theater, and dine, and lists of calls made and received, and the letters and diaries of those they encountered, show the mixture of business and pleasure in their socializing. John Julius Angerstein, Jeremy and Samuel Bentham, Sir Joseph Banks, Sir John Sinclair, Lord Amherst, the Penns, Sir Charles Blagden, Benjamin West, John Singleton Copely, Thomas Brand Hollis, Elizabeth Montagu, Baron Inchiquin, John and Lucy Paradise, and Sir Ralph Payne make frequent appearances. Cabinet ministers and the international diplomatic corps are represented. And of course, merchants and bankers with an interest in the outcome of the treaty and the American trade predominate. Merchants such as slave trader John Anderson, Patrick Colquhoun, Effingham Lawrence, James Bourdieu, and William Manning Jr. Bankers, such as David Barclay, Sir Francis Baring, Thomas Coutts, Sir William Curtis, and Sir Robert Herries.

One such encounter resulted in a lasting relationship: with William Wilberforce. Wilberforce (1759-1833), Member of Parliament and ally/friend of Pitt’s, had become increasingly critical of the British war with France (despite his relationship with Pitt), while his opposition to the slave trade and evangelicalism grew. In his diary of 7 July 1794, Wilberforce records dining at the Quaker merchant banker Samuel Hoares’s. Hoare shared Wilberforces’s anti-slavery and anti-war beliefs. The dinner was held specifically to introduce Jay and Wilberforce. Wilberforce found the Jay party to have “Simplicity of manners—” and to be “very pleasing well inform’d Men—” Peter’s diary records dining with Wilberforce several times and the two men continued to meet in other circumstances. On 22 December, Wilberforce records having breakfast with Jay “tête–à–tête” and “heard openly his opinion in Politics Friend to Peace– Many American War Anecdotes– He swore when grew more easy–” Wilberforce was clearly sounding Jay out on his feelings on the war and the U.S.’s commitment to neutrality. That night, Wilberforce would meet with Pitt for a long political discussion.[1]

The two would continue to meet for conversation and dinner for the rest of Jay’s stay. A comparison of Wilberforce’s and Peter Augustus Jay’s diaries indicates that the two men often met alone. On 9 February, they met at master of ceremonies Clement Cottrell Dormer’s country house party (although PAJ does not mention Wilberforce) and discussed France.[2] Their relationship was close enough that Wilberforce shared sensitive information with Jay. On 2 April, shortly before Jay’s departure on the 12th, Wilberforce recorded that “Jay call’d to take Leave returned my Letter, very considerately; shewed him Ld Fitz[maurice] Letter to Ld C— betraying Cab[ine]t. Secrets.”

After Jay’s return, and into the 19thcentury, Jay and Wilberforce continued their correspondence. Again, this was a mixture of the politics, reform, and personal news. They discussed abolition, exchanging pamphlets and urging cooperation on the eradication of the slave trade; the Law of Nations and the aftereffects of the Jay Treaty; religion and the peace movement; and politics and parliamentary reform. One letter in particular stands out for its intimacy, sent from the green suburb of Kensington on 18 July 1810. In it, Wilberforce expresses his satisfaction with his growing family and the happiness that marriage and fatherhood gave him:

I have a most affectionate Wife, who is always very unwilling to be at a distance from me, & Providence having bless’d us with 6 Children, the eldest of whom is not quite 12, the youngest under 2 years of age; my family are breathing pure air, & taking Exercise quietly & without restraint . . .

It seems clear that Jay was not just a political ally, but a model for living a good life.[3]

[1] References to Jay appear on the following dates in Wilberforce’s diary (UkOxU: Wilberforce Family Papers): 7 July, 4 September, 16 and 22 December 1794; 2 and 13 January, 9 February, and 2 April 1795. They would have also encountered each other at the weekly court levees. See also PAJ Diary A and B (D, NNC), 7 July and 4 September 1794 and 13 January 1795.

[2] See PAJ Diary B (D, NNC), 9 February 1795.

[3] For their later correspondence, see JJ to WW, 3 Sept. 1799, Dft, NNC (EJ: 09279); WW to JJ, 7 Nov. 1805,  ALS, NNC (EJ: 09283); JJ to WW, 14 Apr. 1806, Dft, NNC (EJ: 09284); WW to JJ, 1 Aug. 1809, ALS, NNC (EJ: 09282); JJ to WW, 8 Nov. 1809, Dft, NNC (EJ: 09281); WW to JJ, 18 July 1810, AL, NNC (EJ: 09280); WW to JJ, 18 July 1810, ALS, NNC (EJ: 09277); and JJ to WW, 25 Oct. 1810, Dft, NNC (EJ: 09278).

Profit is every hour becoming capital

Editor’s Note: Samuel Negus is our second contributor for “John Jay at SHEAR 2018”. Negus is an Upper School History Teacher at the Atlanta Classical Academy https://atlantaclassical.org/team-bios/dr-negus/

During the autumn of 1794 John Jay and the British foreign secretary William Grenville negotiated a treaty of amity and commerce in London. Jay’s mission followed two years of transatlantic controversy complicated by attendant domestic political tumult. The Royal Navy’s seizure and forcible purchase of American-owned grain cargos bound for France incited controversy in mid-1793. Worse followed in November of that year, when commanders of a British expedition against the French Leeward Isles seized more than three-hundred U.S.-flagged merchant ships and condemned them as de facto enemy property.

Jay met with sympathy from Grenville, who shared his desire to both expand Anglo-American trade and reduce the rate of British naval depredations against neutral shipping. Partisan critics at home later attacked Jay’s treaty for agreeing to limits on the British seizure of neutral ships and cargo as contraband of war. Any such concession, though limited in duration by the treaty’s ten-year lifespan, fell short of the liberal ideal that ‘neutral ships make neutral goods’—i.e. that belligerents have no right to disrupt neutral commerce. Such criticism notwithstanding, the treaty dramatically reduced the rate at which British ships captured, and prize courts condemned, American goods. Lord Grenville explicitly wished for as much. He wrote to Jay shortly after the latter’s departure from London in 1795, mentioning Parliamentary legislation to reduce the number of vice-admiralty courts in the West Indies. Grenville hoped that “the regulation will not stop there, but that the effect of it,” under the terms of the treaty they had lately drafted, “may render the practice of those [courts] which remain more correct and cautious than I fear it has hitherto been.”[1]

Jay viewed the treaty’s commercial terms with similar optimism. Access granted for U.S.-flagged ships to British colonial ports in Asia and the West Indies fell short of the full equality to British ships that Americans desired. But, as Jay reflected to Senator Oliver Ellsworth of Connecticut, “further concessions on the part of Great Britain cannot… be attained.” Grenville felt certain “that some of the [commercial] articles will be received as unequivocal proofs of goodwill.”[2] Jay professed confidence that valuable if limited concessions constituted a vital “break [in the] ice,” and that “to enlarge the aperture [in future] would be more easy… if we should be reasonably temperate and prudent.” Jay pointed to the treaty’s express stipulation “that the arrangement to succeed it shall have in view the further extension of commerce.”[3]

The frenzied political battle over ratification of and funding for the controversial treaty dragged on into the spring of 1796. In its defense, the prodigious Alexander Hamilton collaborated with New Yorker Senator Rufus King to produce thirty-four essays under the pseudonym ‘Camillus’. These influential tracts focused primarily upon the promise of shared prosperity deriving from the capital gained in expanded trade with Britain’s empire. The treaty’s commercial terms promised, Hamilton urged, “the advantages of an interchange of commodities for the supply of mutual wants and… reciprocal creation of industry.”[4]The treasury secretary’s Federalist Party allies employed like terms during congressional debate on the treaty. In urging the House of Representatives to fund its execution, Fisher Ames of Massachusetts asked whether any true America could wish to interrupt the transatlantic trade “by which our citizens are gaining everything.” Ames exulted that America’s “field for exertion is fruitful and vast,” and, if preserved, “peace and good government” could not but enable “the acquisitions of our citizens” to operate “as instruments of their future success.… Profit is every hour becoming capital. The vast crop of our neutrality is all seed and wheat, and is sown again to swell almost beyond calculation.”[5]

Louis Hacker emphasized the intimate connection in the Federalist political economy between “domestic and foreign policy—funding, a revenue, and a national bank in one part, and neutrality as war raged in the other—[these] underwrote and ensured survival and the beginnings of economic growth and prosperity.” Foreign specie gained through commerce during the Jay Treaty’s lifespan increased circulation of coin from $9 million to $20 million. As a result, “American capital eagerly embarked on promotions… by 1800 there were 34 banks, of which 27 were established after 1789.” For a retrospective on the fruits of the Federalists’ symbiotic trade and financial policies Hacker quotes the Earl of Liverpool’s 1820 statement to Parliament that since independence the United States had grown “in wealth, commerce, [industry], population, and strength, more rapidly than any nation in the history of the world.”[6]

Liverpool was correct in his appraisal. And though much derided by some at the time, John Jay’s Anglo-American treaty of 1795 proved a great catalyst of this economic fecundity.

[1] Lord William Grenville to John Jay, 11 May 1795. Henry Phelps Johnston, Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, 1763-1826 (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1890-93), 4:173-76 [hereafter cited CPJJ]; John Raithby, Statutes Relating to the Admiralty, Navy, Shipping, and Navigation of the United Kingdom (London: Eyre and Strathan, 1823), 645-48.

[2] John Jay, draft treaty of amity and commerce, 6 August 1794.CPJJ, 4: 69-70; Jay to Oliver Ellsworth, 19 November 1794. CPJJ, 4: 132-33.

[3] James Monroe to Jay and reply, 17 January and 5 February 1795. CPJJ, 4:154-7. For Jay’s comments on the Whiskey Rebellion see Jay to Washington, 25 February 1795.CPJJ, 4: 160-62; Jay to Washington, 6 March 1795.CPJJ, 4:162-70.

[4] ‘The Defence’ no. 10. Harold Coffin Syrett and Jacob Ernest Cooke, eds. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton (New York: Columbia University Press, 1961-87), 19:172-86.

[5] Winfred Bernhard, Fisher Ames: Federalist and Statesman, 1758-1808 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1965), 257-75; Joseph Gales, ed., The Annals of the Congress of the United States (Washington: Gales and Seaton, 1834), 5: 1239-64.

[6] Louis M. Hacker, The Course of American Economic Growth and Development(New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1970), 55-69.

John Jay and Grand Strategy

Editor’s Note: Jonathan Den Hartog kicks off our Posts for “John Jay at SHEAR 2018.” Den Hartog is an Associate Professor of History at the University of Northwestern-St. Paul and serves as Chair of the History Department. https://unwsp.edu/bio/jonathan-den-hartog  His published scholarship includes Patriotism & Piety: Federalist Politics and Religious Struggle in the New American Nation (2015). goo.gl/t5WeLb

It was great to participate in the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic (SHEAR) panel on “John Jay and the Construction of American Foreign Policy in the Early Republic” this summer.

For my part of the panel, I presented a paper on “John Jay’s Grand Strategy for American Diplomacy.”

I began my paper highlighting the many ways Jay shaped foreign policy in the Early Republic: as minister to Spain during the War for Independence, as co-negotiator of the Treaty of Paris that ended the war, as Secretary of Foreign Affairs under the Articles of Confederation, as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, as a participant in the conflicts around the French Citizen Genet, and as “Envoy Extraordinary” to England to negotiate the Jay Treaty. I highlighted all these moments to ask, “Did anything tie these events together? What did Jay bring to his diplomacy that linked his various endeavors?”

To think about these activities, I introduced the concept of “grand strategy,” which has become a significant topic of discussion in the field of International Relations. I highlighted also how the term has been used in other settings for the Early Republic. For instance, Charles Edel in his book Nation Builder http://a.co/fLL7lFo argued that John Quincy Adams followed a grand strategy for the early republic. In a similar way, I wanted to suggest that Jay had a consistent vision for how to pursue foreign policy in the new nation.

If so, it would be important to define a “grand strategy.” Here, one pithy definition comes from the eminent Yale historian John Lewis Gaddis http://a.co/6W8KBBp, who defines it as “the alignment of potentially unlimited aspirations with necessarily limited capabilities.” I also found a helpful discussion of the concept from Hal Brands of Duke University. Brands defines http://a.co/b6wR0hE it as “the intellectual architecture that gives form and structure to foreign policy.” I highlight that because I do believe we can trace an “intellectual architecture” in the directions Jay pushed his foreign policy.

In detailing the various components of Jay’s foreign policy thinking, I was particularly struck by the distance between some of his use of language and how we receive that language today. That is, Jay’s ideas truly need historical interpretation.

The most obvious one to me was Jay’s use of the concept of national “greatness.” In the midst of the struggle for independence, for instance, Jay told George Washington of his confidence that, “Things will come Right, and these States will be great and flourishing.” <Jay to Washington, 21 April 1779> https://dlc.library.columbia.edu/jay/ldpd:54470. Such words could be easily misconstrued in our day, when politicians argue over how great the country is or whether we should “make America great again.” Such stylings are far from what Jay intended.

Rather, Jay provided several explanations of his meaning. One of the best came in a letter to Charles Thomson, the Secretary of Congress, where he declared, “it is Time for us to think and act like a sovereign as well as a free People & by temperate and steady self-Respect, to command that of other nations.” <Jay to Charles Thomson, April 7, 1784> https://dlc.library.columbia.edu/jay/ldpd:49578 Here, Jay is asserting that national greatness was about internal flourishing, the practice of self-government, and earning the respect of other nations.

For Jay, this respect was gained in several ways. It came through making and keeping treaties that were made betweenequals—and Jay worried about this in the 1780s. It was also gained through paying back contracted debts—also a concern in the period. Finally, as Jay stated in the Federalist Papers, it came through being able to defend one’s territory—not to menace other countries.

Another divide came in Jay’s realism. Jay always aimed to be a political realist, but he was no practitioner of realpolitik, nor did he, like twentieth-century Realists, aim to define all things by national power.

Instead, Jay cautioned careful attention to situations—to examine them as they were, not as policy-makers hoped they would be. This also pushed Jay to contextual analysis—he wanted to acknowledge changing conditions and respond accordingly. Thus, both in his negotiations with Spain in the 1780s and in his dealings with England in the 1790s, Jay sought for deals that recognized power imbalances at a given moment but that would also strengthen the United States for renegotiation down the road.

Jay’s foreign policy strategy was not always popular—it had many detractors in its own day. Yet, he still made important contributions for propelling the country toward greater stability and presence in the international arena.

John Jay at SHEAR 2018

One of America’s key diplomats, John Jay, was featured in a panel session at this year’s meeting of the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic (SHEAR), held this past July in Cleveland, Ohio. The panel was entitled “John Jay and the Construction of American Foreign Policy in the Early Republic,” and it brought together several scholars to consider Jay’s significance—Todd Estes, Jonathan Den Hartog, Benjamin Lyons, Jennifer Steenshorne, and Samuel Negus.

We are excited to share this week the research of three of the panelists:  Jonathan Den Hartog (University of Northwestern-St. Paul) https://unwsp.edu/bio/jonathan-den-hartog, Jennifer Steenshorne (Papers of George Washington) http://gwpapers.Virginia.edu/about/editors/, and Samuel Negus (Atlanta Classical Academy) https://atlantaclassical.org/team-bios/dr-negus/.

The Panelists introduced their efforts with this statement:

In his career, John Jay would become one of the new nation’s premier diplomats, serving as minister to Spain (1780-1782), co-negotiator of the Treaty of Paris (1783), Secretary of Foreign Affairs under the Articles of Confederation (1784-1789), and “Envoy Extraordinary” to England while negotiating the Jay Treaty (1794). Even his term as Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court (1789-1795) was focused on cases related to foreign affairs. Despite this significant involvement in creating an American foreign policy, Jay has received much less scholarly attention than other American founders. This panel seeks to change that through contextualizing both Jay’s efforts and his effects in the realm of American foreign policy. To do this, the papers of the panel address Jay’s interpretation and application of the Law of Nations, Jay’s Grand Strategy in regard to foreign affairs, the networks of connections Jay worked through while negotiating the Jay Treaty, and the contribution of the Jay Treaty to Federalist visions of international trade.

This panel’s discussion contributes to three important reassessments in the field of the early republic. First, it builds on the growing scholarly interest in Jay himself—a product of the fine editorial work being produced by the John Jay Papers Project at Columbia University. Second, it adds to the on-going reconsideration of the Federalist Party, as historians come to understand the significance of the Federalists for foreign policy setting, national state-building, economic innovation, cultural elaboration, and institutional development. Third, it furthers discussion of the new approaches to American foreign policy that have percolated in the last decade. Such a discussion is timely: America’s shifting place in global affairs in the contemporary world has challenged historians to rethink how America has operated in multiple ways in the past, and this reconsideration should point to a revision of our understanding of how the new nation initially established itself on the world stage. In this endeavor, John Jay was indispensable.

We hope you enjoy the findings of the panelists, as they seek to understand Jay’s actions in their contexts of the 18th century!

Don Quixote and Sally Jay

Sara Georgini, of the Adams Papers, has written a fascinating post “Men of La Mancha” on the popularity of Cervantes’s novel in early America, for the group blog the Junto. Sara writes that “No other foreign novel seemed to claim the American mind with such fervor until the Civil War”.

The Jays were no different than Adamses, Franklin, and Washington in their love for Don Quixote. While journeying to Madrid in 1780, where John Jay would assume his position as Minister Plenipotentiary to Spain, Sarah Jay wrote her sister Susan:

“When we came to La Mancha we naturally recollected the exploits that had been there atchieved by the renowned knight of the rueful countenance and looked but in vain for those large trees that some time afforded a safe retreat for the affrighted squire.” (28 August 1780).

A “pretty good House”: John Jay and the Phelps Taverns of Connecticut

We tend to imagine taverns as spaces of drinking, merrymaking, and leisure. Yet in the eighteenth century, taverns also served as essential places of rest for weary travelers, including those like Jay, who traveled far and wide on the business of the new nation. Although justices of the Supreme Court today hear their cases in Washington, D.C., the first justices, including Jay, had to do what was called circuit riding. For Jay, who was in charge of the Eastern Circuit, this entailed sometimes exhausting stints of travel across New England and New York to preside over court sessions.

The fact that Jay had to ride circuit puts Jay’s frequent—and sometimes critical—comments about public houses in his circuit court diary into new perspective. Jay spent many nights in taverns and inns, and the conditions he found could determine whether he would get a good night’s rest or something less desirable. In particular, Jay patronized various establishments owned by the Phelps family in Connecticut, including those located in the Green Woods. As we’ll see, looking into the history of these establishments sheds light on what Jay was looking for in lodgings, as well as the history and significance of taverns and inns in the early United States.

The earliest Phelps who settled in New England arrived in 1630 and hailed from Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire, England.1 Shortly thereafter, the family migrated to Windsor, Connecticut, where they prospered and became prominent in politics. One William Phelps (1599-1672), for example, served as an assistant magistrate for the colony.2 By the time of the American Revolution, the Phelps could be found throughout Connecticut, residing mostly in Hartford and Litchfield Counties.

Tavern-keeping proved a popular occupation for family members. By 1800, there were at least four Phelps taverns situated in northwestern Connecticut and located within twenty-five miles of one another. It is therefore probable that the Phelps proprietors would advise Jay and other patrons to stay with their relatives in the region.

Moses Park, The Plan of the Colony of Connecticut (1766)

Moses Park, Plan of the Colony of Connecticut (1766)

Darius Phelps (1752-1818) kept a public house in Norfolk, which served as the meeting place for the local chapter of Freemasons.3 In nearby Colebrook, Arah Phelps (1761-1844) ran an inn built in 1787 that later became known as the Red Lion.4 Upon obtaining a license in 1786, Noah Phelps (1740-1809) of Simsbury in Hartford County opened a tavern in the home formerly occupied by his brother Elisha Phelps (1737-1776).A fourth Phelps tavern was located in Litchfield. Built by David Buell in 1787, the impressive three-and-a-half story structure was acquired by John Phelps (1756-1833) nearly a decade later.6

Litchfield Tavern

Phelps Tavern (torn down in 1939), Litchfield, Connecticut, Library of Congress

Timothy Dwight, the president of Yale College, noted the potential dangers of staying at a public house, describing it as “a place where travelers must trust themselves, their horses, baggage and money.”7 At the same time, the public house played an important role in the local community. In addition to selling alcohol to residents, this establishment also provided them with a space for civic, commercial, and cultural activities. The person running a tavern or inn had a social responsibility and had to be concerned with more than just making a profit. Dwight observed that in Connecticut, those who operated a tavern “must be recommended by the selectmen and civil authority, constables and grand jurors of the town, in which he resides; and then licensed at the discretion of the court of common pleas. . .In consequence of this system, men of no small personal respectability have ever kept inns in this country.”In the eyes of the law and local citizenry, tavern keeping was not an occupation to be taken lightly.

Jay certainly did not take his visits to taverns lightly. Jay would seek out establishments that were clean, orderly, and inexpensive. The travel diary shows that the Phelps taverns and inns generally met with Jay’s approval. For instance, on 15 October 1790, he dined with Noah Phelps in Simsbury and rated the establishment as a “pretty good house.”9 Two days earlier, Jay had eaten supper in Colebrook, which he identified as the “Gr[een] Woods,” at the inn owned by Arah Phelps. Apparently pleased with his meal, Jay recorded that the house was “tolerably clean.”10 He returned to this same place several months later in June 1791. Unfortunately, this visit proved less satisfactory than the previous one. Jay recorded in the diary that his dining experience was “not very good.” After his evening meal in Colebrook, Jay rode some six miles to Norfolk and lodged at the inn of Darius Phelps. He rated his overnight stay at the Norfolk house as “pretty good.”11

Although no longer operating today, the Phelps inns and taverns have not disappeared from the landscape. The house run by Arah Phelps still stands in the Colebrook North Historic District near the intersection of Route 183 and Prock Hill Road.

Colebrook Tavern   Phelps Inn, Colebrook, Connecticut, Connecticut State Library

 The tavern of Noah Phelps, managed by three generations of his family for nearly sixty years, currently operates as a museum overseen by the Simsbury Historical Society.

 Simsbury TavernPhelps Tavern, Simsbury, Connecticut, Wikipedia Commons

It is fortunate that a few signs advertising the services of the Phelps inns and taverns have also survived. The Simsbury Historical Society, for instance, has one that displays an American eagle and bears the name of proprietor Jeffrey Orson Phelps (1791-1879), the grandson of Noah Phelps.

Simsbury Phelps Sign

William Rice, Phelps Tavern Sign, Simsbury Historical Society, author’s collection

The above piece was painted by William Rice (1777-1847) of Hartford, a prolific artist of Connecticut tavern and inns signs. Rice was celebrated for his “large signs, bold imagery, vivid colors, and a dazzling repertoire of special effects.”12 He completed dozens of these two-sided compositions in the early 1800s, including twenty signs still in existence. His surviving work includes the Arah Phelps Inn of Colebrook, shown below,  which boasts an eye-catching design with a red lion on one side and an eagle on the other.

Red Lion Sign  William Rice, Phelps Inn Sign, Connecticut Historical Society

Colebrook Eagle SignWilliam Rice, Phelps Inn Sign, Connecticut Historical Society

The Arah Phelps piece, along with sixty-five other tavern signs, are housed at the Connecticut Historical Society in Hartford.

John Jay would not have seen these two particular signs since they were created decades after he visited the Phelps houses in Simsbury and Colebrook. Nonetheless, their design and imagery illustrates their potential for attracting travelers in search of shelter, food and drink. In his diary, Jay described two such signs that caught his eye while he was passing through an area near Enfield, Connecticut, in the autumn of 1791. He noted the presence of an inn painted brown that “looks well” and bore the sign of “7 Stars.” He observed another house owned by “Reynolds” that was “painted of a light Stone Color” and had a sign of “crossd. Keys.”13 If Jay ever planned a return visit to the environs of Enfield and was in need of lodging and dining, he could consult the above diary entry and view the available options. For Jay, it was important to do what he could to ensure his comfort on long and frequent journeys.

  1. Oliver Seymour Phelps and Andrew T. Servin, The Phelps Family of America, and their English Ancestors, with Copies of Wills, Deeds, Letters, and other Interesting Papers, Coats of Arms and Valuable Records vol. 1 (Pittsfield, Mass., 1899), 72.
  2. Ibid., 77.
  3. Theron Wilmot Crissey, History of Norfolk, Litchfield County, Connecticut (Everett, Mass. 1900), 521.
  4. Phelps and Servin, Phelps Family, 288.
  5. http://www.simsburyhistory.org/buildings/tavern.html
  6. Federal Writer’s Project for the State of Connecticut, Connecticut: A Guide to its Roads, Lore, and People, Written by Workers of the Federal Writers’ Project of the Works Progress Administration for the State of Connecticut (Boston, 1938), 197.
  7. Timothy Dwight, Travels in New-England and New-York vol. 1 (London, 1822), 389.
  8. Ibid.
  9. John Jay Circuit Court Diary, 15 October 1790, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University. https://dlc.library.columbia.edu/jay/ldpd:47754
  10. Ibid., 13 October 1790.
  11. Ibid., 28 June 1791.
  12. Susan P. Schoelwer, “William Rice: At the Sign of the Red Lion,” Folk Art 26 (Spring 2001): 40. For a more information about Connecticut tavern signs, see Susan P. Schoelwer, ed., Lions & Eagles & Bulls: Early American Tavern and Inn Signs from the Connecticut Historical Society (Hartford, 2000).
  13. John Jay Circuit Court Diary, 15 November 1791.

Federalist 5 published on this day in 1787

On this date in 1787, Federalist 5 was published in New York Independent Journal. Written by John Jay under the name “Publius,” this essay continues the theme of Jay’s previous three essays (Federalist 2, 3, and 4): the threat of foreign influence and the need for unity. Jay, sick with rheumatism and burdened with his duties as minister for foreign affairs, did not write another essay until March of 1788 (Federalist 64). He was prevented from writing further essays by a head injury sustained during the Doctor’s Riot of April 1788.

Host Computer: Dell Precision 670,OS: Windows,OS Version: XP Professional SP3,Image Producer: Columbia University,Scanner: Epson 10000XL,Scanner Software: Silverfast Ai,Scanner Software Version: 6.4.3r6a,Target Type: ColorChecker

Draft of Federalist 5, John Jay Papers, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University

Only Jay’s drafts survive. Federalist 5 is part of the Jay Papers at Columbia University’s Rare Book and Manuscript Library. It was purchased in 1957 with funds from the Frederic Bancroft Fund and various donors. Federalist 2 is held by the Brooklyn Historical Society. This draft had been thought missing since the Civil War, but was located by the Jay Papers staff in 2015. Federalist 3 is held by the Newberry Library in the Ruggles Collection. Federalist 4 is in the collection of an unknown private collector. It was previously part of the Elsie O. and Philip Sang Collection and sold at auction by Sotheby Parke Bernet, Apr. 1978.  Federalist 64 is held by the New-York Historical Society.

Below is a transcription of Jay’s draft text. It is full of excisions, revisions, and insertions, reflecting Jay’s quest for the most precise language. For a full textual analysis of The Federalist 5, see Richard Bucci, “John Jay and ‘The Fœderalist, No. V’: A Bibliographical Discussion”, in The Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 105, no. 3 (September 2011): 377-406.

For more on John Jay, listen to Associate Editor Robb K. Haberman’s conversation with Liz Covart at Ben Franklin’s World.

John Jay: Draft of The Federalist 5 [New York, before 10 Nov. 1787]

Queen Ann in her Letter of the 1 July 1706 to the scotch Parliament makes several ^some^ observations on the Importance of the union then forming between England and Scotland which merit our attention. I shall therefore present the public with some ^one or two^ Extracts from it in her own words. She remarks ^observes^ there that “an entire and perfect union will be the solid foundation of lasting Peace: It will secure your Religion Liberty and Property, remove the animosities among^st^ yourselves, and the Jealousies & Differences betwixt our two kingdoms. It must increase your Strength Riches & Trade: and by this union the whole Island, being joined in affection, & free from all apprehension of different Interests, will be enabled to resist all its Enemies.[“]

“We most earnestly recommend to You Calmness and unanimity, in this great and weighty affair, that the union may be brought to a happy Conclusion, being the only effectual way to secure our present and future Happiness; and to disappoint the Designs of our and your Enemies, who will doubtless, on this occasion, use their utmost Endeavours to prevent or Delay this union, which must so much contribute to our Glory and the Happiness of our People.–[“]

It was remarked in the preceding Paper that weakness ^& Divisions^ at Home would invite Dangers from abroad; and that nothing would tend more to secure us against from foreign Insults and war than union ^them than union^ Strength and good Government within ourselves– This subject is copious & cannot easily be exhausted.

The history of Great Britain is the one with which we are in general the best acquainted, and it gives us many useful Lessons. Let us ^we may^ proffit by their Experience, without paying the price which it cost them.

However ^altho it was seems^ obvious it was to common Sense and common prudence that the People of such an Island should be but one Nation, yet we find that they were for ages divided into three, and that those three, instead of living together as good Neighbours, were almost constantly ^embroyed in^ quarrelling^s^ and fighting ^wars with one another^. notwithstanding their ^true^ Interests with respect to the continental Nations was the ^really the^ same, yet the ^by the^ arts and Policy ^and Practices^ of those nations was such as to ^cherish &^ increase their ^mutual^ Jealousies subsisting between the three ^were perpetually ^^kept^^ enflamed^, and for a long Series of Years to render ^them^ ^they were far more^ inconvenient & troublesome rather than ^than they were^ useful and assisting to each other.

If the ^should the^ People of america should divide themselves into three ^or four^ nations, would not the same thing happen? would not similar Jealousies arise, and be in like manner cherished? Instead of ^their^ being “joined in affection and free from all apprehension of different Interests” Envy and Jealousy would soon extinguish a confidence and affection and the partial Interests of each confederacy instead of the general Interests of ^all^ america would be the only objects of their Policy & Pursuits Hence like all ^most^ other bordering Nations they would always be either engaged with each other in ^envolved in constant Disputes &^ war, and live continue in ^or live in^ the constant apprehension of them

The most sanguine advocates for such a division cannot reasonably suppose that the three or four proposed confederacies ^cannot reasonably Suppose that they^ would long remain exactly on an equal Footing in Point of Strength, nor indeed would it be easy to divide america in to four Parts ^as that^, each of which ^them^ should in stren ^at first^ be equal in Strength ^even if it was possiblye to form them so at first^ But admitg. the ^that to be^ Practicab^le^ility of this, yet no ^what^ human contrivance can secure the Continuance of that ^such^ Equality?– for independent of those local circumstances which naturally tend to beget and encrease Power in one Part, and to impede its Progress ^of^ in another, we must advert to the Effects of that superior Policy and good Management with which the affairs of one may be administered ^wd. probably distinguish the Govermt of one above the others^, and by which that their relative Equality in in Strength & Consideration will wd be destroyed– For it cannot be presumed that the same Degree of sound Policy Prudence and Foresight will ^wd uniformly^ be observed by th each of these Confederacies for a long Succession of Years–

Whenever and from whatever Causes it might happen, and happen it would, that ^any^ one of these Nations ^or Confederacies^ should rize ^on the Scale of political Importance^ much above the Level ^Degree^ of their Neighbours in political Consideration, that moment would those ^they^ ^those^ Neighbours behold her ^Pre^ with Envy & with Fear– both those Passions would lead them in measures to ^to countenance if not to promote whatever might promise to^ diminish her Importance, and ^wd. also^ restrain them from measures calculated to advance ^or even to secure^ her Prosperity.– much Time would not be necessary to enable her to perceive that she was envied and fear feared ^suspected^, and as Distrust begets Distrust, and Fear and Envy are ever followed by neglect & Contempt ^discern these unfriendly Dispositions^; she will imp immediately ^wd soon^ begin not only to lose Confidence in her Neighbours but to feel a Disposition ^equally unfavorable to them^ to take advantages which occasions ^any opportunities^ may put in her power– for they who find themselves unjustly suspected of unkind Intentions, are by that very Circumstance naturally led to be entertain them; by for ^Distrust naturally creates Distrust and^ ^by^ nothing is good will & Fair ^kind^ Conduct more speedily changed, than by invidious Jealousies & uncandid Im tho implied Imputations whether expressed or implied

The North is generally the Region of Strength and many [illegible] local circumstances tend to render render it probable that the most northern of the th proposed Confederacies would at a Period not far ^very^ distant, be unquestionably more formidable than any of the others. As soon as ^No sooner wd.^ this should become evident, ^than^ the northern Hive would excite the same Ideas in ^&^ Sensation in the more Southern Parts of America, that ^wh.^ it formerly did in the Southern Parts of Europe. Nor does it appear to be a rash conjecture that its young swarms may ^might often^ be tempted to gather Honey in the ^more^ blooming Fields and the more inviting ^milder air of^ their less hardy & less enterprizing Neighbours ^more luxurious & delicate Neighbours^

If this Reasoning be fair, then it follows undeniably follows that these three or four Confederacies ^They who well consider the History of similar divisions & confederacies, will find abundant Reason to apprehend that those men in contemplation^ would in no other Sense be Neighbours further than as they would be Borderers– for never in the Language of Queen Ann, would be ^they^ be joined in affection or free from all apprehension of different Interest–what then whi would such Confederacies and Divisions give us but ^that they wd nether love nor trust one another, and but on the contrary would forever be a prey to^ Discord, mutual Jealousy, and mutual Injuries?– if so, should we not then be ^[in] short they wd place us^ exactly in the Situation which our Enemies if we have any would ^some other Nations doubtless wish^ wish ^to see^ us vizt. formidable only to one ^each^ another– whether such a ^any^ Situation could be imagined ^Let candid men judge whether any Situation wd be^ more likely to expose one confœderacy urged by apprehensions of Dangers would put have a ^provide^ little military Establishment– the others to be equally well prepared would do the like– by Degrees they would increase ^be augmented^– and standing armies wd. ^after a while^ be^come^ as common here as they are in Germany and from for the same Reasons and Purposes– Like them too they would often^er^ be turned against each other than against a foreign Enemy; for there are very few Ins when did a foreign Army eve carry fire & sword into Germany would ^without^ being guided and assisted by the Counsels and arms of one or more of its States.

Are not the People of America there^fore^ wise in thinking that their Safety depends on their union?

^From^ These considerations teach h us ^m^ lead me to think ^it appears^ that those Gentlemen are greatly mistaken who expect suppose that these Confederacies might to easily be or ^alliances offensive and defensive between might be formed between^ these Confederacies & would produce that combination and union of Wills of arms & of Resources wh. would be necessary to put & keep them in a formidable State of Defence agt. foreign Enemies–

When did the independent States into which Britain & Spain were formerly divided combine in such alliances or unite their Forces agt. a foreign Enemy? The proposed confederacies will be distinct nations– Each of them will have its commerce to regulate with Foreigners by distinct Treaties, and as their Productions and commodities and ^are^ different and proper for different markets so with ^wd^ these Treaties be essentially different– different commercial Concerns will ^must^ create different Interests and ^of course^ different modes and Degrees of att political attachmt. to and connection with different foreign Nations hence Hence it would ^might often & probably wd^ happen that the foreign Nation with whom the Southern Confederacy might be at war, would ^might^ be the one with whom the northern Confederacy might ^wd^ be ^the^ most desirous ^of^ wh preserving Peace & Friendship– In that Case an offens alliance so contrary to their immediate Interest wd. not therefore be easy to form, nor if formed wd. it be performed ^observed & fulfilled^ with perfect good Faith–

Nay it is far more probable that in America as in Europe neighbouring Nations ^acting under the Impulse of opposite Interest and unfriendly Passions^ would be ^frequently be^ found taking different Sides. Wicked Men of great Talents & ambition are the growth of every Soil, and seldom hesitate to precipitate their Country into ^any^ wars and Connections that wh. ha may promote their Desg Designs– Considering our Distance from Europe it will wd be more natural that ^for^ these confederacies should be more ^to^ apprehen^d^sive of Danger from one another than from distant Nations, and thereby^fore that each shd be more^ be disposed more to guard agt. the others by the aid of foreign alliances than to guard agt. foreign Dangers by alliances between themselves.

Let candid Men therefore determine whether the People of america are not right in their opinion that that the Preservation of ^their^ Peace and Safety agt. foreign Force does not consist in their being firmly united under one well ballanced fœderal Government

^[in margin] and here let us not forget that it must must ^^how much more^^ easy to to ^^it is to^^ receive foreign Fleets into our Ports & foreign armies into our Country than it is to persuade or compel them to depart– How many Conquests did the Romans make not in the Character of allies, and what Innovations did they under the same Character make ^^introduce^^ into the Governments of those whom they pretended to protect? Let candid Men judge then whichether the Division of America into a Nu any given Number of independent Sovereignties tends to secure the Pe us against the hostilities or im improper Interference of foreign Nations^

Defending “this damned treaty”: Jay, Washington, and the 1794 Anglo-American Treaty

The Selected Papers of John Jay is pleased to feature a guest blog post written by David Hoth, Senior Editor, The Papers of George Washington.

The treaty that John Jay negotiated with Great Britain in 1794 was among the most important events of George Washington’s second term as president—significant not only as a matter of foreign policy but also for its effect on domestic politics. This post, however, will focus on GW’s relationship with Jay in connection with the treaty.

Once GW began considering the appointment of a special envoy to adjust differences with Great Britain, Jay was on his list of possibilities. Few could match Jay’s varied diplomatic and governmental experience. Federalists, however, preferred Alexander Hamilton, and Jay was opposed by some Republicans as too pro-British. On 14 April 1794 Hamilton wrote a long letter to GW, arguing the necessity of an envoy, declining the post, and recommending Jay.[1] The next morning, GW wrote Jay, requesting a meeting to converse “on an interesting subject.”[2] Presumably the two men discussed what an envoy might do and Jay accepted the post. GW submitted his nomination to the Senate on 16 April. Jay thus embarked on his mission not only with “full knowledge of the existing temper and sensibility of our Country”,[3] but with knowledge of GW’s views as well.

Such clarity was important because any treaty would be very much the result of decisions made by Jay alone. Any negotiator sent to Europe had to be given discretion to respond to unexpected proposals or events—slow ship passages did not allow close monitoring from America—and Jay’s instructions were pretty open-ended. He was to address the “vexations and spoliations committed on our commerce” and seek compensation, and he was to try to obtain the British withdrawal from frontier posts promised in the 1783 peace treaty. He was given “discretion” to consider a commercial treaty, but he was to agree to nothing that would “derogate from” U.S. treaties with France.[4]

Nonetheless, the information about negotiations in Jay’s letter to the State Department of 13 September so horrified Secretary of State Edmund Randolph that he immediately (on 12 November) sent Jay “remarks” objecting to a number of points, and he followed with another short letter on 3 December and then a detailed and very negative analysis on 15 December. Presumably Washington shared many of Randolph’s reservations. His 18 December response to Jay’s September letter, merely referred Jay to Randolph’s correspondence. Jay, however, had signed the treaty on 19 November.

While at London, Jay was careful to maintain his connection to GW, writing him nine letters from 23 July through 19 November, mostly conveying optimism about the negotiations. On the dates of Jay’s most significant reports to Randolph, he also wrote GW, giving information and referring him to the State Department letter. After receiving Randolph’s critiques, he wrote GW on 25 February, noting that treaty ratification would be decided before any reply could arrive, but assuring GW that only considerations of “public Good, under the Directions of my Instructions” had influenced his judgment and reminding him that no “attainable” treaty could have given “universal Satisfaction” and that “Demagogues” were likely “to employ improper arts against those who will not be their Instruments”.[5]

In fact (Jay having entrusted the treaty to ships whose arrival was inordinately delayed) that letter likely arrived (as did Jay himself) before GW’s ratification decision. News of the treaty reached New York by the end of January 1795, but the official copy did not arrive until after Congress had adjourned in early March, necessitating a special Senate session. Then the Senate ratification in June was conditional, requiring renegotiation of article 12, about trade with the West Indies. All the while, a vigorous newspaper debate raged, based on British reports of the treaty’s provisions (and later Senate leaks). When the hitherto-secret treaty was published by an opposition Senator in early July, citizen meetings were promptly organized to urge GW not to ratify. GW, who still had reservations about the treaty[6] and about his authority in light of the conditional ratification, turned to Hamilton for a “dispassionate” analysis of the treaty’s strengths and weaknesses.[7]

GW’s choice of an advisor suggests that he was already inclined toward ratification, for he must have known Hamilton’s leanings. Hamilton’s replies have not been found, but a surviving draft indicates that he assured GW it was in “the true interest of the U States” to ratify the treaty.[8] Not long after, GW announced that he would ratify.

And a storm broke. The anonymous newspaper writers who had criticized the treaty now opened up on GW as a president “whose austere inflexibility of character” had led to ratification “in defiance of the loud thunders of popular indignation.” Some writers now attacked the entirety of GW’s presidency as productive of numerous “public evils”.[9]

Such criticism was painful to GW, but it seems to have strengthened his belief in the treaty’s benefits and the opponents’ demagoguery. Certainly, neither the critics nor his own concerns about the treaty’s provisions reduced his trust in Jay’s judgement. He soon thought Jay’s views on the appointment of commissioners under the treaty and on rumors of possible French actions in response to the treaty, because, as he wrote Hamilton, “I have great confidence in the abilities, and purity of Mr Jays views, as well as in his experience.”[10]

Where not otherwise specified, citations are to The Papers of George Washington, Presidential Series.

[1] (Hamilton to GW, 14 April, 15:581-94).

[2] (GW to JJ, 15 April, 15:596).

[3] (GW to the Senate, 16 April, 15:608-9).

[4] (American State Papers, Foreign Relations, 1:472-74).

[5] (JJ to GW, 25 February, 17:577-80).

[6] (GW to Hamilton, 13 July, 18:337-41).

[7] (GW to Hamilton, 3 July, 18: 282-83).

[8] (Papers of Alexander Hamilton, 18:404-54).

[9] “Valerius” to GW, 22 Aug.; “Belisarius” to GW, 11 Sept., 18:580-81, 660-61).

[10] (GW to Hamilton, 26 June 1796, DLC: Hamilton Papers).

Politics By Other Means

Twice a year, Chief Justice John Jay embarked on a grueling journey that lasted on average seventy-two days and covered approximately eight hundred and fifty miles on horseback. During these marathon rides, Jay kept to a set timetable that had him preside over the opening and subsequent sitting of each of the six district courts (New York, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Vermont) that comprised the Eastern Circuit.[1]

Whereas Circuit Court duties usually left Jay with little time for either recreation or relaxation, periodic breaks occurred within his traveling schedule that allowed him to adopt a more leisurely pace. These breaks presented opportunities to schmooze with old friends, make new acquaintances, and take in the scenic vistas, civic structures, and other sites on display that dotted the urban centers, townships, and countryside of New England.

Jay enjoyed the benefit of downtime while in Boston for the spring 1790 term of the Massachusetts District Court, which met in early May. With few cases on the trial docket, Jay and his fellow judges—John Lowell and William Cushing—spent the afternoon of May 4 outside the courtroom. On this day, the trio crossed the Charles River Bridge into Cambridge for a visit to Harvard College. Jay relished the trip, noting in his diary that they received “much attention from [Harvard’s] Presidt.  [Joseph] Willard.”[2]  A letter to his wife Sally provides further description: “I had two days ago a pleasant ride to Cambridge over the new bridge, of which you have often heard; we extended our excursion to some pretty seats not far distant from the College, and among others Mr. [Elbridge] Gerry’s.”[3]

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View of the Bridge over Charles River, Massachusetts Magazine (September 1789)

Jay had more opportunities to sightsee and socialize once the spring term in Boston came to a close on May 5. The adjournment left him two weeks before he was due to arrive in Portsmouth for the opening of the District Court of New Hampshire. Jay welcomed the lull in his travel itinerary. “The business of the court having been finished yesterday,” he confided to Sally, “I shall have an opportunity of seeing whatever is worthy of notice in and about the place.”[4]  Jay was true to his word; he explored Dorchester Heights and Castle William during the day and dined with the former governor James Bowdoin in the evening.[5]  On his tour of the historic grounds, Jay was joined by an escort of state officials consisting of Benjamin Lincoln, who had commanded the Massachusetts Militia in 1775-76 and now served as Collector for the port of Boston, Christopher Gore who was appointed State Attorney for the District of Massachusetts, Jonathan Jackson, the District Marshal, and Samuel Bradford, the Deputy Marshal.[6]

Castle William

A North View of Castle William in the Harbour of Boston, Massachusetts Magazine (May 1789)

08_02_003876

William Henry Bartlett, Boston from Dorchester Heights, 1836 (1836)

Social visits and leisure outings around Boston proved a welcome respite that afforded opportunities for Jay to engage in camaraderie, indulge his interest in the revolutionary past, and foster his admiration for achievements in American engineering and education. Yet these activities also served a largely unacknowledged and arguably far more important purpose of creating bonds of trust and good will between the chief justice and local elites. The names of the men who spent time with Jay —Willard, Gerry, Bowdoin, Lincoln, Gore, Jackson, and Bradford—reads like a veritable who’s-who of power and influence in Boston and the Commonwealth. By cultivating friendly relations with these men, Jay was exercising a form of “soft power” that potentially bolstered the legitimacy of both his judicial authority and that of the fledgling federal government in communities located far from the seat of national power.[7]

So how did Jay himself view his socializing and sightseeing in Boston? Did he see them as commensurate with public diplomacy and outreach? Unfortunately, Jay’s personal papers are largely silent on the subject. Supporting evidence does suggest, however, that he recognized the political potential of such activities. For instance, when President Washington decided to tour New England in the fall of 1789 in order “to acquire knowledge of the face of the Country. . .and the temper and disposition of the Inhabitants towards the new government,” Jay not only supported the idea but also urged the President to tour the southern states, which Washington visited in the spring of 1791.[8]   Jay’s seemingly unrelated comments on courtship and marriage made four years earlier to John Adams shed further light on how he conceptualized interstate personal relations as a foundation for national consensus. When two Massachusetts statesmen (Elbridge Gerry and Rufus King)  chose brides (Ann Thompson and Mary Alsop) from New York families,  Jay applauded their decision: “I am pleased with these intermarriages,” he announced, as “they tend to assimilate the States and to promote one of the first wishes of my Heart vizt. to see the people of America become one nation in every respect.”[9]  It would be no great stretch to presume that Jay felt similarly about friendships established across state lines.

Regardless of whether Jay viewed sightseeing and socializing as a continuation of politics by other means, his time spent in Boston during the spring of 1790 points to the fact that we should pay closer attention to his travel-related activities and consider how they helped usher in an age of federalism.

 [1]  Jay rode the Eastern Circuit from 1790-92. When Jay started his first circuit ride in April 1790, the Court met in only four districts (New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire) before expanding to include Rhode Island (fall 1790) and Vermont (spring 1791).

[2]  John Jay Circuit Court Diary, 4 May 1790, (EJ: 7351).

[3]  Elbridge Gerry served as a representative from Massachusetts in the U.S. Congress.  John Jay to Sarah Livingston Jay, 6 May 1790, Henry P. Johnson, ed., The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, vol. 3, 1782-1793 (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1891), 398.

[4]  Ibid.

[5]  John Jay Circuit Court Diary, 7 May 1790, (EJ: 7351).

[6]  Massachusetts Centinel (Boston) 8 May 1790.

[7]  The city of New York served as the nation’s capital until the federal government relocated to Philadelphia in August 1790.

[8]  Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds., The Diaries of George Washington, vol. 5, July 1786-December 1789 (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1979), 453, 454.

[9]  Elbridge Gerry wed Ann Thompson in January 1786 and Rufus King wed Mary Alsop in March of that year. Both men married into wealthy mercantile families and the Kings later moved to New York City in 1788. John Jay to John Adams, 4 May 1786, (EJ: 7461).

Happy Independence Day!

The Jays celebrated the Fourth of July, 1783, at Passy, outside Paris, in the company of Benjamin Franklin and various American and French friends. Franklin began this practice in 1778. The following is an excerpt of a letter from Sarah Livingston Jay to her sister, Kitty Livingston, of 16 July 1783, describing her feelings on the occasion.

On the 4th. of July we celebrated the Anniversary of our Independence here at Passy, but the next I hope to celebrate in yr. company, & I’m sure that our pleasure will not be less animated even tho’ we shou’d substitute butter-milk in lieu of champagne to commemorate the illustrious event. I’ll inclose you a copy of the toasts Mr. Jay prepar’d for the occasion & a song composed and sung by a french gentleman who was of our Party– how nearly my dear Kitty! does extreme felicity approach a painful sensation. I’ve more than once experienc’d it; nor were my feelings divested of that kind of sensibility on the 4th. of July, for I found it difficult to suppress the tears that where ready to flow to ye. memory of those who in struggilng to procure that happiness for their Country wh. we were then celebrating had fallen in the glorious attempt.

The toasts:

1  The United States of America, may they be perpetual

2  The Congress

3  The King & Nation of France

4  General Washington & the American Army

5  The United Netherlands & all other free States in the  world

6  His Catholic Majesty & all other Princes & Powers who have manifested Friendship to America–

7  The Memory of the Patriots who have fallen for their Country–  May kindness be shown to their Widows & Children

8  The French Officers & Army who served in America

9  Gratitude to our Friends & Moderation to our Enemies

10 May all our Citizens be Soldiers, & all our Soldiers Citizens

11 Concord, Wisdom & Firmness to all American Councils

12 May our Country be always prepared for War, but disposed to Peace

13 Liberty & Happiness to all Mankind.–