One of the things I do when I have a few spare minutes is to search the collections databases of an increasing number of museums and archives, both for things I'm personally interested in and, of course, all things John Jay. One of my favorites is the Metropolitan Museum of Art's database and one of the more intriguing hits was this, a double-barreled shotgun, dated 1784, and attributed to Nicolas Bouillet. The butt-plate exterior is inscribed "John Jay." The provenance is given as John Jay, and we do know that many Jay descendants were very generous to the Metropolitan Museum.
Jay was in Paris in 1784 as one of the American Peace Commissioners, negotiating with Great Britain, France, and Spain. And we do know he did quite a bit of shopping on this trip, as well as receiving some handsome gifts from his hosts. In future weeks, I'll be researching this item in order to determine if it indeed belonged to Mr. Jay. I'll be in touch with the Met's superb Arms and Armor Department and will search through Jay's accounts and letters, as well as those of his family. Stay posted!