According to the BBC, George III’s private papers are to go online. Noted in their article is “a letter from US Founding Father John Jay to George Washington, dated 1781.” However, the letter they are referring to is not from Jay, but to Jay from Washington, dated 22 October 1781. In it, Washington sent Jay a copy of Cornwallis’s surrender.
The Jay letter mentioned is a part of a bound collection of letters related to the Revolutionary War, presented to Edward VII while he was Prince of Wales by Jay’s grandson, John Jay II. “Bertie” made a tour of North America in 1860. Other letters include ones from Alexander Hamilton, Lafayette, Robert R. Livingston, Gouverneur Morris, and Benjamin Franklin.
“As the Transmission of the inclosed paper through the usual Channel of the Department of foreign Affairs, would, on the present Occasion, probably be attended with great Delay–and recent Intelligence of Military Transactions, must be important to our Ministers in Europe, at the present period of affairs– I have tho’t it wold be agreeable both to Congress and your Excellency, that the Matter should be communicated immediately by a French Frigate dispatched by Admiral de Grasse. Annexed to the Capitulation is a summary Return of the prisoners and Cannon taken in the two places of York & Gloucester–”
Thanks to Prof. Herbert Sloan for alerting us to this most interesting story. And thank you, BBC, for recognizing John Jay as a Founding Father!