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.–

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