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#141 - John Jay

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Jay writes home from London in the summer of 1794, while negotiating his eponymous treaty: “How my mission will terminate I cannot yet decide. There is room for hope, and also some for doubt”
Description  

ALS, three pages on two adjoining sheets, 7.5 x 9.25, July 6, 1794. Unsigned letter to his wife Sally, in part: “I have been constantly employed in writing letters. The number of applications made to me on subjects unconnected with my public or private affairs, have consumed more time than I could with any convenience spare. Vessels will sail in the course of this week to America, and it is necessary and proper that I should write by then. You have seen me in similar situations before, and how little leisure I had for the pleasure of writing to my particular friends. I am happy however in having a degree of health which enables me to dispatch these incidental affairs with so much expedition as to prevent their accumulating upon me.

Yesterday I had the satisfaction of receiving your kind letter…Your description of the violent storm and the apprehensions wh[ich] it excited in yr mind occasion emotions not easily described. I think it providential that we hastened away as we did. On the 29 May we were beyond its reach—but God governs on the oceans as well as on the land, and no events take place without his permission or appointment…

How my mission will terminate I cannot yet decide. There is room for hope, and also some for doubt. I wish it was finished that I may again take my place in our little domestic circle—never I hope to leave it again while I live. However being in the way of my duty I must resign and be comforted.” Jay makes several strike-throughs and emendations throughout. Partial separations to expected mailing folds and light show-through from writing to opposing sides, otherwise fine condition. Accompanied by an unsigned engraved image of Jay.

With an urgent need for a peaceful and functional economic relationship with Britain, President Washington sent John Jay to London in the summer of 1794 in hopes of resolving several ongoing, post-Revolution military and commercial disputes. After drawn out negotiations, the two nations reached an agreement on November 19, defining terms that would expel royal troops from America’s western frontiers, send the issue of Britain’s debts to arbitration, and grant US ships access to trade routes in and around English ports. Though the Jay Treaty, as it became known, failed to address some key issues—including compensation for slaves evacuated by the British during the Revolution—and was hotly contested in the burgeoning States, it did facilitate nearly a decade of peace and fruitful trade. An interesting letter from the start of what would become Jay’s greatest diplomatic achievement. Pre-certified PSA/DNA.

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