ALS : Autograph Letter SignedJAY, John. Founding father and important negotiator and statesman during the infancy of the United States. 3 page Handwritten Letter to his wife Sally dated July 6, 1794. It was at this time that Jay was residing in England to negotiate the now infamous "Jay Treaty," which Jay and Alexander Hamilton designed and which is credited for averting war between the newly established United States and Britain.
In his hand Jay writes 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… 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.”
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. 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.