Friday, January 18, 2013

President John Jay

President John Jay
Third President of the Continental Congress
United States of America 
December 10, 1778 to September 29, 1779

Copyright © Stan Klos, President Who? Forgotten Founders 2004 & 2008 

The United States Continental Congress Presidents
July 2, 1776 to February 28, 1781

July 2, 1776
October 29, 1777
November 1, 1777
December 9, 1778
December 10, 1778
September 28, 1779
September 29, 1779
February 28, 1781

Commander-in-Chief United States of America

George Washington:  July 2, 1776 - February 28, 1781

John Jay (December 23 [O.S. December 12], 1745 – May 17, 1829) was a distinguished American figure, renowned as a statesman, diplomat, abolitionist, and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Hailing from a prosperous lineage of merchants and government officials in New York City, Jay's ancestry comprised French Huguenot and Dutch heritage. His legal career flourished, and he actively participated in organizing opposition against British policies, notably the Intolerable Acts, through his involvement with the New York Committee of Correspondence in the period leading up to the American Revolution.

Jay's political journey began with his election to the First Continental Congress, during which he endorsed the Articles of Association. Continuing his service, he secured a seat in the Second Continental Congress, where he assumed the role of the third President from December 10, 1778, to September 29, 1779. Following this, Jay embarked on diplomatic missions, initially serving as the ambassador to Spain from 1779 to 1782. Subsequently, he was reassigned to France in 1782, where he played a crucial role as the chief negotiator of the Treaty of Paris. This historic treaty, ratified in 1784, marked Britain's recognition of American independence, effectively bringing an end to the war.

Upon his return to the United States in the Spring of 1784, John Jay declined a USCA appointment as the second Secretary of Foreign Affairs. He made this decision contingent upon Congress retracting its resolution to establish two rotating federal capital seats of government and enacting legislation to assign additional domestic responsibilities to his proposed newly named Department of State. Following the passage of this legislation on December 21, 1784, Jay accepted the position and was duly sworn in as the Secretary of Foreign Affairs on the same day. He served in this capacity until the position was dissolved in 1789.

Throughout his tenure as Foreign Secretary in New York,  Jay consistently championed the idea of a strong, centralized government. His advocacy extended to actively supporting the ratification of the proposed United States Constitution of 1787, underscoring his unwavering dedication to this principle. In 1788, he collaborated with Alexander Hamilton and James Madison as a co-author of The Federalist Papers, contributing five of the eighty-five essays.

Following the formation of the new federal government, President George Washington nominated John Jay to serve as the inaugural Chief Justice of the United States on September 24, 1789. The Senate confirmed his appointment two days later, on September 26, 1789. In the interim period from September 26, 1789, to March 21, 1790, Chief Justice John Jay additionally assumed the role of acting United States Secretary of State.

In 1794, President Washington selected John Jay as the special envoy to Great Britain, tasked with preventing a potential second conflict. Jay's objectives included negotiating the opening of new Caribbean trade routes, establishing equitable trade practices, resolving Revolutionary War debts, and settling border disputes along the Northwest Territory. As part of the negotiation, the United States committed to maintaining neutrality in the ongoing war between France and Great Britain.

The Chief Justice brokered an outstanding treaty, yet the Jeffersonians staunchly supported France in its conflict with Great Britain. The Republican opposition, spearheaded by James Madison, initiated a propaganda effort, denigrating the agreement, which led Americans to dub it "Jay's Treaty." Chief Justice John Jay deemed it inappropriate for him to publicly advocate for the treaty, and despite the assistance of fellow Federalist leaders, the treaty became so unpopular that citizens could witness a trail of burning effigies from Boston to Philadelphia.

In 1795, John Jay was elected as the governor of New York and served until 1801. In the waning days of President John Adams' administration, Jay was confirmed by the Senate for another term as chief justice, but he declined the position and retired to his farm in Westchester County, New York.

John Jay was born in New York City on December 12th, 1745 and died in Bedford, Westchester County, New York, on May 17th, 1829. He was the sixth son and eighth child of Peter Jay and Mary, Van Cortlandtof.  His family was of French descent and his great grandfather, Pierre Jay, was a Huguenot merchant of La Rochelle, France.   He grew-up on the Family’s farm and country house in Rye, New York.  His father, a successful businessman, retired to the country at the age of 40. As a young child Jay survived an attack of strep throat that killed his younger sister.  He also escaped smallpox that left his brother Peter and his sister Nancy totally blind.<!--[if !supportFootnotes]

Jay, as a young man was taught by his mother until seven when he was sent to New Rochelle to school under the tutelage of the Rev. Peter Stoope.  The Reverend was the pastor of a French Huguenot Church that had recently joined the Episcopal denomination.  Here Jay learned English, mathematics and French.

Rev. Peter Stoope, was by birth a Swiss, an eccentric man, very absent-minded and wholly devoted to mathematics, so that the parsonage was allowed to fall into decay, and the boys were half-starved under the management of his wife,  ‘who was as penurious as he was careless.’ To keep the snow off his bed in winter, John used to stuff the broken panes of his window with bits of wood. But the plain food agreed with him, his health was excellent, and he used to recall afterwards the pleasure he had in the woods picking nuts, which ‘he carried home in his stockings.’ French was spoken generally at the parsonage and by the people of the village, who were, as its name suggests, chiefly descendants of French refugees; thus he easily and early learned the language that was to prove so useful to him. [2]

Jay remained in New Rochelle for three years returning home at eleven to be privately tutored by Mr. George Murray. Soon after turning 14 Jay took the entrance exams to Kings College (now Columbia University).  He was admitted to the college in 1760 which, was extraordinary year in English History as it marked the beginning of the End of the Seven Years War with the capture of Montreal.  In 1763 with the signing of the Treaty of Paris, [3] the sun truly never set on the British Empire.   The treaty marked the beginning of an extensive period of British dominance outside of Europe and ended, actually, a nine year struggle that was actually the First World War. Little is known of Jay’s college life during this 1760 to 1764 period but Pellew, his biographer, writes:

The first two years he lodged at the house of Lawrence Homer, a painter, at " the corner of Verlettenburgh Hill and Broadway," and the last two years he had rooms in the college. He set himself at once, of his own accord, to curing certain defects of utterance and rapid reading, and he made an enthusiastic study of English composition, a study that bore fruit in the graceful and easy, but at the same time often laconic style for which he was noted, and which in the first Continental Congress at once placed him in " the little aristocracy of talents and letters" with William Livingston and Dickinson. [4]

On the record there is a letter, in 1763, of John Jay writing his father about the possible raise in rent in his New York residence.  His father advised that if the landlady does raise the rent, to say nothing, don’t argue and just moved out.[5]   In his third year John Jay turned to the law and worked diligently in his classes.  Jay was briefly suspended, in his final month, for witnessing the breaking of a rather expensive table but refusing to divulge the name of the guilty student. The suspension did not affect his standing, academically, at the College as at his graduation he was given the honor to address General Gage, his majesty's council, the graduating class and numerous notables, on the blessings of peace. 

Students and Teachers of US History this is a video of Stanley and Christopher Klos presenting America's Four United Republics Curriculum at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. The December 2015 video was an impromptu capture by a member of the audience of Penn students, professors and guests that numbered about 200.
For More Information go to 
America's Four United Republics

Two weeks after leaving college, Jay joined the legal office of Benjamin Kissam with his father offering some suggestions on the execution of his apprentice agreement.[6]  Here John learned the law as a Kissam apprentice with writing, his mentor claimed, that was penned "by the rapid whirl of Imagination" noting that young Jay must exercise caution lest imagination rule reason.[7]  Four years later in 1768 he would be admitted to the bar of New York.
Upon being admitted to the bar Jay was determined to start a law partnership with his friend, Robert R. Livingston who was a year behind him in Kings College.  Jay often made his sentiments clear on his admiration for his eloquent friend writing him kudos while leveling criticisms:

I have often remarked Ambition to be one of your strongest Passions, and have as often been surprised that instead of attending to such Pur[suits?] as are most capable of gratifying so noble a Passion, you seem [rather?] to counteract your own Purposes, and to destroy those very Hopes which you are desirous to establish.... reject the Invitations of Syren Pleasure, and fly with hasty Steps the flowerly Vale of unsubstantial Joys.[8]

For many years the legal partnership of Jay & Livingston thrived in New York City.[9] Jay was well respected in the legal community and only one year later, in 1769, Kissam wrote to Jay, “All the causes you have hitherto tried, have been by a kind of inspiration."[10] Kissam and Jay continued as great friends though often on the opposite side of the legal question. Jay’s partner, Livingston would go on to be one of the Committee of Five who drafted the Declaration of Independence and become U.S. Secretary of Foreign Affairs from 1781 to 1783.  In 1789, as Chancellor of the State of New York, Livingston would administer the oath of office to George Washington at Federal Hall in New York City.

John Jay was a loyalist in the cause of British opposition earning a comfortable living representing the wealthy merchants, many who were friends of his father from New York City.  The question that puzzled me was how a 28 year old loyalist would end up being a Delegate to the First Continental Congress and the primary author of their Address to the King and People of Great Britain?

In April 1774, John Jay got swept up into the whole revolutionary affair serendipitously.  Four months after the Boston Tea Party, a New York Tea Party took place: 

April 15th, the Nancy with a cargo of tea arrived off Sandy Hook, followed shortly by the London. The Committee of Vigilance assembled, and, as soon as Captain Lockyier of the Nancy landed in spite of their warning, escorted him to a pilot boat and set him on board again, while the flag flew from the Liberty Pole, and cannon thundered from the “Fields." April 23d, the Nancy stood out to sea without landing her cargo, and with her carried Captain Chambers of the London, from which the evening before eighteen chests of tea had been emptied into the sea by the Liberty Boys.[11]

The dumping of tea first in Boston and then into New York Harbor threatened rule by mob rather than law. The New York merchants were successful businessmen prospering in the Colonies and the idea of the interruption of trade in the Colonies’ busiest harbor was unacceptable.  When the New York Chapter of the Sons of Liberty called a meeting of their “Vigilance Committee” to form a New York committee of correspondence protesting the Port Bill that closed Boston Harbor the merchants moved swiftly to establish their representatives in this new colonial political system.

The merchants and other conservatives turned out in force fearful of trade restrictions being imposed upon New York by the Sons of Liberty.  The merchants, with the help of their counsel John Jay, expanded the proposed committee of correspondence, primarily made up of the avant-garde, from 21 to 51.  Jay was nominated and elected three days later along with other conservatives giving the merchants majority control of committee.

Amongst this turn of events, Committeeman Jay pressed forward on his plans to marry Sarah Livingston:
On April 28, 1774, at patriotically named ‘Liberty Hall,’ Elizabeth, New Jersey, he married ‘the beautiful Sarah Livingston,’ the youngest daughter of William Livingston, soon to be the famous revolutionary governor of New Jersey, and already well known for countless literary and political poems, letters, and essays. In the notices of the wedding, Jay, young as he was, could be described as ‘an eminent barrister.’ [12]

The marriage would go on to produce  six children: Peter Augustus, born in Elizabeth, New Jersey, in 1776; Susan, born and died in Madrid after only a few weeks of life, in 1780; Maria, born in Madrid in 1782; Ann, born in Paris in 1783, William and Sarah Louisa, born in NYC in 1789 and 1792. [13]

At the Committee of 51’s first meeting, Paul Revere arrived with an urgent letter requesting that they support the non-importation measures established by the Massachusetts Committee of Safety.  John Jay, only 28, was asked to draft a reply denying the request.  The May 23, 1774 letter sent from the Committee of 51 to Boston did not support non-importation measures but it called for a Congress represented by all the colonies.

The alarming measures of the British Parliament relative to your ancient and respectable town, which has so long been the seat of freedom, fill the inhabitants of this city with inexpressible concern. As a sister colony suffering in defense of the rights of America, we consider your injuries as a common cause; to the redress of which, it is equally our duty and our interest to contribute. But what ought to be done in a situation so truly critical, while it employs the anxious thoughts of every generous mind, is very hard to be determined. Our citizens have thought it necessary to appoint a large committee, consisting of fifty-one persons, to correspond with our sister colonies, on this and every other matter of public moment ; and, at ten o'clock this forenoon we were first assembled.

Your letter, enclosing the vote of the town of Boston, and the letter of your Committee of Correspondence were immediately taken into consideration. While we think you justly entitled to the thanks of your sister colonies, for asking their advice on a case of such extensive consequences; we lament our inability to relieve your anxiety by a decisive opinion. Take cause is general and concerns a whole continent, who are equally interested with you and us: And we foresee, that no remedy can be of avail, unless it proceeds from the joint act and approbation of all.

From a virtuous and spirited union, much may be expected, while the feeble efforts of a few, will only be attended with mischief and disappointments to themselves, and triumph to the adversaries of our liberty. Upon these reasons we conclude, that a Congress of Deputies from the colonies in general, is of the utmost moment; that it ought to be assembled without delay, and some unanimous resolutions formed in this fatal emergency, not only respecting your deplorable circumstances, but the security of our common rights.

Such being our sentiments, it must be premature to pronounce any judgment on the expedient which you have suggested. We beg, however, that you will do us the justice to believe, that we shall continue to act with a firm and becoming regard to American freedom, and to co-operate with our sister colonies in every measure which shall be thought salutary and conducive to the public good. We have nothing to add, but that we sincerely condole with you in your unexampled distresses, and to request your speedy opinion of the reposed Congress, that if it should meet with your approbation, we may exert our utmost endeavours to carry it into execution.[14]

This reply cleared Committee of 51 of any treasonous acts against the Crown, kept the harbor open, and sought citizen’s measures through a peaceful Congress of all the Colonies. Despite the measure, The Son’s of Liberty tried to pressure the citizens of New York to support the Boston non-importation measures. The committee, officially called the NY Committee of Correspondence, remained firm in their resolve and acted quickly to pass a set of resolves with the second being:

That all Acts of the British Parliament, imposing Taxes on the Colonies, are unjust and unconstitutional, and particularly that the Act for blocking up the Port of Boston is, in the highest Degree arbitrary in its Principles, oppressive in its Operation, unparallelled in its Rigour, indefinite in its Exactions, and subversive of every Idea of British Liberty ; and therefore justly to be abhorred and detested by all good Men. [15]

The rule of law prevailed while New York and John Jay’s pen unknowingly played a pivotal role in the birth and establishing the initial mission of a Continental Congress.

On July 5, 1774 the N.Y. Committee of Correspondence elected delegates to the Continental Congress with this resolution:

The Committee of Correspondence in New York, having on Monday Night last proceeded to the Nomination of five Persons to go as Delegates for the said City and County, on the proposed General Congress at Philadelphia, on the 1st of September next ; the five following Persons were nominated for that Purpose:

Philip Livingston, James Duane, John Alsop, John Jay, Isaac Low

The Inhabitants, therefore, of this City and County, are requested to meet at the City Hall, on THURSDAY" next, at 12 o'Clock, in order to approve of the said five Persons as Delegates, or to choose such other in their Stead, as to their Wisdom shall seem meet. By Order of the Committee, Isaac Low, Chairman. Tuesday 5th, July, 1774 [16]

John Jay's Nomination to the 1st Continental Congress - - 
Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections Division.[17]

Jay was a delegate to the First Continental Congress, which met in Philadelphia on September 5, 1774. Jay was a loyalist and heavily supported Joseph Galloway’s Plan to restore the Colonies to a permanent Union with Great Britain. John Adams wrote of Jay and the Plan:

He has a horrid Opinion of Galloway, Jay, and the Rutledges. Their System he says would ruin the Cause of America. He is very impatient to see such Fellows, and not be at Liberty to describe them in their true Colours.[18]

The Plan, discussed in a previous chapter, failed of a vote six to five by the Colonies.  Jay, a staunch conservative, did however sign the Articles of Association which implemented radical measures against the crown:

Article I - That from and after the first day of December next, we will not import, into British America, from Great-Britain or Ireland, any goods, wares, or merchandise whatsoever, or from any other place, any such goods, wares, or merchandise, as shall have been exported from Great-Britain or Ireland; nor will we, after that day, import any East-India tea from any part of the world; nor any molasses, syrups, paneles, coffee, or pimento, from the British plantations or from Dominica; nor wines from Madeira, or the Western Islands; nor foreign indigo.[19]

The Articles also stated:

And we do solemnly bind ourselves and our constituents, under the ties aforesaid, to adhere to this association, until such parts of the several acts of parliament passed since the close of the last war, as impose or continue duties on tea, wine, molasses, syrups paneles, coffee, sugar, pimento, indigo, foreign paper, glass, and painters' colours, imported into America, and extend the powers of the admiralty courts beyond their ancient limits, deprive the American subject of trial by jury, authorize the judge's certificate to indemnify the prosecutor from damages, that he might otherwise be liable to from a trial by his peers, require oppressive security from a claimant of ships or goods seized, before he shall be allowed to defend his property, are repealed.-And until that part of the act of the 12 G. 3. ch. 24, entitled "An act for the better securing his majesty's dock-yards magazines, ships, ammunition, and stores," by which any persons charged with committing any of the offenses therein described, in America, may be tried in any shire or county within the realm, is repealed-and until the four acts, passed the last session of parliament, viz. that for stopping the port and blocking up the harbour of Boston-that for altering the charter and government of the Massachusetts-Bay-and that which is entitled "An act for the better administration of justice, &c."-and that "for extending the limits of Quebec, &c." are repealed. And we recommend it to the provincial conventions, and to the committees in the respective colonies, to establish such farther regulations as they may think proper, for carrying into execution this association.[20]

With this signature, John Jay endorsed the steps more radical than those so earnestly avoided by the Committee of 51 only six months earlier.  The liberal Adam-Lee Faction, unbeknownst to many of the conservatives, had won because the Continental Congress was transformed into a revolutionary quasi-government of the Colonies with the execution of the Articles of Association.  Although a loyalist no longer, Jay remained conservative on all matters concerning a colonial separation from Great Britain

John Jay, still only 28 in October, became quite active in key Congressional Committees.  Abraham Yates' notes on Jay, at the First Continental Congress, recount the 28 year old Jay’s important standing in the committees.

Sept. 5: appears as delegate from New York Oct. 11: on committee to draw up memorial to people of Great Britain and to people of America. Oct. 25: appointed to draw up a letter to an agent.[21]

Jay’s notes on his committee involvement are as follows:

Committee for Address to the King, appointed 1 Oct
Reported and recommendation of Dickinson added to the Committee   21 Oct
Again reported 24, Oct.  -- approved 25, October

Committee for memorial to Colonies and address to G. Borham appointed 11 Oct.
address and reported  15 Oct -- recommitted 18 Oct  -- returned and approved 21 Oct
memorial reported 19 Oct -- approved 21 Oct
Committee for Address to Quebec and Letters to S Sam Johns appoint 21, October
Address to Quebec, reported and recommitted 24 Oct  again reported and approved 26 Oct

Committee for Letter to Colony Agents appoint 25 Oct
With Address to the King should enclosed Appoint 25 Oct
reported and approved 26 Oct” [22]

As one of a com­mittee of three (John Jay, Richard Henry Lee and William Livingston) Jay prepared the "Address to the People of Great Britain," which, was primarily his work.  It was Richard Henry Lee who, along with Jay, wrote separate drafts. Lee, being the senior statesmen, did not work with Jay to incorporate a blending of the two different approaches to the address.  Lee’s draft, therefore, was presented to Congress and it was not warmly received. William Livingston retained Jay’s draft and read it to Congress not identifying the author.  Congress immediately embraced this draft and adopted with little alteration on October 21, 1774.  Intrigue between Richard Henry Lee and John Jay began with this committee and permeated congress as the two men took opposite sides of the aisles.  John Adams wrote:

Mr. Arthur Lee in London, had heard some insinuations against Mr. Jay as a suspicious Character, and had written to his Brother Richard Henry Lee or to Mr. Samuel Adams or both: and although they were groundless and injurious, as I have no doubt, my Friends had communicated them too indiscreetly, and had spoken of Mr. Jay too lightly. Mr. Lee had expressed doubts whether Mr. Jay had composed the Address to the People of Great Britain and ascribed it to his Father in Law Mr. Livingston afterwards Governor of New Jersey. These Things had occasioned some Words, and Animosities which Uniting with the great Questions in Congress, had some disagreable Effects. Mr. Jays great Superiority to Mr. Livingston in the Art of Composition would now be sufficient to decide the question if the latter had [not] expressly denyed having any share in that Address.[23]

Thomas Jefferson, while ignorant of the authorship of the Address to the People of Great Britain, declared it to be "a production certainly of the finest pen in America." [24]

Congress ended the first session approving John Dickinson’s, a staunch conservative Delegate from Pennsylvania, Petition to the King which, blamed the current events on the King’s counselors, ministers and governors.

Your royal indignation, we hope, will rather fall on those designing and dangerous men, who daringly interposing themselves between your royal person and your faithful subjects, and for several years past incessantly employed to dissolve the bonds of society, by abusing your majesty's authority, misrepresenting your American subjects and prosecuting the most desperate and irritating projects of oppression, have at length compelled us, by the force of accumulated injuries too severe to be any longer tolerable, to disturb your majesty's repose by our complaints.[25]

The Delegates would conclude as penned by Dickinson:

Your royal indignation, we hope, will rather fall on those designing and dangerous men, who daringly interposing themselves between your royal person and your faithful subjects, and for several years past incessantly employed to dissolve the bonds of society, by abusing your majesty's authority, misrepresenting your American subjects and prosecuting the most desperate and irritating projects of oppression, have at length compelled us, by the force of accumulated injuries too severe to be any longer tolerable, to disturb your majesty's repose by our complaints. [26]

John Jay returned to New York and although embraced by the liberals was shunned by many conservatives due to his labors in Congress. 

Not all New Yorker, however, were ecstatic over the new developments.  Many felt that it was more desirable to submit to parliamentary measures that they then to be tyrannized by extra-legal and violent actions of the local committeemen.  When the old Provincial Assembly met early in 1775, the conservatives were in control.  They disreguarded the efforts of Congress and instead sent their own petition to King George.   Later they refused to choose delegates Second Continental Congress, and word spread in the other colonies that New York might desert the Association. [27]

Jay remained firm on his resolve to abide by the Articles of Association and measures taken in Congress despite the Provincial Assembly’s actions:

Jay was at once elected one of a committee of sixty, called a Committee of Inspection, that superseded the old Committee of Fifty-one, and that was specially charged with promoting non-importation. It is not surprising that in this familiar business the Committee of Mechanics cooperated heartily. The committee for the relief of Boston, of which Jay was also a member, was likewise not unoccupied. 

Inspection was variously engaged, searching ships for imported goods, examining captains and boatmen, selling confiscated property at public vendue, warning the people of, for instance, the scarcity of nails, and recommending that none should be exported, or contradicting false statements published by the loyalist editors.[28]

Jay and others formed the New York Provincial Congress to replace the New York Provincial Assembly with the first meeting was convening on April 20, 1775 in New York City with Philip Livingston as its chairman:

CITY AND COUNTY OF NEW-YORK.— Philip Livingston, Esquire, John Alsop, Esquire, James Duane, Esquire, John Jay, Esquire, Colonel Leonard Lispenard, Mr. Francis Lewis, Mr. Abraham Walton, Mr. Isaac Roosevelt, Mr. Alexander McDougall, and Mr. Abraham Brasher.

CITY AND COUNTY OF ALBANY.—Colonel Philip Schuyler, colonel Abraham Ten Broeck, and Abraham Yates, Junior, Esquire.

ULSTER COUNTY.—Charles De Witt, George Clinton, and Levy Pawling, Esquires.

ORANGE COUNTY.—Colonel A. Hawkes Hay, Henry Wisner, Esquire, John Herring, Esquire, Mr. Peter Clowes, and Mr. Israel Seely.

WESTCHESTER COUNTY.—Colonel Lewis Morris, John Thomas, Junior, Esquire, Robert Graham, Esquire, Major Philip Van Cortlandt, Samuel Drake, Esquire, and Mr. Stephen Ward.

DUTCHESS COUNTY.—Colonel Morris Graham, Major Robert R. Livingston, Junior, and Egbert Benson, Esquire.

KING’S COUNTY.—Simon Boerum, Esquire, Captain Richard Stillwell, Mr. Theodorus Polhemus, Mr. Denice Denice, and Mr. John Vanderbilt.

SUFFOLK COUNTY.—Colonel William Floyd, Colonel Nathaniel Woodhull, Colonel Phineas Fanning, Thomas Tredwell, Esquire, and John Sloss Hobart, Esquire.

NEW-TOWN AND FLUSHING, IN QUEEN’S COUNTY.—Colonel Jacob Blackwell and Mr. John Talman.”[29]

The Convention unanimously chose Philip Livingston, Esquire, to be their President.

Only Tryon, Gloucester, and Cumberland were not represented and the five new delegates, including John Jay, were elected to the Second Continental Congress with the following instructions:

Delegates to represent this Colony at such Congress, with full power to them, or any five of them, to meet the Delegates from the other Colonies, and to concert and determine upon such measures as shall be judged most effectual for the preservation and re-establishment of American rights and privileges, and for the restoration of harmony between Great Britain and the Colonies.[30]

The scope of the Provincial Congress did not extend beyond electing delegates they dispersed on April 22. A Committee of now 100 became the Colonial Government of New York as the Provincial Assembly disbanded itself earlier on April 3rd.  The need for a Second Continental Congress was dire as the King never responded to the 1774 petitions and the battle of Lexington had begun.  The people of New York City were plagued by mobs as news poured in of the military action in Massachusetts. The new committee of 100, of which Jay was an influential member, worked tirelessly to restore order in the midst of the political and military chaos. The mobs continued while Congress in session even effecting Kings College. [31] 

As a member of the second congress, which met in Philadelphia on May 10, 1775, Jay was obliged to leave for New York but arrived late after the session began.  The mood was solemn.  John Adams wrote, “Battle of Lexington on the 19th of April, changed the Instruments of Warfare from the Penn to the Sword.” [32]

Jay served on various committees including a committee on May 26 to draw up a letter to people of Canada, a committee on the Necessity of taking up Arms, a committee to write a letter to the King (Olive Branch Petition), another on writing a letter to the people of Massachusetts Bay who petitioned Congress and finally on July 12th committee to plan protection for trade of the colonies.

John Jay, primarily, drafted the "Address to the People of Canada and of Ireland" which was adopted by Congress but virtually ignored by the citizens of both regions.  After working diligently on the committee for the Necessity of taking up Arms and the measures adopted, he lobbied hard in Congress to send a second petition to the King which was written by John Dickinson.   On July 8th the petition was signed by the members of congress individually.  John Jay also convinced Congress to write petitions to Jamaica and Ireland. Adams wrote of these measures:

“This Measure of Imbecility, the second Petition to the King embarrassed every Exertion of Congress: it occasioned Motions and debates without End for appointing Committees to draw up a declaration of the Causes, Motives, and Objects of taking Arms, with a view to obtain decisive declarations against Independence &c. In the Meantime the New England Army investing Boston, the New England Legislatures, Congresses and Conventions, and the whole Body of the People, were left, without Munitions of War, without Arms, Clothing, Pay or even Countenance and Encouragement.” [33]

In later years, John Adams would see the wisdom in writing all these addresses promulgated by John Jay in a letter to Thomas Jefferson:

I never bestowed much attention to any of those addresses, which were all but repetitions of the same things; the same facts and arguments; dress and ornaments, rather than body, soul, a substance. ... I was in great error, no doubt, and am ashamed to confess it, for these things were necessary to give popularity to the cause, both at home and abroad.[34]

Neither the King nor Parliament ever answered the petitions leaving no alternative for the Continental Congress but capitulation or resistance to Great Britain.  These petitions, therefore, were crucial to the cause as they opened the way for a general acquiescence among the conservatives to enact the Declaration of Independence.

Congress Adjourned August 2, 1775 but reconvened September 13th.  Jay was appointed was appointed a member of the secret committee on the 29th November 1775, after a confidential interview with a French officer, "to correspond with the friends of America in Great Britain, Ireland, and other parts of the world."[35] This was beginning of the American state department and diplomatic service. In 1777 this committee was named the committee of foreign affairs, and in 1781 it was succeeded by a Department of Foreign Affairs.[36]  John Adams recalls an interesting exchange with Jay in on November 29, 1775:

Within a day or two after the Appointment in Congress of the Committee of Correspondence, Mr. Jay came to my Chamber to spend an Evening with me. I was alone, and Mr. Jay opened himself to me, with great frankness. His Object seemed to be, an Apology to me, for my being omitted in the Choice of the two great Secret Committees of Commerce and Correspondence. He said in express terms, "that my Character stood very high in Congress with the Members universally, and he knew there was but one Thing which prevented me from being universally acknowledged to be the first Man in Congress, and that was this, there was a great Division in the House, and two Men had effected it, Samuel Adams and Richard Henry Lee, and as I was known to be very intimate with those two Gentlemen, many others were jealous of me." . . . My Answer to all this was, that I had thought it very strange, and had imputed it to some secret Intrigue out of Doors, that no Member from Massachusetts had been elected on either of those Committees. That I had no Pretensions to the distinction of the first Man in Congress: and that if I had a clear title to it, I should be very far from assuming it, or wishing for it. It was a Station of too much responsibility and danger in the times and Circumstances in which We lived and were destined to life live. That I was a Friend very much Attached to Mr. Lee and Mr. Adams, because I knew them to be able Men and in Pop-up large image flexible in the cause of their Country. I could not therefore become cool in my friendship for them, for the sake of any distinctions that Congress could bestow. That I believed that too many commercial Projects and private Speculations were in contemplation by the composition of those Committees: but even those had not contributed so much to it, as the great division in the House on the Subject of Independence and the mode of carrying on the War. Mr. [illegible]  Mr. Jay and I however parted good Friends and have continued such without interruption to this day 8 of March 1805. [37] 

Jay was also placed on committees to draw up a declaration justifying the determination of Congress to authorize privateers to work against the commerce of England, committees to devise means for supplying medicines for the army; to inquire into the dispute between Pennsylvania and Connecticut; to review the qualifications of generals, to purchase powder for the troops besieging Boston, and to recommend the proper disposition of the tea then in the colonies.  John Jay was overwhelmed with work and up until December, having to support a family on no pay.  On December 23rd he wrote Sarah Jay the news that:

I now have the Pleasure of informing you New York Convention has at length made some Provisions for their Delegates at 4 dollars per day for their attendance at this and on the last Congress ... The Allowance indeed ... by no means equal the loss I have sustained by the appointment, but the Convention I suppose consider the Honor as an Equivalent for the Residue. [38] 

Jay would go on in the letter that only five New York delegates are there, Colonel Morris and Mr. Lewis being absent, “so I cannot leave until the session adjourns.” He adds that he hopes to join her family in Elizabeth and will miss SLJ greatly for Christmas. He concludes the remembers how much more happiness they have than most people, so is grateful and “Tomorrow or on Tuesday the next Congress will I believe determined the Time of Adjournment so that it is probably I shall have the Happiness of wishing you a happy New Year my beloved.”[39]

This was not to be as Congress remained hard at work through New Year’s:

December 26 Adopts plan for redemption of Continental bills of credit. December 29 Adopts solutions for importing and manufacturing salt. December 30 Recommends Secret Committee negotiations with Pierre Penet and Emanuel de Pliarne for European arms and ammunition.   January 1 Recommends "the reduction of St. Augustine." January 3 Recommends a quarantine of Queens County, N.Y., for refusal to send deputies to the New York Convention, January 6 Adopts regulations for the division of marine prizes. January 8 Orders reinforcements to Canada; receives news of the king's speech from the throne (October 27, 1775) and of the destruction of Norfolk, Va., January 11 Resolves that any person refusing to accept Continental currency "shall be. . . treated as an enemy of his country. [40]

On January 4th, 1776 Jay found it necessary to write Sir James Jay, his older brother who was knighted by King George III for his fund raising activities for Kings College, seeking reconciliation for the Colonies with the Crown.

Philadelphia. 4 January 1776. As to Politick's I can say little, nor do I desire that Your Letters should say anything on that Subject.(1) Thus much I can say in general that Everything with us is in a good Way, and, tho' We desire Reconciliation, are well prepared for contrary Measures. This is an unnatural Quarrel, & God only knows why the British Empire should be torn to Pieces by unjust Attempts to subjugate us. Some say a great Number of Foreign Troops are coming over, but I think it somewhat uncertain whose Battles they will fight. Adieu Dr Brother.  [41]

Meanwhile Alexander Hamilton was writing John Jay several letters informing him that that a proclamation has been issued to dissolve the old assembly in New York to elect a new one. He was reassuring Jay that although the Tories were saying they will dominate the election, he believes the Whigs will prevail. At first he indicates only that that he would like Jay to come but later he insists his presence is necessary.[42]  John Jay’s first son was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey on January 24, 1776 and he did not return to New York as her health was precarious requiring his time and his duties in Congress required whatever was left. 

In April 1776, Jay was elected to the New York Provincial Congress who requested his return to New York under correspondence from the Council of Safety in May.  He left Congress but did not resign his seat but planned on returning after a few weeks in New York as he was also needed in Philadelphia. Parliament had issued the Prohibitory Bill prohibiting the American colonies from “all manner of trade and commerce” and declared that any ships found trading “shall be forfeited to his Majesty, as if the same were the ships and effects of open enemies.” This Act declared all Americans to be outlaws beyond the king’s protection even while conservative American leaders were working with their British counterparts to craft a settlement to present to the King and Parliament that would end the fighting between colonial and royal forces.   John Adams wrote,

know not whether you have seen the act of parliament, called the restraining act, or piratical act, or plundering act, or act of independency, for by all these titles it is called. I think the most apposite is, the act of independency. For king, lords, and commons have united in sundering this country from that, I think, forever. It is a complete dismemberment of the British Empire. It throws thirteen colonies out of the royal protection, levels all distinctions, and makes us independent in spite of our supplications and entreaties. It may be fortunate that the act of independency should come from the British parliament, rather than the American congress; but it is very odd that Americans should hesitate at accepting such a gift from them.[43]

Jay was unable to return to:

 … his seat in the Continental Congress, as the New York Provincial Congress forbade his leaving "without further orders." For this reason it was that Jay's name is not among those of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence. Obedient to the call of his colony, Jay mounted horse and started forthwith for New York, where he was sworn in and took his seat in the local congress on May 25th. He was at once placed on one committee to draft a law relating to the peril the colony is exposed to by its intestine dangers, and on another to frame into resolutions the report of the committee on the recommendation by Congress of a new form of government. Accordingly, on June 11th, certain important resolutions on the subject of independence were moved by Jay and Agreed to: " That the good people of this Colony have not, in the opinion of this Congress, authorized this Congress, or the delegates of this Colony in the Continental Congress, to declare this Colony to be and continue independent of the Crown of Great Britain." This action of Jay's was not due to any doubt in his own mind as to the necessity of the proposed change, but simply to his conservative adherence to constitutional methods. [44]

Robert R. Livingston, Jay’s law partner, remained in Philadelphia representing New York. He, more than any other delegate had the most to lose monetarily as New York was the prize port and the most vulnerable to attack should a war ensue.  Livingston lost hope writing Jay in late May:

I am much mortified at not hearing from you. I wrote to you last week, and am just now setting out for Bristol in order to meet Mrs. Livingston. I could wish to find Mrs. Jay there also. Pray send some of our colleagues along, otherwise I must be more confined than either my health or inclination will allow. You have doubtless seen the account brought by the Rifleman from London, by which it appears we shall have at least 34,000 commissioners. If your Congress have any spirit, they will at least build fourteen or fifteen light boats capable of carrying a twelve- pounder, to secure Hudson River, which is to be the chief scene of action. The carpenters employed on the frigate would build two or three a day, if they were built hi the manner of batteaux, which is the true construction. I wish you would direct Gaine to send me his paper. God bless you. [45]

Jay responded on the 29th to Livingston explaining why he was bound to New York:

The pleasure I expected from a junction of all our families at Bristol has vanished. Dr. Bard tells me the waters there would be injurious to Mrs. Jay's complaints; so that I shall again take a solitary ride to Philadelphia, whenever the Convention, who directed me to abide here until their further order, shall think proper to dismiss me.

Messrs. Alsop and Lewis set out next Saturday for Philadelphia. Mr. Duane informs me that he is about to return home, and considering how long he has been absent from his family, I think hinrt entitled to that indulgence. I pray God that your health may enable you to attend constantly, at least till it may be in my power to relieve you. Is Mr. Clinton returned ?

Our Convention will, I believe, institute a better government than the present, which in my opinion will no longer work anything but mischief; and although the measure of obtaining authority by instructions may have its advocates, I have reason to think that such a resolution will be taken as will open a door to the election of new or additional members. But be the resolution what it may, you shall have the earliest advice of it. And should my conjectures prove right, I shall inform the members of Duchess of your readiness to serve, and advise them to elect you. Don't be uneasy at receiving so few letters from me. I have been so distressed by the ill health of my wife and parents, that I have scarce written anything. [46]

Jay was placed at the head of a committee “To detect Conspiracies” and had the power to seize, try and sentence Tory conspirators.  It was discovered the Thomas Hickey, one of Washington’s bodyguards, plotted the Commander-in-Chief’s assassination.  Jay’s committee tried Hickey, found him guilty and hung the would be assassin on June 28, 1776 as an example to other conspirators. The plot was traced back to New York Colonial Governor Tryon with NYC Mayor David Matthews having being the principal agent. [47] 

On June 25th, 1776, Lieutenant General William Howe arrived with three advanced ships arrived off Sandy Hook, in New Jersey. On the 30th, the rest of the British fleet, 130 ships, arrived and landed 9,300 troops on Staten Island July 2, 1776. Upon of their arrival the New York Provincial Congress adjourned to relocate to White Plains New York.  Meanwhile, Robert R. Livingston sat in the Committee of Five drafting the Declaration of Independence.  Like Jay was forbidden to leave New York to attend Congress so was Livingston precluded by the same body to vote for Independence.  On the same day the British occupied Staten Island the Continental Congress voted unanimously for Independence with the exception of New York.  Livingston and the other delegates drafted a letter to The New York Provincial Congress on how to vote on the upcoming Declaration of Independence in which Dickinson participated in the drafting process

During this period, Jay made the short trek over the Hudson River to visit his wife in Elizabethtown. Upon returning to New York City he discovered the legislative body had voted to disband on the arrival of the British and reconvene to White Plains.  John Jay wrote Livingston:

I returned to this City from Elizt. Town, & to my great mortification am informed that our Convention influenced by one of G[ouverneur] Morris' vagrant Plans have adjourned to the White Plains to meet there tomorrow.”[48]

(1) I have but a moments time to answer your letter. I am mortified at the removal of our convention. I think as you do on the subject. If my fears on account of your health would permit I shd. request you never to leave that volatile politician a moment.(2) I have wished to be with you when I knew your situation. The Congress have done me the honour to refuse to let me go. I shall however apply again today. I thank God I have been the happy means of falling on a expedient which will call out the whole militia of this country in a few days-tho' the Congress had lost hopes of it from the unhappy dispute & other causes with which I will acquaint you in a few days.(3) We have desired a Genl to take the Command. I wish Mifflin may be sent for very obvious reasons.(4) If you see [him] tell [him] so from me. I have much to say to you but [not a] moment to say it in. God be with you.[49]

The New York Provincial Congress reconvened in White Plains July 9, 1776 with Robert R. Livingston en-route from Philadelphia.  In a strange twist of events the New York Body excluded Livingston and Jay from the great event of the Revolution, the signing of the Declaration of Independence.  Had John Jay been in Philadelphia, there is little doubt he would have sided with the conservatives causing the postponement of Independence.  By keeping Jay in New York his influence on Congress had been loss and now he was faced with their Delegates letter, the July 2nd Resolution, and 12 States signing the Declaration of Independence.  The debate on whether or not to sign lasted only the morning.  On Jay's motion the New York Convention unanimously approved: 

WHITE PLAINS, July 9th, 1776.

RESOLVED, UNANIMOUSLY, That the reasons assigned by the Continental Congress for declaring "the United Colonies free and independent States "are cogent and conclusive; and that, while we "lament, the cruel necessity which has rendered that measure unavoidable, we approve the same and “will, at the risk of our lives and fortunes, join with "the other Colonies in supporting it. "

RESOLVED, That a copy of the said Declaration  and the aforegoing Resolution be sent to the Chairman of the Committee of the County of Westchester, with order to publish the same, with beat of " drum, at this place, on Thursday next,  [July 11 ,1776];   and to give directions that it be published,  with all convenient speed, in the several Districts   within the said County; and that copies thereof be  forthwith transmitted to the other County Committees within the State of New York, with orders to  cause tire same to be published in the several  Districts of their respetive Counties.  

RESOLVED, That five hundred copies of the Declaration of Independence, with the two last mentioned Resolutions of this Congress for approving and proclaiming the same, be published in handbills and sent to all the County Committees in this State.
RESOLVED, That the Delegates of this State, in Continental Congress, be and they are hereby "authorized to consent to and adopt all such measures as they may deem conducive to the happiness "and welfare of the United States of America." It is said that the Report which was thus made by the Committee was unanimously adopted by the Congress; and, further, that an Order was made by the Congress directing that copies of the Resolutions which constituted the Report should be transmitted to the Continental Congress.[50]

Robert R. Livingston arrived in White Plains on July 11th, too late to participate in the State debate and sign the New York resolution.  He also missed the signing of the Declaration of Independence on August 2, 1776 having the distinction of being one of five assigned to draft the most notable document in U.S. History but never signing it.   

The successes of the British in New York; the retreat and desperate condition of Washington's army (for details on the battles and retreat go to Chapter 11, Thomas Mifflin) induced a feeling of despondency throughout the States in 1776.

By the end of December, 1776, Westchester County had been abandoned to the British; the attack on Canada had failed, and Washington was retreating through New Jersey. " In this Cmoment of gloom and dismay," Jay prepared an address from the Provincial Convention to their constituents: " What are the terms on which you are promised peace? Have you heard of any except absolute, unconditional obedience and servile submission? . . . And why should you be slaves now, having been freemen ever since the country was settled? ... If success crowns your efforts, all the blessings of freedom shall be your reward. If you fall in the contest, you will be happy with God in Heaven." The address was favorably received, and Congress at Philadelphia ordered it to be translated and printed in German at the public expense.[51]

Jay drafted the state constitution adopted by the convention of New York on April 20, 1777, which was meeting successively at Harlem, Kingsbridge, Philip's Manor, White Plains, Poughkeepsie and Kingston since July 10, 1776. The Constitution borrowed heavily from its colonial counterpart creating a weak bi-cameral legislature that could be dissolved by the Governor.  It included land qualifications for voting and didn’t require ratification by the people.  The Constitution also included a New York State Declaration of Independence from Great Britain. Despite sufficient representation numbering 70 legislative members the constitution was a product of New York’s privileged, who remained in control of the New York Political System.:

For the city and county of New York, nine. The city and county of Albany, ten.  The county of Dutchess, seven. The county of Westchester, six.  The county of Ulster, six.  The county of Suffolk, five. The county of Queens, four.  The county of Orange, four.  The county of Kings, two.  The county of Richmond, two.  Tryon County (Now Montgomery County), six.  Charlotte County (Now Washington County.), four.  Cumberland County (Partitioned January 15, 1777 for the creation of the State of Vermont.), three.  Gloucester County (Partitioned January 15, 1777 for the creation of the State of Vermont.), two.[52]

John Jay, who drafted the Constitution, did not vote on its ratification as his mother passed away:

On April 17, 1777, his mother died, and Jay hastened to Fishkill to attend the funeral and comfort the family. During his absence, on a Sunday, the Constitution was adopted; it was hurriedly printed, and published April 22d by being read from a platform in front of the courthouse at Kingston. Like all the early constitutions, except that of Massachusetts, it was never submitted to the people; the election of delegates for the express purpose of framing a constitution being deemed a ratification in advance. Jay was at once placed on a committee for organizing the new form of government. Under the plan of organization, fifteen persons, including Jay, were created a Council of Safety “with all the powers necessary for the safety and preservation of the State, until a meeting of the Legislature," and with instructions to administer the oath of office to the governor, when elected. Robert E. Livingston was appointed chancellor, John Jay chief justice, and others were appointed judges, sheriffs, and clerks, to act pro tempore, till the institution of the new government, a period, as it happened, of some six months. [53]

Early in his new duties as the New York Chief Justice, John Jay wrote his friend Gouvernor Morris about court and politics:

I am now engaged in the most disagreeable part of my duty, trying criminals. They multiply exceedingly. Robberies become frequent: the woods afford them shelter, and the tones food. Punishments must of course become certain, and mercy dormant—a harsh system, repugnant to my feelings, but nevertheless necessary. In such circumstances lenity would be cruelty, and severity is found on the side of humanity.
The influence of Lord North's conciliatory plan is happily counterbalanced by the intelligence from France. There was danger of its creating divisions. A desire of peace is natural to a harassed people; and the mass of mankind prefer present ease to the arduous exertions'often necessary to ensure permanent tranquility. What the French treaty may be, I know not. If Britain would acknowledge our independence, and enter into a liberal alliance with us, I should prefer a connexion with her to a league with any power on earth. Whether those objects be attainable, experience only can determine. I suspect the commissioners will have instructions to exceed their powers, if necessary. Peace, at all events, is, in my opinion, the wish of the minister. I hope the present favorable aspect of our affairs .will neither make us arrogant or careless. Moderation in prosperity marks great minds, and denotes a generous people.[54]

In the autumn of 1778, General Washington visited John Jay at Fishkill for a confidential council on pending plans of a French and American Campaign against Canada. They concurred in abandoning the measure, chiefly on the likelihood that if conquered, Canada would be retained by France.

Jay was elected to the Continental Congress on a special occasion due to the Vermont’s withdrawal from the juris­diction of New York. The Republic of Vermont was born due to Ethan Allen’s skillful political response to the competing factions in the Continental Congress. Several New England States wanted to control parts of Vermont thus expanding their own borders. Also during this period New York was determined to hold the Continental Congress Presidency as Henry Laurens tenure was nearing its end.  The New York leader’s choice was General Philip Schuyler[55] who was not present at the time.  John Jay, the newly appointed but previously notable delegate had taken his old seat in Congress. According to Sparks, editor Writings of Washington: 

 On the account of his absence, Mr. Jay was prevailed upon to take the chair, with a resolution on his part to resign in favor of General Schuyler as soon as he attends [56] 

John Jay arrived in Congress on December 5th, 1778 the same day Silas Deane published an appeal "to Free and Virtuous Citizens of America". Deane had been recalled from France for alleged corrupt dealings by Arthur Lee. In the summer of 1778 Deane attempted to clear himself but Congress sought to resolve the impasse by tabling the matter and not calling back Arthur Lee to substantiate Deane’s claim.  In his address (see the previous chapter for a full account of this affair), Deane indicted the conduct of his fellow commissioner Arthur Lee and obliquely challenged the authority of Congress. Samuel Adams, who had led the anti-French faction, with the help of President Henry Laurens, opposed Deane. Supporters of Benjamin Franklin, one of Deane's fel­low foreign commissioners, came to his defense.

Jay stepped right in the middle of the controversy. The New York Delegate had been briefed by Gouverneur and Robert Morris that Deane, despite his exceptional contributions as a commis­sioner in France, was ill-treated by Congress. John Jay who was part of the conservatives or “constructive party” helped secure Deane's 1776 appointment. Delegate Jay regarded Deane as honest and patriotic.  He had little regard for the Lees due to a bitter dispute with Richard Henry Lee in the First Continental Congress. Jay also knew that the Lees-Adam Faction was responsible for the Conway Cabal, General Schuyler and Arthur St. Clair's loss of favor during Burgoyne's Campaign against Fort Ticonderoga and Saratoga.  John Jay ardently supported Deane and therefore became a political opponent of then sitting President Henry Laurens.

President Henry Laurens was livid over Deane's public outcry and the President unsuccessfully attempted to have Congress censure Deane's publication. Laurens, for the third time, quit his office expecting Congress to reject his resignation. To Laurens surprise he was not asked to stay on as President by a majority vote of the delegates. Instead Congress called for a recess until the following day to deliberate and then hold an election for a new President.

The Continental Congress turned to Laurens adversary, John Jay only three days after taking his Delegate seat and elected him President of the Continental Congress on December 10, 1778.  Eight states voting for Jay and four for Laurens. On December 10th Jay wrote George Clinton of New York: 

Many unavoidable Delays prevented my arrival here till Sunday evening last. Yesterday Mr. Laurens resigned the Chair, & this morning Congress were pleased to appoint me to succeed him. This Circumstance was unexpected. Let your public Letters be public ones. I mean that public & private matters should not be mixed in the same Letters.  
Commodore Wynkoop's memorial has been presented & committed. You shall have the earliest Intelligence of its Fate.1 I have heard, tho not from authority, that the Enemy have quitted the River without having accomplished anything of Importance. God Grant it may be true. We have no Intelligence worth communicating.  
The Season for bringing on the affair of Vermont is not yet arrived, nor can I divine what will be the Issue of it. I can only say that my Endeavors shall not be wanting to bring it to a Termination satisfactory to New York. Be pleased to present my best Respects to Mrs. Clinton & believe that I am [57]

Fellow N.Y. Delegate, James Duane also wrote New York Governor Clinton on December 10, 1778:

Mr. President Laurens, who has been in the Chair 13 months yesterday resigned, sated with honor, and worn down with fatigue. A respect as to the Confederacy had an influence on this measure. You remember this grand instrument of our federal union restrains the same member from serving more than a year at one time. 
A great majority of Congress immediately determined that one of the New York Delegates should succeed in the Chair. We held up General Schuyler, which seemed to be very agreeable. On account of his absence, Mr. Jay was prevailed on to take the chair with a resolution on his part to resign in favor of General Schuyler as soon as he attends. (1) I hope we shall be able to contrive the means of his executing the particular commission with which he is intrusted. (2) On this subject we have not yet conferred any further than to learn to my utter astonishment that he is not possessed of the Maps and papers reported by a Committee of Convention to justify our claims. I entreat your Excellency to forward one of the Maps and a copy of the minutes of the Committee, or rather of their state of the territorial claim of New York.  
All the States except Maryland and Delaware have actually signed the Confederacy. New Jersey without waiting for our offer. I fear it will cost me a jaunt to Maryland to prevail on that State to accede; as I am spoken of as one of a Committee for that purpose. (3) Disengaged as we are from any obligation to New Jersey we propose to hold out the grant of the bounty lands to Maryland. The want of ability to gratify their soldiery is a capital if not the material objection.  
I write in a hurry after the fatigues of the day. I write in confidence because I have not time to weigh what I write. Your Excellency I wish to see what passes on every important event.[58] 

General Schuyler did not attend nor seek John Jay’s office of President. It should be noted that in 1778, John Jay was actually serving in a dual role of Chief Justice of New York and President of the Continental Congress. He did not resign the Chief Justice position until shortly before resigning the Presidency.  The resignation of both offices was required to accept the position of Foreign Secretary to the United States in 1779.

During his Presidency, John Jay continued to align himself with the "constructive party" contingent that was against the Adams and Lees.  According to Sanders,

 He wrote to Washington that the Marine and Commercial Committees did not and could not amount to much because they were mere tools of the 'Family Compact' who desired to keep them useless and impotent for their own purposes. And of course he was no friend of Gates and the Cabal Crowd. [59]

 Jay is described by most Congressional Scholars as an elitist believing that the wealthy, socially connected and men of intellect should govern the country. Delegate William Carmichael's letter to Signer of the Declaration of Independence Charles Carroll of Carrollton on January 16, 1779 gives some indication of the inner workings of congress and John Jay:

I am much beholden to you for your letter of the 2nd inst. Let me assure you that all will be done-as you wish. In this august Assembly we dawdle and dally-nothing ever gets done as one could wish. I give you an example. There was a spirited discussion on how to reimburse Mo Beaumarchais petition on his behalf by M. France, decided to render payment in tobacco. It was late when Congress was ready to vote. As usual we looked to the President to give his opinion before balloting. Mr. Jay is more judicious than his predecessor in the chair, and less prolix, but I almost despaired of our getting thro' because Mr. Penn, Caro[lina], would not desist. It seems that Maryland tobacco is to be purchased which would be a pretty business.[60]

As with his predecessors Jay was no stranger to the chrisitian-judeo theology the so entwined the workings of the Continental Congress. One of John Jay's acts as President was issu­ing a Proclamation call for a Day of Fasting Humiliation and Prayer:


Whereas, in just punishment of our manifold transgressions, it hath pleased the Supreme Disposer of all events to visit these United States with a destructive calami­tous war, through which His divine Providence hath, hitherto, in a wonderful manner, conducted us, so that we might acknowledge that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong: and whereas, there is but too much Reason to fear that notwith­standing the chastisements received and benefits bestowed, too few have been suffi­ciently awakened to a sense of their guilt, or warmed our Bosoms with gratitude, or taught to amend their lives and turn from their sins, that so He might turn from His wrath. And whereas, from a consciousness of what we have merited at His hands, and an apprehension that the malevolence of our disappointed enemies, like the increduli­ty of Pharaoh, may be used as the scourge of Omnipotence to vindicate his slighted Majesty, there is reason to fear that he may permit much of our land to become the prey of the spoiler, and the Blood of the innocent be poured out that our borders to be ravaged, and our habitations destroyed:

Resolved, That it be recommended to the several states to appoint the first Thursday in May next, to be a day of fasting, Thanksgiving humiliation and prayer to Almighty God, that he will be pleased to avert those impending calamities which we have but too well deserved: that he will grant us his grace to repent of our sins, and amend our lives, according to his holy word: that he will continue that wonderful protection which hath led us through the paths of danger and distress: that he will be a husband to the widow and a father to the fatherless children, who weep over the barbarities of a savage enemy: that he will grant us patience in suffering, and fortitude in adversity: that he will inspire us with humility and moderation, and gratitude in prosperous cir­cumstances: that he will give wisdom to our councils, firmness to our resolutions, and victory to our arms That he will have Mercy on our Foes, and graciously forgive them, and turn their Hearts from Enmity to Love. 

That he will bless the labours of the husbandman, and pour forth abundance, so that we may enjoy the fruits of the earth in due season. That he will cause union, harmony, and mutual confidence to prevail throughout these states: that he will bestow on our great ally all those blessings which may enable him to be gloriously instrumental in protecting the rights of mankind, and promoting the happiness of his subjects and advancing the Peace and Liberty of Nations. That he will give to both Parties to this Alliance, Grace to perform with Honor and Fidelity their National Engagements].1  That he will bountifully continue his paternal care to the commander in chief, and the officers and soldiers of the United States: that he will grant the blessings of peace to all contending nations, freedom to those who are in bondage, and comfort to the afflicted: that he will diffuse useful knowledge, extend the influence of true religion, and give us that peace of mind, which the world cannot give: that he will be our shield in the day of battle, our comforter in the hour of death, and our kind parent and merciful judge through time and through eternity.  Done in Congress, this 20th day of March, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy-nine, and in the third year of our independence.

John Jay, President.  Attest, Charles Thomson, Secretary.[61]

March 20, 1779 Proclamation for a day of Fasting
Humiliation and Prayer signed by John Jay -
Courtesy of the Library of Congress,
Rare Book and Special Collections Division.[62]

On April 2nd, 1779 as John Jay wrote to Major General Benjamin Lincoln a letter of recommendation  for a Continental soldier. Jay acknowledges he is not personally acquainted with Clarkson but is "so well informed" of his character … as to believe you will always be happy in leading a young soldier to glory, and to afford him that coun­tenance and protection which a brave and generous youth seldom fails to invite". He adds that he will be obligated to Lincoln "by becoming his friend as well as his general". Under General Lincoln, Clarkson participated in the siege of Savannah, and in the defense of Charleston he served as a major of infantry. He became a prisoner at Charleston's surrender to the British. In 1781 as a pris­oner exchange he returned to his place as aide to General Lincoln, and was with him at the reduc­tion of Yorktown.  Letters such as these were common occurrences in the line of Presidential duties but they did not carry the weight of a Constitution of 1787 U.S. Presidents who were also Commander-in-Chiefs of the U.S. Armed services.

Copyright © 2008 Stan Klos and Forgotten Founders, Inc.
President John Jay to General Benjamin Lincoln
image Courtesy of the Stan Klos Collection [63]

Later that month, however, rivalry between General Horatio Gates and Commander-in-Chief George Washington reignited once again and President John Jay was, by the nature of his office, the primary arbitrator. Paul H. Smith Library of Congress editor, Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774-1789 writes:

Gates' March 15 letter to Congress … contained his opinion of possible routes for an expedition into Canada and discussed his correspondence with Washington on the subject, which reflected the strained relations that had long prevailed between the two generals. Jay made the following extract of it, which he sent to Washington under cover of a brief note dated '6th April 1779' and marked 'Private.'

'The enclosed Copy of my Letter to General Washington of the 4th Instant,'  Gates explained, 'in answer to his of the 14th Ulto. from Middlebrook, will give Congress a true Idea of my opin­ion, respecting our entering Canada, and the only Route which we can take with rea­sonable Hopes of Success. Individuals and not the public will be benefited by an Expedition into Canada, by either of the routes from Albany. That of Coos alone is practicable, but not without the Co-operation of the allied Fleet. General Washington's Letter of the 14th Feby is enclosed. It being the only Letter I have received from his Excellency, since December, Congress will immediately judge of the Extent, or Limitations which it is proper to observe in their Instructions to me.'

Jay's covering note to Washington reads simply:

 'Mr. Jay presents his Compliments to General Washington, and encloses an Extract from a Letter in a certain Degree inter­esting.'

Washington's lengthy April 14 reply to Jay's note reflected great sensitivity over how his correspondence with Gates might be interpreted and the intensity of Washington's feeling against him, which prompted even a sympathetic biographer to observe. 'Was it necessary to employ 3500 words in order to demonstrate that Washington's dislike of Gates was justified and was as deep-seated as Gates's bias against his Commander-in-Chief?' [64]

Upon Receipt of Washington's April 14th 1779 letter, President John Jay, in true patriot fashion, composed a warm letter to the Commander-in-Chief:

Dear Sir, Accept my Thanks for the long & friendly Letter of the 14 Inst. which I have had the Pleasure of receiving from you. It was for many Reasons grateful to me. I value the Esteem of the wise and virtuous, and had wished to know the particulars of Transactions, respecting which only vague and unsatisfactory Reports, had come to my Knowledge. Delicacy forbid my breaking the Subject to you when here. I was sure of your Politeness, but not certain of a more than usual Degree of Confidence. The latter is now become manifest, and permit me to assure you it shall be mutual.

The Impression attempted to be made, has not taken. It passed without a single Remark. Your Friends thought it merited nothing but Silence and Neglect. The same Reason enduced me to take no Notice of it in my Answer.

I have perused the several Papers with which you favored me. The Delicacy, Candor & Temper diffused thro' your Letters, form a strong Contrast to the Evasions & Design observable in some others. Gratitude ought to have attached a certain Gentleman to the Friend who raised him. A spurious Ambition however, has it seems made him your Enemy. This is not uncommon. To the Dishonor of human nature, the History of Mankind has many Pages filled with similar Instances; and we have little Reason to expect that the Annals of the present, or future Times, will present us with fewer Characters of this Class. On the contrary, there is Reason to expect they will multiply in the Course of this Revolution. Seasons of general Heat, Tumult and Fermentation favor the Production & Growth of some great Virtues, and of many great and little Vices. Which will predominate, is a Question which Events not yet produced, nor now to be discerned, can alone determine. What Parties and Factions will arise, to what Objects be directed, what Sacrifices they will require, and who will be the Victims, are matters beyond the Sphere of human Prevision. New Modes of Government not gen­erally understood, nor in certain Instances approved-Want of Moderation and Information in the People-want of Abilities & Rectitude in some of their Rulers-a wide Field open for the Operations of Ambition-Men raised from low Degrees to high Stations, and rendered giddy by Elevation, and the Extent of their Views-Laws dictat­ed by the Spirit of the Times, not the Spirit of Justice and liberal Policy-Latitude in Principles as well as Commerce-Fluctuation in Manners, and public Counsels-Suspension of Education-Indifference to Religion, and moral Obligations &c &c. are Circumstances that portend Evils which much Prudence, vigor and Circumspection are necessary to prevent or controul. To me there appears Reason to expect a long Storm, and difficult Navigation. Calm Repose and the Sweets of undisturbed Retirement, appear more distant than a Peace with Britain.

It gives me Pleasure however to reflect, that the Period is approaching when we shall become Citizens of a better ordered State; and the spending a few troublesome Years of our Eternity in doing good to this and future Generations is not to be avoided or regretted. Things will come Right, and these States will be great and flourishing. The Dissolution of our Governments threw us into a political Chaos. Time, wisdom and Perseverance will reduce it into Form, and give it Strength, Order and Harmony. In this Work you are (in the Stile of one of your Professions) a master builder, and God grant that you may long continue a free and accepted one.

Thus my dear Sir! I have indulged myself in thinking loud in your Hearing-it would be an Hybernicism to say in your Sight tho in one Sense more true. It is more than prob­able that I shall frequently do the like. Your Letter shall be my Apology-and the Pleasure resulting from Converse with those we esteem, my motive. [65]

This letter became the foundation of what became a steadfast friendship between John Jay and George Washington for the rest of their lives. John Jay had gained Washington's trust and respect earlier when he backed The Commander-in-Chief position to forgo General Lafayette Congressional proposal liberate the French people in Quebec. George Washington strongly opposed the plan and despite some significant support for Lafayette in Congress President Jay opposed the invasion with this letter:  

The Congress have directed me to observe to you, that the Plan for emancipating Canada was conceived at a Time when, from various movements of the Enemy there was the highest Reason to expect a speedy & total Evacuation of all the Posts they held in these States. Those Indications however proved fallacious & the Probability of their quitting this Country in the Course of the Winter is become very slender, nor is it by any Means certain that they will do it in the Spring. Prudence therefore dictates that the arms of America should be employed in expelling the Enemy from her own shores, before the Liberation of a Neighbouring Province is undertaken. As the pro­portion of force necessary for our Defence must be determined by the future Operations & Designs of the Enemy which cannot now be known, and as in Case of another Campaign it may happen to be very inconvenient if not impossible for us to furnish our proposed Quota of Troops for the Emancipation of Canada, Congress think they ought not under such circumstances to draw their good Ally into a Measure the Issue of which depending on a variety of Contingencies would be very uncertain, & might be very ruinous. [66]

1] George Pellew, John Jay, Houghton, Mifflin and Company Boston:1890, page 6
[2] Ibid, page 9
[3] Definitive Treaty of Peace and Alliance between Great Britain France and Spain, concluded at Paris, February 10th 1763
[4] Ibid, page 11
[5] Peter Jay  to John Jay, 1763 n.d. , The Papers of John Jay, Kissam, Benjamin, Original Manuscript, Columbia University, Butler Library, Rare Book & Manuscript Division.
[6] Ibid, January 16, 1764

[7] Benjamin Kissam to John Jay, August 15, 1766, The Papers of John Jay, Kissam, Benjamin, Original Manuscript, Columbia University, Butler Library, Rare Book & Manuscript Division.
[8] Ibid, John Jay to Robert Livingston, May 1, 1765, Original Manuscript Repository  at Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History
[9] Ibid, An account with Christopher Tappen, concerning various court costs incurred by the partnership of Jay & Livingston, 1768-1772, Original Manuscript., October 31, 1791
[10]Ibid,  Nov. 6, 1760
[11] George Pellew, John Jay, Houghton, Mifflin and Company Boston:1890, page 25
[12] Ibid, page 21
[13] Louise V. North,  The "Amiable" Children of John and Sarah Livingston Jay,
Columbia's Legacy: Friends and Enemies in the New Nation Conference at Columbia University and The New-York Historical Society, Dec. 10, 2004
[14] Peter Force,  American Archives: Containing A Documentary History Of The United States Of America Series 4, Six Volumes and Series 5, NY Committee of 51 to Committee of Correspondence, Boston, May 23, 1774
[15] Thomas Jones and Edward Floyd De Lancey, History of New York During the Revolutionary War: And of the Leading Events, New York Historical Society: 1879, page 459
[16] Ibid, 450
[17] Advertisement, New York Committee of Correspondence, Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections Division
[18] John Adams, John Adams diary 22, 4 September - 9 November 1774. Stitched sheets in marbled paper covers (35 pages, 13 additional blank pages). Original manuscript from the Adams Family Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society, page 21. 
[19] Journals of the Continental Congress, Articles of Association, October 20, 1774.
[20] Ibid
[21]  Abraham Yates, Notes of the 1st and 2nd Continental Congresses, The Papers of John Jay, Kissam, Benjamin, Original Manuscript, Columbia University, Butler Library, Rare Book & Manuscript Division. Jay ID:  2732
[22] Ibid, Jay’s Notes on his appointments to committees, Jay ID:  12955
[23] John Adams, John Adams autobiography, part 1, "John Adams," through 1776. Part 1 is comprised of 53 sheets and 1 insertion; 210 pages total. Original manuscript from the Adams Family Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society. Page 4
[24] Jefferson, Thomas, July 27, 1821, Autobiography Draft Fragment, Original Manuscript, The Thomas Jefferson Papers Series 1. General Correspondence. 1651-1827, page 517
[25] Journals of the Continental Congress, Petition to King George, October 26, 1774.
[26] Ibid
[27] Donald L. Smith, John Jay A Founder of a State and Nation, Teachers College Press, Columbia University 1968, page 16.
[28] George Pellew, John Jay, page 42.
[29] Peter Force, American Archives: Minutes of the Provincial Convention of New-York, City of New-York, April, 20, 1775.
[30] Ibid
[31] Fredrick Jay wrote John Jay on May 11, 1775 that Election of members of Westchester County committee, President Myles Cooper driven from King's College by a mob in disguise, Original Manuscript, Columbia University, Butler Library, Rare Book & Manuscript Division
[32] John Adams,  John Adams autobiography, part 1, "John Adams," through 1776. Part 1 is comprised of 53 sheets and 1 insertion; 210 pages total. Original manuscript from the Adams Family Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society.
[33] Ibid
[34] John Adams and Charles Francis Adams, The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States, Little Brown: 1856, page 80
[35] William Henry Michael, History of the Department of State of the United States, United States Department of State: 1901, page 93
[36] Charles Oscar Paullin, Diplomatic Negotiations of American Naval Officers, 1778-1883 The Johns Hopkins Press: 1912, page 12
[37] John Adams,  John Adams autobiography, part 1, "John Adams," through 1776. Part 1 is comprised of 53 sheets and 1 insertion; 210 pages total. Original manuscript from the Adams Family Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society.
[38] John Jay to Sarah Jay,  December 23, 1775 , The Papers of John Jay, Original Manuscript, Columbia University, Butler Library, Rare Book & Manuscript Division. Jay ID:  5305
[39] Ibid
[40] Paul H. Smith,  ed. Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774-1789, Chronology 1778-1779
[41] Ibid, John Jay to James Day January 4, 1776.
[42] Alexander Hamilton to John Jay, January 4, 1776, Original Manuscript, Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History
[43] John Adams and Charles Francis Adams, The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States, Little Brown: 1856, page 207
[44] George Pellew, John Jay, page 54
[45] William Jay, The Life of John Jay: With Selections from His Correspondence, J. & J. Harper: 1883 page 5
[46] Ibid
[47] Henry Russell Drowne, A Sketch of Fraunces Tavern and Those Connected with Its History, Fraunces Tavern: New York 1919, page 8.
[48] Paul H. Smith,  ed. Letters of Delegates to Congress, John Jay to Robert R. Livingston, July 1, 1776.
[49] Ibid, Robert R. Livingston to John Jay, July 9, 1776
[50] Dawson, Henry Barton, Westchester County, New York, During the American Revolution, New York State: 1886, page 196.
[51] George Pellew, John Jay, page 75
[52]  New York State Constitution of 1777
[53] Opt Cit, page 88
[54] William Jay, The Life of John Jay: pages 23 and 24
[55] Philip John Schuyler (November 20, 1733 - November 18, 1804) was a Major General in the American Revolution and later a United States Senator from New York.  Alexander Hamilton, who was later Secretary of the Treasury, married his daughter Elizabeth.
[56] Jared Sparks, The Writings of George Washington: Being His Correspondence, Addresses By George Washington, Harper and Brothers, Publisher, New York: 1847, page 378
[57] George Clinton, Hugh Hastings, and James Austin Holden, Public Papers of George Clinton, First Governor of New York, 1777-1795, State of New York: 1900, page 360
[58] Paul H. Smith,  ed. Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774-1789,  James Duane to Governor Clinton, December 10, 1778
[59] Jennings B. Sanders, Presidency of the Continental Congress 1774-89 A Study in American Institutional History, University of Chicago Press, 1930.
[60] Opt Cit, William Carmichael  to Charles Carroll of Carrollton on January 16, 1779
[61] Journals of the Continental Congress, Day of Fasting, Humiliation, and Prayer to Almighty God,  March 20, 1779
[62] Ibid, Broadside by Hall and Sellers: Philadelphia, Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections.
[63] John Jay,  to Benjamin Lincoln, Original Manuscript, April 2. 1779, Stanley L. Klos Collection,
[64] Paul H. Smith,  ed. Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774-1789, Notes On George Washington’s April 14, 1779 letter
[65] Ibid
[66] Ibid, John Jay to the Marquis de Lafayette, January 3, 1779
[67] Ibid, John Jay to George Washington   April 1779
[68] Journals of the Continental Congress, September 13, 1779.
[69] Francis Wharton,   The Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States,  Published by an Act of Congress date August 13, 1888, Government Printing Office, Washington D.C. 1889, Page 556
[70] Ibid
[71] Paul H. Smith,  ed. Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774-1789, Chronology 1778-1779
[72] Paul H. Smith,  ed. Letters of Delegates to Congress, Samuel Huntington to John Jay, October 1, 1779.
[73] Ibid, John Jay to George Clinton, October 5, 1779.
[74] Ibid, John Jay to Samuel Huntington, October 15, 1779.
[75] Ibid, Samuel Huntington to John Jay, October 17, 1779.
[76] John Jay   to George Clinton, Original Manuscript, October 25, 1779, Jay, Peter to John Jay, 1763 n.d. , The Papers of John Jay, Kissam, Benjamin, Original Manuscript, Columbia University, Butler Library, Rare Book & Manuscript Division.
[77] Ibid, John Jay to Robert Livingston, October 25, 1779
[78] Jared Sparks, The Diplomatic Correspondence of the American Revolution, Department of State, 1830, page 211.
[79] Ibid, pages 217-218
[80] Francis Wharton, The Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States, page 710
[81] Jay, William, The Life of John Jay, pages 450-453
[82] Jay, John to Floridablanca, Jose Monino y Redondo, conde de, 1780 May 01, The Papers of John Jay, Original Manuscript Library of Congress, Jay Papers ID:  10263
[83] Wharton, Francis, ed, The Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States, United States Congress: 1888,  John Jay to the President of the United States in Congress Assembled.
[84] Ibid, John Jay to Count de Florida Blanca, September 22, 1781
[85] Ibid, Benjamin Franklin to John Jay, Passy, April 22, 1782
[86] Journals of the United States in Congress Assembled, 15 June, 1781
[87] James Grant Wilson  and John Fiske , Appleton's Appleton's Cyclopædia of American Biography,  D. Appleton and company: 1888,  page 409
[88] Francis Wharton,  ed, The Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States,  John Jay to the President of the United States in Congress Assembled.
[89] Ibid, Jay to Livingston, June 25, 1782
[90] Ibid, Jay to Montmorin, June 26, 1782
[91] Richard Oswald was born in Scotland in 1705 and is best remembered as the British peace commissioner in Paris in 1782. He had an extensive career as a merchan and counselor to the British Ministry on trade regulations and the conduction of the Revolutionary War in America.
[92] Jared Sparks, The Life of Gouverneur Morris: With Selections from His Correspondence   Gray & Bowen,  Published 1832, page 245
[93] Charles Gravier, Comte de Vergennes (December 20th, 1717—13 February 13th, 1787) was a French statesman and diplomat. He served as Foreign Minister during the reign of Louis XVI, notbably during the American War of Independence.
[94] Alleyne Fitzherbert, 1st Baron St Helens (born Derby 1 March 1753, died London 19 February 1839) was a British diplomat assigned to Brussels until August 1782.  Lord Shelburne appointed him plenipotentiary to negotiate a peace with France, Spain, and   the United States. On January 20, 1783 the preliminaries of peace Spain and France were duly signed. The peace with the American colonies, which was agreed to in November was not brought to a conclusion under Fitzherbert's charge but he maintained the treat with France in Spain made the Treaty of Paris possible with the United States.
[95] Edward Everett Hale,  Franklin in France, Roberts Brothers, Boston: 1888, pages 93-93
[96] Charles III of Spain, House of Bourbon, Cadet branch of the Capetian dynasty, Born: 20 January 1716 and Died: 14 December 1788
[97] Joseph Matthais Gérard de Rayneval (1736-1812) was the under-secretary of state to Comte de Vergennes. In 1776, he produced a memo of the strategic situation, "Reflections on the Situation in America."  In 1782, he was sent on several secret missions to England, to make peace feelers.John Jay earned of the French duplilcity, leading him to begin separate negotiations with the British.
[98] François Barbé-Marbois, (31 January 1745—12 February 1837) who in 1779 was made secretary of the French legation to the United States. When the minister Chevalier de la Luzerne returned to France in 1783, Barbé-Marbois remained in America as chargé d'affaires.
[99] William Petty-FitzMaurice, 1st Marquess of Lansdowne, KG, PC (2 May 1737 – 7 May 1805).  He was known as The Earl of Shelburne between 1761 and 1784.  During the Treaty of Paris he was the first Bristish Home Secretary in 1782 and then Prime Minister 1782 – 1783.
[100] Smith, Donald L., John Jay A Founder of a State and Nation, page 87
[101] John Jay, The Peace Negotiations of 1782 and 1783: An Address Delivered Before the New York Historical Society.  Kessinger Publishing: 2006
[102] George Bancroft, History of the United States: From the Discovery of the American Continent,
Little, Brown, And Company, Boston: 1875 pages 583-583
[103] William Temple Franklin, William Duane, Memoirs of Benjamin Franklin, Derby & Jackson, New York: 1859, page 556.
[104] Francis Wharton ed, The Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States, John Jay to Gouverneur Morris,  October 13, 1782
[105] Ibid, John Jay to Robert Livingston, November  17, 1782.
[106] Ibid
[107] John Adams, John Adams diary 35, 26 October - 17 November 1782. Folded sheets, first leaf serves as cover (22 pages). Original manuscript from the Adams Family Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society. Page 2
[108] Ibid, page 10
[109] John Adams, Letter from John Adams to Abigail Adams, 8 November 1782. 4 pages. Original manuscript from the Adams Family Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society
[110] Wharton, Francis, ed, The Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States, John Adams to Robert Livingston, November 21, 1782.
[111] Thomas Jones,  Floyd De Lancey, History of New York During the Revolutionary War: And of the Leading Events, New York Historical Society: 1879, pages 329-300
[112] John Adams, John Adams diary 37, 22 - 30 November 1782. Stitched sheets without covers (23 pages, 1 additional blank page). Original manuscript from the Adams Family Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society, page 3.
[113] Ibid, page 7
[114] Ibid, page 17
[115] James Grant Wilson,  and John Fiske, Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography; D. Appleton and company, 1888, page 410
[116] Paul H. Smith, ed. Letters of Delegates to Congress, Alexander Hamilton to John Jay, July 25. 1783
[117] James Madison, The Papers of James Madison, J. & H. G. Langley, 1841, page 518
[118] Treaty of Paris, original Manuscript, September 3, 1783, National Archives of the United States
[119] Journals of the United States in Congress Assembled, Jays Election as Foreign Secretary, May 7, 1784.
[120] Paul H. Smith, ed. Letters of Delegates to Congress , Charles Thomson to John Jay, JUNE 18, 1784
[121] James Grant Wilson,  The Memorial History of the City of New-York, J.B. Lippincott & Co, Philadelphia:1858,  page 359
[122] Journals of the United States in Congress Assembled, August 19, 1784.
[123] William Jay, The Life of John Jay, page 158
[124] Ibid
[125] Ibid, page 160
[126] George Pellew, John Jay, page 230
[127] Paul H. Smith,  ed. Letters of Delegates to Congress, Elbridge Gerry to James Warren, Dec. 23, 1784
[128] John Jay, New York Packet, Friday, March 7, 1788 The Federalist. No. Lxiv
[129] George Pellew, John Jay, page 294
[130] John Baker-Holroyd, 1st Earl of Sheffield (21 December 1735–30 May 1821) was an English politician who came from a Yorkshire family. In 1781 he was created a Peer of Ireland as Baron Sheffield, of Dunamore in the County of Meath, and in 1783 was further created Baron Sheffield, of Roscommon in the County of Roscommon.  He was a great authority on farming, and in 1803, he was appointed President of the Board of Agriculture.
[131] Thomas Francis Moran,  The Formation and Development of the Constitution,
George Barrie: 1904, page 290.
[132] John Jay,  Resignation as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Original Manuscript, June 29, 1795 Library of Congress
[133] Webster, Daniel,  Speech at Public Dinner at New York, March 10, 1831, The Library of Literary Criticism of English and American Authors By Charles Wells Moulton..
[134] James Grant Wilson, and John Fiske, Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography, page 411.

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Continental Congress of the United Colonies Presidents 
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Declined Office
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05/20/ 75 - 05/24/75
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Sarah Livingston Jay (1756-1802)
12/ 10/78 – 09/28/78
Martha Huntington (1738/39–1794)
09/29/79 – 02/28/81
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January 12, 1880 (Aged 43)
June 2, 1886 – March 4, 1889
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