Autograph letter signed ("John Jay") to Theophilus Parsons, Albany, 1 July 1800. John JAY.
Autograph letter signed ("John Jay") to Theophilus Parsons, Albany, 1 July 1800
Autograph letter signed ("John Jay") to Theophilus Parsons, Albany, 1 July 1800
JOHN JAY'S CONCERNS ABOUT THE STATE OF AFFAIRS OF THE COUNTRY

Autograph letter signed ("John Jay") to Theophilus Parsons, Albany, 1 July 1800

Two pages, 4to, a bifolium with integral address panel. Lightly browned, the address panel lightly stained, generally in fine condition. Item #404253

John Jay, having just returned from New York City to Albany, responds to a letter from Parsons. Jay discusses the general state of US politics and specifically the diplomatic relationship between the US and France following the XYZ Affair. He expresses concern about the state of affairs of the country, which he sees as “far from being agreable [sic].” His concerns are as follows:

A. “Altho peculiarly blessed and having abundant Reason for Content & Gratitude our nation is permitting their Happiness to be put in Jeopardy by the worst passions inflamed and directed by the most reprehensible means. Whether the good sense of the People will avert the Dangers which threaten them, is yet to be seen.”

B. “If the sound and leading friends of their country would concur in opinions as to men and measures, their efforts would probably be successful, but unfortunately there is too little unanimity on many points.”

C. “It really appears to me that the mission of our Envoys to France has been treated with too much asperity. The President’s [attachment] to the Dictator of Honor and good* faith, even supposing it to be scrupulous, was amiable and praiseworthy.”


Jay had been elected the second governor of New Yok in May 1795, as a Federalist; John Adams had been elected as president in 1796.

After the US signed a treaty with Britain in 1793, France seized a number of American merchant ships. George Washington’s first envoy to France to settle the matter was unsuccessful. Adams, after taking office, sent a second envoy in 1797, which was again unsuccessful; a “Quasi War” between the US and France ensued. Jay supports the re-establishment of good relations, stating that sending diplomatic envoys to France is “a matter of course.” Ultimately the September 1800 Treaty of Mortefontaine ended the Quasi War” and re-established diplomatic relations between France and the United States.

Jay also refers to a Reverend Mr. Andrews, a shared friend of Jay and Parsons, who was also involved in Massachusetts political life. (Henry P. Johnston, ed., The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, 1794-1826, pp. 275).

Price: $7,000.00

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