George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Jay, 14 October 1779

From John Jay

Ph[iladelphi]a 14th Octr 1779

My dear Sir

Your very kind Letter of the 7 instant gave me all that Pleasure, which accompanies marks of cordial Esteem & attachmt from those whose Commendation is Praise and whose Friendship is discriminate.

Among the Objects of my Mission are some, which however just, will not be easily attain’d and therefore its Success will be precarious & probably partial. The only Satisfaction I promise myself from this appointmt will flow from the Rectitude with which the Duties of it will be discharged, & not from a Prospect of general approbation.1

God grant that the time may not be far distant when Peace & Liberty shall lead you from the Field to enjoy in Silence & Retiremt the Luxury of reflecting that you had saved your Country.2 Adieu my Dear Sir with sincere affection & Esteem I am your friend & servt.


1On 27 Sept., Congress had elected Jay, who had been serving as president of Congress, minister plenipotentiary to the court of Spain to negotiate a treaty of alliance, amity, and commerce (see JCC, description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends 15:1113).

2Jay, accompanied by his family and Conrad-Alexandre Gérard, the outgoing minister plenipotentiary of France, sailed on 18 Oct. from the port of Chester, Pa., onboard the Continental frigate Confederacy. The Confederacy, dismasted in a gale, diverted to Martinique in the West Indies, and Jay continued to Spain in a French frigate, arriving at Cadiz on 22 Jan. 1780.

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