Alexander Hamilton Papers
Documents filtered by: Author="Jay, John" AND Recipient="Hamilton, Alexander" AND Period="Washington Presidency"
sorted by: date (descending)

To Alexander Hamilton from John Jay, 11 September 1794

From John Jay

London 11 Septr. 1794

Dear Sir

I had last week the Pleasure of recieving from you a few Lines by Mr. Blaney.1 You will recieve this Letter by the Hands of Mr. Morris.2 He will also be the Bearer of my Dispatches to Mr. Randolph.3 They will be voluminous, particular, and in many Respects interesting. It should not be forgotten that there is Irritation here, as well as in America, and that our party Processions, Toasts; Rejoicings &c &c. have not been well calculated to produce goodwill and good Humour. The government nevertheless destinguishes between national acts, and these party Effusions, and have entertained hitherto an opinion and Belief that the Presidt. and our Governmt. and nation in general, were really desirous of an amicable Settlement of Differences, and of laying a Foundation for Friendship as well as peace between the two Countries.

The Secretary’s Letters by Mr. Munro, and his Speech on his Introduction to the Convention have appeared in the English papers.4 Their Impression in this Country may easily be conjectured. I wish they had both been more guarded. The Language of the United States at Paris and at London, should correspond with their neutrality. These things are not favorable to my Mission.

A speedy Conclusion to the negociation is problematical, tho not highly improbable, If I should be able to conclude the Business on admissible Terms, I shall do it, and risque Consequences; rather than by the Delays of waiting for, and covering myself by opinions & Instructions hazard a Change in the Disposition of this Court—for it seems our Country, or rather some parts of it, will not forbear Asperities. I hear that Virga. is taking british property by Escheat;5 and other things which in the present moment are unseasonable, are here reported.

As the proposed Articles are under Consideration—as they have already undergone some Alterations, and as I am not without Hopes of other and further Amendments, I really think they ought not to be published in their present crude State; especially as in the Course of a few weeks I expect to be able to communicate their ultimate Form. If then, they should not appear to me to be such as I ought to sign, I will transmit them, and wait for further Instructions.

I am Dear Sir   Yours sincerely

John Jay

Col. Hamilton

ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress; ADfS, Columbia University Libraries.

1Letter not found. David Blaney not only delivered H’s letter to Jay but he also had the distinction of delivering the text of the “Treaty of Amity, Commerce, and Navigation,” or the Jay Treaty, which Blaney gave to Edmund Randolph on March 7, 1795 (Blaney to Randolph, March 11, 1795 [ALS, RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters, 1790–1799, National Archives]).

For Blaney’s bill to “the US. for bringing the Treaty from London to Phila.,” see the enclosure in Blaney to Timothy Pickering, March 11, 1797 (copy, RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters, 1790–1799, National Archives).

2Robert Morris, Jr.

3Jay’s dispatches to Randolph are dated September 13, 14, 1794 (ALS, RG 59, Despatches from United States Ministers to Great Britain, 1791–1806, Vol. 1, April 19, 1794–June 1, 1795, National Archives).

4On August 15, 1794, shortly after his arrival in Paris, James Monroe, the United States Minister Plenipotentiary to France, addressed the French National Assembly in a speech in which he enthusiastically endorsed United States friendship for France (LC, RG 59, Despatches from United States Ministers to France, 1789–1869, Vol. 6, August 15, 1794–October 21, 1796, National Archives). Monroe’s address is printed in ASP description begins American State Papers, Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States (Washington, 1832–1861). description ends , Foreign Relations, I, 673–74. At the same time Monroe delivered two letters from Randolph to the Committee of Public Safety of the French Republic, dated June 10, 1794, both of which emphasized the friendly attitude of the United States toward France (copies, RG 59, Despatches from United States Ministers to France, 1789–1869, Vol. 6, August 15, 1794–October 21, 1796, National Archives). Randolph’s letters are printed in ASP description begins American State Papers, Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States (Washington, 1832–1861). description ends , Foreign Relations, I, 674.

5As early as 1784, state laws obstructed the execution of Article 4 of the peace treaty of 1783, which provided “that Creditors on either Side shall meet with no lawful Impediment to the Recovery of the full Value in Sterling Money of all bona fide Debts heretofore contracted” (Miller, Treaties, II description begins Hunter Miller, ed., Treaties and Other International Acts of the United States of America (Washington, 1931), II. description ends , 154). British creditors pressed for redress, and their protests increased when negotiations between the United States and Great Britain began in 1794. After Congress defeated the 1794 Non-Intercourse Bill, the grand jury of the United States Circuit Court for the District of Virginia, in the May session, presented as “a national Grivance” the payment of debts due to British creditors unless Britain made reparations for spoliations and fulfilled her 1783 treaty obligations by evacuating the northwest posts (1 Ms. Order Book 358, United States Circuit Court for the District of Virginia, Virginia State Library, Richmond).

Index Entries