Alexander Hamilton Papers
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To Alexander Hamilton from John Jay, 19 November 1794

From John Jay

London 19. Nov. 1794

My dear Sir

My Task is done—whether Finis coronat opus, the President Senate and Public will decide. This Letter goes by the Packet, and the Treaty with it.1 Some parts of it require Elucidation to common Readers. I have not Time for comments. Lord Grenville is anxious to dismiss the Packet.2 If this Treaty fails, I dispair of another. If satisfactory, care should be taken that public opinion be not misled respecting it— for this Reason the sooner it is ratified and published, the better. I really think the good Disposition of this Country should be cherished. I came here in the moment of Exultation and Triumph on account of Lord Howe’s Victory.3 From that Day to this I have experienced no change in Sentiments or conduct relative to the negociation. I must tho’ not without Reluctance conclude—not being fit for a winters voyage I shall stay here ’till Spring—indeed I shall want Repairs before I am quite fit for any voyage. God bless you.

Yours

John Jay

ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress; ADfS, Windsor Castle, England.

1John Jay and Lord Grenville, the British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, signed the “Treaty of Amity, Commerce, and Navigation” on November 19, 1794. On the same day Jay wrote to Edmund Randolph describing the treaty and enclosing a copy of it (LS (marked duplicate), RG 59, Despatches from United States Ministers to Great Britain, 1791–1906, Vol. 1, April 19, 1794–June 1, 1795, National Archives), which was thrown into the sea to escape interception when the packet carrying was captured by the French (Miller, Treaties, II description begins Hunter Miller, ed., Treaties and Other International Acts of the United States of America (Washington, 1931), II. description ends , 267). Jay sent a second copy of the treaty to Randolph on November 21, 1794 (ALS, RG 59, Despatches from United States Ministers to Great Britain, 1791–1906, Vol. 1, April 19, 1794–June 1, 1795, National Archives), which Randolph received in Philadelphia on March 7, 1795 (Executive Journal, I description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate (Washington, 1828),I. description ends , 178). For the treaty, see Miller, Treaties, II description begins Hunter Miller, ed., Treaties and Other International Acts of the United States of America (Washington, 1931), II. description ends , 245–67.

In the Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress, are two extracts in Jay’s handwriting from his letters to Randolph of October 29 and November 19, 1794. Both extracts concern the time allowed for the British to evacuate the posts in the Northwest. Both letters are printed in full 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, 500, 503–04.

2In the draft at this point Jay wrote: “I therefore write in Haste.”

3This is a reference to the victory of the First of June (1794) by the British channel fleet, commanded by Lord Howe, over a French fleet. The battle has no place name, for it was fought more than four hundred miles from land.

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