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To John Jay from Philip Schuyler, 18 September 1785

From Philip Schuyler

Saratoga September 18th 1785

Dear Sir

Your favors of the 10th June and 22d August Mr. Gansevoort1 delivered me on the 25th ult: on the 28th: I came to this place and as I had left your letter at Albany, I was obliged to send for It which has occassioned so long a delay of an answer.

I perfectly agree with you my dear Sir that the reasons for quitting the services of those, who have so decide^d^ly evinced an attachment and attention to you, as Congress has done, should be such as to afford satisfaction, not only to your own mind, but also to the minds of men of integrity and sentiment, who abhor ingratitude and impropriety in Conduct.

Firmly believing that if you acceed to the wishes of your friends, the friends of your country, It will not be from either an unjustifiable ambition, or the hope of greater pecuniary advantages than you at present enjoy, and that your only motive will be the weal of your country, hence you will not be subject to the severest of all censures that of your own mind—but still you will not escape the imputations you mention, true, but men of discernment and such whose good or ill opinion of a transaction is not indifferent, will either discover, or be informed, and publicly too, if necessary, that you have risked censure from the most Eligible motives, the entreties of friends to their country, and the General voice of that Country disgusted and discontented with an administration, which makes self the spring of every motion, which does right by accident, and wrong by system, which threatens ruin to the reputation of the state, and distress to its citizens.—that It was your duty to yield to the wishes of a country which could only look about for relief, and find only in you the man capable of steming the torrent of evil, which with accelerating rapidity was rolling to the Goal of debasement; these things will be known, and you will stand Justifyed with Congress, and with all reasonable men—

Much as I commend the delicacy of your Sentiments, and respect them, much as I wish that you should never experience the pains which an Ingenious mind will feel, even from false imputations, firmly as I believe that you may be exposed to such imputations—yet when the call on you is so urgent and that call by your Country, sentiment must yield to it.—and I should injure you, If I believed you capable, of hesitating ^to decide^ whether to [support?] undergo a false calumny, was not more honorable, than to shrink from a service so important to your Country.—It is a wise, and a true Maxim, and which I think I have heard you ^urge^ more than once, say, that to serve ones country is the first of dutys, next to that which we owe to the supreme being.—do not then run counter to a doctrine which I think you have taught and which I am sure you feel.—

But should you ask, am I then openly to declare myself a candidate for the Chair of Government? I would answer no, It might be deemed improper in a republic, where the citizens are supposed competent Judges of those most capable of serving them. It will suffice that confidential friends (who know the motives which induce you to comply with the request of your friends and who will avow their solicitations, and support the propriety of the motives which induced you) be informed that you will serve the public, If called to do it;—and that others should have such answers as prudence will suggest and Your situation in public life will admit of, combined with what you certainly owe to your Country.—

I speak with the freedom which the importance of the subject demands, and because I speak to a man whom I love, and because I feel for a state which has an opportunity of rising high in reputation and which is not only losing that opportunity but sinking into contempt.—

Pray let me hear from you soon, but by a safe hand. adieu I am Dear Sir Your Affectionate friend and humble servant,

Ph. Schuyler

Honorable John Jay Esqr

ALS, NNC (EJ: 7128). Endorsed.

1Probably Peter Gansevoort of Albany. See JJ to Schuyler, 10 June, Dft, NNC (EJ: 9357), and 22 Aug. 1785, Dft, NNC (EJ: 9356), in both of which JJ declined to leave office as secretary for foreign affairs to run for governor. See also WJ, description begins William Jay, ed., The Life of John Jay: With Selections from His Correspondence and Miscellaneous Papers (2 vols.; New York, 1833) description ends 1: 198–99, and HPJ, description begins Henry P. Johnston, ed., The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay (4 vols.; New York, 1890–93) description ends 3: 154–56. For the reasons Schuyler wished JJ to run, see his letter of 30 May 1785, above.

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