Thomas Jefferson Papers
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To Thomas Jefferson from John Jay, 9 June 1788

From John Jay

Office for foreign Affairs 9th. June 1788

Dr. Sir

Since the Date of my last, Viz. the 16th. Ult: I have been honored with yours of the 13th. and 16th. March with the Papers which were enclosed with the last. They were immediately communicated to Congress, and the latter referred to a Committee, who not having as yet reported, it is not in my Power to say what Congress may probably think proper to do or order relative to the Subject of it.

You will herewith receive two Letters from Congress to his most Christian Majesty, together with Copies of them for your Information. You will also find enclosed Copies, from No. 1 to 20 inclusive, of Papers respecting the Claims of Francis Cazeau; which it is deemed expedient to transmit in Consequence of the Information communicated in Mr. Shorts Letter to me of the 18th. March last. Copies of an Act of Congress of the 2d. June Instant respecting de la Lande & Fynje, and of an Act of the 3d. Instant forming Kentucky into an independent State, will likewise be enclosed.

By the Newspapers herewith sent you will perceive that South Carolina has adopted the proposed Constitution. The Convention of this State will convene on Tuesday at Poughkeepsie; and as this City and County has elected me one of their Deputies to it, I shall be absent from hence until it rises. There is Reason to believe that the Majority of this Convention are decidedly opposed to the Constitution, so that whether they will venture to reject it, or whether they will adjourn and postpone a Decision on it is uncertain.

Accounts from Virginia and New Hampshire render it probable that those States will adopt it, and if so it may be presumed that North Carolina and even this State will follow the Example. Being exceedingly engaged in dispatching a Variety of Matters preparatory to my going out of Town, I must postpone the Pleasure of writing to Mr. Short by this Opportunity.

With great and sincere Esteem and Regard, I am &c.

John Jay

FC (DNA: PCC, No. 121). Dft (NKIselin). Enclosures: (1) Two letters from Congress to Louis XVI, both dated 2 June 1788, in response to two from the king, both dated 30 Sep. 1787, and conveyed to Congress at the public audience held on 26 Feb. 1788 for the reception of Moustier, the first commending La Luzerne for his services as minister and the second accepting Moustier as his successor (the letters from Louis XVI and the responses are printed in JCC description begins Worthington C. Ford and others, eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789, Washington, D.C., 1904–37, 34 vols. description ends , xxxiv, 62, 195–6). (2) The documents numbered 1 to 20 and related to the claim of Francis Cazeau were sent by Jay in consequence of a resolution of Congress of 27 May 1788 directing him to send to TJ “a Copy of such Papers on the files of Congress as respect” Cazeau’s claim, but these have not been identified nor the copies sent to TJ located; the claim extended back several years, as indicated in the note to TJ to Jay, 23 May 1788. (3) The Act of the 3d. instant forming Kentucky into an independent state was not enclosed, and Jay was premature in supposing that it could be. What Congress did on 3 June was to appoint, in conformity with a report of the committee of the whole of 2 June 1788, a committee of one member from each state to report an act (the original reading was “a proper act”) “for acceding to the independence of the said district of Kentucky and for receiving the same into the Union as a member thereof, in a mode conformable to the Articles of Confederation” (JCC description begins Worthington C. Ford and others, eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789, Washington, D.C., 1904–37, 34 vols. description ends , xxxiv, 194). This committee did not report until 3 July 1788, when John Brown reported a resolution to the effect that the “compact” entered into between Virginia and Kentucky be ratified and confirmed by Congress; that Kentucky be admitted to the Union as “an independent federal member” on 1 Jan. 1789; that it be “stiled the Commonwealth of Kentucky”; that Virginia be released from all federal obligations arising within the district of Kentucky after that date and from such part of her quota of the continental debt as should be apportioned to Kentucky “agreeably to the stipulations of the compact”; and that the district be admitted to representation in Congress from that date provided an accurate census should establish its population at 60,000 inhabitants. Nathan Dane of Massachusetts, seconded by Thomas Tudor Tucker of South Carolina (both of whom were, with Brown, members of the committee), thereupon moved to postpone Brown’s resolution in favor of one stipulating that, whereas “nine states had adopted the Constitution … lately submitted to conventions of the people; and whereas a new confederacy is formed among the ratifying states and it is highly probable that the state of Virginia including the said district has already become a member of the said Confederacy,” an act of Congress “in the present state of the government of the country severing a part of the said state from the other parts … and admitting it into the Confederacy formed by the Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union as an independent member” might be attended with dangerous consequences, besides being ineffectual in making the district a “separate member of the federal Union” formed under the new Constitution, Congress therefore deemed it “unadvisable to adopt any further measures for admitting … Kentucky into the federal Union as an independent member” but would recommend that this be done as soon as expedient under the new constitution. This substitute motion was carried by the vote of nine states against the unanimous vote of the Virginia delegates (Brown, Carrington, Griffin; JCC description begins Worthington C. Ford and others, eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789, Washington, D.C., 1904–37, 34 vols. description ends , xxxiv, 287–91). (4) A resolution of Congress of 2 June 1788 authorizing the Commissioners of the Treasury to negotiate and settle with De la Lande & Fynje the claims of the United States against that firm (JCC description begins Worthington C. Ford and others, eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789, Washington, D.C., 1904–37, 34 vols. description ends , xxxiv, 193–4).

My last, viz. the 16th. ult: In SJL Index there is an asterisk (indicating an undated letter) recording receipt of a letter from Jay between 16 May and the date of the present letter. This may have been an error, for TJ does not appear to have acknowledged such a letter in his communications to Jay. On the other hand, this may have been only a cover for a resolution of Congress of 20 Oct. 1787, approving Jay’s report on the letter of Phineas Bond of 2 Oct. 1787 concerning the appointment of George Miller as consul for Great Britain in the states of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. A copy of this resolution is in DLC: TJ Papers, 34: 5797, and is endorsed by TJ: “recd Sep. 26. [1788?].”

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