Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from John Jay, 5 May 1786

From John Jay

Office for foreign Affairs. 5th. May 1786

Dr. Sir

The last Letter I had the Honor of writing to you was dated the 19th. Day of January last, since which I have received and laid before Congress yours of the 30th. August, 6th. and 11th. October, 24th. December and 27th. January last with the several Papers enclosed with them.

No. 1. of the Papers herewith enclosed is an Extract from Mr. Otto’s Note of the 18th. Ult: desiring that the consular Convention may be speedily ratified.

No. 2. is a Copy of a Report on that Subject agreed to by Congress, which will enable you to account and apologize for the Delays that have attended that Business.

I also enclose and leave open for your Perusal a Letter to Mr. Dumas, by which you will perceive that Congress have made such a Provision for him as considering his Services and their Circumstances appeared to them to be proper. That Act of Congress was transmitted to him by the first Opportunity after it had passed, as he makes no mention of it in any of his subsequent Letters I suspect it must have miscarried.

The Subjects of your several Letters are interesting and bear strong Marks of Discernment and Assiduity. I forbear entering into Particulars by this Conveyance. Until this Week Congress has not been composed of nine States for more than three or four Days since last Fall. This will account for my Silence on Parts of your Letters which required Answers and Instructions, for as their Sentiments and Decisions must direct the public Conduct of their Officers I must wait with Patience for their Orders.

I have received from Mr. Hopkinson a Parcel for You, which agreeable to a Hint from him I shall request the Captain of the Packet to take as Merchandize. The late Newspapers shall also be sent by the Packet. I have the Honor to be &ca.,

John Jay

FC (DNA: RG 59, PCC, No. 121); at foot of text: “For No. 1 see american Letter book 2d. Vol. Page 240. and No. 2. see book of Reports 2 Vol. Page 1.” Noted in SJL as received 23 June 1786. Enclosures: (1) Extract of a note from Otto, 18 Apr. 1786, concerning the ratification of a consular convention, which note was referred by Congress to Jay on 25 Apr. (2) Jay’s report thereon, 28 Apr., agreed to by Congress on 1 May 1786 (JCC description begins Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789, ed. W. C. Ford and others, Washington, 1904–1937 description ends , xxx, 209, note; 216–17, where the report is printed in full; 224, note). (3) Jay to Dumas, which cannot be definitely identified, possibly a copy of Jay’s letter to Dumas, 22 Oct. 1785 (Dipl. Corr., 1783–1789, iii, 541–2; see Dumas to TJ, 27 Jan. 1786).

Jay’s report of 28 Apr. contained the following: “Your Secretary thinks it would be proper to transmit a Copy of so much of Mr. Otto’s Note [of 18 Apr.] as respects this Subject to Mr. Jefferson, together with a Copy of the aforegoing State of Facts and that he be instructed to account and apologize for the Delays which have attended this Business, to his most Christian Majesty; and to assure him that Congress will take the earliest Opportunity of considering and terminating it” (JCC description begins Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789, ed. W. C. Ford and others, Washington, 1904–1937 description ends , xxx, 216–7). TJ sent a copy of Jay’s report to Vergennes, whereon the latter wrote to Otto: “M. Jefferson m’a remis une notte par laquelle M. Jay a prétendu justifier le délai qu’éprouve La ratiffication de la convention relative aux Consuls; je crois devoir me dispenser d’analyser cette notte; je me borne à observer que le Congrès ayant trouvé le moment de ratiffier son traité de commerce avec le Roi de prusse, il avoit pu trouver également celui de ratiffier la convention dont il s’agit. Je vous prie, M., de faire cette remarque a M. Jay, en prévenant toutefois ce ministre que vous n’avez aucun ordre de renouveller vos sollicitations que vous etes au contraire chargé de lui déclarer que nous attendrons très tranquillement qu’il plaise au Congrès de mettre cette affaire en règie d’après le texte précis du traité du 6 fev. 1778, traité qui n’est pas encore oblitteré” (Vergennes to Otto, 25 Aug. 1786; Arch. Aff. Etr., Corr. Pol., E.-U., xxxii; Tr in DLC). See Jay to TJ, 3 Oct. 1786.

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