George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Jay, 6 April 1779

From John Jay

Philadelphia 6th April 1779

Mr Jay presents his Compliments to General Washington, and encloses an Extract from a Letter in a certain Degree interesting.1

AD, DLC:GW. Jay addressed the cover: “Private His Excellency General Washington Head Quarters.”

1Jay enclosed two extracts in his own writing from Maj. Gen. Horatio Gates’s letter to him of 15 March, which read: “The enclosed Copy of my Letter to General Washington of the 4th Instant in answer to his of the 14th Ulto from Middlebrook, will give Congress a true Idea of my Opinion, respecting our entering Canada, and the only Route which we can take with reasonable Hopes of Success. Individuals and not the public will be benefitted by an Expedition into Canada, by either of the Routes from Albany. That of Co-os alone is practicable: but not without the Co-operation of the allied Fleet.

“General Washingtons Letter of the 14th Feby is enclosed. It being the only Letter I have recieved from his Excellency, since December, Congress will immediately judge of the Extent, or Limitations which it is proper to observe in their Instructions to me” (DLC:GW; the original letter is in DNA:PCC, item 154). GW’s letter to Gates previous to the one of 14 Feb. 1779 is dated 17 Dec. 1778.

GW responded to Jay in a long private letter of 14 April, in which he defended his views and actions regarding the proposed Canadian invasion and reviewed his correspondence with Gates from 8 Dec. 1777 to 16 March 1779, presenting his interpretation of their strained relations and enclosing full or partial copies of eighteen letters (NNC).

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