George Washington Papers

From George Washington to John Jay, 7 October 1779

To John Jay

West-point Octr 7th 1779

Dear Sir,

Amongst the number of your friends, permit me also to congratulate you, and my Country, on your late honourable & important appointment1—Be assured Sir, that my pleasure on this occasion, though it may be equatted, cannot be exceeded, by that of any other.

I do most sincerely wish you a pleasant & an agreeable passage—the most perfect and honourable accomplishment of your Ministry—and a safe return to the bosom of a grateful Country.2 With the greatest regard, and sincerest personal attachment, I have the honor to be Dear Sir Yr Most Obedt and Affecte Hble Servt

Go: Washington

ALS, NHi; ADfS, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

On this date GW also wrote to Sarah Van Brugh Livingston Jay (1756–1802), John Jay’s wife, from West Point: “General Washington presents his most respectful compliments to Mrs Jay—Honoured in her request by General St Clair, he takes pleasure in presenting the inclosed, with thanks for so polite a testimony of her approbation & esteem—He wishes most fervently, that prosperous gales—an unruffled Sea—& every thing pleasing & desirable, may smooth the path she is about to walk in” (ALS, NNC; ADf, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW). A note on the ALS, in an unidentified hand, indicates that the enclosure was “A lock of the General’s hair.”

1On 27 Sept., Congress had elected Jay—who had been serving as president of Congress—minister plenipotentiary to the court of Spain to negotiate a treaty of alliance, amity, and commerce (see JCC, description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends 15:1113).

2Jay replied to this letter on 14 Oct., shortly before sailing for Spain onboard the Continental frigate Confederacy.

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