George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Jay, 4 September 1795

From John Jay


New York 4 Sep. 1795

Dear Sir

Since mine to you of Yesterday I have occasionally turned my Thoughts to the Subject of it.

I presume that the Treaty is ratified agreable to the advice of the Senate—and that if Great Britain consents to the Suspension of the 12 art: (which I believe will be the Case) the Treaty will thereupon be ratified on her part and become final.1 of Consequence that the modification contemplated of the 12 art: together with every other additional Engagement which it may be judged useful to negociate, will be a posterior work; and the new articles as they shall be agreed upon will from Time to Time be added to the Treaty.

under this view of the Business I find that my Letter requires Explanation.

I take it that the Treaty will first be ratified by Great Britain, and put out of Question, before any new propositions be offered or even mentioned; so that no new Matter may be introduced that could afford occasion for, or invite Hesitation or Delay.

That being dispatched, the Question which presents itself is what new Propositions will it be adviseable to bring forward into negociation? on this point I see no Reason to change the Sentiments expressed in my Letter.

on reading the Lord Chancellors article (a Copy of which was transmitted with my Letter to Mr Randolph of 19 Novr last)2 you will find that a part of it, which respects the mutual admission of Evidence &c. is of considerable Importance, and is calculated, in the Language of the last article “to facilitate Intercourse & obviate Difficulties.”3 would it not be well to submit this article to the Consideration of the attorney General and some of the Judges before any Instructions on the Subject Matter of it, are given to our negociators.

while I was in London I heard Lord St Helens who had been at Madrid in a public Character speake most handsomely of Mr Short4—I am enduced to mention this in order to counteract the Effect of some uncivil things which have been written respecting that Gentleman from Madrid. with perfect Respect Esteem and Attachmt I am Dear Sir your obliged & affte Servt

John Jay

ALS, DLC:GW; copy, in Jay’s writing, NNC.

1For GW’s ratification of the Jay Treaty on 14 Aug., see Timothy Pickering to GW, 16 Aug., n.4. For the Senate resolution to partially suspend Article XII, see Notes from Edmund Randolph, c.24 June.

2Jay referred to Alexander Wedderburn (1733–1805), who became Lord Loughborough in 1780 and served as Lord Chancellor of England, 1793–1801. In his letter of 19 Nov. 1794 to Edmund Randolph, Jay stated: “The Lord Chancellor has prepared an article respecting the mutual admission of evidence &c. which we have not had time fully to consider and decide upon: it contains a clause to abolish Alienism between the two Countries: His Lordship’s conduct and conversation indicate the most friendly disposition towards us” (DNA: RG 59, Despatches from U.S. Ministers to Great Britain).

3Jay quoted from the second clause of Article XXVIII (see also GW to Jay, 31 Aug., n.3).

The word “considering” appears at this point in the text as the catchword at the bottom of Jay’s first page, but it seems that Jay revised his sentence as the word does not appear at the top of the next page.

4Alleyne Fitzherbert, 1st Baron St. Helens (1753–1839), served as a British diplomat, beginning his work in 1777 at Brussels. His career included appointment as minister plenipotentiary to Spain, where he served from 1791–94. There he helped resolve trade disputes with Spain, for which George III of England awarded him the title Baron St. Helens.

Index Entries