The Selected Papers of John Jay: 1788-1794
Few leaders of the new American nation had more influence than John Jay (1745 1829), or could match his contributions in all three branches of government, at both state and national levels. A leading representative of New York in the Continental Congress, Jay became one of the American commissioners who negotiated peace with Great Britain. He served the new republic as secretary for foreign affairs under the Articles of Confederation, as a contributor to the Federalist papers, as the first chief justice of the United States, as negotiator of the 1794 "Jay Treaty" with Great Britain, and as a two-term governor of the state of New York. In his personal life, Jay embraced a wide range of religious, social, and cultural concerns, including the abolition of slavery. This volume launches a new annotated seven-volume edition of selected correspondence of John Jay. The work consists of a wide-ranging selection of the most significant and interesting public and private documents and letters, written or received by Jay. The edition is designed to revise and complete work begun in the 1950s by the eminent Columbia University professor Richard B. Morris, who supplemented the major collection of original Jay Papers at Columbia with copies of Jay documents secured from archives throughout the world, and with his staff published two volumes covering the era of the American Revolution. The new project is administered by the Rare Books and Manuscript Room of Columbia University Libraries. v. 1. The Selected Papers of John Jay, 1760 1779 begins with Jay s education and training as a socially elite, Anglican, King s College educated lawyer. Although such a path led many into Loyalism, it brought Jay, and such friends and correspondents as Robert R. Livingston, Gouverneur Morris, and Alexander Hamilton, into the front ranks of New York's moderate revolutionary leaders. Jay's marriage to Sarah (Sally) Van Brugh Livingston in 1774 tied him to the influential Patriot family headed by William Livingston. Jay soon found himself a leader of New York s revolutionary committees and a delegate to the Continental Congress, where he sought reconciliation with Great Britain but promoted war preparedness, and applied his much-admired writing skills to drafting major congressional reports and addresses. With his state facing invasion, he returned to New York to help organize the new state government and to combat "plots, conspiracies, and chimeras dire" as a member of committees dealing with loyalty and security issues, including the notorious Hickey Plot. He then helped to organize Hudson River defense and to draft the state constitution of 1777. In 1778 Jay returned to Congress, where he supported New York's claims to Vermont and served as president until he was appointed minister to Spain in September 1779. The volume closes with John and Sally Jay's eventful voyage to Europe, including a brief layover at Martinique after their ship was dismasted and rendered virtually rudderless. v. 2. The second volume of The Selected Papers of John Jay opens in January 1780 with Jay s arrival in Spain on his first diplomatic mission abroad. It ends in June 1782 with his departure for France to join Benjamin Franklin in negotiating a peace treaty with Great Britain. Jay s mission in Spain was to seek recognition of American independence, a treaty of alliance, and financial aid, despite Spain s refusal to receive any American diplomat as representative of an independent nation. His personal letters supplement the public correspondence with American, Spanish, and French officials and financiers. The documents provide a case study of the perils of negotiating from a position of political, military, and, especially, financial weakness, and delineate the conflicts that plagued Spanish-American relations for decades. They also demonstrate the additional strains on Jay s household caused by social isolation, insufficient funds, separation from their often endangered families, and routine detention and inspection of their mail. Jay s Spanish experience set the stage for his independent stance during the peace negotiations and magnified his determination to create a stronger, more unified nation that would be treated with respect abroad. Access to people, places, and events in the volume is facilitated by detailed annotation, illustrations, a biographical directory, and a comprehensive index. v. 3. This volume opens in June 1782 with the arrival of John Jay in Paris to join Benjamin Franklin in negotiation of the peace treaty with Great Britain. Exploring Jay s controversial insistence on British recognition of American independence prior to the opening of negotiations and his disregard of congressional instructions to take no action without the knowledge and consent of France, it examines his unsuccessful negotiations with Spain and the failure to obtain a commercial treaty with Great Britain. It also documents the social and domestic life of the Jays in France and Jay s visit to England to improve his health and settle a family inheritance. The volume closes with Jay s homecoming to America, his public acclaim in New York, and his acceptance of the post of secretary for foreign affairs. Access to people, places, and events in the volume is facilitated by detailed annotation, illustrations, a biographical directory, and a comprehensive index. v. 4. This volume opens in January 1785 as John Jay assumes office as secretary for foreign affairs and brings system and order to the long-neglected Department of Foreign Affairs. It explores Jay's administration of all aspects of American foreign affairs, including his efforts to implement the peace treaty with Great Britain, facilitate American trade, and renegotiate an intrusive consular treaty with France. It examines Jay's divisive negotiations with Diego de Gardoqui and his politically embarrassing dispute with Lewis Littlepage. It depicts his antislavery efforts as president of the New-York Manumission Society and his participation in the Americanization of the Episcopal Church. It documents his promotion of constitutional change as the weaknesses of the Confederation thwart diplomacy and his defense of the proposed new Constitution as an author of The Federalist and of a far more influential pamphlet. The volume closes as Jay takes leave of absence from office to support ratification of the Constitution as delegate to the New York Ratifying Convention. Access to people, places, and events in the volume is facilitated by detailed annotation, illustrations, a biographical directory, and a comprehensive index. -- Amazon.com.
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