JAY, John

JAY, John
Image courtesy of the Library of Congress
1745–1829

Biography

JAY, John, a Delegate from New York; born in New York City December 12, 1745; attended a boarding school in New Rochelle, N.Y., and was graduated from King's College (now Columbia University) in 1764; studied law; was admitted to the bar in 1768; served on the New York committee of correspondence; Member of the Continental Congress 1774-1776 and 1778-1779; recalled some months in 1777 to aid in forming the New York State constitution; appointed chief justice of the State of New York in May 1777 but resigned December 1778 to become President of the Continental Congress and served in that capacity from December 10, 1778, to September 28, 1779; appointed Minister Plenipotentiary to Spain September 27, 1779; appointed one of the ministers to negotiate peace with Great Britain June 14, 1781, and signed the Treaty of Paris; appointed one of the ministers to negotiate treaties with the European powers May 1, 1783; returned to New York in 1784; appointed Secretary of Foreign Affairs July 1784, which position he held until the establishment of the Federal Government in 1789; appointed the first Chief Justice of the United States by President Washington September 26, 1789, and served until June 29, 1795, when he resigned; unsuccessful Federal candidate for Governor of New York in 1792; appointed Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Great Britain April 19, 1794, and served until April 8, 1795, still retaining his position as Chief Justice of the United States; Governor of New York 1795-1801; declined reelection and also a reappointment as Chief Justice of the United States; retired to his farm at Bedford, near New York City, where he died May 17, 1829; interment in the family burying ground at Rye, N.Y.

View Record in the Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

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External Research Collections

Columbia University
Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Butler Library

New York, NY
Papers: ca. 1668-1862, 35 linear feet. The papers of John Jay include letters, manuscripts, documents, and letterbooks of John Jay and of many members of his family. The letters touch on every aspect of American life and government of the period, and contain correspondence. There are approximately 2,500 letters from John Jay, primarily drafts of correspondence, as well as his correspondence as Secretary of Foreign Affairs, 1784-1789. The manuscripts and documents include many reports, commissions, and diplomas, as well as a draft copy of The Federalist Number 5 and John Jay's oath of office as Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court; also included are manumission documents, and a group of documents (1715-1785) from Trinity Church, where his father was a vestryman. The collection includes copies of many letters; and a copy of the pair of silverplated candlesticks from the Treaty of Paris, 3 Sept. 1783, reproduced by the Smithsonian Institution.

Alabama Department of Archives and History

Montgomery, AL
Papers: 1787, 1 item. A photocopy of a letter from John Jay, Office of Foreign Affairs, to Thomas Barclay, U.S. Commissioner, written on October 5, 1787. In the letter, John Jay commends Thomas Barclay on the negotiations.

American Antiquarian Society
Manuscripts Department

Worcester, MA
Papers: Papers, 1779-1798, 25 items. Collection is made up mostly of circulars sent by Jay, as Secretary of Foreign Affairs, to the Governor of Connecticut.

Connecticut Historical Society

Hartford, CT
Papers: In the papers of Silas Deane, 1740-1842, 7 linear feet. Persons represented include John Jay.

Copley Press, Inc.
J. S. Copley Library

La Jolla, CA
Papers: 1785, 1.5 pages. A letter from John Jay to John Lowell written on May 10, 1785. The letter contains one of John Jay's most significant and early statements on Federalism. "It is my first wish to see the United States assume and merit the Characrter [sic] of one Great Nation, whose Territory is divided into different States merely for convenient Government, and the more easy and prompt Administration of Justice."

Duke University
Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library

Durham, NC
Papers: In the papers of John Francis Hamtramck, 1757-1862, 2,630 items. Correspondents include John Jay.
Papers: Papers, 1765, 1789, 2 items. Collection includes a personal letter by Jay, 1765, and letter of introduction to Jay for John Churchman, a scientist, 1789.

East Hampton Free Library
Long Island Collection

East Hampton, NY
Papers: In the papers of David Gelston, 1777-1826, .2 cubic foot. Correspondents include John Jay.

The Filson Historical Society
Special Collections Department

Louisville, KY
Papers: 1813, 1 item. A letter from John Jay to Reverend Dr. Jedidiah Morse thanking him for a sermon, declining a place on the American Board of Commissioners for foreign missions, requesting two sets of the Panoplist, and regretting that Morse cannot undertake the writing of a history of the United States.

Franklin D. Roosevelt Library

Hyde Park, NY
Papers: In historical manuscripts, 1636-1935, 3 linear feet. Collection is made up of historical documents collected by Roosevelt. Persons represented include John Jay.

Historical Society of Cheshire County Library

Keene, NH
Papers: In the papers of the Ingersoll family, 1776-1894, 82 items. Correspondents include John Jay.

Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
Manuscripts Department

San Marino, CA
Papers: Letters from the Honorable John Jay Esq. Minister Plenipotentiary from the United States of America to the Court of Spain, 1779, December 24—1782, November 14. Collection includes official correspondence from Jay's time as Minister plenipotentiary with Spain.

John Jay Homestead State Historic Site

Katonah, NY
Papers: In the papers of the Jay family, 1770-1952, ca. 5 cubic feet. Persons represented include John Jay.

Library of Congress
Manuscript Division

Washington, DC
Microfilm: 1776-1794, 1 microfilm reel. The microfilm includes correspondence with John Jay.
Papers: In the papers of Caleb Strong, 1657-1818, 2 volumes. Correspondents include John Jay. On microfilm, 1 reel.
Papers: In the papers of Charles Thomson, 1765-1888, 360 items, 4 containers, 1 microfilm reel. Correspondents include John Jay.
Papers: In the papers of the Custis-Lee family, 1700-ca. 1928, 1.8 linear feet. Correspondents include John Jay.
Microfilm: In the papers of Henry Laurens, 1747-1882, 19 microfilm reels. Correspondents include John Jay. Microfilm of originals in the South Carolina Historical Society (Charleston).
Microfilm: In the papers of John Sullivan, 1775-1781, 99 items, 1 microfilm reel. Correspondents include John Jay.
Papers: In the papers of John Trumbull, 1786-1841, 300 items. Correspondents include John Jay.
Papers: In the papers of Meshech Weare, 1776-1785, 2 volumes, 1 folder. Correspondents include John Jay. On microfilm, 1 reel.
Microfilm: In the papers of Joshua Johnson, 1785-1788, 1 volume, 2 microfilm reels. Correspondents include John Jay.
Microfilm: In the papers of William Heath, 1774-1872, 46 microfilm reels. Correspondents include John Jay. Microfilm of originals in the Massachusetts Historical Society (Boston).

Maryland State Archives

Annapolis, MD
Papers: In the Maryland State papers, 1796-1821, 1775-1821, 2.5 cubic feet. Correspondents include John Jay.

Mills Mansion State Historic Site

Staatsburg, NY
Papers: In the papers of Lewis Morgan, 1777-1839, .5 cubic foot. Collection includes letters concerning financial and political matters from John Jay.

The Morgan Library
Department of Literary and Historical Manuscripts

New York, NY
Papers: 1778-1779, 2 items. A note from John Jay to Gerard Banker and Dan Hale written on November 2, 1778, and June 28.
Papers: 1795, 1 item. A letter from John Jay to James Monroe written on February 19, 1795. The letter concerns the Jay Treaty with England.
Papers: 1795, 1 item. A letter from John Jay to Thomas Jefferson written on July 7, 1795.

Museum of the City of New York
Department of Paintings, Prints, and Photographs; Manuscript Collection

New York, NY
Papers: In the papers of the Jay family, 1779-1828, 1 cubic foot. The collection is composed of many letters from John Jay concerning personal family matters and business and real estate issues, 1779-1816. Many letters are from John Jay to his nephew, Peter Jay Monro.

New Jersey Historical Society

Newark, NJ
Papers: In the papers of John Witherspoon, 1766-1784, 32 items. Correspondents include John Jay.

The New-York Historical Society
Manuscript Department

New York, NY
Papers: 1787-1812, 8 volumes. The papers of John Jay include contracts, receipts, and architectural drawings for construction work performed on the Jay family estate in Bedford, Westchester County, New York, as well as a three page manuscript concerning the history of Bedford prepared by John Jay as an entry for a New York State gazetteer. Receipts record payment for labor and materials for the construction of windows, doors, a piazza, kitchen, etc., at the Bedford family estate, known today as the John Jay Homestead State Historic Site. Sketches include a basic floorplan for the house at Bedford and a gate to be commissioned for construction. Also included is a holograph manuscript draft of Federalist #64, ca. 1788.

New York Society Library

New York, NY
Papers: In the papers of the Goodue family, ca. 1622-1895, 5 cubic feet. Correspondents include John Jay.

New York State Archives

Albany, NY
Papers: In the Province of New York Customs House receipts and accounts, 1704-1787, 80 items. Collection includes a manuscript copy by John Jay of the Second Federalist Paper (1787).
Papers: In the papers of the Jay family, 1770-1952, ca. 5 cubic feet. Papers include artwork, accounts, agreements, appraisements of the farm and livestock, contracts, correspondence, deeds, diaries, indentures, inventories and lists, maps of the Jay farm and vicinty, memorabilia, notes, payments and bills, plans of the Jay house, receipts, speeches, and wills.

New York State Library

Albany, NY
Papers: 1779, 1 page. A note from John Jay to Governor Patrick Henry of Virginia enclosing a copy of an Act of Congress concerning measures for the defense of the South [copy not included].
Papers: 1792, 1 page. A letter from John Jay to Colonel Wadsworth written on July 25, 1792, regarding an offer by Colonel Wadsworth to purchase a stud horse owned by John Jay. The horse's name was Paulding. John Jay refused to sell the horse because "The manner in which he became mine will not permit me to sell him."
Papers: 1796, 1 page. A letter from John Jay to a group of gentlemen written on January 15, 1796, restating the fact that the funds granted by "the Act respecting infectious Distempers" were insufficient to deal with the large amount of sickness in New York City. John Jay also states that precautions were taken in Albany to prevent its introduction there, and these incurred expenses which were never provided for. John Jay further writes that he encloses two letters from the mayor of Albany, his reply, and accounts mentioned.
Papers: 1797, 1 item. A letter from John Jay to John Trumbull written on October 27, 1797. In the letter, John Jay comments on the selection of Albany as the Capital Of New York State and other state and national political issues: "I am settled here with my family at least for the winter--the Legislature have determined that this place shall be the seat of government, and the principle public offices shall be here." ... "As to Politics--we are in a better state than we were, but are not yet in a sound state." ... "Whether pease in Europe would ensure pease in America, is a question on which doubts are entertained." restricted: stored in the vault; Viewing the original item requires making special arrangements through Manuscripts and Special Collections.
Papers: 1800, 1 page. A letter from Governor John Jay to John V. Henry, Comptroller of the State of New York, written on April 30, 1800. In the letter, John Jay writes regarding the request by the Commissioners of the Health Office for money and states that part of their request may not be provided for by law. John Jay further suggests that John Henry go to the Attorney General, and asks John Henry to direct the Treasurer to pay them a part of the sum they request.
Microfilm: In the papers of Alexander Hamilton, 1757-1804, 46 reels. Correspondents include John Jay. Microfilm of originals in Library of Congress.
Papers: Report on the necessity of consuls, 1785 September 19. Report submitted to Congress by John Jay outlining the necessity for consuls in several foreign cities and proposing different ways to establish them.

Rutgers University
Rutgers University Libraries

New Brunswick, NJ
Papers: In the papers of John Cooley, 1783-1822, 42 items. Collection includes letter by John Jay.

Rye Historical Society

Rye, NY
Papers: In the papers of the Jay family, 1759-1895, ca. 25 items. Letter writers include John Jay.

Syracuse University
Syracuse University Library, Special Collections Research Center

Syracuse, NY
Papers: In the Egbert Benson collection, 1786-1819, 10 items. Collection includes one incoming item from John Jay.

University of Chicago Library
Butler-Gunsaulus Collection

Chicago, IL
Papers: 1785, 1 item. A letter from John Jay, Secretary of Foreign Affairs, informing the Governor of Massachusetts that the Congress has recognized Richard Soderstrom as Consul from Sweden in Boston.
Papers: 1816, 1 item. A letter from John Jay to his son, Peter, concerning a sum of money owed by Mr. Bailey. There is also reference made to the Kenney affair and family matters.

University of Iowa Libraries
Special Collections Department

Iowa City, IA
Papers: 1800, 1 item. A letter from John Jay to Peter Augustus Jay concerning Caesar's situation. The letter also documents Peter Jay's partnership with Mr. Munro.

University of Pennsylvania
Special Collections, Van Pelt Library

Philadelphia, PA
Papers: 1786-1787, 2 items. The papers include two letters from John Jay to Sieur de la Forest written on January 7, 1786. In the letter, John Jay confirms Sieur de la Forest's appointment as Vice-Consul General of the Kingdom of France to the United States. Another letter from John Jay to George Fox, Secretary of the Society for Political Enquiries, was written on August 28, 1787.

Westchester County Historical Society

Elmsford, NY
Papers: In the manuscript collection, 1731-1970, ca. 40 cubic feet. Collection includes letter of John Jay to his wife mentioning treaty signed in London, 1794.

Wisconsin Historical Society
Archives Division

Madison, WI
Papers: 1777, 0.1 cubic foot. A letter from John Jay to his wife, Sarah, expressing his concern for her safety during the Revolutionary War.

Yale University Libraries
Manuscripts and Archives

New Haven, CT
Papers: In the papers of the Jay family, ca. 1772-1901, 2.25 linear feet. John Jay is represented in the papers by nine letters beginning in 1801 at the time of his retirement. These chiefly discuss his health and family matters.
Microfilm: Foreign letters of the Continental Congress and the Department of State, 1785-1790, 1 reel. The records consist of instructions sent to U.S. ministers and consuls abroad by John Jay. Microfilm of originals in the National Archives.
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Bibliography / Further Reading

Brecher, Frank W. Securing American Independence: John Jay and the French Alliance. Westport, Conn.: Praeger Publishers, 2003.

Casto, William R. The Supreme Court in the Early Republic: The Chief Justiceships of John Jay and Oliver Ellsworth. Columbia, S. C.: University of South Carolina Press, 1995.

Hobart, Lois. Patriot's Lady: The Life of Sarah Livingston Jay. New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1960.

Hubbard, Elbert. John Jay, The First Chief Justice of the United States, by Elbert Hubbard. New York: The Hartford Lunch Co., 1918.

Jay, John. The Diary of John Jay During the Peace Negotiations of 1782. Being a complete and faithful rendering of the original manuscript, now published for the first time. 2d printing, with corrections. With an introduction by Frank Monaghan. New Haven, Bibliographical Press, Yale University, 1934.

___. The Federalist: A Collection of Essays, Written in Favour of the New Constitution, As Agreed Upon by the Federal Convention, September 17, 1787. Special ed. Leaf book. Union, N.J.: Lawbook Exchange; Mansfield Centre, Conn.: Martino Pub., 2001.

Jay, John. John Jay. Edited by Richard B. Morris; Floyd M. Shumway, associate editor; Ene Sirvet and Elaine G. Brown, assistant editors. New York: Harper & Row, 1975.

___. Letters, Being the Whole Correspondence Between the Hon. John Jay, Esq., and Mr. Lewis Littlepage: A Young Man Whom Mr. Jay, When in Spain, Patronized and Took into his Family. A new and correct edition to which is added an appendix. New York: Printed and sold by F. Childs, 1786.

Johnson, Herbert Alan. John Jay, 1745-1829. Albany, NY: Office of State History, 1970.

___. John Jay, Colonial Lawyer. New York: Garland Publishing, 1989.

Johnston, Henry P., ed. The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay. New York: B. Franklin, [1970].

Monoghan, Frank. John Jay, Defender of Liberty Against Kings and Peoples, Author of the Constitution and Governor of New York, President of the Continental Congress. Brooklyn, N.Y.: AMS Press, 1972.

___, ed. Unpublished Correspondence of William Livingston and John Jay. Introduction and notes, by Frank Monaghan. Newark, N.J.: New Jersey Historical Society, 1934.

Morris, Richard B. John Jay, The Nation, and The Court. Boston: Boston University Press, 1967.

___. John Jay: The Making of a Revolutionary: Unpublished Papers, 1745-1780. New York: Harper and Row, 1980.

___. John Jay: The Winning of the Peace: Unpublished Papers, 1780-1784. New York: Harper and Row, 1980.

Pellew, George. John Jay (American Statesmen Series). 1980. Reprint, [Bromall, Pa.]: Chelsea House Publishing, 1997.

Stahr, Walter. John Jay: Founding Father. London: Hambledon Press, 2005.

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