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the Constitution of New-York grew out of no complaint against the principle of representation, or the forms of the legislative and judicial bodies, but arose from dissatisfaction at the construction which had been given to the original instrument by a subsequent convention; a construction which Jay, as governor of the state, had resisted, because contrary to its spirit. When, however, a convention was assembled to amend the Constitution, the leaders of both the parties into which the people of the state was then divided entered into the race of popularity, and the elective franchise was by common consent rendered universal.

However well the old Constitution may have worked, and however different may be the principle on which the new one is founded, no fear, we may confidently trust, need be entertained that it will not continue to be equally conducive to public happiness and prosperity. That it shall do so must depend upon the virtue and intelligence of the people; and the duration of our liberties will be the necessary result of the diffusion of education and knowledge to the same wide extent as the right of suffrage.


Council of Safety of the State of New-York.Appeal to the Inhabitants of Tryon County.— Jay is named Chief-justice of New-York.Visit of Washington to Jay.-Scheme for the Conquest of Canada.-Jay returns as a Delegate to Congress, and resigns his seat on the Bench. He is chosen President of Congress.He is appointed Ambassador to Spain.-He sails on that Mission.-He is driven by Stress of Weather into Martinique.-He re-embarks, and lands at Cadiz.-He is invited to Madrid, but not formally received.-Question in relation to the Right of navigating the Mississippi. Draughts of Congress upon Jay, and Difficulties to which he is exposed in consequence.-Jay is named a Commissioner to negotiate a Treaty with Great Britain.-Impolitic and humiliating Instructions to the Commissioners.

In our last chapter we have followed the life of Mr. Jay up to the time of the formation of a system of government for his native state. It now became necessary to put this form into operation. The Convention accordingly appointed such officers under the new Constitution as were act

necessary for the administration of affairs, and then dissolved themselves, having first indicated certain of their own members as a "Council of Safety," to hold the reins of government until the election of a governor and Legislature by the people. Mr. Jay was a member of this council, and was also appointed chief-justice of the Supreme Court. This council, as was necessary on account of the times, held arbitrary and absolute power. While a member of it, the state was placed in a most trying situation. The enemy held possession of NewYork in the South, and an invading army from Canada entered it from the north; even true men began to despond, and those disaffected arrayed themselves in open hostility. At this time Mr. Jay, at the request of his colleagues, addressed an appeal to the inhabitants of Tryon County, imploring them not to rely on the promises and protection of the enemy, but upon themselves and the assistance of their fellow-citizens. In the course of events, it was now imperative that a governor should be chosen. Mr. Jay was regarded by many as a fit occupant for that office, and was desired to present himself as a candidate. He refused the offer on the grounds that he could be of more use to the state in the office which he at present held; at the same time declaring that he was fully sensible that it was an office both of greater profit and greater honour, but that his pa

triotism taught him to work, not for his own good, but for that of his country. Mr. Jay appears at this time, from the tenour of his letters, to have been much worried at some imputations cast against the fair fame of an old friend of his, General Schuyler, who then commanded the army in the northern part of the state. These charges were apparently confirmed by Congress, for they recalled the general from his command; but the true reason was given in a letter from a member of Congress to Mr. Jay, stating that he was recalled to humour the eastern militia, who would not fight under his command.

On the 9th of September, the first term of the Supreme Court under the new Constitution was held at the village of Kingston, on the Hudson River. Mr. Jay presided at this court; and the circumstances under which it was held seem to have made a deep impression on his mind. In his charge to the jury, he pointed out to them, in glowing colours, the situation that they were in, and the, to them, particularly happy and pleasurable fact, that they were the first judicial body assembled under a new and free Constitution.

Mr. Jay, as member of a council to whom it was necessary that all bills should be referred, and by whom they must be approved before they became laws, was obliged to be in attendance upon the Legislature during its entire session.

The only relaxation that his duties permitted were occasional visits to his only surviving parent at Fishkill. While there he was visited by General Washington, who gave proof of the high esteem in which he held Mr. Jay by imparting to him a confidential communication from Congress on the subject of the invasion of Canada. This invasion was to have been conducted by a combined French and American land force, accompanied and supported by a French fleet in the St. Lawrence. Both the commander-in-chief and Mr. Jay disapproved of this plan of operation; but their real and chief objection was not set forth in the letter addressed by the general to Congress on the subject. The reason was this: that, were Canada once conquered, and the French permitted to set foot in their old possessions, they would be unwilling to give them up to the United States, and danger was apprehended from a French colony so near at hand.

The question thus presented was one of vast importance to the future interests of the United States. The French had claimed to include in their two colonies of Canada and Louisiana the whole Valley of the Mississippi; and, had they been again put in possession of the former, there is little doubt that the claim would have been renewed. Still, the assistance of France was of such importance to the rising liberties of America, that it became a

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