Imágenes de páginas

It was not until the 20th of January that negotiations were in such a train that the powers at war in Europe agreed to suspend hostilities. The American ministers had obtained the great ends they sought as to boundaries and independence, and were now more slowly proceeding with a negotiation securing to us commercial advantages. Mr. Oswald was about this time recalled, and was not succeeded by Mr. Hartley until the spring of 1783. This interval afforded some moments of leisure to Mr. Jay, for the first time since he had entered the service of his country. These moments were, however, imbittered by declining health. About this time he received a letter from Thomas Jefferson, and also a communication from Congress, intimating that he would, if pleasing to him, be appointed, after peace, ambassador to England, or to any other court he might choose. This offer he declined, principally because he thought that the post of minister to England was desired by Mr. Adams, and that the appointment was due to him as a reward for long and faithful service; another reason for his refusal was his determination to return, as soon as duty permitted, to his own country.

He was at this time invited by Spain to return to Madrid, and finish the negotiations commenced there. This invitation he accepted, but was prevented from accomplishing his purpose by increasing ill health.

All the belligerant powers in Europe, tired of a long war, were at this time represented at Paris by ministers negotiating a general peace. The terms between all but England and Holland were agreed upon before the summer ended. This treaty was delayed by an interference of France similar to that she had exerted towards America. Mr. Jay had the satisfaction of obtaining copies of the instructions from their government to the ambassadors of Holland, and found that they, like himself, had been ordered to proceed with the confidence and consent of the French government. They were not as successful in evading these instructions as the American ministers had been, as is proved by the terms of their treaty.

The 3d of September, 1783, was appointed for signing all the treaties, and on that day Mr. Jay had the satisfaction of consummating that which he had so long been working for, and of securing to his own country not only honour, but great commercial advantages. By this treaty America was in the first place recognised as independent, and was also given boundaries as large as she could desire. A share in the fisheries, then of great importance to our infant commerce, was conceded; and, in fact, every advantage proposed to be ob tained by the Revolution was secured.



Jay visits London. He is taken ill, and compelled to have recourse to the Bath Waters.-Delays attending the audit of his Accounts.—He embarks for the United States, and lands at NewYork. His distinguished Reception by the Inhabitants of that City.-He is chosen Secretary of Foreign Affairs by Congress, and elected a Delegate from the State of New-York. He negotiates with the Spanish Minister.-Hostilities commenced by Algiers, and Report of Mr. Jay on the subject.—He is assailed by Littlepage, and vindicates himself triumphantly.-He is chosen President of the Abolition Society.-Failure of the Negotiation with Spain, and Report of Mr. Jay on the subject.—His Report on the Frontier Posts, on the Slaves retained by Great Britain, and the collection of Debts by British subjects.

THE objects of Mr. Jay's mission were now accomplished, the claims of his country on him were for the present ended, and he determined to do what regard for himself would have warranted him in doing long before; namely, to take proper measures for the preservation of a life equally precious to himself, his friends, and his country.

Leaving his family in Paris, he proceeded to London, and we find him received with honour and respect in a country where, but a few years before, he would have been considered as a rebel and imprisoned. While at London his life was despaired of; but he recovered, and journeyed to Bath, where he received great benefit from the waters. In January he returned to Paris.


His situation there was one of great pleasure and improvement. He was well and favourably known by many of the great men of the day; was honoured for his course in the business of his country, respected for the uprightness of his character and the talents that he was known to posHis own mind was almost free from care, and we find him entering with pleasure into those reunions which have always been one characteristic of French society. One subject only disquieted him. He had been engaged in many pecuniary transactions on account of the United States, and those of great amount. Congress had appointed an auditor in Europe to settle their accounts. To this auditor Mr. Jay was to account for the sums that had passed through his hands. Many considerations demanded his return to America, but nothing could persuade him to leave Europe with any, even the slightest, imputation on his honour, to afford any handle that calumny could lay hold of, to insinuate that his mission was as much f

his own benefit as that of the state. The vouchers of his accounts while in Spain were still at Madrid, in the hands of his former secretary, Mr. Carmichael, whom he had left there as chargé d'affaires. He reiterated to Mr. Carmichael his desire that he would proceed to Paris with these documents, and thus enable him to audit the accounts; the chargé d'affaires refused, and informed him of his determination not to leave Madrid unless ordered by Congress. Mr. Jay now found himself under the necessity of writing to Congress, requesting that such an order might be sent. On its arrival Mr. Carmichael obeyed, and in the spring of 1784, all the business that could detain Mr. Jay in Europe was finished. He therefore was at liberty to return, and travelled with his family for Dover, whence he took shipping for New-York, at which place he arrived on the 24th of July. Loud were the congratulations with which he was received; many were the honours showered upon him; and his landing more resembled the return of a triumphant conqueror than that of a peaceful statesman. All classes united to honour him. At that early period of our Union political parties were almost unknown, therefore no prejudiced party voice was heard to condemn him.

The citizens of New-York presented him, through their corporation, with a congratulatory address and the freedom of the city. He was

« AnteriorContinuar »