John Jay writes of his past letters to Gouverneur Morris: "I do not recollect any which . . . I regret having written."
John Jay Autograph Letter Signed. One page, 8" x 10", July
29, 1817, Bedford [New York], written to Jay's eldest son, attorney
Peter Augustus Jay. This letter concerns a message from Alexander
Hamilton's son, James, to Founding Father John Jay through Peter
about the future publication of Gouverneur Morris' correspondence
by his widow. The letter reads in part: "Your letter . . .
informs me that Mr. James Hamilton had received a letter from Mrs.
Gouverneur Morris, in which she says that she intends publishing a
series of her late Husband's correspondence, and that perhaps I may
wish to withdraw some of my letters. Request the favor of Mr.
Hamilton to present my Thanks to Mrs. Morris for this friendly
suggestion; and to assure her that I would do it personally, but
for my continuance of the ill health which has for years detained
me from Morrisania [Morris' New York estate],
notwithstanding the particular Inducements which have occurred
since my last visit. That as to the Letters in question - I do not
recollect any which merit public attention, nor any which I regret
having written." Jay continues by telling his son to "Give
Mr. Hamilton a copy of the above - it will prevent any of those
misapprehensions which sometimes result from verbal
communications." The letter ends with news of other members of
the Jay family.
A co-author of the U.S. Constitution, Gouverneur Morris, Jay's friend since childhood, was a favorite correspondent of John Jay (of all Jay's extant correspondence, only George Washington received more letters from Jay). The two worked closely during the American Revolution and afterwards, exchanging numerous letters. By 1817, Jay, himself a co-author of the Federalist Papers who had served the young nation in multiple ways, was in retirement from public affairs at his Bedford estate and certainly still mourning the death of Morris, who had died nine months earlier. In ill health, Jay was not able to travel the forty-one miles from Bedford to Morrisania to look over his old letters, but felt confident that nothing improper was written. His signature is very clear and clean. With minor marginal nicks; fine condition.
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