Description

    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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    Auction Dates
    February, 2010
    11th-12th Thursday-Friday
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