Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    John Jay offers his resignation from the Board of Regents

    John Jay Letter Signed. One page, 7.25" x 9", New York, March 10, 1790. Recently appointed the first chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court by President George Washington, John Jay tenders this resignation to Governor George Clinton of New York.

    "The marks of early and uniform confidence with which I have been honored by the State, render me very reluctant to retire from my place at the Board of Regents of the University; especially as it has for its object the Promotion of Science and useful Knowledge. The Business of that Board must increase as they become enabled by proper funds to perform it; and to this Business the nature of my official obligations and employment will not allow me to pay a due Degree of attention. It being improper therefore that I should by continuing a member exclude a more useful one, permit me to request the favor of you to communicate my Resignation to the Legislature, and to assure them, that as I am bound to the State by the united ties of Duty and Gratitude, so both those Considerations will always induce me to rejoice in its Prosperity, and in opportunities of promoting it."

    John Jay (1745-1829) wore many important hats during his lifetime: American politician, statesman, revolutionary, diplomat, a founding father of the United States, president of the Continental Congress, the first chief justice of the United States, and member of New York's Board of Regents, the governing body of the state's educational system.

    Following the conclusion of the Revolutionary War, a 1784 act of the New York Legislature changed King's College's name to Columbia College and placed it under a board of thirty-one regents, headed by Governor George Clinton as chancellor. John Jay was appointed one of those regents.

    Two years later, a committee from among the regents was appointed to amend Columbia's charter. As a member of that committee, Jay helped forge a proposal that was sent to the New York Legislature in 1787. Of the changes approved by the legislature, one specified that a board of trustees be appointed over Columbia College with the responsibilities previously held by the Board of Regents.

    Under the 1787 legislation, the official name of the Board of Regents was changed to the Regents of the University of the State of New York, and they were given authority over all colleges and schools of New York.

    Five months before he wrote this resignation to that governing body, Jay had received his appointment as chief justice, a position that left him little time devote to his duties on Columbia's board.

    The address panel (the final page of four integral pages) reads, "Govr. of New York - Ambassador to Spain - Just Presd. of the Am: Bible Society &c." The address panel does not contain an address, but it does contain a non-contemporary stamp. Toned paper with separations at some folds.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2011
    8th-9th Friday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 934

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Only 18 days left to consign to the 2020 February 22 - 23 Americana & Political Signature Auction - Dallas!

    Learn about consigning with us

    Heritage Auctions and Mr. Chad Reingold were...professional and courteous in all transactions and provided outstanding service in answering my many emails. I recommend them at the highest level.
    Killy M.,
    Melbourne Beach, FL
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    2019 December 8 Civil War, Militaria, Arms & Armor Signature Auction - Dallas
    2019 December 8 Civil War, Militaria, Arms & Armor Signature Auction - Dallas
    REALIZED SO FAR $950,931