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Your obliging letters of the 18th ult. and 3d inst., after passing through various hands and places, were at length delivered to me two days ago. Your elegant panegyric on the amiable character and benevolent designs of his Britannic majesty meets with general approbation ; and some do not hesitate to predict that it will stimulate your gracious prince to embrace the first opportunity of exalting you. On reading the proclamation against picking and stealing, I could not forbear wishing there had been one pasted on the foreheads of our late protectors. Nothing but the chance of their being predestined to go to heaven can save them from a campaign in the opposite regions. The least they can expect, with any degree of modesty, is to be decimated. They seem to have acted as if they thought themselves tenants in common in all the good things they met with, and that posterior, instead of prior occupancy, enabled them to hold in severalty.
At a time when the most strenuous efforts are necessary to our political salvation, it is to be regretted that any of our measures should bear the marks of feeble or dispirited counsels. Your militia bill should have been so framed as to give birth to strong and decisive executive powers. I should have thought the spirit of the speech, added to the remembrance of the barbarous ravages of the enemy, would have diffused through the Legislature a degree of resentment, determination, and enthusiasm, which would have been productive of regulations better adapted to the times.
I am, my dear sir, With the greatest respect and esteem,
Your most obedient servant,
- John Jay
- The Life John Jay With Selections from His Correspondence and Miscellaneous Papers. by His Son, William Jay in Two Volumes. Vol. II., 1833.