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I thank you sincerely for your very friendly letter of the 21st October last, which I had the pleasure of receiving on the 7th inst. I rejoice most cordially with you and every other good American, in the important event you communicate, and to which you had both the honour and the satisfaction of essentially contributing.
General Washington has favoured me with copies of the articles of capitulation, and returns of the prisoners, &c. It gives me very sensible pleasure to find that he commanded in person on this glorious occasion, and had the satisfaction of bringing deliverance to his native, and consequently, favourite part of America. If Providence shall be pleased to lead him, with safety and success, through all the duties of his station, and carry him home with the blessings of all America on his head, I think he will exhibit to the world the most singular instance of virtue, greatness, and good fortune united, which the history of mankind has hitherto recorded.
The harmony subsisting between the French troops and ours, is an agreeable, as well as an important circumstance, and I am glad that the Marquis De La Fayette had an opportunity of cutting some sprigs of laurel on one of the enemy's redoubts. He has given strong proofs of attachment to our cause and country, and as military glory seems to be his mistress, he has my .best wishes that she maybe as constant to him as he has been to us.
General Greene has deservedly acquired great reputation. He has nobly surmounted a variety of difficulties, and his country has fortunately found resources in his talents and perseverance, which the peculiar situation of the southern States rendered no less seasonable than important.
This campaign ends gloriously for us. How far the British counsels may be changed by these events, is as yet uncertain. I am much inclined to think that another campaign will precede a general peace. In my opinion, our country would do well to continue making the most vigorous efforts to render peace more essential to her enemies than herself.
It would give me pleasure to transmit to you some interesting advices from this quarter of the world. The seiges of Gibraltar and Fort St. Philip continue. When they will be terminated, is impossible to divine. The Dutch are praying for peace, and neglecting the means necessary to obtain a proper one. The people do not appear to want spirit, but their government and their rulers subject them to numberless embarrassments.
France is full of joy and ardour, and will, I believe, do her best endeavours to make the next campaign active and brilliant.
The emperor is regulating the internal police of his dominions, encouraging commerce, and extending toleration, without suffering himself to be incommoded by ecclesiastical privileges or immunities. He seems to be seriously preparing to be great and formidable. He undoubtedly possesses the means of power, and it is said, has talents to use them to advantage.
With great regard and esteem, I am, dear sir, Your most obedient and very humble 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.