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A sufficient number of members to form a Congress not having arrived at Trenton, I passed on to this place ten days ago, to visit my friends. I found your family well, and am happy in this opportunity of cultivating their acquaintance.
Your obliging letter of the 5th August lately came to hand. Accept my thanks for it, and for the pamphlets enclosed with it.
The policy of Britain respecting this country is so repugnant to common sense, that I am sometimes tempted to think it must be so ; and the old adage of quos Deus, &c, always occurs to me when I reflect on the subject.
The India business never appeared to me a difficult one.
Do justice, and all is easy. Cease to treat those unhappy nations as slaves, and be content to trade with them as with other independent kingdoms. On such an event, advantageous though fair treaties might be made with them, and you might leave, with their consent, force sufficient in circumscribed limits, to secure the benefit and observance of them. Your tribute, indeed, would be at an end, but it ought not to have had a beginning ; and I wish it may ever prove a curse to those who impose and exact it in any country.
Our affairs are in such a state as, all circumstances considered, might naturally have been expected ; far better than many represent them, though not so well as they ought to be.
Congress is convened at Trenton, and I join them tomorrow. In the course of six or eight weeks a judgment may be formed of their prevailing sentiments and views.
It is certain that we are trading at a wild rate ; and it is no less true that your people are giving most absurd credits to many, who neither have or ought to have any at home. This delirium cannot last. Adieu, my dear sir.
- 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.