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My report on the answer of the British minister to your memorial respecting our frontier posts, is under the consideration of Congress. Your ideas and mine on those subjects very nearly correspond, and I sincerely wish that you may be enabled to accommodate every difference between us and Britain, on the most liberal principles of justice and candour. The result of my inquiries into the conduct of the States relative to the treaty, is, that there has not been a single day since it took effect, on which it has not been violated in America, by one or other of the States ; and this observation is just, whether the treaty be supposed to have taken effect either at the date or exchange of the provisional articles, or on the day of the date of the definitive treaty, or of the ratifications of it.
Our affairs are in a very unpleasant situation, and changes become necessary, and in some little degree probable. When government, either from defects in its construction or administration, ceases to assert its rights, or is too feeble to afford security, inspire confidence, and overawe the ambitious and licentious, the best citizens naturally grow uneasy and look to other systems.
How far the disorders of Massachusetts may extend, or how they will terminate, is problematical ; nor is it possible to decide whether the people of Rhode Island will remain much longer obedient to the very extraordinary and exceptionable laws passed, for compelling them to embrace the doctrine of the political transubstantiation of paper into gold and silver.
I suspect that our posterity will read the history of our last four years with much regret.
I enclose for your information a pamphlet, containing the acts of the different States granting an impost to Congress.
You will also find enclosed a copy of an act of Congress, of 20th and 21st ult., for raising an additional number of troops. This measure was doubtless necessary, although the difficulty of providing for the expense of it is a serious one. I flatter myself you will be able to obviate any improper suspicions which the minister may be led to entertain respecting the object of this force. I have pressed the policy of deciding on my report on the infractions of the treaty without delay, that you may thence be furnished with conclusive arguments against the insinuations of those who may wish to infuse and support opinions unfavourable to us on these points.
The newspapers herewith sent will give you information in detail of Indian affairs, but they will not tell you what, however is the fact, that our people have committed several unprovoked acts of violence against them. These acts ouo-ht to have excited the notice of government, and been punished in an exemplary manner.
With great and sincere esteem and regard, I have the honour to be, 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.