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On my return from New-York on Friday last, your obliging letter of the 5th of May, which arrived here during my absence, was delivered to me. I am much gratified by the information it contains, and thank you for it.
Serious apprehensions were entertained that anti-federalism had gained considerable ground in Massachusetts, but I am happy to find from the facts you state, that appearances do not warrant the conclusions which have been drawn from them.
The present aspect of our affairs is far from being agreeable. Although peculiarly blessed, and having abundant reason for content and gratitude, our nation is permitting their happiness to be put in jeopardy by the worst passions, inflamed and directed by the most reprehensible means. Whether the good sense of the people will avert the dangers which threaten them, is yet to be seen. If the sound and leading friends of their country could concur in opinion as to men and measures, their efforts would probably be successful ; but unfortunately, there is too little unanimity in many points, and the want of it exposes us to the hazard of many evils.
It really appears to me that the mission of our envoys to France has been treated with too much asperity. The president declared to the Congress that he would never send another legation to Paris, until he received assurances that it would be properly respected. As that declaration seemed to imply that when he should receive such assurances he would again send envoys, it was not unnatural that he should conceive himself bound in honour to do so. This attachment to the dictates of honour and good faith, even supposing it to have been too scrupulous, is amiable and praiseworthy. Whether that declaration was advisable, and whether the nomination of the envoys was made exactly in season, are questions which, like others of the same kind, may receive different answers from different men ; but having nominated the envoys and received the requisite assurances, I, for my part, consider the sending them as a matter of course, and I do not concur in opinion with those gentlemen who think they should nevertheless have been detained.
I regret that my absence deprived me of the pleasure of seeing the Rev. Mr. Andrews, and the more so, as he would have answered my inquiries respecting many of my friends at Boston, and informed me of your health.
With the best wishes that you may now and long enjoy that valuable blessing, I am, sir,
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.