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people confidence in the new system of smith, and repeated the same offer in government. Upon the circuits he was favor of the delinquent.
When the everywhere received with demonstrations Court compelled him to move the incumof respect and confidence. When he brance, Jay gave him the land to enable came to Portsmouth to hold his first him to obey the order of Court. Court, the citizens, to a large number, 'In 1794, in consequence of the Eurogave him a public entry into the town, pean wars and the depredations of Engand when he returned, accompanied him land upon our commerce, all were expectsome distance on his way.
ing, and many desiring war between this Jay was now in the second office in country and Great Britain, and an alli. grade and importance, the emoluments of ance with Revolutionary France. In which could not be diminished, and this, the most trying exigency of Washwhich he could hold for life. Yet when ington's administration, he determined, in men in whom he had confidence thought opposition to the wishes of a large porthat the stability of the General Govern- tion, if not a majority of the nation, to ment required that the rising opposition make one more effort to keep his country to it in New York should be checked, and out of the strife which was convulsing that this could be done by electing him Europe. About the time of this deterGovernor, he at once consented to be a mination, the setting of the Supreme candidate, and was elected by the people. Court of the United States called Chief But the office was withheld from him by Justice Jay to Philadelphia, then the seat the canvassers and Legislature. This pro- of Government.
He had from the early duced an excitement which endangered the part of the Revolution been the confidenrepose of the State. Jay interposed and tial adviser and friend of Washington, told his supporters to yield to the constitu- and the President now requested him to ted authorities of the State. He admonish- undertake a special mission to England. ed them not to violate the principles which This was an unwelcome invitation to they wished to support, by any irregular Jay, and one which he resisted until he proceedings, and in asserting their rights saw that to decline it would be to disreto be no less distinguished by temper and gard the demands of duty. Writing to moderation, than by constancy and zeal. Mrs. Jay at this time from Philadelphia, This line of conduct, so natural in a good he says, “ There is here a serious determan, while it calmed the excitement, mination to send me to England, if possideepened the affection for him in the ble to avert a war. The object is so inState.
teresting to our country, and the combiHe retained the office of Chief Justice. nation of circumstances such that I find Though in moderate circumstances about myself in a dilemma, between personal 1792-3-4 he was at the expense of keep- considerations and public ones." Writing at school six indigent boys of the ing again to her after his nomination had town of Rye, where he himself had been been made, he says, “ This appointment brought up. This act of benevolence is not of my seeking : on the contrary, I was unknown even to his family till after regard it as a measure not to be desired, his death, and was revealed by letters but to be submitted to. If it should please found among his papers from a clergy. God to make me instrumental in the conman who acted as his almoner on that tinuance of peace, and in preventing the occasion. Another anecdote illustrates effusion of blood, and other evils and in him the vigilance of the magistrate and miseries incident to war, we shall both the kindness of the man. While he was have occasion to rejoice. Whatever Governor, a blacksmith in his neighbor- may be the event, the endeavor will be hood erected a house and shop upon the virtuous, and consequently consolatory. highway, in such a manner as to obstruct Let us repose unlimited trust in our the public travel. Jay applied to him, Maker. It is our business to adore and saying, that his official duties would not to obey.” allow him to let such a breach of the It were a sufficient eulogy of any man law pass unnoticed, and requested the to say, that for such a mission, under blacksmith to remove the incumbrance. such circumstances, he was nominated He said he could not, for he had no land. by Washington, opposed by Aaron Burr; Jay offered to give him an acre of land, that he saved his country from the devasor fifty dollars to buy land with. These tation of war, and secured her commeroffers failing, Jay wrote to the appropri- cial prosperity. It will be recollected ate law officer to prosecute the black- that he retained the office of Chief Jus
VOL. II.-NO, VI.
tice at this time. In consequence of this Jay never removed an officer on account circumstance, he refused to receive any of his political principles. So entirely compensation as Minister to England. did he administer the office in the spirit Jay never accepted an appointment so of the Constitution, that no effective opreluctantly. But no one but a pure man position could be made to him, and he enwould have dared to accept such a mis- joyed a popular rather than a party supsion, or could have awaited with his port. The only act of his which seems fixed confidence the result in this country. to have excited much censure, was his Persualed that he had secured the perma- proclamation recommending, “to his felnent interest of his country, and antici- low citizens throughout the State, to patel the ultimate judgment of the peo- unite in public thanksgiving to that ple, he entered upon the new trusts Being through whose Providence the which awaited him on his return with ravages of the yellow fever had been no fears for the fate of his recent labors. stayed !” It was upon his suggestion
The British Minister whom Mr. Jay that the penal code of the State was softmet in the negotiation, Lord Grenville, ened, and that the system of employing conceived for him a high esteem, and the convicts in industrial pursuits was adoptsubsequent correspondence between them ed. exhibits the gratification which they both Jay had no fellowship with that expederived from their joint agency in pre- diency which allows a real wrong to avert serving to their countries the blessings of a probable evil. His business and his aim peace. Conscious that they had both was to do right. Adherence to principles served their respective countries, and the is comparatively easy, when friends apcause of humanity, they could well bear prove, and we see their obvious connecthe censure which they did not deserve. tion with right results. But when friends With his country at peace, and in securi- falter and desert, when the prospect daikty, the clamorous imputations upon Jay, ens and power invites to other courses, which reached him from every quarter of when there is nothing left but the motives the country, calmed rather than disturbed which prompt and reward duty, then the him, because he knew them to be emana true man stands out in his full proportions from the passions which, under less tions, like the mountain, unshaken by the fortunate circumstances, would have storm which obscured it. There are sefilled his country with the groans of the veral incidents in the administration of dying and bereaved, and prostrated its Gov. Jay, that exhibit him in this lightrising greatness. We trust that when only one of which we have space to reambitious, maddened and short-sighted late. The Presidential canvass was prodemagogues shall again seek, by aggra- gressing in 1800. Jay was known to be vating popular prejudices, to plunge the one of those who distrusted the party nation into a protracted and profitless war, which was opposing the re-election of there will again be found wise and strong President Adams. The election had promen, in our own and other countries, to ceeded so far as to indicate the probability avert so great an evil.
that the State of New York would hold Mr. Jay returned from Europe in 1795. the balance of power. The existing LeFive days before he reached this country gislature sympathised in opinion with he was declared elected Governor of New Governor Jay. But it was regarded as York. The people of New York, anxious quite uncertain if the next Legislature, to relress the outrage which had been upon which, in the ordinary mode of proinflictel upon the State by disregarding cedure, the choice of Electors of Piesitheir clearly expressed voice in his favor dent would devolve, might not favor the on a former occasion, gave him a large opponent of Mr. Adams. In this state of majority of their suffrages.
things Gov. Jay was appealed to, by His arrival in New York was welcom- prominent men of his party, to convene ed by an immense concourse of people the existing Legislature, for the purpose and the ringing of bells. He resigned the of securing the appointment of Electors, office of Chief Justice, and accepted that favorable to the re-election of Mr. Adams, of Governor. He held the office of Gov. as the only means, as they said and no ernor six years, and although he suc doubt thought, of preserving the consticeeded a man of opposite politics, who tution of the country. A distinguished had controlled the appointing power for man wrote to him, referring to ihis remany years; and although party feelings quest, and urging him to comply with it. ran higher at the beginning of his ad. After Jay's death, this letter was found ministration, than at any previous time among his papers, with the following in the history of the State, Governor memorandum upon it, in his hand wri
ting: “ Proposing a measure for party and in 1801, retired to private life, carrypurposes, which I think it would not be- ing with him such reflections as have come me to adopt.”
rarely sweetened the retirement of the Jay through life, was the uncomprom- world's great men. ising opponent of Slavery. In early life, It is evident that Mr. Jay accepted pubhe was the President of a Manumission lic trusts, as a matter of duty, from the Society. For this reason, he was at first manner in which he filled them. It is opposed for the office of Governor, Sla. equally evident, that he looked upon ofvery at that time existing in New York. fice in no other light than as the post of For several years, his annual messages duty, from the fact that in the prime of urged its abolition. Under his influence, life, when the most important and honorthis measure was moved in successive able trusts in the country were offered to Legislatures. At last, in 1799, upon the him, he declined them. He relinquished fourth attempt, the act for that purpose public employment, after more than a passed both branches of the Legislature quarter of a century spent in it, as pure by decisive majorities, and no measure of as when he took it. His retirement was his administration had a more marked and a matter of astonishment to those who favorable effect upon the morals, happi. did not understand the motives and prinness, and prosperity of the State. ciples which had always governed him.
In the latter part of the year 1800, to. He went from the exciting scenes in which wards the close of Gov. Jay's administra- he had been a prominent, successful, and tion, upon the resignation of Chief Justice honored actor, to a country residence, at Ellsworth, Mr. Jay was again appointed Bedford, about fifty miles from the City Chief Justice of the United States. Presi- of New York, and three miles from the dent Adams, in a letter, urging him to ac- post road, upon which the mail then cept this appointment, as the means of es. passed once a week. Upon one of his tablishing a solid judiciary, remarked "that friends enquiring what he could do in he had no permission from Mr. Jay to such a place, he replied that he had a nominate him to this office, but that it ap- long and busy life to look back upon, and peared to Mr. Adams that Providence had an eternity to look forward to. thrown in his way an opportunity, not How different must have been the real only of marking to the public the spot tirement which Jay sought, from that where, in his opinion, the greatest mass to which Bonaparte was forced soon after. of worth remained collected in one indi- He who in his youth resolutely determividual, but of furnishing his country with ned that his “ ideas of filial duty” should the best security its inhabitants afforded be reconciled, whatever became of ambi. against the increasing dissolution of mo- tion, in the decline of life, found about rals.” Mr. Adams remarked, upon another him the same ideas of filial duty, re-prooccasion, that “he often said that when duced and exemplified in his children. his confidence in Mr. Jay shall cease, he The ripened fruits of a well-spent life must give up the cause of confidence, and surrounded him. He had no unfinished renounce it with all men.”
plans of ambition to regret, no wreck of Mr. Jay was 55 years of age. He had selfish purposes to mar his retrospect, no been 27 years with not a day's interrup- neglected duties, no abused powers, no tion, in some important public trust, yet betrayed confidence arose before him, to without ever having sought one. He was disturb his repose, and cloud his serene solicited to be re-elected Governor of New view of the future. Bonaparte, on the York, and to be appointed to the second contrary, while he was the ruler of half office in the nation. We find him hesita- of Europe, was as effectually exiled from ting, not as to which was the best office for those sympathies, affections, and duties him, but whether, consistently with the which make up the deep course of life claims of the public, he could retire to and constitute its happiness, as when he private life. He examined this question was confined on the most solitary rock in as carefully as he would have examined the ocean. The master of millions, he a judicial question, and endeavored to do was a slave to his own will; and this it as impartially. After mature delibera- made him as much a terror and scourge to tion, he decided that his duty did not re himself, as he was to the world. It was quire him to accept the office of Chief what he was, and not St. Helena which Justice, and it was afterwards, as is well made him an exile. known, conferred on the late Judge Mar The giant of the age in which he lived, shall, of Virginia. He also declined be- Napoleon, with all his power, could no ing re-elected Governor of New York, more have “ ruled his own spirit,” than
Jay could have “ taken a city.” His am sustain her with equal efforts, whether bition was more than a match for his ge right” or “wrong.". nius. His career and its catastrophe, ex Jay was wanting in several of those emplifies, on a splendid scale, the effects accessory aids, which have often facilisimply of selfishness. Jay's exhibits the lated the elevation of great men. He tendencies and results of a self-sacrificing was never a “man of party.” In the spirit. Between such, the world, even, common acceptation of the word, he had will yet be able to judge.
no ambition. Nor had he any enthusiJay, in his retirement, divided his time His power lay entirely in the between agricultural pursuits, his books, soundness of his principles, and the equal and his friends. Though retired from tenor of his life. He trusted to the judgpublic life, he did not retire from useful- ment of the people ; and he developed in ness. He was connected with several ag- the public mind the trait to which he apricultural societies, and President of that pealed, and in which he confided. in his county. He was zealous in spread He always lived, and dressed, in a ing among the people, the various im- plain manner. He was unaffectedly dif. provements in farming: He also took great fident. His opinions were maintained interest in the prosperity of the Episcopal with a mildness and modesty, which gave Church. He was for many years the a discerning opponent little hope of overPresident of the American Bible Society, coming or altering them. He spent no and kept up a correspondence with dis- money in ostentation, but gave much in tinguished men of this country and Eu- charity. His habits and purposes of life rope. All his letters and papers bear the were simple, and constantly tended to the traces of the same spirit. They exhibit same result. It was the simplicity of the power of truth, and the beauty of wisdom, and never exposed him to besimplicity, with an unshaken faith in come the dupe of designing men. He Christianity, and its power over men placed little reliance in professors of patalways disdaining the selfish, and appeal- riotism, and used to remark, in justificaing to the lofty in human life.
tion, that he himself had been reproached The attractive trait in Jay's character, for lukewarmness in the cause of Amerias we bave intimated, is the constant as can Independence, by men, who in the cendancy of duty over self-interest. He hour of trial had deserted their country, had an abiding faith that his responsibil- and sought the protection of their eneity ended with ascertaining and doing mies. Though naturally irritable, by what was right, and that it did not end careful training, he acquired a self conshort of this. This shaped his whole trol and equanimity, rarely equalled. He life, public and private. His public acts was distrustful of demagogues, and was retain the impress of this trait of his accustomed to say, that from Absalom character. He christianized politics and down, there had never been an honest diplomacy. He loved his country too He enjoyed the society of his chil. well, and served her too truly, to seek to dren and guests, but was never a great obtain anything for her by artifice. He talker. Of the part which he had borne wished to base her prosperity upon a in public affairs, he rarely spoke, and foundation as pure and firm as that upon never in the company of strangers. which his own fame rests. In public Jay has frequently been associated and stations, the bearings which this or that compared in the public mind with Hamilline of policy might have upon his per- ton. This has happened, to some extent, sonal prospects, were never considered. because there was no one else with whom As President of the Society to manumit to compare Mr. Jay, except him who had slaves, of the American Bible Society, no equal. There are in their characters and of Congress, on the Bench, at the points of contrast as well as resemblance. Foreign Court, and at his own fire-side, They were alike in their ardent love of he was always the same man. There country, and in the purity and success were in his nature none of the attractions with which they served it. They were or the foibles of brilliancy-nothing stri- alike in the confidence which they enking indeed, except its completeness and joyed, and the detraction which they enpurity. He was free from the breaks countered. In their views of the Con. and fragmentary aspects of what the stitution, and in their efforts to secure its world have agreed to call genius-free adoption; in support of Washington, and from the faults and contradictions of am- in the enjoyment of his confidence, they bilious impulses---free even from the par- were alike, as they were also in their tisan zeal for his country, which would views of the structure of our Govern