John Jay and Sarah Livingston

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John Jay


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Letter about Harry

Family
John Jay
(12 Dec 1745, NYC)
(17 May 1829, New Bedford NY
Sarah Van Brugh Livingston
(2 Aug 1756)
(28 May 1802, New Bedford NY)

Children:
    Peter Augustus Jay[married Mary Rutherfurd Clarkson]
    Susan Jay
    Anne Jay
    Maria Jay[married Goldsborough Banyar]
    Ann Jay
    Sarah Louisa Jay
    William Jay


[John Jay and Sarah spent our country's second 4th of July with Henry and his family in 1778.]


Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
JAY, John, a Delegate from New York; born in New York City December 12, 1745; attended a boarding school in New Rochelle, N.Y., and was graduated from Kings College (now Columbia University) in 1764; studied law; was admitted to the bar in 1768; served on the New York committee of correspondence; Member of the Continental Congress 1774-1776 and 1778-1779; recalled some months in 1777 to aid in forming the New York State constitution; appointed chief justice of the State of New York in May 1777 but resigned December 1778 to become President of the Continental Congress and served in that capacity from December 10, 1778, to September 28, 1779; appointed Minister Plenipotentiary to Spain September 27, 1779; appointed one of the ministers to negotiate peace with Great Britain June 14, 1781, and signed the Treaty of Paris; appointed one of the ministers to negotiate treaties with the European powers May 1, 1783; returned to New York in 1784; appointed Secretary of Foreign Affairs July 1784, which position he held until the establishment of the Federal Government in 1789; appointed the first Chief Justice of the United States by President Washington September 26, 1789, and served until June 29, 1795, when he resigned; unsuccessful Federal candidate for Governor of New York in 1792; appointed Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Great Britain April 19, 1794, and served until April 8, 1795, still retaining his position as Chief Justice of the United States; Governor of New York 1795-1801; declined reelection and also a reappointment as Chief Justice of the United States; retired to his farm at Bedford, near New York City, where he died May 17, 1829; interment in the family burying ground at Rye, N.Y.



Rev. Timothy Dwight, Travels through New York and New England, 1821

Duchess County Men of the Revolutionary Period
DCHS Yearbook, 1924
The Provincial Congress left New York City, meeting successively at White Plains, Harlem, King's Bridge, Philipse Manor, Fishkill, Poughkeepsie and, finally, December 23, 1776, going to Kingston. To try to dispel the gloom of this situation Mr. Jay issued an address tot he people of the country that was specially recommended by Congress, printed in both english and German and circulated at the national expense. In 1977 Mr. Jay was a member of the committee which framed the Constitution of the State of New York. He was appointed Chief Justice of the State by the Committee of Safety and presided over the first term of the Supreme Court September 9, 1777.

In the mean time, among many others who found it unsafe to remain in and around New York City was the Jay family....

It can readily be seen why this removal to a place inside the American lines was necessary. Admiral Howe and the British Governor, Tryon, were doing all in their power to organize the activities of the Tories, while cowboy bands were committing all sorts of depredations throughout Westchester, and the family of so active a patriot could not long escape.

Already (June 16, 1775) the conventon, on motion of Jay had passed a resolution declaring all persons giving aid or comfort to the enemy guilty of treason, with the penalty of death, and had appointed Livingston, Jay and Gouveneur Morris a secret committee to "examine disaffected persons." There is no record of any executions but, when Lord Howe's fleet landed at New York, there were twenty-seven prisoners in the City Hall and forty-three in the new jail, one of whom was the mayor of the city.

...

...John Jay rented a house at Fishkill to which the whole Jay family removed from their home at Rye. This house (which is still standing) was the Van Wyck homestead, three miles east of Fishkill Village, at what is now known as Wiccopee. In the summer of 1777 the family had already (for both public and private reasons) begun to consider removing to some other place. At one time a farm at Kent, Conn., was talked of. On December 11, 1777, in a letter to General Schuyler, John Jay acknowledged the offer by the General of a farm near Albany, but expressed uncertainty just what to do, and said: "This place, at which all the family now reside, is by no means agreeable or convenient, if secure, which is also doubtful." Some weeks later (February 26, 1778) Jay wrote Schuyler, declining the latter's offer as his father was "too infirm to be moved." The family's removal was delayed, as a matter of fact, for two or three years and while they were still at Fishkill a letter written by Mr. Jay July 31, 1781, at Madrid (whither he had gone as Commissioner to Spain) and addressed to his brother Frederick refers to the fact that he has heard that: "armed robbers have attacked the house and taken money, plate and other articles but behaved with surprising decency toward our father, Peter and Nancy." He speaks in this letter of his old father's infirmity.

Finally (in 1781?) the Jay family effected a removal from Fishkill to Poughkeepsie. From Madrid on December 8, 1781, John Jay wrote to his old friend, Egbert Benson, the Attorney General of New York, living at Poughkeepsie, asking the particulars of the matter: he wished to know where in Poughkeepsie his father was established and asked that his young son be boarded with Harry Livingston, Jr. In this letter Mrs. Jay sent a message to Doctor Van Wyck, expressing her friendship and her appreciation of the kindness of the doctor to her husband's family.


[John Jay was also a friend of Clement Clarke Moore. Jay's son, Peter Augustus Jay, was Moore's classmate at Columbia. Moore and Peter Jay were also active in the fledgling New York Public Library.

John Jay was a member of the same New York City Social Club from which Henry and his brother John Henry were expelled at the time of the Revolution.]


U.S. Supreme Court Multimedia
John Jay was born to a prominent New York family. He was tutored at home and attended King's College, graduating at nineteen. He was admitted to the bar four years later.

Jay was New York's representative at the First and Second Continental Congress. In 1788, Jay was elected president of that body. He was sent on diplomatic missions and he helped negotiate the Treaty of Paris in 1783, ending the war with Great Britain.

Jay was a strong advocate for a strengthened national government. Though he did not attend the Constitutional Convention, he did contribute five essays to a series of newspaper articles (later called "The Federalist Papers") in support of ratification.

Jay declined Washington's offer to serve as secretary of state. Washington returned with an offer as the first chief justice, which Jay accepted. Jay continued diplomatic missions while on the Court. He negotiated a treaty with England in 1794 to ease growing hostilites between the two countries.

Upon his return from the treaty negotiations, Jay discovered that he had been elected governor of New York. He immediately resigned his position as chief justice. He served two three-year terms as governor.

In 1800, President John Adams nominated Jay for a second appointment as chief justice. The nomination was quickly confirmed by the Senate, but Jay refused citing his poor health and because he concluded that the Court lacked "the energy, weight, and dignity which are essential to its affording due support to the national government."


FindLaw for Legal Professionals
John Jay was born to a prominent New York family. His marriage to Sarah, daughter of William Livingston, allied him with that influential family. Jay died on May 17, 1829. He was tutored at home and attended King's College, graduating at nineteen. He was admitted to the bar four years later in 1768, and for a time was a partner of Robert R. Livingston.

As a delegate to the First and Second Continental Congresses he urged a moderate policy, served on various committees, drafted correspondence, and wrote a famous address to the people of Great Britain. Returning to the provincial congress of New York, he guided the drafting (1777) of the first New York state constitution. Jay was appointed (1777) chief justice of New York but left that post to become (December 1778) president of the Continental Congress. In 1788, Jay was elected president of that body. He was sent on diplomatic missions and he helped negotiate the Treaty of Paris in 1783, ending the war with Great Britain.

In 1779 he was sent as minister plenipotentiary to Spain, where he secured some financial aid, but failed to win recognition for the colonial cause. He was appointed (1781) one of the commissioners to negotiate peace with Great Britain and joined Benjamin Franklin in Paris. Jay declined further diplomatic appointments in Europe and returned to America to find that Congress had appointed him Secretary of Foreign Affairs, a post he held (178489) for the duration of the government under the Articles of Confederation. Although he was able to secure minor treaties, he found it impossible under the Articles of Confederation to make progress in the settlement of major disputes with Great Britain and Spain, a situation that caused him to become one of the strongest advocates of a more powerful central government. He contributed five papers to The Federalist, dealing chiefly with the Constitution in relation to foreign affairs. Jay was a strong advocate for a strengthened national government. Though he did not attend the Constitutional Convention, he did contribute five essays to a series of newspaper articles (later called "The Federalist Papers") in support of ratification.

Jay declined Washington's offer to serve as secretary of state. Washington returned with an offer as the first chief justice, which Jay accepted. Jay continued diplomatic missions while on the Court. When the still-unsettled controversies with Great Britain threatened to involve the United States in war, Jay was drafted for a mission to England in 1794, where he concluded what is known as Jay's Treaty. Upon his return from the treaty negotiations, Jay discovered that he had been elected governor of New York. He immediately resigned his position as chief justice. He served two three-year terms as governor.

Under the new government Jay became (178995) the first Chief Justice of the United States. He was nominated by George Washington. He was commissioned on September 26, 1789 and he was sworn in on October 19, 1789. He concurred in Justice James Wilson's opinion in Chisholm v. Georgia, which led to the passing of the Eleventh Amendment. He resigned as chief justice on June 29, 1795. In 1800, President John Adams nominated Jay for a second appointment as chief justice. The nomination was quickly confirmed by the Senate, but Jay refused citing his poor health He retired to his farm at Bedford in Westchester for the remaining 28 years of his life.


Herringshaw's Encyclopedia of American Biography of the Nineteenth Century
JAY, JOHN, soldier, lawyer, statesman, was born Dec. 12, 1745, in New York city. He was a delegate to the continental congress from 1774 to 1777, anal from 1778 to 1779. In 1776 he was recalled from congress to aid in forming the government of New York, and for that reason was not present to sign the declaration of independence. From 1777 to 1779 he was chief justice of the state, but resigned to fill the post of president of congress. He was appointed secretary of state. Though not a member he aided at the convention which framed the federal constitution. In 1789 he was appointed chief justice of the supreme court of the United States, which position he resigned in 1794 to accept the mission to England, when he negotiated the treaty which bears his name. He was governor of New York from 1795 to 1801, after which he retired to private life. His Correspondence and State Papers were published in 1893. He died May 17, 1829, in Bedford, N. Y.

Letter About Harry Livingston and Sarah
Madrid, 8 December, 1781.

Dear Benson:

I had yesterday the pleasure of receiving your favor of the 30th October last - the only one that has come to my hands since I left Philadelphia. The letter you mention to have written when General Washington was in Westchester County has miscarried, and I the more regret it as it probably contained some particulars about my father's family, of whom I hear little except by persons at a distance from them.

...

I have been informed that my father had been robbed, that he removed his family to Poughkeepsie, and that on the way he lost one of his servants (but which I know not) by an unfortunate accident. I am to this moment ignorant of the particulars except so far as they have been conveyed by report. I wish to know where he lives and how he does; nobody writes me a syllable about Peter and Nancy. This distressed family are never out of my thoughts or heart. Henry Livingston, Jr. has been so kind as to write a letter to Mrs. Jay, and for which we are much obliged to him. I wish, however, he had been as particular about my father as about my son. You tell me he is the solace of my father. This circumstance makes me regret their parting. So few rays of comfort beam on that good and affectionate parent of mine that it is a pity that he should be deprived of those which it seems he derives from the company and prattle of his little grandson. It must not be. You, my good friend, must manage this matter for me.

Harry Livingston, I imagine, lives in the neighborurhood. His wife is an excellent woman, and in my opinion a rara avis in terra. I believe they both wish me well, and would not refuse to oblige me by taking my son to live with them and treating him as they do their own. In that family he would neither see nor be indulged in immoralities, and he might every day or two spend some hours with his grandfather, and go to school with Harry's children; or otherwise as you may think proper. At any rate he must not live with his grandfather, to whom he would in that case be as much trouble as satisfaction.

This is a point on which I am decided, and therefore write in very express and positve terms. Unless objections strike you that I neither know or think of, be so kind as to speak to Mr. and Mrs. Livingston about it. I will cheerfully pay them whatever you may think proper, and I would rather that you should agree to a generous allowance than a mere adequate compensation. In case Mr. and Mrs. Livingston should consent to this, be pleased then to mention it to my father and the family...

I entreat your attention to this subject and beg that you will extend your regard for the father to the son and family of

Your affectionate friend,
John Jay.










        
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