James Jay Autographed Signed Letter
Type of Material: Correspondence
Personal Name: James Jay
Collection ID: Collection 442
Creator: James Jay
Extent: 1 page; legal folio
Span Dates: 9 January 1808
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Written to an unnamed general writing, in part: "The critical state of National Affairs, will no doubt occasion some embar[r]assment among mercantile gentlemen, let their fortunes be what they may. My son in law, Mr. Okill, is a prudent young fellow, and I presume has adapted his measures to the Times. Yet to Let him see that I am not insensible to the State of things, no unmindful of himself, I send him, by this Post, my note for $2000. If he should want the money, I shall esteem it a favor if you will get it discounted for him. The distance I am from N.Y. prevent me from offering him Cash ... As to Public Affairs, I can say nothing worth notice ... I am soliciting an old Debt, and not a small one, from Congress, and there is great reason to think I shall not solicit in vain ..."
Jay is referring to a memorial he presented to Congress asking for reimbursement for
what congressional records describe as developing "...secret mode of correspondence...
was very useful in the Revolutionary War, and no doubt might be again ..."
On July 7, his petition was read in the Senate, "That, during the war of the Revolution,
James Jay, upon his return from England, where he had been distinguished by his medical
talents, became a creditor of the United States for a considerable sum of money; that,
owing to delays on the part of the government, and the absence of Mr. Jay in attending
upon General Washington, (to whom, as appears by the General's letter, he imparted
a plan of secret correspondence, which proved to be of great importance in the course
of the war,) the money due and afterwards paid to Mr. Jay was much depreciated. In
consideration of these circumstances, which distinguish the case of Mr. Jay, the committee
submit to the consideration of the Senate, that leave be given to bring in a bill
to authorize the officers of the Treasury to examine the claim of Mr. Jay, and to
allow him such balance, together with interest, as may be equitably due to him."
Washington Jan. 9. 1808