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in that country as a merchant; and certain persons were mentioned, to whom he was to confide the object of his mission, and through whose

agency

he was to obtain an interview with Count Vergennes, the French minister for foreign affairs. It was hoped that he would thus be enabled to procure military supplies for congress.

As France was at this time at peace with England, it became necessary to resort to expedients to provide for the consequences that might result from the miscarriage of Mr. Deane's letters. For this purpose

he was provided with an invisible ink, and Mr. Jay with a chemical preparation for rendering the writing legible. But as letters apparently blank might excite suspicion, and lead to experiments that might expose the contrivance, Mr. Deane's communications were written on large sheets, commencing with a short letter in common ink, relative to some fictitious person or business, and under a feigned name; and the residue of the paper was occupied by his despatch in the invisible ink.

The correspondence, thus arranged, was carried on for a considerable time, and Mr. Deane's mission proved successful.

The convention of New York had been assembled in 1776, to form a constitution for the state, as well as to exercise the powers of government till that could be accomplished. The stirring events which followed occupied their whole attention for a considerable time; but in March, 1777, a committee, appointed for the purpose, reported the plan of a constitution, drawn up by Mr. Jay, which, with slight modifications, was adopted. Under the new government, now organized, he was appointed chief justice.

In the duties of his new station he was actively engaged for a time, but his services being particularly needed in congress, he took his seat there in December, 1778, after an absence of two years. Though this was not legally incompatible with his judicial station, he found that congress had no recess, and that his time was therefore wholly occupied in its duties. In the autumn of 1799, he accordingly resigned the office of chief justice of New York.

But his services were now required in another sphere. Desirous of strengthening their foreign alliances, congress deemed it advisable to despatch a minister to Spain, and Mr. Jay took his departure on a mission to that government, October 20, 1779. He sailed with his wife, on board the American frigate Confederacy, bound for Spain. Being crippled by a storm, the vessel put into Martinique; but he here found a vessel bound for Toulon, which took him and his family on board, and they landed at Cadiz, Janu

ary 22, 1780.

On the fourth day after he had landed, Mr. Jay despatched his secretary to Madrid, with a letter for the Spanish minister, acquainting him with the commission with which he was charged. An answer was returned, inviting him to Madrid, but intimating that it was expected he would not assume a formal character, which must depend on a future acknowl. edgment and treaty. Mr. Jay was thus led to perceive, at the very

outset of his negotiation, that the acknowledgment of American independence, by Spain, would on her part be a matter of bargain, and that she expected to be paid for admitting an indisputable fact. He, however, lost no time in repairing to Madrid, and in doing so, encountered all the delay and inconveniences incident to Spanish travelling,

On his arrival at Madrid, he discovered no disposition in the Spanish government to enter into negotiation with him; and he remarked soon after, in a letter to a friend, “pains were taken to prevent any conduct towards me that might savor of an admission or knowledge of American independence."

Shortly after Mr. Jay's departure from America, congress adopted a measure that was prompted rather by the exigencies of the country than by any sound principles of policy. As one expedient for raising money for present necessities, they ordered bills to be drawn on Mr. Jay, for more than half a million of dollars, payable six months after sight, in the hope that, before that time, he would have obtained a subsidy from the Spanish court. With these bills, supplies were purchased for the army, and the holders sent them to their European correspondent, who presented them to Mr. Jay, for acceptance. should have ventured on such a measure, not only without knowing that Mr. Jay could procure money in Spain, but even before they had heard of his arrival there, proves the desperate state of their finances at this period of the revolution, and the conviction that the means of continuing the contest were to be provided for at every hazard. Similar bills were drawn upon Mr. Laurens, who had sailed as American min

That congress

ister for Holland, and unfortunately they arrived before the minister, who, being captured by a British cruiser, was consigned to the Tower of London.

The bills thus drawn upon him, Mr. Jay concluded to accept, in the hope of obtaining the means of meeting them from the Spanish government. A portion of them, to the amount of about one hundred and fifty thousand dollars, was provided for in this way, but at last difficulties arose, and bills he had accepted to a large amount were protested. Mr. Jay's situation was now very painful; but he was soon relieved by getting a letter from Doctor Franklin, one of our ministers at Paris, authorizing him to draw upon him for the amount of all the bills that had fallen due. Thus he had the satisfaction of seeing the credit of his country restored, and his own apparently rash conduct justified by the event.

Mr. Jay's continued residence in Spain now afforded no prospect of usefulness to his country, Although treated with great personal civility, he was not acknowledged in his public character, nor did he see any opportunity of forming any other treaty with Spain, than such as might be extorted from the necessities of America. Thus situated, it must have been with no small satisfaction that he received, early in May, a letter from Doctor Franklin, pressing him to repair to Paris, to assist in the negotiations for peace, which the doctor believed would soon be opened. With his usual promptitude, he obeyed the summons in a few days, and, abandoning a field in which his labors had produced but little fruit, he entered another, in which he gathered for his country an abundant harvest.

Shortly before his departure from Spain, he received from Doctor Franklin a copy of a letter, written by Mr. Deane to a friend in America, representing the American cause as desperate, and recommending an immediate reconciliation with Great Britain. The letter had been intercepted and published by the English. Mr. Jay, who, as we have already seen, was on friendly terms with Deane, had suspended his portrait in his parlor at Madrid; but, on receiving this evidence of his apostasy, he took down the picture and threw it into the fire, and ever after showed great reluctance to speak of the original.

On leaving Spain, Mr. Jay was informed that Count Aranda, the Spanish ambassador at Paris, would be authorized to continue the negotiations with him. Although there was no reason to anticipate favorable results from a renewal of the negotiation, Mr. Jay was determined to omit nothing that might promote the interests of his country; and therefore he addressed a letter to the count, expressing his readiness to commence the necessary conferences.

A meeting accordingly took place, but resulted in no benefit, beyond the mutual esteem and intimacy of the two ministers. Count Aranda was one of the richest subjects of Spain, and he lived at Paris in great splendor. His assortment of wines was perhaps the finest in Europe. Instead of purchasing, as usual, of the dealers, he employed agents to explore the wine countries, and to select the

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