Cyclopædia of Political Science, Political Economy, and the Political History of the United States

Edited by: Lalor, John J.
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New York: Maynard, Merrill, and Co.
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Includes articles by Frédéric Bastiat, Gustave de Molinari, Henry George, J. B. Say, Francis A. Walker, and more.
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JAY, John, was born in New York city, Dec. 1 (O. S.), 1745, and died at Bedford, N. Y., May 17, 1829. He was graduated at Columbia in 1764, was admitted to the bar in 1768, and took high rank as a lawyer. He was a leader in the early revolutionary movements in New York and in forming the state constitution in 1776. He was a delegate to congress 1774-7 and 1778-9, was on its leading committees, and was president during his last term. In the meantime he had also been chief justice of his state, 1778-9. In 1779 he became minister to Spain, and was one of the American negotiators in 1783. Returning in the following year he became secretary of foreign affairs until 1789. Sept. 24, 1789, he was appointed chief justice of the United States. (See JAY'S TREATY.) Before his return from the English negotiation he was elected governor of New York by the federalists, was re-elected, and served until 1801. He had been nominated in 1792, but was defeated by the official rejection of a part of the popular vote. (See NEW YORK.) In 1801 he retired peremptorily and permanently from public life. (See FEDERAL PARTY.)


—Jay's best political writings are his early revolutionary state papers, his share of the "Federalist" (see that title), and his opinion in Chisholm vs. Georgia. (See JUDICIARY.) His instinctive integrity is well marked by his indorsement on the back of a letter from an influential federalist, written after the democratic victory in New York in 1800, and suggesting the calling of a special session of the federalist legislature to assume legally the appointment of electors: "Proposing a measure for party purposes, which I think it would not become me to adopt."


—See Jay's Life of Jay; Sparks' Life and Writings of Jay; Renwick's Life of Jay; Jenkins' Governors of New York, 74: 2 Flanders' Chief Justices; Van Santvoord's Chief Justices; Parton's Life of Burr, 253: 37 Harper's Magazine; 1 Hammond's Political History of New York (see index).


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