Livingston, Robert R. (1746-1813) to John Jay
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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC04814 Author/Creator: Livingston, Robert R. (1746-1813) Place Written: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Type: Letter signed Date: 23 June 1782 Pagination: 4 p. : docket ; 32.1 x 19.7 cm.
Livingston, then Secretary of Foreign Affairs, notes on the benefits of the British surrender at Fort St. Phillips. Comments on the "distrusts and jealousies between Spain and the People of the Country," discussing disruptions to the Havana trade and the surrender of the Bahamas to Spain. Suggests that it is strange that the Dutch United Provinces acknowledged American sovereignty before Spain. In regard to military activities, mentions the rejection of British General Alexander Leslie's proposal to General Nathanael Greene for a cessation of hostilities. Comments on the strengthening of the American alliance with France.
By Hon J. Jay.
Philadelphia 23..d June 1782.
The only letter, I have received from you, since that of the 6..th of February last was a few lines which covered an account of the surrender of Fort St. Phillips, this success is important, as it not only weakens an Enemy, and operates against their future resources, but as, it givesreputation to the Arms of a Nation, that has our sincerest wishes for their prosperity, notwithstanding the little attention we have received from them â€“ This letter goes by toohazardous a conveyance, to admit of my entering into â€“ many of those causes of complaint, which daily â€“ administer Food to distrusts and jealousies between Spain and the People of this Country. â€“ The Havannah trade notwithstanding the important advantages it affords to Spain, meets with the most unjustifiable [inserted at bottom of first page: His Excellency John Jay]  interruptions, Vessels have been detained for months together, in order to carry on the
expeditions which Spain has formed, no adequate satisfaction being allowed for them, and then
sent away without convoy. by which means many of them have fallen into the hands of the Enemy, and where they did not the expences and disappointment occasioned by their detention has thrown the greatest discouragement on the Trade â€“ the Bahama Islands having surrendered to
the Arms of Spain, if the copy of the capitulation published by Livingston may be depended upon, it is a counterpart to that of Pensacola, and the Troops will probably be sent to strengthen the garrisons of New York or Charles town â€“ These transactions, together with the delays and
slights you meet with, cannot but have a mischievous effect, upon that harmony and confidence, which it is the mutual interests of Spain and America to cultivate with each other â€“ It seems a little singular to this Country, that the United Provinces, who never gave us the least reason 
reason to suppose, that, they were well inclined towards us, should precede Spain in
acknowledging our rights â€“ But we are a plain People, Counts value themselves upon refinements which are unknown to us â€“ When a Sovereign calls us friends, we are simple enough to expect unequivocal proofs of his friendship. Military operations have not yet commenced, so that [inserted: the] field affords us no intelligence, and the Cabinet seems to be closed by the determination of Congress not to permit Mr Morgan to wait upon them with General Carletonâ€™s compliments â€“ General Leslie, in
consequence of the late alteration in the British System (together with the scarcity of Provisions
in Charles town) proposed to General Green a cessation of hostilities â€“ I need hardly tell you
[inserted: that] the proposal met with the contempt it deserved. â€“ Those who are unacquainted
with our dispositions, would be surprized to hear, that our attachment to an Alliance with France,
has gathered strength from their misfortune in the West Indies, and from the attempts of The
Enemy to detach us from it. â€“ Every Legislative â€“ Body which have met since, have
unanimously declared â€“ their resolution to listen to no terms of accommodation, which
contravenes its principles â€“ Congress have it in contemplation to make some alteration in their
foreign Arrangements in order to lessen their expences, but as nothing is yet determined on, I do
not think it worth while to trouble you with a plan, which may not be carried into effect.
I have the honor to be
Recd [23 June] With great Respect and Esteem
Most obedient humble Servant
Robt [R] Livingston
23 June 1782
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