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At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 65,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Jay, John (1745-1829) To the inhabitants of the State of New York

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC00006 Author/Creator: Jay, John (1745-1829) Place Written: Fishkill, New York Type: Autograph manuscript Date: December 23, 1776 Pagination: 1

Summary of Content: Delivered at Fishkill, New York, to the state's constitutional convention shortly after the American defeats at Long Island, Manhattan and White Plains, and a few days before Washington surprised the Hessians at Trenton. As such, Jay addressed his fellow Americans disillusioned by British victories and questioning the moral rightness of the American cause. Speech explains why he felt it was necessary to fight against the British in the cause of liberty, even unto death. The unsigned manuscript is written and corrected entirely in Jay's hand. There are many corrections, strike outs as well as notations in the left margin. The draft shows considerable revision from the printed version; many changes are syntactic but some weaken the vilification of Tories, stress unity of Americans, and shift the anti-British attacks from Parliament to George III. Later printed at Fishkill and at Philadelphia by Dunlap. The Continental Congress thought so highly of the address that it recommended that it be given "serious perusal" by all Americans. Bound by a piece of string at the center portion of the top of the document. One full length engraving of John Jay included as collateral.

People: Jay, John, 1745-1829.

Historical Era: American Revolution, 1763-1783

Keywords/Subjects: Slavery, Liberty, Loyalist, Continental Army, Continental Congress, Government and Civics, Religion, Judaism, Civil Rights, Commerce, Global History and US Foreign Policy, Global History and US Foreign Policy, Children and Family, Pardon, Ammunition, Navy, Battle of Long Island (Brooklyn, Brooklyn Heights), Battle, Christianity

Sub Era: The War for Independence