John Jay, American Patriot
John Jay (December 12, 1745 – May 17,1829) was an American politician, statesman, revolutionary, diplomat, a Founding Father of the United States, President of the Continental Congress from 1778 to 1779 and, from 1789 to 1795, the first Chief Justice of the United States. During and after the American Revolution, he was a minister (ambassador) to Spain and France, helping to fashion American foreign policy and to secure favorable peace terms from the British (the Jay Treaty) and French. He co-wrote the Federalist Papers with Alexander Hamilton and James Madison.
As leader of the new Federalist Party, Jay was Governor of New York from 1795 to 1801 and became the state’s leading opponent of slavery. His first two attempts to pass emancipation legislation failed in 1777 and 1785, but the third succeeded in 1799. The new law he signed into existence eventually saw the emancipation of all New York slaves before his death.
As Governor, Jay also received a proposal from Hamilton to gerrymander New York for the Presidential election of that year; he marked the letter, “Proposing a measure for party purposes which it would not become me to adopt,” and filed it without replying. President John Adams then renominated him to the Supreme Court; the Senate quickly confirmed him, but he declined, citing his own poor health and the court’s lack of “the energy, weight and dignity which are essential to its affording due support to the national government.”
Jay declined the Federalist renomination for governor in 1801 and retired to the life of a farmer in Westchester County, New York. Soon after his retirement, his wife died. Jay remained in good health, continued to farm and stayed out of politics.
John Jay was an American Patriot.