Valley Forge Veteran Lt Col Adam Comstock Writes a Letter to Congressman Jonathan Nicoll Havens about John Jay’s Treaty March 2 1798

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“Me thinks I see now you dragging a Member of Congress, by the heels across the floor of the Hall, this being only an imagination – I say no more about it – The common People of this (your native) state, appear to be in a state of firment [sic]  Liberty Poles are erected, and erecting in many parts of the State. The People have got a silly notion,  That the Genl Government have run the continent into an imaginary ungodly Expense that our revenue is ruined by the loss of our Shipping That the loss of our Shipping is the (foreseen) effects of Mr. Jay’s Treaty  and that the same policy that dictated the Treaty produced the Stamp Act, and is the cause of all the evils of which they complain.”

Description

Valley Forge Veteran Lt. Col. Adam Comstock Writes a Letter to Congressman Jonathan Nicoll Havens about John Jay’s Treaty March 2 1798. Manuscript, ink on paper.  Autograph letter signed March 2, 1798, from Albany, two pages, by Lt. Col. Adam Comstock, 1st Battalion, R.I., retired,  addressed  to Jonathan Nicoll Havens, Member of Congress at Philadelphia, “My good old friend.” Adam Comstock (1740 – 1819)  served in the American Army during the Revolutionary War as Lt. Col. Adam Comstock of Christopher Greene’s Rhode Island Regiment and served with George Washington at Valley Forge (April-May 1778). He was serving in the New York State Assembly at the time this letter was written, representing Saratoga County. A stampless postal cover, postmarked with a faint straight line date stamp.

“Me thinks I see now you dragging a Member of Congress, by the heels across the floor of the Hall, this being only an imagination – I say no more about it – The common People of this (your native) state, appear to be in a state of firment [sic]  Liberty Poles are erected, and erecting in many parts of the State. The People have got a silly notion,  That the Genl Government have run the continent into an imaginary ungodly Expense that our revenue is ruined by the loss of our Shipping That the loss of our Shipping is the (foreseen) effects of Mr. Jay’s Treaty  and that the same policy that dictated the Treaty produced the Stamp Act, and is the cause of all the evils of which they complain. [Full text of Jay’s treaty: Jay’s Treaty – Wikisource, the free online library

“While the People are under these impressions what can be done? Should these impressions last ‘till the Election, would not the people refuse to reelect Mr. Jay?

“Is there no way to convince the People of the infallibility of the Executive of the United States, & of this State? That Congress have pursued a wise and prudent policy. That British influence is absolutely necessary in our Publick Councils. That it was proper that Mr. Jay’s Treaty should be so framed, as necessarily to give offense to France altho[ugh] he exceeded his Instructions, in doing it in order to produce a War That a Publick Debt, & a Stamp Act are publick Blessings and that it is better to be allied to a sinking Monarchy, than to the greatest Republic on Earth I say, is there no way to convince the People of these (seemingly) self evident truths.

“I wish you’d write to me, and give me your opinion on these interesting matters, for I am outhoused from undaughted [sic] authority, to inform you that Robert R. Livingston, Esq. will assuredly be a candidate for Governor, and the People seem to be so little satisfied with the present state of things, & naturally fond of change that unless something be speedily done, to convince to convince them of their error, our greatest Politicians declare there will be great danger of his succeeding. Ungrateful People, this to reward Mr. Jay for the great services he has rendered his Country, in negotiating so advantageous a Treaty. We are jogging on here after the old fashin [sic] and like almost all the world beside[s], Doing a little Good and a great deal of Evil. Give my respects to Mr. Livingston and believe me to be, with unfeigned esteem, your assured friend and obed[ien]t  ser[van]t Adam Comstock”  Adam Comstock – Wikipedia

A very important letter from Adam Comstock, a New York State politician and a Revolutionary War Veteran, who understood the strategic advantage John Jay used to secure the neutrality of the United States as England and France went to war in 1793. Jay’s treaty went into effect February 29, 1796, having been signed in November 1794.

Signature and handwriting sample: https://catalog.archives.gov/id/245050657?objectPage=2

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Additional information

Author

Comstock, Maj. Adam Comstock

Title

Valley Forge Veteran Major Adam Comstock Writes a Letter to Congressman Jonathan Nicoll Havens about John Jay's Treaty March 2 1798