“we celebrated the Anniversary of our Independance”

John Jay and his wife Sarah Livingston Jay were in Paris in July of 1783 where John as a Peace Commissioner had been influential in drafting the Preliminary Articles of Peace in 1782 which were awaiting the official signing. Sarah wrote a long letter to her sister Kitty in Elizabeth Town, New Jersey, including a passage describing how they had celebrated the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.

Passy l6th July 1783
My dr. sister,
On the 4th of July we celebrated the Anniversary of our Independance here at Passey, but the next I hope to celebrate in yr. company, & I’m sure that our pleasure will not be less animated even tho’ we shou’d substitute butter-milk in lieu of champagne to commemorate the illustrious event. I’ll inclose you a copy of the toasts Mr. Jay prepar’d for the occasion. . . . How nearly my dear Kitty! does extreme felicity approach a painful sensation. I’ve more than once experienc’d it; nor were my feelings divested of that kind of sensibility on the 4th of July, for I found it difficult to suppress the tears that where ready to flow to ye memory of those who in struggling to procure that happiness for their country which we were then celebrating had fallen in the glorious attempt. . . .

Because the following toasts Sarah enclosed are in her hand it has been thought that she gave them on the occasion of the signing of the Treaty of Paris. However, upon close reading, it is clear that they are more appropriate for an Independence Day celebration and were most likely given by John Jay on July 4, 1783.

1. The United States of America, may they be perpetual.
2. The Congress.
3. The King & Nation of France.
4. General Washington & the American Army.
5. The United Netherlands & all other free States in the world.
6. His Catholic Majesty & all other Princes & Powers who have manifested
Friendship to America.
7. The Memory of the Patriots who have fallen for their Country. May kindness
be shown to their widows & children.
8. The French Officers & Army who served in America.
9. Gratitude to our Friends & Moderation to our Enemies.
10. May all our Citizens be soldiers, & all our soldiers Citizens.
11. Concord, Wisdom & Firmness to all American Councils.
12. May our Country be always prepared for War, but disposed to Peace.
13. Liberty & Happiness to all Mankind.

posted July 3rd, 2014 by Janet, CATEGORIES: France, Independence, Paris


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