“This peace brings none to my heart”

Late in 1782, the Preliminary Articles of the peace treaty, which John Jay had helped negotiate, were agreed to in Paris. Sarah Jay wrote her father: “The dawn of peace seems to approach.” She congratulated him on the prospect. She also expressed her personal joy to her sister Kitty in Philadelphia anticipating, at long last, a reunion with her family. “Oh! Kitty perhaps the time draws near when we shall fold each other to our bosoms, and when our domestic felicity shall again be compleat.”
The Treaty of Paris, signed the next year, ended the Revolutionary War. There was great rejoicing in the new nation, but not everyone had cause to celebrate. Sarah Winslow, sister of loyalist Edward Winslow, wrote to her cousin Benjamin Marston in Canada of the family’s bitterness at their treatment by the Americans and what they considered betrayal by the British government.

April 10—1783, New YorkWhat is to become of us, God only can tel, in all our former sufferings we had hope to support us, being depriv’d of that, is too much, my mind, and strength, are unequal to my present, unexpected tryals—was their ever an instance my dear Cousin, can any history produce one where such a number of the best of human beings were deserted by the Government they have sacrific’d there all for.

The open enemys of Great Britain have gaind there point. … This peace brings none to my heart, my Brother . . . is now hasting away—may he meet you upon his arrival in Halifax. … You my Cousin I hope will be much with him. … Let compassion and friendship induce you to inform me always when you can, of his situation, and health, and do my friend as you value the peace of this fam-ily caution him to take care of himself. …

Here it thought best for us to continue for some months or until it is known what better we can do. Severe are the struggles I must now dayly have with myself. … I wish to retire entirely to my own family, and endeavour to remain unmolested, if possible, for which purpose my Brother is now seecking a house for us out of the City. …

This servant will make you a partaker of our sufferings … you are a Christian and Phylosopher, teach me so to be … your affectionate Cousin S

Sarah Jay’s remarks and the letter of Sarah Winslow are from In the Words of Women, pages 289-90.

posted December 3rd, 2012 by Janet, CATEGORIES: Americans Abroad, Independence, Loyalists, Paris

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