Monday, April 30, 2012

John Jay was the most conservative Founding Father

John M. Pafford makes that point in this book review posted over at The Imaginative Conservative: John Jay: Man of Order, Justice, Freedom.  As Pafford points out, Jay's work and contribution to the Founding were substantial, and he deserves far more attention than he usually gets in discussions of the Founding period.  Personally, I would rank Jay alongside Samuel Adams and Fisher Ames as the most overlooked of the Founders.


Brian Tubbs said...

I agree that Jay is very overlooked as a Founder. That he was selected by Washington to be the nation's first Chief Justice as well as the leading emissary to Britain at a very sensitive and crucial period in our early history shows the high regard in which George Washington held him.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Picking through their correspondence, I've noticed John Jay becoming a confidante of Washington, who was rather a private man.

One of those leads I never followed up on, but some of their correspondence has made me thing GWash was far more open with Jay than with anyone except Lafayette.

Letter to Jay, 1786. Like the man says, read the whole thing.

"Your sentiments, that our affairs are drawing rapidly to a crisis, accord with my own. What the event will be is also beyond the reach of my foresight. We have errors to correct. We have probably had too good an opinion of human nature in forming our confederation. Experience has taught us, that men will not adopt & carry into execution, measures the best calculated for their own good without the intervention of a coercive power. I do not conceive we can exist long as a nation, without having lodged somewhere a power which will pervade the whole Union in as energetic a manner, as the authority of the different state governments extend over the several States."