Document, ante 1765 and 1780 January 1 - 1781 March 14
John Jay's School Copybook (ante 1765) and Sarah Jay's Letterbook, 1
January 1780-14 March 1781. Paperbound copybook opening with eight leaves inscribed by
John Jay, probably ante 1765, containing conjugations of French verbs and declensions of
French nouns. The next twenty-seven pages contain Sarah Jay's drafts of letters to sent
to friends and famil y , 1 January 1780-14 March 1781. The next four pages contain Mrs.
Jay's transcriptions Lord Orrery's verses in memory of his wife; arithmetic notations
inside the back cover. Sarah Jay's letters are: (1) To William Livingston, ca. 9 January
1780 . Had intended to write from Martinique. Describes mishaps of the Confederacy and
their eventual transfer to the Aurora. Description of St. Pierre and Martinique.
Agriculture. Raising of cotton and cabbage. Her father would have enjoyed the West
Indian fish. Bees introduced to the island only a year ago, and there are now 46 swarms.
(2) To Peter Jay, ,[ 9] January 1780; Their difficult voyage and landing in Martinique.
Visit from William Bingham. Viscount Damas reviews his regiment in the Jay's honor. For
"brother Peter" (John Jay's blind older brother), describes the sugar cane mills of the
island in great detail. Reports that Peter Jay Munro is "quite a favorite among the
Officers of the frigate." (3) To Susannah French Livingston. 13 May 1780. Arrival in
Madrid. Is pleased with city, but her ignorance of the language makes it difficult for
her to make acquaintances. Chief amusement is riding. John Jay is at Aranjuez, where the
court now resides. Describes beautiful road from Madrid to Aranjuez; watered by canals.
Drought in Spain has hurt farming. King more fond of his country palaces than Madrid,
which is "inconvenient and expensive to the foreign ambassadors and Ministers."
Describes their rented house with its fountain in courtyard. Apologies for not having
sent items her mother and sisters ordered. Europeans regard American highly. Sends
recipe for scurvy remedy. Asks about Peter Augustus Jay and wonders if he still
resembles his father;. Asks for news of the boy. Glad that he can spend this time with
his grandparents, "imbibing with his earliest acquirements that probity & generosity
that reigns throughout the family." (4) To Catharine Livingston. 14 May 1780. Joy at
receiving Kitty's letter. Mrs. Price's death. Complains that Kitty writes nothing of
Mary White Morris. Madrid's walks and public gardens. Court at Aranjuez; will move again
next month. Sends regards to John Penn. Reflects on his friendship. Has tried to ship
silk handkerchiefs, but found none of good quality. Gauze handkerchiefs, silk stockings,
sewing silk and goods for Peter Augustus's clothes sent instead. "There is not any thing
here of the first quality -- every thing is slight, tawdry & High priced." (5) To
Susannah French Livingston. 18 August 1780. Fragment, being only the first page of a
draft letter with this date, finally sent with the date of 28 August (see document
7352). A touching letter informing her mother of the conditions surrounding the death of
her new born baby girl.. (6) To Judith Livingston Watkins, 18 August 1780. Congratulates
her sister on her marriage. Quotes the Count of Orrery on marriage (7) To Mary White
Morris, [1 September 1780]. Does not believe their friendship has been diminished by
absence. Thanks Mr. and Mrs. Morris for their kindness to her sister, Kitty. Still
grieves for the loss of her daughter. Sympathizes with Gouverneur Morris for the "cruel
accident" which has befallen him. Sends remembrances to friends in Philadelphia. Jay due
to return from St. Ildefonso; she will write then as his company will surely revive her
spirits. (8) To Conrad Gerard, 14 March 1781. Thanks him for the Du Simitiere print (9)
To William Livingston, 14 March 1781. Regrets that letter she wrote him in January 1780
was apparently lost. Apologizes and explains at length for not having written later.
Sorrow at death of daughter Susan. Condolences to Uncle and Aunt Livingston on their
sons' death. Enjoys happiness and perfect health now. Season of year lovely in Madrid.
King's improvements to city and adjacent country by walks, fountains, roads, trees. King
has four country seats which he visits in turn and prefers to Madrid because of fondness
for hunting. Aranjuez his favorite. Sarah will visit there in May but cannot afford a
long trip. Describes items on exhibition in king's armory. (10) To Peter Jay. ca. 14
March 1781, entered following her letter of this date to her own father. Sends on news
of Peter Augustus that she has received from her family in New Jersey. Asks after
Frederick, Margaret, Peter and Nancy Jay. Sends this message for her blind
brother-in-law: "Tell Peter that his friend Townsend was extremely mistaken about the
Coffee, it grows as Depeyster said inclos'd in red berries Resembling cherries upon
trees that have leaves very like peach leaves."
United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783; Jay, John, 1745-1829
ante 1765 and 1780 January 1 - 1781 March 14
The entire content of the original has been digitized.