Decoding Revolutionary Correspondence
April 28, 1782, from Robert R. Livingston to John Jay
Source: Papers of the Continental Congress, Roll 139, Page 163
PCC at Footnote.com
Jay Papers ID 564 (with translation);
ID 820 (in plaintext);
ID 7764 (quintuplicate with translation);
ID 7933 (3plicate);
ID 9923 (with explanation of five copies)
Electronic Text of Wharton (The Libary of Congress | American Memory)
Searchable Text of Sparks (Google)
You will receive with this a letter dated yesterday. Reasons which need not be explained induce me
to make this a separate dispach.
I believe, with you, that the court of Madrid does not wish to enter into engagement with [--] during the war -- influenced, as I presume, not only by the reasons you suggest, which our late success must have weakened, but by another that alarms me more.
They appear to extend their views to the country on this side [of] the Mississippi and to entertain hope of holding it in virtue of their late conquest.
They prsume that the acceptance of our cessions would militate against their farther claim and be considered as an acknowledgement of our right to all we do not cede.
It is not improbable that they are acquainted with the power which the court of France will over the negotiations for peace. They may build much upon their friendship and [expect] to obtain this. It [is] more than we will yield.
Should you believe these apprehensions to be well-founded, you will doubtless endeavour to show, on every proper occasion, the right of these states to all the country in question. You will urge the right, if conquest can give any which may be derived from willings.
You will judge how far it may be expedient to ground demands on the right we have to a compensation for our share of the burthen and expense of the war, if the issue should be as favorable as we have reason to expect. Our strength is so much underrated in Europe, that you will find it proper to represent it as it really is. Our regular army, including the French troops, will consist of about twenty thousand men. They are well disciplined, clothed, and fed, and, having for the most part seen seven years' hard service, I believe they may be counted equal to any troops in the world. Our militia are in excellent order and chiefly disciplined by officers who have left the regular service. While the army lies in the middle States, it can in ten or fifteen days receive a reinforcement of eight or ten thousand men for any particular service. Facts that you can easily call to mind will evince that any deficiency in the regular troops is amply made up by this supply. These are loose hints by no means directory to you. Congress mean as little as possible to clog you with instructions. They rely upon your judgment and address to reconcile whatever differences may appear to be between the views of Spain and the interests of these States.
(plaintext lines omitted)
you will receive with this a letter dated yesterday. reasons which need not be explain
ed induce me
456 <to[too]> 529 <make> 139 <this> 392 <a> 162 <s> '592 <par> 392 <a> 544 <t> '
237 <dis> 204 <pa> 17 <ch> I believe with you that the 186 <court> 403 <of>
561 <mad> 43 <ri[ry]> 118 <d> 203 <do> 458 <e> [s] 281 <not> 73 <wi> 363 <sh> 456 <to[too]> enter into
engagement with during the war - influenced
as I presume not only by the reasons you sug-
gest which our late success must have weakened
but by an other that
542 <al[all]> 127 <arm> [s] 57 <m> '198 <mor> '-449 <they> 408 <ap>
352 <p> 545 <ear> 456 <to[too]> 501 <ex> 252 <ten[teen]> 118 <d> 259 <their[there]> views456 <to[too]> 332 <th> '228 <country> 107 <on>
139 <this> 297 <si[sy]> 118 <d> 458 <e> [of] 332 <th> [e] Missi[s]si[p]pi 166 <and> 456 <to[too]> 328 <ent> 86 <er[err]> 272 <ta>
255 <in[inn]> 490 <hope> 403 <of> 159 <hold> 389 <ing> 20 <it> 255 <in[inn]> 80 <u> 86 <er[err]> 308 <tu> '403 <of> 259 <their[there]>
81 <late> 355 <con> 2 <que> 395 <st> 449 <they> 213 <pr> 333 <su> 57 <m> 'that the acceptance
236 <our> 240 <c> 458 <e> 162 <s> 297 <si[sy]> 107 <on> 162 <s> 212 <wo> 307 <ul> 118 <d> 211 <mi[my]> 122 <li[ly]>
272 <ta> 544 <t> '254 <against> 259 <their[there]> 374 <farther> 240 <c> 537 <la> 42 <im> and be considered
431 <an> 105 <ac[ack,ak]> 40 <now> 104 <l> [e] 118 <d> 520 <g> 458 <e> 559 <ment> 403 <of> 236 <our> 96 <right>
456 <to[too]> 542 <al[all]> 109 <w> '203 <do> 281 <not> 240 <c> 348 <ed> 458 <e> it is not-
improbable that they are acquainted with the
260 <po> 504 <wer> 101 <which> 332 <th> [e] 186 <court> 403 <of> 261 <france> 279 <wil[will]> 400 <over> 332 <th> [e] negotia-
28 <for> 160 <peace> they may build much upon 259 <their[there]>
442 <fri> 525 <end> 14 <ship> 166 <and> 501 <ex> 352 <p> 458 <e> 240 <c> 545 <ear> [should be 544 <t>?] to obtain
this it [is]
198 <mor> '337 <than> 109 <w> '279 <wil[will]> 269 <y> 136 <ei[ey]> 104 <l> 118 <d> should
you believe these apprehensions to be well-
founded, you will doubtless endeavour to shew
on every proper occasion
332 <th> 458 <e> 96 <right> 403 <of> 332 <th>
458 <e> 162 <s> 458 <e> 162 <s> 272 <ta> 544 <t> 458 <e> .456 <to[too]> 542 <al[all]> 332 <th> '
228 <country> 255 <in[inn]> 2 <que> 395 <st> 411 <i> 107 <on> you will urge the
right, if conquest can give any which may be
279 <wil[will]> 389 <ing> 162 <s>
First posted on 23 September 2008. Last modified on 15 October 2008.
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