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Letter from John Jay to Robert R. Livingston



Philadelphia, January 6, 1776.

DEAR ROBERT: Amid the various sources of consolation, in seasons of poignant distress, which the wise have long amused themselves and the world with, the little share of observation and experience which has fallen to my lot, convinces me that resignation to the dispensations of a benevolent as well as omnipotent Being, can alone administer relief. The sensations which the first paragraph of your letter has occasioned, mock the force of philosophy, and, I confess, have rendered me the sport of feelings which you can more easily conceive than I express. Grief, if a weakness, is nevetheless, on certain occasions amiable, and recommends itself by being in the train of passions which follow virtue. But remember, my friend, that your country bleeds and calls for your exertions. The fate of those very friends, whose misfortunes so justly afflict you, is linked with the common cause, and cannot have a separate issue. Rouse, therefore, and after vigorously discharging the duties you owe your country, return to your peaceful shades, and supply the place of your former joys by the reflection, that they are only removed to a more kindred soil, like flowers from a thorny wilderness by a friendly florist, under whose care they will flourish and bloom, and court your embraces forever. Accept my warmest thanks for the ardour with which you wish a continuance and increase of that friendship to which I have long been much indebted. Be assured that its duration will always be among the first objects of my care. Let us unite in proving,


by our example, that the rule which declares juvenile friendships, like vernal flowers, to be of short continuance, is not without exceptions, even in our degenerate days.

Mr˙ Deane has this moment come in, so that I must conclude, as I hope to conclude every letter to you, with an assurance that I am your affectionate friend,

John Jay.

To Robert R˙ Livingston.

P˙ S. Fifty tons of saltpetre arrived this day.