Jay's Treaty

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Jay's Treaty,

concluded in 1794 between the United States and Great Britain to settle difficulties arising mainly out of violations of the Treaty of Paris of 1783 and to regulate commerce and navigation.


War threatened when the British admiralty ordered the seizure of American vessels trading with the French West Indies. To avert further difficulties, George Washington in Apr., 1794, named Chief Justice John Jay as envoy extraordinary for the negotiation of a treaty. The principal American objects were to secure surrender of the posts in the Old Northwest, to obtain compensation for losses and damages resulting from seizure of American vessels and provisions as contraband of war and for the impressment of American sailors, and to remove the restrictions on American commerce, especially on the British West Indies trade. Jay, arriving in England in June, was received favorably, and the treaty was signed on Nov. 19, 1794, by Jay and Lord GrenvilleGrenville, William Wyndham Grenville, Baron,
1759–1834, British statesman; youngest son of George Grenville. He was foreign secretary in the ministry of his cousin William Pitt from 1791 to 1801.
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Treaty Provisions

The treaty provided for British evacuation of the Northwestern posts by June 1, 1796, allowing settlers the option of becoming Americans or remaining British citizens, with full protection of property guaranteed. It referred settlement of the northwest and northeast boundaries and the questions of debts and compensations to mixed commissions; provided for unrestricted navigation of the Mississippi and free trade between the North American territories of the two countries; granted equal privileges to American and British vessels in Great Britain and the East Indies, but placed severe and humiliating restrictions upon American trade with the British West Indies; and permitted admission of British vessels to American ports on terms of the most-favored nation. No discrimination in duties was to be made, and articles provided for extraditionextradition
, delivery of a person, suspected or convicted of a crime, by the state where he has taken refuge to the state that asserts jurisdiction over him. Its purpose is to prevent criminals who flee a country from escaping punishment.
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 of criminals and defined contraband material. Indemnity for those Americans whose slaves were carried off by Britain's evacuating armies was not allowed; protection to American sailors against impressment was not guaranteed; and no recognition of the principles of international maritime law was secured.

A Stormy Reception

The treaty, which owed much to the influence of Alexander HamiltonHamilton, Alexander,
1755–1804, American statesman, b. Nevis, in the West Indies. Early Career

He was the illegitimate son of James Hamilton (of a prominent Scottish family) and Rachel Faucett Lavien (daughter of a doctor-planter on Nevis and the estranged
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, caused a storm of indignation in America. Jay was denounced and burned in effigy, Hamilton was stoned while speaking in its defense, and the treaty was called a complete surrender of American rights. It was submitted to the U.S. Senate, in special session, on June 8, 1795, and on June 24, after stormy debate, it was ratified with a special reservation on the clause relative to trade with the West Indies. It was signed by Washington.

When the treaty was proclaimed as law, after the exchange of ratifications at London in 1796, the U.S. House of Representatives called upon the President for papers relating to the negotiation. In a special message Washington refused to comply with the request of the House. After lengthy debate the House passed a resolution, by three votes, declaring it expedient to pass laws making the treaty effective, and an act was finally passed (Apr. 30, 1796) making appropriations for carrying the treaty into effect.


See studies by S. F. Bemis (1923, rev. ed. 1962) and J. A. Combs (1970).

References in periodicals archive ?
Under the treaty, American ships suspected of carrying supplies to Britain's enemies were still subject to interdiction by British naval ships, and Jay's treaty also failed to resolve the issue of impressments of American sailors.
Not only did the Supreme Court's sparse caseload provide ample time for Jay to conduct overseas diplomatic missions, including negotiating what became known as Jay's Treaty, but Jay had few qualms about resigning his position as Chief Justice to become Governor of New York.
The complete text of the twenty-eight articles of the treaty is found in Bemis, Jay's Treaty, 453-82.
The first Germans in Michigan were wanderers and Hessians who remained after being mustered out of British military service following Jay's Treaty in 1795.
Furthermore, the ratification in 1795 of Jay's Treaty, which attempted to settle sundry differences between Great Britain and the United States,(1) struck the French as yet another betrayal.
Jay's treaty also granted Britain most-favored-nation treatment, thus precluding discriminatory commercial legislation.
20) Jay's treaty with Britain in 1794, amid the war between Britain and France, fomented the division.
Readers also may find themselves wondering about the historical context of Jay's Treaty and the Treaty of Canadaigua.
Much of their commerce was with British-Canadian merchants, who had been allowed access to the northern fur-producing areas of the United States by the treaty of 1783 and Jay's Treaty of 1794.
If Sheikh Ahmed (those yellow colours with the black epaulettes) had put in an appearance, I might have backed Yashrid in the maiden race and, if Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum (dark green, red cap, dark green diamond) had been there to cheer on Jay's Treaty, I'd definitely have backed that but neither owner was there, leaving the way clear for Ms Gillian Khosia's Brannagh, Ryan Moore's only ride of the meeting.