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Jay - The Hon. Judge William (USA)


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The Hon Judge William Jay, President (1848-1858) of the American Peace Society

The Hon Judge William Jay

President (1848-1858) of the American Peace Society


Judge William Jay

Jay, William, (1789–1858) m. Hannah Augusta McVickar. American jurist and reformer, b. New York City; son of John Jay (1745–1829) American statesman, the first Chief Justice of the United States. For most of the period from 1818 to 1843 he served as judge of the county court of Westchester co., N.Y.

An active abolitionist, Jay helped establish (1833) the New York City Anti-Slavery Society, was a strong opponent of the African colonization plan as a solution to slavery, and wrote vigorous pamphlets and articles, which were collected in his Miscellaneous Writings on Slavery (1853). He was a founder (1816) of the American Bible Society and president (1848–58) of the American Peace Society. His writings include a two-volume life of his father (1833). Had issue:

   1. John Jay b. 23 Jun.1817 m. Eleanor Kingsland Field.
    1. Eliza Jay b. 1823 m.
Henry Edward Pellew, 6th Viscount Exmouth (1828-1923)
    2. Augusta Jay b. 1833 m.
Henry Edward Pellew, 6th Viscount Exmouth (1828-1923)
    3. Anna Jay b. 1813 m. Hans Lothar von Schweinitz (1822-1901)
    4. Maria Banyer Jay b. 1815 m. 1 Sep. 1847 John F. Butterworth.
    5. Sarah Louisa Jay b: 1810 m. 1 Aug. 1848 Alexander McWhorter Bruen (1808-1886)


See study by B. Tuckerman (1893, repr. 1969).


Jay, John

Jay, John, 17451829, m. Sarah Van Brugh Livingston, See http://President/Bush. American statesman, the first Chief Justice of the United States, b. New York City, grad. King's College (now Columbia Univ.), 1764. He was admitted (1768) to the bar and for a time was a partner of Robert R. Livingston. His marriage to Sarah, daughter of William Livingston, allied him with that influential family. In pre-Revolutionary activities he reflected the views of the conservative colonial merchant, opposing British actions but not favouring independence. Once the Declaration of Independence was proclaimed, however, he energetically supported the patriot cause. As a delegate to the First and Second Continental Congresses he urged a moderate policy, served on various committees, drafted correspondence, and wrote a famous address to the people of Great Britain. Returning to the provincial congress of New York, he guided the drafting (1777) of the first New York state constitution. Jay was appointed (1777) chief justice of New York but left that post to become (Dec., 1778) president of the Continental Congress. In 1779 he was sent as minister plenipotentiary to Spain, where he secured some financial aid, but failed to win recognition for the colonial cause. He was appointed (1781) one of the commissioners to negotiate peace with Great Britain and joined Benjamin Franklin in Paris. Jay declined further diplomatic appointments in Europe and returned to America to find that Congress had appointed him Secretary of Foreign Affairs, a post he held (1784–89) for the duration of the government under the Articles of Confederation. Although he was able to secure minor treaties, he found it impossible under the Articles of Confederation to make progress in the settlement of major disputes with Great Britain and Spain, a situation that caused him to become one of the strongest advocates of a more powerful central government. He contributed five papers to The Federalist, dealing chiefly with the Constitution in relation to foreign affairs. Under the new government Jay became (1789–95) the first Chief Justice of the United States. He concurred in Justice James Wilson's opinion in Chisholm v. Georgia, which led to the passing of the Eleventh Amendment. When the still-unsettled controversies with Great Britain threatened to involve the United States in war, Jay was drafted for a mission to England in 1794, where he concluded what is known as Jay's Treaty. After having unsuccessfully opposed George Clinton for governor of New York in 1792, Jay was elected and served (1795–1801) two terms. He declined re-election and also re-nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court and retired to his farm at Bedford in Westchester co. for the remaining 28 years of his life.

See H. P. Johnston, ed., Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay (4 vol., 1890–93, repr. 1970); biographies by G. Pellew (1890, repr. 1980), F. Monaghan (1935, repr. 1972), and D. L. Smith (1968); R. B. Morris, John Jay, the Nation and the Court (1967) and Witnesses at the Creation (1989).

Historic court

A scant 11 years after the Declaration of Independence was signed, the Bedford Court House was built. During that first session in 1787, one of the attorneys who argued his cases there was Aaron Burr. Later, Judge William Jay, son of John Jay, presided from the bench. Visitors may step through the same doors as Burr and Jay did, and see a court room little changed from those times. It appears much as it did in the early 1800's, with the jurists' bench, seats for the jury, benches for spectators, and a wood-burning stove to keep everyone warm. The second floor of the court house was originally a jail. One of the cells has been preserved. The rest of the space has been given over to the Bedford Museum, which chronicles life in the town from its earliest inhabitants. There are Indian artefacts, china and silver from local homes, dolls, clothing, and farm implements. One room recreates a colonial kitchen. The museum is open May 1 until early December, 11 to 2, Wednesday through Sunday. Admission is $2 for adults, $1 for children. Groups are free. Located on Route 22 in the heart of Bedford Village, the court house is maintained by the Bedford Historical Society. For information, call 914-234-9328.


See http://Pellew/Exmouth for details.


Descendants of The Hon Judge William Jay





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