Jays Treaty

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 The year 1794 opened in the British Colonies in America with apprehension and fear. Relations between the United States and Great Britain continued to be rocky after the revolutionary war ended. Many of the leading US politicians had split into two parties, one which favoured alliance and friendship with the French, and the other which favoured working with Britain. George Washington found himself caught between these two parties trying to avoid conflict with either one while maintaining the dignity and sovereignty of the US.

In Upper Canada a flurry of recruitment for the local regiments was underway in anticipation of a war with the US. The British had still not evacuated some of the areas and forts that they had committed to when peace was signed with the U.S. The boarding and taking of ships by both countries occurred on the high seas. The French Revolution was expanding and threatening stability. The war drums in the US were beating and demanding satisfaction from Britain which did not appear to be coming any time soon.

President Washington decided to send John Jay to London to negotiate a treaty which could avoid war. Vice President Jefferson, who favoured a closer relationship  with the French was opposed to this mission and quietly campaigned for an alliance with the French. Jay was the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court and had been the main negotiator for the U.S. at the Paris Peace Treaty negotiations which ended the American Revolutionary war. He had many good qualities that qualified him for this new mission but the chief among these was patience.

John Jay arrived in England on June 8th, 1794 and almost immediately began negotiations with Lord Grenville, The British Foreign Secretary. The two men respected and were impressed with each other which led to long, tough and substantial negotiations. Jay persevered and by Nov 19th, 1794 he and Grenville had signed the "Treaty of Amity, Commerce and Navigation."

By the terms of the treaty, Britain agreed to withdraw from Detroit, Erie, Niagara, Oswego, Ogdensburg, Sandusky and Michilimackinac by June 1st, 1796. Both the US and Britain agreed to pay compensation for seized ships. Boundary disputes along the boarder would be settled by a commission, Extradition of debtors and felons was to be effected, and trade was to be opened up for both parties in America and the West Indies.

When he treaty was announced to the American Public, protest was whipped into a frenzy by the opponents of Britain but it was passed by congress on June 25, 1795. Peace between the two countries was guaranteed for another decade. The biggest problem the British faced was breaking it to their Indian allies that they had not negotiated for any rights, land or recognition of their lands or property.

Relations between the U.S. and Britain did stabilize and British Canada was not threatened with military invasion until 1812 when all the old issues once again broke out n the scene.




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Reference: www.canadahistory.com/sections/eras/eras.html