Biography of Jay, John - Archontology
Jay, John

John Jay

b. 1/12 Dec 1745, New York City, New York [1]
d. 17 May 1829, Bedford, near New York City, New York

Title: President of Congress
Term: 10 Dec 1778 - 28 Sep 1779
Chronology: 10 Dec 1778, elected to the office of the President of Congress, session of Congress, State House, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania [2]
28 Sep 1779, resignation communicated to the Congress, acknowledged; session of the Congress, State House, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania [3]
Educated in a boarding school at New Rochelle, New York; graduated from King's College (now Columbia University) in 1764; studied law in the office of Benjamin Kissam, and in 1768 was admitted to the bar; served on the New York committee of correspondence; was elected a a delegate from New York to the Continental Congress (1774-1776), but was recalled to aid in forming the New York State constitution; appointed chief justice of the State of New York (1777); elected a member of the Continental Congress (1778-1779); was elected the President of Congress (10 Dec 1778); approved as Minister Plenipotentiary (27 Sep 1779) to negotiate a treaty of alliance with Spain; traveled to Europe, landing at Cadiz, Spain, on 22 Jan 1780; served as a diplomat in Europe (1780-1784), where he negotiated peace with Great Britain (14 Jun 1781), and signed the Treaty of Paris; while staying in Europe, he was appointed Secretary for Foreign Affairs by the Congress (7 May 1784); returned to New York (28 Jul 1784) and was elected to the Congress as a delegate from New York (elected 26 Oct 1784, attended 6 Dec 1784) for the period 1784-1785; took an oath of office as Secretary for Foreign Affairs 21 Dec 1784, serving until the estblishment of government under the Constitution of 1787, and continuing to superintend the Department until Thomas Jeffesron took office as Secretary of State (22 Mar 1790); after the installation of the federal government, he was made the first Chief Justice of the United States (served: 19 Oct 1789 - 29 Jun 1795); was unsuccessful candidate for Governor of New York in 1792 and accepted nomination as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Great Britain (19 Apr 1794); in this capacity he served until 8 Apr 1795, still retaining his position as Chief Justice of the United States; served as Governor of New York (1 Jul 1795 - 1 Jul 1801).
Biographical sources: "John Jay: Defender of Liberty Against Kings & Peoples, Author of the Constitution & Governor of New York, President of the Continental Congress, Co-author of the Federalist, Negotiator of the Peace of 1783 & the Jay Treaty of 1794, First Chief Justice of the United States", by Frank Monaghan (New York: Bobbs-Merrill, 1935); Biographical Directory of the United States Congress (2005), p. 1326.

[1] "John Jay: The Making of a Revolutionary: Unpublished Papers, 1745-1780", ed. by Richard B. Morris (New York: Harper & Row, 1975), vol. 1, p. 32: "December 1st/12th N.S., 1745. On Sunday at ten OClock at night is born my sixth Son John Jay and baptized on Fryday the 6th/17 following by the Revd. Mr. William Vesey, having Messrs. Cornelius Van Horn, John Chambers and Mrs. Ann Chambers for his sureties."
[2] Journals of the Continental Congress, 12:1206.
[3] Journals of the Continental Congress, 15:1114.
Image: portrait by Gilbert Stuart.