John Jay: Quotations

john_jay_gilbert_stuart_portraitAs more quotes become available, this list will be properly updated.

Many of the quotes below can be found in the article The Education of John Jay or the book John Jay:The Education of an American Leader (ISBN978-1944241-61-2). The citations provided below were found through my research.


“Too many in your State, as in this, love pure democracy dearly. They seem not to consider that pure democracy, like pure rum, easily produces intoxication, and with it a thousand mad pranks and fooleries.” – John Jay, A letter to Judge Peters on July 24, 1809

“By this history, as well as by those of former times, we are taught the vanity of expecting, that from the perfectibility of human nature an the lights of philosophy, the multitude will become virtuous and wise, or their demagogues candid and honest.” – John Jay, Letter to George Washington

“Human knowledge and experience will doubtless continue to do good, in proportion to their extent and influence; but that they will ever be able reduce the passions and prejudices of mankind to such a state of subordination to right reason as modern philosophers would persuade us, I do not believe one word of.” – John Jay, Letter to William Vaughan, New York, 26th May, 1796

“He nevertheless, during one of his visits, very abruptly remarked, that there was no God, and he hoped the time would come when there would be no religion in the world. I very concisely remarked that if there was no God there could be no moral obligations, and I did not see how society could subsist without them.” – John Jay, Letter to John Bristed, Bedford, 23rd April, 1811

“The philosophic topics of consolation are familiar to you and we all know from experience how little relief is to be derived from them. May the Author and only Giver of consolation be and remain with you.” – John Jay, A Letter to Philip Schuyler, Alexander Hamilton’s father-in-law, concerning Hamilton’s death


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