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President George Washington's nomination of John Jay as Envoy Extraordinary to his Britannic Majesty, April 16, 1794

The U.S. Constitution empowers the Senate to give “Advice and Consent” to presidential appointments of ambassadors and other public officials. In 1794 the Senate approved President George Washington’s nomination of Chief Justice John Jay to negotiate a new treaty with Britain. Jay, who favored a strong federal government, had helped negotiate the 1783 Treaty of Paris.

Records of the U.S. Senate, National Archives and Records Administration

President George Washington's nomination of John Jay as Envoy Extraordinary to his Britannic Majesty, April 16, 1794

The Jay Treaty

In 1794 the U.S. government sent Chief Justice John Jay as envoy to Great Britain to negotiate a resolution to the growing conflicts regarding the British Navy’s seizure of U.S. ships, Americans’ debts to Britain, and Britain’s continued military presence in the northwest. The treaty Jay negotiated avoided war but delivered only a British promise to leave the northwest. The Senate narrowly approved the Jay Treaty in 1795, amidst protests that led to the nation’s first political parties—the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans.