The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Jay, John (diplomatist)
JAY, John, American diplomatist: b. New York, 23 June 1817; d. there, 5 May 1894. He was the son of William Jay (q.v.). He was graduated from Columbia in 1836, studied law in New York, was admitted to the bar in 1839, became a prominent opponent of slavery, was Secretary of the Irish relief committee in 1847 and was counsel for several fugitive slaves. He organized the meetings at the Broadway Tabernacle, New York, in 1854, and took a leading part in the organization of the Republican party at Syracuse, 27 Sept. 1855. From 1869 until his resignation in 1875 he was United States Minister to Austria, in 1877 was appointed chairman of the so-called Jay commission for the investigation of the New York customs-house administration, and in 1883 was appointed the Republican member of the New York State Civil Service Commission. He was long corresponding secretary of the New York Historical Society. In 1889 he became president of the American Historical Association, and published several pamphlets, among them ‘The Dignity of the Abolition Cause’ (1839), and ‘The American Church and the American Slave-trade’ (1860).