John Jay (lawyer)

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John Jay
John Jay II.jpg
United States Minister to Austro-Hungary
In office
June 1, 1869 – March 31, 1875
President Ulysses S. Grant
Preceded by Henry M. Watts
Succeeded by Godlove S. Orth
Personal details
Born (1817-06-23)23 June 1817
New York City, New York
Died 5 May 1894(1894-05-05) (aged 76)
New York City, New York
Political party Free Soil

John Jay (23 June 1817 – 5 May 1894) was an American lawyer and diplomat to Austro-Hungary, son of William Jay and a grandson of Chief Justice John Jay.


He was born in New York City, graduated at Columbia College in 1836, and was admitted to the bar three years later. He early became intensely interested in the antislavery movement, much like his father and namesake grandfather. In 1834, while he was still attending college, he became president of the New York Young Men's Antislavery Society. Jay was also active in the Free Soil Party movement, presided at several of its conventions, and was once its candidate for Attorney General of New York. In 1854 he organized the series of popular meetings in the Broadway Tabernacle and the next year was prominently identified with the founding of the Republican Party.

From 1869 to 1875 he was the United States Minister to Austria-Hungary under most of the Grant administration. In 1877 Secretary of State Sherman appointed him chairman of the special commission to investigate Chester A. Arthur's administration of the New York Custom House. In 1883 Democratic Governor Grover Cleveland appointed him the Republican member of the New York Civil Service Commission, of which he later became president. Jay published many books and pamphlets on slavery and other issues and, in 1889, was president of the American Historical Association.

Jay died in Manhattan at the age of 76 and was buried in John Jay Cemetery, owned by his family in Rye, New York.


He wrote an article for Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography about his grandfather and himself.[1]


  1. ^ Jay 1892, p. 408.