Sunday, September 22, 2019

John Jay at Naval Academy for Constitution Day

On September 17, 2019 the Naval Academy allowed John Jay to help the Midshipmen celebrate Constitution Day. Commander David Richardson invited me and helped showing me around as did Ensign Francis Kim who took all these super photos. Mr. Jay as a Federalist spoke to the Midshipmen about the need for having a United States Navy instead of every state having its own navy. We took a vote and they voted overwhelmingly to get rid of the Articles of Confederation and adopt the Constitution. Very humbling to be with the leaders of the Navy and Marines. Enjoyed it immensely!

John Jay addressing Midshipmen for Constitution Day

John Jay Reenactor Phil Webster with Billy Lee Reenactor Will Ridgely of Colonial Tours of Annapolis

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

John Jay Reenactor Phil Webster at Federal Hall on Wall Street in New York City on July Fourth 2019

John Jay Reenactor Phil Webster at Federal Hall on Wall Street in New York City
on July Fourth 2019

As part of the quest to make John Jay known to New York City, New York State, the United States and the World, Phil Webster performed at Federal Hall on the Fourth of July, 2019. My talk focused on what happened in New York City on July 4, 1776. Philadelphia gets all the attention. Why didn't John Jay sign the Declaration of Independence? In a letter to Edward Rutledge on October 11, 1776 he gives the following reason why he has not left New York.

"Although extremely anxious to be with you, the circumstances of this State will not admit of my leaving it. Governor Tryon has been very mischievous: and we find our hands full in counteracting and suppressing the conspiracies formed by him and his adherents." British Royal Governor William Tryon had to rule the state of New York from a ship off Battery Park. He did not want a Whig/Patriot government taking over his territory. This was much like Governor Dunmore in Virginia who had to rule from a ship down there as well. Tryon's mischief included paying people to take part in the plot to kidnap and kill General Washington. Jay as Chairman of the Committee to Detect Conspiracies questioned many people and determined that Thomas Hickey (one of Washington's Inner Guards) was a part of the plot. A crowd of 20,000 witnessed the public hanging of Thomas Hickey on June 28. The next day June 29, 1776 the British fleet arrived in the New York City area.

If you would ever be interested in having a John Jay presentation, please let me know at

In posts coming later, check out how John Jay helped build Trinity Church, the mischievous acts of Royal Governor William Tryon, the friendship of Alexander Hamilton and John Jay, Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton's faith silences critics of Washington and others.

Monday, October 8, 2018

John Jay reenactor Phil Webster with John Rollison reenactor James Cameron at Williamsburg Barnes & Noble

John Jay reenactor Phil Webster with John Rollison reenactor James Cameron at Williamsburg Barnes & Noble

On Saturday October 6, John Rollison Reenactor James Cameron stopped by and conversed and encouraged John Jay reenactor Phil Webster at the New Town Williamsburg Virginia Barnes and Noble. James also has a history network entitled OHP Media which stands for Our Historical Past. We might do some work together in the future.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

And There Arose a Generation That Knew Not John Jay Nor the Works of God

And There Arose a Generation That Knew Not John Jay Nor the Works of the LORD

“Now there arose a new king, who knew nothing of Joseph, came to power in Egypt.” (Exodus 1:8)

“After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done for Israel.” (Judges 2:10)

"A proper history of the United States...would develop the great plan of Providence, for causing this extensive part of our world to be discovered, and these uttermost parts of the earth to be gradually filled with civilized and Christian people and nations...In my opinion, the historian, in the course of the work, is never to lose sight of that great plan." John Jay to Rev. Dr. Jedediah Morse, August 16, 1809

It is difficult for a work of God to continue through multiple generations. One can check out churches that were once vibrant for the work of Jesus Christ but over time the enthusiasm diminished or simply stopped. Leaders have come and gone from our country. We are not the nation of Israel or Judah. However, God has had His hand providentially over our nation. Other nations will admit that there has been something different about our nation’s history. Many of our Founding Fathers like Samuel Adams called our nation the Second Israel.

Dear reader, please look at the drawing by Trumbull of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and also the drawing of the signers of the Constitution by Howard Chandler Christy. Study the faces and names. Fifty four of the fifty six signers of the Declaration of Independence had a Christian worldview. Thirty six of the thirty nine signers of the Constitution had a Christian worldview. Those numbers are based on reading the 25 volumes of Letters of the Delegates to Congress 1774 to 1789 and 34 volumes of Journals of Continental Congress as well as other primary sources and biographies. The particulars can be found in two books: 1776 FAITH: The Christian Worldview of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence and 1787 FAITH: The Christian Worldview of the Signers of the Constitution. As you look at those Founders, the overwhelming majority had a Christian worldview. Yet all we hear from public schools and universities since the 1960s is “all the Founders were Deists and Atheists and there is no place for God in the public arena.”

Worldview of Founding Fathers

Signers of Declaration of Independence
Atheistic or Deistic Worldview: 2 Christian Worldview 54 Total 56
Signers of Constitution
Atheistic or Deistic Worldview: 3 Christian Worldview 36 Total 39

Atheistic or Deistic Worldview: 5 Christian Worldview 90

Look at those pictures again. Since the 1960s we have focused on Jefferson and Franklin. Do you see anyone in those pictures besides Jefferson and Franklin? Out of the 95 signers of both documents, at least 90 had a Christian worldview. What do you think of a sports score of 90 to 5? It is called a laugher or a slaughter or a rout. How is it that the small score wins since the 1960s?

Since the 1960s our nation has been slavish to Jefferson (actually since 1800). There are more people in the room than Jefferson. He was not even at the Constitutional Convention.

Check out II Kings 22 in a Bible. Verse ten talks about how King Josiah has the Temple in Jerusalem cleaned and restored when he was young. It is shocking to hear that the Book of the Law had been lost for years. How does such a thing happen? If there is a God and He has given His word to a certain people it behooves them to keep great care of it. There is a God and the people who came before Josiah did not keep great care of it. That nation had been careless with their relationship with God. Just as that generation lost the Book of the Law, we have lost the Christian heritage of our country. People like myself who read these primary sources are called idiots, fools, incompetent and other such names. We are told to just read the experts since the 1960s. They of course have their PhDs and they got those degrees from guardians of secularism.

Let us turn our attention to the neglected John Jay. He was not at the signing of either the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution. Why is that? Where was John Jay? He was in New York City. Jay was the Chairman of the Committee to Detect Conspiracies. Royal Governor Tryon and New York City Mayor Matthews were in a plot to kidnap and kill George Washington. Thomas Hickey was hanged for his part because he was one of Washington’s inner guards. The obvious threat of British attack on New York was imminent- there were at least 100 British ships in the New York City area around the time of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. For Franklin, the dressing down he received at the Privy Council was the turning point. For many Patriots, the events at Lexington and Concord turned them. The events around New York settled the issue for John Jay.

Also during that time (of the signing of the Declaration) Jay went to Salisbury, Connecticut to get cannons for Fort Montgomery. He traveled 280 miles in 4 days. At first he was not granted the request but visited Governor Trumbull and got permission for the cannons. Jay had to focus on the imminent British threat of New York City.

As far as the Constitution goes, why wasn’t Jay there? He was busy dealing with international relations as Secretary of Foreign Affairs from 1784 until March 1790. Not only did he have to start relations with all the European nations, he dealt with Asian and African nations also. China, India, Barbary States and parts of the Spanish Empire were places with whom the United States had to deal. Jay established the foundation for the State Department and the Supreme Court but gets little credit for either. He also wrote the Constitution for the State of New York in 1777 and helped establish the Supreme Court in the State of New York. He was quite a foundation guy. Hamilton and Jay fought hard for the acceptance of the Constitution in New York. Although they were at first outvoted by a three to one margin, they finally won with a 30-27 vote with Jay's speech getting them over the top.

One factor for the lack of knowledge about John Jay is because of the shift from New York City as the capital of the nation ( 1789) to Philadelphia (1790 to 1800) and then to Washngton D. C. (since 1800). Little consideration is given to the significance of New York City as being the original capital.

Another factor is the pro-Jefferson interpretation of history. As the leader of what became the Democrat party, Jefferson has been lionized. As a Federalist, there is no existing Federalist excitement. Hold on, there is some Federalist excitement with the rediscovery of Alexander Hamilton, due to the book by Ron Chernow and the paly by Lin Manuel (and also a shout out will be given to the Alexander Hamilton Awareness Society with Rand Cholet). In the play “Hamilton” Jay is only mentioned briefly. Such treatment for such a good friend of Hamilton! Of all the people in the American colonies, who should Hamilton get as sponsors but Elias Boudinot and William Livingston. Elias Boudinot was President of Continental Congress in Annapolis when Jay was in Paris with the Peace negotiations. (Boudinot also served as the first President of the American Bible Society and Jay was the second President). Hamilton boarded with the William Livingston family while John Jay was courting William’s daughter Sarah/Sally. Hamilton and Jay were practically family members. Odds are very good that Hamilton attended John and Sally Jay’s wedding on April 28, 1774 (the same week of New York’s Tea Party).

A third factor is the reticence to mention the three letter word (starts with a G and ends with a d) in government and education circles. Jay was a consistent strong Christian and he left a strong record. Do you remember being taught that John Jay was President of the American Bible Society in his retirement? This author can remember reading in a reputable encyclopedia that Jay was offered the position but never took it. Further research led to the fact that he indeed served as the President but only in an honorary aspect. Still he did serve as President in 1822, 1823, 1824 and 1825. You can check out his addresses as President in my book 1787 FAITH.

There is something riveting about John Jay that the nation needs. He was guided by Christian principles. He stayed faithful to his Lord and to his wife. He stayed faithful to the cause of the new nation and gave excellent leadership to the state government of New York, Continental Congress, the treaty negotiations for the Treaty of Paris, the State Department and the Supreme Court. Back at the beginning of the nation the Supreme Court met in circuits and the justices had to travel in New England, the Middle States and the South. As the second governor of New York he outlawed slavery. He was a personal friend of William Wilberforce (who led the abolition of slavery movement in the British Empire). Jay is a strong example of a Founding Father that opposed slavery. His son William Jay was a strong abolitionist and Frederick Douglass gave the eulogy at his funeral in 1859.

Tied in with New York City, the house where John Jay lived on New Street and Broadway has been destroyed and replaced with skyscrapers. As you go out of Federal Hall, you are looking straight at New Street. His house is now gone. His houses in Rye and Katonah are out of sight for most New Yorkers and tourists.

Come with me on a tour of Fraunces Tavern. Surely they would have something remembering John Jay’s work as Secretary of Foreign Affairs. There is currently nothing there about John Jay. In fairness to those who run the tavern, there was a bomb from a Puerto Rican terrorist group that did a lot of damage in the 1970s. Maybe there will be a focus on John Jay at Fraunces Tavern in the future, we shall see.

With the interest in Alexander Hamilton, here’s hoping that America will keep digging and rediscover John Jay. His integrity needs to be heralded and followed in all three levels of government: executive, judicial and legislative. We need to follow God as he did in the public square with integrity. His son William (the abolitionist) closed his biography about his father with this from Genesis 5:24: “And Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.”

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

John Jay Reenactor Phil Webster at Federal Hall

On April 30, 2018 John Jay revisited Federal Hall with Reenactor Phil Webster. This was the 229th Anniversary of George Washington's First Inauguration. John Jay at that time was the first Secretary of State. Thomas Jefferson did not get back to the United States until March 1790. Jay had served as Secretary of Foreign Affairs under the Confederation Congress and stayed until Jefferson came back from France. During that time Jay and his office wrote 100 reports and 500 letters concerning matters of other countries. He did his work from Fraunces Tavern on Pearl Street in New York City (Lower Manhattan). Please go and tell Fraunces Tavern that you appreciate Mr. Jay's work.

John Jay was at Federal Hall for the Inauguration on April 30, 1789

John Jay explained his life from 1774 to 1789 as a New Yorker at Federal Hall. John met Sally Livingston at a dance at Fraunces Tavern in December 1772 and they got married the same week as the New York Tea Party. Many people think of the Founding Fathers as always being old (that is because they did not have photography and it was quite costly to have your portrait painted. Most of the Founders had the money to spend on portraits when they were older). John was 28 and Sally was 17 when they got married (with the permission of Mr. and Mrs. William Livingston of Elizabethtown, New Jersey.

It is quite Providential that there was a young man who came from a Caribbean island called St. Croix that boarded with the Livingston family at the same time John Jay was courting Sally Livingston. His name is Alexander Hamilton. As John and Sally got married, Alexander was essentially a part of the family and very probably attended their wedding.

If you would like to see the video of John Jay describing the struggle of New York during the American Revolution up until it was the nation's capital and how the movement for the Constitution started in New York with Hamilton, Madison and John Jay when JOhn and Sally had Alexander and James over for dinner in October 1787.

Monday, April 9, 2018

John Jay to attend Washington's Inauguration April 30, 2018 at Federal Hall

John Jay to attend George Washington's Inauguration on April 30, 2018 at Federal Hall in New York City

It is quite fitting that John Jay should be in attendance at the recreation of the First Inauguration at Federal Hall in New York. Back in April 30, 1789, George Washington took the oath of office outside Federal Hall. He then went into Federal Hall and gave his Inauguration Address. Afterwards, Washington, Adams, the Cabinet (Jay Secretary of State because Jefferson did not return to the United States until March 1790; Henry Knox Secretary of War, Edmund Randolph and Alexander Hamilton Secretary of the Treasury), The Senate and the House of Representatives walked down Wall Street and went north six blocks on Broadway to attend a worship service at St. Paul's Chapel.

Jay was no stranger to George Washington. Jay was not one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. With at least 100 British ships in the area of New York City harbor, Jay was occupied with the defense of New York. Quite possibly you have heard of Henry Knox's obtaining cannon from Fort Ticonderoga and then taken to Boston in 1775. Jay brought cannon from Salisbury, Connecticut to Fort Montgomery as he rode on horseback 280 miles in 4 days. Also during the events leading up to the battle of Brooklyn, Jay was in charge of a group to detect conspiracies. Jay's group found out Thomas Hickey's plan to kidnap and possibly kill General Washington. Jay was a colonel in the New York Militia and was responsible for Alexander Hamilton getting a captain position in the New York artillery. jay had to move his family to Fishkill and Poughkeepsie as New York was in British hands. Jay helped write New York's Constitution after the Declaration of Independence in 1777. After being in attendance three days at Continental Congress in 1778, Jay was elected President. During his term as President Jay stood with Washington during the Conway Cabal. Washington knew that Jay had his back again.

Monday, March 19, 2018

John Jay Reenactor Phil Webster addressed Homeschool groups at the Great Homeschool Convention in Greenville SC on March 8-10, 2018. He also visited Guilford Courthouse, Cowpens and the Yadkin River near Salisbury NC which was the second of three rivers which Maryland and Delaware Continentals crossed under General Morgan and Greene. Each time the Americans crossed, they got to the other side safely. Each time the British attempted to cross the Catawba, the Yadkin and the Dan Rivers, there was providential flooding where they could not cross.

John Jay addressed the Homeschool Convention on Friday night with 1776 FAITH: The Christian Worldview of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence and on Saturday morning with a presentation of the Life of John Jay

John Jay Reenactor Phil Webster at Cowpens

Note the Continental Line at the back of the drawing. Those portrayed were the Continental Army soldiers of Maryland and Delaware. When one walks from the British position, the Continentals could not be seen until the last moment over the ridge.

Phil Webster at Guilford Courthouse Visitor Center wearing a green jacket in honor of Nathanael Greene

Yadkin River, (north of Salisbury NC) the second of three rivers where the Americans crossed over but the British were unable due to flooding.