SECRETARY TO JOHN JAY
The commission issued to William Carmichael, after his election to the post of secretary to the Minister plenipotentiary sent to negotiate with Spain, was as follows:1
The United States of America in Congress assembled to the honorable William Carmichael, a delegate in Congress from the State of Maryland, greeting:
We reposing especial trust and confidence in your patriotism, ability, conduct and fidelity, do by these presents constitute and appoint you during our pleasure, secretary to our minister pleni- potentiary, appointed to negotiate a treaty of amity and commerce and of alliance with his Catholic Majesty. You are therefore carefully and diligently to discharge the duty of Secretary, by doing and performing all things thereunto belonging and, in case of the death of our said minister, you are to signify it to us by the earliest opportunity, and on such event we authorize and direct you to take into your charge all our public affairs which were in the hands of said minister at the time of his death, or which may be addressed to him before notice thereof and proceed therein, according to the instructions to our said minister given until our further orders.
Witness his excellency Samuel Huntington, President of the Congress of the United States of America, at Philadelphia, the 29th day of September, in the year of our Lord 1779, and in the fourth year of our Independence,
The execution of this commission, on its face, seems fraught with few difficulties, except for the possibility of the demise of Mr. Jay, then in the prime of life, and rather more healthy than Carmichael himself, who was frequently troubled with a bilious disorder2 accompanied by fever. Mr. Jay, however, probably having in mind the fate of Arthur Lee who had never been permitted to come to Madrid, although commissioned to treat with Spain, decided to send his secretary from Cadiz to find out whether the Spanish____________________