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John Jay was one of America's greatest Founding Fathers. First Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Secretary for Foreign Affairs during the Confederation, President of the Continental Congress, Governor of New York -- the only surprise is that he never became President. A New York lawyer, Jay (1745-1829) negotiated (with Franklin and Adams) the treaty that ended the War of Independence and later, in Jay's Treaty of 1794, the first commercial agreement with Britain. Actively engaged in the Revolutionary War, and a major contributor to the development and ratification of the Constitution, he was a central figure in the early history of the American Republic. A slave owner himself, he was nevertheless an early exponent of the gradual abolition of slavery. John Jay is the first biography for over sixty years of this remarkable man. Drawing on substantial new material, Walter Stahr has written a full and highly readable portrait of both the public and the private man.