“The jury has the right to judge both the law as well as the fact in controversy.”
John Jay (1745–1829)
King’s College 1764
Jay was a political theorist, jurist and diplomat who initially resisted separation from Great Britain and then became a central figure in the creation of the American nation. Best known as the first chief justice of the United States, he was also secretary of foreign affairs of the Confederation, a leader in the fight for the ratification of the Constitution in New York, and George Washington's prime negotiator in the struggle with Britain that resulted in the 1794 treaty that bears his name. In addition to his prominent national and international roles, Jay served two terms as governor of New York State and helped establish the “whiggish” Protestant Episcopal Church in America in the immediate wake of the Revolution. A founder of the New York Manumission Society, he introduced legislation prohibiting slavery in New York State in 1777 and continued antislavery activities throughout his life.