Only One True History — John Jay

American Founder, John Jay


On the 28th of 1787, American Founding Father and First Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, John Jay, penned a letter to Jedediah (also spelled Jedidiah) Morse, (1) thanking him for sending his recent Geography text, as well as giving him some well thought out advice on what would be necessary to produce as accurate a history of the American Revolution as possible. After laying out the depth and breath of recommended historical approaches, necessary journals, documents, and letters (both public and private) to be gathered he returned to earlier counsel in the letter that he could not be too careful in pulling together this history, with this concluding observation:

“It is regretted, but so I believe the fact to be, that except the Bible there is not a true history in the world. Whatever may be the virtue, discernment, and industry of the writers, I am persuaded that truth and error (though in different degrees) will imperceptibly become and remain mixed and blended until they shall be separated forever by the great and last refining fire.” (2)


  1. Jedediah Morse would become known as the Father of American Geography, a historian of the American Revolution, defender of the Christian faith, and it is noteworthy that his son, Samuel F.B. Morse, became both a famous artist and the inventor of the single-wire telegraph and, of course, the Morse Code.
  2. The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, Volume 4 (1794-1826), edited by Henry P. Johnston, A.M.

They Were Believers is researched, compiled, edited and formatted for the Internet (with occasional commentary and explanatory notes) by Steve Farrell, Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Self-Educated American.

Copyright © 2017 Steve Farrell.