Matthew Ridley to the Commissioners
Paris September the 29th. 1778
Meeting accidentally, when in London, with a Manuscript Book of the Commissioners of the English Navy, a few Years back; containing a very accurate description of the Dimensions, Guns, Men &ca. of most Ships then in Commission; various calculations for the purpose of Ship building and repairing; the duties of the several Officers in their different stations on board Ships of War, and other matters, I conceived it might be of very material service, to those concerned in the Navy of the United States, and therefore secured it. I now beg leave, Honourable Sirs, through you to present it to Congress. Should they think it worthy their acceptance: and that it should be the means of only a small advantage to their Navy, I shall esteem myself happy, as having, by any means, contributed thereto. Possessing property in the State of Maryland, it is my earnest desire that I may derive my only security therein, from the joint Powers of the United States; and that those of their Navy may encrease, long flourish, and as their Land exertions, already are, become, the Wonder of the World, is the sincere Wish of Honourable Sirs Your most Obedient and most humble Servant
Mattw: Ridley1 of Baltimore in the state of Maryland
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “The Honorable Commissioners of the United States of America”; docketed: “Mr Ridley. <
ansd.>”; in another hand: “Sep. 29. 78.”
1. In a letter of 22 Oct. (LbC, Adams Papers) the Commissioners thanked Ridley, a Maryland merchant, for the manuscript and promised to send it to America by the first safe opportunity (JA, Diary and Autobiography description begins Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1961; 4 vols. description ends , 2:357). No indication has been found as to when or if the gift reached the congress.