From Matthew Ridley
Paris October the 21st: 1782
I was honored with your favors covering Letters for Mr Jay which I delivered.1 My Papers are packd up as I am moving from my present Hotel.2 This is the Reason I cannot mark the dates: but the last was the 8h. Currt: I have delayed writing in Answer, being continually buoyed up with Hopes of seeing you here: and this is the Reason Mr Jay has not wrote. He desires me however to remember him to you and flatters himself it will not be long before you meet as he finds the Affair of the Treaty is settled.
Your first Letter made no small impression on me. I have no doubt Reasons will be given why the Commo. was given away—When I say Reasons I mean that I think you will find Mr. J not to blame about it. In my own mind I am satisfied the persons you mention would have been preferable.3 I hope however this Affair will make no impression upon you. You may rely our Friend J. means well: And I am satisfied he has a very great esteem and respect for you: and which I think no difference in political Opinions or adoption of measures (which are only matters of opinion) will in the least Affect.
I find by Letters from England Mr L. will not be able to leave there before the Spring on account of his precarious state of health.4
It is very strange that V. has never yet communicated what R’s business was in England. It is that kind of Reserve which begets distrust often and which at all times prevents a liberal communication: All Things do not go right here and I should not be surprized was there to be a change almost similar to the one in England. Quarrels are gotten to a pretty great height—Fleury has attacked the Minister of Marine on account of his Expences—V. rather sides with the Comptroller, The Queen with the Marine and so between them there will be a Struggle untill either one or the other goes and maybe the whole. Should such an event take place some talk of Choiseul and Neckar.5 The Oeconomy of the latter and the profu sion of the former may however prevent such an Union. The Effects I see in all this business is that most probably that of Peace may be retarded by it. Spain hankers as much after Gibraltar and Jamaica as ever the Levites of old did after the Flesh pots of Egypt. She has Influence here and it is well if they do not overshoot the Mark. I cannot but view with contempt these petty Struggles about a Barren Rock and an Island (neither of which will probably be given up by the present Occupiers) when I see America, an extent of Country immense, with 1500 miles sea Coast liberated, nay torn from the Body of a vast and powerfull Empire by a number of People not forming one fifteenth part scarcely of the Subjects of France and Spain. Liberty and such a Country were prizes worth contending for. See the blessed Effects of Unanimity! In seven Years has this mighty Object been accomplished! When I think on this business I am struck with astonishment and feel my Imagination Carried, I know not whither. Excuse this digression and believe me with respect Sir Your most Obedient servant
If the war Should continue the silver Boxes6 may be wanting. I think the one you propose them for is the best that could be thought of. I am glad to find your Loan gathers as it Rowls. That Money will be much wanting. There is a talk of opening a Loan here for Eighty Millions. You may be assured I am right about the amount of our debt here. I do not hear if they propose letting us have any more. If the war continues we shall want some.
There are Letters as late as the 10. of Septemr from Boston. The French fleet which was arrived wanted much repairs. Pigot they say was arrived at new York and it appears by the some of the Papers that orders had actually been given for the evacuation of Charles Town. The Inhabitants had proposed to ask time from General Green (which I suppose would not be granted). Leslie had informed such as chose to quit the Town that there were Vessells prepared to carry them to Augustin, of all places in the World.
Mr J. bids me tell you the Letter Mr B. left for you7 is still in his possession, as he expected to see You and such particular directions are given with it he has not cared to trust it by any opportunity hitherto offered.
Thus ends my Second Letter.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mr Ridley.”; in another hand: “October 21th. 1782.”
1. Ridley delivered letters to John Jay from JA on 6 and 14 Oct. (MHi: Ridley Journal). They were probably those of 1 and 7 Oct., above. The first was presumably enclosed in JA’s to Ridley of 29 Sept. and the second, as Ridley indicates, in that of 8 Oct., both above, but neither letter mentions an enclosure intended for John Jay.
2. In his journal (MHi) Ridley describes his move from the Hotel de Vauban to the Hotel de Clary, No. 60, Rue de Clary, and indicates that on 23 Oct. he was finally in his new apartments.
3. JA wrote first and second letters to Ridley on 29 Sept., both above, but the letter referred to here as the “first” is, as printed in the volume, the second because of its position in JA’s Letterbook. The issue raised by Ridley is William Temple Franklin’s appointment as secretary to the peace commission, an action that JA opposed.
4. Henry Laurens reached London on 24 Sept. (Laurens, Papers description begins The Papers of Henry Laurens, ed. Philip M. Hamer, George C. Rogers Jr., David R. Chesnutt, C. James Taylor, and others, Columbia, S.C., 1968–2003; 16 vols. description ends , 16:26). But instead of returning to America, he went to Paris to join the peace negotiations, arriving there on or about 29 Nov. (JA, D&A description begins Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1961; 4 vols. description ends , 3:79).
5. Jean François Joly de Fleury had replaced Jacques Necker as minister of finances in May 1781. By Oct. 1782, like Necker before him, he was at odds with various officials, including the naval minister, the Marquis de Castries, over their expenditures. Fleury did not seek to reform the system fundamentally, but rather wanted accurate data on expenditures so that he could make it work. By so doing he hoped to gain some degree of control over the massive budget deficits that were partly a result of the American Revolution and that helped precipitate the French Revolution. Even that was too much of a threat to entrenched interests, and in 1783, having lost the support of Vergennes and others, Fleury was forced to resign (Murphy, Vergennes description begins Orville T. Murphy, Charles Gravier, Comte de Vergennes: French Diplomacy in the Age of Revolution, 1719–1787, Albany, N.Y., 1982. description ends , p. 399–400; Dull, French Navy and Amer. Independence description begins Jonathan R. Dull, The French Navy and American Independence: A Study of Arms and Diplomacy, 1774–1787, Princeton, N.J., 1975. description ends , p. 297).