Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from William Vaughan, 4 February 1792

From William Vaughan

London Feb 4. 1792

Dear Sir

I have through my Brother sent you the second part of a Collection of papers on Naval architecture, which you will please to accept of. From the interest you take in concerns of this nature, both from your situation and inclination, you will find some of them will give you pleasure. A Liberty has been taken with some communications from yourself to a friend, which found its way to the Society, and were read with great satisfaction. These publications though not under the immediate authority of the Society, are collected by some of its leading members, in order to give and invite information from all quarters and countries. America, from converting her Woods into Shipping, has gained an experience in the art of building that even older countries might in many cases avail themselves of with advantage. If similar Societies should be formed with you, I shod. be much obliged to you for your communications on a Subject that promises eventually to encourage the freedom of commerce, and general civilization. I hope it is not a visionary wish to hope that commerce and civilization may banish wars and vulgar prejudices, and leave countries little to do beyond the exchange of wants and the communication of knowledge. I am with respect Sir Your most obedient humble Servant,

Wm. Vaughan

RC (MoSHi); endorsed by TJ as received 15 Apr. 1792 and so recorded in SJL.

It is unclear when TJ received the first part of A Collection of Papers on Naval Architecture, originally communicated through the … European Magazine, Parts i–iii (London, 1791–1800), the only part he sold to the Library of Congress in 1815 (Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, 1952-1959, 5 vols. description ends No. 1227). Moreover, no evidence exists to indicate whether John Vaughan ever gave TJ the second part. The third part was given him in 1801, and TJ indicated he would deposit it in the office of the naval secretary (John Vaughan to TJ, 19 Nov. 1801; TJ to Vaughan, 24 Nov. 1801). the society for the Improvement of Naval Architecture, to which both William and Benjamin Vaughan belonged, was founded in April 1791, and it may have been TJ’s letter to Benjamin Vaughan, 27 June 1790, on the preservation of submarine timbers that was read to the Society and revealed to William Vaughan TJ’s interest in naval architecture (“An Address to the Public From the Society for the Improvement of Naval Architecture,” bound with The European Magazine and London Review, xix [1791], 4, 15).

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