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VOL. I. 




J&' * jlxTEREO AT. 


SEVERAL years since a work purporting to be a 
" Life of Paul Jones" appeared in America, 
compiled by Mr Sherburne, Register of the Navy 
of the United States. An abridgment of the 
same work was reprinted in London by Mr 
Murray. The Life of Paul Jones still, however, 
remained to be written, for this good reason, that 
Mr Sherburne possessed no adequate materials 
for his work. The official correspondence of Paul 
Jones, while in the service of the United States, 
a few fragments of papers left by him in Ame- 
rica, and discovered in a baker's shop of New 
York, and his letters to Mr Jefferson, though all 


probably quite authentic, afford but scanty ma- 
terials for the memoirs of a life so varied and 
full of adventure as was that of Paul Jones. 

While Mr Sherburne was arranging these me- 
moirs, the really private papers of their subject 
remained in the custody of his relatives in Dum- 
fries. Mr Sherburne, and other individuals, aware 
of their existence, endeavoured to obtain these 
documents, but were refused, as there was a view 
to the present publication. 

The history of the private papers on which 
Mr Sherburne rests his narrative is briefly this : 
When at the end of the war, in 1783, Paul 
Jones was appointed by Congress agent for prize- 
money in Europe, he deposited, among other 
effects, certain account-books, log-books, and 
copies of letters, in the custody of his friend, 
Mr Ross of Philadelphia. His private corre- 
spondence, and whatever he thought most in- 
teresting, he brought with him to France. On 


his death, his sisters in Scotland, who were his 
heirs, removed those books and papers left in 
America, from Mr Ross to the custody of Mr 
Robert Hyslop, merchant, New York. This 
gentleman died soon afterwards of the yellow- 
fever, and the papers left in America by Paul 
Jones were transferred to the custody of Mr 
John Hyslop, baker, the cousin and executor of 
Mr Robert Hyslop. There they remained, the 
heirs of Paul Jones not thinking it worth while 
to reclaim them. Mr John Hyslop, baker, also 
died, and left his affairs in great disorder ; and 
soon after, or probably before his death, it was 
mentioned in a New York paper, that a letter 
" of that distinguished hero, Paul Jones," had 
been discovered in a baker's shop in the city. This 
led to inquiry, and Mr Ward obtained the wreck 
of these loose papers, which have been scattered 
far and wide ; one original log-book, that of the 
Ranger, being now in the possession of a gentle- 


man in Greenock, while that of the Bon Homme 
Richard belongs to Mr George Napier, advocate 
in this city. The circumstances under which 
those fragments were obtained by Mr Ward ob- 
viates all charge of impropriety on the part of 
that gentleman. By Mr Ward they were sold, 
or given, to Mr Sherburne ; and on such slender 
and mutilated materials, of which he has per- 
haps made the most that was possible, together 
with the letters filed in the public offices, that 
writer has raised the structure entitled " The 
Life of Paul Jones." 

The papers from which the present work is 
compiled may now be enumerated : it is, how- 
ever, in the first place, worthy of notice, that 
though Paul Jones acted a prominent part in the 
American war, a very small portion of his public 
life was spent in America. His field of enter- 
prise was Europe. Though he had made two 
visits to the United States between the years 


1780 and 1792, when he died in Paris, he spent 
but a short time in America, and that in com- 
parative inactivity. 

By his will, dated at Paris on the day of his 
death, Paul Jones left his property and effects 
of all kinds to his sisters in Scotland and their 
children. Immediately on his decease a regular, or 
rather an official inventory was made of his volu- 
minous papers, which were sealed up with his 
other effects, till brought to Scotland by his eldest 
sister, Mrs Taylor, a few months after his death. 
They have ever since remained in the custody of 
his family ; and are now, by inheritance, become 
the property of his niece, Miss Taylor of Dum- 
fries. They consist of several bound folio volumes 
of letters and documents, which are officially au- 
thenticated, so far as they are public papers ; nu- 
merous scrolls and copies of letters ; and many 
private communications, originating in his wide- 
ly-diffused correspondence in France, Holland, 
America, and other quarters. There is, in ad- 


dition to these, a collection of writings of the mis- 
cellaneous kind likely to be accumulated by a 
man of active habits, who had for many years 
mingled both in the political and fashionable 
circles, wherever he chanced to be thrown. 

The Journal of the Campaign of 1788 against 
the Turks, forms of itself a thick MS. bound 
volume. This Journal was drawn up by Paul 
Jones for the perusal of the Empress Catharine 
II. ; and was intended for publication if the 
Russian government failed to do him justice. 
He felt that it totally failed ; but death anticipat- 
ed his long-contemplated purpose. To this Jour- 
nal, Mr Eton, in his Survey of the Turkish Em- 
pire, refers, as having been seen by him. It was, 
however, only the official report, transmitted by 
Paul Jones to the Admiralty of the Black Sea, 
that this gentleman could have seen. This sin- 
gular narrative, which so confidently gives the 
lie to all the Russian statements of that moment- 
ous campaign, is written in French. In the fol- 


lowing work the language of the original is as 
closely adhered to as is admissible even in the 
most literal translation. Several passages have 
been omitted, and others curtailed, as they refer 
merely to technical details, which might have un- 
duly swelled this work, without adding much to 
its interest. Much of the voluminous official cor- 
respondence which passed between Paul Jones 
and the other commanders during the campaign 
is also omitted. These pieces justificatives were 
only intended to corroborate, or elucidate, the 
narrative; they are, save in a few instances which 
are cited, not particularly interesting. 

Besides the above papers and documents, the 
Editor has been furnished with the letters written 
by Paul Jones to his relations in Scotland, 
from the time that he was a ship-boy at White- 
haven till he died an Admiral in the Russian 
service, and the wearer of several Orders. From 
these materials an attempt has been made to 
exhibit, for the first time, the real character of 


this remarkable and distinguished individual, 
fairly, but liberally, keeping clear of Trans- 
atlantic hyperbole and exaggeration on the one 
hand, and of English prejudice and misrepresen- 
tation on the other. Of each of these, the re- 
putation, and true character of Paul Jones, have 
long been the alternate sport or victim. 



JOHN PAUL JONES was born on the 6th of July, 
1747, at Arbigland, in the parish of Kirkbean, 
and stewartry of Kirkcudbright, in Scotland. 

The family of the Pauls was originally from 
Fife ; but the grandfather of John Paul, the 
name of Jones being long afterwards assumed, 
kept a public, or, as it was then called, a mail- 
garden in Leith, on a spot long since covered 
with buildings. His son, the father of John Paul 
Jones, followed the same profession ; and, on 
finishing his apprenticeship, entered into the em- 
ployment of Mr Craik of Arbigland, in which he 
remained till his death, in 1767. 

A gardener at that period was understood to 
VOL. i. A 


be a person of better education than a common 
operative mechanic in ordinary handicrafts. The 
father of Paul Jones must have been a man both 
of intelligence and worth. The garden of Arbig- 
land was laid out by him ; and he planted the 
trees that now embellish the mansion. The period 
of his service, and the interest which his employer 
took in his orphan family, establish the general 
worth and respectability of his character. 

Shortly after entering into the employment of 
Mr Craik, John Paul married Jean Macduff, the 
daughter of a small fanner in the neighbouring 
parish of New-Abbey. The Macduffs were a 
respectable rural race in then- own district ; and 
some of them had been small landed proprietors 
in the parish of Kirkbean, for an immemorial pe- 
riod. Of this marriage there were seven children, 
of whom John afterwards known as John Paul 
Jones was the fifth : he may indeed be called 
the youngest, as two children born after him died 
in infancy.* The first-born of the family, Wil- 

* Among the many calumnies by which the memory 
of Admiral Paul Jones has been loaded, and the nume- 


Ham Paul, went abroad early in life, and finally 
settled and married in Fredericksburgh, in Vir- 
ginia. He appears to have been a man of enter- 
prise and judgment. Beyond his early education 
and virtuous habits he could have derived no ad- 
vantage from his family ; and, in 1772 or 1773? 
when he died, still a young man, he left a consi- 
derable fortune. Of the daughters, the eldest, 
Elizabeth, died unmarried, Janet, the second, 
married Mr Taylor, a watchmaker in Dumfries, 
and the third, Mary Ann, was twice married, first 
to a Mr Young, and afterwards to Mr Louden. 
Of the relations of Admiral Jones, several nieces, 

rous vulgar traditions that hang about his reputation, and 
conceal his genuine character, is an absurd story of his 
having been the son of either Mr Craik, his father's em- 
ployer, of one of the Earls of Selkirk, or'of some other 
great personage, name unknown ; as if it were impossi- 
ble that a man so distinguished by gallantry and enter- 
prise, could be, in very deed, merely the fifth child of 
Mr John Paul the gardener. His correspondence in the 
farther progress of this narrative will sufficiently refute 
an obsolete slander which was perhaps scarcely worth 


and a grand-nephew, now in the United States, 
still survive. 

The residence of his father, near the shores of 
the Solway, in one of the most beautiful points 
of the Frith, must have been favourable to the 
genius of one who was destined to play the part 
of John Paul Jones to have, 

" His march upon the mountain wave, 
" His home upon the deep." 

In the traditions of his family, young Paul is 
described as launching, while a mere child, his 
mimic-ship, hoisting his flag, and issuing his man- 
dates to his imaginary crew, with all the firmness 
and dignity of one born to lead and to command 
his fellows. 

Among the numerous unfounded slanders and 
rumours of which this brave and misrepresented 
man has been the object, is the assertion, that he 
ran off to sea against the will of his relations. 
Even this transgression might have been atoned 
by his after life ; but it was not committed. His 
inclination for the bold and hardy mode of life 
which he adopted, appears, as it often does in boy- 
hood, to have been a strong passion, fostered by his 


childish pastimes, and encouraged by much that 
he saw and heard in his daily intercourse with ships 
and seamen. Man or boy, Paul Jones was not 
moulded in the stamp of character which shrinks 
from facing out what is once firmly resolved. A 
sailor's life was his decided choice; and at the age 
of twelve he was sent across the Solway by his 
relations, and bound apprentice to Mr Younger 
of Whitehaven. This gentleman, who was then 
a respectable merchant in the American trade, 
he found a kind and liberal master. 

Though Paul Jones was thus early estranged 
from his family, and was afterwards prevented 
from much personal intercourse with them, this 
narrative will afford abundant evidence that, like 
almost every other young Scottish adventurer 
to the national honour be it told he continued 
a most affectionate son and brother, even when 
at the highest elevation of his fortune, giving 
constant proof, not merely of his readiness to mi- 
nister to the comforts of his relations, but of his 
anxiety for the union, respectability, and prospe- 
rity of his sisters and their families. To them he 
at last bequeathed the whole of his fortune. 


The education which young Paul received at 
the parish-school of Kirkbean, must have termi- 
nated when he went to sea. His after acquire- 
ments and they were considerable were the 
fruits of private study, and of such casual oppor- 
tunities as in boyhood he had the forethought and 
good sense to improve as often as his ship came 
into port. His first voyage was made to America, 
the country of his after adoption. He sailed in 
the Friendship of Whitehaven ; and, before he 
was thirteen, landed on the shores of Rappahan- 
nock. While the Friendship remained in port, 
young Paul lived in the house of his brother 
William, and assiduously studied navigation and 
other branches of learning, either connected with 
his profession or of general utility. 

In the course of a short time, his good con- 
duct, intelligence, and knowledge of his profes- 
sion, procured him the confidence and friendship 
of his master, who promised him his future pro- 
tection and favour. From the subsequent em- 
barrassment of his own affairs, Mr Younger was 
.unable to fulfil this promise ; but, in giving the 
young seaman up his indentures, he did all he 


could then perform. Thus honourably released 
from his early engagements, Paul Jones, while still 
a mere boy, obtained the appointment of third 
mate of the King George of Whitehaven, a ves- 
sel engaged in the slave-trade. From this ship 
he went about the year 1766, being now nineteen 
years of age, into the brigantine Two Friends, 
of Kingston, Jamaica, as chief mate. This ship 
was engaged in the same nefarious traffic. It 
is stated by his relatives, the only source of in- 
formation on the early period of his life that is 
either accessible or to be relied on, that he quitted 
this abominable trade in disgust at its enormities; 
and, in consequence of abandoning it, returned to 
Scotland in 1768, as a passenger in the brigan- 
tine John of Kirkcudbright, Captain Macadam, 
commander. On this voyage the captain and 
mate both died of fever ; and there being no one 
on board so capable of navigating the ship, Paul 
assumed the command, and brought her safe into 
port. For this well-timed piece of service he was 
appointed by the owners, Currie, Beck, & Co., 
master and supercargo. This was almost the last 
time that young Paul had an opportunity of see- 


ing his relations. He only met them once again, 
about the middle of the year 1771- 

While Paul Jones was on board this vessel, a 
circumstance occurred which afterwards, in times 
of violent prejudice and party-feeling, was eagerly 
laid hold of to traduce and blacken his character, 
and to represent him as a cruel and lawless brig- 
and, eager for plunder and thirsting for blood,* 
guilty of a thousand enormities, though of what 
precise kind no one could specify. It was con- 
fidently stated and is still indeed very generally 
believed that while in the command of the John 
he punished a man named Mungo Maxwell, the 
carpenter of that vessel, so severely, that he died 
in consequence of the stripes he received. The 

* It is not a little remarkable, that many of his own 
intelligent countrymen do to this day know of Paul Jones 
only as a wild reckless adventurer, a sort of modern buc- 
caneer, possessed of no redeeming quality save great per- 
sonal courage and intrepidity, or as the subject of vulgar 
ballads and marvellous legends, daring impossible and 
acting horrible deeds, among which was the one above 
alluded to. 


affidavits* given below clearly refute this calum- 
ny, which probably originated among those of his 
contemporaries who envied the place and influ- 

* " Before the Honourable Lieutenant- Governor, Wil- 
liam Young, Esq. of the island aforesaid, personally ap- 
peared James Simpson, Esq. who, being duly sworn upon 
the Holy Evangelists of Almighty God, deposeth and 
saith, That some time about the beginning of May, in the 
year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy, 
a person in the habit of a sailor came to this deponent 
(who was at that time Judge Surrogate of the Court of 
Vice- Admiralty for the island aforesaid) with a complaint 
against John Paul, (commander of a brigantine then 
lying in Rockley Bay of the said island,) for having beat 
the then complainant, (who belonged to the said John 
Paul's vessel,) at the same time showing this deponent 
his shoulders, which had thereon the marks of several 
stripes, but none that were either mortal or dangerous, 
to the best of this deponent's opinion and belief. And 
this deponent further saith, that he did summon the said 
John Paul before him, who, in his vindication, alleged 
that the said complainant had on all occasions proved 
very ill qualified for, as well as very negligent in, his 
duty ; and also, that he was very lazy and inactive in the 



ence his superior intelligence and energy had so 
early acquired for him. So tenacious of life is 

execution of his (the said John Paul's) lawful commands, 
at the same time declaring his sorrow for having correct- 
ed the complainant. And this deponent further saith, 
that having dismissed the complaint as frivolous, the 
complainant, as this deponent believes, returned to his 
duty. And this deponent further saith, that he has since 
understood that the said complainant died afterwards on 
board of a different vessel, on her passage to some of the 
Leeward Islands, and that the said John Paul (as this de- 
ponent is informed) has been accused in Great Britain as 
the immediate author of the said complainant's death, by 
means of the said stripes herein before mentioned, which 
accusation this deponent, for the sake of justice and hu- 
manity, in the most solemn manner declares, and believes 
to be, in his judgment, without any just foundation, so 
far as relates to the stripes before mentioned, which this 
deponent very particularly examined. And further this 
deponent saith not. 


" Sworn before me, this 30th day of 
June, 1772, WILLIAM YOUNG." 

" James Eastment, mariner, and late master of the 


slander, however false and groundless, that twenty 
years afterwards, when Paul Jones was a rear- 
Barcelona packet, maketh oath, and saith, That Mungo 
Maxwell, carpenter, formerly on board the John, Cap- 
tain John Paul, master, came in good health on board 
his, this deponent's said vessel, then laying in Great 
Rockley Bay, in the island of Tobago, about the middle 
of the month of June, in the year one thousand seven 
hundred and seventy, in the capacity of a carpenter, afore- 
said ; that he acted as such in every respect in perfect 
health for some days after he came on board this depo- 
nent's said vessel, the Barcelona packet ; after which he 
was taken ill of a fever and lowness of spirits, which con- 
tinued for four or five days, when he died on board the 
said vessel, during her passage from Tobago to Antigua. 
And this deponent further saith, that he never heard the 
said Mungo Maxwell complain of having received any 
ill usage from the said Captain John Paul ; but that he, 
this deponent, verily believes the said Mungo Maxwell's 
death was occasioned by a fever and lowness of spirits, 
as aforesaid, and not by or through any other cause or 
causes whatsoever. 

" Sworn at the Mansion House, London, 

this 30th of January, 1773, before me, 



admiral in the Russian service, the same calum- 
nious story was revived, though Maxwell the car- 
penter was then transformed into Jones's own 
nephew. This was done to injure him with the 
Empress Catherine, and when, instead of his an- 
cient school-fellows of Kirkbean, or ship-mates 
of Kirkcudbright, his rivals were the Princes 
Potemkin and de Nassau. 

One of the earliest letters of Jones now extant 
relates to this unfortunate affair, which was cal- 
culated to make a deep impression on a young 
and ingenuous mind, and gave much uneasiness 
and pain to him. The letter is addressed to his 
mother and sisters, and gives a better and fairer 

" These do certify to whom it may concern, that the 
bearer, Captain John Paul, was two voyages master of a 
vessel called the John, in our employ in the West India 
trade, during which time he approved himself every way 
qualified both as a navigator and supercargo; but as our 
present firm is dissolved, the vessel was sold, and of 
course he is out of our employ, all accounts between him 
and the owners being amicably adjusted. Certified at 
Kirkcudbright this 1st April, 1771. 

" CURRIE, BECK, & Co." 


view of his youthful character than could be 
given by the most laboured panegyric of a bio- 
grapher : 

" London, 24th September, 1772. 

" I only arrived here last night from the 
Grenadas. I have had but poor health during 
the voyage; and my success in it not having 
equalled my first sanguine expectations, has added 
very much to the asperity of my misfortunes, and, 
I am well assured, was the cause of my loss of 
health. I am now, however, better, and I trust 
Providence will soon put me in a way to get bread, 
and (which is by far my greatest happiness) be 
serviceable to my poor but much-valued friends. 
I am able to give you no account of my future 
proceedings, as they depend upon circumstances 
which are not fully determined. 

" I have enclosed you a copy of an affidavit 
made before Governor Young by the Judge of the 
Court of Vice-Admiralty of Tobago, by which 
you will see with how little reason my life has 
been thirsted after, and, which is much dearer to 


me, my honour, by maliciously loading my fair 
character with obloquy and vile aspersions. I be- 
lieve there are few who are hard-hearted enough 
to think I have not long since given the world 
every satisfaction in my power, being conscious 
of my innocence before Heaven, who will one day 
judge even my judges. I staked my honour, life, 
and fortune for six long months on the verdict 
of a British jury, notwithstanding I was sensible 
of the general prejudices which ran against me ; 
but, after all, none of my accusers had the cour- 
age to confront me. Yet I am willing to convince 
the world, if reason and facts will do it, that they 
have had no foundation for their harsh treatment. 
I mean to send Mr Craik a copy properly proved, 
as his nice feelings will not perhaps be otherways 
satisfied ;* in the mean time, if you please, you 
may show him that enclosed. His ungracious con- 
duct to me before I left Scotland I have not yet 
been able to get the better of. Every person of 
feeling must think meanly of adding to the load 

* Mr Craik was perfectly convinced of his innocence, 
but they never either met or corresponded afterwards. 


of the afflicted. It is true I bore it with seeming 
unconcern, but Heaven can witness for me that 
I suffered the more on that very account. But 
enough of this. And now a word or two in the 
family-way, and I have done." 

As the employer and patron of his deceased 
father, young Paul naturally looked to Mr Craik 
for advice and countenance to himself, and for 
protection and kindness to his helpless female re- 
latives. The following letter illustrates the true 
nature of his connexion with that gentleman, the 
fetters of whose cautious kindness do not appear 
to have sat very easily upon him. It also throws 
an incidental light on his energetic and self-de- 
pending character, even at this early period of his 
life : 

" St George's, Grenada, 5th Aug. 1770. 
" SIR, 

" Common report here says that my owners 
are going to finish their connexions in the West 
Indies as fast as possible. How far this is true I 


shall not pretend to judge ; but should that really 
prove the case, you know the disadvantages I 
must of course labour under. 

" These, however, would not have been so 
great had I been acquainted with the matter 
sooner, as in that case I believe I could have 
made interest with some gentlemen here to have 
been concerned with me in a large ship out of 
London ; and as these gentlemen have estates in 
this and the adjacent islands, I should have been 
able to make two voyages every year, and always 
had a full ship out and home, &c. &c. &c. 

" However, I by no means repine, as it is a 
maxim with me to do my best, and leave the rest 
to Providence. I shall take no step whatever 
without your knowledge and approbation. 

" I have had several very severe fevers lately, 
which have reduced me a good deal, though I am 
now perfectly recovered. 

" I must beg you to supply my mother should 
she want any thing, as I well know your readi- 


" I hope yourself and family enjoy health and 
happiness. I am, most sincerely, 

" Sir, yours always, 


It has been alleged, that about this time young 
Paul was engaged in the contraband trade, then 
very generally practised among the self-named 
fair-dealers of the towns along both shores of the 
Sol way. Without entering into the question of 
how far at that period the act of smuggling might 
otherwise affect a man's moral character or esti- 
mation in society, it is certain that Jones long 
afterwards decidedly and indignantly repelled this 
degrading charge, and that the first entry of goods 
from England to the Isle of Man, after that nest 
of smugglers and centre of the contraband trade 
had been annexed to the crown, stands in his 
name in the Custom-house books of Douglas. 

Soon after this period Paul obtained command 
of the Betsy of London, a West India ship, and 
remained for a time in the islands engaged in 
commercial speculations, to which his subsequent 
letters refer. He appears to have left consider- 


able funds in Tobago ; and in 177^ we ^ n ^ nmi 
in Virginia arranging the affairs of his brother 
William, who had died intestate, and without 
leaving children. About this time he assumed 
the name of Jones. 

The American Revolution, of the progress of 
which Paul Jones could not have been an indif- 
ferent spectator, found him living in deep retire- 
ment, unoccupied, and for the time in a state of 
great privation, occasioned by the dilatoriness or 
misconduct of his agents. At this time he had 
subsisted for twenty months on the sum of fifty 
pounds. It is to this period that Jones refers in 
his celebrated letter to the Countess of Selkirk, 
when he says, " Before this war began I had at 
the early time of life withdrawn from the sea-ser- 
vice, in favour of ' calm contemplation and poetic 
ease.' I have sacrificed not only my favourite 
scheme of life, but the softer affections of the 
heart, and my prospects of domestic happiness, 
and am ready to sacrifice my life also with cheer- 
fulness, if that forfeiture could restore peace and 
good- will among mankind." 



BUT Jones, whatever he might think, was not of 
the temperament to which the cultivation of maize 
and tobacco which in America about that pe- 
riod must have comprehended " the rural life in 
all its joy and elegance" could long remain the 
favourite scheme. He was now twenty-eight 
the very prime of active existence full of talent 
and enterprise, ardent and ambitious, and quite 
of the mind in which he seems to have held 
through life, that though it might be shame to be 
on any side but one, it was greater shame to lie 
idle when blows were going. Many causes com- 
bined to make him believe the cause of the co- 
lonies the right one the cause of liberty, justice, 
and humanity. A man who from the age of 
twelve had been a wanderer on the deep, must 
have been as much at home in America as in 
Britain. Both countries must have appeared in- 


tegral portions of the same state ; and in its civil 
dissensions, circumstances determined the part 
he should take. Thus right or wrong as to the 
side he took, Jones stood clear in his motives to 
his own conscience. To him indeed the cause of 
America the country, as he afterwards terms it, 
of his " fond election 11 was the elevating source 
of his most brilliant actions. It is but fair to allow 
him to be the interpreter of his own motives : of 
his deeds every man is at liberty to judge. Four 
years after he had voluntereed in the cause of 
America, it is thus he addresses the Baron Van- 
der Capellan, having, it must be owned, a favour- 
ite object to carry at Amsterdam : 

" I was indeed born in Britain ; but I do not 
inherit the degenerate spirit of that fallen nation, 
which I at once lament and despise. It is far 
beneath me to reply to their hireling invectives. 
They are strangers to the inward approbation that 
greatly animates and rewards the man who draws 
his sword only in support of the dignity of free- 
dom. America has been the country of my fond 
election from the age of thirteen, when I first saw 
it. I had the honour to hoist with my own hands 


the flag of freedom, the first time it was displayed, 
on the Delaware ; and I have attended it with 
veneration ever since on the ocean." 

Though in the heat of a struggle, which, from 
its very nature, was, like the feuds of the near- 
est relatives, singularly rancorous and bitter, 
Jones was branded as a traitor and a felon, and 
after his most brilliant action, his capture of 
the Serapis, formally denounced by the British 
ambassador at the Hague as a rebel and a pirate 
according to the laws of war,* it must be remem- 
bered that he bore this stigma in common with 
the best and. greatest of his contemporaries 
with Franklin and Washington; which last had 
actually borne arms in the service of the King of 
England. The memory of Paul Jones now needs 
little vindication for this important step. After 
the peace he enjoyed the esteem and private 
friendship of Englishmen who might have for- 
given the most imbittered political hostility, but 
never could have overlooked a taint on personal 

* Memorial of Sir Joseph York to the States- General, 
dated the Hague, 8th October, 1779. 


honour. Of this number was the Earl of Wemyss, 
who after the peace endeavoured to promote the 
views of Jones on various occasions. He him- 
self, however, discovers a lurking consciousness 
of having incurred, if not of meriting, suspicion on 
this delicate ground. This is chiefly displayed 
by his eloquent though rather frequent assertions 
of purity of motive, superiority to objects of sor- 
did interest, and disinterested zeal for the cause, 
now of America, now of human nature, as was 
best adapted to the supposed inclinations of his 
correspondents. In ordinary circumstances much 
of this might have appeared uncalled for ; but 
the situation of Jones was in many respects pe- 
culiar both as a native-born Briton, and as a man 
of obscure origin, jealous and pardonably so 
of his independence and dignity of character. 
Somewhat of the heroic vaunting which marks 
other parts of his correspondence appears inci- 
dent to the enthusiastic temperament of many 
great naval commanders. How would Nelson's 
tone of confident prediction, and boasts of prowess, 
have sounded from the lips of an inferior man ? 
In any other than himself the customary language 


of Drake would have been reckoned that of an 
insolent braggart. 

Besides the public spirit and love of liberty 
which in Jones were both warm and sincere, other 
motives of that mixed nature, by which every hu- 
man being, how disinterested and devoted soever, 
must at times be influenced, were not wanting to 
enlist him on the side of the colonies. He was 
living at the most active period of life in penury 
and neglect. His friendships, his interests, his 
gratitude, all inclined him to the part of America. 
In a letter addressed to Mr Stuart Mawey of 
Tobago, written immediately before he went to 
Europe in open hostility as an officer of the Unit- 
ed States, a letter which does as much honour to 
the clearness of his head as to the integrity and 
filial kindness of his heart, these circumstances 
are distinctly explained. 

" Boston, 4th May, 1777- 

" After an unprofitable suspense of twenty 
months, (having subsisted on fifty pounds only 
during that time,) when my hopes of relief were 


entirely cut off, and there remained no possibility 
of my receiving wherewithal to subsist upon from 
my effects in your islan^, or in England, I at last 
had recourse to strangers for that aid and comfort 
which was denied me by those friends whom I 
had intrusted with my all. The good offices 
which are rendered to persons in their extreme 
need, ought to make deep impressions on grate- 
ful minds ; in my case I feel the truth of that 
sentiment, and am bound by gratitude, as well as 
honour, to follow the fortunes of my late bene- 

" I have lately seen Mr Sicaton, (late manager 
on the estates of Arch. Stuart, Esq.) who in- 
formed me that Mr Ferguson had quitted Orange 
Valley, on being charged with the unjust appli- 
cation of the property of his employers. I have 
been, and am extremely concerned at this ac- 
count ; I wish to disbelieve it, although it seems 
too much of a piece with the unfair advantage 
which, to all appearance, he took of me, when 
he left me in exile for twenty months, a prey to 
melancholy and want, and withheld my property, 
without writing a word in excuse for his conduct. 


Thus circumstanced, I have taken the liberty of 
sending you a letter of attorney by Captain 
Cleaveland, who undertakes to deliver it himself, 
as he goes for Tobago via Martinico. You have 
enclosed a copy of a list of debts acknowledged, 
which I received from Mr Ferguson when I saw 
you last at Orange Valley. You have also a list 
of debts contracted with me, together with Fer- 
guson^s receipt. And there remained a consider- 
able property unsold, besides some best Madeira 
wine which he had shipped for London. By the 
state of accounts which I sent to England on my 
arrival on this continent, there was a balance due 
to me from the ship Betsy of <909, 15s. 3d. 
sterling; and in my account with Robert Young, 
Esq., 29th January, 1773, there appeared a ba- 
lance in my favour of ^?281, Is. 8d. sterling. 
These sums exceed my drafts and just debts to- 
gether ; so that, if I am fairly dealt with, I ought 
to receive a considerable remittance from that 
quarter. You will please to observe, that there 
were nine pieces of coarse camblets shipped at 
Cork, over and above the quantity expressed in 
the bill of lading. It seems the shippers, findr 

VOL. I. B 


ing their mistake, applied for the goods ; and, as 
I have been informed from Grenada, Mr Fergu- 
son laid hold of this opportunity to propagate a 
report that all the goods which I put into his 
hands were the property of that house in Cork. 
If this base suggestion hath gained belief, it ac- 
counts for all the neglect which I have experien- 
ced. But however my connexions are changed, 
my principles as an honest man of candour and 
integrity are the same ; therefore, should there 
not be a sufficiency of my property in England 
to answer my just debts, I declare that it is my 
first wish to make up such deficiency from my 
property in Tobago ; and were even that also to 
fall short, I am ready and willing to make full 
and ample remittances from hence upon hearing 
from you the true state of my affairs. As I hope 
my dear mother is still alive, I must inform you 
that I wish my property in Tobago, or in Eng- 
land, after paying my just debts, to be applied 
for her support. Your own feelings, my dear 
sir, make it unnecessary for me to use arguments 
to prevail with you on this tender point. Any 
remittances which you may be enabled to make, 


through the hands of my good friend Captain 
John Plainer of Cork, will be faithfully put into 
her hands ; she hath several orphan grandchildren 
to provide for. I have made no apology for giving 
you this trouble : My situation will, I trust, ob- 
tain your free pardon. 

I am always, with perfect esteem, 

Dear Sir, 

Your very obliged, very obedient, 
And most humble servant, 


" STUART MAWEY, Esquire, 

Among the friends whose fortunes Jones con- 
ceived himself bound to follow by gratitude as 
well as honour, was probably Mr Joseph Hewes 
of the Marine Committee of the infant Republic. 
Under the united influence of so many powerful 
motives he entered the American service. 

Though Paul Jones had not received his ma- 
ritime education in ships of war, he had frequent- 
ly sailed in armed vessels, and had been early 
trained into an excellent practical seaman, com- 


pletely realizing the merchant sailors adage, 
" Aft the more honour forward the better man." 
His nautical skill, as well as his boldness and ca- 
pacity, were thus of incalculable value to the in- 
fant navy of America ; and in 177^? when the 
combustibles of revolution, so long smouldering, 
burst into an open irrepressible flame, his services 
were as readily accepted as they were heartily 
tendered. From this date Paul Jones owned no 
country save America. 

In organizing the maritime service of the young 
republic, three classes of lieutenants were ap- 
pointed by Congress ; and of the first class Jones 
was appointed senior lieutenant. The first com- 
mission he received from Congress bears date 
the 7th of December, 177^- He was appointed 
to the ALFRED, a name of good omen to an in- 
fant state sprung from England ; and on board 
of that vessel, then lying before Philadelphia, he, 
in a few days afterwards, first hoisted that starry 
flag which he so bravely followed in many seas. 

The American navy at this time consisted of 
only two ships, two brigantines, and one sloop. 
Even these it was not easy to officer with per- 


sons properly qualified. Thirteen frigates were, 
however, about the same time ordered to be built. 

Of this first period of his service three differ- 
ent accounts, drawn up by himself, remain among 
the papers of Captain Jones, one contained in a 
refreshing memorial addressed to Congress while 
he lay in the Texel, dated December, 1779, 
another addressed to Robert Morris, the minister 
of the marine, in 1783, when Jones had just rea- 
son to think his former services neglected, if not 
forgotten, and a third in a journal of his cam- 
paigns drawn up for the private information of 
the King of France, and read by that unfortu- 
nate prince while a close prisoner. This last do- 
cument contains the following clear and succinct 
account of his early operations, written in the 
third person : 

" When Congress thought fit to equip a naval 
force towards the conclusion of the year 177^> 
4 for the defence of American liberty, and for 
repelling every hostile invasion thereof? it was 
a very difficult matter to find men fitly qualified 
for officers, and willing to embark in the ships 
and vessels that were then put into commission. 


The American navy at first was no more than 
the ships Alfred and Columbus, the brigantines 
Andrew Doria, and Cabot, and the sloop Pro- 
vidence. A commander-in-chief of the fleet was 
appointed; and the Captains Saltonstall, Whip- 
pie, Biddle, and Hopkins, were named for the 
ships and brigantines. A captain's commission 
for the Providence, (bought, or to be bought, 
about the time, from Captain Whipple,) which 
Mr Joseph Hewes of the Marine Committee of- 
fered to his friend Mr John Paul Jones, was not 
accepted, because Mr Jones had never sailed in 
a sloop, and had then no idea of the declaration 
of independence that took place the next year. 
It was his early wish to do his best for the cause 
of America, which he considered as the cause of 
human nature. He could have no object of self- 
interest ; and having then no prospect that the 
American navy would soon become an establish- 
ed service, that rank was the most acceptable to 
him by which he could be the most useful in that 
moment of public calamity. There were three 
classes of lieutenants appointed, and Mr Jones 
was appointed the first of the first-lieutenants, 


which placed him next in command to the four 
captains already mentioned. This commission is 
dated the 7 tn day of December, 177^? as fi rst 
lieutenant of the Alfred, i On board of that ship, 
before Philadelphia, Mr Jones hoisted the flag of 
America with his own hands, the first time it was 
ever displayed. All the commissions for the Al- 
fred were dated before the commissions for the 
Columbus, &c. All the time this little squadron 
was fitting and manning, Mr Jones superintended 
the affairs of the Alfred ; and as Captain Salton- 
stall did not appear at Philadelphia, the Com- 
mander-in-chief told Mr Jones he should com- 
mand that ship. A day or two before the squadron 
sailed from Philadelphia, manned and fit for sea, 
Captain Saltonstall appeared, and took command 
of the Alfred. The object of the first expedition 
was against Lord Duncan in Virginia. But in- 
stead of proceeding immediately on that service, 
the squadron was hauled to the wharfs at Reedy 
Island, and lay there for six weeks frozen up. 
Here Mr Jones and the other lieutenants stood 
the deck, watch and watch, night and day, to pre- 
vent desertion ; and they lost no man from the 


Alfred. On the 17th of February, 17J6, the 
squadron sailed from the Bay of Delaware. On 
the 1st of March the squadron anchored at Abaco, 
one of the Bahama Islands, and carried in there 
two sloops belonging to New Providence. Some 
persons on board the sloops, informed that a 
quantity of powder and warlike stores might be 
taken in the forts of New Providence. An ex- 
pedition was determined on against that island. 
It was resolved to embark the marines on board 
the two sloops. They were to remain below deck 
until the sloops had anchored in the harbour close 
to the forts, and they were then to land and take 
possession. There was not a single soldier in the 
island to oppose them ; therefore the plan would 
have succeeded, and not only the public stores 
might have been secured, but a considerable con- 
tribution might have been obtained as a ransom 
for the town and island, had not the whole squa- 
dron appeared off the harbour in the morning, 
instead of remaining out of sight till after the 
sloops had entered and the marines secured the 
forts. On the appearance of the squadron the 
signal of alarm was fired, so that it was impossi- 


ble to think of crossing the bar. The Comman- 
der-in-chief proposed to go round the west end 
of the island, and endeavour to march the marines 
up and get behind the town ; but this could never 
have been effected. The islanders would have 
had time to collect ; there was no fit anchorage 
for the squadron, nor road from that part of the 
island to the town. Mr Jones finding by the Pro- 
vidence pilots that the squadron might anchor 
under a key three leagues to windward of the 
harbour, gave this account to the Commander- 
in-chief, who objecting to the dependence on the 
pilots, Mr Jones undertook to carry the Alfred 
safe in. He took the pilot with him to the fore- 
topmast-head, from whence they could clearly see 
every danger, and the squadron anchored safe. 
The marines, with two vessels to cover their 
landing, were immediately sent in by the east 
passage. The Commander-in-chief promised to 
touch no private property. The inhabitants 
abandoned the forts, and the governor, finding 
he must surrender the island, embarked all the 
powder in two vessels, and sent them away in the 
night. This was foreseen, and might have been 


prevented, by sending the two brigantines to lie 
off the bar. The squadron entered the harbour 
of New Providence, and sailed from thence the 
17th of March, having embarked the cannon, &c. 
that was found in the fort. In the night of the 9th 
of April, on the return of the squadron from the 
Providence expedition, the American arms by 
sea were first tried in the affair with the Glasgow 
off Block Island. Both the Alfred and Colum- 
bus mounted two batteries. The Alfred mount- 
ed 30, the Columbus 28 guns. The first battery 
was so near the water as to be fit for nothing 
except in a harbour or a very smooth sea. The 
sea was at the time perfectly smooth. Mr Jones 
was stationed below deck to command the Alfred's 
first battery, which was well served whenever the 
guns could be brought to bear on the enemy, as 
appears by the official letter of the Commander- 
in-chief giving an account of that action. Mr 
Jones therefore did his duty; and as he had no 
direction whatever, either of the general disposi- 
tion of the squadron, or the sails and helm of the 
Alfred, he can stand charged with no part of the 
disgrace of that night. The squadron steered 


directly for New London, and entered that port 
two days after the action. Here General Wash- 
ington lent the squadron 200 men, as was thought, 
for some enterprise. The squadron, however, 
stole quietly round to Rhode Island, and up the 
river to Providence. Here a court-martial was 
held for the trial of Captain Whipple, for not 
assisting in the action with the Glasgow. Another 
court-martial was held for the trial of Captain 
Hazard, who had been appointed captain of the 
sloop Providence at Philadelphia, some time after 
Mr Jones had refused that command. Captain 
Hazard was broke, and rendered incapable of 
serving in the navy. The next day, the 10th of 
May, 1776? Mr Jones was ordered by the Com- 
mander-in-chief to take command 6 as captain 
of the Providence.'' This proves that Mr Jones 
did his duty on the Providence expedition. As 
the Commander-in-chief had in his hands no 
blank-commission, he had this appointment writ- 
ten on the back of the commission that Mr Jones 
had received at Philadelphia the 7th of Decem- 
ber, 1775' Captain Jones had orders to receive 
on board the Providence the soldiers that had 


been borrowed from General Washington, and 
carry them to New York, there enlist as many 
seamen as he could, and then return to New 
London, to take in from the hospital all the sea- 
men that had been left there by the squadron, 
and were recovered, and carry them to Pro- 
vidence. Captain Jones soon performed these 
services ; and having hove down the sloop and 
partly fitted her for war at Providence, he re- 
ceived orders from the Commander-in-chief, dated 
Rhode Island, June 10th, 177^? * come imme- 
diately down to take a sloop then in sight, armed 
for war, belonging to the enemy's navy. Captain 
Jones obeyed orders with alacrity ; but the ene- 
my had disappeared before he reached Newport. 
On the 13th of June, 177^? Captain Jones re- 
ceived orders, dated that day at Newport, Rhode 
Island, from the Commander-in-chief, to proceed 
to Newbury Port to take under convoy some 
vessels bound for Philadelphia ; but first to con- 
voy Lieutenant Hacker in the Fly, with a cargo 
of cannon, into the sound for New York, and to 
convoy some vessels back from Stonington to the 
entrance of Newport. In performing these last 


services, Captain Jones found great difficulty 
from the enemy's frigates, then cruising round 
Block Island, with which he had several rencon- 
tres ; in one of which he saved a brigantine that 
was a stranger, from Hispaniola, closely pursued 
by the Cerberus, and laden with public stores. 
That brigantine was afterwards purchased by the 
Continent, and called the Hampden. Captain 
Jones received orders from the Commander-in- 
chief to proceed for Boston instead of Newbury 
Port. At Boston he was detained a considerable 
tune by the backwardness of the agent. He ar- 
rived with his convoy from Boston, safe in the 
Delaware, the 1st of August, 177^- This service 
was performed while the enemy were arriving at 
Sandy Hook from Halifax and England, and 
Captain Jones saw several of their ships of war. 
Captain Jones received a captain's commission 
from the president of Congress the 8th of August. 
It was proposed to Captain Jones by the Marine 
Committee to go to Connecticutt, to command 
the brigantine Hampden ; but he choosing rather 
to remain in the sloop Providence, had orders to 
go out on a cruise against the enemy ' for six 


weeks, [or] two or three months. 1 He was not li- 
mited to any particular station or service. He 
left the Delaware the 21st of August, and ar- 
rived at Rhode Island on the 7 tn of October, 
1776' Captain Jones had only seventy men when 
he sailed from the Delaware, and the Providence 
mounted only 12 four-pounders. Near the la- 
titude of Bermudas he had a very narrow escape 
from the enemy's frigate the Solebay, after a chase 
of six hours within cannon-shot, and part of that 
time within pistol-shot. Afterwards, near the 
Isle of Sable, Captain Jones had an affair with 
the enemy's frigate the Milford ; and the firing 
between them lasted from ten in the morning 
till after sunset. The day after this rencontre, 
Captain Jones entered the harbour of Canso, 
where he recruited several men, took the Tories 1 
flags, destroyed the fishing, &c., and sailed again 
the next morning on an expedition against the 
Island of Madame. He made two descents at 
the principal ports of that island at the same 
time; surprised all their shipping, though the 
place abounded with men, and they had arms. 
All this, from the Delaware to Rhode Island, was 


performed in six weeks and five days ; in which 
time Captain Jones made sixteen prizes, besides 
small craft. He manned eight of them, and sunk, 
burnt, or destroyed the rest. The Commander- 
in-chief was at Rhode Island, who, in conse- 
quence of the information given him by Captain 
Jones, adopted an expedition against the coal- 
fleet of Cape Breton and the fishery, as well as 
to relieve a number of Americans from the coal- 
mines, where they were compelled to labour by 
the enemy. The Alfred had remained idle ever 
since the Providence expedition, and was with- 
out men. It was proposed to employ that ship, 
the brigantine Hampden, and sloop Providence, 
on this expedition, under the command of Cap- 
tain Jones, who had orders given him for that 
purpose on the 22d October, 1776? an d then re- 
moved from the sloop Providence to the ship 
Alfred. Finding he could not enlist a sufficient 
number of men for the three sail before the sea- 
son would be lost, Captain Jones determined to 
leave the sloop Providence behind ; but Captain 
Hacker ran the Hampden upon a ledge of rocks 
on the 27th, and knocked off her keel, which 


obliged Captain Jones to remove him into the 
sloop Providence. The Alfred and Providence 
sailed on this expedition the 2d of November, 
Captain Jones having only 140 men on his mus- 
ter-roll for the Alfred, though that ship had 235 
men when she left the Delaware. Captain Jones 
anchored for the night at Tarpawling Cove, near 
Nantucket, and, finding there a privateer schooner 
belonging to Rhode Island inward-bound, he 
sent his boat to search for deserters from the 
navy, and finding four deserters carefully con- 
cealed on board, they were taken on board the 
Alfred, with a few other seamen, agreeably to or- 
ders from the Commander-in-chief. The con- 
cerned in the privateer brought an action against 
Captain Jones for ^10,000 damages, and the 
Commander-in-chief had the politeness not to 
support him. Captain Jones proceeded on his 
expedition. Off Louisbourg he took a brig with 
a rich cargo of dry goods, a snow with a cargo of 
fish, and a ship called the MellisK, bound for Ca- 
nada, armed for war, and laden with soldiers 1 
clothing. The day after taking these prizes 
(the 18th) the snow fell, and the wind blew fresh 


off Cape Breton. To prevent separation, and not 
from the violence of the weather, Captain Jones 
made the signal to lay to, which was obeyed; but 
as soon as the night began, Captain Hacker bore 
away. He made snift to arrive at Rhode Island 
a day or two before the place was taken by the 
enemy. Captain Jones ordered the brigantine 
and snow to steer for, our ports ; but determined 
not to lose sight of the Hellish, unless in case of 
necessity. Captain Jones, after that little gale 
and contrary winds, fell in with Canso, and sent 
his boats in to destroy a fine transport that lay 
aground in the entrance, laden with Irish provi- 
sion. The party burnt also the oil-warehouse, 
and destroyed the materials for the fishery. Off* 
Louisbourg, on the 24th, he took three fine ships 
out of five, the coal-fleet, then bound for New 
York, under the command of the Flora, that would 
have been in sight had the fog been dispersed. 
Two days after this, Captain Jones took a letter- 
of-marque ship from Liverpool. He had now an 
hundred and fifty prisoners on board the Alfred, 
and a great part of his water and provision was 
consumed. He found the harbour at the coal- 


mines was frozen up, and necessity obliged him 
to seek a hospitable port with the five prize-ships 
under convoy. No separation took place till the 
7th of December, on the edge of St George's 
Bank, where Captain Jones again fell in with the 
Milford frigate. Captain Jones had the address 
to save all his prizes except one, (the letter-of- 
marque from Liverpool,) and that one would not 
have been taken, had not the prize-master foolish- 
ly run down under the Milford's lee, from being 
three leagues to windward. The Hellish arrived 
safe with the clothing at Dartmouth, and Cap- 
tain Jones arrived at Boston the 15th December, 
1776, having only two days 1 water and provision 
left. The news of the clothing reached General 
Washington's army just before he re-crossed the 
Delaware. By a letter from the Commander-in- 
chief, on board the Warren, at Providence, 
January the 14th, 1777> Captain Jones was su- 
perseded in the command of the Alfred, in favour 
of Captain Hinman, who said he brought a com- 
mission from Congress to supersede that of Cap- 
tain Jones. The 21st of January, 1777' tn i g 
drew from Captain Jones a letter to the Marine 


Committee, stating his hopes that Congress would 
not so far overlook his early and faithful services 
as to supersede him by any man who was at first 
his junior officer, far less by any man who de- 
clined to serve in the Alfred, &c., at the begin- 
ning. Captain Jones paid off the crews of the 
Alfred and Providence, for which he has never 
been reimbursed. On the 18th of February, 
Captain Jones received an appointment by order 
of Congress from the Vice-President of the Ma- 
rine Committee, dated Philadelphia, February 
the 5th, 17775 to command private expeditions 
against Pensacola and other places, with the 
Alfred, Columbus, Cabot, Hampden, and sloop 
Providence. Many important schemes were point- 
ed out; but Captain Jones was left at free liberty 
to adopt whatever he thought best. This ap- 
pointment fell to nothing ; for the Commander- 
in-chief would not assist Captain Jones, but af- 
fected to disbelieve his appointment. Captain 
Jones undertook a journey from Boston to Phi- 
ladelphia, in order to explain matters to Congress 
in person." 

This attempt to supersede him was the first 


occasion on which .Jones decidedly showed the 
firmness and tenacity of his character, and his 
determination to assert his rights. Even then, 
unknown and unfriended, he was quite equal to 
their protection. 

The remainder of this statement is more co- 
piously and energetically given in the letter re- 
ferred to hi the prefixed extract, as addressed 
by him to the Marine Board, Philadelphia. It 
will show the neglect and heart-burning to which 
this brave man was exposed from the first hour 
of his entering the American navy. Three- 
fourths of his subsequent life was a struggle to 
overcome the prejudices, defeat the cabals, or 
quicken the tardy justice of his temporary official 

" I am now to inform you, that by a letter 
from Commodore Hopkins, dated on board the 
Warren, January 14th, 1777? which came to my 
hands a day or two ago, I am superseded in the 
command of the Alfred, in favour of Captain 
Hinman, and ordered back to the sloop in Provi- 
dence River. Whether this order doth or doth 
not supersede also your orders to me of the 10th 


ult., you can best determine; however, as I under- 
took the late expedition at his (Commodore Hop- 
kins's) request, from a principle of humanity, I 
mean not now to make a difficulty about trifles, 
especially when the good of the service is to be 
consulted. As I am unconscious of any neglect 
of duty, or misconduct, since my appointment at 
the first as eldest lieutenant of the navy, I can- 
not suppose that you can have intended to set 
me aside in favour of any man who did not at 
that time bear a captain's commission, unless in- 
deed that man, by exerting his superior abilities, 
hath rendered or can render more important ser- 
vices to America. Those who stepped forth at 
the first, in ships altogether unfit for war, were 
generally considered rather as frantic than as wise 
men; for it must be remembered, that almost every 
thing then made against them. And although 
the success in the affair with the Glasgow was 
not equal to what it might have been, yet the 
blame ought not to be general. The principal or 
principals in command alone are culpable ; and the 
other officers, while they stand unimpeached, have 
their full merit. There were, it is true, divers 


persons, from misrepresentation, put into com- 
mission at the beginning, without fit qualifica- 
tion, and perhaps the number may have been 
increased by later appointments ; but it follows 
not that the gentleman or man of merit should be 
neglected or overlooked on their account. None 
other than a gentleman, as well as a seaman both 
in theory and practice, is qualified to support the 
character of a commission officer in the navy ; 
nor is any man fit to command a ship of war who 
is not also capable of communicating his ideas on 
paper, in language that becomes his rank. If 
this be admitted, the foregoing operations will be 
sufficiently clear ; but if further proof is required, 
it can easily be produced. 

" When I entered into the service, I was not 
actuated by motives of self-interest. I stept forth 
as a free citizen of the world, in defence of the 
violated rights of mankind, and not in search of 
riches, whereof, I thank God, I inherit a suffi- 
ciency ; but I should prove my degeneracy were 
I not in the highest degree tenacious of my rank 
and seniority. As a gentleman, I can yield this 
point up only to persons of superior abilities and 


superior merit; and under such persons it would 
be my highest ambition to learn. As this is the 
first time of my having expressed the least anxie- 
ty on my own account, I must entreat your pa- 
tience until I account to you for the reason which 
hath given me this freedom of sentiment. It 
seems that Captain Hinman's commission is N 1, 
and that, in consequence, he who was at first 
my junior officer by eight, hath expressed him- 
self as my senior officer in a manner which doth 
himself no honour, and which doth me signal in- 
jury. There are also in the navy, persons who 
have not shown me fair play after the service 
I have rendered them. I have even been blamed 
for the civilities which I have shown to my prison- 
ers ; at the request of one of whom I herein en- 
close an appeal, which I must beg leave to lay 
before Congress. Could you see the appellants 
accomplished lady, and the innocents their chil- 
dren, arguments in their behalf would be unne- 
cessary. As the base-minded only are capable 
of inconsistencies, you will not blame my free 
soul, which can never stoop where I cannot also 
esteem. Could I, which I never can, bear to be 


superseded, I should indeed deserve your con- 
tempt and total neglect. I am therefore to en- 
treat you to employ me in the most enterprising 
and active service, accountable to your Honour- 
able Board only, for my conduct, and connected 
as much as possible with gentlemen and men of 
good sense." 

" My conduct hitherto," he says, in the memo- 
rial addressed to Congress from the Texel, " was. 
so much approved of by Congress, that on the 5th 
February, 1777? I was appointed, with unlimited 
orders, to command a little squadron of the Al- 
fred, Columbus, Cabot, Hampden, and sloop 
Providence. Various important services were 
pointed out, but I was left at free liberty to make 
my election. That service, however, did not take 
place ; for the Commodore, who had three of the 
squadron blocked in at Providence, affected to 
disbelieve my appointment, and would not at last 
give me the necessary assistance. Finding that 
he trifled with my applications as well as the or- 
ders of Congress, I undertook a journey from 
Boston to Philadelphia, in order to explain mat- 
ters to Congress in person. I took this step also 


because Captain Hinman had succeeded me in 
the command of the Alfred, and, of course, the 
service could not suffer through my absence. I 
arrived at Philadelphia in the beginning of April. 
But what was my surprise to find that, by a new 
line of navy-rank, which had taken place on the 
10th day of October, 1776, aU the officers that 
had stepped forth at the beginning were super- 
seded ! I was myself superseded by thirteen men, 
not one of whom did (and perhaps some of them 
durst not) take the sea against the British flag at 
the first; for several of them who were then applied 
to refused to venture, and none of them have 
since been very happy in proving their superior 
abilities. Among these thirteen there are indi- 
viduals who can neither pretend to parts nor edu- 
cation, and with whom, as a private gentleman, 
I would disdain to associate. 

" I leave your Excellency and the Congress to 
judge how this must affect a man of honour and 

In the organization of the navy Jones took a 
paramount interest. He had himself been trained 
in a good school. He knew the importance of 

VOL. i. c 


proper subordination, and of the strict enforce- 
ment of a rigid system of discipline, which, how- 
ever unpleasant to the turbulent, fierce spirit of 
republicans, is especially indispensable in the sea- 
service. His views of maritime policy discover 
much soundness, and, considering that he was 
still a young man, and a very young officer, very 
great ripeness of understanding. " As the re- 
gulations of the navy," he says, " are of the ut- 
most consequence, you will not think it presump- 
tive if, with the utmost diffidence, I venture to 
communicate to you such hints as, in my judg- 
ment, will promote its honour and good govern- 
ment. I could heartily wish that every commis- 
sioned officer were to be previously examined ; 
for, to my certain knowledge, there are persons 
who have already crept into commission without 
abilities or fit qualifications : I am myself far 
from desiring to be excused." In other letters 
on this subject, he eloquently recommends a li- 
beral policy towards the private seamen, and a 
general system worthy of a great and enlightened 

" It is," he says, " to the last degree distressing 


to contemplate the state and establishment of our 
navy. The common class of mankind are actuat- 
ed by no nobler principle than that of self-inter- 
est. This, and this only, determines all adven- 
tures in privateers, the owners, as well as those 
they employ ; and while this is the case, unless 
the private emolument of individuals hi our 
navy is made superior to that in privateers, it 
never can become respectable, it never will 
become formidable; and, without a respectable 
navy, alas America ! In the present critical si- 
tuation of human affairs, wisdom can suggest no 
more than one infallible expedient, enlist the 
seamen during pleasure, and give them all the 
prizes. What is the paltry emolument of two- 
thirds of prizes to the finances of this vast conti- 
nent ? If so poor a resource is essential to its 
independency, in sober sadness we are involved 
in a woful predicament, and our ruin is fast ap- 
proaching. The situation of America is new in 
the annals of mankind : her affairs cry haste ! 
and speed must answer them. Trifles, therefore, 
ought to be wholly disregarded, as being, in the 
old vulgar proverb, c penny wise and pound fool- 


ish.' If our enemies, with the best-established 
and most formidable navy in the universe, have 
found it expedient to assign all prizes to the cap- 
tors, how much more is such policy essential to 
our infant fleet ? But I need use no arguments 
to convince you of the necessity of making the 
emoluments of our navy equal, if not superior, to 
theirs. We have had proof, that a navy may be 
officered almost upon any terms, but we are not 
so sure that these officers are equal to their com- 
missions ; nor will the Congress ever obtain such 
certainty until they, in their wisdom, see proper 
to appoint a Board of Admiralty, competent to 
determine impartially the respective merits and 
abilities of their officers, and to superintend, re- 
gulate, and point out all the motions and opera- 
tions of the navy." 

The appearance of Jones at Congress at this 
time, his appeals to their justice, his animated 
remonstrances, and the capacity displayed in the 
hints and projects he threw out, had a good effect. 
They inspired esteem for his character, and gave 
confidence in his ability. This became appa- 
rent in the immediate proceedings of that body. 


" Congress," he says, " saw fit to drop the ex- 
pedition that had been proposed ; and the Marine 
Committee appeared very sorry that there was not 
then vacant a good ship for my command. Three 
ships were ordered to be purchased in the eastern 
department, and by a resolve of Congress, which 
did me great honour, I was authorized to take 
my choice of these three ships, ' until Congress 
could provide for me a better command. 1 I re- 
turned to Boston ; and before this last plan was 
carried into execution, I received a new and 
honourable proof of the good opinion of Congress, 
by being ordered, on the 9th day of May, 1777> 
to proceed to France from Portsmouth, in the 
Amphitrite, with a positive order to the Commis- 
sioners at Paris ' to invest me with the command 
of a fine ship, 1 c as a reward of my zeal and the 
signal services I had performed in vessels of little 
force. 1 This was generous indeed ! and I shall 
feel the whole force of the obligation to the last 
moment of my life. 11 

The letter he brought to Europe, addressed to 
the Commissioners in Paris, confirms the since- 
rity of the purpose of Congress. It also puts to 


rest were such Refutation necessary the charge 
of Jones being nothing more than the comman- 
der of a privateer, winked at, or perhaps secretly 
aided by Congress, but never recognised as a re- 
gularly-appointed commander in the American 
service during his cruises on the British coasts. 

" Philadelphia, 9th May, 1777. 

" This letter is intended to be delivered to you 
by John Paul Jones, Esq., an active and brave 
commander in our navy, who has already per- 
formed signal services in vessels of little force ; 
and in reward for his zeal we have directed him 
to go on board the Amphitrite, a French ship of 
twenty guns, that brought in a valuable cargo of 
stores from Mons. Hostalez & Co., and with her 
to repair to France. He takes with him his com- 
mission, some officers and men, so that we hope 
he will, under that sanction, make some good 
prizes with the Amphitrite ; but our design of 
sending him is, (with the approbation of Con- 
gress) that you may purchase one of those fine 
frigates that Mr Deane writes us you can get, 


and invest him with the command thereof as 
soon as possible. We hope you may not delay 
this business one moment, but purchase, in such 
port or place in Europe as it can be done with 
most convenience and despatch, a fine fast-sail- 
ing frigate or larger ship. Direct Captain Jones 
where he must repair to, and he will take with 
him his officers and men towards manning her. 
You will assign him some good house or agent to 
supply him with every thing necessary to get the 
ship speedily and well equipped and manned, 
somebody that will bestir themselves vigorously in 
the business, and never quit it until it is accom- 

" If you have any plan or service to be per- 
formed in Europe by such a ship, that you think 
will be more for the interest and honour of the 
States than sending her out directly, Captain 
Jones is instructed to obey your orders ; and, to 
save repetition, let him lay before you the in- 
structions we have given him, and furnish you 
with a copy thereof. You can then judge what 
will be necessary for you to direct him in, and 
whatever you do will be approved, as it will un- 


doubtedly tend to promote the public service of 
this country. 

" You see by this step how much dependence 
Congress place in your advices; and you must 
make it a point not to disappoint Captain Jones's 
wishes and expectations on this occasion. 

" We are, &c. 
(Signed) " ROBERT MORRIS. 


" The Honourable 

" ARTHUR LEE, Esquires, 
Commissioners," &c. 

In Marine Committee. 

" Philadelphia, May 9th, 1777. 
" SIR, 

" Congress have thought proper to authorize 
the Secret Committee to employ you on a voy- 


age in the Amphitrite, from Portsmouth to Ca- 
rolina and France, where it is expected you will 
be provided with a fine frigate ; and as your pre- 
sent commission is for the command of a parti- 
cular ship, we now send you a new one, whereby 
you are appointed a captain in our navy, and of 
course may command any ship in the service to 
which you are particularly ordered. You are to 
obey the orders of the Secret Committee, and 
we are, Sir, &c. 

(Signed) " JOHN HANCOCK. 

In Marine Committee. 

" Philadelphia, September 6th, 1777. 

" SIR, 

"As soon as these instructions get to hand, 
you are to make immediate application to the 
proper persons to get your vessel victualled and 
fitted for sea with all expedition. When this is 
done, you are to proceed on a voyage to some 
convenient port in France ; on your arrival there. 



apply to the agent, if any, in or near said port, for 
such supplies as you may stand in need of. You 
are at the same time to give immediate notice, 
by letter, to the Honourable Benjamin Frank- 
lin, Silas Deane, and Arthur Lee, Esquires, or 
any of them at Paris, of your arrival, requesting 
their instructions as to your further destination ; 
which instructions you are to obey as far as it 
shall be in your power. 

" You are to take particular notice, that whilst 
on the coast of France, or in a French port, you 
are, as much as you conveniently can, to keep 
your guns covered and concealed, and to make 
as little warlike appearance as possible. Wish- 
ing you, 1 ' &c. &c. 

With these credentials and instructions, Jones 

sailed for Europe in command of the Ranger, in 
high spirits, expecting to be the first messenger 
of what he calls " the joyful and important news 
of Burgoyne's surrender.'''' He reached Nantes 
early in December, having captured two brigan- 
tines on the voyage, laden with fruit and wine. 



IT must be owned that Captain Jones at no time 
slipped any opportunity of bringing himself for- 
ward, and placing his services in a fair light. 
Though he indeed claimed no more than was 
his due, he never, through false delicacy, with- 
drew his merits into the shade. " It is civil 
cowardice," says the Spectator's modest friend, 
Captain Sentry, "to be backward in asserting 
what you ought to expect, as it is military fear 
to be slow in attacking when it is your duty." 
His first act, on reaching France, was to write to 
the Commissioners, to whom he was now to look 
for orders, and also for patronage. " I yester- 
day," he says, " enclosed you copies of two let- 
ters which I wrote you previous to my departure 
from Portsmouth, together with a plan which I 
drew up at Philadelphia, on the regulation and 
equipment of our infant navy. It is my first 


and favourite wish to be employed in active and 
enterprising services, when there is a prospect of 
rendering acceptable services to America. The 
singular honour which Congress have done me 
by their generous acknowledgment of my past 
services, hath inspired me with sentiments of gra- 
titude which I shall carry with me to my grave ; 
and if a life of services devoted to America can 
be made instrumental in securing its indepen- 
dence, I shall regard the continuance of such ap- 
probation as an honour far superior to what kings 
even could bestow." 

Captain Jones was immediately summoned to 
Paris by the Commissioners of Congress, Frank- 
lin, Silas Deane, and Arthur Lee. They had not 
yet assumed the name of plenipotentiaries, nor was 
war declared between Great Britain and France ; 
for though these countries were in a state of un- 
derstood, if not avowed, hostility, in his private 
orders from the Marine Committee of Congress, 
Jones was directed to keep his guns covered and 
concealed as much as possible while on the coasts 
or in the ports of France, and as much as possible 
to avoid a warlike appearance. The object of sum- 


moning him to Paris was to concert, in conjunction 
with the Commissioners, a plan of operations for 
the powerful maritime force under the command of 
the Count d'Estaing, which a treaty being now 
concluded between France and the new States 
was destined to harass the British, and support 
the cause of the Republic on the shores of Ame- 

The bold and sagacious plan of that campaign, 
which, if carried into effect as projected, must in 
all probability at once have ended the war, Jones 
repeatedly and openly claims the merit of having 
formed;* and there can be no doubt that his 
knowledge of the actual state of the British land 
and naval force then acting in America, and his 
practical nautical acquaintance with the scene of 

* In the memorial to the King of France, Jones states 
that the plan adopted for D'Estaing's expedition was 
sent by him to the Commissioners from Nantes, on the 
10th February, 1778, after he had returned from Paris, 
and immediately on hearing some agreeable news from 


operation, enabled him to give most important 
advice. Those delays, and the baffling circum- 
stances to which naval armaments are ever ex- 
posed, together, as has been alleged, with the ti- 
midity or irresolution of the French Commander, 
the promptitude and courage displayed by Lord 
Howe, and the excellent spirit of the whole Bri- 
tish fleet on that memorable occasion, disconcerted 
this well-imagined scheme. In claiming the plan 
of that expedition, Jones says, in a letter addressed 
to the French Minister of Marine, M. de Sar- 
tine, " Had Count d'Estaing arrived in the 
Delaware a few days sooner, he might have made 
a most glorious and easy conquest. Many suc- 
cessful projects may be adopted from the hints 
which I had the honour to draw up; and if I can 
still furnish more, or execute any of these already 
furnished, so as to distress and humble the com- 
mon enemy, it will afford me the truest pleasure." 1 ' 1 
Before d^Estaing appeared, however, Lord Howe, 
as has been noticed, had been able to place the 
fleet and the transports in safety ; and the plan 
on which the American Commissioners justly 


prided themselves of blocking up the British 
ships, transports, and victuallers, in the Delaware, 
thus fell to the ground. 

When Jones went to Paris to attend the Com- 
missioners, he left the Ranger, which had been 
damaged in her voyage, refitting at Nantes. To 
the Commissioners he imparted plans of various 
enterprises to be undertaken in the bold preda- 
tory spirit of the private instructions of Morris, 
and he induced them to hold out to his crew, in 
the name of Congress, the hope or promise of 
some particular gratuity in reward of the " good, 
gallant behaviour and punctual obedience," so 
essential to the furtherance of his daring projects. 
In coming to Europe he expected to obtain com- 
mand of the Indien, a large frigate, then build- 
ing at Amsterdam, for the service of the United 
States. This vessel the Commissioners thought 
fit to present to the King of France. Jones felt 
the disappointment, and even complained of it to 
Congress, making it an argument for obtaining at 
least an equivalent command. 

On the 16th January, 177B, Jones received his 
orders from the Commissioners. They were such 


as ever proved the most agreeable to him unli- 
mited implying full confidence in his zeal and 
ability. The only caution he received, was, not to 
return immediately to the ports of France after 
making an attempt on the coasts of Britain, as 
the French court wished to shuffle a little longer. 
The Ranger being now refitted, Jones sailed 
to Quiberon, and at that place displayed consider- 
able professional address and characteristic firm- 
ness, in compelling the French Admiral to give 
the American flag which Jones had been the 
first to hoist the first salute it ever received. It 
was thus he wrote on this occasion : 

" February 14th, 1778. 

" I am extremely sorry to give you fresh trouble, 
but I think the Admiral's answer of yesterday re- 
quires an explanation. The haughty English 
return gun for gun to foreign officers of equal 
rank, and two less only to captains by flag-offi- 
cers. It is true, my command at present is not 
important, yet, as the senior American officer at 
present in Europe, it is my duty to claim an equal 


return of respect to the flag of the United States 
that would be shown to any other flag what- 

" I therefore take the liberty of enclosing an 
appointment, perhaps as respectable as any which 
the French Admiral can produce besides which 
I have others in my possession. 

" If, however, he persists in refusing to return 
an equal salute, I will accept of two guns less, as 
I have not the rank of Admiral. 

" It is my opinion, that he would return four 
less to a privateer or a merchant ship ; therefore, 
as I have been honoured oftener than once with 
a chief command of ships of war, I cannot in 
honour accept of the same terms of respect. 

" You will singularly oblige me by waiting 
upon the Admiral; and I ardently hope you will 
succeed in the application, else I shall be under 
a necessity of departing without coming into the 
bay. I have the honour to be, See. &c. 


" N.B. Though thirteen guns is your greatest 
salute in America, yet if the French Admiral 


should prefer a greater number, he has his choice, 
on conditions" 

Of the triumphant recognition of the Ameri- 
can flag obtained in the first instance by him, 
Jones was naturally very proud. " I am hap- 
py," he says, addressing the Marine Committee 
at home, " in having it in my power to congra- 
tulate you on my having seen the American flag 
recognised in the fullest and completest manner 
by the flag of France." And he relates how he 
accomplished this object. 

On the 10th of April Jones sailed from Brest 
on that cruise which the assault on Whitehaven, 
the landing at the Earl of Selkirk's, and the cap- 
ture of the Drake, afterwards rendered so cele- 
brated. The account of that expedition will be 
best given in his own words. It is, however, 
worthy of notice, that the original log-book of the 
Ranger, and of his more famous ship, the Bon 
Homme Richard, which are now accidentally in 
the hands of gentlemen hi Scotland wholly un- 
connected with Captain Jones, generally corro- 
borate all his statements to the most minute par- 
ticulars. It is thus his account commences : 


" I have now to fulfil the promise made in my 
last, by giving you an account of my late expe- 

" I sailed from Brest the 10th of April ; my 
plan was extensive, I therefore did not at the be- 
ginning wish to encumber myself with prisoners. 
On the 14th I took a brigantine between Scilly 
and Cape Clear, bound for Ostend, with a cargo 
of flax-seed for Ireland sunk her, and proceeded 
into St George's Channel. 

" On the 17th I took the ship Lord Chatham, 
bound from London to Dublin, with a cargo con- 
sisting of porter, and a variety of merchandise, 
and almost within sight of her port ; this ship I 
manned and ordered for Brest. 

" Towards the evening of the day following 
the weather had a promising appearance, and, 
the wind being favourable, I stood over from the 
Isle of Man with an intention to make a descent 
at Whitehaven ; at ten I was off the harbour with 
a party of volunteers, and had every thing in 
readiness to land ; but before eleven the wind 
greatly increased and shifted, so as to blow directly 
upon the shore ; the sea increased of course, and 


it became impossible to effect a landing. This 
obliged me to carry all possible sail so as to clear 
the land, and to await a more favourable oppor- 

" On the 18th, in Glentinebay, on the south 
coast of Scotland, I met with a revenue wherry ; 
it being the common practice of these vessels to 
board merchant ships, the Ranger then having 
no external appearance of war, it was expected 
that this rover would have come alongside; I was, 
however, mistaken, for though the men were at 
their quarters, yet this vessel out-sailed the Ran- 
ger, and got clear in spite of a severe cannonade. 

" The next morning, off the Mull of Gallo- 
way, I found myself so near a Scotch coasting 
schooner, loaded with barley, that I could not 
avoid sinking her. Understanding that there were 
ten or twelve sail of merchant ships, besides a 
Tender brigantine, with a number of impressed 
men on board, at anchor in Lochryan, in Scot- 
land, I thought this an enterprise worthy my at- 
tention ; but the wind, which at the first would 
have served equally well to have sailed in or out 
of the Loch, shifted in a hard squall, so as to 


blow almost directly in, with an appearance of 
bad weather. I was therefore obliged to abandon 
my project. 

" Seeing a cutter off the lee-bow steering for 
the Clyde, I gave chase, in hopes of cutting her 
off; but finding my endeavours ineffectual, I pur- 
sued no farther than the Rock of Ailsa. In the 
evening I fell in with a sloop from Dublin, which 
I sunk, to prevent intelligence. 

" The next day, the 21st, being near Carrick- 
fergus, a fishing-boat came off, which I detained. 
I saw a ship at anchor in the road, which I was 
informed by the fishermen was the British ship- 
of-war Drake, of twenty guns. I determined to 
attack her in the night ; my plan was to overlay 
her cable, and to fall upon her bow, so as to have 
all her decks open and exposed to our musquet- 
ry, &c. ; at the same time, it was my intention 
to have secured the enemy by grapplings, so that, 
had they cut their cables, they would not there- 
by have attained an advantage. The wind was 
high, and unfortunately the anchor was not let 
go so soon as the order was given, so that the 
Ranger was brought to upon the enemy's quar- 


ter at the distance of half a cable's length. We 
had made no warlike appearance, of course had 
given no alarm ; this determined me to cut im- 
mediately, which might appear as if the cable 
had parted, and at the same time enable me, after 
making a tack out of the Loch, to return with 
the same prospect of advantage which I had at 
the first. I was, however, prevented from re- 
turning, as I with difficulty weathered the light- 
house on the lee-side of the Loch, and as the 
gale increased. The weather now became so 
very stormy and severe, and the sea ran so high, 
that I was obliged to take shelter under the south 
shore of Scotland. 

" The 22d introduced fair weather, though the 
three kingdoms were, as far as the eye could reach, 
covered with snow. I now resolved once more 
to attempt Whitehaven ; but the wind became 
very light, so that the ship would not in proper 
time approach so near as I had intended. At 
midnight I left the ship with two boats and 
thirty-one volunteers ; when we reached the outer 
pier the day began to dawn ; I would not, how- 
ever, abandon my enterprise, but despatched one 


boat under the direction of Mr Hill and Lieuten- 
ant Wallingsford, with the necessary combustibles 
to set fire to the shipping on the north side of 
the harbour, while I went with the other party 
to attempt the south side. I was successful in 
scaling the walls and spiking up all the cannon on 
the first fort ; finding the sentinels shut up in 
the guard-house, they were secured without be- 
ing hurt. Having fixed sentinels, I now took 
with me one man only, (Mr Green,) and spiked 
up all the cannon on the southern fort, distant 
from the other a quarter of a mile. 

" On my return from this business, I natural- 
ly expected to see the fire of the ships on the 
north side, as well as to find my own party with 
everything in readiness to set fire to the shipping 
on the south ; instead of this, I found the boat 
under the direction of Mr Hill and Mr Wallings- 
ford returned, and the party in some confusion, 
their light having burnt out at the instant when 
it became necessary.* 

* Jones did not soon surmount the disappointment 
occasioned by this misunderstanding on the part of his 


" By the strangest fatality, my own party 
were in the same situation, the candles being all 

officers. In a memorial to Congress, he says, " My first 
object was to secure an exchange of prisoners in Europe, 
and my second to put an end, by one good fire in Eng- 
land of shipping, to all the burnings in America. I suc- 
ceeded in the first, even by means far more glorious 
than my most flattering ideas had expected when I left 
France. In the second I endeavoured to deserve success ; 
but a wise officer of mine observed, that ' it was a rash 
thing, and that nothing could be got by burning poor 
people's property.' I must, however, do him the justice 
to mention his acknowledgment, that he had no turn for 
enterprise ; and I must also do equal justice to my former 
officers in the Providence and the Alfred, by declaring, that 
had they been with me in the Ranger, two hundred and 
fifty, or three hundred sail of large ships at Whitehaven 
would have been laid in ashes." In answer to certain 
queries on this subject, proposed by the Board of Admir- 
alty in 1781, he says, " I made a descent at Whitehaven 
with thirty men only, surprised and took two strong forts 
with thirty pieces of cannon, and set fire to the shipping 
where they lay, 300 or upwards, in the dry pier. That 
both the shipping and the town, containing from 40 to 
50,000 inhabitants, was not burned, was owing to the 
backwardness of some persons under my command." 


burnt out. The day too came on apace, yet I 
would by no means retreat while any hopes of 
success remained. Having again placed senti- 
nels, a light was obtained at a house disjoin- 
ed from the town, and fire was kindled in the 
steerage of a large ship, which was surrounded 
by at least an hundred and fifty others, chiefly 
from two to four hundred tons burthen, and ly- 
ing side by side, aground, unsurrounded by the 

" There were, besides, from seventy to an hun- 
dred large ships in the north arm of the harbour, 
aground, clear of the water, and divided from the 
rest only by a stone pier of a ship^s height. I 
should have kindled fires in other places if the 
time had permitted; as it did not, our care was 
to prevent the one kindled from being easily ex- 
tinguished. After some search, a barrel of tar was 
found, and poured into the flames, which now as- 
cended from all the hatchways. The inhabitants 
began to appear in thousands, and individuals ran 
hastily towards us. I stood between them and 
the ship on fire, with a pistol in my hand, and 
ordered them to retire, which they did with pre- 

VOL. i. D 


cipitation. The flames had already caught the 
rigging, and began to ascend the main-mast; the 
sun was a full hour's march above the horizon, 
and as sleep no longer ruled the world, it was 
time to retire. We re-embarked without opposi- 
tion, having released a number of prisoners, as 
our boats could not carry them. After all my 
people had embarked, I stood upon the pier for 
a considerable space, yet no person advanced : I 
saw all the eminences round the town covered 
with the amazed inhabitants. 

" When we had rowed to a considerable dis- 
tance from the shore, the English began to run 
in vast numbers to their forts ; their disappoint- 
ment may easily be imagined when they found, 
I suppose, at least thirty heavy cannon (the in- 
struments of their vengeance) rendered useless. 
At length, however, they began to fire, having, 
as I apprehend, either brought down ships 1 guns, 
or used one or two cannon which lay on the beach 
at the foot of the walls, dismounted, and which 
had not been spiked. They fired with no direc- 
tion, and the shot falling short of the boats, in- 
stead of doing us any damage, afforded some di- 


version, which my people could not help showing, 
by discharging their pistols, Sec. in return of the 

" Had it been possible to have landed a few 
hours sooner, success would have been complete ; 
not a single ship out of more than two hundred 
could possibly have escaped, and all the world 
would not have been able to save the town ; what 
was done, however, is sufficient to show that not 
all their boasted navy can protect their own coasts, 
and that the scenes of distress which they have 
occasioned in America may soon be brought 
home to then* own doors. One of my people was 
missing, and must, I fear, have fallen into the 
enemy ""s hands after our departure.* I was pleas- 
ed that in this business we neither killed nor 

* In the Ranger's log-book this man is named David 
Smith. He is probably the same person who, under the 
name of Freeman, gave information at several houses in 
a^street adjoining the piers, thatfire had been set to a ship, 
and afterwards other information that appears substantial- 
ly correct. He must have remained on shore voluntarily. 


wounded. I brought off three prisoners as a 

Jones has been severely censured, even by 
those who are willing to allow him merited praise 
in other respects, for his descent on Whitehaven, 
and St Mary's Isle, as the seat of Lord Selkirk 
is named. The wanton burnings and destruction 
of private property on the coasts of America must 
have been sufficiently irritating, and must have 
naturally provoked a spirit of retaliation ; still the 
bulk of mankind must join in opinion with his 
cautious lieutenant, that "nothing was to be got 
by burning poor people's property," and with 
the biographer of Jones in the Edinburgh En- 
cyclopaedia, who truly states, that " there is some- 
thing revolting in the idea of a man's deliberately 
stifling all his early associations, and availing 
himself of his familiar acquaintance with the place 
of his youthful enjoyments, to effect its destruc- 
tion." Our feelings refuse to move in sympathy 
with this new-born vehement zeal felt by a man 
against that native land in which his mother, sis- 
ters, and relatives, were then living in peace and se- 


curity. That young Paul had in boyhood imbibed 
an enthusiastic attachment to America, from the 
conversation of discontented seamen trading to the 
colonies, which has been urged in extenuation of 
the part he chose, is a mere gratuitous assumption. 
At the period of his boyhood there was no exist- 
ing discontent which reached his class of society ; 
and up to the time of his entering the Ameri- 
can navy, he might in all probability, with equal 
good-will, have accepted a commission under his 
native sovereign. He was influenced by fortui- 
tous circumstances ; but, once fairly engaged in 
the service of the United States, he devoted him- 
self to his new country with unshaken zeal and 
incorruptible integrity. 

Besides the questionable nature of the assault 
on Whitehaven, in a private or abstract view, 
from a man circumstanced as was Jones, there is 
a startling discrepancy, a degree of exaggeration, 
and an air of rhodomontade, about all his accounts 
of that affair. 

In all the contemporary accounts of the at- 
tempt on Whitehaven, and capture of the Drake, 
the Ranger is termed a privateer. This is a mis- 


take ; she was a ship of war belonging to the 
United States, and Jones was appointed her com- 
mander by a resolution of Congress on the 14th 
of June, 1777- The character of this vessel was, 
however, certainly anomalous in any regular navy. 
Her commander acted alone and single-handed ; 
and such was his temper and the nature of the 
service for which he seemed most fitted, that he 
uniformly succeeded best when acting thus on his 
own judgment and responsibility, and never whol- 
ly failed, save in those combined operations where 
his opinions were opposed or fettered. With the 
untimited command of the Ranger, and small as 
his force was, he determined to prove to France 
and America what, with adequate means placed 
at his disposal, he might achieve. But it is time 
to return to the narrative of this cruise, which re- 
sembled more the bold exploits of Morgan or Lo- 
lonnois than the operations of modern nautical 

" We now stood over for the Scotch shore, and 
landed at noon on St Mary's Isle, with one boat 
only, and a very small party, (twelve men.) The 
motives which induced me to land there are ex- 


plained in the within copy of a letter* which I 
have written to the Countess of Selkirk. 

" On the morning of the 24th I was again off 
Carrickfergus, and would have gone in had I not 
seen the Drake preparing to come out ; it was 
very moderate, and the Drake's boat was sent out 
to reconnoitre the Ranger. As the boat advanced 
I kept the ship's stern directly towards her, and, 
though they had a spy-glass in the boat, they 
came on within hail, and alongside. When the 
officer came on the quarter-deck, he was greatly 
surprised to find himself a prisoner ! although 
an express had arrived from Whitehaven the 
night before. I now understood what I had be- 
fore imagined, that the Drake came out in con- 
sequence of this information with volunteers 
against the Ranger. The officer told me also, 
that they had taken up the Ranger's anchor. 

" The Drake was attended by five small ves- 
sels full of people, who were led by motives of 
curiosity to see an engagement ; but when they 
discovered the Drake's boat at the Ranger's stern 

See page 87. 


they wisely put back. Alarm-smokes now ap- 
peared in great abundance, extending along both 
sides of the channel. The tide was unfavourable, 
so that the Drake worked out but slowly. This 
obliged me to run down several times, and to lay 
with courses up, and main-topsail to the mast. 
At length the Drake weathered the point, and 
having led her out to about mid-channel, I suf- 
fered her to come within hail. The Drake hoisted 
English colours, and at the same instant the 
American stars were displayed on board the Ran- 
ger. I expected that preface had been now at 
an end; but the enemy soon after hailed, de- 
manding what ship it was. I directed the master 
to answer, the American continental ship Ran- 
ger ; that we waited for them, and desired they 
would come on. The sun was now little more 
than an hour from setting, it was therefore time 
to begin. The Drake being rather astern of the 
Ranger, I ordered the helm up, and gave her the 
first broadside. The action was warm, close, and 
obstinate ; it lasted an hour and five minute*, 
when the enemy called for quarters, her fore and 
main-top-sail yards being both cut away, and 


down on the cap ; the fore-top-gallant-yard and 
mizen-gaff both hanging up and down along the 
mast ; the second ensign which they had hoist- 
ed shot away, and hanging over the quarter- 
gallery, in the water ; the jib shot away, and 
hanging into the water ; her sails and rigging 
entirely cut to pieces, her masts and yards all 
wounded, and her hull also very much galled. 

" I lost only Lieutenant Wallingsford, and one 
seaman (John Dongal) killed, and six wounded, 
among whom are the gunner, (Mr Falls,) and 
Mr Powers, a midshipman, who lost his arm. 
One of the wounded (Nathaniel Wills) is since 
dead ; the rest will recover. 

" The loss of the enemy in killed and wound- 
ed was far greater. All the prisoners allow that 
they came out with a number not less than an 
hundred and sixty men, and many of them af- 
firm that they amounted to an hundred and nine- 
ty ; the medium may perhaps be the most exact 
account, and by that it will appear that they lost 
in killed and wounded forty-two men.* 

* This loss is stated by the other party at twenty-two. 



" The captain and lieutenant were among the 
wounded ; the former, having received a musket- 
ball in the head the minute before they called for 
quarters, lived and was sensible for some time 
after my people boarded the prize ; the lieuten- 
ant survived two days. They were buried with 
the honours due to their rank, and with the re- 
spect due to their memory. 

" The night, and almost the whole day after 
the action, being moderate, greatly facilitated the 
refitting of the ships. A large brigantine ran 
so near the Drake in the afternoon, that I was 
obliged to bring her to : she belonged to White- 
haven, and was bound to Norway. 

" I had thoughts of returning by the south 
channel, but the wind shifting, I determined to 
pass by the north, and round the west coast of 
Ireland : this brought me once more off Belfast 
Loch on the evening of the day after the en- 

" It was now time to release the honest Irish- 
men whom I took here on the 21st ; and as the 
poor fellows had lost their boat, she having sunk 
in the late stormy weather, I was happy in hav- 


ing it in my power to give them the necessary 
sum to purchase every thing new which they had 
lost ; I gave them also a good boat to transport 
themselves ashore, and sent with them two infirm 
men, on whom I had bestowed the last guinea in 
my possession, to defray their travelling expenses 
to their proper home at Dublin. They took with 
them one of the Drake's sails, which would suffi- 
ciently explain what had happened to the volun- 
teers. The grateful Irishmen were enraptured, 
and expressed then- joy in three huzzas as they 
passed the Ranger's quarter." 

On the 26th April, Captain Jones placed Lieu- 
tenant Simpson under suspension and arrest ; and 
on the 8th May he re-entered Brest roads, hav- 
ing been absent only twenty-eight days.* 

* The worthy and cautious citizens of Aberdeen were 
the only persons greatly alarmed on this occasion. In the 
Scots Magazine for May, 1778, we find the following 
paragraph : 

" On receiving at Aberdeen intelligence of the plun^ 
der of Lord Selkirk's house and the landing at White- 
haven, a hand-bill was circulated by order of the Ma- 


If the American plenipotentiaries were grati- 
fied by the success of this expedition, the Court 
of Versailles was still more delighted. France 
was now on the very eve of war. The plenipo- 
tentiaries of the United States had been publicly 
received at Versailles a month before the treaty 
had been signed and D'Estaing's squadron was 
ready for sea. The French ambassador had been 
ordered to leave London, and by the famous en- 
gagement between the Arethusa and La Belle 
Poule the first blow had been struck. In Eng- 
land the nation, much divided on the policy of 
the unsuccessful war with the colonies, were for 
the first time united in feelings of hostility to the 
" ancient foe,' 1 and of indignation at the insidious 

gistrates, to set on foot an association of the inhabitants 
for defence, and in a few days 120 were enrolled." 

The affair never went farther. Another American 
vessel, which landed a party, and plundered the house of 
Mr Gordon, near Banff, must have quickened their ap- 
prehensions ; but no alarm was seriously felt till the squa- 
dron of Paul Jones appeared in the frith of Forth. 
Even then the panic was short-lived. 


policy of the court of Versailles. The most ac- 
tive preparations were going on throughout the 
whole of the three kingdoms. All the winter and 
spring, in anticipation of a war with France, vo- 
lunteer corps, defensive bands, and fencible regi- 
ments, had been raising ; the navy was hastily 
augmented ; addresses were sent from all quarters 
of the country ; and the bulk of the nation was 
animated by the most ardent spirit of loyalty. 

The first leisure of Captain Jones on arriving 
at Brest was employed in writing his celebrated 
letter to the Countess of Selkirk. His conduct 
throughout the whole of this delicate affair, though 
certainly on his part the spontaneous impulse of 
elevated feeling, was also good policy, as the 
descent on St Mary^s Isle, which ultimately re- 
dounded to his honour, was liable to much mis- 
representation. The explanatory chivalrous epis- 
tle to the Countess of Selkirk has been often 
talked of. It represents the character of the 
writer in a new and certainly not unpleasing 
light. How seldom does the romance of real life 
exist till the age of thirty ! 

But however romantic one class of the feel- 


ings of Jones might be, awakened and softened by 
his visit to the scenes of his boyhood, under cir- 
cumstances so extraordinary, he was still much 
more at home in drawing up a clear memorial of 
his proceedings for Congress, or in bringing to a 
tardy and shuffling minister, than in addressing 
high-born dames. Though he had been a few 
weeks in Paris, the airs of a carpet-knight still 
sat awkwardly upon him, and his letter evinces 
more right feeling than good taste or knowledge 
of lady-life. But Franklin, the republican sage, 
to whom the epistle was enclosed, says, " It is 
a gallant letter, which must give her Ladyship a 
high and just opinion of your generosity and 
nobleness of mind ;" and he was right. The 
matter was admirable, whatever might be the 
faults of style. Had the same generous spirit of 
hostility been displayed throughout, how much 
of human misery, wantonly inflicted, might have 
been spared, how much of that bitterness of feel- 
ing engendered between countries having in com- 
mon so many powerful bonds of alliance might 
have been prevented ! 


" Ranger, Brest, 8th May, 1778. 

" It cannot be too much lamented, that, in 
the profession of arms, the officer of fine feelings 
and real sensibility should be under the necessity 
of winking at any action of persons under his 
command which his heart cannot approve ; but 
the reflection is doubly severe, when he finds him- 
self obliged, in appearance, to countenance such 
acts by his authority. 

" This hard case was mine, when, on the 23d 
of April last, I landed on St Mary's Isle. Know- 
ing Lord Selkirk's interest with the King, and 
esteeming, as I do, his private character, I wish- 
ed to make him the happy instrument of alle- 
viating the horrors of hopeless captivity, when 
the brave are overpowered and made prisoners 
of war. 

" It was, perhaps, fortunate for you, Madam, 
that he was from home ; for it was my intention 
to have taken him on board the Ranger, and to 
have detained him, until, through his means, a 
general and fair exchange of prisoners, as well in 
Europe as in America, had been effected. When 


I was informed by some men whom I met at 
landing, that his Lordship was absent, I walked 
back to my boat, determined to leave the island. 
By the way, however, some officers, who were 
with me, could not forbear expressing their dis- 
content, observing that, in America, no delicacy 
was shown by the English, who took away all 
sorts of moveable property, setting fire, not only 
to towns and to the houses of the rich, without 
distinction, but not even sparing the wretched 
hamlets and milch-cows of the poor and helpless, 
at the approach of an inclement winter. That 
party had been with me the same morning at 
Whitehaven ; some complaisance, therefore, was 
their due. I had but a moment to think how I 
might gratify them, and at the same time do your 
Ladyship the least injury. I charged the officers 
to permit none of the seamen to enter the house, 
or to hurt anything about it ; to treat you, Ma- 
dam, with the utmost respect ; to accept of the 
plate which was offered, and to come away with- 
out making a search, or demanding anything 

" I am induced to believe that I was punc- 


tually obeyed, since I am informed that the plate 
which they brought away is far short of the 
quantity expressed in the inventory which ac- 
companied it. I have gratified my men ; and, 
when the plate is sold, I shall become the pur- 
chaser, and will gratify my own feelings by re- 
storing it to you by such conveyance as you shall 
please to direct. 

" Had the Earl been on board the Ranger the 
following evening, he would have seen the awful 
pomp and dreadful carnage of a sea-engagement ; 
both affording ample subject for the pencil as well 
as melancholy reflection for the contemplative 
mind. Humanity starts back from such scenes 
of horror, and cannot sufficiently execrate the 
vile promoters of this detestable war 

4 For they, 'twas they, unsheathed the ruthless blade, 
4 And Heaven shall ask the havoc it has made.' 

" The British ship of war Drake, mounting 
twenty guns, with more than her full complement 
of officers and men, was our opponent. The 
ships met, and the advantage was disputed with 
great fortitude on each side for an hour and four 
minutes, when the gallant commander of the 


Drake fell, and victory declared in favour of the 
Ranger. The amiable lieutenant lay mortally 
wounded, besides near forty of the inferior 
officers and crew killed and wounded, a melan- 
choly demonstration of the uncertainty of human 
prospects, and of the sad reverse of fortune 
which an hour can produce. I buried them in a 
spacious grave, with the honours due to the 
memory of the brave. 

" Though I have drawn my sword in the pre- 
sent generous struggle for the rights of men, 
yet I am not in arms as an American, nor am I 
in pursuit of riches. My fortune is liberal 
enough, having no wife nor family, and having 
lived long enough to know that riches cannot 
ensure happiness. I profess myself a citizen of 
the world, totally unfettered by the little, mean 
distinctions of climate or of country, which di- 
minish the benevolence of the heart, and set 
bounds to philanthropy. Before this war began 
I had at the early time of life withdrawn from the 
sea-service in favour of c calm contemplation and 
poetic ease. 1 I have sacrificed not only my fa- 
vourite scheme of life, but the softer affections of 


the heart and my prospects of domestic happi- 
ness, and I am ready to sacrifice my life also 
with cheerfulness, if that forfeiture could restore 
peace and good-will among mankind. 

" As the feelings of your gentle bosom cannot 
but be congenial with mine, let me entreat you, 
Madam, to use your persuasive art with your hus- 
band's to endeavour to stop this cruel and de- 
structive war, in which Britain can never succeed. 
Heaven can never countenance the barbarous and 
unmanly practice of the Britons in America, which 
savages would blush at, and which, if not dis- 
continued, will soon be retaliated on -Britain by 
a justly-enraged people. Should you fail in this, 
(for I am persuaded that you will attempt it, 
and who can resist the power of such an advo- 
cate ?) your endeavours to effect a general ex- 
change of prisoners will be an act of humanity 
which will afford you golden feelings on a death- 

" I hope this cruel contest will soon be closed ; 
but should it continue, I wage no war with the 
fair. I acknowledge their force, and bend before 
it with submission. Let not, therefore, the amia- 


ble Countess of Selkirk regard me as an enemy ; 
I am ambitious of her esteem and friendship, and 
would do any thing, consistent with my duty, to 
merit it. 

" The honour of a line from your hand in 
answer to this will lay me under a singular obli- 
gation ; and if I can render you any acceptable 
service in France or elsewhere, I hope you see 
into my character so far as to command me with- 
out the least grain of reserve. 

" I wish to know exactly the behaviour of my 
people, as I am determined to punish them if 
they have exceeded their liberty. I have the 
honour to be, with much esteem and with pro- 
found respect, Madam, &c. &c. 


It afterwards cost Jones much more trouble 
than he could have calculated upon to redeem 
the promise here given to the Countess of Sel- 
kirk. Once in the harpy claws of commissaries 
and prize-agents, it required all his energy, acti- 
vity, and disinterestedness, to wrest the plate 


from them, even by paying, he says, " more than 
the value. 1 ' It was valued and re-valued, and 
occasioned more trouble and expense than it was 
intrinsically worth, had not Jones conceived his 
honour pledged for its safe restoration. 

Jones found a useful auxiliary in this affair 
in Father John, an Irish priest, the chaplain of 
Count. D'Orvilliers, who then commanded a fleet 
lying off Brest, and whom he had already made 
his friend. So justly provoked was he about this 
affair, and the sordid spirit of the agents, that, in 
the very temper of Hotspur, we find him exclaim- 
ing, " I will not abate the thousandth part of a 
sol of three-twentieths of prizes, which no man in 
America ever presumed to dispute as being my 
just and proper right, and which no rascal in 
Europe shall presume to dispute with impunity ! 
To whom, since I was myself Commander-in- 
Chief, would that old fool decree the three-twen- 
tieths ? Perhaps to his dear self, who is puffed 
up with the idea of his right to secure ' the pro- 
perty of captures ?' " 

Though the plate came into the possession of 
Jones in 1780, it was nearly five years before he 


was able to return it to the owner. It was lodged 
with a friend during his absence in America ; and 
in writing to Lord Selkirk in 1784, after the 
peace, he takes occasion to make a new avowal 
of the views and sentiments on which he had act- 
ed during the war : 

" Paris, February 12th, 1784. 

" I have just received a letter from Mr Nes- 
bitt, dated at L'Orient the 4th instant, mention- 
ing a letter to him from your son, Lord Daer, 
on the subject of the plate that was taken from 
your house by some of my people when I com- 
manded the Ranger, and has been for a long time 
past in Mr Nesbitt's care. A short time before 
I left France to return to America, Mr W. Alex- 
ander wrote me from Paris to L^Orient, that he 
had, at my request, seen and conversed with your 
Lordship in England respecting the plate. He 
said you had agreed that I should restore it, and 
that it might be forwarded to the care of your 
sister-in-law, the Countess of Morton, in London. 
In consequence I now send orders to Mr Nesbitt 
to forward the plate immediately to her care. 


When I received Mr Alexander's letter, there 
was no cartel or other vessel at L'Orient, that I 
could trust with a charge of so delicate a nature 
as your plate, and I had great reason to expect I 
should return to France within six months after 
I embarked for America ; but circumstances in 
America prevented my returning to Europe dur- 
ing the war, though I had constant expectation 
of it. The long delay that has happened to the 
restoration of your plate has given me much con- 
cern, and I now feel a proportionate pleasure in 
fulfilling what was my first intention. My motive 
for landing at your estate in Scotland was to 
take you as an hostage for the lives and liberty 
of a number of the citizens of America, who had 
been taken in war on the ocean, and committed 
to British prisons, under an act of parliament, 
as traitors, pirates, and felons. You observ- 
ed to Mr Alexander, that e my idea was a mis- 
taken one, because you were not (as I had sup- 
posed) in favour with the British ministry, who 
knew that you favoured the cause of liberty.' 1 
On that account I am glad that you were absent 
from your estate when I landed there, as I bore 


no personal enmity, but the contrary, towards you. 
I afterwards had the happiness to redeem my 
fellow-citizens from Britain, by means far more 
glorious than through the medium of any single 

" As I have endeavoured to serve the cause 
of liberty, through every stage of the American 
revolution, and sacrificed to it my private ease, 
a part of my fortune, and some of my blood, I 
could have no selfish motive in permitting my 
people to demand and carry off your plate. My 
sole inducement was to turn their attention and 
stop their rage from breaking out, and retaliat- 
ing on your house and effects the too wanton 
burnings and desolation that had been committed 
against their relations and fellow-citizens in Ame- 
rica by the British ; of which, I assure you, you 
would have felt the severe consequences had I not 
fallen on an expedient to prevent it, and hurried 
my people away before they had time for farther 
reflection. As you were so obliging as to say to 
Mr Alexander, that my people behaved with 
great decency at your house? I ask the favour of 
you to announce that circumstance to the public. 


" I am, my Lord, wishing you always perfect 
freedom and happiness," &c. &c. 


The answer that Jones received next year from 
the Earl was some indemnification for his trouble 
and anxiety : 

" London, 4th August, 1785. 

" SlE, 

" I received the letter you wrote me at the 
time you sent off my plate, in order for restoring 
it. Had I known where to direct a letter to you 
at the time it arrived in Scotland, I would have 
then wrote to you ; but not knowing it, nor find- 
ing that any of my acquaintance at Edinburgh 
knew it, I was obliged to delay writing till I came 
here, when, by means of a gentleman connected 
with America, I was told Mr Le Grand was your 
banker at Paris, and would take proper care of a 
letter for you ; therefore I enclose this to him. 

" Notwithstanding all the precautions you took 
for the easy and uninterrupted conveyance of the 
plate, yet it met with considerable delays, first at 
Calais, next at Dover, then at London. How- 

VOL. i. E 


ever, it at last arrived at Dumfries, and, I dare 
say, quite safe, though as yet I have not seen it, 
being then at Edinburgh. I intended to have 
put an article in the newspapers about your hav- 
ing returned it ; but before I was informed of its 
being arrived, some of your friends, I suppose, 
had put it in the Dumfries newspaper, whence 
it was immediately copied into the Edinburgh 
papers, and thence into the London ones. 

" Since that time I have mentioned it to many 
people of fashion ; and on all occasions, Sir, both 
now and formerly, I have done you the justice to 
tell, that you made an offer of returning the plate 
very soon after your return to Brest, and al- 
though you yourself were not at my house, but 
remained at the shore with your boat, that yet 
you had your officers and men in such extraor- 
dinary good discipline, that you having given 
them the strictest orders to behave well, to do no 
injury of any kind, to make no search, but only 
to bring off what plate was given them ; that in 
reality they did exactly as ordered, and that not 
one man offered to stir from his post, on the out- 
side of the house, nor entered the doors, nor said 


an uncivil word ; that the two officers stood not 
a quarter of an hour in the parlour and butler's 
pantry while the butler got the plate together ; 
behaved politely, and asked for nothing but the 
plate, and instantly marched their men off in re- 
gular order ; and that both officers and men be- 
haved in all respects so well, that it would have 
done credit to the best-disciplined troops what- 
ever. Some of the English newspapers at that 
time having put in confused accounts of your ex- 
pedition to Whitehaven and Scotland, I ordered 
a proper one of what happened in Scotland to be 
put in the London newspapers, by a gentleman 
who was then at my house, by which the good 
conduct and civil behaviour of your officers and 
men were done justice to, and attributed to your 
orders, and the good discipline you maintained 
over your people. 

" I am, Sir, your most humble servant, 


The plate was returned exactly as it had been 
taken away ; even the tea leaves, it is said, re- 
mained in the tea-pot. 



THE success of Jones, and the temporary vogue 
into which it raised him at the court of France 
on his return to Brest, did not free him from 
many embarrassments. To provide for his crew, 
to secure the two hundred prisoners he had 
brought in, and to obtain a new command for 
himself, all occupied and distracted his attention 
at the same time. The dilatoriness or cupidity 
of the prize-agents, and the straitened funds at 
the disposal of the Commissioners, excited open 
discontents among the seamen, who, after their 
exertions, saw themselves neglected and forgotten, 
and even in want of the common necessaries of 
food and clothing. Captain Jones had now ob- 
tained the right of speaking out, and also of be- 
ing heard ; and he used his newly-acquired in- 
fluence with equal anxiety for the comfort of his 
own men, and of the sick, the wounded, and pri- 


soners whom the fortune of war had placed at 
his mercy. 

Before quitting America, Jones had, under the 
sanction of the Marine Committee, made himself 
accountable to his crew for the regular payment 
of then* wages. With this circumstance Mr Lee, 
one of the Commissioners, who afterwards gave 
both of his own colleagues much trouble, was ac- 
quainted ; yet he concurred with those who were 
in ignorance of this arrangement in dishonouring 
the draft which Jones made on the Commission- 
ers on his return to Brest, under circumstances 
which should have compelled them to attend to 
his wants, in humanity and good policy as well 
as justice. " I was left, 11 he says, u with two 
hundred prisoners of war, a number of sick and 
wounded, an almost naked crew, and a ship, after 
a severe engagement, in want of stores and pro- 
visions, from the 9th May till the 13th of June, 
destitute of any public support. 1 ' " To make 
me completely wretched, 11 he says, on another oc- 
casion, " M. de Bersolle has told me that he now 
stops his hand, not only of the necessary articles 


to refit the ship, but also of the daily provisions. 
I know not where to find to-morrow's dinner for 
the great number of mouths that depend on me 
for food. Are the continental ships of war to 
depend on the sale -of their prizes for a daily din- 
ner to their men ? Publish it not in Gath !" 

But from all these pressing difficulties Jones 
contrived to extricate himself with little aid, in 
the first instance, from the harassed Commission- 
ers, who, at this time, had their hands full of 
business, and their purses empty of money. 

Shortly afterwards we find Captain Jones in- 
terfering to protect his prisoners from the rapa- 
city of the persons who were intrusted with sup- 
plying their wants. By his exertions and credit 
with the French government and its functionaries, 
he had already ensured their safe custody in order 
to an exchange, an object for which Franklin was 
now negotiating, and which at all times was one 
of prime importance to Jones, as appears on the 
face of his whole correspondence. The letter en- 
closing the memorial of his prisoners is very cre- 
ditable to his feelings. 


" The fellow," he says, " who holds the rod 
over their wretched heads, has menaced them * if 
they dare to complain," and would have intercept- 
ed their memorial, had I not prevented it. This 
Riou is the scoundrel who, by his falsehood, 
promoted discord in the Ranger, and got the 
deluded people to appoint him their particular 
agent. Before that time he never could call 
twenty louis his own, and he is now too rich for 
his former profession of King's interpreter. He 
does not deny that he is a scoundrel, for so I 
have called him more than once before witnesses, 
and so every person of sense thinks him at Brest. 
If the exchange of prisoners does not take place 
immediately, I conceive it would be the most eli- 
gible method to have the people on board the 
Patience landed. They are convinced that if you 
should think fit to return them an answer, it will 
never come to their hands through the means of 
any person who calls himself an agent at Brest, 
and they having full confidence in the honour and 
humanity of Father John, professor of English, 
and chaplain to Comte D'Orvilliers at Brest, have 
desired me to inform you, that through that gen- 


tleman they beg you to favour them with an an- 
swer. In granting their request you will confer 
a very singular obligation on me." 

Though Jones had just cause of anger in the 
hardship and indignity to which he was exposed 
by the Commissioners dishonouring his drafts, and 
in the conduct of the prize-agents, and the discon- 
tents which in consequence arose among his crew, 
who naturally all looked to him for justice, if not 
reward, he was cheered by many marks of private 
friendship and esteem. The Comte D'Orvilliers, 
Commander-in-Chief at Brest, showed him the 
utmost kindness, untinctured by any of that 
professional jealousy with which he was after- 
wards regarded by the horde of inferior officers of 
the French navy. The Due de Chartres seemed 
friendly ; and, above all, the wise and venerable 
Franklin, who, from first to last, appears to have 
appreciated his character, proved a friend as 
steady as he was judicious. 

Jones had not been three weeks in Brest when 
Franklin wrote him, congratulating him on his 
late success, and proposing another expedition. 
" The Jersey privateers," he says, "do us a great 


deal of mischief by intercepting our supplies. It 
has been mentioned to me, that your small vessel, 
commanded by so brave an officer, might render 
great service, by following them where greater 
ships dare not venture their bottoms ; or, being 
accompanied and supported by some frigates from 
Brest, at a proper distance, might draw them out 
and then take them. I wish you to consider of 
this, as it comes from high authority" 

To be made the decoy-duck of French frigates 
could not be peculiarly agreeable to a man whose 
first and vehement object at all times was " a 
separate command," " unlimited orders," and to 
be his " own counsellor." . Yet in reply he says, 
" Nothing could give me more pleasure than to 
render essential service to America in any way 
which you may find expedient." He then hints 
his desire of still obtaining the command of the 
ship building at Amsterdam. " I demand no- 
thing," he adds, " and though I know that it was 
the intention of Congress to give me that ship, I 
am now ready to go wherever the service calls 
me." " If two or three fast-sailing ships could 
be collected together, there is a great choice of 



private enterprises that I can name, some of 
which might effectually succeed, and would be 
far more for the interest and honour of America 
than cruising with twice the force. It appears to 
me to be the province of our infant navy to sur- 
prise and spread alarms with fast-sailing ships. 
When we grow stronger we can meet their [the 
British] fleets, and dispute with them the sove- 
reignty of the ocean." 

These plans and speculations were forgotten 
in the more dazzling prospects which the follow- 
ing letter from Franklin opened to Jones ; though 
what at first promised so fair, afterwards be- 
came to him the source of much trouble and vexa- 
tion : 


" I have the pleasure of informing you, that it 
is proposed to give you the command of the great 
ship we have built at Amsterdam. By what you 
wrote to us formerly, I have ventured to say in 
your behalf, that this proposition would be agree- 
able to you. You will immediately let me know 


your resolution ; which, that you may be more 
clear in taking, I must inform you of some cir- 
cumstances. She is at present the property of 
the King ; but as there is no war yet declared, 
you will have the commission and flag of the 
States, and act under their orders and laws. The 
Prince de Nassau will make the cruise with you. 
She is to be brought here under cover as a French 
merchantman, to be equipped and manned in 
France. We hope to exchange your prisoners 
for as many American sailors ; but if that fails, 
you have your present crew to be made up here 
with other nations and French. The other Com- 
missioners are not acquainted with this proposi- 
tion as yet ; and you see by the nature of it, that 
it is necessary to be kept a secret till we have 
got the vessel here, for fear of difficulties in Hol- 
land, and interception ; you will therefore direct 
your answer to me alone. It being desired that 
the affair should rest between you and me, per- 
haps it may be best for you to take a trip up 
here to concert matters, if in general you approve 
the idea. 


" I was much pleased with reading your jour- 
nal, which we received yesterday." 

A few days after this, Franklin had this affair 
so well matured as to write again in the follow- 
ing terms : 

" Passy, June 10th, 1778. 

" I received yours of 1st instant, with the pa- 
pers enclosed, which I have shown to the other 
Commissioners, but have not yet had their opinion 
of them ; only I know that they had before (in 
consideration of the disposition and uneasiness of 
your people) expressed an inclination to order 
your ship directly back to America. You will 
judge from what follows, whether it will not be 
advisable for you to propose their sending her 
back with her people, and under some other com- 
mand. In consequence of the high opinion the 
Minister of the Marine has of your conduct and 
bravery, it is now settled (observe, that is to 
be a secret between us, I being expressly enjoin- 
ed not to communicate it to any other person,) 


that you are to have the frigate from Holland, 
which actually belongs to government, and will 
be furnished with as many good French seamen 
as you shall require. But you are to act under 
Congress commission. As you may like to have 
a number of Americans, and your own are home- 
sick, it is proposed to give you as many as you 
can engage out of two hundred prisoners, which 
the ministry of Britain have at length agreed to 
give us in exchange for those you have in your 
hands. They propose to make the exchange at 
Calais, where they are to bring the Americans. 
Nothing is wanting to this but a list of yours, 
containing their names and rank ; immediately on 
the receipt of which an equal number are to be 
prepared, and sent in a ship to that port, where 
yours are to meet them. 

" If by this means you can get a good new crew, 
I think it would be best that you are quite free 
of the old ; for a mixture might introduce the in- 
fection of that sickness you complain of. But 
this may be left to your own discretion. Perhaps 
we shall join you with the Providence, Captain 
Whipple, a new continental ship of 30 guns, 


which, in coming out of the river of Providence, 
gave the two frigates that were posted to inter- 
cept her each of them so heavy a dose of her 18 
and 12 pounders, that they had not the courage, 
or were not able, to pursue her. It seems to be 
desired that you will step up to Versailles, (where 
one will meet you,) in order to such a settlement 
of matters and plans with those who have the di- 
rection as cannot well be done by letter. I wish 
it may be convenient to you to do it immediately. 
" The project of giving you the command of 
this ship pleases me the more, as it is a probable 
opening to the higher preferment you so justly 

Jones must have been exceedingly gratified by 
this information. It was placing him at once at 
the summit of his wishes. The French Minister 
of Marine notified the wishes of his Most Chris- 
tian Majesty to employ the American captain ; 
and the Commissioners as formally signified their 
acquiescence. They say, " We readily consent 
that he should be at your Excellency's disposi- 
tion, and shall be happy if his services may be in 


any respect useful to the designs your Excellency 
has in contemplation.''' 

Though Jones had already some experience of 
Marine Committees, and of the delays and inso- 
lence of office, it was quite impossible that he 
could have anticipated all the torture and vexa- 
tion laid up in store for him by a proposal which 
at first sight appeared so fair and flattering. He 
made his acknowledgments to the minister in 
his best style ; but probably thought less of the 
" dignity of human nature," the slang of that 
day, long before all official connexion was fin- 
ished between them. " I have no doubt," he 
says, " that many projects might be formed from 
the hints which I had the honour of sending 
lately for your inspection : had I been intrusted 
with the chief command, I would have held my- 
self responsible for consequences." 

" I am bound in honour to communicate faith- 
fully to Congress the generous offer which the 
King now makes, of lending the Epervier in the 
meantime to be employed under my command, 
under the flag of America. I have now under my 
command a ship bound to America. On my arrival 


there, from the former confidence of Congress, I 
have reason to expect an immediate removal into 
one of their best ships. I have reason to expect 
the chief command of the first squadron destined 
for an expedition, having in my possession several 
similar appointments ; and when Congress see fit 
to appoint admirals, I have assurance that my 
name will not be forgot. These are flattering 
prospects to a man who has drawn his sword only 
upon principles of philanthropy, and in support 
of the dignity of human nature. But as I prefer 
a solid to a shining reputation, a useful to a 
splendid command, I hold myself ready, with the 
approbation of the Commissioners, to be governed 
by you in any measures that may tend to distress 
and humble the common enemy." 

This letter, in several of its hints, shows some 
address on the part of Jones, who, it must be 
acknowledged, seldom, unless stirred by indigna- 
tion or a sense of injury, slipped the opportunity 
of forwarding his own interests by an opportune 
hint or leading suggestion : of hints and projects 
of a public nature his brain was at all times sin- 


gularly fertile. At this moment of excitement 
it teemed with bold ideas or fancies. To effect 
the destruction of Whitehaven was, as we have 
seen, one project. To take the Bank of Ayr, 
destroy that town, and probably Greenock and 
Port-Glasgow, with the shipping in the Clyde, 
was a yet bolder design. " Much, 1 ' he says, 
" might be done in Ireland, where ships worth 
150,000 limes, or even 200,000, might be 
seized, London might be distressed, by cutting 
off the supply of coals carried from Newcastle, 
the fishing at Campbelton might be destroyed, 
and many towns on the north-east coasts of Eng- 
land and Scotland might be burnt or laid under 
contribution." A more feasible project was the 
capture or destruction of the Baltic fleet. " The 
success of any of these, or of like enterprises," 
says Jones, in a letter to the French Minister of 
Marine, " will depend in surprising well, and on 
despatch both in the attack and in the retreat ; 
therefore it is necessary the ships should sail 
fast, and that their forces should be sufficient to 
repel any of the enemy's cruising frigates, two of 
which may perhaps be met at a time. It is scarce- 


ly conceivable how great a panic the success of 
any one of these projects would occasion in Eng- 
land. It would convince the world that their 
coasts are vulnerable, and would, consequently, 
hurt their public credit. 

" If alarming the coast of Britain should be 
thought inexpedient, to intercept the enemy's 
West India or Baltic fleets, or their Hudson's 
Bay ships, or to destroy then* Greenland fishery, 
are capital objects."" 

There is much in these plans that must either 
have been conceived in ignorance, or suggested by 
Jones for the purpose of merely amusing, or of 
quickening the motions of the French marine de- 
partment. Even when, long afterwards, a force 
was obtained, not one of them was attempted save 
the abortive attack on Leith. 

It has been noticed, that, after the engagement 
with the Drake, Captain Jones ordered Lieuten- 
ant Simpson under arrest for what appeared very 
satisfactory reasons. He had afterwards been 
annoyed by the Commissioners' dishonouring his 
draft, and he was now enraged by their con- 
duct regarding Simpson, the offending officer. In- 


deed no excuse can be offered for their proceed- 
ings, save that these distracted Commissioners had 
not power at all times to administer rigid justice, 
whatever might have been their wishes. The 
account of this proceeding is given in the words 
of the memorial, long afterwards prepared by Cap- 
tain Jones for the information of the King of 
France. It was an insult the memory of which 
did not soon leave him. 

" The lieutenant under arrest on board the 
Drake had constant intercourse with the crew ; 
who thereby became so insolent as to refuse duty, 
and go all hands below repeatedly before the 
Captain's face. It was impossible to trifle at that 
time, as Count D'Orvilliers had assured Captain 
Jones, unless he could get the Drake ready to 
transport the prisoners to America before orders 
arrived from Court, they would in all probability 
be given up without an exchange, to avoid im- 
mediate war with England. It therefore became 
impossible to suffer the lieutenant to remain any 
longer among them. Captain Jones had him re- 
moved to the ship called the Admiral, where the 
French confine even the first officers in the ser- 


vice. He had there a good chamber to himself, 
and liberty to walk the deck. The lieutenant 
endeavoured to desert out of the Admiral, and 
behaved in a manner so extravagant, that Count 
D'Orvilliers (without the knowledge of Captain 
Jones) ordered him to the prison of the port, 
where he also had a good chamber, and Captain 
Jones paid his expenses out of his own pocket. 

" About this time Captain Jones, finding the 
lieutenant appeared more reasonable than for- 
merly, took his parole in writing, not to serve 
again in the navy before he was acquitted by a 
court-martial, and set him at liberty. A day or 
two afterwards the Commissioners thought fit to 
interfere respecting the lieutenant of the Ran- 
ger, which, it is presumed, they had no authority 
to do, as it laid the axe to the root of subor- 

On returning from Versailles, whither he had 
gone, as has been noticed, on the invitation of 
Franklin, Captain Jones feeling himself dread- 
fully aggrieved, wrote as follows : 


" Brest, August 13th, 1778. 

" I have been five days in this place since my 
return from Passy, during which time I have 
neither seen nor heard from Lieutenant Simp- 
son ; but Mr Hill, who was last winter at Passy, 
and who sailed with me from Nantes, informs 
me truly, that it is generally reported in the 
Ranger, and of course throughout the French 
fleet, and on shore, that I am turned out of the 
service ; that you, gentlemen, have given Mr 
Simpson my place, with a captain's commission, 
and that my letter to you of the 16th July was 
involuntary on my part, and in obedience only 
to your orders. 

" That these reports prevail is not an idle 
conjecture, but a melancholy fact. Therefore I 
beseech you, I demand of you to afford me re- 
dress, redress by a court-martial; to form which 
we have now, with the assistance of Captain Hin- 
man, Captain Read, as also them at Nantes, a 
sufficient number of officers in France, exclusive 
of myself. The Providence and Britain are ex- 
pected here very soon from Nantes, and I am 


certain that they neither can nor will again de- 
part, before my friend Captain Hinman can come 
down here ; and it is his unquestioned right to 
succeed me in the Ranger. 

" I have faithfully and personally supported 
and fought the dignified cause of human nature 
ever .since the American banners first waved on 
the Delaware and on the ocean. This I did when 
that man did not call himself a republican, but 
left the continent, and served its enemies ; and 
this I did when this man appeared backward, 
and did not support me as he ought. 

" I conclude by requesting you to call before 
you, and examine for your own satisfaction, Mr 
Edward Meyers, who is now at the house of the 
Swedish Ambassador, and who, having been with 
me as a volunteer, can and will, I am persuaded, 
represent to you the conduct of the officers and 
men towards me, both before I left Brest, and af- 
terwards in the Irish Channel, as well as my 
conduct towards them. I have the honour to 
be, &c. &c. 

" Their Excellencies the 
American Plenipotentiaries." 


He received no immediate satisfaction, and re- 
solved to digest his chagrin as he best could, and 
at least avoid the odium of a squabble among the 
Americans in France. 

In the spring of the following year, he, how- 
ever, received a slight atonement to his wounded 
feelings, in an official letter signed by Franklin 
and Adams, stating, that as his removal from 
the Ranger, and the appointment of Lieutenant 
Simpson to the command of that ship, might be 
liable to misrepresentations and misinterpreta- 
tions, they certified it to be done by them, that, 
on the request of M. de Sartine, he might be em- 
ployed on some public service ; and that Simpson 
had been appointed by his (Jones's) consent after 
he had released that officer from an arrest under 
which he had placed him. 

The prospect of immediate active service, of 
getting afloat with unlimited orders, and a larger 
force than he had ever yet commanded, so flat- 
tering and near in July, became more doubtful 
in the end of August ; and by September, as war 
was now declared with England, the French of- 
ficers were in the first place to be provided for ; 


and the promised, or rather offered, frigates 
dwindled down to a much smaller force. Even 
that was delayed. After repeatedly applying to 
the American Commissioners, and using all the 
personal influence which his enlarged acquaint- 
ance in the court circles enabled him to obtain, 
Jones found it needful to remonstrate with M. de 
Sartine. He had, however, lost another power- 
ful hold of the Minister. The Prince of Nassau, 
who in the outset had eagerly desired to accom- 
pany him in his expedition, either from caprice 
or change of views, abandoned the scheme, with- 
out scruple or apology, and to the letters of Jones 
did not even deign the civility of a reply. 

That his time might not be wholly consumed 
in idleness, and in the sickness of hope deferred, 
Jones again addressed the Minister in what he calls 
" an exph'cit letter," which explains his situation 
better than could be done in many words. 

" Brest, September 13th, 1778. 

" When his Excellency Doctor Franklin in- 
formed me that you had condescended to think 


me worthy of your notice, I took such pleasure 
in reflecting on the happy alliance between France 
and America, that I was really flattered, and en- 
tertained the most grateful sense of the honour 
which you proposed for me, as well as the favour 
which the king proposed for America, by putting 
so fine a ship of war as the Indian under my com- 
mand, and under its flag, with unlimited orders. 
+ " In obedience to your desire, I came to Ver- 
sailles, and was taught to believe that my intend- 
ed ship was in deep water, and ready for the sea ; 
but when the Prince (de Nassau) returned I re- 
ceived from him a different account ; I was told 
that the Indian could not be got afloat within a 
shorter period than three months at the approach- 
ing equinox. 

" To employ this interval usefully, I first offer- 
ed to go from Brest with Count D'Orvilliers, as a 
volunteer, which you thought fit to reject. I had 
then the satisfaction to find that you approved in 
general of a variety of hints for private enterprises 
which I had drawn up for your consideration, 
and I was flattered with assurances from Messieurs 
de Chaumont and Bandonin, that three of the 

VOL. i. F 


finest frigates in France, with two tenders, and a 
number of troops, would be immediately put under 
my command; and that I should have unlimited 
orders, and be at free liberty to pursue such of 
my own projects as I thought proper. But this 
plan fell to nothing in the moment when I was 
taught to think that nothing was wanting but 
the King's signature. 

" Another much inferior armament from 
LTOrient was proposed to be put under my com- 
mand, which was by no means equal to the ser- 
vices that were expected from it ; for speed and 
force, though both requisite, were both wanting. 
Happily for me this also failed, and I was there- 
by saved from a dreadful prospect of ruin and 

" I had so entire a reliance that you would de- 
sire nothing of me inconsistent with my honour 
and rank, that the moment you required me to 
come down here, in order to proceed round to St 
Malo, though I had received no written orders, 
and neither knew your intention respecting my 
destination or command, I obeyed with such 
haste, that although my curiosity led me to look 


at the armament at LTOrient, yet I was but three 
days from Passy till I reached Brest. Here too 
I drew a blank ; but when I saw the Lively, it 
was no disappointment, as that ship, both in sail- 
ing and equipment, is far inferior to the Ran- 

" My only disappointment here was my being 
precluded from embarking in pursuit of marine 
knowledge with Count D'Orvilliers, who did not 
sail till seven days after my return. He is my 
friend, and expressed his wishes for my com- 
pany ; I accompanied him out of the road when 
the fleet sailed; and he always lamented that 
neither himself nor any person in authority in 
Brest had received from you any order* that men- 
tioned my name. I am astonished therefore to 
be informed that you attribute my not being in 
the fleet to my stay at Lf Orient. 

" I am not a mere adventurer of fortune. Sti- 
mulated by principles of reason and philanth- 
ropy, I laid aside my enjoyments in private life, 
and embarked under the flag of America when it 
was first displayed. In that line my desire of 
fame is infinite, and I must not now so far forget 


my own honour, and what I owe to my friends 
and America, as to remain inactive. 

" My rank knows no superior in the Ameri- 
can marine : I have long since been appointed to 
command an expedition with five of its ships, 
and I can receive orders from no junior or infe- 
rior officer whatever. 

" I have been here in the most tormenting 
suspense for more than a month since my re- 
turn; and agreeable to your desire, as mentioned 
to me by Monsieur Chaumont, a lieutenant has 
been appointed, and is with me, who speaks 
the French as well as the English. Circular 
letters have been written, and sent the 8th of 
last month from the English Admiralty, because 
they expected me to pay another visit with four 
ships. Therefore I trust that, if the Indian is 
not to be got out, you will not, at the approaching 
season, substitute a force that is not at least 
equal both in strength and sailing to any of the 
enemy's cruising ships. 

" I do not wish to interfere with the harmony 
of the French marine ; but if I am still thought 
worthy of your attention, I shall hope for a se- 


parate command, with liberal orders. If, on the 
contrary, you should now have no further occa- 
sion for my services, the only favour I can ask 
is, that you will bestow on me the Alert, with a 
few seamen, and permit me to return, and carry 
with me your good opinion in that small vessel, 
before the winter, to America/' 1 

This letter was submitted to the Due de Roche- 
foucault, and enclosed to Franklin, who, while 
he omitted no opportunity of serving Jones, still 
counselled patience. To Franklin he says, " It 
is in vain for the minister to pretend that he has 
not ships to bestow. I know the contrary. He 
has bestowed the Renommee and others here 
since my return ; and there are yet several new 
ships unbestowed at St Malo and elsewhere. I 
know too, that unless the States of Holland op- 
pose it, the Indian can be got afloat with a tenth 
part of the difficulty that has been represented. 
If I was worth his notice at the beginning I am 
not less so now. After all, you have desired me 
to have patience, and I promise you that I will 
wait your kind advice, and take no step without 
your approbation. If it were consistent and con- 


venient for you to see M. de Sartine, I should 
hope that such an explanation would be the con- 
sequence as might remove every cause of un- 
easiness. 1 ' 

Day after day he continued to write Franklin, 
mentioning vessels that he might command if the 
minister were sincere in his professions. Mean- 
while Franklin procured the minister's order that 
he should be received on board the French fleet; 
but, either intentionally or by accident, it came too 
late to admit of his embarking to gain that know- 
ledge of naval tactics, and of governing a fleet, 
which was his object. It was indeed surmised 
that the jealousy of the French service was the 
true obstacle, both to his promised command and 
desire of increasing his knowledge of his profes- 
sion on the great scale. " I think of going to 
LTOrient," he says, " being heartily sick of Brest, 
and an eyesore to the marine." In another let- 
ter he says, " I have excited the jealousy of many 
officers in our young navy, because I have pur- 
sued honour while they sought after profit.'''' 

Gradually as his hopes decreased, Jones lower- 
ed his demands. He proposed many different 


vessels, the chief object being fast-sailing ships. 
" I wish to have no connexion with any ship that 
does not sail fast," he says, "for I intend to 
go in harm's way. You know, I believe, that 
this is not every one's intention ; therefore buy a 
frigate that sails fast, and that is sufficiently large 
to carry twenty-six or twenty-eight guns on one 
deck." " I have, to show my gratitude to France," 
he adds, " lost so much time, and with it such 
opportunities as I cannot regain, I have almost 
half killed myself with grief. Give me but an as- 
surance that the command of the Indian will be 
reserved for me, and bestowed on no other person 
on any pretence whatsoever, and I will say I am 
satisfied. This I pledge myself will be no loss to 
France America is not ungrateful. The noble- 
minded Congress know not the little mean dis- 
tinctions of climate or place of nativity, nor have 
they adopted any rule which can preclude them 
from encouraging or rewarding the merit of a 
stranger, by raising him even to the first posts of 
honour. In the army there are many instances 
of this. In the navy, young as it is, it gives me 
particular pleasure to inform you that Congress 
have given the command of the best ship in 


their service to a French officer, and called the 
ship the Alliance? 

Many vessels were proposed in succession, and 
all were abandoned. The anger and impatience 
of Jones got beyond control, and he never ap- 
pears to have been of the temper which makes 
a proud man disdain to reveal his chagrin and 
disappointment. M. de Sartine accordingly, on 
his part, felt equally annoyed by the incessant 
importunity of the man who held him to his word. 

To the Due de Rochefoucault, whom he al- 
ways found friendly, Jones writes, " The mi- 
nister's behaviour towards me has been and is 
really astonishing. At his request (for I sought 
not the connexion) I gave up absolute certain- 
ties, and far more nattering prospects than any 
of those which he proposed. What inducement 
could I have for this but gratitude to France 
for having first recognized our independence ? 
And having given my word to stay for some 
time in Europe, I have been and am unwilling 
to take it back, especially after having com- 
municated the circumstances to Congress. The 
minister, to my infinite mortification, after pos- 


sessing himself of my schemes and ideas, has 
treated me like a child five times successively, 
by leading me on from great to little, and from 
little to less. Does such conduct do honour either 
to his head or to his heart ? He has not to this 
moment offered me the least apology for any of 
these five deceptions ; nor has he, I believe, as- 
signed any good reason to that venerable and 
great character, his Excellency Doctor Frank- 
lin, whom he has made the instrument to entrap 
me in this cruel state of inaction and suspense. 

" The minister has lately written a letter to 
Count D'Orvilliers, proposing to send me home 
in ' une bonne voiture.' This is absolutely add- 
ing insult to injury, and it is the proposition of a 
man whose veracity I have not experienced in 
former cases. 

" I could in the summer, with the Ranger, 
joined with the two other American frigates, have 
given the enemy sufficient foundation for their 
fears in Britain as well as Ireland, and could 
since have been assisting Count D'Estaing, or 
acting separately with an American squadron. 
Instead of this I am chained down to shameful 



inactivity here, after having written to Congress 
to reserve no command for me in America. 

" Convinced as I am, that your noble and ge- 
nerous breast will feel for my unmerited treat- 
ment, I must beseech you to interest yourself 
with the Duke de Chartres, that the King may 
be made acquainted with my situation. I have 
been taught to believe that I have been detained 
in France with his Majesty's knowledge and ap- 
probation, and I am sure he is too good a prince 
to detain me for my hurt or dishonour. 

" M. de Sartine may think as he pleases, but 
Congress will not thank him for having thus treat- 
ed an officer who has always been honoured with 
their favour and friendship. I entertained some 
hopes of his honourable intentions till he gave 
the command of the Fox to a lieutenant, after 
my friends had asked for me only that ship with 
the Alert cutter. He was the asker at the be- 
yinning^ and ought to be so now; he has, to 
my certain knowledge, ships unbestowed, and he 
is bound in honour to give me the Indian, as he 
proposed at the first, or an equivalent command, 


To M. Ray de Chaumont, Jones says about 
the same period, 

" Although the minister has treated me like a 
child five successive times, by leading me on from 
great to little, and from little to less, yet I had 
some dependence on his honourable intentions 
until he refused the small command which you 
asked for me the 23d ultimo, and afterwards be- 
stowed the Fox on a lieutenant who, to my 
certain knowledge, does not thank him for the 
favour, and thinks that ship far short of his right. 
I say I verily believed the minister at the be- 
ginning, and afterwards ; but now having de- 
ceived me so often, I wish him to know that I 
doubt him, though he swears even ' by the stix?* 
I have written to him several respectful letters of 
some consequence, none of which he has conde- 
scended to answer. This is a piece of incivility 
and disrespect to me as a stranger which he has 
not shown even to subalterns in the French ma- 
rine, in whose hands I have seen his answers to 

* At an interview M. Chaumont had with the minis- 
ter, he swore by Styx ! that Paul Jones should have a 
frigate, were he even to buy it. 


letters of little importance. The secrecy which I 
was required to observe respecting what seemed 
his first intention in my favour has been inviol- 
able ; and I have been so delicate with respect 
to my situation, that I have been, and am consi- 
dered everywhere as an officer disgraced and 
cast off for private reasons. I have of course 
been in actual disgrace here ever since my re- 
turn, which is more than two months. I have 
already lost near five months of my time, the 
best season of the year, and such opportunities of 
serving my country, and acquiring honour, as I 
cannot again expect this wtN^ while I have been 
thus shamefully entrapped in inaction. My duty 
and sensibility cannot brook this unworthy si- 
tuation. If the minister's intentions have been 
honourable from the beginning, he will make a 
direct written apology to me, suitable to the in- 
jury which I have sustained, otherwise, in vindi- 
cation of my sacred honour, painful as it will be, 
I must publish in the Gazettes of Europe the 
conduct he has held towards me." 

The compatriots of Jones in France sympathized 
in his disappointment and indignation; particularly 
Dr Bancroft and Mr William Temple Franklin, 


the grandson and secretary of Benjamin Franklin. 
"I have felt for you most sincerely," says young 
Franklin ; " Monsieur S.'s conduct towards you 
has been as remarkable as it has been unjust, and 
has altered in a great degree the good opinion 
many have had of him. I have been asked in 
several companies, oii est le brave Capitaine 
Jones ? quefait-il ? and have felt myself (as your 
compatriot) in a manner ill-treated, when I can 
only answer that you are still at Brest. On the 
receipt of your letter, I asked Mr Chaumont 
' whether he thought any thing would be done 
for you ?' He answered, ' that to his certain 
knowledge M. S. was ashamed of the conduct he 
had held towards you,' and that he was now occu- 
pied to make up for it. Bancroft,' says he, * is 
assured that the minister had all along felt good 
dispositions, but had been prevented from carrying 
them into execution by the intrigues of 487,557,* 
(the marine,) among whom multitudes were mak- 

* These numbers refer to a cipher that Bancroft and 
young Franklin had got from Paul Jones for their pri- 
vate correspondence with him. 


ing interest, and caballing to obtain 303, (ships,) 
and opposing the disposal of any except among 
then* own body ; but 710 (M. de Sartine) had 
assured him that you should soon have one, if he 
were even to purchase it. 1 Mr Bandonin desired 
me also to make you his best compliments, to as- 
sure you that he would not suffer your business 
to rest much longer, and in the mean time to beg 
your patience a little longer. In this situation 
I know not what we can do, but wait a week 
or two, when, if nothing comes, I think 299 
(Doctor Franklin) will declare his utmost resent- 
ment, and nothing that any of us can say will be 
too bad." 

Worn out with waiting, " hah killed," as he 
strongly expresses himself, with suspense and in- 
action, Jones now formed the design of directly 
addressing the king, and of soliciting the kind- 
ness of the family of Chartres, (Orleans,) in 
presenting his letter. He, as usual, took the 
precaution of enclosing all these epistolary com- 
positions to Franklin, a course which preserved 
him from ever going too far wrong, even while 
under the greatest irritation. 


In his letter to Franklin, he says, " The 
Duchesse de Chartres will, I am persuaded, un- 
dertake to deliver my letter into the King's hands ; 
and as you may not yet think fit to appear in the 
business, either the Due de Rochefoucault, or 
your grandson, will oblige me by waiting on her 
at the Palais Royal. The Due de Rochefou- 
cault, as he understands English well, and is ac- 
quainted with the circumstances, would oblige me 
much if he would be present when the letter is 
presented to the King. I do not wish to trouble 
the Due de Chartres about this affair, as that 
brave prince has undeservedly met with vexations 
of his own." 

The following is the letter which Captain Jones 
wrote to the King of France, and which was 
to be presented to his Majesty by the Duchess 
of Chartres, afterwards the Duchess of Or- 
leans : 

" Brest, October 19th, 1778. 
" SIRE, 

" After my return to Brest in the American 
ship of war the Ranger, from the Irish Channel, 
his excellency Dr Franklin informed me by let- 


ter, dated June the 1st, that M. de Sartine, hav- 
ing a high opinion of my conduct and bravery, 
had determined, with your Majesty's consent and 
approbation, to give me the command of the ship 
of war the Indian, which was built at Amster- 
dam for America, but afterwards, for political 
reasons, made the property of France. 

" I was to act with unlimited orders under the 
commission and flag of America ; and the Prince 
de Nassau proposed to accompany me on the 

" I was deeply penetrated with the sense of the 
honour done me by this generous proposition, as 
well as of the favour your Majesty intended there- 
by to confer on America. And I accepted the offer 
with the greater pleasure, as the Congress had 
sent me to Europe in the Ranger, to command 
the Indian before the ownership of that vessel 
was changed. 

" The minister desired to see me at Versailles 
to settle future plans of operation, and I attended 
him for that purpose. I was told that the In- 
dian was at the Texel completely armed and fitted 
for sea ; but the Prince de Nassau was sent ex- 


press to Holland, and returned with a very dif- 
ferent account. The ship was at Amsterdam, and 
could not be got afloat or armed before the Sep- 
tember equinox. The American plenipotentiaries 
proposed that I should return to America ; and 
as I have repeatedly been appointed to the chief 
command of an American squadron to execute 
secret enterprises, it was not doubted but that 
Congress would again show me a preference. M. 
de Sartine, however, thought proper to prevent 
my departure, by writing to the plenipotentiaries, 
(without my knowledge,) requesting that I might 
be permitted to remain in Europe, and that the 
Ranger might be sent back to America under 
another commander, he having special services 
which he wished me to execute. This request 
they readily granted, and I was flattered by the 
prospect of being enabled to testify, by my ser- 
vices, my gratitude to your Majesty, as the first 
prince who has so generously acknowledged our 

" There was an interval of more than three 
months before the Indian could be gotten afloat. 
To employ that period usefully, when your Ma- 


jesty's fleet was ordered to sail from Brest, I 
proposed to the minister to embark in it as a vo- 
lunteer, in pursuit of marine knowledge. He 
objected to this, at the same time approved of a 
variety of hints for private enterprises, which I 
had drawn up for his consideration. Two gentle- 
men were appointed to settle with me the plans 
that were to be adopted, who gave me the assu- 
rance that three of the best frigates in France, 
with two tenders, and a number of troops, should 
be immediately put under my command, to pur- 
sue such of my own projects as I thought pro- 
per ; but this fell to nothing, when I believed 
that your Majesty*^ signature only was wanting. 
" Another armament, composed of cutters and 
small vessels, at L^Orient, was proposed to be put 
under my command, to alarm the coasts of Eng- 
land and check the Jersey privateers ; but, hap- 
pily for me, this also failed, and I was saved from 
ruin and dishonour, as I now find that all the 
vessels sailed slow, and their united force is very 
insignificant. The minister then thought fit that 
I should return to Brest to command the Lively, 
and join some frigates on an expedition from St 


Malo to the North Sea. I returned in haste for 
that purpose, and found that the Lively had been 
bestowed at Brest before the minister had men- 
tioned that ship to me at Versailles. This was, 
however, another fortunate disappointment, as the 
Lively proves, both in sailing and equipment, 
much inferior to the Ranger ; but, more espe- 
cially, if it be true, as I have since understood, 
that the minister intended to give the chief com- 
mand of the expedition to a lieutenant, which 
would have occasioned a very disagreeable mis- 
understanding : for, as an officer of the first rank 
in the American marine, who has ever been 
honoured with the favour and friendship of Con- 
gress, I can receive orders from no inferior offi- 
cer whatever. My plan was the destruction of 
the English Baltic fleet, of great consequence to 
the enemy's marine, and then only protected by 
a single frigate ! I would have held myself re- 
sponsible for its success had I commanded the 

" M. de Sartine afterwards sent orders to 
Count D'Orvilliers to receive me on board the 


fleet, agreeably to my former proposal ; but the 
order did not arrive until after the departure of 
the fleet the last time from Brest, nor was I made 
acquainted with the circumstance before the fleet 
returned here. 

" Thus have I been chained down to shame- 
ful inactivity for nearly five months. I have lost 
the best season of the year, and such opportuni- 
ties of serving my country and acquiring honour 
as I cannot again expect this war ; and, to my 
infinite mortification, having no command, I am 
considered everywhere an officer cast off and in 
disgrace for secret reasons. 

" I have written respectful letters to the mi- 
nister, none of which he has condescended to 
answer ; I have written to the Prince de Nassau 
with as little effect ; and I do not understand 
that any apology has been made to the great and 
venerable Dr Franklin, whom the minister has 
made the instrument of bringing me into such 
unmerited trouble. 

" Having written to Congress to reserve no 
command for me in America, my sensibility is 


the more affected by this unworthy situation in 
the sight of your Majesty's fleet. I, however, 
make no remark on the treatment I have re- 

" Although I wish not to become my own 
panegyrist, I must beg your Majesty's permis- 
sion to observe, that I am not an adventurer in 
search of fortune, of which, thank God, I have 
a sufficiency. 

" When the American banner was first dis- 
played, I drew my sword in support of the vio- 
lated dignity and rights of human nature ; and 
both honour and duty prompt me steadfastly to 
continue the righteous pursuit, and to sacrifice 
to it, not only my private enjoyments, but even 
life, if necessary. I must acknowledge that the 
generous praise which I have received from Con- 
gress and others exceeds the merit of my past 
services ; therefore I the more ardently wish for 
future opportunities of testifying my gratitude 
by my activity. 

" As your Majesty, by espousing the cause of 
America, hath become the protector of the rights 
of human nature, I am persuaded that you will 


not disregard my situation, nor suffer me to re- 
main any longer in this insupportable disgrace. 
I am, with perfect gratitude 

and profound respect, 


Your Majesty's very obliged, 
very obedient, and 

very humble servant, 


There is no satisfactory evidence that the above 
letter was ever presented, or indeed that it ever 
came into the hands of the Duchess of Chartres ; 
yet the fact appears to be assumed by the Ame- 
rican biographer of Jones ; and the letter itself, 
as expressive of his sentiments at this crisis, is 
too important to be suppressed. The correspon- 
dence and journals of Jones contain no allusion 
to any effect produced by that letter, not even 
the extract of his journal made long afterwards, 
expressly for the perusal of the King ; and the 
postscript of a letter written by Mr Temple 
Franklin is at least complete proof that, if the 
letter to the King was ever delivered, it was de- 


cidedly against the judgment of Franklin. The 
letter of the younger Franklin is dated the 22d 
October, the postscript the 24th. It says, " Since 
writing the above, I have received yours of the 
19th instant (the letter to the King.) I would 
willingly do every thing you there desire of me, 
but it is my grandfather's opinion that there will 
be no occasion to send those letters ; and I ima- 
gine they were wrote before you heard of the 
minister's final determination. If, however, you 
still think they ought to be sent, ybu have only 
to order it." 

From this it would appear that the minister's 
" final determination" to buy Jones " a suitable 
ship" had preceded the letter to the King, and 
was not a consequence of it. In a letter to M. 
de Chaumont, of the 30th November, Jones 
thus expresses himself with regard to M. de Sar- 
tine : " My best respects and most grateful 
thanks await the minister for the very honourable 
things he said of me to the Due de la Rochefou- 
cault. It shall be my ambition, when he gives 
me opportunities, to merit his favour and affec- 



THE gratitude of Jones to the minister of ma- 
rine was premature. But it would be tiresome 
to follow the train of petty disappointments which 
this brave man had yet to encounter before he 
got once again fairly afloat. From the month 
of June, 1778, till the month of February of the 
following year, he was condemned to feel to its 
utmost extent the misery there is 

" In suing long to bide." 

In this interval some proposals were made to 
Captain Jones while at Brest to take the com- 
mand of privateers. This he decidedly declined ; 
and he even resented the supposition that, bear- 
ing, as he did, the commission of Congress, he 
should act at any time as the commander of pri- 
vateers. So nice was he on this point, that in 
one instance we find Franklin himself conde- 
scending to sooth his hasty feelings. " Depend 


upon it," says the sage, " I never wrote Mr 
Gillon that the Bon Homme Richard was a pri- 
vateer. I could not write so, because I never 
had such a thought. I will next post send you 
a copy of my letter to him, by which you will see 
that he has only forced that construction from a 
vague expression I used, merely to conceal from 
him (in answering his idle demand that I would 
order your squadron, then on the point of sailing, 
to go with him to Carolina,) that the expedition 
was at the expense and under the direction of 
the King, which it was not proper or necessary 
for him to know." And to the proposal that he 
would take the command of an armament of pri- 
vateers, Jones says, " Were I in pursuit of profit 
I would accept it without hesitation ; but I am 
under such obligations to Congress, that I can- 
not think myself my own master, and as a ser- 
vant of the Imperial Republic of America, ho- 
noured with the public approbation of my past 
services, I cannot, from my own authority or in- 
clination, serve either myself or even my best 
friends, in any private line whatsoever." With 
these feelings, his indignation at being long af- 
VOL. i. G 


terwards offered a letter-of-marque by the French 
government, in requital of his services, may be 
easily imagined. But this belongs to a more ad- 
vanced stage of his history. 

Every thing appeared in a fair way in Novem- 
ber; yet Jones found it necessary to repair once 
more to Versailles, and to Passy, the seat of the 
American legation. " As nothing was done," 
he says in his memorial to the King, " Captain 
Jones determined to go himself to court." When 
he got there, the minister offered him the Mar- 
shal de Broglio, a large ship ; but as his Ame- 
ricans had all left the service during the long pe- 
riod of idleness, he was unable to man this vessel, 
and the Due de Duras was bought for him, 
which, among many other vessels, he had ac- 
quainted his friends, was on sale at L'Orient. 

On the 6th of February Jones had at last the 
satisfaction of making, from Passy, his acknow- 
ledgments to the minister Sartine. His gratitude 
was quite as lively as the treatment he had received 
required. He obtained leave to change the name 
of the ship to Bon Homme Richard, " in com- 
pliment," he says, " to a saying of Poor Rich- 


ard," (of which, by the way, he had just expe- 
rienced the truth,) " If you would have your 
business done, come yourself if not, send." 

Jones now went to Nantes to engage seamen, 
and to obtain cannon to arm his ship. On his 
late journey he had been introduced to M. Gar- 
nier, in order to concert a plan of operations for 
a combined naval and military force. Four or 
five sail were to be added to the Bon Homme 
Richard, of which two vessels were to be fire- 
ships. Five hundred picked men, taken from the 
Irish regiment, were to embark under the com- 
mand of Mr Fitzmaurice. All were to be under 
the entire command of Jones. " A plan, 11 * he 
says, " was laid, which promised perfect success, 
and had it succeeded, would have astonished the 

In an evil hour he solicited that the Alliance, 
a new American frigate, of which the command 
had been given by Congress to one Landais, a 
Frenchman, should be added to his force. As 
Dr Franklin had just been formally appointed 

* This plan was directed against Liverpool. 


ambassador to the Court of France, Jones im- 
agined that not only the disposal of the frigate, 
but the power of displacing its commander at 
pleasure, was vested in him, as the guardian of 
American interests in Europe. 

About this time the Marquis de la Fayette re- 
turned from America, and he wished to go on the 
projected expedition. Jones was summoned to 
court ; and it was arranged that the Marquis de 
la Fayette was to command a body of about 700 
troops, assigned him by the King. The Alli- 
ance was made part of the squadron by the Ame- 
rican minister plenipotentiary, at the particular 
desire of the French government. 

The squadron was now to consist of the Bon 
Homme Richard, the Alliance, the Pallas, the 
Vengeance brig, and the Cerf, a fine cutter, 
well fitted and manned. " A person," (M. Chau- 
mont,) says Jones, " was appointed commissary, 
and unwisely intrusted with the secret of the ex- 
pedition. The commissary took upon himself 
the whole direction at LTOrient ; but the secret 
was too big for him to keep. Ah 1 Paris rang 
with the expedition from KOrient ; and govern- 


ment was obliged to drop the plan when the squa- 
dron lay ready for sea, and the troops ready to 

In the expectation that Jones was to be joined 
by the Marquis de la Fayette, his judicious 
friend Franklin wrote him thus, actuated, no 
doubt, both by anxiety for the public cause and 
regard to the individual he addressed : 

" I have, at the request of M. de Sartine, post- 
poned the sending of the Alliance to America, 
and have ordered her to proceed immediately 
from Nantes to LTOrient, where she is to be fur- 
nished with her complement of men, join your 
little squadron, and act under your command. 

" The Marquis de la Fayette will be with you 
soon. It has been observed that joint-expedi- 
tions of land and sea forces often miscarry through 
jealousies and misunderstandings between the of- 
ficers of the different corps. This must happen 
where there are little minds, actuated more by 
personal views of profit or honour to themselves, 
than by the warm and sincere desire of good to 
their country. Knowing you both, as I do, and 
your just manner of thinking on these occasions, 


I am confident nothing of the kind can happen 
between you, and that it is unnecessary for me 
to recommend to either of you that condescen- 
sion, mutual good-will, and harmony, which con- 
tribute so much to success in such undertakings. 
I look upon this expedition as an introduction 
only to greater trusts and more extensive com- 
mands, and as a kind of trial of both your abilities 
and of your fitness in temper and disposition for 
acting in concert with others. I flatter myself, 
therefore, that nothing will happen that may give 
impressions to the disadvantage of either of you, 
when greater affairs shall come under considera- 

" As this is understood to be an American ex- 
pedition, under the Congress commission and 
colours, the Marquis, who is a Major-General in 
that service, has of course the step in point of 
rank, and he must have the command of the land- 
forces, which are committed by the King to his 
care ; but the command of the ships will be en- 
tirely in you, in which I am persuaded that what- 
ever authority his rank might in strictness give 
him, he will not have the least desire to inter- 


fere with you. There is honour enough to be 
got for both of you if the expedition is conducted 
with a prudent unanimity. The circumstance is 
indeed a little unusual ; for there is not only a 
junction of land and sea forces, but there is also 
a junction of Frenchmen and Americans, which 
increases the difficulty of maintaining a good un- 
derstanding; a cool, prudent conduct in the chiefs 
is therefore the more necessary, and I trust neither 
of you will in that respect be deficient. With 
my best wishes for your success, health, and 
honour, I remain, dear Sir, your affectionate and 
most obedient servant." 

This excellent counsel was not thrown away on 
Jones. His letter to La Fayette, written a few 
days afterwards, re-echoes the sentiments of the 
republican sage. " Where men of fine feelings 
are concerned," he says, " there is very seldom 
any misunderstanding, and I am sure I should 
do the greatest violence to my sensibility if I 
were capable of giving you a moment's pain by 
any part of my conduct ; therefore, without any 
apology, I shall expect you to point out my errors, 
when we are alone together, with perfect free- 


dom, and I think I dare promise you that your 
reproof shall not be lost. I have received from 
the good Dr Franklin instructions at large, which 
do honour to his liberal mind, and which it will 
give me the greatest satisfaction to execute. I 
cannot ensure success, but we will endeavour 
to deserve it." 

Some of the instructions of Dr Franklin to 
which Jones refers, and of which he says, " your 
noble-minded instructions would make a coward 
brave," deserve to be made known as widely as 

" You are to bring to France all the English 
seamen you may happen to take prisoners, in 
order to complete the good work you have al- 
ready made such progress in, of delivering, by an 
exchange, the rest of our countrymen now lan- 
guishing in the gaols of Great Britain. 

* It is a pleasing trait in the history of that period, 
that all the naval commanders of the countries at war with 
England had particular orders " not to molest the ships 
of the brave navigator Captain Cook," if they chanced to 
fall in with them. 


" As many of your officers and people have 
lately escaped from English prisons, either in 
Europe or America, you are to be particularly 
attentive to their conduct towards the prisoners 
which the fortune of war may throw in your hands, 
lest resentment of the more than barbarous usage 
by the English in many places towards the Ame- 
ricans, should occasion a retaliation, and an imi- 
tation of what ought rather to be detested and 
avoided, for the sake of humanity and for the 
honour of our country. 

" In the same view, although the English 
have wantonly burnt many defenceless towns in 
America, you are not to follow this example, un- 
less where a reasonable ransom is refused; in which 
case your own generous feelings, as well as this 
instruction, will induce you to give timely notice 
of your intention, that sick and ancient persons, 
women and children, may be first removed." 

Jones attributes the failure of the expedition 
so much talked of to the tattling of the com- 
missary ; but he probably over-rates that circum- 
stance. The truth is, that the French govern- 
ment never continued for one week of the same 



mind; and they had, about this time, been seized 
with that grand idea by which the court and 
people of France seem to be periodically infa- 
tuated the design of invading England. The 
expedition which was u to astonish the world" 
was abandoned, according to La Fayette, " for 
political and military reasons." Instead of Com- 
modore Jones burning towns and shipping, tak- 
ing hostages and levying contributions, an inva- 
sion was to be attempted on that grand scale so 
congenial to the Gallic character. 

Another service was in consequence allotted to 
Jones. He was to act as convoy to troops, stores, 
and private merchandize, for Bordeaux and other 
ports in the Bay of Biscay. This trifling service 
he performed, and cruised about with little aim 
or effect for some days. 

On the night of the 20th June the Alliance 
ran foul of the Bon Homme Richard, and in- 
jured the vessel. The character of Landais, the 
commander of the Alliance, and his after conduct, 
which was marked by the grossest degree of in- 
subordination, insolence, and even treachery, gave 
rise to a suspicion that this accident was of a 



doubtful character. The head and bowsprit of 
the Bon Homme Richard were carried away, and 
the Alliance lost her mizen-mast. The lieuten- 
ant of the Bon Homme Richard, who had the 
watch that night, was afterwards broke by a court- 

Even at this busy period Jones had not for- 
gotten his relations in Scotland, though his cor- 
respondence with them necessarily required some 
management. It does not appear by what chan- 
nel the following letter, received at Dumfries, was 
transmitted to Cork. The person on whom the 
bill (for 30) was drawn could not be heard of 
in Carlisle. Other remittances made by Jones 
to his friends were in like manner never received. 
In reply to a letter from his sister, Mrs Taylor, 
informing him of the death of his mother and 
eldest sister, he says with true feeling, " The 
loss of those dear friends is the more affecting to 
me, as they never received the remittances I in- 
tended for them, and as they had not perhaps a 
true idea of my affection." The following let- 
ter is addressed to Jones's eldest sister, Elizabeth 


" Cork, June 1st, 1779. 

" If ever my dear girl had any doubts of the 
sincerity of my friendship, I hope the enclosed 
bill will remove them. You find it drawn in fa- 
vour of my dearest departed brother, Captain 
Plaince. However, as it is made payable to his 
order, my sister-in-law's signature will make it 
quite the same. Had the bill been drawn on any 
place of commerce, I would have negotiated it 
myself, and then got a bill on Dumfries for you ; 
however, as Carlisle is near you, you will sooner 
get the money, as I must have sent it there for 
acceptance. The half is for Mrs Paul, and the 
other half for your use. You will immediately 
get some gentleman to present it for acceptance : 
you will find it payable ten days after. Adieu, 
my dear girl ; number me with the sincerest of 
your friends, write me of your health, and be 
assured of the good wishes of 

" Your humble servant, 


On the 30th of June, Jones came into the road 
of Groix. The Alliance and Bon Homme Rich- 


ard both required to be refitted ; the other ves- 
sels meanwhile looked after prizes. On that day 
the log-book of the Bon Homme Richard has 
the following entry : 

" At half-past 7 ? *" M., saw two sail bearing 
down upon us, one with a flag at each mast-head. 
Hove about and stood from them to get in readi- 
ness for action ; then hove mizen-topsail to the 
mast, down all stay-sails and up mizen-sail. Then 
they hove about and stood from us. Immediately 
we tacked ship and stood after them. 

" After which they wore ship and stood for 
us. Captain Jones, gentleman-like, called all 
his officers, and consulted them whether they 
were willing to see them. They all said yes. 
Made sail after them ; but they, being better 
sailers than we, got from us. At 1, A. M., tacked 

At the isle of Groix Jones lay for six weeks, 
a period not without its vexations. In anticipat- 
ing his earlier arrival, and unconscious of the 
damage received by the shock of the Alliance, 
Dr Franklin, in the following letter of the 30th 
June, directed him to set out on a long cruise. 


" Passy, June 30, 1779. 

" Being arrived at Groix, you are to make the 
best of your way, with the vessels under your 
command, to the west of Ireland, and establish 
your cruise on the Orcades, the cape of Derneus, 
and the Dogger-Bank, in order to take the enemy's 
property in those seas. 

" The prizes you may make send to Dunkirk, 
Ostend, or Bergen in Norway, according to your 
proximity to either of thoseports. Address them to 
the persons M. De Chaumont shall indicate to you. 

" About the 15th August, when you will have 
sufficiently cruised in these seas, you are to make 
route for the Texel, where you will meet my fur- 
ther orders. 

" If, by any personal accident, you should be 
rendered unable to execute these instructions, the 
officer of your squadron next in rank is to endeav- 
our to put them in execution. 

" With best wishes for your prosperity, I am 
ever, dear Sir, your affectionate friend and humble 
servant, B. FRANKLIN. 

" The Honourable Captain JONES." 


The preceding letter was crossed by that in 
which Jones gave an account of his cruise, and of 
the Alliance running foul of the Bon Homme 
Richard. In this letter he again hinted his desire 
to obtain the Indian, to cruise towards the Texel, 
and bring her out with the crew he now had. 
But Franklin had no mind to change his original 
orders. " I have no other orders to give," he 
says ; " for as the court are at the chief ex- 
pense, I think they have the best right to direct." 
" I observe what you say about a change of 
destination ; but when a thing has been once 
considered and determined on in council, they 
don't care to resume the consideration of it, hav- 
ing much business on hand." This epistle has 
the following pithy postscript : " N. B. If it 
should fall in your way, remember that the Hud- 
son's Bay ships are very valuable. B. F." 

Again Jones complained bitterly of the tattling 
commissary, (Chaumont,) who had formerly frus- 
trated the expedition with La Fayette, and was 
now busied at similar work. Perhaps Commo- 
dore Jones might be over sensitive or suspi- 
cious on this point. " I have another proof," he 


says, " this day, of the communicative disposition 
of M. De Chaumont. He has written to an of- 
ficer under my command a whole sheet on the 
subject of your letter, and has even introduced 
more than perhaps was necessary to a person 
commanding in chief. I have also strong reasons 
to think that this officer is not the only improper 
person here to whom he has written to the same 
effect. This is surely a strange infatuation, and 
it is much to be lamented that one of the best 
hearts in the world should be connected with a 
mistaken head, whose errors can afford him nei- 
ther pleasure nor profit, but may effect the ruin 
and dishonour of a man whom he esteems and 
loves. Believe me, my worthy sir, I dread the 
thoughts of seeing this subject too soon in print, 
as I have done several others of greater impor- 
tance, with which he was acquainted, and which 
I am certain he communicated too early to im- 
proper persons, whereby very important services 
have been impeded and set aside." 

In a marginal note, in the handwriting of Jones, 
he says, " I found it in print before I reached 
Holland !" And in another marginal note on a 


letter of Dr Franklin's of the 19th July, he writes, 
" It is clear I saw my danger, and sailed with 
my eyes open, rather than return to America dis- 

Jones was farther annoyed by reports which 
had reached head-quarters, and which were in- 
deed too well-founded, that a mutinous disposi- 
tion had shown itself among the crew of the Bon 
Homme Richard. He had at this time gone 
back to ITOrient. It was not deemed expedient 
to permit the ship to sail without inquiry and a 
change of men ; and, what was worse, the Court 
saw no reason to detain the Alliance because the 
Bon Homme Richard was unfit for sea ; and 
Franklin did not think proper to prevent what 
appeared so reasonable. This, however, did not 
take place ; and holding out the prospect of cap- 
turing the Jamaica fleet,* then expected, escorted 
by a fifty-gun ship and two strong frigates, Jones 
solicited and obtained leave for the Monsieur pri- 
vateer to join him, and his leave was extended 

* In his memorial to the King of France, Jones says, 
" that it was his intention to cruise off the south-west of 
Ireland for 12 or 15 days, to intercept the enemy." 


till the end of September. The captains of the 
Monsieur and Grandville privateers had at this 
time requested to be permitted to follow him and 
share his fortunes, offering to bind themselves to 
remain attached to his squadron ; but this the 
disinterested Commissary would not permit. The 
consequences were soon obvious ; the privateers 
remained attached to the squadron exactly as long 
as suited themselves. 

Having given the necessary orders and signals, 
and appointed various places of rendezvous for 
every captain in case of separation, Commodore 
Jones sailed from the road of Groix on the 14th 
of August, exactly one day short of the time he 
had been desired to come into the Texel, after 
ending his cruise ; so uncertain and precarious 
are all nautical movements. The squadron con- 
sisted of seven sail : the Bon Homme Richard, 
of 40 guns ; the Alliance, of 36 ; the Pallas, of 
32 ; the Cerf, of 18 ; and the Vengeance, of 12 
guns ; besides the privateers, Monsieur, of 40 
guns, and the Grandville, of 14 guns ; " a force 
which might have effected great services,"" says 
Jones himself, in his memorial to the King of 
France, " and done infinite injury to the enemy, 


had there been secrecy and due subordination. 
Unfortunately there was neither. Captain Jones 
saw his danger ; but his reputation being at stake, 
he put all to the hazard." 

The effects of this want of subordination were 
soon felt. The captain of the privateer Mon- 
sieur, as might have been expected, acted as he 
thought proper, and in a few days left the squa- 
dron. And Captain Landais, a man of the most 
unhappy temper, not only behaved with disre- 
spect to the Commander, but soon assumed to 
act as he pleased, and as an independent com- 
mander, refusing to obey the signals of the Com- 
modore, giving chase where or how he thought fit, 
and availing himself of any pretext to leave the 
squadron, which he finally abandoned. Several 
prizes were made on the first days of the cruise, 
and more might have been captured, had a 
good understanding subsisted among the com- 

From the 3d of September till the 13th the 
weather was stormy, and Jones continued to beat 
about the coasts of Scotland. The Alliance had 
again separated from the Bon Homme Richard ; 



and there remained of the squadron only the 
Commodore's ship, with the Pallas and Ven- 
geance. " Yet," says Jones, " I did not abandon 
the hope of performing some essential service." 

It was at this time he offered that attempt on 
Leith, by which, in one quarter of Scotland, the 
formidable name of " Paul Jones" is still best 
remembered. The following particulars are taken 
from his letter to Dr Franklin, giving an account 
of his cruise to be transmitted to Congress. The 
letter is dated October 3, 1779? on board the ship 
of war Serapis, at anchor without the Texel : 

" The winds continued to be contrary, so that 
we did not see the land till the evening of the 
13th, when the hills of Cheviot, in the south-east 
of Scotland, appeared. The next day we chased 
sundry vessels, and took a ship and a brigantine, 
both from the frith of Edinburgh, laden with 
coal. Knowing that there lay at anchor in Leith 
Road an armed ship of 20 guns, with two or three 
fine cutters, I formed an expedition against Leith, 
which I purposed to lay under contribution, or 
otherwise to reduce it to ashes. Had I been 
alone, the wind being favourable, I would have 


proceeded directly up the frith, and must have 
succeeded, as they lay then in a state of perfect 
indolence and security, which would have proved 
their ruin. Unfortunately for me, the Pallas and 
Vengeance were both at a considerable distance in 
the offing, they having chased to the southward. 
This obliged me to steer out of the frith again 
to meet them. The captains of the Pallas and 
Vengeance being come on board the Bon Homme 
Richard, I communicated to them my project, 
to which many difficulties and objections were 
made by them. At last, however, they appeared 
to think better of the design, after I had assured 
(them) that I hoped to raise a contribution of 
^200,000 sterling on Leith, and that there was 
no battery of cannon there to oppose our land- 
ing. So much time, however, was unavoidably 
spent in pointed remarks and sage deliberations 
that night, that the wind became contrary in the 

That nothing might be wanting, Commodore 
Jones meanwhile prepared his summons to the 
Magistrates of Leith. In that locality it must still 
be an interesting document ; and as such we give 


it at full length, not doubting that the worship- 
ful persons for whom it was intended, if any of 
them should haply still survive, will see it for 
the first time with more satisfaction in these 
harmless pages than had it reached its destina- 
tion fifty years back. Jones felt greatly cha- 
grined and disappointed at the failure of this en- 

" The Honourable J. Paul Jones, Comman- 
der-in-Chief of the American Squadron 
now in Europe, fyc., to the Worshipful 
the Provost of Leith, or, in his absence, 
to the Chief Magistrate who is now ac- 
tually present and in authority there. 

" SIR, 

" The British marine force that has been sta- 
tioned here for the protection of your city and 
commerce being now taken by the American arms 
under my command, I have the honour to send 
you this summons by my officer, Lieutenant-Co- 
lonel De Chamillard, who commands the van- 
guard of my troops. I do not wish to distress 
the poor inhabitants ; my intention is only to 


demand your contribution towards the reim- 
bursement which Britain owes to the much-in- 
jured citizens of the United States, for savages 
would blush at the unmanly violation and rapa- 
city that has marked the tracks of British tyranny 
in America, from which neither virgin-innocence 
nor helpless age has been a plea of protection or 

" Leith and its port now lies at our mercy ; 
and did not our humanity stay the hand of just 
retaliation, I should, without advertisement, lay 
it hi ashes. Before I proceed to that stern duty 
as an officer, my duty as a man induces me to 
propose to you, by the means of a reasonable 
ransom, to prevent such a scene of horror and 
distress. For this reason, I have authorized Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel De Chamillard to conclude and 
agree with you on the terms of ransom, allowing 
you exactly half an hour^s reflection before you 
finally accept or reject the terms which he shall 
propose (<200,000.) If you accept the terms of- 
fered within the time limited, you may rest assured 
that no further debarkation of troops will be made, 
but that the re-embarkation of the vanguard will 


immediately follow, and that the property of the 
citizens shall remain unmolested. 

" I have the honour to be, with sentiments of 
due respect, Sir, your very obedient and very 
humble servant, 


u On board the American ship-of- 
war the Bon Homme Richard, 
at anchor in the Road of Leith, 
September the 17th, 1779." 

The copy of the letter now lying before us con- 
tains the N.B. subjoined to it, in his own hand- 
writing : 

" N.B. The sudden and violent storm which 
arose in the moment when the squadron was a- 
breast of Keith Island,* which forms the entrance 
of the Road of Leith, rendered impracticable 
the execution of the foregoing project." 

The three ships had lain so long off and on 
the coast, that alarm was general ; and on the 
15th an express reached Edinburgh, sent to the 
Commander-in-Chief and to the Board of Cus- 

Inchkeith Island. 


toms, with accounts that three strange ships were 
seen off Eyemouth on the afternoon of the 14th, 
which had made two prizes ; and that a ship, sup- 
posed to mount 40 or 50 guns, was seen off 
Dunbar. At 5, P. M., on the 16th, they were 
distinctly seen from Edinburgh sailing up the 
Frith of Forth ; but whether they were French 
vessels or the squadron of Paul Jones was not 
yet ascertained. The alarm along the coast was 
become general ; batteries were hastily erected 
at Leith, and the incorporated trades bravely 
petitioned for arms, which were supplied from 
the castle of Edinburgh. Yet the audacity of 
the American commander so far bunded some 
of the spectators on the northern shores, that on 
the 17th a boat with five men came off from the 
coast of Fife to the Bon Homme Richard, so- 
liciting powder and shot in name of a certain 
landed proprietor, who wished " to have the 
means of defending himself from the expected 
visit of the pirate Paul Jones." So far as pow- 
der went, this request was politely complied with ; 
but the Commodore declined sending any shot. 
On the 15th a small collier had been captured, 
VOL. i. H 


the master of which, from his knowledge of the 
coast, and subserviency to his captor, was of the 
greatest use to Jones in his intended project. 
When he afterwards abandoned the enterprise, 
he gave this man up his vessel, " on account of 
his attachment to America, and the faithful in- 
formation and important services he rendered 
me," says Jones, " by his general knowledge of 
the east coast of Britain. I had given orders to 
sink the old vessel, when the tears of this honest* 
man prevailed over my intention." 

* This " honest man," but very bad patriot, was An- 
drew Robertson, master of the Friendship of Kirkcaldy. 
After being for two days kept on board the Bon Homrae 
Richard, and having his ship given up to him for " faith- 
ful information" and " important services/' he pretended 
that Commodore Jones had put it to ransom. This indeed 
was the face necessary to put on the affair ; but the Com- 
modore had previously declared that he had no authority 
to ransom prizes. The ransom-passport is amusing, from 
its date, and the circumstances under which it was granted. 
It is written by a French marine officer, who probably 
acted as the secretary of Commodore Jones, but is signed 
by himself: 


The narrative of this bold though abortive at- 
tempt will be best given in Jones's own words : 

" We continued working to windward of the 
frith, without being able to reach the road of 
Leith till, on the morning of the 17th, when, 
being almost within cannon-shot of the town, 
having every thing in readiness for a descent, a 

" L'Honorable Capitaine John Paul Jones, Ecuyer, 
commandant en chef 1'escadre Americaine ac- 
tuellement en Europe, 

" A tous ceux qui ces presentes verront, speciale- 
ment les sujets de la France : 

" Je certifie par le present passeport, que le vaisseau 
Friendship, commande par Andre Robertson, du port de 
Kirkcaldy, et venant du dit lieu pour aller a Riga, a ete 
pris par 1'escadre Americaine que je commande, et qu'il 
est ransonne : C'est pourquoi je prie et requiers tous les 
sujets de la France et dePAmerique, de laisser librement 
passer le dit vaisseau Friendship, et continuer son voyage, 
sans le troubler en fa^on quelconque. 

" Donne a la mer a bord du Bon Homme 
Richard, le dix-sept Septembre, mil sept 
cent soixante dix-neuf. 



very severe gale of wind came on, and, being 
directly contrary, obliged us to bear away, after 
having in vain endeavoured for some time to 
withstand its violence. The gale was so severe, 
that one of the prizes that were taken on the 
14th sunk to the bottom, the crew being with 
difficulty saved. As the clamour had by this 
time reached Leith by means of a cutter that had 
watched our motions that morning, and as the 
wind continued contrary, (though more moderate 
in the evening,) I thought it impossible to pur- 
sue the enterprise with a good prospect of suc- 
cess, especially as Edinburgh, where there is 
always a number of troops, is only a mile distant 
from Leith : therefore I gave up the project."* 

* The prodigious sensation caused by the appearance 
of the squadron of Paul Jones in the Frith of Forth is 
hardly yet forgotten on the coast of Fife. There are va- 
rious accounts of the manner in which this daring attempt 
was defeated. The 17th September, when Jones advanced 
to Leith, happened to be a Sunday. His ship, the Bon 
Homme Richard, stood at times so near the northern 
shores as to be distinctly seen by the crowds assembled 
on the beach, and on the commanding heights in the 


It was the misfortune of Paul Jones, in almost 
every important crisis of his life, to be either 

neighbourhood. At one time the Bon Horarae Richard 
was not more than a mile from Kirkcaldy, a thriving and 
wealthy seaport. The alarm was naturally very great in 
that town ; and the Rev. Mr Shirra, a worthy and very 
eccentric dissenting clergyman, remarkable for his quaint 
humour, instead of holding forth in the church as at ordi- 
nary times, where on this day he would have had but a thin 
audience, repaired to the fine level sandy beach of Kirk- 
caldy, and soon attracted a very numerous congregation. 
Here he prayed most fervently and earnestly, with that 
homely and familiar eloquence by which his sermons and 
prayers were distinguished, that the enterprise of " the 
piratical invader Paul Jones might be defeated." For 
once, it may be believed, the hearts of a congregation 
went with their minister. That violent gale, so much 
lamented by Paul Jones, suddenly arose, the alleged 
consequence of Mr Shirra's powerful intercession. Such 
was long the popular belief. When, in after periods, this 
good old man was questioned on the subject, and compli- 
mented on the prevailing spirit of his prayer, which had 
so opportunely raised the wind that blew off Paul Jones, 
his usual reply, disclaiming the full extent of the compli- 
ment, was, " I prayed, but the LORD sent the wind." 


clogged by the timid counsels of those about him, 
whose genius and courage could not keep pace 
with his, or to be thwarted by the baser feelings 
of ignoble rivalship. In no other service than 
that of America, still struggling for a doubtful 
existence as an independent state, and without 
either power or means to enforce due obedience 
throughout the gradations of the public service, 
could such insubordination as was displayed by 

A gentleman, writing shortly afterwards from Amster- 
dam to his friend in Leith, says, " You may count it 
a very fortunate circumstance that this gentleman (Com- 
modore Jones) was prevented from hurting you when he 
was in your frith by a strong westerly wind, and the 
springing of a mast, as, in a conversation I had with him 
in this city, he assured me that his intention was to seize 
the shipping in the harbour, and to set fire to such as he 
could not carry off. He seemed to be well acquainted 
with the coast, and knew" (thanks to ' honest' Andrew 
Robertson !) " that there was no force to oppose him." 
Jones is described at this time, by those who saw him, 
as being " dressed in the American uniform, with a 
Scotch bonnet, edged with gold, as of a middling sta- 
ture, stern countenance, and swarthy complexion." 


his force have been tolerated. The French offi- 
cers under Jones at this time, besides the feelings 
of national and professional rivalship, had also too 
little experience of the capacity of their comman- 
der to give him that entire confidence so indis- 
pensable to success. His ill-fortune, with these 
uncongenial associates, was the more distressing, 
as their opposition or fears, while they baffled 
his enterprises, averted no real danger to which 
the loitering squadron might be exposed. The 
conduct of the agents of the court of France had 
also promoted and even authorised this unhappy 
insubordination of which the Commodore, after 
his return to the Texel, bitterly complained. " I 
must," he says, " speak plainly ; as I have been 
always honoured with the full confidence of Con- 
gress, and as I also flattered myself with en- 
joying, in some measure, the confidence of the 
court of France, I could not but be astonished 
at the conduct of M. de Chaumont, when, in 
the moment of my departure from Groix, he pro- 
duced a paper or concordat for me to sign in 
common with the officers whom I had commis- 
sioned but a few days before. Had this paper, 


or even a less dishonourable one, been proposed 
to me at the beginning, I would have rejected it 
with just contempt." 

The other enterprise, which, after having failed 
at Leith, Jones so reluctantly abandoned, is not 
exactly known. It might have been against Hull 
or Newcastle. It had been a favourite project 
with him in the former year to distress London by 
destroying the coal-shipping. 

Jones had now the mortifying prospect of going 
into the Texel with merely a few prizes, the sole 
fruit of a long cruise with a formidable mari- 
time armament, when fortune threw in his way 
the most brilliant achievement of his public life. 



THE engagement between the Serapis and the 
x Bon Homme Richard was, previous to the last 
war, one of the most desperate in naval chro- 
nicles. As a close and deadly fight, hand to 
hand, and accompanied by all the dreadful cir- 
cumstances that can attend a sea-engagement, it 
has even yet few parallels. Its incidents have 
been selected as the foundation of fictitious nar- 
ratives of maritime combats, from exceeding in 
intense interest the boldest imaginings of the 
poet and the novelist.* 

* Mr Cooper, the celebrated American novelist, and 
Allan Cunningham, have both chosen PAUL JONES as the 
hero of romances, very different in character, but equally 
admirable each in its peculiar style. Mr Cunningham 
has certainly in many instances made wild work with the 
sober facts of history ; and, considering the very recent 
period in which his hero flourished, takes larger poetical 
license than is quite admissible. The charms and accom- 



This battle was fought on the 23d September, 
under a full harvest-moon, thousands of spec- 
tators, we are told, watching the engagement 
from the English shore, with anxiety correspond- 
ing to the deep interest of the game. No account 
of this memorable engagement can equal the 
simple and animated narrative of the main actor, 
which we purpose to adopt. It is to be noticed, 
that while Jones engaged the Serapis, the Pallas 
fought the Countess of Scarborough. The com- 
mencement of the engagements was simultaneous, 

plishments allotted to some of Paul's female relatives 
would probably have been disclaimed by these ladies if 
purchased at the expense of the fair and spotless fame of 
their maternal ancestor. However, if Mr Cunningham 
imagined this cast of character best suited to his pur- 
poses, there is no great harm done. Few live to feel of- 
fence, none to believe in those romantic passages, which 
owe their existence solely to the imagination of the poet. 
In painting Scottish scenery, and embodying romantic 
tradition, Mr Cunningham is in his work as much at 
home as is the author of " THE PILOT" in those fields 
of ocean which, as a novelist, he at present " possesses 
as his own domain." 


but the Countess of Scarborough had struck while 
the Serapis still held desperately out. 

" On the 21st," says Jones, " we saw and 
chased two sail off Flamborough Head ; the 
Pallas chased in the N. E. quarter, while the 
Bon Homme Richard, followed by the Ven- 
geance, chased in the S. W. ; the one I chased, 
a brigantine collier in ballast, belonging to Scar- 
borough, was soon taken, and sunk immedi- 
ately afterwards, as a fleet then appeared to the 
southward. This was so late in the day, that 
I could not come up with the fleet before night ; 
at length, however, I got so near one of them 
as to force her to run ashore between Flam- 
borough Head and the Spurn. Soon after I took 
another, a brigantine from Holland, belonging 
to Sunderland, and at daylight the next mor- 
ning, seeing a fleet steering towards me from 
the Spurn, I imagined them to be a convoy 
bound from London for Leith, which had been 
for some time expected. One of them had a 
pendant hoisted, and appeared to be a ship of 
force. They had not, however, courage to come 
on, but kept back all except the one which seem- 
ed to be armed, and that one also kept to wind- 


ward, very near the land, and on the edge of dan- 
gerous shoals, where I could not with safety ap- 
proach. This induced me to make a signal for 
a pilot, and soon afterwards two pilots 1 boats came 
off. They informed me that a ship that wore a 
pendant was an armed merchantman, and that a 
king's frigate lay there in sight, at anchor, within 
the Humber, waiting to take under convoy a 
number of merchant ships bound to the north- 
ward. The pilots imagined the Bon Homme 
Richard to be an English ship of war, and con- 
sequently communicated to me the private signal 
which they had been required to make. I en- 
deavoured by this means to decoy the ships out 
of the port ; but the wind then changing, and, 
with the tide, becoming unfavourable for them, 
the deception had not the desired effect, and they 
wisely put back. The entrance of the Humber 
is exceedingly difficult and dangerous, and as the 
Pallas was not in sight, I thought it imprudent 
to remain off the entrance, therefore steered out 
again to join the Pallas off Flamborough Head. 
In the night we saw and chased two ships until 
three o'clock in the morning, when, being at a 
very small distance from them, I made the pri- 


vate signal of reconnoissance, which I had given 
to each captain before I sailed from Groix : one 
half of the answer only was returned. In this 
position both sides lay to till daylight, when 
the ships proved to be the Alliance and the 

" On the morning of that day, the 23d, the 
brig from Holland not being in sight, we chased 
a brigantine that appeared laying to, to windward. 
About noon we saw and chased a large ship that 
appeared coming round Flamborough Head from 
the northward, and at the same time I manned 
and armed one of the pilot-boats to send in pur- 
suit of the brigantine, which now appeared to be 
the vessel that I had forced ashore. Soon after 
this a fleet of forty-one sail appeared off Flam- 
borough Head, bearing N. N. E. This induced 
me to abandon the single ship which had then 
anchored in Burlington Bay ; I also called back 
the pilot-boat, and hoisted a signal for a general 
chase. When the fleet discovered us bearing 
down, all the merchant ships crowded sail towards 
the shore. The two ships of war that protected the 
fleet at the same time steered from the land, 


and made the disposition for battle. In ap- 
proaching the enemy, I crowded every possible 
sail, and made the signal for the line of battle, 
to which the Alliance showed no attention. Ear- 
nest as I was for the action, I could not reach 
the Commodore's ship until seven in the evening, 
being then within pistol-shot, when he hailed the 
Bon Homme Richard. We answered him by 
firing a whole broadside. 

" The battle being thus begun, was continued 
with unremitting fury. Every method was prac- 
tised on both sides to gain an advantage, and 
rake each other ; and I must confess that the 
enemy's ship, being much more manageable than 
the Bon Homme Richard, gained thereby several 
times an advantageous situation, in spite of my 
best endeavours to prevent it. As I had to deal 
with an enemy of greatly superior force, I was un- 
der the necessity of closing with him, to prevent 
the advantage which he had over me in point 
of manoeuvre. It was my intention to lay the 
Bon Homme Richard athwart the enemy's bow ; 
but as that operation required great dexterity in 
the management of both sails and helm, and 


some of our braces being shot away, it did not 
exactly succeed to my wish. The enemy's bow- 
sprit, however, came over the Bon Homme Rich- 
ard's poop by the mizen-mast, and I made both 
ships fast together in that situation, which, by 
the action of the wind on the enemy's sails, 
forced her stern close to the Bon Homme Rich- 
ard's bow, so that the ships lay square alongside 
of each other, the yards being all entangled, and 
the cannon of each ship touching the opponent's. 
When this position took place, it was eight 
o'clock, previous to which the Bon Homme Rich- 
ard had received sundry eighteen-pound shots 
below the water, and leaked very much. My 
battery of twelve-pounders, on which I had placed 
my chief dependence, being commanded by 
Lieutenant Dale and Colonel Weibert, and 
manned principally with American seamen and 
French volunteers, was entirely silenced and 
abandoned. As to the six old eighteen-pounders 
that formed the battery of the lower gun-deck, 
they did no service whatever, except firing eight 
shot in all. Two out of three of them burst at 
the first fire, and killed almost all the men who 


were stationed to manage them. Before this 
time, too, Colonel de Chamillard, who command- 
ed a party of twenty soldiers on the poop, had 
abandoned that station after having lost some of 
his men. I had now only two pieces of cannon, 
(nine-pounders,) on the quarter-deck, that were 
not silenced, and not one of the heavier cannon 
was fired during the rest of the action. The pur- 
ser, M. Mease, who commanded the guns on the 
quarter-deck, being dangerously wounded in the 
head, I was obliged to fill his place, and with 
great difficulty rallied a few men, and shifted 
over one of the lee quarter-deck guns, so that we 
afterwards played three pieces of nine-pounders 
upon the enemy. The tops alone seconded the 
fire of this little battery, and held out bravely 
during the whole of the action, especially the 
main-top, where Lieutenant Stack commanded. 
I directed the fire of one of the three cannon 
against the main-mast, with double-headed shot, 
while the other two were exceedingly well served 
with grape and canister shot, to silence the 
enemy^s musketry and clear her decks, which 
was at last effected. The enemy were, as I have 


since understood, on the instant of calling for 
quarters, when the cowardice or treachery of three 
of my under-officers induced them to call to the 
enemy. The English Commodore asked me if I 
demanded quarters, and I having answered him 
in the most determined negative, they renewed 
the battle with double fury. They were unable 
to stand the deck ; but the fire of then* cannon, 
especially the lower battery, which was entirely 
formed of ten-pounders, was incessant ; both ships 
were set on fire in various places, and the scene 
was dreadful beyond the reach of language. To 
account for the timidity of my three under-of- 
ficers, I mean the gunner, the carpenter, and the 
master-at-arms, I must observe, that the two first 
were slightly wounded, and, as the ship had re- 
ceived various shot under water, and one of the 
pumps being shot away, the carpenter expressed 
his fears that she would sink, and the other two 
concluded that she was sinking, which occasioned 
the gunner to run aft on the poop, without my 
knowledge, to strike the colours. Fortunately 
for me, a cannon-ball had done that before, by 
carrying away the ensign-staff; he was there- 


fore reduced to the necessity of sinking, as he 
supposed, or of calling for quarter, and he pre- 
ferred the latter. 

" All this time the Bon Homme Richard had 
sustained the action alone, and the enemy, though 
much superior in force, would have been very 
glad to have got clear, as appears by their own 
acknowledgments, and by their having let go an 
anchor the instant that I laid them on board, by 
which means they would have escaped, had I not 
made them well fast to the Bon Homme Rich- 

" At last, at half-past nine o'clock, the Alliance 
appeared, and I now thought the battle at an 
end; but, to my utter astonishment, he discharged 
a broadside full into the stern of the Bon Homme 
Richard. We called to him for God's sake to 
forbear firing into the Bon Homme Richard ; 
yet they passed along the off-side of the ship, and 
continued firing. There was no possibility of his 
mistaking the enemy's ships for the Bon Homme 
Richard, there being the most essential difference 
in their appearance and construction. Besides, 
it was then full moonlight, and the sides of the 


Bon Homme Richard were all black, while the 
sides of the prize were all yellow. Yet, for the 
greater security, I showed the signal of our re- 
connoissance, by putting out three lanterns, one 
at the head, another at the stern, and the third 
in the middle, in a horizontal line. Every tongue 
cried that he was firing into the wrong ship, but 
nothing availed; he passed round, firing into the 
Bon Homme Richard's head, stern, and broad- 
side, and by one of his volleys killed several of 
my best men, and mortally wounded a good of- 
ficer on the forecastle only. My situation was 
really deplorable ; the Bon Homme Richard re- 
ceived various shot under water from the Alli- 
ance ; the leak gained on the pumps, and the fire 
increased much on board both ships. Some of- 
ficers persuaded me to strike, of whose courage 
and good sense I entertain a high opinion. My 
treacherous master-at-arms let loose all my prison- 
ers without my knowledge, and my prospects be- 
came gloomy indeed. I would not, however, give 
up the point. The enemy's mainmast began to 
shake, their firing decreased fast, ours rather in- 


creased, and the British colours were struck at 
half an hour past ten o'clock. 

" This prize proved to be the British ship of 
war the Serapis, a new ship of forty-four guns, 
built on the most approved construction, with two 
complete batteries, one of them of eighteen-poun- 
ders, and commanded by the brave Commodore 
Richard Pearson. I had yet two enemies to en- 
counter, far more formidable than the Britons, 
I mean fire and water. The Serapis was attacked 
only by the first, but the Bon Homme Richard 
was assailed by both ; there was five feet water 
in the hold, and though it was moderate from 
the explosion of so much gunpowder, yet the 
three pumps that remained could with difficulty 
only keep the water from gaining. The fire 
broke out hi various parts of the ship in spite of 
all the water that could be thrown in to quench it", 
and at length broke out as low as the powder- 
magazine, and within a few inches of the powder. 
In that dilemma I took out the powder upon deck, 
ready to be thrown over-board at the last extre- 
mity, and it was ten o'clock the next day (the 


24th) before the fire was entirely extinguished. 
With respect to the situation of the Bon Homme 
Richard, the rudder was cut entirely off, the 
stern-frame and transoms were almost entirely 
cut away, and the timbers by the lower deck, es- 
pecially from the main-mast towards the stern, 
being greatly decayed with age, were mangled 
beyond my power of description, and a person 
must have been an eye-witness to form a just idea 
of the tremendous scene of carnage, wreck, and 
ruin, which everywhere appeared. Humanity 
cannot but recoil from the prospect of such finish- 
ed horror, and lament that war should be cap- 
able of producing such fatal consequences. 

<c After the carpenters, as well as Captain Cot- 
tineau and other men of sense, had well examin- 
ed and surveyed the ship, (which was not finish- 
ed before five in the evening,) I found every 
person to be convinced that it was impossible to 
keep the Bon Homme Richard afloat, so as to 
reach a port, if the wind should increase, it be- 
ing then only a very moderate breeze. I had but 
little time to remove my wounded, which now be- 
came unavoidable, and which was effected in the 


course of the night and next morning. I was 
determined to keep the Bon Homme Richard 
afloat, and, if possible, to bring her into port. 
For that purpose, the first lieutenant of the Pal- 
las continued on board with a party of men, to 
attend the pumps, with boats in waiting, ready 
to take them on board in case the water should 
gain on them too fast. The wind augmented in 
the night, and the next day, the 25th, so that it 
was impossible to prevent the good old ship from 
sinking. They did not abandon her till after 
nine o'clock ; the water was then up to the lower 
deck, and a little after ten I saw, with inexpressi- 
ble grief, the last glimpse of the Bon Homme 
Richard. No lives were lost with the ship, but 
it was impossible to save the stores of any sort 
whatever. I lost even the best part of my clothes, 
books, and papers; and several of my officers 
lost all their clothes and effects. 

" Having thus endeavoured to give a clear and 
simple relation of the circumstances and events 
that have attended the little armament under my 
command, I shall freely submit my conduct there- 
in to the censure of my superiors and the im- 


partial public. I beg leave, however, to observe, 
that the force that was put under my command 
was far from being well composed, and as the 
great majority of the actors in it have appeared 
bent on the pursuit of interest only, I am ex- 
ceedingly sorry that they and I have been at all 

Such is the despatch which Commodore Jones 
transmitted from the Texel to Dr Franklin, and 
afterwards to Congress. It is painful to observe 
how often he is forced to complain of the sordid- 
ness or cowardice of his associates. To a ge- 
nerous and elevated mind nothing could have 
been more humiliating than this necessity. The 
pursuit of " interest alone," with which he so 
frequently charges his associates, is, however, a 
positive virtue compared with the gratuitous vil- 
lany imputed to Landais, the commander of the 
Alliance. The alleged conduct of this person, par- 
ticularly during the engagement between the Bon 
Homme Richard and the Serapis, was so daring 
in atrocity and treachery as to exceed all rea- 
sonable belief, were it not solemnly asserted, as 
beyond all doubt it was firmly believed, by Jones, 


The general conduct of Landais was that of a 
malignant madman, as much incited by the pre- 
vailing influence of frenzy as actuated by deli- 
berate villany. His behaviour during the whole 
cruise was made the subject of a set of charges* 
drawn up by Jones in coming into the Texel, which 
were attested, in whole or in part, by most of the 
officers of the Bon Homme Richard and the Al- 
liance. The fact of Landais firing into the Bon 
Homme Richard is also confirmed by the log- 
book,-f- which was preserved when the ship sunk, 
and by a very interesting and seaman-like nar- 
rative of the engagement, drawn up by Mr Dale, J 

* See Appendix A. 

t This battered volume, after many adventures by 
land and water, in Europe and America, is now in the 
possession of Mr George Napier, advocate. 

J This gentleman, long since a Commodore in the ser- 
vice of the United States, is, or very lately was, still alive. 
He has for many years lived in retirement at Philadelphia, 
in the bosom of his family. It is but fair to state, in excul- 
pation of Landais, that Captain Pearson, commander of 
the Serapis, in his despatch to the Admiralty, (see Appen- 
dix B,) repeatedly asserts, and assigns as the main cause of 


then first lieutenant of the ship. The brilliant 
success of Jones at this time, though far short of 
his own hopes and projects, gave him a right to 

his defeat, that while one frigate the Bon Homme 
Richard engaged him " muzzle to muzzle/' the other 
the Alliance kept sailing round him during the whole 
action, and raking him fore and aft, by which means she 
killed or wounded almost every man on the quarter-deck 
and main-deck. It is not easy to judge of these con- 
tradictory statements. 

From the variety of unusual circumstances which oc- 
curred during the heat and confusion of this memorable 
affair, there can be little doubt that both commanders 
may have given what he honestly believed a fair relation 
of facts. The gunner calling for quarter, as noticed by 
Jones, might have induced Captain Pearson to believe 
that the Bon Homme Richard had struck, especially as 
her flag so fortuitously disappeared at the same instant. 
The voice of Jones, who, according to Lieutenant Dale's 
narrative, decidedly denied that he struck, calling out 
that " he had not yet begun to fight," may have been 
lost in the bustle and noise of the moment, or construed 
into words of surrender ; and where could any British 
officer have learned to imagine the atrocity of a comman- 
der pointing his guns in the heat of a close action, not 

VOL. I. I 


speak out on affairs which left a deeper sting in 
his mind than even the perfidy of Landais. He 
thus concludes his despatch : 

against the enemy, but against his own consort, as is al- 
leged of Landais ? 

If any reader take the trouble to turn up the Edin- 
burgh Review for June, 1818, referring to the loss of the 
Alceste and the Medusa, he will obtain a view of the 
character of French seamen, which will go far to verify 
the assertions of Paul Jones and his officers regarding 
Landais. Franklin either really remained, or from policy 
was willing to appear, sceptical as to these revolting facts, 
though he entertained a very bad opinion of this man. 
He says, " It was not at all likely either that he should 
have given orders to fire into the Bon Homme Richard, or 
that his officers would have obeyed such orders had they 
been given them." 

If Landais was really guilty which there is every 
reason to believe his is no solitary instance of such 
disgraceful perfidy on the part of French seamen. After 
the battle of Trafalgar, it is notorious that the flying 
French ships, as they escaped, poured broadsides into the 
Spanish vessels. " The ships," says Mr Southey, "which 
were thus flying, were four of the enemy's van, all 
French, under Rear Admiral Dumanoir. They had borne 



" I am in the highest degree sensible of the 
singular attentions which I have experienced from 
the Court of France, which I shall remember 
with perfect gratitude until the end of my life, 
and will always endeavour to merit, while I can 
consistent with my honour continue in the pub- 
lic service. I must speak plainly; as I have 
been always honoured with the full confidence of 
Congress, and as I also nattered myself with en- 
joying in some measure the confidence of the 
court of France, I could not but be astonished 
at the conduct of Monsieur de Chaumont, when, 
in the moment of my departure from Groix, he 
produced a paper, a concordat, for me to sign, in 
common with the officers whom I had commis- 

no part in the action ; and now, when they were seeking 
safety in flight, they fired not only into the Victory and 
Royal Sovereign, (English ships,) but poured their broad- 
sides into the captured Spanish vessels ; and they were 
seen to back their sails, for the purpose of firing with 
more precision. The indignation of the Spaniards at this 
detestable cruelty from their allies, for whom they had 
fought so bravely and so profusely bled, may well be 


sioned but a few days before. Had that paper, 
or even a less dishonourable one, been proposed 
to me at the beginning, I would have rejected it 
with just contempt, and the word deplacement, 
among others, should have been necessary. I 
cannot, however, even now suppose that he was 
authorized by the Court to make such a bargain 
with me. Nor can I suppose that the Minister 
of the Marine meant that M. de Chaumont 
should consider me merely as a colleague with the 
commanders of the other ships, and communicate 
to them not only all he knew but all he thought 
respecting our destination and operations. M . 
de Chaumont has made me various reproaches 
on account of the expense of the Bon Homme 
Richard, wherewith I cannot think I have been 
justly chargeable. M. de Chamillard can attest 
that the Bon Homme Richard was at last far 
from being well fitted or armed for war. If any 
person or persons who have been charged with 
the expense of that armament have acted wrong, 
the fault must not be laid to my charge. I had no 
authority to superintend that armament, and the 
persons who had authority were so far from giving 


me what I thought necessary, that M. de Chau- 
mont even refused, among other things, to allow 
me irons to secure the prisoners of war. 

" In short, while my life remains, if I have 
any capacity to render good and acceptable ser- 
vices to the common cause, no man will step 
forth with greater cheerfulness and alacrity than 
myself; but I am not made to be dishonoured, 
nor can I accept of the half-confidence of any 
man living. Of course I cannot, consistent with 
my honour, and a prospect of success, undertake 
future expeditions, unless when the object and 
destination is communicated to me alone, and to 
no other person in the marine line. In cases 
where troops are embarked, a like confidence is 
due alone to their commander-in-chief. On no 
other condition will I ever undertake the chief 
command of a private expedition ; and when I do 
not command in chief, I have no desire to be in 
the secret." 

In the memorial drawn up for the private 
perusal of the King of France, Jones says that 
it was his intention at this time to cruise off the 
south-west of Ireland for twelve or fifteen days, 


in order to intercept the English homeward- 
bound East India ships, which he had been in- 
formed would return without convoy, and sail for 
this point of land. This purpose, which he con- 
fined to his own breast, and which would have 
been rendered abortive by the misconduct of 
Landais, was quite compatible with the other ob- 
jects of the cruise, whether these were the West 
India, or Hudson's Bay ships, or the Baltic fleet. 
The earliness and accuracy of the information 
which Jones procured while he lay in the vari- 
ous harbours of France is not a little remarkable. 
Instead of receiving intelligence from the Ameri- 
can ministers, he was enabled, through his own 
private channels in England and other quarters, 
to transmit to them information of the sailing of 
fleets and of the strength of convoys. His former 
connexions and mode of life may have given him 
some facilities ; and money, the universal agent, 
never appears to have been with him an object 
of any consideration beyond its value as a means 
of obtaining professional advancement. He was 
able to supply the French Admiral, Count d'Or- 
villiers, with important information from London, 


of the sailing of a large West India fleet, and 
even to acquaint him with private transactions 
on board the squadrons of Keppel and Byron. 

Meanwhile the squadron of Jones, which the 
narrative has left behind, continued to be tossed 
about till the 3d of October, when it came to 
anchor in the Texel, contrary to the judgment 
of the Commodore, who wished to gain the French 
harbour of Dunkirk, but was, he says, overruled 
by his officers. The rendezvous he found, was 
the cause of much personal vexation to himself, 
though it proved of ultimate advantage to Ame- 
rica, by hurrying on the period when the Dutch 
were forced from their politic neutrality. The 
political importance of this measure might have 
been foreseen by Franklin, when in the previous 
summer he directed Jones, on finishing his nor- 
thern cruise, to take shelter in the Texel. By 
doing so, the American minister greatly increas- 
ed the perplexity of their High Mightinesses, on 
whom the cabinet of London already and with 
good reason looked with suspicious eyes. By 
this step the Dutch were in effect precipitated 
into the war rather sooner than suited then- crafty 


and selfish policy, which, in shuffling with all 
parties, sought to profit by all. By compelling 
England to declare war, and the Dutch to de- 
clare openly for the United States, an end was 
virtually put to a contest, in which Britain was 
left to contend single-handed with her refrac- 
tory colonies, then backed by France, Spain, and 

Though the squadron of Jones had failed in 
its main purpose, and had neither captured 
fleets, nor put wealthy cities to ransom, the 
blow struck at the maritime pride of England 
could not fail to be highly gratifying to the Ame- 
ricans. Dr Franklin immediately wrote, warmly 
congratulating the victor. " For some days," 
says Franklin, " after the arrival of your ex- 
press, scarce any thing was talked of at Paris 
and Versailles, but your cool conduct and perse- 
vering bravery during that terrible conflict. You 
may believe that the impression on my mind was 
not less strong than that on others, but I do not 
choose to say in a letter to yourself all I think 
on such an occasion. 

" The ministry are much dissatisfied with 


Captain Landais, and Monsieur de Sartine has 
signified to me in writing, that it is expected that 
I should send for him to Paris, and call him to 
account for his conduct, particularly for deferring 
so long his coming to your assistance ; by which 
means, it is supposed, the States lost some of 
their valuable citizens, and the king lost many of 
his subjects, volunteers in your ship, together 
with the ship itself. 

" I have, accordingly, written to him this day, 
acquainting him, that he is charged with disobe- 
dience of orders in the cruise, and neglect of his 
duty in the engagement ; that a court-martial 
being at this time inconvenient, if not impractic- 
able, I would give him an earlier opportunity 
of offering what he has to say in his justification, 
and for that purpose direct him to render him- 
self immediately here, bringing with him such 
papers or testimonies as he may think useful in 
his defence. I know not whether he will obey 
my orders, nor what the ministry would do with 
him if he comes ; but I suspect that they 'may, 
by some of their concise operations, save the 
trouble of a court-martial. It will, however, be 



well for you to furnish me with what you may 
judge proper to support the charges against him, 
that I may be able to give a just and clear ac- 
count to Congress. In the mean time it will be 
necessary, if he should refuse to come, that you 
should put him under an arrest, and in that case, 
as well as if he comes, that you should either 
appoint some person to the command, or take it 
upon yourself ; for I know of no person to recom- 
mend to you as fit for that station. 

" I am uneasy about your prisoners, (504 in 
number,) I wish they were safe in France. You 
will then have completed the glorious work of 
giving liberty to all the Americans that have so 
long languished for it in the British prisons." 

Jones also received the thanks of the Due de 
la Vauguyon, the French ambassador at the 
Hague, and the congratulations of numerous 
friends and admirers. 

And now commenced those scenes of diploma- 
tic altercation between the States of Holland and 
the British ambassador, Sir Joseph Yorke, which 
in the following year ended in the declaration of 
war. The Dutch had already committed many 


virtual infractions of the treaty of alliance with 
Britain. It was from Holland that France openly 
obtained her maritime stores. But a greater eye- 
sore was the American squadron and its daring 
commander, with the captured frigates, riding in 
triumph in the Texel. Jones also appeared openly 
at Amsterdam. He was allowed to establish an 
hospital in the forts of the Texel for his wound- 
ed men and his wounded prisoners ; though in 
this object of common humanity Sir Joseph 
Yorke readily concurred. 

The squadron came into the Texel on the 3d 
October, and on the 13th Sir Joseph Yorke 
presented a brief and energetic memorial, pe- 
remptorily demanding that the captured frigates 
should be stopped in the Texel the frigates 
" taken by one Paul Jones, a subject of the 
King of Great Britain, who, according to treaties 
and the laws of war, falls under the class of re- 
bels and pirates." 

Jones, though he must have been prepared for 
the demand, was, it may be presumed, not a lit- 
tle indignant at the unceremonious style in which 
he was designated by the English ambassador, 


" that little thing Sir Joseph, 1 ' as he pettishly 
terms him. In this emergency he endeavoured 
to secure the friendship of certain powerful indi- 
viduals. With a young, brave, and, above all, 
a successful commander, there is ever a ready 
sympathy; and even at this time, though the 
show of peace was still sedulously kept up, the 
cause of America had many warm friends among 
the Dutch, especially in the maritime towns. 

It would have required greater magnanimity 
than most men are endowed with, had Jones 
forgiven the appellations bestowed on him, es- 
pecially if any lurking consciousness rankled in 
his mind that his character and position were 
equivocal, and apt, at least in England, to be 
misconstrued. The distrust evinced by Le Ray 
Chaumont, and the consequent restraints im- 
posed on his freedom as a commander, had al- 
ready been sufficiently galling ; and this was a 
fresh corrosion of the same sore. In a statement 
made long afterwards, Jones mentions that Sir 
Joseph Yorke having failed to obtain his person 
from the Dutch government, endeavoured to 
have him privately kidnapped, a thing in itself 


extremely improbable, and for which there was, 
in all likelihood, no other foundation than the 
gossip of Amsterdam. Sir Joseph never even 
directly asked that Jones should be given up, 
while he loudly reiterated his demand for the 
restitution of the captured frigates. 

The firmness and address displayed by Sir 
Joseph Yorke on this occasion did credit to his 
diplomatic abilities. He had resided long at the 
Hague, and had obtained great influence with the 
Prince of Orange and what may be called the court- 
party. His services on this occasion were after- 
wards rewarded by a peerage. Captain Pearson 
was also subsequently distinguished by many 
marks of the confidence and approbation of his 
sovereign. The defeated party were indeed more 
highly rewarded than the victor ; for the subse- 
quent honours heaped on Jones were more the 
consequence of dexterous management at Ver- 
'sailles, six months after the affair took place, than 
the natural and spontaneous fruits of his brilliant 
achievement. Immediately on his exchange, Cap- 
tain Pearson received the honour of knighthood, 
which, following this period of eclipse, must have 


been peculiarly gratifying to his feelings; and the 
Royal-Exchange Assurance Company presented 
him and Captain Piercy of the Countess of Scar- 
borough with services of plate " for their gallant 
defence of the Baltic fleet." 

The peremptory demand of Sir Joseph Yorke 
threw then* High Mightinesses into no little per- 
plexity. They were not yet prepared for war with 
England, nor did they wish to risk offending 
France, and alienating the affections of the young 
Transatlantic republic, which might long remem- 
ber unkindness, but would feel doubly grateful for 
succour shown in the season of adversity, and the 
struggle for existence. The States of Holland in 
those awkward circumstances temporized with 
much dexterity, sheltering themselves under those 
cautious maxims of policy which had hitherto 
governed the United Provinces in questions of 
the like nature. These maxims dictated that they 
should decline deciding on the validity of cap- 
tures in the open seas of vessels not belonging 
to their own subjects. They afforded at all times 
shelter in their harbours to all ships whatsoever, 
if driven in by stress of weather ; but compelled 


armed ships with their prizes to put to sea again 
as soon as possible, without permitting them to 
dispose of their cargoes ; and this conduct they 
were to follow in the case of Jones. 

This did not, however, extricate the Dutch 
government from the dilemma. As an American 
officer they durst not protect Jones, which would 
have been in effect a recognition of the rebellious 
colonies ; and the French commission under which 
it was alleged he acted could never be forthcom- 
ing. They therefore were compelled to order 
him to put to sea with his squadron forthwith, 
though they " declined to pass judgment on the 
person and prizes of Paul Jones." They also 
publicly forbade the ships to be furnished with 
naval or warlike stores, save such as were abso- 
lutely necessary to carry them to the first foreign 
port, " that all suspicion of their being furnished 
here may drop."* 

It was even agreed, though the measure met 
with strong opposition, that the American squa- 
dron should be expelled by force from the Texel. 

* See manifesto, Appendix. 


This much was obtained by the firmness of Sir 
Joseph Yorke. 

The situation of Jones, all along unpleasant, 
was now become highly critical. The Dutch go- 
vernment, whom Sir Joseph neither suffered to 
slumber nor sleep, incessantly annoyed the French 
ambassador, who in his turn assailed Jones. He 
was thus placed between two fires, threatened by 
the Dutch to be driven from the Texel, while 
English ships were placed at its entrance to in- 
terrupt his exit, and while, to " make assurance 
double sure," light squadrons were cruising about 
in all directions to prevent his gaining any French 
or Spanish port, should he be fortunate enough 
to escape the vessels on the more immediate 
watch. So deep and galling was the wound this 
individual had inflicted on the national pride, that 
the capture of " one Paul Jones" would at this 
time have been more welcome to England than if 
she had conquered a rich argosy. 

One main object of Jones being ordered to the 
Texel on the termination of his northern cruise, 
was, as has been noticed, to convoy a French 
fleet with naval stores to Brest, and to get out 


the Indian. The same officious commissary, whose 
talkative propensities and suspicious disposition 
had so frequently baffled the projects of Jones, 
had again been at work ; and although the Dutch 
government might have winked at the sailing of 
the fleet under his convoy, the measure would 
have been rendered abortive by premature dis- 
closure. Jones complained to Franklin, and to 
Sartine, the minister of the French marine, to 
whom during the time he lay in the Texel he 
had, as usual, been transmitting some of the many 
projects for maritime expeditions of which his 
scheming brain was ever so fertile. He also 
in this interval drew up a refreshing memorial 
for Congress, containing a narrative of his pro- 
fessional life and services. 

Before receiving any answer to his communi- 
cation to Sartine, Jones was ordered to attend the 
French ambassador at the Hague, the Due de 
la Vauguyon. He went privately to the Hague 
to avoid unnecessary offence, and at a long con- 
ference it was agreed that he should forthwith 
sail for Dunkirk with his numerous prisoners. 
As they were now situated they could scarcely 


be considered in security, and both Franklin and 
Jones, as a personal kindness, had solicited and 
obtained the consent of the French government 
that these prisoners should be exchanged for the 
Americans, then prisoners in England. 

The Serapis had been dismasted hi the late 
engagement, and as it was probable that, even on 
the short voyage to Dunkirk, Jones might encoun- 
ter his watchful foe in some force, it was neces- 
sary to refit his ship. For this purpose he went to 
Amsterdam. Thus time wore on. The English 
ambassador from remonstrances came to threats. 
The Dutch, driven to their wit's end, remonstrat- 
ed and menaced by turns ; and Jones, unable to 
be longer silent, wrote as follows to the French 
ambassador : 

" On board the Bon Homme Richard's Prize 
the Ship of War Serapis, at the Texel, 
November 4th, 1779. 


" This morning the commandant of the Road 
sent me word to come and speak to him on board 
his ship. He had before him on the table a let- 
ter which he said was from the Prince of Orange. 


He questioned me very closely whether I had a 
French commission, and, if I had, he almost in- 
sisted upon seeing it. In conformity to your 
advice " Cet avis donne au commencement n'etoit 
plus de saison depuis Padmission de Pescadre 
sous Pavilion Americain," I told him that my 
French commission not having been found among 
my papers since the loss of the Bon Homme Rich- 
ard, I feared it had gone to the bottom hi that 
ship ; but that, if it was really lost, it would be 
an easy matter to procure a duplicate of it from 
France. The commandant appeared to be very 
uneasy and anxious for my departure. I have told 
him that as there are eight of the enemy's ships 
laying wait for me at the south entrance, and 
four more at the north entrance of the port, I 
was unable to fight more than three times my 
force, but that he might rest assured of my in- 
tention to depart with the utmost expedition, 
whenever I found a possibility to go clear. 

" I should be very happy, my Lord, if I could 
tell you of my being ready. I should have de- 
parted long ago, if I had met with common as- 
sistance ; but for a fortnight past I have every day 


expected the necessary supply of water from Am- 
sterdam in cisterns, and I am last night informed 
that it cannot be had without I send up water-casks. 
The provision, too, that was ordered the day I 
returned to Amsterdam from the Hague, is not 
yet sent down ; and the spars that have been sent 
from Amsterdam are spoiled in the making. 
None of the iron-work that was ordered for 
the Serapis is yet completed, so that I am, even 
to this hour, in want of hinges to hang the lower 
gun-ports. My officers and men lost their clothes 
and beds in the Bon Homme Richard, and they 
have yet got no supply. The bread that has 
been twice a week sent down from Amsterdam 
to feed my people, has been, literally speaking, 
rotten, and the consequence is that they are fall- 
ing sick. 

" It is natural also that they should be discon- 
tented, while I am not able to tell them that they 
will be paid the value of their property in the 
Serapis and Countess of Scarborough, if either or 
both of them should be lost or taken after sailing 
from hence. 

" Thus you see, my Lord, that my prospects are 


far from pleasing. I have but few men, and they 
are discontented. If you can authorize me to 
promise them, at all hazards, that their property 
in the prizes shall be made good, and that they 
shall receive the necessary clothing and bedding, 
&c. or money to buy them, I believe I shall soon 
be able to bring them again into a good humour. 
In the meantime I will send a vessel or two out 
to reconnoitre the offing and to bring me word- 
Whatever may be the consequence of my having 
put into this harbour, I must observe that it was 
done contrary to my opinion, and I consented to 
it only because the majority of my colleagues 
were earnest for it," &c. &c. 

The French government, to rid themselves of 
farther importunity, now fell on a new expedient. 
The cruise was suddenly declared at an end, and 
the ships were dismissed; Franklin agreed to place 
the captured frigates under the flag of France, and 
that Jones should be removed to the only ship 
now ostensibly American, the Alliance, which, on 
Landais having been ordered to Paris to answer 
to the plenipotentiaries for his misconduct on the 
cruise, had been left without a commander. 

Jones received this intimation with disgust and 


chagrin ; but such were the orders of Sartine and 
Franklin, such the course sound policy dictated ; 
and after an altercation lasting, he states, for thir- 
teen hours, with the French ambassador at the 
Hague, he most reluctantly left the Serapis, whose 
deck seemed the theatre of his glory, and went 
on board the Alliance. The squadron soon after- 
wards sailed under a Dutch convoy, and Jones 
was left alone in his new ship. His French 
commission had never yet been produced ; the 
English ambassador had repeatedly alleged that 
he held no legal commission from any sovereign ;* 
and to relieve the Dutch government from their 

* About this time, a seaman's wife of Burlington ad- 
dressed a letter to Sir Joseph Yorke at the Hague, implor- 
ing tidings of her husband, of whom, since the engag- 
ment of Jones with the Serapis, she had never heard, and 
who, she feared, had fallen in that fight. Sir Joseph gallant- 
ly and humanely complied with the poor Englishwoman's 
request, and as he was aware that his epistle to Mrs Bur- 
not would appear in all the English and French news- 
papers, he, with considerable covert-humour, contrived to 
have a hit at the shuffling policy of the Dutch, and the 
chamelion character of the squadron they sheltered, while 
he replied to the seaman's wife : " Mrs Burnot, As soon 


dilemma, and, probably to ensure the personal 
safety of Jones in case of the worst, a regular 
commission was now tendered him by the minis- 
ters of his Most Christian Majesty, but of a kind 
so degrading that there is no doubt he would, 

as I received your letter of the 7th instant, I lost no time 
in making inquiries after your gallant husband, Mr Rich- 
ard Burnot ; and have now great pleasure in congratulat- 
ing you upon his being alive and well, on board the 
Countess of Scarborough, at the Texel. I find he had 
been burnt with an explosion of gunpowder, but is now 
quite recovered. He sends me word, that he, as you 
know, could not write, and therefore hoped I would let 
you know he was well,"which I do with infinite satisfac- 
tion. It will still be greater, if I can get him exchanged, 
which I am doing my best endeavours for ; but as the 
people who took him are sometimes French and some- 
times rebels, as it suits their convenience, that renders 
this affair more difficult than it would be if they allowed 
themselves to be French, because I could then settle the 
exchange at once. I am happy to be able to give such 
agreeable news to the wife of my brave countryman, and 
I am very sincerely your most faithful humble servant, 

" Hague, Nov. 26, 1779." 


far rather than have accepted it, have chosen 
the alternative of falling into the power of the 
English. Whatever were his personal difficul- 
ties, he was at this time hi "the blaze of his 
fame," " talked of," says Franklin, " at Paris and 
Versailles," celebrated throughout Europe and 
America. His temper and blood were at no time 
very cool on sudden excitement, and the excess 
of his indignation may be imagined when he re- 
ceived the insulting offer of a Letter of Marque. 
We know not what to make of the frequent boasts 
of Jones in after-periods of life, of never accepting 
any commission save from Congress. The con- 
cordat of Le Ray Chaumont, and the Letter of 
Marque of Sartine and the Due de la Vauguyon, 
it must be confessed, offered but slight tempta- 
tion. Jones, though far from being naturally 
inclined either to conceal or depreciate his pro- 
fessional talents and personal services, never over- 
estimated himself half so much as he was at this 
time undervalued by the vacillating and capri- 
cious government with which he had to do. If 
the true ability of a statesman is best seen in 
his capacity for selecting and managing the in- 


struments of his power, Sartine in this instance, 
as in many others, sadly betrayed his own inca- 
pacity. Under the first galling feelings of this 
insult, Jones wrote the following spirited letter 
to the French ambassador. It is one of the best 
productions of his pen, precisely because it is the 
spontaneous dictate of the most honourable im- 
pulses of his spirit : 

" To His Excellency the Due de la Vauguyon, Am- 
bassador from France at the Hague. 

" Alliance, Texel, December 
13th, 1779, 


" Perhaps there are many men in the world 
who would esteem as an honour the commission 
that I have this day refused. My rank from the 
beginning knew no superior in the marine of 
America, how then must I be humbled were I 
to accept a letter-of-marque ! I should, my Lord, 
esteem myself inexcusable, were I to accept even 
a commission of equal or superior denomination 
to that I bear, unless I were previously authorized 

VOL. i. K 


by Congress, or some other competent authority 
in Europe. And I must tell you, that, on my 
arrival at Brest from the Irish Channel, Count 
IVOrvilliers offered to procure for me from Court 
a commission of " Captain de Vaisseaux," which 
I did not then accept for the same reason, al- 
though the war between France and England was 
not then begun, and of course the commission of 
France would have protected me from an enemy 
of superior force. 

" It is a matter of the highest astonishment to 
me, that, after so many compliments and fair 
professions, the Court should offer the present in- 
sult to my understanding, and suppose me cap- 
able of disgracing my present commission. I 
confess that I never merited all the praise bestow- 
ed on my past conduct, but I also feel that I have 
far less merited such a reward. Where profes- 
sion and practice are so opposite, I am no longer 
weak enough to form a wrong conclusion. They 
may think as they please of me ; for where I can- 
not continue my esteem, praise or censure from 
any man is to me a matter of indifference. 

" I am much obliged to them, however, for hav- 


ing at last fairly opened my eyes, and enabled 
me to discover truth from falsehood. 

" The prisoners shall be delivered agreeable to 
the orders which you have done me the honour 
to send me from his Excellency the American 
ambassador in France. 

" I will also with great pleasure, not only permit 
a part of my seamen to go on board the ships 
under your Excellency's orders, but I will also 
do my utmost to prevail with them to embark 
freely ; and if I can now or hereafter, by any other 
honourable means, facilitate the success or the 
honour of his Majesty's arms, I pledge myself to 
you as his ambassador, that none of his own sub- 
jects would bleed in his cause with greater free- 
dom than myself, an American. 

" It gives me the more pain, my Lord, to write 
this letter, because the Court has enjoined you to 
prepare what would destroy my peace of mind, 
and my future veracity in the opinion of the world. 
" When, with the consent of Court and by or- 
der of the American ambassador, I gave American 
commissions to French officers, I did not fill up 
those commissions to command privateers, nor 


even for a rank equal to that of their commissions 
in the marine of France. They were promoted 
to rank far superior, and why ? not from per- 
sonal friendship, nor from my knowledge of their 
services and abilities, (the men and their charac- 
ters being entire strangers to me,) but from the 
respect which I believed America would wish to 
show for the service of France. 

" While I remained eight months seemingly 
forgot by the Court at Brest, many commissions 
such as that in question were offered to me ; and 
I believe, (when I am in pursuit of plunder,) I 
can still obtain such an one without application 
to Court. 

" I hope, my Lord, that my behaviour through 
life will ever entitle me to the continuance of 
your good wishes and opinion, and that you will 
take occasion to make mention of the warm and 
personal affection with which my heart is im- 
pressed towards his Majesty. 

" I am," &c. &c. 

This letter Jones enclosed to Franklin, to 
whom he gave his passionate feelings fuller breath 


in an epistle very characteristic both of the man 
and the seaman. " I hope," he says, " that the 
within copy of my letter to the Due de la Vau- 
guyon will meet your approbation ; for I am per- 
suaded that it never could be your intention or 
wish that I should be made the tool of any great 
r - whatever ; or that the commission of Ame- 
rica should be overlaid by the dirty piece of parch- 
ment which I have this day rejected ! They have 
played upon my good humour too long already, 
but the spell is at last dissolved. They would 
play me off with assurance of the personal and 
particular esteem of the King, to induce me to do 
what would render me contemptible even in the 
eyes of my own servants ! Accustomed to speak 
untruths themselves, they would also have me to 
give under my hand that I am a liar and a scoun- 
drel. They are mistaken, and I would tell them 
what you did to your naughty servant. 4 We have 
too contemptible an opinion of one another^ un- 
derstanding to live together." I could tell them 
too, that if M - de C * had not taken such 

* De la Ray Chaumont. 


safe precautions to keep me honest by means of 
his famous concordat, and to support me by so 
many able colleagues, these great men would not 
have been reduced to such mean shifts ; for the 
prisoners could have been landed at Dunkirk the 
day that I entered the Texel, and I could have 
brought in double the numbers." 

The whole of these effusions were submitted 
to M. Dumas, a new friend Jones had acquired, 
who had lately been appointed agent for American 
affairs at Amsterdam.* 

* This gentleman is a most amusing specimen of the 
diplomatist in the small way, busy and bustling about 
nothing, shrouding every trifle in mystery ; one who 
writes about " the great man," and hints obscurely at 
" the certain friend in high station," and intimates dark 
meanings through which every body could see, in any way 
save simply and directly. America was at this early stage of 
her history singularly prolific of these mysterious person- 
ages. Bancroft, Mr W. Temple Franklin, who was, how- 
ever, still a lad, and even Commodore Jones, disported 
themselves in this sort of innocent diplomacy, employing 
a cipher, or numbers, in their correspondence about their 
own personal affairs, as if the eyes of all the world had 


The letter of Jones to the ambassador of France 
produced the desired effect. A soothing epistle 
was despatched to the sturdy and indignant An- 
glo-American. " I perceive with pain, my dear 
Commodore," says the Duke, " that you do not 
view your situation in the right light ; and I can 
assure you that the ministers of the King have no 
intention to cause you the least disagreeable feel- 
ing, as the honourable testimonials of the esteem 
of his Majesty which I send you ought to con- 
vince you. I hope you will not doubt the sincere 
desire with which you have inspired me to pro- 
cure you every satisfaction you may merit. It 
cannot fail to incite you to give new proofs of 
your zeal for the common cause of France and 
America. I flatter myself to renew, before long, 
the occasion, and to procure you the means to 
increase still more the glory you have already 
acquired. I am already occupied with all the 
interest I promised you ; and if my views are 

been watchful of their motions. Franklin alone kept 
clear of this folly. His letters contain no blanks, no 
ominous stars, no mystification of important nothings. 


realized, as I have every reason to believe, you 
will be at all events perfectly content ; but I must 
pray you not to hinder my project by delivering 
yourself to the expression of those strong sensa- 
tions to which you appear to give way, and for 
which there is really no foundation. You appear 
to possess full confidence in the justice and kind- 
ness of the King ; rely also upon the same sen- 
timents on the part of his ministers. 1 ' 

The " dear Commodore"" of the Duke was 
somewhat mollified by this apology, but far from 
being satisfied ; nor did he slip so inviting an op- 
portunity of proclaiming his grievances. " Were 
I to form," he says, " my opinion of the ministry 
from the treatment that I experienced while at 
Brest, or from their want of confidence in me 
afterwards, exclusive of what has taken place since 
I had the misfortune to enter this port, I will 
appeal to your Excellency, as a man of candour 
and ingenuity, whether I ought to desire to pro- 
long a connexion that has made me so unhappy, 
and wherein I have given so very little satisfaction. 
M. le Chevalier de Lironcourt has lately made 
me reproaches on account of the expense that, 


he says, France has been at to give me reputa- 
tion, in preference to twenty captains of the royal 
navy, better qualified than myself, and who, each 
of them, solicited for the command that was lately 
given to me ! 

" This, I confess, is quite new, and indeed 
surprising to me ; and, had I known it before I 
left France, I certainly should have resigned in 
favour of the twenty men of superior merit. I 
do not, however, think that his first assertion is 
true ; for the ministers must be unworthy of their 
places were they capable of squandering the 
public money only to give an individual reputa^ 
tion ; and as to the second, I fancy the Court will 
not thank him for having given me that informa- 
tion, whether true or false. I may add here, that 
with a force so ill composed, and with powers so 
limited, I ran ten chances of ruin and dishonour 
for one of gaining reputation ; and had not the 
plea of humanity in favour of the unfortunate 
Americans in English dungeons superseded all 
consideration of self, I faithfully assure you, my 
Lord, that I would not have proceeded under 
such circumstances from Groix. I do not imbibe 


hasty prejudices against any individuals ; but 
when many and repeated circumstances, conspir- 
ing in one point, have inspired me with disesteem 
towards any person, I must see convincing proof 
of reformation in such person before my heart 
can beat again with affection in his favour ; for 
the mind is free, and can be bound only by kind 

The insult, as he justly conceived it, which 
Jones had received from France, did not increase 
his inclination to hoist the flag of that nation on 
board of the Alliance; nor had he longer any secret 
motive to refuse, or at least to delay obedience to 
the reiterated and peremptory mandate of the 
Dutch government, ordering him to leave the 
Texel. America was now his sole hope to reach 
its coasts his only aim. " I am not sorry ," he 
writes his friend Morris, " that my connexion 
with them (the French government) is at an end. 
In the course of that connexion I ran ten chances 
of ruin and dishonour for one of reputation ; and 
all the honour or profit that France could bestow 
should not tempt me again to undertake the same 
service, with an armament equally ill composed 



and with powers equally limited. It affords me 
the most exalted pleasure to reflect, that when I 
return to America I can say I have served in 
Europe at my own expense, and without the fee 
or reward of a court. When the prisoners we 
have taken are safely lodged in France, I shall 
have no further business in Europe, as the liberty 
of all our fellow-citizens who now suffer in Eng- 
lish prisons will then be secured."" 

He was now detained only by contrary winds, 
and eagerly waited for a fair opportunity of elud- 
ing the vigilance of those on the watch to inter- 
cept him. After three months spent in continual 
altercation, imbittered by the animosity of Lan- 
dais, the babbling and suspicions of Le Ray 
Chaumont, the conduct of the French ministers, 
and the discontents of his officers and men re- 
specting the prize-money, Jones sailed from the 
Texel on the 27th December, 1779. 

The only consolation Jones received at this 
period was effecting the exchange of the Ameri- 
can prisoners in England. This was, he said, 
" all the reward he wished." He had also wrung 
some promises from the ambassador in behalf of 


his discontented officers and crew, who, as the 
prizes had not been valued in Holland, and were 
liable to be retaken in getting into a French 
port, had no assurance that they would ever ob- 
tain any reward for their courage and their toil. 
The prizes sent into Bergen in Norway by Lan- 
dais had been claimed by the English consul, 
and given up by the Danish government, who 
were very unlikely to grant the Americans any 
indemnity. Even more severely than these inci- 
dental hardships, Jones felt the grumbling of the 
French agents at the expense he necessarily in- 
curred in refitting his ships. " It had cost France 
too much to give him fame," was the taunting 
observation bitterly felt and not easily forgotten. 
It must, under all the circumstances, have been 
with considerable anxiety that Jones sailed from 
the Texel, with the alternative of rashly braving 
or fortunately eluding the English : he was not in 
condition to meet them even in equal force. The 
Alliance, by the gross misconduct of Landais, who 
was as bad a seaman as he was an officer, was in 
the worst condition. The officers were, as Jones 
states, " idle and drunken ; the men filthy and 


in bad subordination, and many of them sick of 
an epidemic illness ;" the vessel was, besides, badly 
armed, and the powder of bad quality. The last 
evil Jones remedied; and, putting a bold face on 
the matter, whatever might be his secret feelings, 
he thus exultingly wrote Dumas on leaving the 
Texel : " Alliance at sea, 27th December : I 
am here, my dear Sir, with a good wind at east, 
under my best American colours. So far you 
have your wish. What may be the event of this 
critical moment I know not ; I am, not however, 
without good hopes." 

The memorial, drawn up by Jones himself for 
the King of France, contains the best account 
that is extant of his escape and of the progress 
of this ticklish voyage. " He passed," he states, 
" along the Flemish banks, and, getting the wind- 
ward of the enemy's fleet of observation in the 
North Sea, he the next day passed through the 
Straits of Dover, in full view of the enemy's fleet 
in the Downs. The day following Captain Jones 
ran the Alliance past the Isle of Wight, in view 
of the enemy's fleet at Spithead, and in two days 
more got safe through the Channel, having pass- 


ed by windward in sight of several of the enemy's 
large two-decked cruising ships. Captain Jones 
wished to carry with him some prizes and prison- 
ers to France ; but the Alliance, by the arrange- 
ment Captain Landais had made of the ballast 
at LTOrient, was out of trim, and could not sail 
fast, her sails being too thin and old for cold 
latitudes. He steered to the southward, and 
cruised for some days without success off Cape 
Finisterre. On the 16th of January, 1780, Captain 
Jones, to shun a gale of wind, and procure a 
sound anchor, (for he had left the Texel with 
only one,) ran into Corogne. He was very kind- 
ly received in Spain, but sailed again, and arrived 
at Groix on the 10th February, having taken no 

On gaining LTOrient, Jones lost no time in be- 
ginning to refit his ship and obtain military stores. 
A board of Admiralty had by this time been es- 
tablished by Congress, and one of its first acts was 
to order home the Alliance. In making the ships 
under his command fit for sea, whether " in bat- 
tle or in breeze," Jones never grudged or even 
thought of expense, and on the present occasion 


his professional liberality of spirit far outran 
the frugal genius of Franklin. The anxious and 
almost pathetic remonstrances addressed to him 
by the republican sage are as amusing as they are 
characteristic. The court of France had demurred 
to incurring farther expense for this refractory 
hero and his American ship. " The whole ex- 
pense will fall upon me," cries Franklin, " and 
I am ill provided to bear it, having so many un- 
expected calls upon me from all quarters. I 
therefore beg you would have mercy on me, put 
me to as little charge as possible, and take no- 
thing you can possibly do without. As to sheath- 
ing with copper it is totally out of the question." 

By the middle of April, the Alliance (notwith- 
standing the prayers of Franklin) was, by the 
care of her commander, pronounced by himself 
one of the most complete frigates in France. 

Nearly a month before the Alliance having 
been, as was said, ordered home to America with 
certain supplies of arms and warlike stores fur- 
nished by France, Franklin urged the imme- 
diate sailing of the ship as strongly as he could 
with propriety, and wished its commander a pros- 
perous voyage. He even stretched a point to 


furnish those of the former crew of the Bon 
Homme Richard, now on board the Alliance, with 
a small sum of money, as they had not yet rea- 
lized a sou of their prize-money. This was done 
to allay discontent and send the men home in 
good humour. But neither the Commodore nor 
his crew were yet in trim for sea. 

Jones had made repeated attempts to obtain an 
adjustment of the prize-money, and now meditat- 
ed a journey to Court ostensibly to solicit a final 
settlement. A person in office had about this time 
excited his indignation by meanly claiming the me- 
rit of some or all of his manifold projects ; and it 
is probable that various other motives and per- 
sonal interests disposed him to undertake this me- 
morable journey. Having on a former occasion 
verified the truth of the maxim, which led him to 
give the celebrated name of Bon Homme Rich- 
ard to his ship, he determined once more to speed 
his errand by doing it himself. He was aware 
that, though disliked or envied by the marine 
service of France, he was popular with the Court 
and the nation, who were about this time in the 
very height and fervour of the American mania. 
On this knowledge he proceeded to Versailles. 



JONES at no time neglected to keep himself alive 
in the memory of his Court friends and official 
patrons, a species of attention necessary to a 
professional man everywhere, at least in the 
commencement of his career, and particularly 
so at that period in France. While superintend- 
ing the refitting of the Alliance, he had been cor- 
responding with La Fayette, the Duke de la 
Rochefoucault, and others of his former great 
friends, and by them he might have been advised 
to repair to Versailles to claim justice for his 
people in the affair of the prize-money. If such 
was his only business, it does not appear to have 
been much advanced by his appearance at this 
crisis ; but the reception he personally met from 
many individuals among the higher classes of so- 
ciety and the leaders of fashion, when Americans 
and republicanism were the infatuating novel- 


ties of the day, must have been highly gratify- 
ing to his feelings and to his insatiable love of 
distinction. The American Commodore, the con- 
queror of the haughty English, insulted by the 
degrading offer of a letter-of-marque at Amster- 
dam, became the hero, and, what was nearly the 
same thing, the lion of the day in Paris. He 
was everywhere feasted and caressed ; and, as if 
to make ample amends for the gratuitous insult 
offered him by the ministers, he was presented by 
the King with a gold sword, bearing the follow- 
ing honourable inscription: " VINDICATI MARIS 


DICI." Leave was requested from Congress to 
invest him with the military Order of Merit, an 
honour which had never been conferred on any 
one before who had not actually borne arms 
under the commission of France. An official 
letter was also addressed to him by his ancient 
tormentor, M. Sartine, expressive of the highest 
approbation of his conduct, and esteem for his 
personal character. This much was to be gained 
by a man of talent and address appearing in his 
own cause at the Court of France ; nor is there 


any lack of charity in supposing that, had Jones 
remained quiet at KOrient, the victor of the 
Serapis, and the generous and patriotic liberator 
of the American prisoners, would not have sunk 
beneath the load of Court honours. The secret 
history of the manner in which services of plate, 
knighthoods, and letters of thanks, are some- 
times obtained, would form a curious and not un- 
edifying chapter in the story of many a profes- 
sional man's life. In the present instance they 
were amply merited. They were as proudly re- 
ceived ; and did equal honour to the royal donor 
and the individual distinguished by his favour. 
Jones was exactly of the sanguine, ambitious, and 
loyal cast of character, which leads men to prize at 
their full value those coveted marks of princely 
approbation. The gold sword and the accom- 
panying Order were the pride and the boast of 
his future life. 

Testimonies of kindness and esteem, of a kind 
even more gratifying to his private feelings, were 
not wanting. Of this brilliant period he long 
afterwards says, in speaking of himself, " he re- 
ceived at Paris, and other parts of the kingdom, 


the most flattering applause and public approba- 
tion wherever he appeared. Both the great and 
the learned sought his acquaintance in private 
life, and honoured him with particular marks of 
friendship. At Court he was always received with 
a kindness which could only have arisen from a 
fixed esteem." 

While the French Court were thus in the vein 
of caressing and bestowing, Jones solicited and 
obtained the Ariel frigate to accompany the Al- 
liance to America, with stores for Washington's 
army. Nor in all probability was he averse to 
an increase of force, should fortune throw any 
English ships in his way on the homeward voy- 
age. The Ariel he intended to man from the 
supernumeraries of the Alliance and the lately 
exchanged American prisoners. The affair of 
the prize-money was put in train, as far as fan* 
promises and preliminary orders may go, and in 
high spirits Jones took leave of the French Court 
and capital, and returned to LT Orient, ready, as 
he conceived, to quit France, and furnished, by 
dint of his indefatigable genius, with an official 
letter from the Minister of Marine to Congress, 


enumerating his services in Europe, and recom- 
mending him to favour, and consequently to ad- 

While Jones was absent in Paris, his ship had 
been the scene of a mutinous intrigue, of which 
the wretched Landais, though apparently the pro- 
moter, was in reality at first only the tool. 

This intrigue originated with Mr Arthur Lee, 
who had held a subordinate diplomatic appoint- 
ment in France, and was now about to return to 
America. The real cause of this person's con- 
duct at this time appears to have been dislike of 
Franklin, and a mean jealousy of the considera- 
tion in which this truly great man was held, both 
by friend and foe, in Europe as well as in Ame- 
rica, while the vast merits of the patriotic Mr Lee 
were overlooked. When the affair of Landais had 
been originally discussed, Lee, in the spirit of 
factious opposition, had gone openly against the 
opinion of Franklin and the other plenipotentia- 
ries, and taken part with the mutinous, and, as it 
afterwards turned out, mad Frenchman, on what 
he was pleased to call constitutional grounds. 


Landais had originally received the command of 
the Alliance from Congress. When ordered to 
head-quarters to account for his conduct, he 
voluntarily left his ship, and soon afterwards 
Jones was officially ordered to quit the Serapis, 
and assume command of the Alliance, which, as 
has been seen, he did much against his inclina- 
tion. Meanwhile Landais was ordered to return 
to America, that cognizance might be taken of 
his conduct before the proper tribunal. In this 
order he appeared to acquiesce ; and he was fur- 
nished with money by Franklin to bear his char- 
ges. On his arrival at LTOrient, it seems to have 
been adroitly insinuated into his naturally ric- 
ketty brains, that Franklin and the other plenipo- 
tentiaries had exceeded their powers in superseding 
him and ordering him to America ; and that 
Congress having bestowed his commission, to 
Congress alone was he bound to surrender it. 
The same doctrine was diligently promulgated 
among the seamen of the Alliance, and readily 
received by many of the officers. The delay of 
the prize-money, and the non-payment of the 


seamen's arrears, gave a strong handle to the dis- 
contented and designing. It was artfully repre- 
sented to the disaffected crew, that while Jones, 
their new commander, basked in the sunshine of 
Court favour at Versailles, he either neglected 
or compromised their rights and interests, and he- 
sitated to demand justice for his men from those 
who heaped favours on himself, and loaded him 
alone with benefits and honours, while those who 
had shared his toils and achieved the glory he 
claimed were neglected and forgotten. There 
was some colour for complaint. Jones felt his 
error, and, in writing to a friend about the dis- 
content of his crew, says, " I have been to blame 
for having returned from Paris without having 
absolutely insisted on the previous payment of 
my men." These men he had found on his return 
sullen, alienated, and almost in open mutiny. 

Landais had now determined, to assume by 
force the command of the Alliance, unjustly, as he 
said, wrested from him ; and the officers and men 
prepared a memorial, addressed to the plenipo- 
tentiaries, setting forth their grievances and their 
wishes. Landais, to do the business with becom- 


ing modesty, and propriety, expressed a desire 
to be formally reinstated* in his command. 

* Franklin's letter in reply to the modest demand of 
this Frenchman is as indicative of his strong good sense 
and clear-sighted integrity as any thing that ever issued 
from his pen. Of this sagacious person one might almost 
think it was because " honesty was the best policy" that 
he loved it. He admired truth for its utility more than its 
native beauty ; and employed it accordingly with singu- 
lar success in his dealings with men, where others more 
short-sighted, if not less sincere, would have used sub- 
terfuge and trick only to counteract their own purposes. 
It is thus he wrote Landais : f( No one ever learned the 
opinion I formed of you from inquiry made into your con- 
duct. I kept it entirely to myself. I have not even hinted 
it in my letters to America, because I would not hazard 
giving to any one a bias to your prejudice. By commu- 
nicating a part of that opinion privately to you I can do no 
harm, for you may burn it. I should not give you the 
pain of reading it, if your demand did not make it ne- 
cessary. I think you then so imprudent, so litigious, and 
quarrelsome a man, even with your best friends, that 
peace and good order, and consequently the quiet and re- 
gular subordination so necessary to success, are, where 
you preside, impossible. These are within my observation 
and apprehension. Your military operations I leave to 


Franklin, whose feelings, whether as a public 
or private man, must have been grossly outra- 
ged by this proceeding, stifled his indignation, 
and, by every argument likely to convince their 
reason, or influence their passions, endeavoured 
to recall these misled men to a sense of their 

No minister ever took half the pains to concili- 
ate a set of wrongheaded malcontents, whom the 
power of France could have enabled him to crush 
at once. Some of the arguments he addressed 
to their professional feelings and pride are ex- 
ceedingly subtle. The officers and crew of the 
Alliance were naturally indignant at the charge 
of having fired into the Bon Homme Richard 
during the engagement with the Serapis. In re- 
lation to this affair, Franklin states, " though I 
declined any judgment of his (Landais's) manreu- 

raore capable judges. If, therefore, I had twenty ships 
of war in my disposition, I should not give one of them 
to Captain Landais. The same temper which excluded 
him from the French marine would weigh equally with 
me ; of course I shall not replace him in the Alliance." 

VOL. I. L 


vres in the fight, I have given it as my opinion, 
(to Congress,) after examining the affair, that it 
was not at all likely, either that he should have 
given orders to fire into the Bon Homme Rich- 
ard, or that his officers would have obeyed such 
an order had it been given them. Thus I have 
taken what care I could of your honour in that 
particular. You will therefore excuse me if I 
am a little concerned for it in another. If it 
should come to be publicly known that you had 
the strongest aversion to Captain Landais, who 
had used you basely, and that it is only since the 
last year's cruise, and the appointment of Com- 
modore Jones to the command, that you request 
to be again under your old captain, I fear sus- 
picions and reflections may be thrown upon you 
by the world, as if this change of sentiment may 
have arisen from your observation during the 
cruise, that Captain Jones loved close fighting, 
that Captain Landais was skilful in keeping out 
of harm's way, and that you therefore thought 
yourself safer with the latter. For myself, I be- 
lieve you to be brave men, and lovers of your 
country and its glorious cause ; and I am per- 


suaded you have only been ill-advised, and mis- 
led by the artful and malicious misrepresentations 
of some persons I guess at. Take in good part 
this friendly counsel from an old man who is 
your friend. Go home peaceably with your ship. 
Do your duty faithfully and cheerfully. Behave 
respectfully to your commander, and I am per- 
suaded he will do the same to you. Thus you 
will not only be happier in your voyage, but re- 
commend yourselves to the future favours of 
Congress and of your country." 

Such was the conciliatory tone in which Frank- 
lin addressed these turbulent and discontented 
men. It were to be wished that his good temper 
and calmness of reason had produced the effect 
that might have been expected. The failure 
proves that something besides reason is at times 
necessary in governing seamen. 

In a letter to Jones he explains the affair, and 
relates the measures he had taken in consequence. 
" Saturday morning," he says, " I received a 
letter signed by about 115 of the sailors of the 
Alliance, declaring that they would not raise the 
anchor, nor depart from KOrient, till they had 
six months'* wages paid them, and the utmost 


farthing of their prize-money, including the ships 
sent into Norway, and until their legal captain, 
P. Landais, was restored to them. This mutiny 
has undoubtedly been excited by that captain ; 
probably by making them believe that satisfac- 
tion has been received for those Norway prizes 
delivered up to the English,' 1 &c. &c. " That 
he is concerned in this mutiny he has been fool- 
ish enough to furnish us with proofs, the sail- 
ors' letter being not only enclosed under a cover 
directed to me in his hand-writing, but he 
also, in the same writing, interlined the words, 
their legal captain, P. Landais, which hap- 
pens to contain his signature. I immediately 
went to Versailles to demand the assistance of 
government, and on showing the letter, by which 
his guilt plainly appeared, an order was imme- 
diately granted, sent away the same evening, for 
apprehending and imprisoning him, and orders 
were (promised to be) given at the same time to 
the commissary of the port to afford you all kind 
of assistance to facilitate your departure." The 
promises thus given were very ill kept. The 
mutiny had now reached the crisis. On the 
morning of the 13th June, before going on shore 


to superintend the equipment of the Ariel, Jones 
caused his appointment to the Alliance to be 
read on the deck of that ship, and, addressing the 
assembled crew, demanded that whoever had any 
complaint to prefer against him should now 
speak out. " There was," he says, " every ap- 
pearance of contentment and subordination';" 
and again, " I am certain the people love me 
and would readily obey me." The proofs of this 
affection were of a very unusual kind. No sooner 
had Jones quitted the ship, than Landais came 
on board and usurped the command. 

As soon as intelligence of this wild measure 
reached Franklin, Landais was ordered to quit 
the ship, and the officers were commanded to 
obey Jones alone. To Jones, who was in the 
greatest perplexity, he wrote, " You are likely 
to have great trouble. I wish you well through 
it. You have shown your abilities in fighting, 
you have now an opportunity of showing the 
other necessary part, in the character of a great 
chief, your abilities in policy." 

Landais, backed and instigated by Lee, and 
supported by the officers and seamen, refused to 


yield one jot ; and, holding the mandate of Frank- 
lin and the arrest of the King alike in defiance, 
he resolved to sail for America, captain of the 
Alliance. In this singular juncture, Jones posted 
back to Versailles, to solicit the assistance of 
government. Orders, he was told, had been pre- 
viously sent to L'Orient to compel Landais and 
his crew to obedience, or, if he attempted to quit 
the port, to fire on him, and, if necessary, sink 
the ship. Confiding in this statement, Jones im- 
mediately returned to I/Orient, and found that 
the orders which were said to have preceded him, 
if they had ever been despatched, had at least 
never arrived, a circumstance somewhat singu- 
lar, though, in French diplomacy, by no means 
unaccountable. The local authorities, however, 
with whom Jones, in the course of his long stay 
in that port, had acquired considerable influence, 
were strongly disposed to support his authority 
and to enforce the orders of Franklin. Acting 
under the sanction of the American ministers, 
and supported by the local authorities at I/Orient, 
as well as by the promises and countenance of 
the government, had Jones at this time listened to 


the dictates of passion or revenge, irreparable 
mischief might have been done, which his mag- 
nanimity and prudence averted. 

Basely as he had been used, and irritated as 
he must have been, he would not be even the in- 
direct cause of shedding American blood. It is 
thus he notices the part he had taken, and re- 
lates the consequences of the mutiny to Franklin : 

" L'Orient, June 21, 1780. 
" SIR, 

" I was detained at Versailles forty hours from 
the time of my arrival, and was then informed by 
M. de Genet, that an express had been sent from 
Court with the necessary orders to the King's 
officers at LTOrient, respecting Captain Landais 
and the Alliance. I found myself here early yes- 
terday morning, fifty-four hours after leaving 
Versailles. The Alliance had, the evening and 
night before, been warped and towed from the 
road of LTOrient to Port Louis ; and no express 
from Court had arrived here. M. de Thevenard, 
the commandant, however, made every necessary 
preparation to stop the Alliance, as appears by 


the enclosed document on the subject. He 
had even sent orders in the evening, before I 
was aware, to fire on the Alliance, and sink her 
to the bottom, if they attempted to approach 
and pass the barrier that had been made across 
the entrance of the port. Had I even remained 
silent an hour longer, the dreadful work would 
have been done. Your humanity will, I know, 
justify the part I acted in preventing a scene 
that would have rendered me miserable for the 
rest of my life. The Alliance has this morn- 
ing been towed and warped through the rocks, 
and is now at anchor without, between Port 
Louis and Groix. In this situation I at noon 
sent out Lieutenant Dale with a letter to Captain 
Landais, whereof the within is a copy. 

" Yesterday morning the within letter was 
brought me from Mr Lee, though I had never 
even hinted that his opinion or advice would be 
acceptable. He has, however, pulled off the mask, 
and, I am convinced, is not a little disappointed 
that his operations have produced no bloodshed 
between the subjects of France and America. 
Poor man ! 


" Yesterday every thing that persuasion or 

threatening could effect was attempted * * 

** * * * ** *"* 

" M. de Thevenard, on his part, sent the de- 
puty of M. Sweighauser on board with your letters, 
under his own rover, to Captain Landais, and 
to the officers and men of the Alliance. The one 
was delivered to Captain Landais, the other to 
Lieutenant Digges. M. de Thevenard also sent 
on board an officer with the King's order t& ar- 
rest Captain Landais, who refused to surrender 
himself. Mr Lee and his party pretend to jus- 
tify their measures, because they say you did not 
put Captain Landais under arrest. According to 
them, you cannot displace him, however great 
his crimes ! If the government does not interfere 
to crush this despicable party, France and Ame- 
rica have much to fear from it. I verily believe 
them to be English at the bottom of their 

* In a marginal note, affixed to this letter many years 
afterwards, Jones says, " In this opinion I was not sin- 
gular, though perhaps I was mistaken." 



To a lady in Paris, one of the friends he had 
lately made, he sent a much fuller account of 
this unpleasant affair, wishing, no doubt, to stand 
clear in the opinion of his powerful and fashion- 
able patrons in the capital, and reasonably con- 
cluding that his exculpatory epistle might make 
the round of the circles. " I confess to you, 1 ' 
he writes to Madame Tellison, " that I feel 
rather ashamed that such an event should have 
happened, although, God knows, it was not ow- 
ing to any fault of mine. The true reason was, 
that M. Ray de Chaumont unjustly detained from 
the brave Americans, who had so bravely served 
in the squadron under my command, not only 
their wages, but also their prize-money ; and he 
has not, even to this hour, given me the means of 
paying them their just claims. One or two en- 
vious persons here, taking advantage of these 
circumstances, persuaded these poor people that 
I had joined M. Ray de Chaumont to detain 
from them their just dues, and that it was, be- 
sides, my intention to carry them on new expe- 
ditions in Europe, and not to suffer them to re- 
turn to their families in America during the war. 


These insinuations were false and groundless ; I 
had disapproved the conduct of M. Ray de Chau- 
mont so much as neither to speak or write to 
him after my return to France. My sole busi- 
ness at Court was to obtain the free sale of the 
prizes, which I effected; and, far from being 
then bound on new expeditions in Europe, I was 
ordered by the board of admiralty in America to 
return forthwith to Congress, and had in conse- 
quence received the public despatches both from 
Dr Franklin and the Court. The Alliance, how- 
ever, was hurried out of this port before the crew 
had time for reflection ; yet, before they sailed 
from the road of Groix, many of them, seeing their 
error, refused to weigh anchor, and were carried 
to sea, confined hands and feet in irons. The 
government of France had taken measures to 
stop the ship; but I interposed, to prevent blood- 
shed between the subjects of the two allied na- 
tions. I am now again almost ready to sail in 
the Ariel, and I know, soon after my arrival in 
America, that Congress will do me impartial jus- 
tice. I will then have the happiness to furnish 
you with the account I promised, and the cir- 


cumstances will be supported by the fullest evi- 
dence. I dare promise that it will then appear 
that I have only been to blame for having re- 
turned here from Paris without having insisted 
absolutely on the previous payment of my men," 

Franklin could at this time do no more to sup- 
port the authority of the officer he had appoint- 
ed. His anxious thoughts were in America, oc- 
cupied with the distressed condition of Wash- 
ington's troops. His first object, therefore, was 
to remedy as far as possible the mischief done 
to the public cause by Landais's mutiny, and 
the consequent delay in forwarding the military 
stores. Jones, however, appears to have felt his 
own crippled command at least as pressingly 
as the exigencies of the distant troops, and at- 
tempted to obtain a larger vessel than the Ariel. 

The Serapis was now refitted. From the hour 
of her capture his pride and his affections had 
been fixed on this command, and he very plausi- 
bly enumerated to Franklin the advantages that 
might result to the public cause, were he enabled, 
with this vessel armed for war, the Ariel, and 
certain American frigates, to undertake some of 


those daring expeditions he had so often proposed 
to government. This project failed, and he beg- 
ged for the Terpsichore, another French ship, and 
engaged his personal friends to lend their influ- 
ence to obtain it for him. Then* solicitations did 
not succeed. France was now in the heat of the 
war, the ministry were occupied with other sub- 
jects, and also evidently a little tired of the impor- 
tunity of the Chevalier Jones, and Franklin was 
disappointed and vexed at the delays which had 
taken place in forwarding those stores it had cost 
him so much to obtain, and of which the army 
stood in such pressing want. No sooner, however, 
had the Alliance left port, than, without wasting 
another thought on the affair, which no thought 
could amend, Franklin writes with the most busi- 
ness-like promptitude, " That affair is over, and 
the business is now to get the goods out as 
well as we can. I am perfectly bewildered with 
the different schemes that have been proposed 
to me for this purpose by Mr Williams, Mr 
Ross, yourself, and M. de Chaumont. Mr Wil- 
liams was for purchasing ships. I told him I 
had not the money, but he still urges it, You 


and Mr Ross proposed borrowing the Ariel. I 
joined in the application for that ship. We ob- 
tained her. She was to convey all that the Al- 
liance could not take. Now you find her insuf- 
ficient. An additional sliip has already been 
asked, and could not be obtained. I think there- 
fore it will be best that you take as much into 
the Ariel as you can, and depart with it. For 
the rest I must apply to the government to con- 
trive some means of transporting it in their own 
ships. This is my present opinion ; and when I 
have once got rid of this business, no considera- 
tion shall tempt me to meddle again with such 
matters, as I never understood them."" 

Before Jones could get off on this errand, so 
necessary to America, but not much calculat- 
ed, as he felt, to increase his glory, and there- 
fore, on his part, not very zealously managed, 
a change took place in the French ministry 
which revived his hopes. The Marquis de Cas- 
tries succeeded Sartine at the head of the marine 
department, and the virtuous Maurepas became 
prime minister. To both of these distinguished 
persons Jones lost no time in recommending 


himself by congratulatory letters ; along with 
which were transmitted fresh copies of the ma- 
ritime projects formerly sent to their predecessors 
in office. He also wished, before leaving Europe, 
to obtain from them, as the persons in actual 
power, testimonies in his favour, addressed to 
Congress, equivalent to those he had obtained 
from Sartine. His philanthropy, patriotism, 
and disinterested services, were once more duly 
set forth to the new ministers. He endeavoured 
to bring Mr Silas Dean and Dr Bancroft into 
his views, and again employed the influence of 
his friend the Duke of Rochefoucault. The ship 
so earnestly solicited was not obtained, nor does 
it appear that the American ministers concurred 
in the request. 

Though on an after investigation Jones came 
clear out of this affair, it is obvious that, had he 
been half as anxious to forward the military stores 
as to serve the republic in a way more consonant to 
his own taste, the Ariel might long before this 
period have reached the shores of America. 

Towards the end of June the Alliance had put 
to sea, and Jones still remained in port, when in 


November accounts were received of the arrival of 
that ship at Boston. From his friend Dr Cooper of 
that town Dr Franklin received an account of the 
issue of Lee's factious proceedings, and of Lan- 
dais's mutiny, which he instantly transmitted to 
the person most likely to sympathize with his feel- 
ings regarding that mortifying affair. The extract 
of Dr Cooper's letter was enclosed to the Com- 
modore in a letter from Mr Temple Franklin, 
the grandson and secretary of Franklin, the mi- 
nister himself being at this time confined to bed : 

"Boston, September 8, 1780. 
" The Alliance arrived here some weeks ago, 
with Dr Lee, who is still in town. This vessel 
appears to me to have left France in an unjus- 
tifiable manner, though I cannot yet obtain the 
particular circumstances. Landais did not hold 
his command through the voyage, which was 
either relinquished by him or wrested from him. 
All the passengers, as well as officers and sailors, 
are highly incensed against him, and Dr Lee as 
much as any one. A court of inquiry is now 
sitting upon this matter, in which the Doctor has 


given a full evidence against the captain, which 
represents him as insane" 

It was unfortunate that Dr Lee was so late in 
making this discovery. 

The tardy and inauspicious voyage of the 
Ariel, so long delayed and so often obstruct- 
ed, was at length commenced on the 8th of 
October. On the following night the ship en- 
countered a tremendous gale, which was felt over 
almost all Europe. She rode out the storm for 
two days dismasted, and the waters around her 
covered with the wrecks of other vessels ; and on 
the 13th put back, in a very disabled condition, 
to LTOrient. The arms, the most important 
part of the stores, were so much damaged, that 
it was necessary they should be unshipped and 
left ; and before the vessel could be repaired and 
freshly provisioned, it was the middle of Decem- 
ber. Franklin, though too reasonable to complain 
of a delay occasioned by the violence of the ele- 
ments, grudged, nevertheless, the expense to which 
he had been repeatedly put for new outfits, 
grudged, but passed the bills drawn on him ; giv- 


ing, however, his less considerate friend sundry 
precautionary hints. 

" I suppose," he writes, " you thought it for 
the good of the service, as you say you did, to 
order that great quantity of medicine for the 74- 
gun ship, yet, after what I had written to you 
of my difficulties, it still seems to me that you 
ought not to have done it without informing me 
and obtaining my consent ; and I have only to 
be thankful that you did not order all her stores, 
sails, and rigging, anchors, powder, &c. I think 
you must be sensible, on reflection, that with 
regard to me it was wrong, and that it ought not 
to be expected from me to be always ready and 
able to pay the demands that every officer in the 
service may saddle me with. This affair, how- 
ever, is done with, and I shall say and think no 
more about it." 

Jones gave such an explanation as was at least 
meant to satisfy the frugal statesman; to whom, 
on the 18th December, he once again addressed 
a farewell letter. He also took leave once more 
of his friends and patrons in the capital. One of 


his valedictory epistles, addressed to Madame 
D'Ormoy, may be received as the best exposition 
that can be given of his feelings at the close of 
his short but brilliant career in Europe : " I 
cannot leave France without expressing how 
much I feel myself honoured and obliged by the 
generous attention that you have shown to my re- 
putation in your journal. I will ever have the most 
ardent desire to merit the spontaneous praise of 
beauty and her pen ; and it is impossible to be 
more grateful than I am for the very polite at- 
tentions I lately received at Paris and Versailles. 
My particular thanks are due to you, madam, 
for the personal proofs I had received of your es- 
teem and friendship, and for the happiness you 
procured me in the society of the charming coun- 
tess, and other ladies and gentlemen of your 
circle. But I have a favour to ask of you, ma- 
dam, which I hope you will grant me. You tell 
me in your letter, that the inkstand I had the 
honour to present you, as a small token of my 
esteem, shall be reserved for the purpose of writ- 
ing what concerns me ; now I wish you to see 
my idea in a more expanded light, and would 


have you make use of that inkstand to instruct 
mankind, and support the dignity and rights of 
human nature." 

" By the enclosed declaration of my officers," 
he writes to the same lady, " you will see, my dear 
madam, that I was in a ticklish situation in the 
moment while you were employed in writing to 
me on the 9th ultimo. It is impossible to be more 
sensible than I am of the obligation conferred on, 
me by your attentions and kind remembrance, 
joined to that of the belle comtesse, your fair 
daughters, and the amiable ladies and gentlemen 
of your society. I have returned without laurels, 
and, what is worse, without having been able to 
render service to the glorious cause of liberty. I 
know not why Neptune was in such anger, unless 
he thought it an affront in me to appear - on 
his ocean with so insignificant a force. It is cer- 
tain, that till the night of the 8th I did not fully 
conceive the awful majesty of tempest and of 
shipwreck. I can give you no just idea of the 
tremendous scene that nature then presented, 
which surpassed the reach even of poetic fancy 
and the pencil. I believe no ship was ever 


before saved from an equal danger off the point 
of the Penmark rocks. I am extremely sorry 
that the young English lady you mention should 
have imbibed the national hatred against me. I 
have had proofs that many of the first and finest 
ladies of that nation are my friends. Indeed I 
cannot imagine why any fair lady should be my 
enemy, since, upon the large scale of universal 
philanthropy, I feel, acknowledge, and bend be- 
fore the sovereign power of beauty. The Eng- 
lish nation may hate me, but / will force them 
to esteem me too" 

Jones had other, or at least one other fair cor- 
respondent about this period, who, under the as- 
sumed name of Delia, makes some figure in his 
private history. The day of the Amintas and 
Delias was not then quite gone by ; and, under 
this pastoral and poetic appellation, a lady chose 
to conceal herself, of whose real name and situa- 
tion the multitudinous papers left by the com- 
modore, though they include many of her letters, 
afford no satisfactory trace. In America, Delia 
has been discovered to be a young lady of the 
Court. In Scotland we are not so quick-sighted. 


But as the claims of love and gallantry were 
ever postponed by the Commodore to those of 
professional duty and ambition, we shall in so 
far follow his example as to defer the introduc- 
tion of Delia and her fan* contemporaries, till a 
a more convenient season. 

Besides the enthusiastic epistles of Delia, Jones 
carried out the following letter, already noticed as 
written by De Sartine on the order of the King of 
France, and approved by his Most Christian Ma- 
jesty in council. This of itself would have en- 
sured him that honourable reception in the coun- 
try of his adoption, to which his zeal and services 
gave him yet stronger claims. 

Translation of the Letter addressed to Mr Hante- 
nydon, President of the Congress of the United 
States, by M. de Sartine, Minister of the French 

" Versailles, 20th May, 1780. 

" Commodore Paul Jones, after having given 

to all Europe, and, above all, to the enemies of 

France and of the United States, high proofs of 

his valour and of his talents, is about to return to 


America, to give an account to Congress of the 
success of his military operations. I am aware, 
Sir, that the reputation he has so justly acquired 
will go before him, and that the history of his 
campaigns will be sufficient to prove to his coun- 
trymen, that his abilities are equal to his courage ; 
but the King has thought it right to join to the 
public voice his approbation and his bounty. 
He has charged me expressly to make known to 
you how much he is satisfied with the services of 
the Commodore, persuaded that Congress will do 
him like justice. His Majesty gives him a pledge 
of his esteem in bestowing on him the gift of a 
sword, which could not be placed in better hands, 
and now offers to Congress to decorate this brave 
officer with the cross of the order of Military 
Merit. His Majesty thinks that these peculiar dis- 
tinctions, associating together in the same ho- 
nours the subject of two countries united by si- 
milar interests, may be regarded as another tie 
between them, and excite them to emulation in 
the common cause. If, after having approved 
the conduct of the Commodore, it is judged fit 
to intrust him with any new expedition to Europe, 


his Majesty will see him return with pleasure ; 
and he presumes Congress will refuse nothing 
that may be deemed necessary to promote the 
success of his enterprises. My personal esteem 
for the Commodore induces me to recommend 
him in a particular manner to you, Sir ; and I 
venture to hope that, in the reception which he 
may receive from Congress, he will perceive the 
fruits of the sentiments with which he has in- 
spired me. 

" I have the honour to be, &c. 




ON the 18th February, 1781, Commodore Jones 
reached Philadelphia. The principal adventure 
of this voyage is thus related by himself in the 
memorial to the King of France, and in the 
third person : " After a variety of rencounters, 
he, in the latitude 26 north, and longitude of 
Barbadoes, met with a remarkably fast-sailing 
frigate belonging to the enemy's navy. Captain 
Jones endeavoured to avoid speaking with that 
ship, and as the night approached, he hoped to 
succeed, notwithstanding her superior sailing. 
He was, however, mistaken, for next morning the 
ships were at less distance asunder than they 
had been the evening before, although during 
the night the officers of the watch had always 
informed Captain Jones the sail continued out 
of sight. An action now became unavoidable, 
and the Ariel was prepared for it. Every thing 
VOL. i. M 


was thrown overboard that interfered with the 
defence and safety of the ship. Captain Jones 
took particular care, by the management of sails 
and helm, to prevent the enemy from 'discovering 
the force of the Ariel, and worked her so well 
as not to discover any warlike appearance or pre- 
paration. In the afternoon the Ariel fired now 
and then a light stern-chaser at the enemy from 
the quarter-deck, and continued to crowd sail as 
if very much alarmed. This had the desired ef- 
fect, and the enemy pursued with the greater 
eagerness. Captain Jones did not suffer the 
enemy to come close up till the approach of 
night, when, having well examined his force, he 
shortened sail, to meet his approach. When the 
two ships came within hail of each other they 
both hoisted English colours. The person whose 
duty it was to hoist the pendant on board the 
Ariel had not taken care to make the other end of 
the halliards fast, to haul it down again to change 
the colours. This prevented Captain Jones from 
an advantageous manoeuvre he had intended, and 
obliged him to let the enemy range up along the 
lee-side of the Ariel, where he saw a battery 


lighted for action. A conversation now took 
place between the two ships, which lasted near 
an hour; by which Captain Jones learned the 
situation of the enemy's affairs in America. The 
captain of the enemy's ship said his name was 
John Pindar. His ship had been constructed by 
the famous Mr Peck of Boston, built at New- 
bury Port, owned by Mr Tracey of that place, 
commanded by Captain Hopkins, the son of the 
late Commodore Hopkins, and had been taken 
and fitted out at New York, and named the 
Triumph, by Admiral Rodney. Captain Jones 
told him he must put out his boat, and come on 
board and show his commission, to prove whether 
or not he really did belong to the British navy. 
To this he made some excuses, because Captain 
Jones had not told him who he was ; and his 
boat, he said, was very leaky. Captain Jones 
told him to consider the danger of refusing. Cap- 
tain Pindar said he would answer for twenty 
guns, and that himself and every one of his peo- 
ple had shown themselves Englishmen. Captain 
Jones said he would allow him five minutes only 
to make his reflection. That time being elapsed, 


Captain Jones backed a little on the weather- 
quarter of the enemy, ran close under her stern, 
hoisted American colours, and being within short 
pistol-shot on the lee-beam of the enemy, began 
to engage. It was past seven o'clock, and as 
no equal force ever exceeded the vigorous and 
regular fire of the Ariel's battery and tops, the 
action while it lasted made a glorious appear- 
ance. The enemy made a feeble resistance for 
about ten minutes. He then struck his colours. 
The enemy then begged for quarter, and said 
half his men were killed. The Ariel's fire ceased; 
and the crew, as usual after a victory, gave cries 
of joy, to " show themselves Englishmen." The 
enemy filled their sails, and got on the Ariel's 
weather-bow before the cries of joy had ended on 
board the Ariel. Captain Jones, suspecting the 
base design of the enemy, immediately set every 
sail he could to prevent her escape ; but the 
enemy had so much advantage in sailing, that 
the Ariel could not keep up, and they soon got 
out of gun-shot. The English Captain may pro- 
perly be called a knave, because, after he sur- 
rendered his ship, begged for, and obtained quar- 


ter, he basely ran away, contrary to the laws of 
naval war and the practice of civilized nations. 
A conspiracy was discovered among the English 
part of the Ariel's crew immediately after sailing 
from France. During the voyage every officer, 
and even the passengers, had been constantly 
armed, and kept a regular watch, besides a con- 
stant guard with fixed bayonets. After the ac- 
tion with the Triumph the plot was so far dis- 
covered, that Captain Jones confined twenty of 
the ringleaders hi irons till his arrival. Captain 
Jones arrived at Philadelphia on the 18th Feb- 
ruary, 1781, having been absent from America 
three years, three months, and eighteen days." 

The.clamour excited in America by the deten- 
tion of the army stores, and the real evils which 
had by this means been occasioned to the public 
service, compelled Congress to institute an imme- 
diate inquiry into the cause of the delay. This 
in common fairness was the more necessary, as 
Landais, who was arrested in coming to America 
with the Alliance, had now been tried, and for 
ever dismissed the service. 

A Board of Admiralty had been for some time 


organized, and on this Board devolved the duty 
of inquiry, while Congress almost simultaneously 
took up the affair. A string of questions, forty- 
seven in number, were proposed by the Board to 
Jones, to which he was required to give answers 
in writing. He lost no time in complying with 
this order ; nor, it is to be presumed, in securing 
such powerful and useful friends as his brilliant 
reputation and the testimonials he brought from 
Europe had already predisposed in his favour. 
Admired and caressed at the Court of Versailles, 
and more dreaded by the vulgar of the English 
nation than was very creditable either to their 
judgment or courage, Paul Jones could not, at this 
period of agitation and imbittered hostility, fail 
to find friends hi America, had his public services 
been even less valuable and important than they 
really were. 

His answers to the official interrogatories were 
on all points ample, and, it appears, satisfactory ; 
and the subsequent report of the Board, so far 
from being condemnatory, was highly flattering. 
Another report of the same Board will show the 
exact footing on which he now stood. 


" Admiralty Office, June 16th, 1781. 

" The Board, to whom was referred the letters 
and other papers relative to the conduct of John 
Paul Jones, Esq., beg leave to report, that they 
have carefully perused said letters and papers, 
wherein they find favourable mention is made of 
his abilities as an officer by the Duke de Vau- 
guyon, M. de Sartine, and Dr Franklin ; and this 
is also corroborated by that valour and intrepidity 
with which he engaged his Britannic Majesty's 
ship, the Serapis, of forty-four cannon, twelve 
and eighteen pounders, who, after a severe con- 
test for several hours, surrendered to his superior 
valour, thereby acquiring honour to himself and 
dignity to the American flag. 

" The Board therefore humbly conceive that 
an honourable testimony should be given to Cap- 
tain Paul Jones, commander of the Bon Homme 
Richard, his officers and crew, for their many 
singular services in annoying the enemy on the 
British coasts, and particularly for then- spirited 
behaviour in an engagement with his Britannic 
Majesty's ship of war, the Serapis, on the 23d of 


September, 1779? and obliging her to surrender 
to the American flag." 

The following is a farther extract from another 
of these reports : 

" With regard to Captain Jones, the Board 
beg leave to report, that the views of the Marine 
Committee in sending Captain Jones, and his 
views in going in the Ranger to France, were, 
that he might take the command of the Indian, 
a ship that was building at Amsterdam on a new 
construction, under a contract made by the Com- 
missioners of these States at Paris, and with her, 
in concert with the Ranger, annoy the coasts 
and trade of Great Britain. When he arrived 
at Nantes, the Commissioners sent for him to 
Paris. After remaining there some time, he was 
informed that they had assigned their property 
in the ship Indian to the King of France. Cap- 
tain Jones returned to Nantes, plans and under- 
takes a secret expedition in the Ranger," &c. &c. 
The report goes on to enumerate the various ser- 
vices of Captain Jones, and then proceeds, " ever 
since Captain Jones first became an officer in the 


navy of those States, he hath shown an unremit- 
ted attention in planning and executing enter- 
prises calculated to promote the essential interests 
of our glorious cause. That in Europe, although 
in his expedition through the Irish Channel in the 
Ranger he did not fully accomplish his purpose, 
yet he made the enemy feel that it is in the 
power of a small squadron, under a brave and en- 
terprising commander, to retaliate the conflagra- 
tions of our defenceless towns. That returning 
from Europe, he brought with him the esteem of 
the greatest and best friends of America ; and 
hath received from the illustrious monarch of 
France that reward of warlike virtue which his 
subjects receive by a long series of faithful ser- 
vices or uncommon merit. 

" The Board are of opinion that the conduct 
of Paul Jones merits particular attention, and 
some distinguished mark of approbation from the 
United States in Congress assembled." 

Had the reports been drawn up by himself, or 
his most zealous friends, they could not have been 
more gratifying. He also received the solemn 



thanks of Congress, recorded in the following do- 
cument : 

" Saturday, April 14, 1781. 

" On the report of a committee consisting of 
Mr Varnun, Mr Houston, and Mr Mathews, to 
which was referred a motion of Mr Varnun : 

" The United States, in Congress assembled, 
having taken into consideration the report of the 
Board of Admiralty of the 28th March last, re- 
specting the conduct of John Paul Jones, Esq., 
captain in the navy, do, 

" Resolve, That the thanks of the United 
States in Congress assembled be given to Cap- 
tain John Paul Jones, for the zeal, prudence, and 
intrepidity with which he hath supported the 
honour of the American flag, for his bold and 
successful enterprises to redeem from captivity 
the citizens of these States who had fallen under 
the power of the enemy, and in general for the 
good conduct and eminent services by which he 


has added a lustre to his character and to the 
American arms. 

" That the thanks of the United States in 
Congress assembled be also given to the officers 
and men who have faithfully served under him 
from time to time, for their steady affection to 
the cause of their country, and the bravery and 
perseverance they have manifested therein.'" 

The following letter from Washington, of 
which the original is preserved among his papers, 
must have completed the satisfaction Paul Jones 
experienced in his honourable public acquittal : 

" Head Quarters, New Windsor, 
15th May, 1781. 


" My partial acquaintance with either our 
naval or commercial affairs makes it altogether 
impossible for me to account for the unfortunate 
delay of those articles of military stores and 
clothing which have been so long provided in 

" Had I had any particular reasons to have 
suspected you of being accessary to that de- 


lay, which I assure you has not been the case, 
my suspicions would have been removed by the 
very full and satisfactory answers which you have, 
to the best of my knowledge, made to the ques- 
tions proposed to you by the Board of Admiral- 
ty, and upon which that Board have, in their re- 
port to Congress, testified the high sense which 
they entertain of your merits and services. 

" Whether our naval affairs have in general 
been well or ill conducted would be presumptuous 
in me to determine. Instances of bravery and 
good conduct in several of our officers have not, 
however, been wanting. Delicacy forbids me to 
mention that particular one which has attracted 
the admiration of all the world, and which has 
influenced the most illustrious Monarch to confer 
a mark of his favour which can only be obtained 
by a long and honourable service, or by the per- 
formance of some brilliant action. 

" That you may long enjoy the reputation you 
have so justly acquired is the sincere wish of, 

Your most obedient servant, 



In the investigation respecting the delay of 
the stores, Franklin had been implicated as well 
as Jones. He now stood equally clear; and, how- 
ever reluctant Jones might have been, after Lan- 
dais had usurped his command, and run away with 
his ship, to put to sea with a single vessel, and 
that of inferior force, the paramount and unceasing 
anxiety of Franklin to forward the stores, does 
not by any means admit a doubt. In the awkward 
affair of Landais it was accordingly decided that 
Franklin had done nothing for which he had not 
ample discretionary powers ; and as an appropriate 
mark of the entire confidence of Congress, he 
was appointed by the Marine Committee to the 
sole management of maritime affairs in Europe. 
The patron of Landais, the strenuous supporter 
of constitutional rights, Mr Arthur Lee, now 
thought proper to abandon his former opinions, 
together with his unlucky protege, and even to 
appear among the active friends of Commodore 

On coming thus clearly and honourably out of 
this investigation, Jones, besides the vote of 
thanks so gratifying to his feelings, obtained the 


reward which of all others he valued the highest, 
a farther opportunity of extending his fame by 
active service in the cause of America. By an 
unanimous ballot, (for in this manner it seems of- 
ficers were chosen,) he was appointed to the com- 
mand of the America, a fine vessel, still on the 
stocks. Almost immediately he went to Ports- 
mouth, in New Hampshire, to superintend the 
building and equipment of this ship. 

This seems to have been one of the few inter- 
vals of leisure and tranquillity which his chequer- 
ed life afforded. It was sweetened by the hope 
of future services to be performed, and future 
glories to be acquired. He continued for some 
months in the little town of Portsmouth, and, be- 
sides maintaining an extensive correspondence in 
France and America, found time to mature and 
arrange his ideas on the subject of the American 

We have not sufficient nautical skill to decide 
how far the belief of Jones in the relative supe- 
riority of the French to the English system of 
naval tactics was even theoretically correct ; it 
is enough, that almost every succeeding naval 


engagement has practically demonstrated the fu- 
tility of his speculations. The ships of England 
scarcely ever afterwards met those of her rival save 
to beat them, till the flag of France was literally 
swept from the seas. But though the opinions 
of Jones are thus, hi all probability, abstractly of 
no great value as those of a great naval tactician, 
they are of some consequence, as they discover 
the state of his own mind, his strong preposses- 
sion for whatever was French, and his jealousy 
of English naval supremacy. It is but fair to 
let him state his reasons for his singular belief. 

" The beginning of our navy," he says, " as 
navies now rank, was so singularly small, that I am 
of opinion it has no precedent in history. Was it 
a proof of madness in ike first corps of sea-officers 
to have, at so critical a period, launched out on 
the ocean with only two armed merchant ships, 
two armed brigantines, and one armed sloop, to 
make war against such a 'power as Great Britain? 
To be diffident is not always a proof of igno- 
rance. I had sailed before this revolution in 
armed ships and frigates, yet, when I came to 
try my skill, I am not ashamed to own I did not 
find myself perfect in the duties of a first lieuten- 


ant. If midnight study, and the instruction of 
the greatest and most learned sea-officers, can 
have given me advantages, I am not without 
them. I confess, however, I have yet to learn ; 
it is the work of many years' study and experience 
to acquire the high degree of science necessary 
for a great sea-officer. Cruising after merchant 
ships, the service in which our frigates have ge- 
nerally been employed, affords, I may say, no 
part of the knowledge necessary for conducting 
fleets and their operations. There is now, per- 
haps, as much difference between a battle be- 
tween two ships, and an engagement between two 
fleets, as there is between a duel and a ranged 
battle between two armies. The English, who 
boast so much of their navy, never fought a 
ranged battle on the ocean before the war that is 
now ended. The battle off Ushant was, on their 
part, like then* former ones, irregular ; and Ad- 
miral Keppell could only justify himself by the 
example of Hawke in our remembrance, and of 
Russel in the last century. From that moment 
the English were forced to study and to imitate 
the French in their evolutions. They never 
gained any advantage when they had to do with 


equal force, and the unfortunate defeat of Count 
de Grasse was owing more to the unfavourable 
circumstances of the wind coming ahead four 
points at the beginning of the battle, which put 
his fleet into the order of echiquier when it was 
too late to tack, and of calm and currents after- 
wards, which brought on an entire disorder, than 
to the admiralship, or even the vast superiority of 
Rodney, who had forty sail of the line against 
thirty, and five three-deckers against one. By 
the account of some of the French officers, Rod- 
ney might as well have been asleep, not having 
made a second signal during the battle, so that 
every captain did as he pleased. 

" The English are very deficient in signals as 
well as in naval tactic. This I know, having in 
my possession their present fighting and sailing 
instructions, which comprehend all then- signals 
and evolutions. Lord Howe has, indeed, made 
some improvements by borrowing from the French. 
But Kempenfelt, who seems to have been a 
more promising officer, had made a still greater 
improvement by the same means. It was said of 
Kempenfelt, when he was drowned in the Royal 
George, England has lost her Du Pavillion. That 


great man, the Chevalier du Pavillion, command- 
ed the Triumphant, and was killed in the last 
battle of Count de Grasse. France lost in him 
one of her greatest naval tacticians, and a man 
who had, besides, the honour (in 177^) to invent 
the new system of naval signals, by which six- 
teen hundred orders, questions, answers, and in- 
formations, can, without confusion or misconstruc- 
tion, and with the greatest celerity, be commu- 
nicated through a great fleet. It was his fixed 
opinion that a smaller number of signals would 
be insufficient. A captain of the line at this day 
must be a tactician. A captain of a cruising fri- 
gate may make shift without ever having heard 
of naval tactics. Until I arrived in France, and 
became acquainted with that great tactician Count 
D'Orvilliers, and his judicious assistant the Che- 
valier du Pavillion, who, each of them, honoured 
me with instructions respecting the science of 
governing the operations, &c. of a fleet, I confess 
I was not sensible how ignorant I had been be- 
fore that time of naval tactics."* 

Jones forgets once writing Franklin that this illus- 
trious commander chose rather to permit several English 


However defective the general views of the 
Commodore might be as a great tactician, his 
ideas of the proper formation and internal policy 
and regulation of a navy for the young republic 
of America discover a comprehensive mind, and 
a liberal and generous spirit. On these points 
he had to contend with no lurking prepossessions. 
His very prejudices were here all on the right 

" From the observations I have made," he 
says, " and what I have read, it is my opinion, 
that in a navy there ought to be at least as many 
grades below a captain of the line as there are 
below a colonel of a regiment. Even the navy 
of France is deficient in subaltern grades, and has 
paid dearly for that error in its constitution, 
joined to another of equal magnitude, which au- 
thorises ensigns of the navy to take charge of 
watch on board ships of the line. One instance 
may be sufficient to show this. The Zele, in the 
night between the llth and 12th of April, 1782, 

frigates to escape him, than violate professional etiquette 
by breaking his line ! This was tactics with a vengeance ! 


ran on board the Ville de Paris, which accident 
was the principal cause of the unfortunate battle 
that ensued next day between Count de Grasse 
and Admiral Rodney. That accident in all pro- 
bability would not have happened had the deck 
of the Zele been at the time commanded by a 
steady experienced lieutenant of the line instead 
of a young ensign. The charge of the deck of a 
ship of the line should, in my judgment, never 
be intrusted to an officer under twenty-five years 
of age. At that time of life he may be supposed 
to have served nine or ten years, a term not 
more than sufficient to have furnished him with 
the necessary knowledge for so great a charge. 
It is easy to conceive that the minds of officers 
must become uneasy, when they are continued 
too long in any one grade, which must happen 
(if regard be paid to the good of the service) 
where there are no more subaltern grades than 
midshipman and lieutenant. Would it not be 
wiser to raise young men by smaller steps, and 
to increase the number ? 

" I have many things to offer respecting the 
formation of our navy. We are a young people, 


and need not be ashamed to ask advice from na- 
tions older and more experienced in marine af- 
fairs than ourselves. This, I conceive, might be 
done in a manner that would be received as a 
compliment by several, or perhaps all the marine 
powers of Europe, and at the same time would 
enable us to collect such helps as would be of 
vast use when we come to form a constitution for 
the creation and government of our marine, the 
establishment and police of our dock-yards, aca- 
demies, hospitals, &c. &c., and the general police 
of our seamen throughout the continent. These 
considerations induced me, on my return from 
the fleet of his excellency the Marquis de Vau- 
dreuil, to propose to you to lay my ideas on the 
subject before Congress, and to propose sending 
a proper person to Europe in a handsome frigate, 
to display our flag in the ports of the different 
marine powers, to offer them the free use of our 
ports, and propose to them commercial advanta- 
ges, &c., and then to ask permission to visit their 
marine arsenals, to be informed how they are fur- 
nished both with men, provision, materials, and 
warlike stores, by what police and officers they 


are governed, how and from what resources the 
officers and men are paid, &c. the line of con- 
duct drawn between the officers of the fleet and 
the officers of the ports, &c. also the armament 
and equipment of the different ships of war, with 
their dimensions, the number and qualities of their 
officers and men, by what police they are go- 
verned in port and at sea, how and from what 
resources they are fed, clothed, and paid, &c.^ 
and the general police of their seamen, and aca- 
demies, hospitals, &c. &c. If you still object 
to my project on account of the expense of send- 
ing a frigate to Europe, and keeping her there 
till the business can be effected, I think it may 
be done, though perhaps not with the same 
dignity, without a frigate. My plan for form- 
ing a proper corps of sea-officers is, by teach- 
ing them the naval tactics in a fleet of evolu- 
tion. To lessen the expense as much as possi- 
ble, I would compose that fleet of frigates instead 
of ships of the line ; on board of each I would 
have a little academy, where the officers should 
be taught the principles of mathematics and me- 
chanics, when off duty. When in port, the young 


officers should be obliged to attend the acade- 
mies established at each dock-yard, where they 
should be taught the principles of every art and 
science that is necessary to form the character of 
a great sea-officer. And every commission of- 
ficer of the navy should have free access, and be 
entitled to receive instruction gratis at those aca- 
demies. All this would be attended with no very 
great expense, and the public advantage result- 
ing from it would be immense. I am sensible 
it cannot be immediately adopted, and that we 
must first look about for ways and means ; but 
the sooner it is adopted the better. We cannot, 
like the ancients, build a fleet in a month, and 
we ought to take example from what has lately 
befallen Holland. In tune of peace it is neces- 
sary to prepare, and be always prepared, for war 
by sea. I have had the honour to be presented 
with copies of the signals, tactics, and police, 
that have been adopted under the different ad- 
mirals of France and Spain during the war, and 
have in my last campaign seen them put in prac- 
tice. While I was at Brest, as well as while I 
was inspecting the building of the America, as I 


had furnished myself with good authors, I ap- 
plied much of my leisure time to the study of 
naval architecture, and other matters that relate 
to the establishment and police of dock-yards, 
&c. I, however, feel myself bound to say again, 
I have yet much need to be instructed." 

The ship America, by his exertions, was now 
nearly completed, and Jones had once more the 
immediate prospect of active service ; but fortune 
had yet another reverse in store for him ; or 
more properly, at this time commenced that se- 
ries of disappointments and chagrins which, 
whether in Europe or America, continued, with 
brief intermissions, to pursue him through his 
subsequent life, till they consigned him to a 
premature grave. It appears to have been the 
fate of Jones at different epochs of his life, by 
the energies and activity of his character, and 
the impetuosity of his temper, to have momen- 
tarily strained the instruments of his advance- 
ment so far beyond the proper pitch, that they 
violently recoiled, as if by the counteracting force 
caused by their over-tension, on the instant that 
his vigorous hand was removed. 


The Magnifique, a seventy- four gun ship, be- 
longing to France, had, by accident or misman- 
agement, been lost in the harbour of Boston. To 
make up this loss, and keep their powerful ally 
in good humour, Congress did not scruple to 
strip Jones of the command so flatteringly be- 
stowed, and this without giving him any equiva- 
lent appointment, or any future pledge. This 
was the second time he had been disappointed in 
a similar way : the America shared the fate of 
the Indien; it was presented by Congress to 
the Chevalier de la Luzerne, for the service of 
his Most Christian Majesty. Fifteen months 
after his appointment Jones received the follow- 
ing letter from the Minister of Marine : 

" Marine Office, 4th Sept. 1782. 

" The enclosed resolution will show you the 
destination of the ship America. Nothing could 
be more pleasing to me than this disposition, ex- 
cepting so far as you are affected by it. I know 
you so well as to be convinced that it must give 
you great pain, and I sincerely sympathize with 

VOL. i. N 


you. But although you will undergo much con- 
cern at being deprived of this opportunity to 
reap laurels on your favourite field, yet your re- 
gard for France will in some measure alleviate 
it; and to this your good sense will naturally 
add the delays which must have happened in 
fitting the ship for sea. I must entreat you to 
continue your inspection until she is launched, 
and to urge forward the business. When that 
is done, if you will come hither I will explain to 
you the reasons which led to this measure, and 
my views of employing you in the service of 
your country. You will on your route have an 
opportunity of conferring with the General on 
the blow you mentioned to me in one of your 
letters." ***** 

Whatever might have been the feelings of 
Jones on this abrupt and painful communica- 
tion, they were stifled by prudence and patriot- 
ism ; and the cheerfulness and magnanimity with 
which he submitted to this stroke elicited the 
subjoined letter from Morris : 


" Marine Office, 4th October, 1782. 
" SIR, **# 

" I have received your letter of the 22d of 
last month. The sentiments contained in it 
will always reflect the highest honour upon your 
character. They have made so strong an im- 
pression upon my mind, that I immediately trans- 
mitted an extract of your letter to Congress. I 
doubt not but they will view it in the same man- 
ner that I have done." 

Jones, on the request of the Minister, con- 
tinued to superintend the equipment of the ship ; 
but as honourable employment, whether in the 
sea or land service, was ever his favourite ob- 
ject, he now solicited the leave of Congress to 
go on board the French fleet, then cruising in 
the American seas, for improvement in his pro- 
fession. This was given in the most gracious 
manner, in the subjoined resolution : 


" Wednesday, Dec. 4, 1782. 
" Resolved, That the agent of marine be in- 


formed that Congress, having a high sense of the 
merit and services of Captain John Paul Jones, 
and being disposed to favour the zeal manifested 
by him to acquire improvement in the line of 
his profession, do grant the permission which he 
requests, and that the said agent be instructed 
to recommend him accordingly to the counte- 
nance of his Excellency the Marquis de Vau- 

The languor of inactivity, and the disappoint- 
ment which followed, were also somewhat soothed 
by the receipt, from time to time, of letters, of 
which the following from La Fayette and Adams 
may furnish a sample : 

" Alliance, off Boston, 22d Dec. 1781. 
" I have been honoured with your polite fa- 
vour, my dear Paul Jones ; but before it reached 
me I already was on board the Alliance, and 
every minute expecting to put to sea. It would 
have afforded me great satisfaction to pay my 
respects to the inhabitants of Portsmouth, and 
the State in which you are for the present. As 
to the pleasure to take you by the hand, my 


dear Paul Jones, you know my affectionate sen- 
timents, and my very great regard for you, so 
that I need not add any thing on that subject. 

" Accept my best thanks for the kind expres- 
sions in your letter. His Lordship's downfall* 
is a great event, and the greater, as it was equal- 
ly and amicably shared by the two allied nations. 
Your coming to the army I had the honour to 
command would have been considered as a very 
flattering compliment to me who love you and 
know your worth. I am impatient to hear you 
are ready to sail, and I am of opinion we ought 
to unite under you every continental ship we 
can muster, with such a body of well-appointed 
marines as might cut a good figure ashore ; and 
then give you plenty of provision, and carte 

" I am sorry I cannot see you. I also had 
many things to tell you ; write me by good op- 
portunities, but not often in ciphers, unless the 
matter is very important," &c. &c. 


* Lord Cornwallis. 


" Hague, 12th August, 1782. 
" DEAR SIR, < 

" I had yesterday the pleasure of receiving 
your favour of the 10th December last, .* * 
* * * The command of the America 
could not have been more judiciously bestowed ; 
and it is with impatience I wish her at sea, 
where she will do honour to her name. No- 
thing gives me so much surprise, or so much re- 
gret, as the inattention of my countrymen to 
their navy. It is to us a bulwark as essential as 
it is to Great Britain. It is less costly than 
armies, and more easily removed from one of the 
United States, to the other. * * * 

" Every day shows that the Batavians have not 
wholly lost their ancient character. They are 
always timid and slow in adopting their political 
systems ; but always firm and able in support of 
them ; and always brave and active in war. They 
have hitherto been restrained by their chiefs ; 
but if the war continue, they will show that they 
are possessed of the spirit of liberty, and that 
they have lost none of their great qualities. 
" Rodney's victory has intoxicated Britain 


again to such a degree, that I think there will 
be no peace for some time. Indeed, if I could 
see a prospect of having a half-dozen line-of-bat- 
tle ships under the American flag, commanded 
by Commodore Paul Jones, engaged with an 
equal British force, I apprehend the event would 
be so glorious for the United States, and lay so 
sure a foundation for their prosperity, that it 
would be a rich compensation for a continuance 
of the war. However, it does not depend upon 
us to finish it. There is but one way, and that 
is Burgoynizing Carlton in New York * * 
jjj,, * * . * . * * * * 


Jones went on board the French fleet accord- 
ing to the permission granted by Congress ; but 
peace put a sudden end to his nautical studies 
in this school; and a few complimentary let- 
ters are the sole trophies that remain of his 
bloodless campaign. These testimonies of his 
talents and conduct were addressed by the Mar- 
quis de Vaudreuil to Mr Morris, the Minister of 
the American Marine, and to the Chevalier de 


la Luzerne, the French Ambassador to the Unit- 
ed States. 

That impatience of inactivity, which appears to 
have been an inherent quality in the mind of 
Jones, and considerations of private interest and 
friendship, now induced him to solicit an appoint- 
ment in Europe, as agent for prize-money, of 
which large sums were still due to himself, and to 
his officers and men, both in France and Den- 
mark. Their claims had indeed never been set- 
tled, and the arrangement was no easy matter. 
Pursuant to a resolution of Congress, he was, on 
the 1st Nov. 17^85 formally appointed " agent 
for all prizes taken in Europe under his own 
command. 11 On his arrival in Paris, his mission 
was sanctioned by Franklin, still minister ple- 
nipotentiary at Versailles, and he proceeded in 
the affair, which had baffled other negotiators, 
with his characteristic vigour and perseverance. 
We are well warranted in presuming that Jones 
would infinitely rather have re- visited Europe at 
this time, commander of that gallant experimen- 
tal frigate which he had so earnestly recommend- 
ed Congress to equip, than in the comparatively 


tame character he now held. His embassy, for 
such he loved to consider it, proved tedious, and 
even vexatious. His old antagonist, M. de Chau- 
mont, had become insolvent ; the French finances 
were already in great disorder, and disinclination 
existed in every department to an adjustment 
or liquidation of the claims of the captors. The 
opposition of Chaumont was peculiarly irritating 
to Jones, who lost no opportunity of reviling and 
exposing him in his frequent correspondence with 
the Marshal de Castries. 

While this affair was in progress, Jones re- 
newed and extended his former social connexions 
in Paris ; and for three years, at this time, sup- 
ported a considerable figure in the fashionable 
society of that capital, both for the gratification of 
his personal feelings and the advancement of his 
mission. In this interval he also formed several 
projects of commercial speculations, on the scale 
suited to the enterprising character of his mind, 
and in concert with different individuals of ca- 
pital and influence. One of these projects, of 
which a sketch still remains among his papers, 


was to establish a fur-trade between the north- 
west coast of America and China, or Japan. 
The person fixed ion to act as supercargo in this 
adventurous expedition was the celebrated John 
Ledyard, with whom it probably originated. It 
went so far, that Jones was on the point of pur- 
chasing a ship ; but failed, partly from the jea- 
lousy of the Spanish government, and partly 
from private causes. The Algerines, and the 
sufferings of their American captives, was another 
object of his anxious attention, and one of^which 
he never lost sight for the short remainder of his 
life, though he was not able to effect much in 
the behalf of this unfortunate portion of his 

Another of Jones' amusements at this time was 
having his bust taken, which was afterwards some- 
what ostentatiously presented to a favoured few 
in America. He also handed round the journal 
of his short and brilliant campaign, and received 
in return the usual requital of letters of compli- 
ment, which, when proceeding from such cha- 
racters as Malsherbes and D'Estaing, any man 


may be pardoned for overvaluing. A compli- 
ment was never thrown away on the Commodore, 
and seldom forgotten. 

Tedious as the affair of the prize-money proved, 
an equitable and even liberal adjustment was 
obtained in France long before any prospect of 
a settlement of the claims on Denmark, which 
power had shuffled for eight years with consider- 
able dexterity, and continued to do so still. 

With his mission thus far accomplished, Jones, 
in the summer of 1787> returned to America, 
giving the following reasons for not at this time 
proceeding to Copenhagen : 

To His Excellency John Jay, Esq. Minister of Fo- 
reign Affairs. 

" New York, July 8th, 1787. 
" SIR, 

" The application I made for a compensation 
for our prizes through the Danish minister in 
London not having succeeded, it was determined 
between Mr Jefferson and myself, that the pro- 
per method to obtain satisfaction was for me to 


go in person to the court of Copenhagen. It 
was necessary for me to see the Baron de Blome 
before I could leave France on that business, 
and he being absent on a tour in Switzerland, 
did not return to Paris till the beginning of last 
winter. I left Paris in the spring, and went as 
far as Brussels on my way to Copenhagen, when 
an unforeseen circumstance in my private affairs 
rendered it indispensable for me to turn about 
and cross the ocean. My private business here 
being already finished, I shall in a few days re- 
embark for Europe, in order to proceed to the 
court of Denmark. It is my intention to go by 
the way of Paris, in order to obtain a letter to 
the French minister at Copenhagen, from the 
Count de Montmorin, as the one I obtained is 
from the Count de Vergennes. It would be 
highly flattering to me if I could carry a letter 
with me from Congress to his Most Christian 
Majesty, thanking him for the squadron he did 
us the honour to support under our flag. And 
on this occasion, Sir, permit me, with becoming 
diffidence, to recall the attention of my Sovereign 
to the letter of recommendation I brought with 


me from the court of France, dated 30th May, 
1780. It would be pleasing to me if that letter 
should be found to merit a place on the journals 
of Congress. Permit me also to entreat that 
Congress will be pleased to read the letter I re- 
ceived from the minister of marine, when his Ma- 
jesty deigned to bestow on me a golden-hilted 
sword, emblematical of the happy alliance, an 
honour which his Majesty never conferred on any 
other foreign officer. I owed the high favour I 
enjoyed at the court of France in a great de- 
gree to the favourable testimony of my conduct 
which had been communicated by his Majesty's 
ambassador, under whose eye I acted in the most 
critical situation in the Texel, as well as to the 
public opinion of Europe. And the letter with 
which I was honoured by the prime minister of 
France, when I was about to return to America, 
is a clear proof that we might have drawn still 
greater advantages from the generous disposition 
of our ally, if our marine had not been lost whilst 
I was, under perplexing circumstances, detained 
in Europe, after I had given the Count de Mau- 
repas my plan for forming a combined squadron 


of ten or twelve sail of frigates, supported by the 
America, with a detachment of French troops on 
board ; the whole at the expense of his Majesty. 

" It is certain that I am much flattered by re- 
ceiving a gold sword from the most illustrious 
monarch now living ; but I had refused to accept 
his commission on two occasions before that time, 
when some firmness was necessary to resist the 
temptation. He was not my sovereign ; I served 
the cause of freedom ; and honours from my so- 
vereign would be more pleasing. Since the year 
1775? when I displayed the American flag for the 
first time with my own hands, I have been con- 
stantly devoted to the interests of America. Fo- 
reigners have, perhaps, given me too much cre- 
dit, and this may have raised my ideas of my 
services above their real value ; but my zeal can 
never be over-rated. 

" I should act inconsistently if I omitted to 
mention the dreadful situation of our unhappy 
fellow-citizens in slavery at Algiers. Their al- 
most hopeless fate is a deep reflection on our na- 
tional character in Europe. I beg leave to in- 
fluence the humanity of Congress in their behalf, 


and to propose that some expedient may be 
adopted for their redemption. A fund might be 
raised for that purpose by a duty of a shilling 
per month from seamen's wages throughout the 
continent, and I am persuaded that no difficulty 
would be made to that requisition, 

I have the honour to be, , 
Sir, &c. &c. . i . 

" PAUL JONES.'*'' 

The manner in which Jones had divided the 
quotas, and the magnitude of his private claims 
for personal expenses while engaged in this ser- 
vice, did not satisfy the Board of Treasury of 
the United States, and their report highly of- 
fended him. He, however, made out what, al- 
lowing for a considerable alloy of self-eulogium, 
inseparable from all his vindicatory writings, may 
be called a triumphant case. " The settlement," 
he says, " that I made with the court of .France 
had first Dr Franklin's and afterwards Mr Jef- 
ferson's approbation, in every stage and article 
of the business ; and I presume it will be found, 
at least so far as depended on me, to merit that 


of the United States. The Board of Treasury 
have been pleased in their report to treat me as 
a mere agent, though employed in that delicate 
national concern. In France I was received and 
treated by the King and his ministers as a gene- 
ral officer and a special minister from Congress. 
The credit with which I am honoured as an of- 
ficer, in the opinion of Europe, and the personal 
intimacy I have with many great characters at 
Paris, with my exclusive knowledge of all cir- 
cumstances relative to the business, ensured me 
a success which no other man could have obtain- 
ed. My situation subjected me to considerable 
expense. I went to Court much oftener, and 
mixed with the great much more frequently, than 
our minister plenipotentiary, yet the gentlemen 
in that situation consider then* salary of two 
thousand a-year as scarcely adequate to their ex- 
penses." But the reader is already so familiar 
with the services of the Commodore to the pub- 
lic cause of America, that we spare them the re- 
petition which follows, and pass to the issue of 
this altercation, which was a resolution of Congress, 
passed a few days afterwards, declaring his distri- 


bution of the quotas valid, and allowing him the 
sum claimed as expended by him on this ser- 
vice. This was 47,972 livres, instead of the usual 
commission on sums recovered, which would not 
nearly have defrayed his expenses. 

To complete his triumph over the Board of 
Treasury, Congress, in a few days afterwards, 
unanimously resolved " that a gold medal should 
be struck, and presented to Chevalier J. Paul 
Jones, in commemoration of the valour and bril- 
liant services of that officer while in command of 
a squadron of French and American ships, under 
the flag and commission of the States of America." 
It was farther resolved that a letter should be 
written to his Most Christian Majesty ; and ac- 
cordingly, furnished with the following letter, 
Jones left the shores of America, which he was 
destined never again to revisit : 

" To His Most Christian Majesty, Louis, King of 

France and Navarre. 

" We, the United States in Congress assem- 
bled, in consideration of the distinguished marks 


of approbation with which your Majesty has been 
pleased to honour the Chevalier John Paul Jones, 
as well as from a sense of his merit, have unani- 
mously directed a medal of gold to be struck and 
presented to him, in commemoration of his va- 
lour and brilliant services while commanding a 
squadron of French and American ships, under 
our flag and commission, off the coast of Great 
Britain, in the late war. 

" As it is his earnest desire to acquire know- 
ledge in his profession, we cannot forbear re- 
questing of your Majesty to permit him to em- 
bark in your fleets of evolution, where only it 
will be probably in his power to acquire that de- 
gree of knowledge which may hereafter .render 
him most extensively useful. 

" Permit us to repeat to your Majesty, our 
sincere assurances, that the various and impor- 
tant benefits for which we are indebted to your 
friendship will never cease to interest us in what- 
ever may concern the happiness of your Majesty, 
your family, and people. We pray God to keep 
you, our great and beloved friend, under his holy 


" Done at the city of New York, the 16th 
day of October, in the year of our Lord 
1787? an d f our Sovereignty and Inde- 
pendence the 12th." 

It is not probable, though just possible, that, 
before this last departure for Europe, Jones was 
aware, that, in conversation with M. de Simo- 
lin, the Russian ambassador at Paris, Mr Jeffer- 
son had proposed him to serve Russia in the 
Black Sea. This conversation arose in conse- 
quence of the disasters which had befallen her 
Imperial Majesty's fleet in a tempest in the 
month of September of that year. During the 
late negotiations about the prize-money, Jones 
had come in close contact with Mr Jefferson, 
who immediately succeeded to Franklin as am- 
bassador, and had gained his friendship and es- 
teem. Though he might not be aware thus 
early of this private treaty concerning him, there 
is no room to doubt that, with all the indifference 
and coquettish reluctance he afterwards thought 
fit to affect, he was from the first moment daz- 
zled and infatuated by the prospects which thus 


opened so unexpectedly upon him in a new ca- 
reer of glory and distinction. He landed at 
Dover from stress of weather, and, after spend- 
ing a few days in London, and making certain 
arrangements with the American ambassador 
there, respecting the Danish claims, went to 
Paris, and was there at least informed by Mr 
Jefferson of the high destinies which probably 
awaited him in Russia. He accordingly defer- 
red delivering the letter which he bore from Con- 
gress to his Most Christian Majesty, till a more 
convenient season, and set out for Copenhagen 
in mid-winter, ostensibly only to solicit indem- 
nification for the prizes so long before delivered 
up to the English minister, but in reality to 
draw a step nearer to St Petersburgh. There 
is no evidence that the court of Russia had ever 
thought of John Paul Jones as a naval com- 
mander till M. de Simolin had written home, 
ft that with the chief command of the fleet, and 
carte blanche, he would undertake that in a year 
Paul Jones would make Constantinople tremble/ 1 
Jones was furnished with letters to the French 
ambassador at Copenhagen, and other influen- 


tial persons, and gives this account of his recep- 
tion in that capital : 

" I have been so much indisposed since my 
arrival here the 4th, from the fatigue and exces- 
sive cold I suffered on the road, that I have been 
obliged to confine myself almost constantly to 
my chamber. I have kept my bed for several 
days ; but I now feel myself better, and hope 
the danger is over. On my arrival I paid my 
respects to the minister of France. He received 
me with great kindness ; we went, five days ago, 
to the minister of foreign affairs. I was much 
flattered with my reception, and our conversation 
was long and very particular respecting America 
and the new constitution, of which I presented a 
copy. He observed, that it had struck him as 
a very dangerous power to make the president 
commander-in-chief : in other respects it appear- 
ed to please him much, as leading to a near and 
sure treaty of commerce between America and 
Denmark. It was a day of public business, and 
I could not do more than present your letter. 
I shall follow the business closely. In a few 
days, when I am re-established in health, I am 


to be presented to the whole court, and to sup 
with the King. I shall after that be presented to 
all the corps diplomatique and other persons of 
distinction here. I am infinitely indebted to the 
attentions I receive from the minister of France. 
I made the inquiry you desired in Holland, and 
should then have written to you in consequence, 
had I not been assured, by authority, (M. Van 
Stophorstj) that I could not doubt that letters 
had been sent you on the subject, that could not 
fail of giving you satisfaction. M. Van Stop- 
horst was very obliging. At Hamburgh I order- 
ed the smoked beef you desired to be sent to 
you, to the care of the American agent at Havre 
de Grace ; you have nothing to do but receive 
it, paying what little charges may be on it. My 
ill health and fatigue on the road hindered me 
from preparing the extract of the engagement. 
When you see M. Littlepage, I pray you to pre- 
sent my kind compliments. It is said here, that 
the Empress confides the commerce of her fleet, 
that will pass the Sound, to Admiral Greig ; and 
that he means to call at an English port to take 
provisions, &c. The Hamburgh papers, I am 


told, have announced the death of Dr Franklin. 
I shall be extremely concerned if the account 
prove true God forbid !" 

A subsequent letter states, 

" Yesterday his excellency the Baron de La 
Houge, minister plenipotentiary of France at 
this court, did me the honour to present me pub- 
licly to his Majesty, the Royal Family, and chief 
personages at the royal palace here. 

" I had a very polite and distinguished recep- 
tion. The Queen Dowager conversed with me 
for some time, and said the most civil things. 
Her Majesty has a dignity of person and deport- 
ment which becomes her well, and which she 
has the secret to reconcile with great affability and 
ease. The Princess Royal is a charming per- 
son, and the graces are so much her own, that it 
is impossible to see and converse with her with- 
out paying her that homage which artless beauty 
and good nature will ever command. All the 
Royal Family spoke to me except the King, who 
speaks to no person when presented. His Ma- 
jesty saluted me with great complaisance at first, 
and as often afterwards as we met in the course 


of the evening. The Prince Royal is greatly be- 
loved and extremely affable ; he asked me a 
number of pertinent questions respecting Ame- 
rica. I had the honour to be invited to sup with 
his Majesty and the Royal Family. The com- 
pany at table (consisting of seventy ladies and 
gentlemen, including the Royal Family, the mi- 
nisters of state, and foreign ambassadors) was 
very brilliant." 

But this flattering reception, and abundance of 
diplomatic courtesy, did not long satisfy the ne- 
gotiator, who was moreover engaged in another 
game with Baron Krudner, the Russian Envoy 
at this court, which interested him far more 
deeply. He was, in short, impatient to reach the 
goal of his new-sprung hopes, St Petersburgh, 
and accordingly addressed Count Bernstorf in 
his best style of diplomacy : 

Captain Paul Jones to Count Bernstorf. 

" Copenhagen, 24th March, 1788. 
" From the act of Congress, (the act by which 
I am honoured with a gold medal,) I had the 


honour to show your Excellency the 21st of this 
month, as well as from the conversation that fol- 
lowed, you must be convinced that circumstan- 
ces do not permit me to remain here ; but that 
I am under the necessity, either to return to 
France or to proceed to Russia. As the minis- 
ter of the United States of America at Paris 
gave me the perusal of the packet he wrote by 
me, and which I had the honour to present to 
you on my arrival here, it is needless to go into 
any detail on the object of my mission to this 
court ; which Mr Jefferson has particularly ex- 
plained. The promise you have given me, of a 
prompt and explicit decision, from this Court, 
on the act of Congress of the 25th of October 
last, inspires me with full confidence. I have 
been very particular in communicating to the 
United States all the polite attentions with which 
I have been honoured at this Court ; and they 
will learn with great pleasure the kind reception 
I had from you. I felicitated myself on being 
the instrument to settle the delicate national busi- 
ness in question, with a minister who conciliates 
the views of the wise statesman with the noble 
VOL. i. o 


sentiments and cultivated mind of the true phi- 
losopher and man of letters." 

Paul Jones to Count Bernstorf. 

" Copenhagen, March 30, 1788. 
" Your silence on the subject of my mission 
from the United States to this Court leaves me 
in the most painful suspense ; the more so, as I 
have made your Excellency acquainted with the 
promise I am under to proceed as soon as possi- 
ble to St Petersburgh. This being the ninth year 
since the three prizes reclaimed by the United 
States were seized upon in the port of Bergen, 
in Norway, it is to be presumed that this Court 
has long since taken an ultimate resolution re- 
specting the compensation demand made by Con- 
gress. Though I am extremely sensible of the 
favourable reception with which I have been dis- 
tinguished at this Court, and am particularly 
flattered by the polite attentions with which you 
have honoured me at every conference ; yet I 
have remarked, with great concern, that you have 
never led the conversation to the object of my 


mission here. A man of your liberal sentiments 
will not, therefore, be surprised, or offended at 
my plain dealing, when I repeat that I impa- 
tiently expect a prompt and categorical answer, 
in writing, from this Court, to the act of Con- 
gress of the 25th of October last. Both my duty 
and the circumstances of my situation constrain 
me to make this demand in the name of my So- 
vereign the United States of America ; but I 
beseech you to believe, that though I am extreme- 
ly tenacious of the honour of the American Jlag, 
yet my personal interest in the decision I now 
ask would never have induced me to present 
myself at this Court. You are too just, Sir, to 
delay my business here ; which would put me 
under the necessity to break the promise I have 
made to her Imperial Majesty, conformable to 
your advice." 

Count Bernstorf'to Paul Jones. 

" Copenhagen, April 4, J 788. 
" SIR, 

" You have requested of me an answer to the 


letter you did me the honour to remit me from 
Mr Jefferson, minister plenipotentiary of the 
United States of America, near his most Chris- 
tian Majesty. I do it with so much more plea- 
sure, as you have inspired me with as much 
interest as confidence, and this occasion appears 
to me favourable to make known the sentiments 
of the King my master, on the objects to which 
we attach so much importance. Nothing can be 
farther from the plans and the wishes of his ma- 
jesty than to let fall a negotiation which has 
only been suspended in consequence of circum- 
stances arising from the necessity of maturing a 
new situation, so as to enlighten himself on their 
reciprocal interests, and to avoid the inconve- 
nience of a precipitate and imperfect arrange- 
ment. I am authorized, Sir, to give you, and 
through you to Mr Jefferson, the word of the 
King, that his majesty will renew the negotia- 
tion for a treaty of amity and commerce in the 
forms already agreed upon, at the instant that 
the new Constitution (that admirable plan, so 
worthy of the wisdom of the most enlightened 
men) will have been adopted by the states, to 


which nothing more was wanted to assure to it- 
self a perfect consideration. If it has not been 
possible, Sir, to discuss, definitively with you, 
neither the principal object nor its accessories, 
the idea of eluding the question, or of retarding 
the decision, had not the least part in it. I have 
already had the honour to express to you, in our 
conversations, that your want of plenipotentiary 
powers from Congress was a natural and invin- 
cible obstacle. It would be, likewise, contrary 
to the established custom to change the seat of 
negotiation, which has not been broken off, but 
only suspended, thereby to transfer it from Paris 
to Copenhagen. 

" I have only one more favour to ask of you, 
Sir, that you would be the interpreter of our sen- 
timents in regard to the United States. It would 
be a source of gratification to me to think that 
what I have said to you on this subject carries 
with it that conviction of the truth which it me- 
rits. We desire to form with them connexions, 
solid, useful, and essential ; we wish to establish 
them on bases natural and immoveable. The 
momentary clouds, the incertitudes, which the 



misfortunes of the times brought with them, exist 
no longer. We should no longer recollect it, 
but to feel in a more lively manner the happi- 
ness of a more fortunate period ; and to show 
ourselves more eager to prove the dispositions 
most proper to effect an union, and to procure 
reciprocally the advantages which a sincere al- 
liance can afford, and of which the two coun- 
tries are susceptible. These are the sentiments 
which I can promise you, Sir, on our part, and 
we flatter ourselves to find them likewise in Ame- 
rica ; nothing, then, can retard the conclusion of 
an arrangement, which I am happy to see so far 

Paul Jones to Count Bernstorf. 

" Copenhagen, April 5, 1788. 
" I pray your Excellency to inform me when 
I can have the honour to wait on you, to receive 
the letter you have been kind enough to pro- 
mise to write me, in answer to the act of Con- 
gress of the 25th October last. As you have 
told me that my want of plenipotentiary powers 
to terminate ultimately the business now on the 


carpet, between the Court and the United States, 
has determined you to authorize the Baron de 
Blome to negotiate and settle the same with Mr 
Jefferson at Paris, and to conclude, at the same 
time, an advantageous treaty of commerce be- 
tween Denmark and the United States, my 
business here will of course be at an end when 
I shall have received your letter and paid you 
my thanks in person for the very polite atten- 
tions with which you have honoured me." 

From Baron Krudner, shortly after his arrival, 
Jones received the following letter, which of itself 
denotes a foregone conclusion, and his acceptance 
of the invitation of Russia : 

" SIR, 

" I am much disappointed at not meeting you 
at Court, as I had promised myself, but a slight 
indisposition prevented me from going abroad ; 
besides, I have been agreeably occupied in writ- 
ing letters. My Sovereign will learn with plea- 
sure the acquisition which she has made in your 
great talents. I have her commands for your 


acceptance of the grade of Captain Commandant, 
with the rank of Major General, in her service, 
and that you should proceed as soon as your af- 
fairs permit ; the intention of her Imperial Ma- 
jesty being to give you a command in the Black 
Sea, and under the orders of Prince Potemkin, 
from the opening of the campaign. The immor- 
tal glory by which you have illustrated your 
name cannot make you indifferent to the fresh 
laurels you must gather in the new career which 
opens to you. I have the honour of being on 
this occasion the interpreter of those sentiments 
of esteem with which for a long period your bril- 
liant exploits have inspired her Imperial Majes- 
ty. Under a Sovereign so magnanimous, in pur- 
suing glory you need not doubt of the most 
distinguished rewards, and that every advantage 
of fortune will await you,"" &c. &c. 

This was so far well, but did not entirely come 
up to the high-raised expectations of Jones. In 
a letter to Jefferson about this same time, he 
says, " Before you can receive this, M. de Si- 
molin will have informed you that your proposal 
to him, and his application on that idea, have 


been well received. The matter is communi- 
cated to me here, in the most flattering terms, 
by a letter I have received from his Excellency 
the Baron de Krudner." This is indeed per- 
fectly contradictory of the statement Jones gives 
in the introduction to his Journal of the Cam- 
paign of the Liman, where the proposal of M. 
de Simolin is represented as quite spontaneous, 
and treated by himself at first as chimerical ; but 
this is evidently the correct one. " There seems, 1 ' 
he continues, " to remain some difficulty re- 
specting the letter of M. de SimoluVs proposal, 
though it is accepted in substance ;" he then ex- 
presses his gratitude to the Russian Ambassa- 
dor, and to Mr Littlepage, who had contributed 
so materially to his success in this affair. In a 
subsequent letter to Jefferson, written immediate- 
ly before leaving Copenhagen, after enumerating 
his services, and mentioning what might have been 
his services had he possessed more ample diplo- 
matic powers, he introduces the subject near- 
est his heart. Russia had demurred to his de- 
mand of the rank of Rear- Admiral. " If Con- 
gress," he says, " should think I deserve the 


promotion that was proposed when I was in Ame- 
rica, and should condescend to confer on me the 
grade of Rear-Admiral, from the day I took 
the Serapis, (23d September, 1779, exactly 
nine years before,) I am persuaded it would 
be very agreeable to the Empress, who now 
deigns to offer me an equal rank in her service, 
although I never had the honour to draw my 
sword in her cause, nor to do any other act that 
could merit her imperial benevolence." He after- 
wards continues : " The mark I mentioned of the 
approbation of that honourable body, (Congress) 
would be extremely flattering to me in the career 
I am now to pursue, and would stimulate all my 
ambition to acquire the necessary talents to merit 
that, and even greater favours at a future day. 
I pray you. Sir, to explain the circumstances of 
my situation ; and be the interpreter of my sen- 
timents to the United States in Congress. I ask 
for nothing, and beg leave to be understood only 
as having hinted what is natural to conceive, that 
the mark of approbation I mentioned could not 
fail to be infinitely serviceable to my views and 
success in the country where I am going." Ser- 


viceable this piece of idle distinction might have 
been in smoothing the difficulties thrown in the 
way of his obtaining the rank of Rear-Admiral, 
for which he stipulated on entering the Russian 
service, and which, as appears from his former 
letter to Jefferson, and from the letter of Baron 
Krudner, given above, was refused at the outset. 
Though not disposed to break off his engage- 
ment, neither was he willing to give up his claims 
to the desired grade without a strenuous effort. 
He immediately replied to the Baron, going over 
the whole ground : " I am extremely flattered," 
he says, " by the obliging things expressed in 
the letter your Excellency has done me the ho- 
nour to write me yesterday. The very favour- 
able sentiments with which my zeal for the cause 
of America, rather than my professional skill, 
has inspired her Imperial Majesty, fills me with 
an irresistible desire to merit the precious opi- 
nion with which her Majesty deigns to honour 
me. Though I cannot conceive the reason why 
any difficulty should be made to my being ad- 
mitted into the marine of her Imperial Majesty 
as Rear-Admiral, a rank to which I have some 


claim, and that it should at the same time be 
proposed to give me the grade of Major-General, 
to which I have no title, it is not my intention 
to withdraw from the engagement which you 
have formed in my name, in the letter you ad- 
dressed your court on the 23d current. You 
will be convinced by the papers I have the ho- 
nour to submit to your inspection, that I am not 
an adventurer in search of fortune. You will 
discover, I presume, that my talents have been 
considerable ; but that, loving glory, I am per- 
haps too much attached to honours, though per- 
sonal interest is an idol to which I have never 
bowed the knee. The unbounded admiration 
and profound respect which I have long felt for 
the glorious character of her Imperial Majesty, 
forbids the idea that a sovereign so magnani- 
mous should sanction any arrangement that may 
give pain at the outset to the man she deigns to 
honour with her notice, and who wishes to devote 
himself entirely to her service. A conjoined com- 
mand is hurtful, and often fatal in military opera- 
tions. There is no military man who is so en- 
tirely master of his passions as to keep free of 


jealousy and its consequences in such circum- 
stances. Being quite a stranger, I have more to 
fear from a conjoined command than any other 
officer in the service of her Imperial Majesty. 
I cannot imagine why her Majesty should think 
it best to divide the command on the Black Sea ; 
and if the direction of that department be already 
confided to an officer of sufficient ability and ex- 
perience, I do not seek to interfere with his com- 

Jones was already aware of the appointment 
of the Prince of Nassau, and even thus early 
foresaw many of the probable difficulties of his 
situation ; but he had that confidence in himself 
which gave him assurance of triumphing over 
them, and proceeded, if not blindfold, yet de- 
termined not to see. We leave to his own nar- 
rative the account of his almost romantic journey 
from Copenhagen to St Petersburgh. In that ca- 
pital he was received with a distinction which might 
have turned the soundest head. His very manner 
of approach had disposed people to gaze on the 
American hero as a wonder ; his door was be- 
sieged with carriages, and his table loaded with 

VOL. i. p 


invitations. In short, he was now in Russia, 
and the man whom, for the time, the Empress 
delighted to honour; the expected conqueror of 
the Turks; and it might be, a future Potemkin.* 
At this curiously-timed juncture he received a 
patent from the King of Denmark, granting him 
for life an annual pension of 1500 Danish crowns, 
" for the respect he had shown to the Danish flag 
while he commanded in the North Seas." To 
pension the agent whose claims for his consti- 
tuents are deferred or evaded, is at all times a 
somewhat suspicious circumstance ; though this 
grant being unexpected and unsolicited, Jones 
stands clear in what he himself justly calls " an 
embarrassing situation." It was three years be- 
fore he even mentioned this grant to his Ame- 
rican friends ; and had his affairs prospered, it is 

* The cards of many of the Russian nobility received 
at this time, and of the whole host of Members of Lega- 
tion, Envoys, Residents, &c., in short, all the component 
parts of a great court, still remain among the papers of 
Paul Jones, who through life seems to have been peculiar- 
ly diligent in the accumulation of such " frail memorials." 



probable he never would have looked after it. As 
it was, when his large expenditure in Russia made 
it necessary to draw on this fund, which he did 
with the sanction of certain American gentlemen, 
whose advice he requested, he never received a 
single crown of the spontaneous royal grant thus 
pressed upon him. 

For a fortnight Jones remained at St Peters- 
burgh, " feasted at court, and in the first socie- 
ty ." " The Empress," he writes to La Fayette, 
" received me with a distinction the most flatter- 
ing that perhaps any stranger can boast of on 
entering the Russian service. Her Majesty con- 
ferred on me immediately the grade of Rear- Ad- 
miral. I was detained, against my will, a fort- 
night, and continually feasted at court, and in 
the first society. This was a cruel grief to the 
English ; and I own their vexation, which I be- 
lieve was general in and about St Petersburgh, 
gave me no pain." Before the year elapsed, the 
Rear-Admiral found some cause to change his 
opinions in many things ; and even respecting 
the English at St Petersburgh. He was about 


this time at least three-fourths Russian. We 
hear no longer of America as his sole country, 
though he assumes a certain patronizing air to- 
wards that young State. " I certainly wish to 
be useful to a country which I have so long serv- 
ed. I love the people and their cause, and shall 
always rejoice when I can be useful to promote 
their happiness." " What are you about, my 
dear General ? are you so absorbed in politics as 
to be insensible to glory ? that is impossible, 
quit then your divine Calypso, come here and 
pay your court to Bellona, who you are sure 
will receive you as her favourite. You would 
be charmed with Prince Potemkin. He is a 
most amiable man, and none can be more noble- 
minded. For the Empress, fame has never yet 
done her justice. I am sure that no stranger 
who has not known that illustrious character, ever 
conceived how much her Majesty is made to 
reign over a great empire, to make people happy, 
and to attach grateful and susceptible minds. 
Is not the present a happy moment for France 
to declare for Russia ?" Such were the extra- 


ordinary lights that had suddenly dawned upon 
the former champion of liberty and assertor of 
the " dignity of human nature. 11 

A few weeks before the above letter was des- 
patched to La Fayette, the Empress, with her 
own hand, had written to the Rear-Admiral, en- 
closing a letter from M. de Simolin, regarding 
his affairs. Though disappointed of sole com- 
mand, as will appear in the subjoined narrative, 
he still continued to be dazzled with his pro- 
spects. The letter of her Imperial Majesty, who 
spared no pains in carrying a favourite point, 
as well as its enclosure, deserves to be preserv- 

From the Empress Catherine to Rear-Admiral 
Paul Jones. 

" SIR,- A courier from Paris has just brought 
from my Envoy in France, M. de Simolin, the 
enclosed letter to Count Besborodko. As I 
believe that this letter may help to confirm to 
you what I have already told you verbally, I 
have sent it, and beg you to return it, as I have 


not even made a copy be taken, so anxious am I 
that you should see it. I hope that it will efface 
all doubts from your mind, and prove to you that 
you are to be connected only with those who are 
most favourably disposed towards you. I have no 
doubt but that on your side you will fully justify 
the opinion which we have formed of you, and 
apply yourself with zeal to support the reputation 
and the name you have acquired for valour and 
skill on the element in which you are to serve. 

I wish you happiness and health, 

Extract of the Letter from M. de Simolin to Count 
de Besborodko, enclosed in the above. 

" THE letter with which your Excellency fa- 
voured me on the 16th February, was delivered 
by Mr Poliranoff. By it I was informed of the 
resolution of her Imperial Majesty, on the sub- 
ject of the engagement with the Chevalier Paul 
Jones ; and the same day Lieutenant-Colonel de 
Baner, who was despatched from St Elizabeth by 


Prince Potemkin on the 9th March, brought me 
two letters, the subject of one of which was the said 
Chevalier Jones, whom he requested me to induce 
to repair to his head-quarters as quickly as pos- 
sible, that he might employ his talents at the 
opening of the campaign ; and to assure him that 
in entering the service, he, (Potemkin,) would 
do all that depended on him to make his situation 
pleasant and advantageous, and certainly procure 
for him occasions in which he might display his 
skill and valour. 1 ' u Has he kept his word ?" says 
Jones in a note long afterwards affixed to this 
letter, which at the moment must have given him 
so much pleasure. 

Such were the Jflattering auspices under which 
Paul Jones entered the service of Russia. From 
this point his history will be continued for some 
time by the most interesting portion of his re- 
maining papers his Journal of the Campaign of 
the Liman. 















THIS narrative is now arrived at a period in 
which it can be for some time continued in the 
most desirable way, namely, by the Journal of the 
Rear-Admiral, kept by himself on the scene 
of action during his memorable campaign against 
the Turks, afterwards extended at St Peters- 
burgh and Warsaw, and prepared for publica- 
tion at Paris. Had he acted the part which 
manliness and sound wisdom dictated, in openly 
withdrawing from the service which had been to 
him one of misery and bondage, in which all 
the better qualities and higher energies of his 
mind were converted into the means of self-tor- 
ture, he would unquestionably have published 



this Journal himself, if not in France, either in 
England or America. He long contemplated 
the necessity of both of these steps, and all along 
felt that his leave of absence for two years was in 
fact a virtual dismission ; but, by the strange fa- 
tality, which often appears to enchain a man's 
will in spite of the suggestions of his reason, he 
lingered on till death closed the scene. 

In a letter written to Mr Jefferson, twenty 
months after he had been exiled from Russia, 
and when his last remaining hopes in life began 
to turn to America, his first country, he says, 
" As it has been and still is my first wish, and 
my highest ambition, to show myself worthy of 
the flattering marks of esteem with which I have 
been honoured by my country, I think it my 
duty to lay before you> both as my particular 
friend and as a public minister, the papers I now 
enclose relative to my connexion with Russia, 
viz. three pieces dated St Petersburgh, and 
signed by the Court de Segur ; a letter from me 
dated at Paris last summer, and sent to the 
Prince de Potemkin ; and a letter from me to the 
Empress, dated a few days afterwards, enclosing 


eleven pieces as numbered in the margin. I have 
selected those testimonies from a great variety of 
perhaps still stronger proofs in my hands ; but, 
though the Baron de Grimm* has undertaken to 
transmit to her Imperial Majesty's own hands 
my last packet, I shall not be surprised if I 
should find myself obliged to withdraw from the 
service of Russia, and to publish my Journal of 
the Campaign (in which) I commanded. In that 
case I hope to prove to the world that my oper- 
ations not ^nly saved Cherson and the Crimea, 
but decided the fate of the war." 

The Journal is written in disjointed portions, 
and in a spirit of alternate bitterness and boast- 
ing, which the indulgent reader must attribute 
to the personal feelings from which the work 

* Baron Grimm was a sort of man -of-all- work for the 
Empress Catherine II., whose business was to despatch, 
as frequently as possible, all the scandal, literary gossip, 
and political intelligence, his peculiar industry could pick 
up in Paris, for the information or amusement of the 
Empress and her Court. The German had too much 
tact to be the means of transmitting any thing dis- 


arose. The injustice, mortification, and perse- 
cution endured by the man and the officer must 
plead the apology of the author. 

To the historian this Journal is of considerable 
value. It places in an entirely new aspect one 
of the most memorable of the campaigns between 
Russia and the Porte ; and affords a clue, were 
that any longer needed, to the crooked and de- 
basing spirit of intrigue by which the domestic 
policy of Russia was conducted, even under the 
auspices of the great Catherine. 

ef Introduction to the Journal of Rear- Admiral Paul 
Jones's Campaign in the Liman in 1788. 

" The United States of America having charged 
me with a mission of a political nature to the 
Court of Denmark, and having at the same time 
given me a letter to deliver personally to his Most 
Christian Majesty, Louis XVI., I embarked at 
New York on the llth November, 1787? m an 
American vessel bound for Holland, the captain 
of which agreed to land me in France. 

" After a voyage of a month, I landed at Do- 


ver, in England, not being able to get ashore in 
France. From Dover I went to London, where 
I saw the minister of the United States. I pass- 
ed some days with my friends there, and went to 
Covent Garden Theatre. I afterwards set out 
for Paris, where I arrived on the 20th December. 

" Mr Jefferson, the Ambassador of the United 
States, visited me on the night of my arrival, and 
informed me that M. de Simolin, minister pleni- 
potentiary of her Imperial Majesty of all the Rus- 
sias, had often spoken of me while I was in 
America, and appeared anxious that I should 
agree to go to Russia, to command the fleet 
against the Turks in .the Black Sea. I regard- 
ed this proposal as a castle in the air ; and as I 
did not wish to be employed in foreign service, 
I avoided meeting M. de Simolin, for whose cha- 
racter I had, at the same time, the highest re- 

" As the letter, of which I was the bearer to 
the King of France, concerned myself alone, my 
friends advised me not to seek an interview with 
his Majesty till after my return from Denmark. 
In that letter the United States requested his 
Majesty to permit me to embark in his fleet of 


evolution, to complete my knowledge of naval 
tactics, and of military and maritime operations 
upon the great scale. 

" Speaking to a man of very high rank at Paris, 

1 informed him of the proposal communicated 
to me by Mr Jefferson. He replied, that ' he 
would advise me to go to Constantinople at once 
rather than enter the service of Russia.'* 

" On the 1st of February, 1788, at the moment 
of my departure from Paris, I received a note 
from Mr Littlepage, chamberlain to the King of 
Poland, earnestly requesting me to breakfast with 
him next morning, as he had matters of the ut- 

* Whether from a magnanimous sense of justice, or 
dislike to his associates and rivals, or, as is probable, a 
mixture of these motives, Paul Jones, in the course of 
the campaign, became somewhat Turkish, and a warm 
admirer of the Capitan Pacha. In the Journal he does 
the Turks ample justice ; and in a letter to Baron de la 
Houze, the minister of France at Copenhagen, we find 
him saying, " I have much to tell you respecting the 
' moustaches of the Capitan Pacha/ " of which the Baron 
had probably jocularly desired Paul Jones to send him a 
good account ; " he is a very brave man, and the public 
have been much deceived as to our affairs with him." 


most importance to communicate to me. I went 
to him that same night, and he told me that M, 
de Simolin had the greatest desire to converse 
with me before my departure, and that he ex- 
pected him to breakfast with us next day. 

" M. de Simolin said the most polite and oblig- 
ing things to me, that, having known me well by 
reputation whilst he was ambassador in Eng- 
land, and since he had come to France, he had 
already proposed me to his Sovereign as com- 
mander of the fleet in the Black Sea, and that 
he expected her Imperial Majesty would make me 
proposals in consequence. I could not yet look 
upon the affair very seriously ; but I was much 
flattered with the opinion of M. de Simolin, to 
whom I expressed my gratitude. When he had 
left the house, Mr Littlepage assured me that 
he had written to his Court, that ' if her Im- 
perial Majesty confided to me the chief command 
of her fleet on the Black Sea, with carte blanche, 
he would answer for it that in less than a year 
I should make Constantinople tremble.' 

" In Denmark I put in train a treaty between 
that power and the United States ; but this ar- 


rangement was interrupted by the arrival of a 
courier from St Petersburg}!, despatched express 
by the Empress, to invite me to repair to her 

" Though I foresaw many obstacles in the way 
of my entering the service of Russia, I believed 
that I could not avoid going to St Petersburgh, 
to thank the Empress for the favourable opinion 
she had conceived of me. I transferred the treaty 
going forward at Copenhagen to Paris, to be 
concluded there, and set out for St Petersburgh 
by Sweden. At Stockholm I staid but one night, 
to see Count Rasaumorsky. Want of time pre- 
vented me from appearing at Court. 

" At Gresholm I was stopped by the ice, which 
prevented me from crossing the Gulf of Both- 
nia, and even from approaching the first of the 
isles in the passage. After having made several 
unsuccessful efforts to get to Finland by the isles, 
I imagined that it might be practicable to effect 
my object by doubling the ice to the south- 
ward, and entering the Baltic Sea. 

" This enterprise was very daring, and had 
rtever before been attempted. But by the north 


the roads were impracticable, and, knowing that 
the Empress expected me from day to day, I 
could not think of going back by Elsineur. 

" I left Gresholm early one morning, in an 
undecked passage-boat, about thirty feet in length. 
I made another boat follow, of half that size. 
This last was for dragging over the ice, and for 
passing from one piece of ice to another, to gain 
the coast of Finland. I durst not make my pro- 
ject known to the boatmen, which would have 
been the sure means of defeating it. After en- 
deavouring, as before, to gain the first isle, I 
made them steer for the south, and we kept along 
the coast of Sweden all the day, finding difficulty 
enough to pass between the ice and the shore. 
Towards night, being almost opposite Stockholm, 
pistol in hand I forced the boatmen to enter the 
Baltic Sea, and steer for the coast. We ran near 
the coast of Finland. All night the wind was 
fair, and we hoped to land next day. This we 
found impossible. The ice did not permit us to 
approach the shore, which we only saw from a 
distance. It was impossible to regain the Swed- 
ish side, the wind being high and directly con- 



trary. I had nothing left for it but to stand for 
the Gulf of Finland. There was a small com- 
pass in the boat, and I fixed the lamp of my tra- 
velling carriage so as to throw a light on it, 

" On the same night we lost the small boat ; 
but the men saved themselves in the large one, 
which with difficulty escaped the same fate. At 
the end of four days we landed at Revel, where 
our enterprise was regarded as a kind of miracle. 
Having satisfied the boatmen for their services 
and their loss, I gave them a good pilot, with the 
provisions necessary for making their homeward 
voyage, when the weather should become more 

" I arrived at St Petersburgh hi the evening 
on the 23d of April, old style, and on the 25th 
had my first audience of the Empress. Her 
Majesty gave me so flattering a reception, and 
up to the period of my departure treated me 
with so much distinction, that I was overcome by 
her courtesies (je me laissai seduire,) and put 
myself into her hands without making any sti- 
pulation for my personal advantage. I demand- 
ed but one favour, 6 that I should never be con- 
demned unheard.' 



"On the 7th May I set out from the Imperial 
Palace, carrying with me a letter from her Ma- 
jesty to his Highness the Prince-Marshal Po- 
temkin at St Elizabeth, where I arrived on the 
19th. The Prince-Marshal received me with 
much kindness, and destined me the command of 
the fleet of Serastapole against the Capitan Pa- 
cha, who, he supposed, intended to make a de- 
scent in the Crimea. His Highness was mistaken 
in this, and the next day he received information 
that the Capitan Pacha was at anchor within 
Kinbourn, having come to succour Oczakow with 
a hundred and twenty armed vessels and other 
armed craft. 

" The Prince-Marshal then requested me to 
assume command of the naval force stationed in 
the Liman, (which is at the embouchure of the 
Dnieper,) to act against the Capitan Pacha till 
Oczakow should fall. I considered this change 
of destination as a flattering mark of confidence ; 
and having received my orders, I set out on the 
same day for Cherson, in company with the Che- 
valier de Ribas, Brigadier du Jour of the Prince- 
Marshal. He was ordered to make all the ar- 
rangements necessary to place me in command. 


At parting, the Prince-Marshal promised me 
to bring forward his troops without loss of time, 
to co-operate with the maritime force he had 
intrusted to my command ; and on the journey 
M. de Ribas told me, ' that all the force of the 
Liman, comprehending that of the Prince of 
Nassau, would be under my orders. 1 

" I spent but one evening and night at Cherson. 
But even this short period was enough to show 
that I had entered on a delicate and disagree- 
able service. Rear- Admiral Mordwinoff, chief of 
the Admiralty, did not affect to disguise his dis- 
pleasure at my arrival ; and though he had orders 
from the Prince-Marshal to communicate to me 
all the details concerning the force in the Liman, 
and to put me in possession of the flag belong- 
ing to my rank as Rear- Admiral, he spared him- 
self the trouble of compliance. 

" We set out early next morning for Glou- 
boca, the armament of the Liman being at anchor 
very near that place, in the roads of Schiroque, be- 
tween the bar of the Dnieper and the embouchure 
of the river Bog. We went on board the Wolo- 
dimer before mid-day, where we found that Bri- 
gadier Alexiano had assembled all the comman- 


ders, to draw them into a cabal against my autho- 
rity. I may mention here, that this man was a 
Greek, as ignorant of seamanship as of military af- 
fairs, who, under an exterior and manners the most 
gross, concealed infinite cunning, and, by affected 
plainness and hardihood of discourse, had the ad- 
dress to pass for a blunt honest man. Though a 
subject of Turkey, it was alleged that he made war 
with the Mussulmans by attacking their commerce 
in the Archipelago on his own authority, and that 
he had followed this means of enriching himself 
up to the period that Count D'Orloff arrived with 
the Russian fleet. Though I do not affirm the fact, 
several persons of credit have assured me that 
there are often pirates who infest the coast, and 
the isles between Constantinople and Egypt, who 
attack the commerce of all nations, and run down 
the vessels after having seized the cargoes and 
cut the throats of the crews. Alexiano had been 
employed by Count D'Orloff. He had reached 
the rank of Brigadier. Alexiano was a good deal 
offended in the first instance, and afterwards made 
great merit with the Prince-Marshal, of the sacri- 
fice which he affected to make in serving under 


me. He said, that if he withdrew, all the other 
officers would follow his example. The Prince- 
Marshal sent presents to his wife, and wrote him 
kindly, persuading him to remain in the service. 
All the difficulty he made was nothing more than 
a piece of manoeuvring to increase his importance; 
for from what followed I know that, had he left 
the service, it would have been alone, and that 
no one would have regretted his absence. 

" To give time to those angry spirits to become 
calm, and to be able to decide on the part I 
should take, I proposed to Brigadier de Ri- 
bas, that we should together make a journey to 
Kinbourn, to see the entrance of the Dnieper 
and reconnoitre the position and strength of the 
Turkish fleet and flotilla. At my return all the 
officers appeared contented, and I hoisted my flag 
on board the Wolodimer on the 26th of May, 

" The Prince of Nassau Siegen, whom I had 
known slightly at Paris, told me, 4 that if we 
gained any advantage over the Turks, it was ne- 
cessary to exaggerate it to the utmost ; and that 
this was the counsel the Chevalier de Ribas had 


given him.' I replied, ' that I never had adopt- 
ed this method of heightening my personal im- 
portance. 1 " 

The Journal of the Rear-Admiral, after this 
introduction, is continued in the third person for 
some time ; and afterwards goes on to the end as 
a narrative in the first person, which would have 
been desirable throughout ; it is, however, thought 
best to adhere faithfully to the original. 

Journal of the Campaign of the Liman in 1788, 
drawn up by Rear-Admiral Paul Jones, for the 
perusal of her Imperial Majesty of all the Rus- 
sias, and now first published from his original MS. 

" AT the opening of this campaign the squa- 
dron of Cherson was obliged to remain for two 
days in the road of Schiroque, till the troops 
should embark which were to form part of the 
crew. The Prince of Nassau, who had been ap- 
pointed commander of the flotilla, and who had 
by this time received on board all the troops in- 


tended for him, durst not venture to advance even 
four or five verstes without being escorted by three 
frigates. The Prince of Nassau was so appre- 
hensive of danger, that on the 28th of May 
Rear-Admiral Paul Jones, commander of the 
squadron, reinforced him with a fourth frigate. 

" On the 29th, the troops being all on board, 
the squadron advanced, and led on the flotilla, 
which lay scattered about at anchor without 
any observance of order. The squadron drew up 
opposite the first village, to the left of the Bog, 
in an obtuse angle, and thus commanded, by a 
cross-fire, the only passage of the Liman. This 
lies between two sand-banks, through which the 
Turks must advance with their heavy vessels. 
By this position the Rear-Admiral covered Cher- 
son, and the country on both banks of the Li- 
man, made good the free passage of the Bog to 
the army of the Prince-Marshal, and held the 
Turks in check in any attempt they might make 
against Kinbourn. 

" The Prince of Nassau at this time talked a 
great deal of projects of descents, surprises, and 
attacks, but without any rational plan. 


" A battery having been raised upon the point 
of Stanislaus, the Prince of Nassau expressed 
himself delighted with it, as in case of necessity 
he might there find shelter. The Rear- Admiral 
could not have retreated, as several of his ves- 
sels were already within a few inches of getting 
aground. The Rear- Admiral was aware that the 
Turks, having a very superior force, would not 
give any opportunity of attacking them ; and that 
it was therefore necessary to maintain the strong 
position he had taken, till the advance of Prince 
Potemkin, in order to concert plans, and combine 
his operations with those of the land forces. 

" In the meanwhile General Swaroff, command- 
ant of Kinbourn, made the Rear- Admiral re- 
sponsible for the safety of that place ; while Briga- 
dier Alexiano and the Prince of Nassau did all 
that was possible to make him distrustful of the 
means which he possessed for attack or defence. 
They alleged, that the vessels forming the flo- 
tilla, having been constructed merely to convey 
the carriages of the Empress in her late progress, 
might be expected, at the first attack, to sink 
under the enormous weight of the guns. 


" The squadron made a formidable appear- 
ance, but had little real strength. The Wolo- 
dimer and the Alexander were but half-armed ; 
and both vessels were already within a few inches 
of touching the bottom, so shallow is the Liman 
for vessels of war. In this most critical situa- 
tion, having no orders from his Highness the 
Prince-Marshal for his guidance, and knowing 
nothing either of his intentions, or of the actual 
position of the army, the Rear- Admiral resolved 
on assembling a council of war, hi conformity to 
the ordonnance of Peter the Great. The council 
he opened by a speech suited to the occasion, 
the main object of which was to show the neces- 
sity of a perfect understanding between the 
squadron and the flotilla ; and that, uniting heart 
and hand, and forgetting all personal consider- 
ations, they should determine to conquer, as the 
true glory of a patriot was to be useful to his 

[The Journal of the Rear- Admiral details at 
some length the points on which the council, 
composed of such discordant elements, were 
agreed, and states that it was to meet again next 


day, to arrange the best plans of attack and de- 
fence, and the signals for the fleet. But the ca- 
bals of the Prince of Nassau and of the Greek 
Brigadier Alexiano prevailed, and this hetero- 
geneous body did not again meet. Something, 
however, was done; and we again resume the 
narrative of the Rear- Admiral.] 

" On the 6th* of June, at two in the morning, 
the Prince of Nassau advanced, as had been 
previously agreed on, with the greater part of the 
flotilla ; but, in place of cutting off the retreat 
of the vessels forming the enemy's advanced 
guard, he retired at daybreak before a very in- 
ferior force, and without offering the smallest re- 
sistance ! The Turks chased him, keeping up a 
cannonade, into the midst of the squadron, which, 
as had been arranged, advanced to take a posi- 
tion to support him. 

" The precipitate retreat of the Prince of 

* The Russians compute time by the old style, which 
sometimes produces an apparent confusion of dates in the 
Journal, Paul Jones sometimes reckoning by the one 
mode and sometimes by the other. 


Nassau inspirited the Turks so much, that, du- 
ring the night between the 6th and 7th, they 
drew up their flotilla in two divisions, in a shal- 
low, close by then- own shore. The first of these 
divisions had by day-dawn advanced within can- 
non-shot of our reserve, which had been posted 
the previous night on the right wing. 

" At sunrise the Turks made sail ; and Bri- 
gadier Alexiano ran upon the deck of the Wolo- 
dimer half-naked, exclaiming, like a frantic man, 
in French and Russian, that the Turks were 
going to attack and board us, and that we would 
be blown to pieces for having been so foolish as 
to leave our former position. He had, notwith- 
standing, in the council of war, given his voice 
in favour of the position we now actually held. 
Brigadier Ribas, the captain, and all the crew, 
were witnesses of his extravagant and unjusti- 
fiable behaviour. 

" This proved a false alarm ; the Turkish 
fleet did not stir. 

" The Prince of Nassau came on board the 
Wolodimer, and the Rear-Admiral proposed to 
him to reconnoitre the enemy's fleet and flotilla. 


As they advanced together, the first division of 
the Turkish flotilla began to fire from their ca- 
noes, and raised their anchors and rowed forward 
towards our reserve, which they attacked briskly. 
At the same time several corps of Turkish troops 
advanced along the opposite bank, as if they in- 
tended to establish a post or battery to act on 
our flank. As our reserve had been posted to 
cover our right wing, the Prince of Nassau, who 
knew not what to do, proposed to make it draw 
up in the form of an arch (crochet de houlette,) 
the better to sustain the assault. The Rear- 
Admiral told him, that, on the contrary, it was 
necessary to lift the anchors with the utmost de- 
spatch, and to form in line of battle to meet the 
attack of the Turks. The combat having com- 
menced according to this plan, the Rear- Admiral 
hastened along the lines, to issue orders to the 
squadron, and, above all, to make the remainder 
of the flotilla, posted between the ships and up- 
on the left wing, advance. The wind being ad- 
verse, he made these vessels be towed by the 
ships 1 boats and other boats attached to the 
squadron ; and by an oblique movement formed 


in line of battle, with the intention of cutting off 
the retreat of the enemy, and galling him by a 
cross-fire. As soon as the Capitan Pacha per- 
ceived the manoeuvre of the Rear-Admiral, he 
came forward himself hi his kirlangitch, having 
a very favourable wind, and made the second di- 
vision of his flotilla advance. 

" At this time our reserve was very critically 
situated. A double chaloupe quitted the action, 
and four of our galleys were in danger of being 
captured. The Prince of Nassau, who did not 
relish going himself, sent Brigadier Corsacoff, 
who made these retreat. Instead of remaining 
with the reserve, which, being without a com- 
mander, was in very great disorder, the Prince 
of Nassau quitted his own post, and stationed 
himself before the Rear-Admiral, where he could 
be of no use whatever. The Rear-Admiral went 
into the same boat with the Prince of Nassau, 
and again issued his orders along the line. Being 
now within cannon-shot of the enemy, he opened 
fire, advancing always in an oblique line to cut 
off the enemy's retreat. At the same time he 
despatched Brigadier Alexiano to endeavour to 


rally the vessels of the reserve, which the Prince 
of Nassau had deserted ; but Alexiano contented 
himself with waving his hat in the air, and 
shouting from behind the lines, < Fire, my 
lads, on the kirlangitch of the Capitan Pacha !' 

" When the line led on by the Rear- Admiral 
came to close fire with the enemy, their flotilla 
was thrown into the utmost confusion. Our re- 
serve gave no farther way, and the enemy was 
placed under a cross-fire. The Capitan Pacha 
availed himself of the only resource in his power ; 
he set every sail to withdraw his force. Had 
he remained a half-hour longer, he would have 
been surrounded. Two of his vessels were burnt 
in this affair. The flotilla of the enemy was 
composed of fifty-seven vessels, and we chased 
into the middle of their fleet. The Rear-Admi- 
ral, who had directed the whole affair, gave all 
the credit of it to the Prince of Nassau. 

" An idea may be formed of the capacity of 
the Prince of Nassau from the following circum- 
stance : At the beginning of the action he re- 
quested the Rear-Admiral to bring forward to 
the support of the reserve only the vessels posted 


on the left wing, which consisted of one galley 
and a double chaloupe. Besides the insufficiency 
of force, these vessels had a very long way to 
make, and that against the wind. 

" The Turks remained quiet for some time 
after this. The Prince of Nassau, who had 
scarce spoken one word during the affair, save to 
make extravagant professions of regard for the 
Rear- Admiral, now began to give himself airs. 
On the 13th June he addressed a writing of an 
extraordinary character to the Rear-Admiral, 
the object of which appeared to be, that an ad- 
vance should be made of three verstes nearer the 
enemy, who had taken post under the batteries 
of Oczakow. The Rear-Admiral, who could 
perceive no advantage to the service in such a 
movement, refused his concurrence. Had he 
agreed, the movement would have been fatal to 
Russia, as will be seen by what follows. 

" By the 16th June the patience of the Capi- 
tan Pacha was exhausted. He brought from his 
grand fleet, without Kinbourn, two thousand 
picked men, to reinforce the body under the 
walls of Oczakow ; and being strengthened still 



farther by the troops of the garrison, he advanced 
with his whole fleet and flotilla, and with a fair 
wind, into the Liman, to attack and board us. 
The ship, which bore one of the Admiral's flags, 
steered right towards the Wolodimer from the 
commencement of the movement. When within 
three verstes of us, or little more, this ship got a- 
ground, and all the vessels which accompanied it 
immediately dropt anchor. It was then about 
two in the afternoon. 

" The Rear- Admiral summoned a council of 
war to consult on what should be done. He ad- 
dressed the council, at which were present all 
the commanders of the squadron and the flotilla, 
and concluded by telling them, 6 that they must 
make up their minds to conquer or die for the 

" The wind, which was rather fresh, being 
against us, the only thing proposed by the Rear- 
Admiral that was found practicable, was to draw 
up our force in an obtuse angle, by bringing for- 
ward the right of the line upon the centre.* 

* " The plan of the Capitan Pacha was to bear down 



.This movement was completed before midnight. 
The wind had shifted to N.N.E. ; and at break 
of day the Rear-Admiral made signal, and the 
whole squadron immediately set sail to commence 
the attack on the Turks. 

" The Turks got into confusion the instant 
this manoeuvre was perceived. They raised their 
anchors or cut their cables in the greatest preci- 
pitation, and not the shadow of discipline re- 
mained in their fleet. Our squadron advanced 
in line of battle with a striking and formidable 
appearance, so that the Turks knew not how 
weak it really was. As our flotilla had been very 
slow in weighing anchor, the Rear- Admiral was 
obliged to make the squadron halt twice to await 

full sail on, the vessels of our flotilla, and run them to the 
bottom by the shock of the encounter of his large ships. 
He also proposed to burn our squadron by throwing in 
fire-balls (grappins), and setting fire to certain trading 
vessels which he had prepared as fire-ships. He had rea- 
son to calculate on success, had he not been thwarted by 
a circumstance which no man could have foreseen." 
Note by PAUL JONES. 


it. At length, the flotilla being always last, the 
squadron opened fire on the enemy, of whom the 
person second in command, who had flown about 
like a fool, quickly ran his ship on a sand-bank 
on the south of the Liman. There was no 
longer hope for him ; from the moment he ground- 
ed he was ours. The enemy still kept flying 
about, and always in the greatest disorder. The 
Rear-Admiral made his ship (the Wolodimer) 
be steered to within pistol-shot of the vessel of 
the Capitan Pacha, but the latter again ran a- 
ground upon a sand-bank ; and a few minutes 
afterwards the Brigadier Alexiano gave orders in 
the Russian language, and unknown to the Rear- 
Admiral, to drop the Wolodimer's anchor. It 
was pretended that there were but fifteen feet of 
water a little way in advance of the ship, which 
was not true. A considerable time before this 
the squadron had been taken on the right flank 
by the Turkish flotilla, drawn up on the shal- 
lows, approaching the bank to the east of Ocza- 
kow, and commanded by the Capitan Pacha him- 
self. The flotilla annoyed the squadron consi- 
derably, by incessantly throwing in along our 


line both bombs and balls of great size. Want- 
ing depth of water, our frigates could not advance 
far enough to dislodge them, and, besides, they 
found that their guns were too small. The Ca- 
pitan Pacha had struck down one of our frigates, 
named the Little Alexander, by a bomb, at the 
side of the Wolodimer, and at the very instant 
Brigadier Alexiano made the anchor be cast. Our 
flotilla still lagged behind, but it did at last ad- 
vance. Having passed through the squadron in 
the greatest disorder, and without the least ap- 
pearance of plan, instead of pursuing the flying 
Turks, the flotilla swarmed round the Turkish 
ships which were aground like a hive of bees. 

" The Rear- Admiral commanded Brigadier 
Alexiano to get together some vessels of our flo- 
tilla to dislodge the Turkish flotilla. At the 
same moment the Rear-Admiral advanced in his 
boat towards the left wing, where the Prince of 
Nassau was with his body of reserve, employed to 
very little purpose, in firing on the Turkish ves- 
sels already aground. The Rear-Admiral en- 
treated him to lead or send the reserve to act 
against the Turkish flotilla upon our right flank, 


and informed him of the misfortune which had 
befallen the Little Alexander ; but M. de Nas- 
sau remained quietly behind his batteries, and 
made no movement to dislodge the flotilla of the 

" The Rear-Admiral then met Brigadier Cor- 
cascoff, to whom he gave orders similar to those 
he had given to M. Alexiano ; and these two of- 
ficers having got together as many vessels as they 
could collect, assisted our frigates in dislodging 
and chasing the Turkish flotilla even till under 
the walls of Oczakow, M, de Corsacoff was a 
brave and an intelligent man ; he did not affect 
to have done any thing wonderful. Alexiano 
was a man of limited talent and of questionable 
courage, but his vanity was excessive. He pre- 
tended to have hauled a battery to within pistol- 
shot of the enemy's flotilla ; but M. Akmatoff, 
who commanded that battery, declared that nei- 
ther he nor any one of our people ever were 
nearer the Turkish flotilla than half cannon-shot. 
" The Turkish fleet was now distant. The 
Prince of Nassau was told that the Admiral's 
flag, which had been displayed on the vessel of the 


Capitan Pacha, was struck down, and he hastily 
advanced to claim it. The ship of the Capitan 
Pacha, like all the others of the band, leaned 
much to one side, and consequently could not 
fully avail itself of its guns. As the flag of the 
Capitan Pacha fell into the water from the top of 
the main-mast, having been struck down by a 
ball, it is not difficult to discover that the vessel 
which had fired this ball was in no danger of 
being touched by case-shot. The saporoses 
drew the flag from the water, and the Prince of 
Nassau, a long while afterwards, had the glory 
(which he turned to good account,) of snatching 
it from their hands. The Rear-Admiral might 
have claimed at least the half of this flag, as he 
had his hands on it at the same moment with the 
Prince of Nassau ; but he regarded it as a thing 
of very little consequence. 

" Brandcougles* had been thrown into the two 

* A note by Paul Jones describes these incendiary mis- 
siles as a kind of bomb-shells, perforated with holes, and 
filled inside with combustible materials. They were fired 
from a sort of pieces called Licornes. 


Turkish vessels, and they were burnt. Was 
this a good or a bad piece of service ? These two 
vessels were only ours from the accident of hav- 
ing run aground, and because their crews had 
been left by their countrymen under the guns of 
our squadron. Wherefore did the flotilla inter- 
fere with them? ought it not rather to have 
pursued the flying Turks, who were not yet un- 
der the protection of the guns of Oczakow ? Our 
flotilla had received no injury, and had nothing 
to fear from the shallowness of the water. 

" Having first sounded, the Rear- Admiral made 
the squadron advance another verste, and took 
post in a right line, barely out of shot of Oczakow, 
and in line with the farthest back of the Turkish 
ships that had been run aground and taken. Fire 
soon after broke out in this prize, which had been 
imprudently fired upon with brandcougles. 

" The fleet and flotilla of the Turks now drew 
up in a line parallel to ours, and under the walls 
of Oczakow. 

" How imbecile does the human mind become 
under the influence of sudden panic ! The Rear- 
Admiral, an hour after the affair, advanced in 


his boat, and took soundings all along the Turk- 
ish line, opposite the walls of Oczakow, and 
within reach of case-shot, and not a single gun 
was fired upon him. 

" Previously to taking command of the squa- 
dron, the Rear- Admiral, as has been noticed, 
had gone to Kinbourn with the Chevalier Ribas, 
brigadier dujour, to the Prince-Marshal, to re- 
connoitre the position and force of the fleet and 
flotilla under the Capitan Pacha, and to exa- 
mine the entrance of the Liman. They arrived 
at Kinbourn at the very time that the Capitan 
Pacha had detached twenty-one vessels of war 
from his fleet, and with that force entered the 
road of Oczakow, the wind not permitting him 
to enter the Liman, where his flotilla and some 
transport ships were already stationed. The Rear- 
Admiral was so struck at finding the tongue of 
land at Kinbourn without any battery or block- 
fort, that he instantly spoke of it to the Com- 
mandant, General Swaroff. This tongue of land, 
from its position, commands the only passage by 
which large vessels can either enter or come out 
of the Liman. The fortress of Kinbourn being far 



too distant to be able to command this passage, 
the Rear- Admiral proposed to establish one or 
more strong batteries upon this stripe of land, and 
M. de Ribas seconded the proposition. After 
considerable delay, General Swaroff was persuad- 
ed to establish a block-fort with heavy cannon 
upon this tongue or point of land, and a battery 
farther within. But the Capitan Pacha had al- 
ready got the twenty-one ships in question into 
the Liman. 

" To resumeOn the night between the 17th 
and 18th of June, the Capitan Pacha attempted 
to bring the remains of his squadron, which had 
been defeated on the previous day, out of the 
Liman ; but the newly-erected block-fort and 
battery fired on his ships, of which nine of the 
largest were forced aground upon the sand-bank 
which runs out from Oczakow, till within a little 
way of cannon-shot from the block-fort. 

" The block-fort and battery fired on the ene- 
my's ships the whole night, and at daybreak 
General Swaroff sent to us, requesting that we 
would send vessels to take possession of those 
ships of the enemy which had got aground. 


The Rear- Admiral wished to send frigates ; but 
Brigadier Alexiano assured him that he would 
run the risk of losing them. The current there, 
he said, ' was like that of a mill-dam, and the 
bottom was so bad that anchors would not hold.' 

" It was, accordingly, resolved to proceed with 
the flotilla ; and Alexiano, who had his private 
reasons, set out with the Prince of Nassau. The 
flotilla went pell-mell, and without any sort of 
order or plan, upon the nine ships aground, and 
fired brandcougles into them without mercy. It 
was in vain the wretched Turks made the sign 
of the cross, and begged for quarter on their 
knees ! Above three thousand of them were 
burnt with their ships. By some chance two 
of these vessels, the least and the largest, did 
not take fire ; the one was a corvette, very in- 
differently armed, carrying one battery and four 
pieces between decks. The other was a small 
brigantine, of French construction, armed with 
forty small guns. 

" Neither the Prince of Nassau nor Alexiano 
was to be seen at this time. They were toge- 
ther, and at some distance, during this frightful 


carnage ; and it was afterwards asked of them if 
they had not, during this time, been at Kin- 
bourn ? As the greatest confusion reigned among 
the vessels of the flotilla, though our loss was not 
great, there is no doubt that part of it was owing 
to Russian bullets.* 

" The army of Prince Potemkin having come 
up on the 27th June, the Prince of Nassau had 
orders to attack and destroy, or capture, the 
Turkish flotilla which lay under the walls of Oc- 
zakow ; and the Rear- Admiral was commanded 
to give him every assistance that might be use- 
ful. In pursuance of these orders, on the first 
of July, at one in the morning, the flotilla ad- 
vanced. The Rear-Admiral had sent all the 
chaloupes and barcasses belonging to the squa- 
dron to haul out the vessels of the flotilla. The 

* The species of warfare in which he was now daily 
engaged was new to the Anglo-American. The mon- 
strous and wanton cruelties to which the Turks were 
subjected hy the more barbarous and brutal Russians 
were accordingly viewed by him with horror and dis- 


Prince-Marshal had taken the trouble to arrange 
the plan of attack himself, but his plan was not 

" At day-dawn, our flotilla having advanced 
within cannon-shot, opened fire upon the Turkish 
flotilla, and on the place. The current having 
carried several of our batteries and double cha- 
loupes rather too far to leeward, the Rear-Ad- 
miral made them be hauled up by the boats and 
barcasses of the squadron, and set the example 
himself with the chaloupe in which he was. The 
Turks set fire to a little frigate which they had 
prepared as a fire-ship, and placed at anchor to 
the N. E. of Fort Hassan Pacha. 

"At six in the morning, the Rear-Admiral went 
himself considerably in advance of the flotilla to 
seize five of the enemy's galleys which lay within 
case-shot of Fort Hassan. The position of these 
galleys, between the cross-fire of our flotilla on the 
one side, and that of Fort Hassan, the Turkish 
flotilla, and Oczakow on the other, rendered this 
a very dangerous enterprise. The Rear- Admiral 
boarded the galley which lay farthest out, and 
made it be hauled in a little way by Lieutenant 


Leff Fabrician. He afterwards boarded the gal- 
ley of the Capitan Pacha, which lay considerably 
nearer the Fort. From unskilfulness, and ex- 
cess of zeal, a young officer cut the cable of this 
galley without waiting the orders of the Rear- 
Admiral, and before the boats could be got in 
order to haul it out, the wind drifted the galley 
towards the shore, and still nearer to the Fort. 
The Rear- Admiral made the galley be lightened 
by throwing many things overboard. After 
much search for ropes that might stretch to the 
wreck of the burnt frigate, and by fastening the 
galley there, keep it afloat, the plan failed from 
the ropes not being long enough. The Rear- 
Admiral was very unwilling to yield to the ob- 
stinate opposition of the Turks, who fired upon 
him from all their bastions and from their flotilla, 
and he despatched Lieutenant Fox to the Wolo- 
cfimer, to fetch an anchor and cable. This was 
a certain means of securing his object ; and in 
waiting the return of the Lieutenant, he left the 
galley with his people, and assisted in the flotil- 
la's advance. Before the return of Lieutenant 
Fox, he had, however, the mortification to see 


fire break out in the galley of the Capitan Pacha. 
He at first believed that the slaves chained on 
board had found means to escape, and had set 
fire to the vessel ; but he had afterwards positive 
proof that Brigadier Alexiano being in a boat at 
the time with the Prince of Nassau, on the out- 
side of the flotilla, and being aware of the inten- 
tion of the Rear-Admiral, swore that it should 
not succeed, and sent a Greek canoe to set fire 
to the galley !* The three other Turkish galleys 
were at once run down and burnt by brandcou- 
gles. There were also a two-masted ship and 
a large bomb-vessel burnt near Fort Hassan 
Pacha. This includes all that was taken or de- 
stroyed by water, save fifty-two prisoners taken 
by the Rear-Admiral in the two galleys. The 
wretched beings, who were chained in the galley 

* The attestation of a Russian officer to this singular 
fact is among the Pieces Justificatives appended to the 
Journal ; and the original of that attestation, written in 
French, and subscribed Bilicroff, officer of the guard, 
and dated at Kinbourn the 26th October, 1788, remains 
among Jones's papers. 


of the Capitan Pacha, perished there in the 
flames ! 

" The Prince-Marshal having made an im- 
portant diversion on the land-side, it is to be 
regretted that advantage was not taken of this 
movement to seize the remainder of the enemy's 
flotilla. But our flotilla never came up within 
reach of grape-shot." 

The above extracts from the Rear-Admiral's 
Journal are verified in the following manner : 
" These extracts have been translated by me in- 
to the Russian language, and read before the 
commanders of the ship Wolodimer, Captain 
of the Second Rank, Zefaliano ; of the frigate 
Scoroi, Captain of the Second Rank, Aboljanin ; 
of the frigate Nicolai, Captain Lieutenant Dani- 
loff; of the frigate Taheuroc, Lieutenant Ma- 
kinin ; of the frigate the Little Alexander, Lieu- 
tenant Savitzsky ; and they have found nothing 
in them contrary to truth. 

" On board the Wolodimer, before Ockzakow, 
the 28th October, 1788. 


" Paul Denetreffsky, Honorary Counsel- 
lor of the College for Foreign affairs, 
and by special orders of her Imperial 
Majesty of all the Russias, Secretary 
to Rear- Admiral and Chevalier Paul 

Addition of Rear-Admiral Jones to the preceding 
Journal. Translated from the French of the MS. 
volume, prepared for Publication by himself. 

" The moment the ships began to withdraw from 
Oczakow, the Prince of Nassau and Brigadier 
Alexiano hurried straight to the head-quarters of 
the Prince-Marshal, to relate the deeds which they 
pretended they had performed. In a few mi- 
nutes after the flotilla began to retire, the rain 
fell in torrents, of which Nassau and Alexiano 
received their own share before reaching head- 

" Two days afterwards, Brigadier Alexiano re- 
turned on board the Wolodimer, having caught 
a malignant fever, of which he died on the 8th 


July. The Prince of Nassau, who had made use of 
him in caballing against me, God knows for what, 
neither visited him in his sickness, nor assisted 
at his funeral. At first it was given out, that 
the service must sustain the loss of every Greek 
in it on account of his death ; but I soon ex- 
perienced the reverse. Not one asked to be dis- 
missed ; they remained under my command the 
same as the Russians, and were better pleased 
than before. On the day preceding the death 
of Alexiano, he had received intelligence of having 
been promoted two grades ; and that her Majesty 
had bestowed on him a fine estate, and peasants, 
in White Russia. At the same time the Prince 
of Nassau had received a very valuable estate, 
with three or four thousand peasants, also in 
White Russia, and the Military Order of St 
George, of the Second Class. Her Majesty like- 
wise gave him liberty to hoist the flag of Vice- 
Admiral on the taking of Oczakow, to which 
event it was apparently believed he had greatly 
contributed. I received the Order of St Anne, 
an honour with which I am highly flattered, and 
with which I could have been perfectly satisfied, 


had others been recompensed only in the same pro- 
portion, and according to the merit of their servi- 
ces. All the officers of the flotilla received a step 
of promotion and the gratuity of a year's pay. The 
greater part of them also obtained the Order of 
St George, of the Last Class. Only two of these 
officers had been bred to the sea ; all the others 
were ignorant of naval affairs. The officers of the 
squadron under my command were almost whol- 
ly marine officers. They had done their duty 
well when opposed to the enemy ; but they ob- 
tained no promotion, no mark of distinction, no 
pecuniary reward. My mortification was ex- 

" My officers at this time gave me a very grati- 
fying proof of their attachment. On promising 
that I would demand justice for them from the 
Prince-Marshal at the close of the campaign, 
they stifled then* vexation, and made no com- 

" It ought to have to have been mentioned in 
the proper place, that three days after our suc- 
cess in the Liman, Prince Potemkin arrived at 
Kinbourn, from whence he came on board the 


Wolodimer to make me a visit. He was accom- 
panied by General Count de Brandisky of Po- 
land, the Prince de Repuin, the Prince de Ligne, 
General de Samoilow, and several other officers. 
His Highness did me the honour to remain to 
dinner ; and as he knew that an altercation had 
taken place between the Prince of Nassau and 
myself on the morning of the 18th of June, he 
had the goodness to employ the Prince de Ligne, 
and M. Littlepage, Chamberlain to the King of 
Poland, to persuade the Prince of Nassau to 
make me an apology. I accepted it with sincere 
pleasure. We embraced in presence of this ho- 
nourable company, and I believed him as sincere 
as myself.* 

* Probably the first cause of Potemkin's dislike to 
Jones was owing to the squabbles between him and the 
Prince of Nassau. Besides the scene above related, Potem- 
kin had previously endeavoured to establish a good under- 
standing between them. On the 30th of May he him- 
self wrote to the Rear- Admiral : <e It is with great plea- 
sure that I hear that harmony is established between you 
and the Prince of Nassau. I regard union as the foun- 
dation of all the services that your talents and your known 


" The Prince-Marshal charged me at this time 
to make arrangements for raising the cannon, 

valour give you both the power of rendering to my coun- 
try ; and I cannot strongly enough recommend to you to 
live in perfect understanding with the Prince of Nassau." 
On another occasion, he thanks Jones for having acted in 
concert with Nassau, " a concert as useful as necessary 
to the service of the Empress, and, above all, at such a 

It is to be presumed, that, if it had been possible for 
Jones to keep on terms with the Prince of Nassau, he 
would have done so. His own interest, as well as the 
public service, and the wishes of his best friends, coun- 
selled this; but it seems to have been impossible. A 
letter on this subject, written from the Russian head- 
quarters by Mr Littlepage, is earnest, sensible, and 
friendly. " I am not ignorant," he says, " of the bad 
understanding that unfortunately subsisted between you 
and the Prince of Nassau, before the 7th of June ; but 
both Prince Potemkin and myself were persuaded that 
was all ended. He has learned that it has again broke 
out, and I know that trifling circumstances can give him 
much trouble. I can easily conceive the delicacy of your 
situation, and I know that your honour can sacrifice no- 
thing ; but, for Heaven's sake, my dear friend, be prudent, 
as much for yourself as your friends. Prince Potemkin 


anchors, and other stores belonging to the ene- 
my's ships which had been burnt, without loss 

has conceived a high esteem for. you, but he loves Nas- 
sau. If ever mutual interest dictated union between 
two persons, it is between you and the Prince of Nassau 
at the present moment. The reverse will be to the pre- 
judice of both. In the name of friendship, reflect upon 
this. Remember that the eyes of all Europe are fixed 
upon you. Fear no competition, and be indulgent to 
those who have not the same reason to feel above rivalry. 
Nassau has been unfortunate. If you see weakness in 
his character, excuse it; and remember that he was, 
and I hope still is, your friend." Jones took this letter 
in good part, and assured the sensible writer, that for the 
good of the service, and the esteem and attachment he 
had for Prince Potemkin, he had borne more from Nas- 
sau than he could have done " from any other than a 
madman." Littlepage was appointed to a command in 
the squadron, and soon found that it is much easier to 
give good advice at a distance, than to act under such 
temperate counsels. He did at once what every man of 
spirit and common sense would have done, threw up 
his command and returned to Warsaw. The words in 
which he bade Jones farewell show that he thoroughly 
understood the nature of the generally worthless, and 


of time, and I sent off a transport ship with offi- 
cers and men on this duty. 

" His Highness the Prince-Marshal now made 
his troops advance. They passed the Bog, and 
appeared in sight of us, on the banks of the Li- 
man, on the 27th of June ; and next morning 
the Capitan Pacha made his grand fleet, which 
had always remained at anchor twenty or thirty 

always discordant persons, whether Greeks, Russians, 
Cossacks, or other tribes of which this heterogeneous mass 
was composed. " Farewell, my dear Admiral ; take care 
of yourself, and look to whom you trust. Remember 
that you have rather to play the part of a politician than 
a warrior, more of a courtier than a soldier." " I was 
not skilled" says Jones, " in playing such a part." " I 
never neglected my duty," he says again, " when stung 
with the insolent reproaches, or rather the threats, of Po- 
temkin. On the contrary, I had but too often exposed 
myself to personal danger to satisfy his caprice." In an- 
other place, when Potemkin had addressed an order to 
him, concluding thus, " Moreover, if the enemy at- 
tempt to pass to Oczakow, prevent him at all hazards, 
and defend yourself boldly," Jones says, " It is not easy 
to believe that such words were addressed to Paul Jones." 


verstes without Kinbourn, weigh anchor, and 
directed his course towards the entrance of the 
Danube, carrying three Admiral's flags, and fol- 
lowed by all the vessels that had escaped us in 
the Liman. During the whole time that we were 
exposed to having a serious affair with the Turks, 
Brigadier Alexiano had carefully kept a Greek 
felucca of eighteen oars alongside the Wolodi- 
mer. This felucca was better built for sailing 
than any of the other chaloupes or rowing vessels 
belonging to the whole squadron, so that he had 
at all tunes the means of saving himself in case 
of any disastrous event. Even the Prince of 
Nassau, since his retreat on the 6th of June, was 
never seen in any vessel of the flotilla, but always 
in a chaloupe, which had been built for the espe- 
cial use of her Imperial Majesty on her late voy- 
age. For myself, I took no such precautions. 
I saw that I must conquer or die. For me there 
was no retreat. The instant that Alexiano saw 
the troops appear, he despatched his felucca to 
inform the Prince-Marshal that it was he, in his 

zeal for the service, who had employed people to 
save the effects of the burnt prizes. Nothing 


could be less true. He had not taken the small- 
est concern in the matter. But this shows the 
character of the man. Next day I was informed 
that the transport ship I had employed on this 
service was already too heavily laden, and made 
a great deal of water. As the wind was fair for 
Glauboca, I gave orders that she should immedi- 
ately go thither to unload. Some hours after the 
departure of the transport, Brigadier Alexiano 
returned from Kinbourn, where he had dined, 
and said several impertinent things to me on the 
subject of the transport. He went afterwards to 
head-quarters to complain of me to the Prince- 
Marshal. In consequence of this complaint I 
received a letter from his brigadier du jour, the 
Chevalier Ribas, which, among other things, men- 
tioned that the Prince- Marshal was " singularly 
severe and strict in all that related to the orders he 
gave." I replied, that I was not afraid of the seve- 
rity of the Prince-Marshal, as I had done nothing 
save my duty, in pursuance of his own orders.* 

* After this affair, Jones seems to have completely lost 
all self-command. He had no longer any hope of con- 


Next day I paid a visit to the Prince of Nassau. 
I imagined I should be welcomed with open arms; 

ciliating the Prince of Nassau, and accordingly hence- 
forth waged against him a determined and not very ge- 
nerous hostility. The following letter, addressed to 
Ribas, was certainly intended for the perusal of Potem- 
kin. It is one of almost open defiance: 

" On board the Wolodimer, before Oczakow, 1st August, 1788. 

te SIR, Having been at Kinbourn this afternoon, to 
concert operations with the Commandant-General, I re- 
ceived at my return here a kind of note without date, 
which purports to be from you, but which I do not re- 
cognise as your hand- writing. This note adverts to the 
question of saluting the flag of the Vice-Admiral ; but I 
am not aware if there be an officer of this rank nearer 
us than St Petersburgh. I highly respect the authority 
and the power of his Highness the Prince-Marshal. I 
love good order, and I am devoted with enthusiasm to 
the welfare of the empire, but the first duty of a man 
is to guard his own honour. 

" I have no wish to speak of myself, but circumstances 
demand it. I was living in America in the bosom of 
peace and friendship when his Excellency, M. de Si- 
molin, did me the honour, unknown to myself, to pro- 
pose me to her Imperial Majesty and the Prince-Mar- 



but he attacked me about the transport-ship, 
which belonged, he said, to his flotilla. I re- 

shal as Comraander-in-Chief on the Black Sea. I was 
too much flattered by the reception of her Majesty to 
stipulate the slightest condition on entering her service. 
She deigned to receive me. I was to serve only under 
the command of the Prince-Marshal. 

" I imagined myself intended for another command 
than that which was given me; but I looked on the 
change as a flattering proof of the confidence of the 
Prince-Marshal. Never, probably, did any command- 
ing officer commence service under circumstances more 
painful ; but, in spite of the restraints imposed on me by 
treacherous colleagues, in spite of their unceasing efforts 
to draw me into error, and their opposition to all my 
plans, I have extricated myself from the affair with no 
sacrifice save of my own feelings and interests. I was a 
true philosopher, and the service has not suffered. My 
firmness and integrity have supported me against those 
detestable snares laid by my enemies for my ruin ; yet I 
have served as the cat's paw to draw the chestnuts from 
the fire for them. 

" I am much flattered by the Order of St Anne granted 
me for my zealous services; but I should have been asham- 
ed to receive brilliant rewards for false, empty boasts. 

" As I can never think of having any connexion with 


plied, that I had been charged with this duty by 
the Prince-Marshal ; that all the ships of war 

a man so detestable as M. de Nassau, I can never ac- 
knowledge him for ray superior. If he has received the 
rank of Vice- Admiral, I will say in the face of the uni- 
verse that he is unworthy of it. It is now ten years 
since he wished to serve under my command. I have 
known him without fully understanding his character. 
I knew that he was foolish, (bete,) but I was not aware, 
till it was proved to me, that the only military merit 
he possesses is a mean effrontery. The only thing he 
has done, was (after the affair of the 1 7th June) to snatch 
the flag of the Capitan Pacha from the hands of the Sa- 
poroses, who had got it a long time before he came up. 
He has never shown either order or intelligence in ma- 
naging the flotilla. Every Commander of a boat, or other 
vessel, was his own master, and conducted matters ac- 
cording to his own notions." 

The letter goes on to describe the action of the 17th 
June, and then continues : 

" A single galley, in the hands of a good officer, 
would, in like circumstances, have been sufficient to 
conquer a ship of the largest size. But we should be 
just to the Commander of the flotilla. He always had 
the prudence to keep behind his men ; and in critical 
moments he always had in his mind, and sometimes on 


and transports belonged to her Imperial Majesty ; 
and that the vessel in question, being unem- 

his lips, ways and means of retiring beyond the batteries 
of Stanislaus. He well knew that for me there was no 
retreat. In the affair between the flotillas, on the 7th 
of June, there was something like military combination ; 
but it is not to him this should be attributed. If he 
had been left to himself, he would have been beaten at 
least as disgracefully as he had been chased by tne Turks 
on the preceding evening. As to the affair of the 17th 
June, of the merits of which he so greatly boasts, the 
Turks got into confusion the moment they saw our squad- 
ron under sail and advancing to attack them. They had 
set sail, and the rout was general even before the whole of 
our flotilla had raised their anchors. The Turkish squa- 
dron had made no arrangement for fight, but fled in the 
greatest disorder and trepidation at the very commence- 
ment. I had given orders to advance near the vessel of 
the Capitan Pacha, but M. Alexiano thwarted me, and 
cast anchor without my orders, at the moment when the 
second Turkish ship (the Admiral) was striking. 

" The Turkish flotilla was manoeuvred with more 
skill upon the shallows on the right flank of our squa- 
dron, from whence they threw bombs, and sunk the 
small frigate, the Petit Alexander. The commander of 
our flotilla had paid no attention to my request to send a 


ployed at the time when I took it, I could not 
perceive the smallest cause of complaint. He 

detachment of the flotilla to dislodge them. The Briga- 
diers Alexiano and Corsacoff had assembled and brought 
forward batteries for this purpose, according to my or- 
ders, in concert with our frigates on the right wing. The 
affair of the 18th was the result of panic, and of the bat- 
teries which, in concert with you, (Ribas,) I had the 
credit of establishing at the point of Kinbourn. A very 
small detachment would have been sufficient to have se- 
cured the nine vessels under the cannon of our batteries, 
and out of the reach of those of the enemy. A good of- 
ficer, who had commanded such an expedition, would 
have known how to bring in these nine vessels, without 
having exposed his people to destruction, and without 
having the folly to destroy ships of which we stood so 
much in need, by brandcougles. 

" I could not leave my own duties to be present at this 
affair ; but I am told that some who were there inquired 
if M. de Nassau had not been at Kinbourn during the: 

" After all, we owe our success to favourable circum- 
stances, to the good disposition, and the imposing ap- 
pearance of our squadron in advancing to the attack on 
the 17th June; for the enemy had taken flight before the 
approach of our flotilla, which was tardy in weighing an- 


was beside himself with anger ; but, as the good 
of the service no longer required our combined 

chor, and got into confusion from the beginning of the 
movement. It has been seen meanwhile that M. de 
Nassau, who did nothing, and who had not a single man 
wounded near him, has been rewarded as if he had per- 
formed the most heroic actions. Marshal Saxe said to 

his troops, f I am not one of those generals 

who cry to their soldiers, FALL ON ! I say to mine, My 
soldiers, behold the enemy, LET us FALL ON.' M. de 
Nassau has not shown that he is of the opinion of the 
Marshal. Never was bravado more impudent than that 
of M. de Nassau. To depart from truth costs him no- 
thing. He had the effrontery to deceive the Prince- 
Marshal (to whom he owes the bread that he eats) in 
saying he had burnt six ships of the line and had taken 
two. These pretended ships of the line were nothing 
other than the merchant vessels called caravellas. In time 
of peace they trade between Constantinople and Egypt ; 
in time of war such ships are armed, but always badly. 
In place of eight but four entered the Liman. I have 
made Lieutenant Fox measure the length of two of the 
largest ; the one was 135 feet, the other 130 feet English 
measure," &c. &c. &c. The Rear- Admiral proceeds, 
" In place of two there was but one three-masted ship 
that escaped burning. It is true, that there was likewise 


operations, I thought this quarrel too childish 
to give myself uneasiness about it. I took leave 
of him, begging him to reflect, that I had given 
him no cause of displeasure. I did not wish to 
come to a rupture with him ; but, on the 1st of 
July, seeing the day dawn, and that the flotilla 
was still far too distant to make the necessary 
attack, meeting him in his chaloupe, I asked 
' If he did not think it time to begin the at- 
tack ?' < Is it of me you thus inquire ?' he re- 
plied; ' I have nothing to say to you on the 

spared, in the barbarous conflagration of the 18th June, 
a small brigantine. We must then consider this small 
brigantine as a ship of the line taken by M. de Nassau. 
This prize remained, and has been totally wrecked. 
Humanity recoils with indignation and horror from see- 
ing so many wretched creatures perish in the flames 
without any necessity. But these are trifling marks of 
goodness of heart and of gratitude which M. de Nassau 
has been pleased to show, to prove that he is worthy of 
the benefits he has lately received from Constantinople. 
Now he is with Russia, and in that he finds his advan- 
tage. The same motives, however, which have induced 
him to come here may lead him back to Constantinople." 


subject.' After a reply so uncivil, and so pub- 
licly made, it was impossible I could have any 
farther intercourse with the Prince of Nassau. 

" On the 18th June, in giving an account to 
the Prince-Marshal of the fate of the nine ves- 
sels run aground in coming out of the Liman, 
upon the shallows opposite the battery and block- 
fort on the tongue of land of Kinbourn, I took 
the liberty to propose to him to get the Wolo- 
dimer, which had port-holes for seventy pieces of 
cannon, and the large frigate Alexander, which 
might have carried fifty pieces, completely armed, 
that at the first opportunity the squadron of 
Cherson might join that of Sevastopole ; but his 
Highness gave no orders for this purpose till the 
month of September ; and the Admiralty was so 
slow in acting, that the vessels were not equipped 
by the 18th October, when I was recalled to St Pe- 
tersburgh by an order from her Imperial Majesty. 

" The fleet of the Capitan Pacha having sailed 
on the 28th of June, had a rencounter with that 
of Sevastopole, which had come out some days 
before ; but the Turkish fleet being much 
stronger than that of Russia, the latter fled, and 


had the good fortune to get back to Sevastopole. 
without loss, having no more than six or seven 
men killed and wounded, which shows that the 
affair was neither close nor warm. 

" After the affair of the 18th of June, the. 
greater part of our flotilla remained several days 
at anchor between Kinbourn and the block-fort 
upon the tongue of land. It is surprising that 
the Russian seamen and pilots could be so pro- 
foundly ignorant respecting the anchorage, cur- 
rents, and depth of the Liman, and, above all, of 
the channel and the road between Oczakow and 
Beresane. At first not a single commander in the 
flotilla durst venture to cast an anchor. 

" Being at Kinbourn on the 28th June, Gene- 
ral Suwaroff spoke to me of the unpleasant cir- 
cumstance of not being able to cut off the com- 
munication between Oczakow and Beresane. Hav- 
ing sounded myself, I informed him that this was 
quite as practicable as it was useful to the service, 
and I would place the frigates there instantly if 
he would only require me to do so. He did not 
hesitate, and the same day I placed three frigates 
there. M. Alexiano did all he could to prevent 


me ; and when he saw the frigates set off, pro- 
phesied that I would never see them return. 
He carried his intrigues so far, that the Prince- 
Marshal wrote me a warning letter on the 29th, 
and on the 1st July a peremptory order to with- 
draw them. During the short tune they were 
there they took two Turkish armed chaloupes 
and a batteau laden with powder and shot ; and 
cut off the enemy's communication between Oc- 
zakow and Beresane. 

" The Prince-Marshal had not been satisfied 
with the conduct of the flotilla in the affair of at- 
tacking Oczakow on the 1st July, which was 
conducted in a very irregular manner, and at too 
great a distance. The most advanced charge was 
that of the battery commanded by M. Akmatoff, 
who was never less than 900 toises distant from 
the enemy. 

" On the 10th of July the Prince-Marshal 
sent the Prince of Nassau to Sevastopole, to learn 
if the squadron had been much damaged in the 
rencounter with the Turkish fleet. Immediately 
after the departure of the Prince of Nassau, the 
Prince-Marshal gave the Chevalier Ribas the 



command of the flotilla, with orders to go to 
Kinbourn, to receive on board the troops he des- 
tined to make a descent on the island of Bere- 
sane. At the same time he ordered me to esta- 
blish a line of blockade between that island and 
Oczakow. I stationed five frigates, carrying 
eighteen-pounders, in the roads for this purpose. 
" On the 14th I was ordered to inspect the 
entrance of the Liman. I immediately went to 
Kinbourn to have an understanding with Gene- 
ral SuwarofFand the Brigadier de Ribas. Though 
the Brigadier had been incessantly occupied since 
the departure of the Prince of Nassau in bring- 
ing the crews of the flotilla to some sort of order, 
he had not yet completed this task. So great 
was the confusion that reigned, that he could not 
find in any vessel five soldiers belonging to the 
same company ; and the officers knew not where 
to look for their men. This retarded the em- 
barkation of the troops destined for the descent 
on Beresane till the 16th. The Prince-Marshal 
was so much displeased with this delay, that on 
the 17th he gave orders to land the troops, that 
they might join his army before Oczakow, and 


that the flotilla should again pass into the Liman, 
as well as the frigates I had posted for the 

" From the commencement of the projected 
expedition against Beresane, M. Ribas had re- 
quested me to conduct the flotilla and the descent 
of the troops. Though a man of much talent, 
he had not the misplaced conceit of some persons 
who readily take upon them things far beyond 
their capacity. I told him, ' He well knew I 
ought to have commanded the flotilla as well as 
the squadron, from the beginning of the cam- 
paign, but that my gratitude for the gracious 
reception accorded me by her Imperial Majesty, 
together with the very delicate state in which I 
had found affairs, had induced me to sacrifice my 
feelings, and even greatly to hazard my reputa- 
tion, for the good of the empire ; that I could 
never so far humble myself as to request the 
command of the flotilla, but if it were given me 
by the Prince-Marshal, I would do my best to 
make tHe most of it possible. 1 

" On the afternoon of the 17th the Prince- 
Marshal fairly proposed to give me the command 


of the flotilla. His Highness informed me his 
intention was to have Oczakow attacked a second 
time. I replied, that I was disposed to execute 
with zeal whatever he might think proper for the 
good of the service ; but that to attack with ad- 
vantage it was necessary to come to close quar- 
ters, and to advance in better order than on the 
1st July. He was of the same opinion, and re- 
quested me to come ashore next day, that we 
might concert together the plan of attack. 

66 I did not fail to comply with the orders of 
the Prince-Marshal, but his Highness spoke no 
more of the flotilla. I remained to dinner and 
supper, and afterwards returned on board of my 

" The Prince of Nassau having returned some 
days before, had intrigued with the Prince de 
Ligne ; and the Prince-Marshal restored him to 
the command of the flotilla. 

" On the 18th June I had been ordered to 
despatch the five frigates which had returned into 
the Liman, to be refitted at Glouboca, en bat- 
ter ie. I sent them off at daybreak on the 19th, 
having drawn the greater part of their crews 
from the gun-boats and bomb-vessels which the 


Prince-Marshal had placed under my command. 
On the 20th I received twenty-one gun-boats, 
each carrying a single piece, from eighteen to 
thirty-two pounders ; and five bomb-vessels, each 
carrying a mortar, of which four were of three 
poods, and one of five poods.* The same day the 
Prince-Marshal having established his head-quar- 
ters to the right of his army upon the shores of 
the Black Sea, (he had hitherto been on the 
shores of the Liman, on the left wing,) pointed 
out to me two of the enemy's gun-boats, station- 
ed close by the fort of Hassan Pacha, and the 
Turkish lines on the side of Beresane. He was 
persuaded that they would attempt to come out 
during the night with despatches, and inquired 
of me if it were not possible to capture them. 
As his Highness appeared to attach great import- 
ance to this service, I undertook it. 

" I returned on board the Wolodimer, from 
whence, at eight in the evening, I set off* with 
five armed chaloupes. I made five gun-boats 
follow, as a measure of precaution in case the 

* A pood, or poud, is a Russian weight, equal to 36 Ibs. 
English weight. 


Turks had attempted to make a sortie, as their 
chaloupes sailed much faster than ours. 

" I found one of the Turkish gun-boats 
aground, hauled up, and almost dry on the sands 
adjoining the battery, and on an intrenchment 
the enemy had cast up on the water's edge. It 
was impossible to get it afloat under the terrible 
fire which we sustained from all the lines and bat- 
teries on the shore. The other gun-boat lay hard 
by the fort of Hassan Pacha, to the south. Lieu- 
tenant Edwards boarded this vessel, and cut her 
cables ; but having had several of his men wound- 
ed, and being deserted by one of the chaloupes, 
he was obliged to give up the attempt, lest he 
should be left by the other chaloupe also. Dur- 
ing this time I had made some efforts to get the 
other Turkish boat afloat. I now rowed quickly 
to the assistance of Mr Edwards, but the night 
being dark, he was already out of sight. I 
boarded the vessel in which he had been. I had 
several men wounded around me ; but, in defi- 
ance of the enemy, I hauled the vessel out, and 
stationed it right opposite the head-quarters of 
the Prince-Marshal. 


" On the 21st, at daybreak, I sailed with the 
Wolodimer, followed by all the vessels of the 
squadron that yet remained with me, and twenty- 
five armed boats and bomb-vessels that had been 
placed under my command. The object of this 
movement was again to blockade Oczakow by sea, 
and to cut off the communication between that 
place and Beresane. To accomplish this object, 
I stationed the Wolodimer and the Alexander to 
blockade the channel at the entrance of the Li- 
man, and I continued the same line of blockade 
into the road, by placing the smaller vessels there. 
As the bomb- vessels and gun-boats had not water- 
casks, the Prince-Marshal, who wished to see 
these craft opposite his head-quarters, made 
wells be dug on shore for the accommodation of 
the crews ; and on the 24th ordered my officer 
du jour to have three vessels stationed near the 
shore. I knew nothing of this change, for I had 
placed them the previous night, in line, and far 
enough off to be in safety. On the 25th the 
wind was from the south, but was not violent. 
After dinner I went to head-quarters to make a 
visit to the Prince-Marshal, and found, to my 


great astonishment, that half the boats were cast 
ashore, and the other half in the greatest dan- 
ger. I set to work instantly, with my chaloupe, 
to haul off, and bring to anchor all the vessels 
possible ; and by means of anchors and cables, 
for which I sent to the squadron, we saved them 
all, except six gun-boats, which went to pieces, 
and filled with sand. On the 26th the Prince- 
Marshal wrote me by his Brigadier du jour, 
requiring to know, since I was master of the 
vessels saved, what I meant to do with them ? I 
placed them near the tongue of land of Kinbourn, 
where they had a sheltered haven, and also wells 
for the accommodation of the men. They sus- 
tained no farther injury during the time they re- 
mained under my command. After this, two 
chaloupes or small cutters were placed under 
my orders, of which each carried two licornes, 
forty-eight pounders, in the fore-part, and six 
falconets on the sides. Shortly afterwards I got 
two larger cutters, carrying each two mortars, 
of five poods. 

" On the 31st July, the Capitan Pacha again 
made his appearance with his fleet, followed by 


several vessels which he had not when he went 
off. His advanced guard, composed of his fri- 
gates, bomb-vessels, and small craft, cast anchor 
near Beresane, whilst his large squadron of ships 
of the line resumed their old position. The 
Prince-Marshal ordered me to bring back my 
small vessels to assist in blocking up the pass- 
age of the Liman; and the Prince of Nas- 
sau was ordered to block up the road with his 
flotilla, and thus cut off the communication of 
the Turkish small vessels by the shallows to the 
south of Fort Hassan Pacha. 

" The Prince of Nassau hoisted a Vice-Ad- 
miral's flag on one of the galleys in coming out 
of the Liman, and that galley having passed un- 
der the stern of the Wolodimer on the 1st of 
August, he assumed that I ought to have salut- 
ed him as Vice-Admiral !" 

[The Rear-Admiral here enumerates six dif- 
ferent special reasons for not saluting the said 
flag ; and we fear somewhat tediously, for which 
reason we spare the reader this concatenation; 
the only important fact being, that the Prince of 
Nassau endeavoured to make the Court of Russia 


believe that the denial of this piece of courtesy 
was the only subject of dispute between himself 
and Paul Jones. We again resume the narra- 

" The Capitan Pacha came out from day to 
day, to sound and reconnoitre, in his kirlangitz, 
which sailed like the wind, and always displayed 
an Admiral's flag. As the block-fort and bat- 
tery on the tongue of land at Kinbourn were 
only constructed of bags of sand, and were neither 
protected by ditch nor palisade, I was afraid that 
the Capitan Pacha might try to carry them by a 
sudden descent, which he could have done by 
landing five hundred men. 

" General Suwaroff had been dangerously 
wounded in a sortie made by the garrison of 
Oczakow,and had come to Kinbourn. I convinced 
him that the block-fort and battery were menaced, 
and as he had a greater quantity of chevaux de 
frize than he required, I suggested that he should 
employ what was superfluous in surrounding the 
block-fort and battery. The General gave orders 
accordingly, and I ranged all my gun-boats and 
bomb-vessels right by the strip of ground be- 



tween the block-fort and the battery. The -sand 
served them as a parapet, so that there was a line 
of fire continued from the point on to the bat- 
tery. The small craft were, besides, always ready 
to change their position at the first movement of 
the enemy, and I placed the squadron so advan- 
tageously as to communicate with the block-fort 
and the battery, without confining their fire, and 
to keep back the enemy by a cross-fire, on enter- 
ing the channel of the Liman; so that, though we 
were very weak compared with the Turkish fleet, 
the Capitan Pacha never either attempted to 
make a descent, or to force the passage of the 
entrance of the Liman. 

" The Prince-Marshal having ordered Rear- 
Admiral Wognowitch to sail from Sevastopole 
with the fleet under his command, and that of- 
ficer having raised obstacles because his force was 
not, he conceived, powerful enough to attack 
that under the command of the Capitan Pacha, 
his Highness sent me a letter, written by his 
chief secretary, Brigadier Popoff, on the 19th 
August, (old style,) proposing that I should go 
to Sevastopole to take command of the fleet. It 


may be remembered that I was brought to 
Russia to command all the naval force in the 
Black Sea, consequently this proposition did not 
surprise me. Had the Prince-Marshal ordered 
me to go, I would have proceeded immediately, 
but I could not seem as if I sought to be sent. 
In thejirst place, the naval signals used in that 
fleet were imperfect and very limited. %dly, 
My naval signals had not yet been translated into 
the Russian language, as no attention had been 
given to my request for a person capable of trans- 
lating them. 3c%, I was acquainted with no one 
in the fleet, and I was aware that the Prince- 
Marshal wished that it should come out the very 
day after my arrival at Sevastopole. 4>thfy, The 
fleet had been compelled to fly before that of the 
Capitan Pacha, at a time when he had two thou- 
sand fewer good seamen. 5thly, The fleet at Se- 
vastopole was much as before, but that of the Ca- 
pitan Pacha was stronger in craft, and had all the 
men replaced that had been lost in the affair of 
the Liman. 6thly, I had just received prepara- 
tory orders from the Prince-Marshal to attack 
Fort Hassan Pacha ; and I hoped to show him 


the difference between my fashion of attack and 
that of the 1st of July. I replied, in answer to 
his letter, that being entirely devoted to the good 
of the state, his Highness would find me eager 
to fulfil his orders. It was said, that some days 
afterwards the Prince-Marshal sent positive or- 
ders to Admiral Wognowitch to come out, but 
that he always found means for not coming to 
close quarters with the Capitan Pacha. 

" On the 30th August the Turks took a small 
lodka, freighted with water-melons, belonging to 
the merchants of Kinbourn. In coming down 
the Liman the people on board had been foolish 
enough to pass too close to Oczakow. 

" To ' punish the Turks' for this, the Prince 
of Nassau, at evening, made his flotilla advance 
to assault Oczakow ! 

" I sent my secretary to head-quarters, and in 
the meanwhile assembled the commanders of di- 
visions of my gun-boats and bomb-vessels, and 
ordered them to bring forward their divisions, and 
form in line of battle between the squadron and 
Oczakow, ready to attack the Fort of Hassan 
Pacha the moment orders should arrive. 


" Upon the return of the Capitan Pacha, 3VL 
Littlepage, Chamberlain to the King of Poland, 
being then with the Prince-Marshal, had solicited 
and obtained leave to command a division of my 

" Night being come on, the chiefs of division 
wishing to bring forward their boats, found that 
thirteen of them had quitted their posts, against 
the most positive orders to make no movement 
without their commanders of division. This 
movement had been occasioned by the rashness of 
a Greek Lieutenant belonging to the division of 
M. Littlepage. The boat of this officer had fired 
eight shots against the place, and another boat 
six shots, but no one else had fired. As this Lieu- 
tenant was the most to blame, I deprived him of 
his command, and sent him to head-quarters, 
which was required by the Prince-Marshal. 

" The Prince of Nassau, who had very idly 
wasted a great deal of ammunition, pretended 
that my boats had prevented him from taking 
the whole Turkish flotilla ! 

" The Greek Lieutenant whom I had disgraced, 
instead of being punished, was promoted to the 


command of a double chaloupe, heavily armed. 
M. Littlepage gave a particular account of the 
whole affair in a letter to the Grand General of 

" A few days after this, the Prince-Marshal sent 
Rear- Admiral Mordwinoff on board the Wolodi- 
mer, to assemble all the captains and master pilots 
of the squadron to hold a council on the means 
of effecting a junction between the squadron of 
Cherson and the fleet of Sevastopole. It has been 
said that the Prince-Marshal had earnestly en- 
treated this officer to take the affair upon him- 
self, and that he had positively declined it. I 
can say nothing on this head ; I only know that 
it was a delicate step in relation to me, to send 
another officer on board my ship to hold a coun- 
cil ; and, above all, without having apprized me 
either by speech or writing. If I had been stick- 
ling, I would have put this officer under arrest, 
as he could show no authority nor precedent 
for holding a council where I commanded. But 
as I was influenced by the good of the service 
above every personal consideration, I received 
Admiral Mordwinoff most amicably, and after 


dinner assembled the officers for the necessary 
consultation. Many difficulties presented them- 
selves to their minds against the proposed junc- 
tion ; but as it was known that the Prince-Mar- 
shal was determined on the measure, it was agreed 
that it could not be effected but at Hagdge-bay, 
upon the coast, between Beresane and the Da- 
nube, at the distance of fifty verstes* from the 
point of Kinbourn. I raised no obstacle. I only 
observed, that since it was pressingly necessary 
to beat the advanced guard of the enemy before 
we could effect the proposed junction, it was in- 
dispensable to station the squadron previously 
in the road of Oczakow, and to sail from thence 
with the wind from N, to N.N.W., to avoid be- 
ing attacked on the way by the grand fleet of the 
Turks, and also to keep to the leeward till the 
junction was effected. 

" It was only a few days previously that pre- 
parations had been begun to complete the arm- 
ing of the Wolodimer and Alexander. 

" During this time her Imperial Majesty had 

* A verste is equal to 3500 English feet. 
VOL. II. 1) 


sent twenty-four gold swords to head-quarters, to 
be distributed among the officers on account of 
the battle of the Liman. The Prince-Marshal 
himself received a gold sword, enriched with 
diamonds and emeralds ; and the Prince of Nas- 
sau got one ornamented with a row of diamonds. 
There were a number of silver medals sent at the 
same tune to be distributed among the soldiers 
and seamen. The swords had not yet been dis- 
tributed, but the medals were all given to the 
men of the flotilla, and not one to any man in 
the squadron. It is usual to give subalterns the 
more merit the more they are exposed to per- 
sonal danger. The crews of the squadron had 
often hauled the flotilla totally uncovered, and ex- 
posed to the fire of the enemy, whilst the people of 
the flotilla were screened by parapets made of bags 
of wool, by which the vessels were surrounded. 

" On the 18th September I received a secret 
order from the Prince- Marshal to attack the ad- 
vanced-guard of the enemy, anchored under Be- 
resane. His Highness proposed to make the at- 
tack with the five frigates which had been sent to 
Glouboca to be mounted as batteries ; and the 


frigates were to be supported by all the other 
vessels of the squadron, save the Wolodimer and 
the Alexander, the arming of which went on very 
slowly on account of difficulties on the part of 
the Admiralty. Two of the frigates, the Sco- 
roi and the Boristhenes, had already rejoined the 
squadron. Before the equipments of those fri- 
gates were altered, they carried more guns than 
are ever put, either by the French or English, 
into ships of the same kind. The Scoroi, for ex- 
ample, carried forty guns, and in England they 
would not have put more than thirty-two into 
her. She now carried sixteen 36-pounders, and 
'four licornes, 18-pounders." 

[Here follows a detailed account of the arma- 
ment of this frigate, and the Rear-Admiral's 
opinion of the best way of arming ships, which 
he appears himself to think not much to the 
point, for he returns to the narrative of the cam- 
paign by saying as much.] 

" The five frigates, of which I have perhaps 
spoken too much, appeared to me very fit to place 
behind a stoccado, or bar. But I never would 
make choice of ships of this kind for the sea-ser- 


vice. The first broadside is all that is to be 
feared from them. 

" I replied in writing to the proposition of the 
Prince-Marshal for attacking the advanced guard 
of the Turks near Beresane, and afterwards 
made a plan of attack be drawn out for his in- 
spection. He was much pleased with it. As it 
was necessary to take advantage of a northerly 
wind to effect the enterprise, I proposed to the 
Prince-Marshal to place the frigates in the road 
as soon as they arrived from Glouboca, to serve, 
while waiting the attack on the line, as a perma- 
nent outer blockade between Oczakow and the 
enemy. His Highness said it was not yet time 
for this, and ordered me to place them in a line 
with the other vessels of my squadron, so as to 
make an imposing figure in the channel of the 

" In the end of the month, the Turkish fleet 
set sail in the night, followed by all the vessels 
that had lain under Beresane ; nor did we per- 
ceive it till late in the next morning. The 
Capitan Pacha returned in about thirty-six hours, 
and resumed the position he had left. The only 


difference was, that he brought in some additional 
small vessels, and that he considerably reinforced 
his advanced guard under Beresane. As our 
flotilla, which ought to have blockaded the road, 
and cut off the communication with the small 
vessels on that side, were only there occasionally, 
as if by caprice, it was quite natural for the 
Turks to profit by its absence, and go out and in 
when they found the way clear. 

" The flotilla being to leeward, between my 
squadron and Kinbourn, on the 8th October, the 
Capitan Pacha sent off in the evening three ves- 
sels of his advanced guard, which entered Ocza- 
kow unmolested, by an open passage. Our flo- 
tilla made no movement. I made an attempt to 
intercept the enemy's progress with my gun- 
boats, which I caused to be hauled to wind- 
ward by the ship's boats of the squadron. But 
the wind being high, they could not bring them 
to attack. Our batteries nearest to Oczakow 
fired on the three Turkish vessels, but without 
being able to arrest their progress. It was now 
dark ; and, moreover, the distance between these 
batteries and the block-fort, on the side of Kin- 


bourn, being seven verstes, the land-batteries 
never could have prevented either the entrance 
or exit of small vessels. 

" One of the Turkish ships had the folly to cast 
anchor in the shallows of Fort Hassan Pacha ; 
and at daybreak on the ninth, being within shot 
of our most advanced land-battery, was struck 
between wind and water, and run down; the other 
two vessels got in without difficulty. I have al- 
ready mentioned, that on the 18th of August I 
received an order to be in readiness to attack the 
fortress of Hassan Pacha with my bomb-vessels, 
and the chaloupes armed with licornes and mor- 
tars. I expected from day to day an order for 
action, and had in consequence bestowed much 
pains in training my men to the necessary evo- 
lutions ; but the final orders never arrived. 

" The Prince of Nassau having run down my 
plan of attack, it was set aside ; and by a new 
arrangement, which I was commanded to form 
with General Muller, Commander-in-chief of Ar- 
tillery, I was destined to assault the intrench- 
ment, and the Turkish battery on the shore of 
the road. 


" On the 9th of October the flotilla advanced 
from the shores of Kinbourn, and attacked Ocza- 
kow ; but this attack was conducted and ended 
in the very same manner as that of the 30th 
August, save that a small vessel of the Turkish 
flotilla, which lay farther out than any of the 
others, ran aground on the shallows of Fort Has- 
san Pacha. 

" On the 10th of October I received another 
preparatory order ; and soon afterwards was or- 
dered to give up all my gun-boats to the flotilla. 
Towards evening I went to head-quarters to as- 
certain what was to be done regarding these boats. 
The Prince-Marshal at this time told me he 
had the strongest desire to see pitched overboard 
a large piece of artillery placed on the fore-part 
of the vessel of the Turkish flotilla that stood 
farthest out, and which had run aground. I im- 
agined at the time that there was no other vessel 
run aground save the one in the road, at the 
distance of a verste from the fortress of Hassan 
Pacha; so I said the thing was quite easy; for 
although the Turks should come up in force to 


defend the vessel, there would always be time to 
spike the piece of cannon. 

" It was night when I undertook this little 
enterprise. As I did not imagine the Prince- 
Marshal attached so much importance to it as 
to wish that I should conduct it in person, I 
confided it to Lieutenant Edwards, a brave and 
an intelligent man, whom I wished to requite for 
past services. On the 1st of July he had follow- 
ed me throughout, and was a long time with me 
in the galley of the Capitan Pacha. He had 
followed me on the night of the 20th of July, and 
had boarded, and cut the cable of the vessel 
which I took opposite the fortress of Hassan 
Pacha. He had assisted me some days after- 
wards, when, by orders of the Prince-Marshal, we 
made trial of bombarding the fort from one of the 
bomb-vessels ; from which service we had some 
difficulty in withdrawing, as the wind, which rose 
in a moment, kept us for a long while under the 
fire of the enemy's musketry, which wounded 
some of our men. 

" Mr Edwards returned before daybreak, with- 


out having succeeded. He said there were a great 
many men in the ship, who fired on him, and that 
he durst not board her, he was so ill supported. I 
was vexed that he had failed ; and in my report to 
the Prince-Marshal I said that I would conduct 
the enterprise myself next night, if that would 
satisfy him. 

" The Prince-Marshal held me at my word ; 
but it was eleven at night when Mr Edwards re- 
turned with the order. The wind, which was 
high, was quite against me, as well as a strong 
tide ; and I would have deferred the attempt, if 
I had not conceived my honour pledged. I was 
led to hope, that after midnight the wind might 
fall, and the strength of the tide lessen, if it did 
not change. The night was very dark, and the 
rain fell in torrents. I waited till two o'clock, 
when the moon rose. I had with me five armed 
boats, and I calculated on being followed by four 
batteaux saporoses, and by one of the armed 
vessels I had taken from the Turks ; but it was 
impossible to haul them against the wind, and I 
was compelled to go on as I best could, with only 
my five boats. I have noticed that our flotilla 



had run down a small Turkish vessel in the shal- 
lows of the fortress of Hassan Pacha, but I did 
not perceive this till the moment after I had de- 
spatched Mr Edwards to head-quarters, because 
the vessel lay so near the fortress, where the water 
is of little depth, that it had only sunk a foot or 
fifteen niches, and consequently appeared as if 
still afloat. As the Prince-Marshal had only 
spoken to me of the farthest out of the Turk- 
ish flotilla, I now believed he meant the one 
nearest the fortress, in which idea I was confirm- 
ed by Mr Edwards, at his return from head- 
quarters, telling me he had heard ashore that the 
vessel run down in the road had been visited, 
but that nothing had been found there. I rowed 
for the vessel nearest the fortress, which carried 
a large cannon in her bow ; but, after having fa- 
tigued my rowers, I was vexed to see daylight 
appear, whilst I had still more than a verste to go 
before I could reach the vessel. I returned on 
board my own ship, to prevent a useless alarm, 
intending to renew the attempt next night. 

" Without waiting to receive my report, the 
Prince-Marshal sent me orders ' to abandon the 


enterprise, for he had intrusted it to other ships.' 
There was fine weather on the night between the 
12th and 13th, but the ' other ships' did no- 
thing ; and the Turks availed themselves of an 
open way to bring out all their flotilla, which re- 
joined the ships of the advanced guard under 

" Some days afterwards, a Colonel of Cossacks 
boarded the vessel run down in the road, and set 
fire to it, for which he received public thanks. 

" On the 13th the Prince-Marshal wished to 
establish a permanent line of blockade in the 
road, by placing my frigates there, and some 
other small vessels. He wrote me a letter on 
this subject, which strongly affected me, and to 
which I replied next day, with perhaps rather 
too much freedom and warmth.* This occasion- 

* This letter, taken in connexion with the circum- 
stances which preceded it, was the ultimate cause of 
the dismissal of Paul Jones before the campaign ended. 
His recall to St Petersburgh, under pretence of being 
employed in the North Sea, in name of the Empress, 
but really ordered by Potemkin, was a mere piece of 


ed an interchange of letters, which was only ter- 
minated on the 18th by the arrival of Admiral 

jugglery to get rid of him, of which he was not even the 
dupe. The following is an extract of his letter, and 
a copy of Potemkin's order, which provoked it : 

" Order to Rear-Admiral Chevalier Paul Jones. 

" As it is seen that the Capitan Pacha comes in his 
kirlangich from the grand fleet to the smaller vessels, 
and as before quitting this he may attempt something, 
I request your Excellence, the Capitan Pacha having ac- 
tually a greater number of vessels, to hold yourself in rea- 
diness to receive him courageously, and drive him back. 
I require that this be done without loss of time ; if not, 
you will be made answerable for every neglect. 

' 13th October, 1788." 

To this truly Russian order Jones has affixed the fol- 
lowing characteristic note : ' e A warrior is always ready, 
and I had not come there an apprentice." His reply to 
this order led to his instant dismissal. Potemkin was a 
person in no shape to be trifled with ; and though Jones 
at first attributed his want of favour in this powerful 
quarter to the ill offices of those around Potemkin, he 


Mordwinoff, to take command of the squadron 
and the flotilla ; for the Prince of Nassau had set 

came to see that much of what he suffered emanated 
directly from the impatience, jealousy, and caprice of 
this spoiled tyrant. When the Rear-Admiral went to 
head-quarters to take leave, Potemkin disdained and dis- 
claimed the insinuation of being influenced by those 
around him. " Do not imagine any one leads me, 
leads me !" he swore, and stamping with his foot, added, 
" Not even the Empress !" Fatal as the reply to the above 
order proved to Jones, and deeply as he regretted it, 
the reader must be pleased to see that he retained so 
much of his original spirit as appears in this singular 
document. " I have always," he says, " conformed my- 
self immediately, without murmuring, and most exactly, 
to the commands of your Highness ; and on occasions 
when you have deigned to leave any thing to my own 
discretion, I have been exceedingly flattered, and believe 
you have had no occasion to repent. At present, in case 
the Capitan Pacha does resolve on attempting any thing 
before his departure, I can give assurance beforehand, 
that the brave officers and crews I have the honour to 
command will do their duty ' courageously/ though they 
have not yet been rewarded for the important services 
they have performed for the empire under my eyes. I 


off for Warsaw some days after his affair of the 
9th, with which the Prince-Marshal had been 
much dissatisfied. I at the same time received 
orders from her Imperial Majesty to go to St 
Petersburgh to be employed in the North Sea. 
Sweden had declared war against Russia at the 
commencement of the campaign, and Admiral 
Greig, who had commanded the Russian fleet, 
having died, I was assured her Majesty had very 
important views in recalling me. Yet I could 
not but feel grieved to be deprived of my com- 
mand when the campaign, so far as regarded 
maritime operations, was so nearly concluded. 

" As soon as the Prince of Nassau went off, all 
the gold swords were distributed among the of- 
ficers of the flotilla. It may easily be imagined 
that this transaction, as well as several things 

answer for this with my honour, and will explain myself 
fairly on this delicate point at the end of the campaign. 
In the meanwhile, I may merely say, that it is upon the 
sacred promise I have given them of demanding justice 
from your Highness in their behalf, that they have con- 
sented to stifle their grievances and keep silent," 


which preceded it, were not calculated to give 
me much pleasure. The capture of the Turkish 
galley, and the boarding the galley of the Capi- 
tan Pacha on the 1st of July, were without dis- 
pute the most brilliant actions of the campaign 
of the Liman. The credit of them was most 
unjustly given to the flotilla, and my officers 
remained without any reward for the important 
services which they had rendered in these affairs, 
laying aside those of the 18th June, the 30th of 
August, and the 9th of October, from which they 
reaped no advantage. After the gold swords 
had been distributed, I myself heard several of 
the officers who got them express their astonish- 
ment, not being able to guess for what they had 
been so highly rewarded. 

" It is worthy of notice, that all the large ves- 
sels which the flotilla attacked were previously 
aground. In this case, they might be compared 
to men with their feet nailed to planks, and 
their hands tied behind their backs. This is the 
only instance in history of ships aground, and 
out of the possibility of being re-captured, being 


attacked and destroyed, with their crews, by com- 
bustibles. It may be recollected, that during 
the whole campaign the flotilla had not taken 
even one small vessel afloat. Since a very mis- 
taken notion has been formed of the vessels taken 
in the Liman on the 17th and 18th of June, 
which have been called " ships of the line," it 
is but right to say that I made Lieutenant Fox 
measure the hulls of the two largest, and we 
found that the size of the one was 130, and of 
the other 135 feet English in total length, in the 
line of their first battery. Apply this to naval 
architecture. Yet the Prince of Nassau had 
been rewarded in a brilliant manner for " having 
destroyed six, and captured two ships of the 
line" The only three-masted vessel which es- 
caped burning upon the 18th June was a cor- 
vette of one battery, and four pieces between 
decks. I had almost forgot that there was one 
small brigantine of fourteen three-pounders. 
Such were the two vessels of the line that were 
captured, and the latter was wrecked next day 
by the carelessness of those who had the charge 


of her. In place of eight vessels of the line, the 
Capitan Pacha had come into the Liman with 
only a detachment of corvettes, or large mer- 
chantmen, frigates, bomb-ships, and other craft. 
Only four of the corvettes carried guns between 
decks. Of this number was the vessel saved. On 
one of these four vessels was displayed a square 
flag ; but there was the same on the galley and 
the kirlangich of the Capitan Pacha. It has 
been already said that the grand fleet without 
Kinbourn displayed three Admirals' flags. From 
the account of the campaign given by the Prince 
of Nassau, it appears that the Capitan Pacha had 
lost his best ship, manned with , the picked men 
of his fleet, and his only flag as Grand Admiral, 
while it is well known that at the end of the cam- 
paign he went back to Constantinople with all the 
ships of the line he had at the commencement 
of it. 

As it had been told me that some ill-intention- 
ed persons in the army had said that I had been 
deprived of my command because the officers 
were unwilling to serve under me, I endeavoured 
to procure testimonials to the contrary, and have 


seen with regret that the mind is not always free ; 
and that it sometimes dare not render homage 
to truth.* 

" The last of the five frigates, called ' Sea 
Batteries,' did not join the squadron till the 19th 
of October, and the same day Admiral Mord- 
winoff placed the line of blockade in the road 
much farther out than it ever had been, so that 
the vessels masked the fire of all the guns on 
shore on both sides." [Here the Rear-Admiral 
enters into certain professional criticisms on his 
successor's arrangements, which are neither pe- 

* In the service in which Paul Jones was engaged 
that was impossible., which in any service requires con- 
siderable moral courage. His Russian Secretary drew up 
for the signature of the officers a testimony in favour of 
" Rear-Admiral PaulJones, Chevalier of the Military Or- 
der of Merit, the Order of St Anne, and of Cincinnatus ;" 
which, says the Secretary, they, for powerful reasons, de- 
clined to subscribe, though they at the same time owned 
there was nothing in it contrary to pure truth. It was 
drawn up on the very eve of Paul Jones's departure for 
St Petersburgh. The Captain of his late ship, the Wo- 
lodimer, subscribed it, and also one of the other officers. 


culiarly interesting, nor yet very good-natured, 
but which may, nevertheless, be very just. We 
pass them, and again take up the personal nar- 

" Having reflected that the season was too 
far advanced to render my services necessary in 
the North Sea before the following year, I wrote 
to the Prince-Marshal, offering to continue my 
services till the end of the campaign. I was in- 
debted to him for the Order of St Anne, and I 
have a heart naturally grateful.* He made his 
Secretary, M. Popoff, write me, that since I was 
recalled by the order of the Empress, it was ne- 
cessary I should obey. 

" I was, however, invited to head-quarters to 
take leave, and to receive a letter from the Prince- 
Marshal for her Imperial Majesty. As I was 
much interested personally, and still more so in 

* Paul Jones never appears to have had a true idea of 
the whole character of Potemkin till long afterwards. 
Potemkin was, indeed, one of the most extraordinary 
monsters that ever lived., a jumble of every moral con- 


relation to my officers, I after dinner spoke free- 
ly, and told M. Popoff all that was on my mind. 
This gentleman repeated all I said to the Prince- 
Marshal. He was offended at first, but after- 
wards he sent for me to talk with him. Without 
failing in the respect due to him, I spoke very 
freely. I told him he had played an unfair game 
at the opening of the campaign in dividing the 
command in the Liman in the existing circum- 
stances of the country ; and that, if I had not 
resolved to sacrifice my own feelings in order to 
manage the persons he had given me for col- 
leagues, the campaign would have taken a very 
different turn. He confessed it, but said it was 
too late to think of this now. He then said he 
would be glad to see me fixed in Russia, and 
that he was disposed to give me solid proofs of 
his esteem, both now and hi future. I showed 
him the testimonial of the Captain of the Wolo- 
dimer, and some other papers, to convince him 
that he had neither done justice to me nor to 
the squadron. He said the Prince of Nassau 
pretended all was done by himself; ' but I have 
never,' said he, ( been deceived in him. I have 


always known him for what he is.' He proposed 
that I should go to Tagenroc to equip and com- 
mand a squadron he was building there ; but, as 
I had been brought to Russia to take the chief 
command in the Black Sea, and had received 
orders from the Empress to repair to St Peters- 
burgh, I declined the offer. I only entreated 
that he would consider the services of my officers, 
and give them the seniority they had lost by the 
promotion of those officers of the flotilla who did 
not belong to the naval service. Admiral Mord- 
winoff made the same request, and the Prince 
promised to do them justice. 

" Two days afterwards I received a letter from 
the Prince-Marshal for the Empress, in which 
he noticed the zeal and anxiety I had ever shown 
for her service, and to render myself worthy of 
her favour.* 

* We give this letter. It is a good specimen of the 
sort of thing ; nor is it possible to believe that a man so 
acute as Paul Jones was duped or hoodwinked by this 
fashion of speaking and writing, though for political rea- 
sons he suffered himself to appear so : 


" On the 4th November, the Capitan Pacha 
havingwithdrawn his advanced guard in the night, 
set sail in the morning with his whole force, enter- 
ing first Varna, and afterwards Constantinople, 
with every ship of the line he had at the opening 
of the campaign. It is singular that this enter- 
prising commander did not attempt to force the 
entrance of the Liman ; for Admiral MordwinofF 
had placed the squadron in so exposed and dis- 
advantageous a situation, that the fire of the 
land-batteries, which should have flanked him 
without, was entirely covered. But it may be 
presumed that the Turkish Admiral believed he 

" MADAM, In sending to the high throne of your 
Imperial Majesty Rear- Admiral M. Paul Jones, I take, 
with submission, the liberty of certifying the eagerness 
and zeal which he has ever shown for the service of your 
Imperial Majesty, and to render himself worthy of the 
high favour of your Imperial Majesty. 

" From the most faithful subject of your 
Imperial Majesty, 


" 31st October, 1788." 


had done enough for the safety of Oczakow by 
the succours he had thrown in. 

" On the morning of the 7 tn ? agreeably to 
a secret order from the Prince-Marshal, the 
Saporoses landed, to the number of 2000, on 
the Island of Beresane. The Turkish garrison 
being only 300 strong, fired a few random shots, 
and then surrendered at discretion. 

66 Having given the officers under me such 
testimonials as they merited, I embarked on the 
morning of the 9th November in a small open 
galley for Cherson. I was three days and three 
nights on the way, and suffered a great deal from 
the excessive cold. The day after my arrival 
the river was frozen in, and I was taken danger- 
ously ill. My health was not sufficiently re- 
established to enable me to proceed before the 
6th of December. Having arrived at St Eliza- 
beth, I received intelligence that Oczakow had 
been taken by storm on the 6th. The garrison 
was eleven thousand strong, including the three 
thousand that the Capitan Pacha had thrown 
into the place before he sailed. But the cold 
had become extreme, and the Russian army 


being formed in six columns to attack the place 
at day-dawn, the Turks were completely taken 
by surprise, and, becoming panic-struck, suffered 
themselves to be throttled like as many sheep. 
In the fury of the assault the Russian soldiers 
spared nothing. I have been assured, that from 
eighteen to nineteen thousand Turks perished on 
that day ! 

" As I wished to delay my return to court 
till the arrival of the Prince-Marshal, I stopt 
some days at Skloff, where General Soritsch 
loaded me with civilities. I arrived at St Peters- 
burgh on the 28th December, and was ordered 
to appear at court on the 31st, when her Impe- 
rial Majesty did me the honour of granting me 
a private audience. I presented the letter the 
Prince-Marshal had given me. A few days 
afterwards the Empress sent me word, through 
Count de Dmitrijew-Mamonow, that she must 
wait the arrival of Prince Potemkin before de- 
ciding on what was to be done regarding me. In 
the meanwhile Count Besborodko told me, that 
a command of greater importance was intended 
for me than that of the Black Sea. 


" On the 1st February, the Prince-Marshal 
not having yet arrived, I gave in to the Vice- 
Chancellor, Count d'Osterman, a project for form- 
ing an alliance, political and commercial, between 
Russia and the United States. As the object of 
this project was reciprocal advantages, and, above 
all, to encourage the commerce of the Black Sea, 
and of the new settlements in the Crimea, I had 
long intended to transmit it to the Prince-Mar- 
shal; and on his arrival at court, about the 
middle of February, I sent him a copy. Some 
time afterwards he took me into his cabinet, and 
said that my plan contained some good ideas; 
but that he did not think it expedient to adopt it 
at this time, as this might still further irritate the 
English against Russia, and that it was necessary 
first to make peace with the Turks. 

" I might say a great deal more about the 
fleet and flotilla of Cherson, but for the present 
I have said enough." [The Rear-Admiral does, 
however, say a good deal about the construction 
and equipment of the Russian ships, and the in- 
ternal regulations of the Russian navy, which 
shows much professional acuteness, but must 



have small interest now that all is changed. The 
speculations of a clever and a practical man forty 
years ago, on the opening prospects of the Rus- 
sian empire, compared with its actual state, are, 
however, both curious and important.] " The 
commerce of the Black Sea," he says, "is an 
object of very great importance ; but this com- 
merce will always be annoyed and often inter- 
rupted by the Turks, till Russia has a stronger 
fleet hi the Black Sea to hold them at bay, and to 
place the keys of Constantinople in the hands of 
the Empress. Russia having all the requisite 
materials, in making the necessary arrangements 
with order and economy (without speaking of 
war, to avoid exciting suspicion in powers jealous 
of her glory,) this deficiency might be supplied 
in a few years. The means of obtaining good 
seamen is to create a merchant-trade, to form 
an alliance with the United States, and to have 
a squadron of evolution on the Black Sea, di- 
rected by an admiral and a properly-instructed 

" I have always believed that Russia requires 
a port on the Asiatic side, opposite the Crimea, 


to protect the fleet in winds and currents, and to 
be as it were a sentinel-post on the Turks. I 
have thought of Sinople for this purpose, and I 
spoke of it to the Empress and Prince Potem- 
kin; but, being afterwards better informed, I 
found a more suitable situation, where I am cer- 
tain such a post could be securely established at 
small cost, and beard the whole Ottoman empire. 
" I must be permitted to conclude my journal 
with some reflections naturally suggested by mat- 
ters affecting my personal honour. I have never 
been able to conjecture the reason which made 
Prince Potemkin order Admiral Mordwinoff to 
give up to him the official account of our opera- 
tions, which I had drawn up in conformity to the 
orders of the Admiralty of the Black Sea, as I was 
assured he had done, both by Admiral Mordwinoff 
and his brother-in-law. No more could I guess 
why Prince Potemkin had given orders that no 
notice should be taken of the little frigate Alex- 
ander, which had been run down in the battle of 
the 17th June. This information also I had 
from Admiral Mordwinoff after I had given up 
to him the command of the squadron. I have 


been assured that this frigate was always retained 
in the list ef the marine. When I found that I 
received no testimony of the favour of the Em- 
press in this affair, and on other occasions very 
interesting to the state, I was compelled to think 
that she had been ill-informed, for her ambition 
is to be esteemed the most magnanimous and the 
most generous of all sovereigns.* 

* It is no new incident in any service for one man to 
gain the victory for which another is rewarded. This 
must sometimes occur from due regard to rank and sub- 
ordination, even where there is the strongest desire to do 
strict justice to all the commanders. To the counsels of 
Varage, Captain Winter, and a Milanese officer, De Litta, 
the subsequent victory of the Cronstadt fleet over the 
Swedes, for which Nassau was so highly rewarded, were 
universally ascribed. The most brilliant and decisive 
sea-battle ever gained by the Russians, that of Tschesrne, 
where the whole Turkish fleet, a town and castle, were 
taken or destroyed in one morning, was fought by the 
English officers, Elphinstone, Greig, and especially Dug- 
dale, who performed prodigies of reckless valour at the 
greatest personal hazard. Yet the Empress thought fit 
to attribute the victory to Alexy Orloff, either from po- 


" I received a letter from the Minister of the 
United States (to the Court of Versailles,) dated 
Paris the 23d March, 1789, which began by tell- 
ing me, that a letter he had received from me, 
dated at St Petersburgh, the 31st January, was 
the only proof my friends had of my existence 
since I had left Copenhagen.* If I had played 

licy or want of information. Potemkin himself was 
never more munificently rewarded for what he had ac- 
tually accomplished, than was Orloff for a victory of 
which he obtained the credit. There were great public 
rejoicings ; pillars and palaces were erected, and titles, 
estates, orders, or whatever the imagination of the Em- 
press could devise to do him honour, were heaped on 
the murderer of her husband, to whom she had formerly 
owed a considerable share of her usurped crown. 

* In Russia, letters were systematically intercepted. 
This was part of the policy of the government ; and such 
things have been heard of in that country, even of later 
date than the reign of Catherine II. When the Arch- 
duke Paul was permitted to travel through Europe 
with the Archdutchess, he was so well aware of the jea- 
lousy of his mother and her government, that he arrang- 
ed a private correspondence to be forwarded to the Swe- 
dish post-offices by couriers. His correspondent was a 


the part of a cipher in the campaign of the Liman 
it was for the first time. I either deserved to lose 
my head, or the history of the operations on the 
Liman, which had been got up in St Petersburgh 
during the winter, and which I saw with astonish- 
ment in the office of M. Popoff, merited to be 
burnt. I assert, that it was falsified even to the 
most trifling circumstances. 

66 I have acted a public and distinguished part 
for fifteen years among an enlightened people, 
where the press is free, and where the conduct 
of every man is open to discussion, and subjected 
to the judgment of his fellow-citizens. No man 
can play the hypocrite during so long a period 
in a career so trying as was mine. It was natu- 
ral for the Prince of Nassau and Brigadier Alex- 
iano to be my enemies, for they only sought their 

young aid-de-camp, Bibikoff, who sometimes permitted 
himself to describe persons about the court without suf- 
ficient regard to decorum. Among those honoured with 
his notice was One Eye, as he termed Potemkin. The 
courier was intercepted at Riga, and Paul's witty corre- 
spondent was exiled to Astracan, where he shortly died. 


own advantage ; and Prince Potemkin, who knew 
better, did wrong to place me in competition with 
them ; but I cannot conceive how it happened 
that I had around Prince Potemkin other enemies 
as powerful as they were malicious. I ought to 
have found only friends in Russia, for I have 
served that empire faithfully and well. The 
manner in which Prince Potemkin has changed 
in regard to me, since the commencement of the 
war, exceeds all imagination. While he sup- 
posed that my services would be an acquisition 
in directing the maritime operations against the 
Turks, the Admirals MordwinofF and Woino- 
witch entirely lost his confidence as officers ; and 
it is evident that Woinowitch had not regained 
it on the 19th of August, when it was proposed 
that I should go to Sevastopole to take command 
of the fleet. When I had the misfortune to of- 
fend Prince Potemkin by the freedom of my 
letter of the 14th October, he sent several cou- 
riers, one after another, entreating that Admiral 
MordwinofF would take command of the squadron, 
which the latter only at last accepted on condi- 
tion of receiving carte blanche, and insisted that 


the Prince should not interfere in any arrange- 
ments he thought fit to make. 

" I have mentioned that the Dnieper was 
frozen over the day after my arrival at Cherson, 
in consequence of which the squadron and flotilla 
were placed in danger, from not having been pro- 
perly secured (for the season) after the departure 
of the Capitan Pacha. I understood that some 
of the vessels were lost in the Liman, and that 
the Wolodimer, to save herself, was obliged to 
risk the passage to Sevastopole without a good 
part of her ballast. 

" Briefly in a few days after my departure 
from Cherson, Admiral Mordwinoff was disgraced 
and sent from the service, whilst Admiral Woi- 
nowitch, who had married the daughter of Alexi- 
ano, was placed at the head of the Admiralty, 
with the chief command of the fleet, and the en- 
tire confidence of Prince Potemkin. 

" It is said that Russia has no longer need of 
foreign naval officers. No one is more desirous 
than myself that this may be so, for I cannot be 
jealous of any one, and I must ever desire the 
prosperity of a country I have served. I may, 


however, be allowed to notice, that this opinion is 
not of very ancient date. If this had been be- 
lieved before the last campaign, why were my 
services so anxiously sought after ? It assuredly 
could not have been in compliment to me, nor in 
order afterwards to make use of me in promoting 
certain political designs. I have frequently heard, 
that, since the war broke out with Sweden, mea- 
sures have been taken to induce Rear-Admiral 
Kinsbergen to quit Holland, and re-enter the 
service of Russia. His countrymen allege that 
he had been offered the rank of vice-admiral, the 
Order of Alexander Nevsky, and a fixed revenue 
of 20,000 roubles a-year ; and that he had re- 
fused all these advantages, as he had lately mar- 
ried a wife with a fortune which enabled him to 
live in independence in his own country. 

" It is known that the King of Sweden made 
advantageous offers to Admiral Curtis of the 
English navy, to induce him to take command 
of the fleet against Russia ; and that this officer 
declined them, not wishing to hazard his pro- 
fessional reputation in command of a fleet which 



was not in so good a condition as that of Eng- 

" The Empress will do me the justice to re- 
member, that when I entered her service I did 
not say one word regarding my personal interests. 
I have a soul too noble for that ; and if my heart 
had not been devoted to her Majesty, I would 
never have drawn my sword in her cause. I 
have now nothing for it but, like Admiral Kins- 
bergen, to marry a rich wife; but I have. sufficient 
to support me wherever I choose, and I have seen 
enough of the world to be a philosopher. When 
I arrived at the Black Sea, if reasons much 
stronger than those which withheld Admiral Cur- 
tis had not influenced my mind and heart, which 
were devoted to the Empress, I would never have 
hoisted my flag on board the Wolodimer. I 
would have refused the poor command offered 
me, and which was not worthy of me. I have 
never puffed off my own actions, nor given any 
piece to the press containing my own panegyric.* 

* The pettish tone of some of these remarks affords an 


" I respect the names of Kinsbergen and 
Curtis ; but the first duty of a gentleman is to 
respect his own character ; and I believe, with- 
out vanity, that the name of Paul Jones is of as 
much value as theirs. It is thirty years since I 
entered the navy, and I have had for friends and 
instructors a d'Orvilliers and a Pavilon. Unfor- 
tunately Prince Potemkin never gave himself the 
trouble to know me. 

" I had the happiness to be loved by my offi- 
cers and men, because I treated them justly, and 
set them a good example in fight. After I ceased 
to command, though the campaign only lasted a 
few days, the seamen soon found the difference. 
They said they had lost their father : they were 
immediately served with bad provisions. 

amusing contrast to the affected coolness and indifference 
of the sentiments they express ; but it should be remem- 
bered, that, just before this Journal was ex tended, the man 
who suffered all the neglect, injustice, and insult which 
it records, had been irritated to the verge of despair and 
madness by persecution and injury of a viler and yet more 
despicable nature. Under the feeling of these wrongs he 


" I have already noticed, that Prince Potem- 
kin had promised, in presence of Admiral Mord- 
winoff, to advance the officers under my com- 
mand, and to restore to them the seniority they 
had lost by the promotion of the officers of the 
flotilla ; but I have learnt with much pain that 
he has not kept his word, and that in consequence 
my officers, to the number of fifty, have de- 
manded then- dismission. Not one of them of- 
fered to resign while I held command. Admiral 
Woinowitch having represented to Prince Po- 
temkin that without these officers the fleet was 
useless, he was compelled to advance them all. 
I have been told that they were not yet satisfied, 
as they were not restored to their seniority, and 
that they proposed to quit the service at the end 
of the year. I hope justice will be done them, 
for they are brave men. For myself I have 
been marked out from every other officer that 
served in the Liman ; I alone have obtained no 
promotion, though I commanded and was alone 
responsible ! I may be told that I ought to be 
satisfied with having received the rank of Rear- 
admiral on entering the service. I reply, that I 


could not have been offered an inferior grade. 
One officer may deserve as much in a day as an- 
other hi a lifetime, and every officer ought to be 
advanced according to his merits. I was not fa- 
voured hi rank on entering the Russian service. 
I had a full right to obtain that which I accepted. 
A man, only twenty-four years of age, has since 
been received into the service with the rank of 
major-general. I wish to say nothing against 
this officer ; it is not always years that give skill, 
much less genius, but he must do a great deal 
before he has my experience. 

" It is painful, for the honour of human na- 
ture, to reflect on how many malevolent and de- 
ceitful persons surround the great, and particu- 
larly crowned heads. I speak from my own un- 
happy experience. Some persons had the malice 
to make Prince Potemkin believe that I made 
unhandsome strictures on his military conduct, 
and ridiculed his manner of conducting the siege 
of Oczakow. I have heard a great deal said on 
this subject, and I am aware that it excited con- 
siderable discontent in the army. I was told, 
during my illness at Cherson, that a thousand of 


his officers had demanded their dismission ; but 
I defy any one to say to my face that I ever al- 
lowed myself to criticise his operations. I have 
been strongly attached to him, of which I have 
given proofs during my command, and even 
after he unjustly superseded me. There is evi- 
dence of this in my letter of the *Jth November, 
at a time when I certainly had reason to complain 
of his conduct. 

" I have been deeply injured by those secret 
machinations in the opinion of the Empress. 
My enemies have had the wickedness to make her 
believe that I was a cruel and brutal man ; and 
that I had, during the American war, even killed 
my own nephew ! 

" It is well known, that, from motives of re- 
venge, the English have invented and propagated 
a thousand fictions and atrocities to stain, wound, 
and injure the celebrated men who effected the 
American revolution : a Washington and a 
Franklin, two of the most illustrious and vir- 
tuous men that have ever adorned humanity, 
have not been spared by these calumniators. 
Are they now the less respected on this account 


by their fellow-citizens ? On the contrary, they 
are universally revered, even in Europe, as the 
fathers of their country, and as examples of all 
that is great and noble in the human character. 

tf In civil wars it is not wonderful that oppo- 
site factions should mutually endeavour to make 
it be believed that each is in the right ; and it is 
obvious that the party most in the wrong will 
always be the most calumnious. If there had 
really been any thing against my character, the 
English would not have failed to furnish con- 
vincing proofs of it. I was known, with very 
slender means, to have given more alarm to then* 
three kingdoms during, the war than any other 
individual had done. 

66 I have heard, that, at the period of my en- 
tering the Russian service, the English in St 
Petersburgh cried out against me, and asserted 
that I had been a contraband trader. All the 
world knows that men of this description are ac- 
tuated entirely by avarice ; and every one to 
whom I have the honour to be known is aware 
that I am one of the least selfish of mankind. 
This is known to the whole American people. I 


have given proofs of it not easily shown, of which 
I possess very flattering testimonies. In a letter 
written on the 29th November, 1782, to Con- 
gress, by Mr Morris, minister of the marine and 
finance departments, after having made my eu- 
logium with the warmth of a true patriot, who 
thoroughly knew me, he says, that ' I had cer- 
tainly merited the favour of Congress by services 
and sacrifices the most signal.' Men do not 
change their characters in these respects. 

" If my heart has bled for the Americans, 
above all, for those shut up as victims in Eng- 
lish prisons by an act of Parliament as sanguin- 
ary as unjust, if I have exposed my health and 
my life to the greatest dangers, if I have sacri- 
ficed my personal tranquillity and my domestic 
happiness, with a portion of my fortune and my 
blood, to set at liberty these virtuous and inno- 
cent men, have I not given proofs sufficiently 
striking that I have a heart the most tender, a 
soul the most elevated ? I have done more than 
all this. So far from being harsh and cruel, 
nature has given me the mildest disposition. I 
was formed for love and friendship, and not to be 


a seaman or a soldier, to which I have sacrificed 
my natural inclination. 

" As an officer I love good discipline, which I 
consider indispensable to the success of opera- 
tions, particularly at sea, where men are brought 
into such close contact. In the English navy it 
is known that captains of ships are often tyrants, 
who order the lash for the poor seamen very fre- 
quently for nothing. In the American navy we 
have almost the same regulations ; but I look on 
my crew as my children, and I have always found 
means to manage them without flogging. 

" I never had a nephew, nor any other rela- 
tion, under my command. Happily these facts 
are known in America, and they prove how cruel 
and harsh I am. I have one dear nephew,* who 
is still too young for service, but who now pur- 
sues his studies. Since I came to Russia I have 
intended him for the Imperial marine. Instead 
of imbruing my hands in his blood he will be 
cherished as my son. 

* The only son of the Rear- Admiral's eldest sister, the 
late Mrs Taylor of Dumfries. 


" In short, my conduct has obtained for me 
the returns most grateful to my heart. I have 
had the happiness to give universal satisfaction 
to two great and enlightened nations which I 
have served. Of this I have received singular 
proofs. I am the only man in the world that 
possesses a sword given by the King of France. 
It is to me a glorious distinction to wear it ; and, 
above all, to have received it as a proof of the 
particular esteem of a monarch so august, a 
monarch who has declared himself the Protector 
of the rights of the human race, and who adds 
to this glorious title that of citizen ! I have in- 
delible proofs of the high consideration of the 
United States; but what completes my happi- 
ness is the esteem and friendship of the most 
virtuous of men, whose fame will be immortal ; 
and that a Washington, a Franklin, a D'Estaing, 
a La Fayette, think the bust of Paul Jones worthy 
of being placed side by side with their own. It 
is then certain that this is not the bust of one * 

* In the mysterious and now perhaps inexplicable in- 


" Since I am found too frank and too sincere 
to make my way at the Court of Russia without 
creating powerful enemies, I have philosophy 
enough to withdraw into the peaceful bosom of 
friendship ; but, as I love virtue better than re- 
ward, and as my greatest ambition is to preserve, 

trigue set on foot at the return of Paul Jones from the 
Liman, to ruin him personally in the good opinion of the 
Empress, for he had been professionally sacrificed before, 
it appears, by a passage following the above extravagant 
self-eulogium, (which we can only pardon in an indignant 
and persecuted man,) that accusations had been insinuated 
against him of a yet darker and more revolting character 
than the alleged murder of his nephew and the violation 
of a girl. Had not the latter calumny already been made 
public, as Paul Jones takes no notice of it in his Journal, 
we would scarce have polluted our pages by reference 
to it. The circumstance, however, has been noticed 
by Count Segur, and adverted to by the American bio- 
grapher ; and as we possess ample means from his papers, 
and the testimony of Segur and Littlepage, of establish- 
ing his innocence in this affair, it is noticed. Indeed this 
absurd charge died away before he left Russia, though 
stated by the historian of Catherine II. as the cause of 
his being driven from that country ! 


even in the shades of retreat, the precious favour 
of the Empress, I may tell her Majesty, that, 
even in the midst of my persecutions, my mind 
was occupied by plans for the essential advance- 
ment of her service, of which I gave some idea to 
her minister in June last (1789.) I have not 
entered into details, for there are politicians who 
before now have robbed me of my military plans. 
I have other projects in view from which the flag 
of Russia might derive new lustre, and which 
would cause but little expense to her Majesty at 
the outset, and perhaps nothing in the end, if I 
had the direction ; for I would be able to make 
war support war. Whatever be the issue, I 
have the satisfaction of having done my duty in 
Russia, and that without any views of self-in- 
terest. It is affirmed, that, in general, strangers 
who come to Russia are adventurers in search of 
fortune, not having the means of living in their 
own country. I cannot say as to this ; but I at 
least hope that the Empress will not class me 
with those. 

" Briefly, I am satisfied with myself; and I 
have the happiness to know, that, though my 


enemies may not be converted into friends, my 
name will nevertheless be always respected by 
worthy men who know me ; and it is to me a sa- 
tisfaction and a signal triumph at the moment of 
my leaving Russia, that the public, and even the 
English in St Petersburgh, with whom I had no 
connexion, have now changed their sentiments 
in regard to me, give me their esteem, and regret 
my departure. 

" St Petersburgh, 29th July, 1789." 




A BRIEF notice of Russian affairs is perhaps ne- 
cessary to enable the reader to form a correct 
opinion of the conduct of Paul Jones during this 

The whole history of the campaign, so far as 
it regards Paul Jones, is comprehended in the 
character of Potemkin. He had provoked the 
war with Turkey from motives that his extra- 
ordinary character render credible, though in re- 
lation to any other individual they would remain 
unworthy of belief. Already loaded with titles, 
honours, dignities, and crosses of almost all the 
European orders, he still secretly longed for the 
grand ribbon of the Order of St George, an order 
instituted by the Empress. To dismember the Ot- 
toman empire still farther, and procure this dis- 
tinction, a war was to be provoked by intrigues, 
bribery, and the promotion of intestine divisions 


in the Turkish dominions ; and when all was pre- 
pared, by the insolence of the Russian envoys and 
consuls, and the barefaced violation of existing 
treaties, the discredit of actual aggression was art- 
fully thrown on the Porte. Russia had already 
virtually made war, but the Turks first declared 
hostilities. The person to whom the conduct of the 
war on the part of Russia was confided, Field- 
Marshal Prince Potemkin, was one of the most 
extraordinary men of his own or of any age. If 
ever great genius be allied to madness it was so 
in the wildly-organized mind of Potemkin. The 
Prince de Ligne, who had closely examined his 
character, and Count de Segur, who long knew 
him intimately, and watched him strictly, have 
both left portraits of this singular personage, 
which, though French in their tone and colour- 
ing, give a tolerable idea of the exterior of the 
man on whose interests and caprices the fate of 
the Russian empire as well as of Paul Jones 
depended. Neither the acute Austrian, de Ligne, 
nor the manners-seizing Frenchman, de Segur, 
held, however, a plummet-line of sufficient length 
to sound all the depths of Potemkin's character. 


The Prince de Ligne saw a great deal of " the 
Prince," as he was called, during the stately pro- 
gress of the Empress in 1787? and afterwards at 
head-quarters during the campaign of 1788. His 
sketch of an unparalleled original, which was 
written exactly at the time when Potemkin was 
in daily contact with Paul Jones, commences 
thus : " I here behold a commander-in-chief 
who looks idle and is always busy ; who has no 
other desk than his knees, no other comb than 
his fingers; constantly reclining on his couch, 
yet sleeping neither in the night nor in day- 
time. His zeal for the Empress he adores keeps 
him incessantly awake and uneasy ; and a can- 
non-shot, to which he himself is not exposed, 
disturbs him with the idea, that it costs the life 
of some of his soldiers ; trembling for others, 
brave for himself; stopping under the hottest 
fire of a battery to give orders, yet more an 
Ulysses than an Achilles ; alarmed at the ap- 
proach of danger, frolicksome when it surrounds 
him ; dull in the midst of pleasure ; unhappy in 
being too fortunate ; surfeited with every thing ; 
easily disgusted, morose, inconstant ; a profound 


philosopher, an able minister, a sublime politi- 
cian, or like a child of ten years of age ; not re- 
vengeful ; asking pardon for a pain he has in- 
flicted ; quickly repairing an injustice ; thinking 
he loves God when he fears the devil, whom he 
fancies still greater and bigger than himself; 
waving one hand to the females that please him, 
and with the other making the sign of the cross ; 
embracing the feet of a statue of the Virgin, or 
the alabaster neck of his mistress ; receiving 
numberless presents from his sovereign, and dis- 
tributing them immediately to others ; accepting 
estates of the Empress and returning them, or 
paying her debts without her knowledge."* The 

* This is pure fiction. Potemkin would never, if pos- 
sible, pay his own debts. When any one came to de- 
mand payment, Popoff his secretary was asked why that 
man was not paid ? but, by a preconcerted signal, (the 
Prince closing his hand,) the secretary was given to un- 
derstand that no payment was intended to be made : 
when, on the contrary, he opened his hand, which was 
more rarely, the debt was to be discharged. The Em- 
press had often paid his debts. His rapacity exceeded 
his profusion. 



Prince de Ligne proceeds in the same strain of 
antithesis: " Gambling from morn to night, 
or not at all ; preferring prodigality in giving to 
regularity in paying ; prodigiously rich, and not 
worth a farthing ; abandoning himself to distrust 
or to confidence, to jealousy or to gratitude, to 
ill-humour or to pleasantry ; talking divinity to 
his generals and tactics to his bishops ; never 
reading, but sifting every one with whom he 
converses, and contradicting to be better in- 
formed; uncommonly affable or extremely sa- 
vage ; affecting the most attractive or the most 
repulsive manners ; appearing by turns the 
proudest satrap of the East, or the most polish- 
ed courtier of Louis XIV. ; concealing under 
the appearance of harshness the greatest bene- 
volence of heart ; whimsical with regard to time, 
repasts, rest, and inclinations ; like a child, 
wanting to have every thing, or like a great man, 
knowing how to do without many things ; sober, 
though seemingly a glutton ; gnawing his fingers, 
or apples and turnips ; scolding or laughing ; 
mimicking or swearing ; engaged in wantonness 
or prayers ; singing or meditating ; calling or 


dismissing ; sending for twenty aides-de-camp, 
and saying nothing to any of them ; bearing 
heat better than any man, while he seems to 
think of nothing but the most voluptuous baths ; 
not caring for cold, though he appears unable to 
exist without furs ; always in his shirt without 
drawers, or in rich regimentals embroidered on 
all the seams; barefoot, or in slippers embroi- 
dered with spangles ; wearing neither hat nor 
cap ; it is thus I saw him once in the midst of a 
musket-fire. Sometimes in a night-gown ; some- 
times in a splendid tunic, with his three stars, 
his orders, and diamonds as large as a thumb 
round the portrait of the Empress, they seemed 
placed there to attract the balls ; crooked and al- 
most bent double when he is at home ; and tall, 
erect, proud, handsome, noble, majestic, or fas- 
cinating, when he shows himself to the army, 
like Agamemnon in the midst of the monarchs 
of Greece. What, then, is his magic ? Ge- 
nius, natural abilities, an excellent memory, 
and much elevation of soul ; malice without the 
design of injuring; artifice without craft; a 
happy mixture of caprices ; the art of conquer- 


ing every heart in his good moments ; much 
generosity, graciousness, and justice in his re- 
wards ; a refined or correct taste ; the talent of 
guessing what he is ignorant of; and a consum- 
mate knowledge of mankind.' 

This sketch is rather the eulogium than the 
true character of Potemkin. He had originally 
been the favourite of the Empress, from which 
thraldom he alone, of her numerous lovers, pass- 
ed into the possession of greater political power 
than was enjoyed by any other man in Russia. 
Till his death he remained master of the desti- 
nies of the empire, and retained a paramount in- 
fluence over the mind of Catharine. He held 
every office of importance in the state. It was even 
whispered, that, after the death of her favourite, 
Lanskoi, Catharine gave her hand in secret to 
Potemkin. This was doubted at the time, and, 
at all events, made no change in the mode of 
life of the Empress or the Prince. It was he, in 
general, who either chose or recommended the 
favourites that appeared in rapid succession. A 
part of his revenue was a hundred thousand 
roubles from the Empress, and the same sum 


from the new favourite, as often as this office was 

The portrait left of this extraordinary person 
by Count Segur, if not exact, approaches more 
nearly to a true likeness than the epigrammatic 
sketch of De Ligne : " Prince Gregory Alex- 
androvitch Potemkin was," says Segur, " one 
of the most extraordinary men of his times; 
but, in order to have played so conspicuous a 
part, he must have been in Russia, and have 
lived in the reign of Catharine II. In any other 
country, in any other times, with any other so- 
vereign, he would have been misplaced ; and it 
was a singular stroke of chance that created this 
man for the period that tallied with him, and 
brought together and combined all the circum- 
stances with which he could tally. 

" In his person were collected the most oppo- 
site defects and advantages of every kind. He 
was avaricious and ostentatious, despotic and po- 
pular, inflexible and beneficent, haughty and 
obliging, politic and confiding, licentious and 
superstitious, bold and timid, ambitious and in- 
discreet. Lavish of his bounties to his relations, 



his mistresses, and his favourites, yet frequently 
paying neither his household nor his creditors. 
His consequence always depended on a woman ; 
and he was always unfaithful to her. Nothing 
could equal the activity of his mind, nor the in- 
dolence of his body. No dangers could appal 
his courage ; no difficulties force him to abandon 
his projects. But the success of an enterprise 
always brought on disgust. 

" He wearied the empire by the number of 
his posts and the extent of his power. He was 
himself fatigued with the burthen of his exist- 
ence; envious of all that he did not do, and 
sick of all that he did. Rest was not grateful to 
him, nor occupation pleasing. Every thing with 
him was desultory ; business, pleasure, temper, 
carriage. In every company he had an embar- 
rassed air, and his presence was a restraint on 
every company. He was morose to all that 
stood in awe of him, and caressed all such as ac- 
costed him with familiarity. 

" Ever promising, seldom keeping his word, 
and never forgetting any thing. None had read 
less than he ; few people were better informed. 



He had talked with the skilful in all professions, 
in all the sciences, in every art. None better 
knew how to draw forth and appropriate to him- 
self the knowledge of others. In conversation 
he would have astonished a scholar, an artist, an 
artisan, and a divine. His information was not 
deep, but it was very extensive. He never 
dived into a subject, but he spoke well on all 

" The inequality of his temper was productive 
of an inconceivable oddity in his desires, in his 
conduct, and in his manner of life. One while 
he formed the project of becoming Duke of 
Courland ; at another he thought of bestowing 
on himself the crown of Poland. He frequently 
gave intimations of an intention to make himself 
a bishop or even a simple monk. He built a su- 
perb palace, and wanted to sell it before it was 
finished. One day he would dream of nothing 
but war ; and only officers, Tartars, and Cossacks, 
were admitted to him ; the next day he was bu- 
sied only with politics ; he would partition the 
Ottoman empire, and put in agitation all the ca- 
binets of Europe. At other times, with nothing 


in his head but the court, dressed in a magnifi- 
cent suit, covered with ribbons presented him by 
every potentate, displaying diamonds of extraor- 
dinary magnitude and brilliance, he was giving 
superb entertainments without any occasion. 

" He was sometimes known for a month, and 
in the face of all the town, to pass whole even- 
ings at the apartments of a young female, seem- 
ing to have alike forgot all business and all deco- 
rum. Sometimes also, for several weeks succes- 
sively, shut up in his room with his nieces and 
several men of his intimates, he would lounge on 
a sofa, without speaking, playing at chess, or at 
cards, with his legs bare, his shirt-collar unbut- 
toned, in a morning-gown, with a thoughful front, 
his eyebrows knit, and presenting to the view of 
strangers who came to see him the figure of a 
rough and squalid Cossack. 

" All these singularities often put the Empress 
out of humour, but rendered him more interest- 
ing to her. In his youth he had pleased her by 
the ardour of his passion, by his valour, and by 
his masculine beauty. Being arrived at maturi- 
ty, he charmed her still by flattering her pride, 


by calming her apprehensions, by confirming her 
power, by cherishing her fancies of oriental em- 
pire, the expulsion of the barbarians, and the re- 
storation of the Grecian republics. 

" At eighteen, an under officer in the horse- 
guards, on the day of the revolution, he per- 
suaded his corps to take arms, and presented to 
Catharine his cockade as an ornament for her 
sword. Soon after, become the rival of Orloff, he 
performed for his sovereign whatever the most 
romantic passion could inspire. He put out his 
eye to free it from a blemish which diminished 
his beauty. Banished by his rival, he ran to 
meet death in battle, and returned with glory. A 
successful lover, he quickly shook off the hypocri- 
tical farce, whose catastrophe held out to him the 
prospect of an obscure destiny. He himself gave 
favourites to his mistress, and became her con- 
fidant, her friend, her general, and her minister. 

" Panin was president of the council, and was 
a stickler for the alliance of Prussia. Potemkin 
persuaded his mistress that the friendship of the 
Emperor would be of more use to her in realizing 
her plans against the Turks. He connected her 


with Joseph II., and thereby furnished himself 
with the means of conquering the Crimea and 
the country of the Nogay Tartars, which de- 
pended upon it. Restoring to these regions their 
sonorous and ancient names, creating a maritime 
force at Cherson and Sevastopole, he persuaded 
Catharine to come and admire herself this new 
scene of his glory. Nothing was spared for ren- 
dering this journey renowned to the latest poste- 
rity. Thither were conveyed, from all parts of 
the empire, money, provisions, and horses. The 
highways were illuminated. The Borysthenes 
was covered with magnificent galleys. A hun- 
dred and fifty thousand soldiers were newly 
equipped. The Cossacks were brought together ; 
the Tartars were disciplined. Deserts were peo- 
pled for the occasion ; and palaces were raised in 
the trackless wild. The nakedness of the plains 
of the Crimea was disguised by villages built on 
purpose, and enlivened by fireworks. Chains of 
mountains were illuminated. Fine roads were 
opened by the army. Howling wildernesses were 
transformed into English gardens. The King 
of Poland came to pay homage to her who had 


crowned him, and who afterwards struck him 
from the throne. The Emperor Joseph II. 
came himself to attend the triumphal progress of 
the Empress Catharine ; and the result of this 
brilliant journey was another war, which the 
' English and the Prussians impolitically instiga- 
ted the Turks to undertake, and which was only 
a fresh instrument to the ambition of Potemkin, 
by affording him an occasion to conquer Ocza- 
kow, which remained to Russia, and to obtain the 
grand ribbon of St George, the only decoration 
that was wanting to his vanity. But these latter 
triumphs were the term of his life. He died in 
Moldavia, almost by a sudden stroke ; and his 
death, lamented by his nieces and by a small 
number of friends, concerned only his rivals, who 
were eager to divide his spoils, and was very soon 
followed by a total oblivion. 

" Like the rapid passage of those shining me- 
teors which astonish us by their lustre, but are 
empty as air, Potemkin began every thing, com- 
pleted nothing, disordered the finances, disorgan- 
ized the army, depopulated his country, and en- 
riched it with other deserts. The fame of the 


Empress was increased by his conquests. The 
admiration they excited was for her; and the 
hatred they raised for her minister. Posterity, 
more equitable, will perhaps divide between them 
both the glory of the successes and the severity 
of the reproaches. It will not bestow on Potem- 
kin the title of a great man ; but it will mention 
him as an extraordinary person : and, to draw 
his picture with accuracy, he might be represent- 
ed as a real emblem, as the living image of the 
Russian empire. 

" For, in fact, he was colossal like Russia. 
In his mind, as in that country, were cultivated 
districts and desert plains. It also partook of 
the Asiatic, of the European, of the Tartarian, 
and the Cossack ; the rudeness of the eleventh 
century, and the corruption of the eighteenth ; 
the polish of the arts, and the ignorance of the 
cloisters; an outside of civilization, and many 
traces of barbarism. In a word, if we might ha- 
zard so bold a metaphor, even his two eyes, the 
one open, and the other closed, reminded us of 
the Euxine always open, and the Northern ocean, 
so long shut up with ice. 


" This portrait may appear gigantic ; but 
those who knew Potemkin will bear witness to 
its truth. That man had great defects ; but 
without them, perhaps, he would neither have 
got the mastery of his sovereign, nor that of his 
country. He was made by chance precisely such 
as he ought to be for preserving so long his 
power over so extraordinary a woman."* 

Segur might have added, that this Russian 
hero was as artful as his impetuous passions per- 
mitted ; vindictive, rapacious, and self-willed, to 
a degree which denoted actual frenzy. When 
young, and though a favourite not yet quite 
established in the good graces of the Em- 
press, he was, after a quarrel with her favour- 
ites, the Orloffs, in which he lost an eye, sent 
to serve under Field- Marshal Romantzoff. This 
distinguished commander treated him with ci- 
vility, praised his military conduct to the Em- 
press, but gave him neither his confidence 
nor esteem. The haughty Potemkin felt the 

* Life of Catharine II., Empress of Russia, vol. iii. p. 


humiliation, and never forgave the man, of whom 
he really had nothing to complain. He engaged 
in a despicable intrigue to ruin the Countess 
Bruce, for no other reason than that she had 
the misfortune to be the sister of the man he 
hated, and who disdained to cringe before him. 
PaulJones complains that his officers were not pro- 
moted during one campaign. The officers of Ro- 
mantzoff were kept from advancement for fourteen 
successive years, and the Field-Marshal himself 
retired at last in chagrin and disgust. It was no 
unfrequent thing for Potemkin to strike the Rus- 
sian officers that were about him, though he did 
not venture to display the same vivacity of temper 
to foreigners. He sometimes, in the headlong 
impulse of rage, struck even the native nobility. 
Field-officers were frequently sent by him from the 
Crimea, and from places as distant, for a dish of a 
particular kind of fish-soup, which cost him three 
hundred roubles ; or to St Petersburgh or Riga 
for a few oysters or oranges. He at one period 
compelled the Empress to dismiss one of her fa- 
vourites, (recommended by himself some time be- 
fore,) at the same instant that she ventured to 


expostulate with him for having struck the uncle 
of this young man. He ordered her to " dismiss 
that white negro, (the favourite Yermoloff,) or 
he would never again set his foot within the pa- 
lace, 1 ' and the Empress obeyed ! Yermoloff' 
was at the same moment sent on his travels. To 
Paul Jones he had emphatically said, " None 
led him not even the Empress !" He was ex- 
ceedingly indignant at the Swedish war, which 
interfered with his views on the Ottoman empire. 
He termed it an old woman's war. When Ca- 
tharine wrote him an account of the hasty pre- 
parations she had made to repel the Swedes 
who were approaching her frontier, she inquires, 
with the good humour which never deserted her, 
" Have I done right, my master ?" This was less 
a jesting expression than her Majesty probably 
imagined. The end of this semi-barbarian is not 
a little edifying. Satiated and disgusted with 
wealth, honours, conquest, and luxury, in the 
latter years of his life he would sit, throughout 
a long winter evening, alone, spreading out his 
diamonds on a black velvet cloth kept for this 
purpose, and arranging them in different figures, 


as crosses, stars, &c., weighing them, or passing 
them from hand to hand, like a child playing with 
cherry-stones, though certainly with not half the 
enjoyment. He would often pass a couple of hours 
gnawing his nails in gloomy silence, while he paced 
a saloon filled with mute company, his presence 
carrying dismay and blighting wherever he ap- 
peared. When attacked by the lingering fever 
which terminated his days in his fifty-second 
year, he disdained the advice of the court physi- 
cians despatched to him by the Empress, and 
continued to eat and drink with his ordinary in- 
temperance. His usual breakfast at this time 
was a smoked goose, with a large quantity of wine 
and spirits. He dined in the same manner. His 
appetites were all extravagant and irregular, and 
indulged to excess. With fever raging in his 
blood, he determined to leave Yassy, whither he 
had gone to attend a congress with the agents of 
the Porte. He fancied the air of this place dis- 
agreed with him, and determined to go to Nico- 
layef, one of the towns he had built. He had 
not proceeded many miles, when he became so 
ill that his attendants lifted him from his carriage. 


He threw himself on the grass, and died under a 
tree ! This was in October 1791. The wonders 
told of his riches, his estates, his gold, his dia- 
monds, the splendour of his Tauridan Palace, 
and the magnificence of his fetes, resemble the 
enchantments of an oriental tale. Like his co- 
adjutor, Suwarrow, Prince Potemkin was what 
they were pleased to think, or call, religious. Su- 
warrow never massacred ten or twenty thousand 
of his fellow-creatures in cold blood without rer 
turning thanks to Heaven, and giving glory for 
the achievement. Potemkin, for a Russian, 
could not be called cruel, but he was as supersti- 
tious as the meanest of his soldiers. At one time 
he affected extreme sanctity and mortification of 
life, and even threatened to turn monk. This 
was for a political purpose, and the grossest hy- 
pocrisy. But his superstition was unaffected. 
He regarded himself as the peculiar favourite of 
Heaven, and had great faith in his own good 
fortune. The first success over the Turkish fleet 
in the campaign of 1788 was gained, as he 
boasted to the Prince de Ligne, on the festival 
day of his patron, St Gregory, " Heaven had 


not forgotten him." Oczakow was stormed and 
carried on some other saint's day. The Prince 
of Nassau, the person with whom Paul Jones 
was in immediate competition, was a man of 
much feebler character. A sketch of his career 
in Russia is the strongest corroboration that the 
Journal of Rear- Admiral Jones can receive. 

The Prince of Nassau Siegen was fickle, ar- 
rogant, and of mean capacity. Paul Jones fre- 
quently throws doubts on his personal courage ; 
but a man whose whole life was spent in search 
of wild military adventures, and who continually 
exposed himself to personal danger, could scarce- 
ly have been a coward. Nassau proposed to 
accompany Jones in the secret expedition against 
England in 1779? and had abruptly abandoned 
the scheme without explanation or apology, and 
without even deigning to reply to the frequent 
letters which the disappointed Commodore ad- 
dressed to him. He had served in the unfortu- 
nate attempt of the French on the island of Jer- 
sey, and in the futile attack of the combined 
powers of France and Spain at Gibraltar. On 
the breaking out of the war with Turkey he en- 


tered the Russian service. He had previously 
joined the Empress, along with Potemkin, on 
her celebrated progress to the Crimea, and was 
rather a favourite with both of those personages. 
He obtained the command in the Black Sea, and 
on the arrival of Jones, there is little doubt that 
the rival commanders viewed each other with 
mutual jealousy. In an affair which took place 
on the 29th July, which Paul Jones has not 
mentioned, the Prince of Nassau, waiting in vain 
for orders, and at last acting without them, had 
the good fortune to support Prince Anhalt in a 
very pressing emergency, and to save a Russian 
battery. In his report to Potemkin, he boast- 
ingly apologizes " for having advanced with three 
gun-boats, and forced the Turks to retire, with- 
out orders." 

The reason of his withdrawing from the Liman 
before the end of the campaign is thus related : 
The supineness of Potemkin in conducting the 
siege of Oczakow was the subject of much ani- 
madversion, and at last of great discontent in the 
army. For months he lay as if spell-bound in 
his camp, surrounded by the females and others, 


ministers of his luxury and pleasure, that accom- 
panied him everywhere, displaying all the eccen- 
tricity and caprice of his character more extrava- 
gantly than he had ever done before. It is alleged 
that he was employed all this while in private in- 
trigues to corrupt the Turkish garrison, which 
he expected to capitulate without bloodshed. In 
the meanwhile many lives had been lost in sor- 
ties and abortive assaults, as well as in the am- 
phibious warfare of the Liman. In a council of 
war held to concert a decisive plan of attack, 
Nassau offered, " if he might be intrusted with 
the operation, to effect a breach in a weak part 
of the fortress which he had discovered, and 
which should be large enough to admit a whole 
regiment." Potemkin, offended by this vain 
boast, and never, as he afterwards said to Paul 
Jones, " deceived by Nassau," sarcastically ask- 
ed him " how many breaches he had made at 
Gibraltar ?" Nassau, offended in his turn, solici- 
ted the Empress for his recall. He was accord- 
ingly employed in the North Seas, with little 
honour to himself and great loss to the arms of 
Russia. In the following year he presented the 


Empress with a plan of driving the British 
from India drawn up by a Frenchman, M. St 
Genie, whom he patronized. The Empress was at 
first quite captivated with a scheme, doubly wel- 
come from being brought forward at the very 
time England was fitting out an armament which 
was to act in the Baltic, and thus force her to 
make peace with the Porte. Potemkin, who 
had been enraged with the Swedish, or, as he 
called it, " the old woman's war, 1 ' which inter- 
fered with his operations on the Euxine, treated 
this wild plan of marching a Russian army to 
Bengal with the derision and contempt it merit- 
ed. Nassau, however, still maintained a certain 
degree of favour with the Empress. This was 
shown in a remarkable instance. By an injudi- 
cious and very ill-managed attack of the galley- 
fleet, which he commanded, on that which was 
commanded by Gustavus III., his fleet, though 
twice as large, was completely defeated, with the 
loss of the one-half of his vessels. His excessive 
arrogance was not quelled even by witnessing 
the disastrous consequences of his own ignorance 
and temerity. His vanity led him to imagine 


that the Russians had yielded to this very inferior 
Swedish force merely to " tarnjsh his glory." 
He accordingly thus insolently announced his 
disgraceful reverse to the Empress : " Madam, 
I have had the misfortune to fight against the 
Swedes, the elements, and the Russians. I hope 
your Majesty will do me justice.' 1 To this ex- 
traordinary note the Empress replied, " You are 
in the right, because I am resolved you shall be 
so. This is highly aristocratic, but it is there- 
fore suitable to the country in which we live. 
Depend always on your affectionate Catharine." 

Assisted by the counsels of several able naval 
officers of different countries, Nassau, before this 
time, had gained a victory over the Swedish fleet. 
This signal defeat, which soon produced peace, 
was deeply felt by the Empress, however bravely 
she carried it ; and the Prince of Nassau, though 
loaded with honours, presented with a town-pa- 
lace in St Petersburgh, an estate, numerous pea- 
sants, and a pension of twelve thousand roubles, 
saw his favour decline, and afterwards entered 
the service of Prussia. His conduct in the Swe- 
dish campaigns affords, as was said, a strong 


corroboration of the statements of Paul Jones : 
guided by abler men, he succeeded, left to him- 
self, he rushed on destruction. 

It is now time to resume the regular course of 
the memoir, which left Paul Jones re-entering 
St Petersburgh. 



IT was under very different circumstances from 
those which attended his first triumphal entry 
about eight months before, that Jones return- 
ed to the Russian capital. He, however, had 
still sufficient credit at court to obtain an au- 
dience of the Empress, at which he delivered 
the letter of Potemkin. A few flattering pro- 
mises were made to him by Count de Besborodko, 
and he immediately began his ordinary practice 
of transmitting plans and projects, both diplo- 
matic and military. 

While he hung on thus, vainly 'soliciting em- 
ployment, the infamous conspiracy alluded to at 
page 114 was formed against his character and 
fortune, and threatening even his life, the object 
of which is easily traced, though the precise mo- 
tives in which it originated, and the persons who 
imagined an interest in devising it, were never 


clearly ascertained, even by the persecuted in- 
dividual himself. The information on this sub- 
ject which he procured long afterwards, and which 
will be laid before the reader in the proper place, 
though plausible, is neither satisfactory nor sup- 
ported by much evidence. In his future corre- 
spondence, Jones hints that he has reason to im- 
pute this most infamous proceeding, if not directly 
to English influence, at least to the desire of pro- 
pitiating the English by the sacrifice of an indivi- 
dual so obnoxious as he, somewhat gratuitously, 
supposed himself to be to that nation. His self- 
complacence had, on former occasions, seduced 
him into the belief that the whole British nation 
were his active enemies, and that his prowess 
was never to be forgotten nor forgiven. More 
recently he imagined that his reception at the 
northern courts had been the subject of deep mor- 
tification to such of the English as happened to 
be at Copenhagen or StPetersburgh. At the court 
of Denmark he had driven Mr Elliot into despair 
and solitude ; and with the English at St Peters- 
burgh it fared little better.* A few English 

* Had the truth of the statement regarding Mr Elliot 



naval officers in Russia did indeed raise some 
obstacle to serving with the celebrated Paul Jones, 
from a sense of honour and a spirit of professional 

not been tacitly admitted by the biographer of Jones, 
it would scarcely be worth notice here. It is but one in- 
stance of thousands, of men otherwise very acute, becom- 
ing the dupes of their own self-esteem. Jones was well 
received at the Danish Court, and was even soothed by 
a promised pension ; but the ministers of England had 
carried their point regarding the prizes during eight 
years ; while the government of Denmark, to flatter Eng- 
land, had contrived to elude every American negotiator, 
Jones and Franklin included. The chagrin of Mr Elliot 
at the distinguished reception of the American agent could 
not probably be very deep, while he saw that the American 
business was not one jot advanced. The conduct of the 
Court of Denmark in relation to Paul Jones, the pension 
included, was exactly what is understood by the vulgar 
phrase, " too civil by half." It is thus he writes of Mr 
Elliot's distress : " I must tell you (La Fayette) that Mr 
Elliot was furious when he found my business at Copen- 
hagen, and that I was received with great distinction at 
court, and in all the best societies in Denmark. Every 
time I was invited to sup with the King, Elliot made an 
apology ; he shut himself up for more than a month, and 
then left town. This occasioned much laughter : and, 
as he had shunned society from the time of my arrival, 


etiquette ; but as their destination was the Cron- 
stadt fleet, where Admiral Greig commanded, 
and as Jones was sent to the Black Sea, this soon 
passed away.* 

people said he had gone off in a fright !" He adds, " El- 
liot had influenced the English to put difficulties in the 
way of my passage by the Baltic," meaning on his voyage 
to Russia. 

* The Life of the Empress Catharine II., (a book that 
has long been popular, and which is esteemed authentic,) 
is full of inaccuracies as far as regards Paul Jones, and in- 
deed in many other particulars* It is stated that he was 
appointed to a command in the Cronstadt fleet, but that 
this was withdrawn, as the British officers, to the num- 
ber of thirty, and without a single exception, remon- 
strated, " considering this appointment as the highest 
affront that could be offered them, and a submission to 
it an act of degradation, that no time nor circumstan- 
ces could wipe away." They accordingly agreed to " lay 
down their commissions, declaring it was impossible for 
them to serve under or to act in any manner or capacity 
whatever, with a pirate or a renegade." It is to be re- 
membered, that this was six years after the peace with 
the colonies. The whole passage may as well be given 
at once. It will then require but one refutation. " The 


To Russia, and Russians alone, belong the 
entire infamy of a conspiracy to ruin a stranger 
who, it is enough to say, had incurred the dis- 

appointment of Paul Jones to a command in the Cron- 
stadt fleet/' says this work, " was recalled, and that 
"adventurer, whose character for an impetuous courage 
had made an impression on the court far beyond its 
value, was ordered to the armament in the Euxine, as 
second to the Prince of Nassau. In the meantime a re- 
port was raised of a scandalous adventure with a girl, 
which, making a noise in the town, (St Petersburgh,) 
occasioned him to quit the country entirely." The same 
work goes on to state that Paul Jones, though " brave 
at sea, was a coward on shore, that he more than once 
refused to accept a challenge, and was handsomely caned 
on the Exchange of Philadelphia." Moreover, that " he 
was extremely ignorant, and that his desperate courage 
only served to render his atrociousness more conspicu- 
ous." Now all this is contained in a well-known work, 
generally esteemed authentic, and of which the fourth 
edition, printed only eight years after the death of Paul 
Jones, lies before us. Where then shall we look for 
truth? According to this writer, Paul Jones never ac- 
tually served in Russia at all, but was driven from the 
country by the shame of his vices, before he had joined 


pleasure of Potemkin. In every despotic court, 
but especially in that of St Petersburgh, political 
intriguers will never want servile instruments to 
forward their basest and darkest purposes. In 
the present case these instruments were found of 
all ranks, though but of one nation. 

The nature of this disgraceful affair, of which, 
but for the interference of Count Segur, and it 

the fleet on the Black Sea. The reader is aware, that, 
however apprehensive the British officers might be, Jones 
never was intended to command in the Cronstadt fleet, 
then so ably conducted by Admiral Greig, supported by 
other English officers, and also by Danes and Italians. 
The courier of Potemkin was despatched to forward him 
at once to the Liman, as appears by M. Simolin's letter 
at page 330, vol. I. In the Life of Potemkin, his ap- 
pearance in the important campaign of 1789, and the 
support he afforded to the Prince of Nassau, are distinct- 
ly stated. It was well known to all Europe. How a 
man possessed " of desperate courage at sea," finds his 
courage ooze out at his finger-ends on shore, is a pheno- 
menon beyond ordinary comprehension. As we have ex- 
tenuated no act of Paul Jones which merited reprehension, 
we must be excused for noticing what is here set down 
either in wilful malice or unpardonable ignorance. 


might be from some latent dread of public opi- 
nion in France and America, Jones must have 
become the victim, will be sufficiently explained 
by the following letter, addressed to Prince Po- 
temkin, after the unhappy writer had been for- 
bidden to appear at court, and also by an extract 
wliich we shall give from the Memoirs of Count 

Rear-Admiral Paul Jones to Prince Potemkin. 

" St Petersburgh, 13th April, 1789. 
" MY LORD, Having had the advantage to 
serve under your orders, and in your sight, I re- 
member, with particular satisfaction, the kind 
promises and testimonies of your friendship with 
which you have honoured me. As I have served 
all my life for honour, I had no other motive for 
accepting the flattering invitation of her Impe- 
rial Majesty, than a laudable ambition to dis- 
tinguish myself in the service of a sovereign so 
magnanimous and illustrious ; for I never yet 
have bent the knee to self-interest, nor drawn 
my sword for hire. A few days ago I thought 
myself one of the happiest men in the empire ! 


Your Highness had renewed to me your promise 
of friendship, and the Empress had assigned me 
a command of a nature to occupy the most active 
and enterprising genius. 

" A bad woman has accused me of violating 
her daughter ! If she had told the truth, I should 
have candour enough to own it, and would trust 
my honour, which is a thousand times dearer to 
me than my life, to the mercy of the Empress. I 
declare, with an assurance becoming a military 
character, that I am innocent. Till that unhap- 
py moment, I have enjoyed the public esteem, 
and the affection of all who knew me. Shall it 
be said that in Russia a wretched woman, who 
eloped from her husband and family in the 
country, stole away her daughter, lives here in 
a house of bad fame, and leads a debauched and 
adulterous life, has found credit enough on a 
simple complaint, unsupported by any proof , to 
affect the honour of a General Officer of reputa- 
tion, who has merited and received the decora- 
tions of America, of France, and of this empire ! 

" If I had been favoured with the least inti- 
mation of a complaint of that nature having 


found its way to the Sovereign, I know too well 
what belongs to delicacy to have presented my- 
self in the presence of the Empress before my 

" My servant was kept prisoner by the officers 
of police for several hours, two days successive- 
ly, and threatened with the knout. 

" After the examination of my people before 
the police, I sent for and employed Monsieur 
Crimpin as my advocate. As the mother had 
addressed herself to him before to plead her cause, 
she naturally spoke to him without reserve, and 
he learned from her a number of important facts, 
among others, that she was counselled and sup- 
ported by a distinguished man of the court. 

" By the certificate of the father, attested by 
the pastor of the colony, the daughter is several 
years older than is expressed in the complaint. 
And the complaint contains various other points 
equally false and easy to be refuted. For in- 
stance there is a conversation I am said to have 
held with the daughter in the Russian language, 
of which no person ever heard me pronounce two 
words together, it is unknown to me. 


" I thought that in every country a man ac- 
cused had a right to employ advocates, and to 
avail himself of his friends for his justification. 
Judge, my Prince, of my astonishment and distress 
of mind, when I yesterday was informed that the 
day before, the Governor of the city had sent for 
my advocate, and forbidden him, at his peril, or 
any other person, to meddle with my cause ! 

" I am innocent before God ! and my conscience 
knows no reproach. The complaint brought 
against me is an infamous lie, and there is no 
circumstance that gives it even an air of proba- 

" I address myself to you with confidence, my 
Prince, and am assured that the friendship you 
have so kindly promised me will be immediately 
exerted in my favour; and that you will not 
suffer the illustrious Sovereign of this great em- 
pire to be misled by the false insinuations and 
secret cabals of my hidden enemies. Your mind 
will find more true pleasure in pleading the cause 
of an innocent man whom you honour with your 
friendship, than can result from other victories 
equally glorious with that of Oczakow, which 


will always rank among the most brilliant of mi- 
litary achievements. If your Highness will con- 
descend to question Monsieur Crimpin, (for he 
dare not now even speak to me,) he can tell you 
many circumstances which will elucidate my in- 
nocence. I am, with profound respect, my Lord, 
your Highnesses devoted and most obedient ser- 
vant," &c. &c. 

The document referred to in this letter appears 
quite satisfactory. It is a declaration by the 
husband of the woman. 

" I certify, that my wife, Fredrica Sophia 
Koltzwarthen, has left me without any reason ; 
that she has been living in the city with a young 
man ; and that she has clandestinely, and against 
my will, taken away my daughter Catherine Char- 
lotte, who is now living with her. 


" Saratowka, 7th April, 1789." 

" I certify, that this is the free and voluntary 
declaration of Stephen Koltzwarthen, and that it 
is he who has signed it. " G. BRAUN, Pastor. 

" Saratowka, 7th April, 1789." 


" I certify, that my daughter is twelve years 

" Saratowka, 7th April, 1789." 

" I certify, that Stephen Koltzwarthen has sign- 
ed what is above written. 

" G. BEAUN, Pastor." 

<e Declaration of the Pastor Lamp of St Petersburgk. 

" I certify, that the name of Koltzwarthen does 
not at present appear in the roll of those in the 
communion of the church, and that, previous to 
the day when she came to my house about the 
affair of her daughter, I had never seen her. 
" J. LAMP, Pastor:" 

The result of this letter to Potemkin does not 
appear ; and any further information concerning 
this affair must be sought in the Memoirs of 
Count Segur. It was peculiarly fortunate for 
Jones that this nobleman, a high-minded and ge- 
nerous individual, of an honourable and a gallant 
nation, was at this time in Petersburgh. He at 


once came forward with warmth and intrepidity 
in defence of the persecuted stranger. 

" Paul Jones," he says, " a sharer in the vic- 
tories of the Prince of Nassau, had returned to 
Petersburgh ; his enemies, unable to bear the 
triumph of a man whom they treated as a vaga- 
bondj a rebel, and a corsair, resolved to destroy 

" This atrocity, which ought to be imputed to 
some envious cowards, was, I think, very unjust- 
ly attributed to the English officers hi the Rus- 
sian navy, and to the merchants who were their 
countrymen. These, in truth, did not disguise 
their animosity against Paul Jones ; but it would 
be unjust to affix upon all a base intrigue, which 
was, perhaps, but the work of two or three per- 
sons, who have continued unknown. 

" The American Rear- Admiral was favourably 
welcomed at Court ; often invited to dinner by 
the Empress, and received with distinction into 
the best society in the city ; on a sudden, Catha- 
rine commanded him to appear no more in her 

" He was informed that he was accused of an 


infamous crime ; of assaulting a young girl of 
fourteen, of grossly violating her ; and that pro- 
bably, after some preliminary information, he 
would be tried by the Courts of Admiralty, in 
which there were many English officers, who were 
strongly prejudiced against him. 

" As soon as this order was known, every one 
abandoned the unhappy American ; no one spoke 
to him, people avoided saluting him, and every 
door was shut against him. All those by whom 
but yesterday he had been eagerly welcomed, 
now fled from him as if he had been infected 
with a plague ; besides, no advocate would take 
charge of his cause, and no public man would 
consent to listen to him ; at last even his ser- 
vants would not continue in his service ; and 
Paul Jones, whose exploits every one had so re- 
cently been ready to proclaim, and whose friend- 
ship had been sought after, found himself alone 
in the midst of an immense population : Peters- 
burgh, a great capital, became to him a desert. 

" I went to see him ; he was moved even to 
tears by my visit. c I was unwilling,' he said to 
me, shaking me by the hand, < to knock at your 


door, and to expose myself to a fresh affront, 
which would have been more cutting than all the 
rest. I have braved death a thousand tunes, 
now I wish for it.' His appearance, his arms 
being laid upon the table, made me suspect some 
desperate intention. 

" 6 Resume,' I said to him, ' your composure 
and your courage. Do you not know that hu- 
man life, like the sea, has its storms, and that 
fortune is even more capricious than the winds ? 
If, as I hope, you are innocent, brave this sudden 
tempest ; if, unhappily, you are guilty, confess 
it to me with unreserved frankness, and I will 
do every thing I can to snatch you, by a sudden 
flight, from the danger which threatens you.' 

" ( I swear to you upon my honour,' said he, 
6 that I am innocent, and a victim of the most 
infamous calumny. This is the truth. Some 
days since a young girl came to me in the morn- 
ing, to ask me if I could give her some linen or 
lace to mend. She then indulged in some rather 
earnest and indecent allurements. Astonished 
at so much boldness in one of such few years, I 
felt compassion for her ; I advised her not to 


enter upon so vile a career, gave her some money, 
and dismissed her; but she was determined to 

" 6 Impatient at this resistance, I took her by 
the hand and led her to the door ; but, at the 
instant when the door was opened, the little pro- 
fligate tore her sleeves and her neck-kerchief, 
raised great cries, complained that I had assaulted 
her, and threw herself into the arms of an old 
woman, whom she called her mother, and who, 
certainly, was not brought there by chance. The 
mother and the daughter raised the house with 
their cries, went out and denounced me; and 
now you know all.' 

" ' Very well,' I said, ( but cannot you learn 
the names of those adventurers ?' ' The porter 
knows them,' he replied. c Here are their names 
written down, but I do not know where they live. 
I was desirous of immediately presenting a me- 
morial about this ridiculous affair, first to the 
minister, and then to the Empress ; but I have 
been interdicted from access to both of them.' 
' Give me the paper,' I said ; c resume your ac- 
customed firmness ; be comforted ; let me 


undertake it; in a short time we shall meet 

" As soon as I had returned home, I directed 
some sharp and intelligent agents, who were de- 
voted to me, to get information respecting these 
suspected females, and to find out what was their 
mode of life. I was not long in learning that the 
old woman was in the habit of carrying on a vile 
traffic in young girls, whom she passed off as her 

" When I was furnished with all the docu- 
ments and attestations for which I had occasion, 
I hastened to show them to Paul Jones. c You 
have nothing more to fear,' said I ; ' the wretches 
are unmasked. It is only necessary to open the 
eyes of the Empress, and let her see how un- 
worthily she has been deceived ; but this is not 
so very easy : truth encounters a multitude of 
people at the doors of a palace, who are very 
clever in arresting its progress ; and sealed letters 
are, of all others, those which are intercepted with 
the greatest art and care. 

" ' Nevertheless, I know that the Empress, 
who is not ignorant of this, has directed, under 


very heavy penalties, that no one shall detain on 
the way any letters which are addressed to her 
personally, and which may be sent to her by 
post ; therefore, here is a very long letter which 
I have written to her in your name ; nothing of 
the detail is omitted, although it contains some 
rough expressions. I am sorry for the Empress ; 
but since she heard and gave credit to a calumny, 
it is but right that she should read the justification 
with patience. Copy this letter, sign it, and I 
will take charge of it ; I will send some one to 
put it in the post at the nearest town. Take 
courage ; believe me, your triumph is not doubt- 

" In fact, the letter was sent and put in the 
post ; the Empress received it ; and, after having 
read this memorial, which was fully explanatory, 
and accompanied by undeniable attestations, she 
inveighed bitterly against the informers, revoked 
her rigorous orders, recalled Paul Jones to court, 
and received him with her usual kindness. 

" That brave seaman enjoyed with a becoming 
pride a reparation which was due to him ; but he 
trusted very little to the compliments that were 


unblushingly heaped upon him by the many per- 
sons who had fled from him in his disgrace ; and, 
shortly afterwards, disgusted with a country where 
the fortune of a man may be exposed to such hu- 
miliations, under the pretence of ill health, he 
asked leave of the Empress to retire, which she 
granted him, as well as an honourable order and 
a suitable pension. 

" He took leave, after having expressed to me 
his gratitude for the service which I had render- 
ed him ; and his respect for the Sovereign, who, 
although she might be led into an error, knew at 
least how to make an honourable reparation for 
a fault and an act of injustice. 1 '' 

This account is substantially correct. There 
are some petty errors of detail, but nothing what- 
ever to detract from the noble spirit of generosity 
in which Count Segur acted to an unfortunate 
and ill-treated man. 

A letter to the Empress, which is still among 
those papers of Paul Jones which he so carefully 
collected and preserved, cannot be that alluded 
to by Count Segur ; it has every internal mark 


of his own authorship ; and as it is one of his 
pieces justificatives, we are inclined to believe it 
the letter really sent to the Empress : 


" Letter of Rear-Admiral Paul Jones to the Em- 
press of all the Russia*. 

" St Petersburgh, 17th May, 1789. 
" MADAM, I have never served but for ho- 
nour, I have never sought but glory, and I be- 
lieved I was in the way of obtaining both, when, 
accepting the offers made me on the part of your 
Majesty, I entered your service. I was in Ame- 
rica when M. de Simolin, through Mr Jefferson, 
Minister of the United States at Paris, proposed 
to me, in name of your Majesty, to take the chief 
command of the forces in the Black Sea, which 
were intended to act against the Turks. I aban- 
doned my dearest interests to accept an invita- 
tion so flattering, and I would have reached you 
instantly if the United States had not intrusted 
me with a special commission to Denmark. Of 
this I acquitted myself faithfully and promptly. 11 
Here follows a detail of that singular voyage per- 


formed by the Chevalier in his haste and zeal to 
reach St Petersburgh, with the particulars of 
which the reader is already acquainted. We pass 
this, and resume : " The distinguished recep- 
tion which your Majesty deigned to grant me, 
the kindness with which you loaded me, indem- 
nified me for the dangers to which I had ex- 
posed myself for your service, and inspired me 
with the most ardent desire to encounter more. 
But knowing mankind, and aware that those 
persons whom then- superiors distinguish and 
protect are ever the objects of jealousy and envy 
to the worthless, I entreated your Majesty never 
to condemn me unheard. You condescended 
to give me that promise, and I set out with a 
mind as tranquil as my heart was satisfied. 

" In the ports of the Black Sea I found affairs 
in a very critical condition. The most imminent 
danger threatened us, and our means were feeble. 
Neverthless, supported by the love which all 
your subjects bear to your Majesty, by their 
courage, by the ability and foresight of the 
chief who led us, and by the Providence which 
has always favoured the arms of your Majesty, 


we beat your enemies, and your flag was covered 
with fresh laurels. 

66 I would not notice. Madam, what I then 
achieved, if Prince Potemkin had not distinguish- 
ed my services by reiterated thanks, both in speech 
and writing ; and if your Majesty, informed by 
the Prince-Marshal of my conduct in the first 
affair which took place on the Liman, had not 
invested me with the honourable badge of the 
Order of St Anne. Since that period, though I 
have been hampered by limited orders, I have 
committed no professional error ; I have often ex- 
posed myself to personal danger, and I have even 
stooped to sacrifice my personal feelings and in- 
terests to my devotion for the good of the service. 

" At the close of the campaign I received 
orders to return to court, as your Majesty in- 
tended to employ me in the North Seas, and I 
brought with me a letter from Prince Potemkin 
for your Majesty, in which he mentioned my 
zeal and the importance of my services. I had 
the honour to present it, and M. le Comte de 
Besborodko acquainted me that a command of 
greater importance than that of the Black Sea, 


and affording full scope for the display of talent 
and intelligence, was intended for me. Such 
was my situation, when, upon the mere accusa- 
tion of a crime, the very idea of which wounds 
my delicacy, I was driven from court, deprived 
of the good opinion of your Majesty, and forced 
to employ the time which I wish to devote to 
the defence of your empire in clearing myself 
from the stains with' which calumny had covered 

" Condescend to believe, Madam, that if I had 
got the slightest hint that a complaint of such a 
nature had been made against me, and still more 
that it had reached your Majesty, I know too 
well what is owing to delicacy to have ventured 
to appear before you till I was completely ex- 

" Knowing neither the laws, the language, 
nor the forms of justice of this country, I needed 
an advocate, and obtained one ; but, whether from 
terror or intimidation, he stopt short all at once, 
and durst not undertake my defence, though con- 
vinced of the justice of my cause. But truth 


may always venture to show itself alone and un- 
supported at the foot of the throne of your Ma- 
jesty. I have not hesitated to labour unaided 
for my own vindication ; I have attested proofs ; 
and if such details may appear under the eyes of 
your Majesty, I present them, and if your Majes- 
ty will deign to order some person to examine 
them, it will be seen by the report which will be 
made, that my crime is a fiction, invented by the 
avarice of a wretched woman, who has been coun- 
tenanced, perhaps incited, by the malice of my 
numerous enemies. Her husband has given evi- 
dence of her infamous conduct. His signature 
is in my hands, and the pastor of the district has 
assured me, that if the college of justice will give 
him an order to this effect, he will obtain an at- 
testation from the country people that the mother 
of the girl referred to is a wretch absolutely un- 
worthy of belief. 

" Take a soldier's word, Madam ; believe an offi- 
cer whom two great nations esteem, and who has 
been honoured with flattering marks of their ap- 
probation, (of which your Majesty will soon re- 


ceive a direct proof from the United States,*) I 
am innocent ! and if I were guilty, I would not 
hesitate to make a candid avowal of my fault, 
and to commit my honour, which is a thousand 
times dearer to me than my life, to the hands of 
your Majesty. 

" If you deign, Madam, to give heed to this 
declaration, proceeding from a heart the most 
frank and loyal, I venture from your justice to 
expect that my zeal will not remain longer in 
shameful and humiliating inaction. It has been 
useful to your Majesty, and may again be so, 
especially in the Mediterranean, where, with in- 
significant means, I will undertake to execute 
most important operations, the plans for which I 
have meditated long and deeply. But if circum- 
stances, of which I am ignorant, do not admit 
the possibility of my being employed during the 
campaign, I hope your Majesty will give me per- 
mission to return to France or America, granting, 
as the sole reward of the services I have render- 

* Referring to the medal ordered to be struck by Con- 


ed, the hope of renewing them at some future 

" Nothing can ever change or efface in my 
heart the deep feelings of devotedness with which 
your Majesty has inspired me. 

" To you, Madam, I am personally devoted. 
I would rather have my head struck off than see 
those ties broken asunder which bind me to your 
service. At the feet of your Majesty I swear to 
be ever faithful to you, as well as to the empire, 
of which you form the happiness, the ornament, 
and the glory. I am, 

With the most profound respect, 
Madam, 1 ' &c. 

There are, as was said, several important mis- 
takes, though no wilful misrepresentation what- 
ever, in the details given by Count Segur. 
Though Jones was so far exculpated as to be 
permitted to appear again at court, it was mere- 
ly for the ceremony of taking leave of the Em- 
press and royal family, when he had, as will ap- 
pear, been virtually dismissed from Russia. The 
Order of St Anne, to which Segur refers, be had 



obtained long before. So far was he from receiv- 
ing any pension from Russia, that his small ap- 
pointments were tardily paid, and not till after re- 
peated solicitation. Instead of being loaded " with 
compliments," he was treated while he continued 
to hang on in the hope of employment, first with 
the most chilling neglect, and afterwards with 
repulsive rudeness. Besborodko, the favourite 
minister of Catharine, who, on his coming to 
Russia, had overwhelmed the Rear- Admiral with 
kindness, shut his doors in the face of the super- 
numerary officer, and did not affect to disguise his 
weariness and disgust of the applausive recapi- 
tulations of past services and projects for future 
maritime achievements with which he continued 
to be annoyed by the man whose day was gone 
by. The alleged crime of the Rear-Admiral, 
had his guilt even been established, would, we 
are apt to think, have been no insurmountable 
barrier to his success in Russia, had a continu- 
ance of his services been wished for ; nor was his 
innocence found any recommendation. The Em- 
press may have expressed herself in the terms 
stated by Count Segur, but this as certainly pro- 


duced no favourable change in the position of the 
party so grossly injured. His correspondence 
with Besborodko, after this affair had been closed 
up, shows the real nature of his situation, and 
affords ,a painful and humiliating picture of the 
dying struggles of ambition. 

To strengthen or bolster up his interests in 
Russia, Paul Jones at this time endeavoured to 
bring into play a little diplomatic influence, know- 
ing the avidity with which that grasping and am- 
bitious power caught at every appearance of ad- 
vantage. He had written thus to Mr Jefferson 
soon after his return from the Liman : " I can 
only inform you that I returned here by the spe- 
cial desire of the Empress, but I know not as yet 
how or where I am to be employed for the next 
campaign. I mentioned in my last, as my opi- 
nion, that if the new government of America de- 
termines to chastise the Algerines, I think it now 
a favourable moment to conclude a treaty with 
Russia. The Turks and Algerines were com- 
bined against us on the Black Sea. The United 
States could grant leave for Russia to enlist Ame- 
rican seamen, and, making a common cause with 


Russia in the Mediterranean, might at the peace 
obtain a free navigation from and to the Black 
Sea. Such a connexion might lead to various 
advantages in the commerce between the two na- 

Whether Mr Jefferson thought the Admiral 
too desirous of cutting out work for himself, or 
that he rather stepped out of his department in 
interfering in such affairs, his hints appear to 
have met with the return to which he was well 
accustomed neglect, neglect which might have 
repelled a haughtier spirit, and which, in many 
instances, was keenly felt by him, without, how- 
ever, deterring him from renewed attempts to 
bring himself by every possible means into notice. 

He waited for some weeks after his character 
was cleared at court before he sent the minister 
the following letters, which were formerly alluded 

" To his Excellency Count Besborodko from Rear- 
Admiral Paul Jones. 

" St Petersburgh, 24th June, 1789. 
" SIR, When I had the honour to see your 


Excellency last week, I ventured to promise my- 
self that in two days I would be made acquainted 
with the ulterior intention of her Majesty, whe- 
ther this was to give me a command, or a tempo- 
rary leave of absence. No doubt important af- 
fairs have occasioned the delay. You will, I 
hope, have the goodness to permit me to present 
myself at your hotel to-morrow afternoon ; for if 
it is thought fit to employ my services, there is 
no time to lose, seeing the advance of the season. 

" The detachment of vessels of which your Ex- 
cellency spoke to me might probably be most 
useful in the operations which I have projected ; 
but, at the same time, I regard the plan men- 
tioned in the private note which I have sent you 
as very useful. I would then wish (if circum- 
stances permitted) to combine these plans ; and 
then I think there would be reason to be satis- 
fied with the result. 

" I have mentioned to your Excellency that I 
am the only officer who made the campaign of 
the Liman without being promoted ; but I be- 
seech you to believe that I have not accepted of 
service in Russia to occasion embarrassment ; 


and since the Empress had given me her esteem 
and her confidence, I wish for nothing save new 
opportunities to prove my devotion by fresh ser- 

This letter elicited no reply, and produced no 
improvement in the situation of the applicant, 
save that the leave of absence at which he hinted, 
though it was the last thing he wished for, was 
at once accorded, there being evidently an anxious 
wish to be rid of himself, his projects, and im- 
portunities. The subjoined letter, written soon 
afterwards, may teach a lesson of contentment, 
and even of cheerful gratitude, to those persons, 
if such there be, who, in their ignorance of pub- 
lic life, may envy the brilliant fortunes of a lucky 
adventurer, raised by circumstances far above 
the level of those of his original rank in society. 

" Rear-Admiral Paul Jones to Count de Besbo- 

" St Petersburgh, 14th July, 1789. 
" SIR, I presented myself at your hotel the 
day before yesterday, to take leave, and, at the 


same time, to entreat of you to expedite my 
commission, my passport, and the leave of ab- 
sence which her Majesty has thought fit to grant 
me. Though I have perceived on several for- 
mer occasions that you have shunned giving me 
any opportunity to speak with you, I made my- 
self certain that this could not occur at a last in- 
terview; and I confess I was very much sur- 
prised to see you go out by another door, and 
depart without a single expression of ordinary 
civility addressed to me at the moment of my 
leaving Russia, to console me for all the bitter 
mortifications I have endured in this empire. 
Before coming to Russia I had been connected 
with several governments, and no minister ever 
either refused me an audience, or failed to reply 
to my letters. 

" After the eagerness with which my services 
were sought, and the fair promises that were 
made me, I had reason to believe that I would 
find in Russia every thing pleasant and agree- 
able. I was confirmed in this belief from the es- 
sential services which I had the good fortune to 
render the empire. I am aware that your Ex- 


cellency is sometimes teased by importunate per- 
sons, but, as I am a man of delicacy in every 
thing, I deserve to be distinguished from the 
common herd. 

^ On the 6th of June, the last time you gave 
me an opportunity of speaking with you, I gave 
you a confidential note,* containing the details 

* Secret Note addressed to the Minister Besborodko 
by Rear-Admiral Paul Jones. 

" June 6, 1789. 

" The great object of a Russian fleet in the Mediter- 
ranean is to endeavour to cut off the communication be- 
tween Egypt and the coast of Syria with Constantinople, 
from whence they procure their corn, rice, coffee, c. 
This operation will oblige them to withdraw a very con- 
siderable part of their fleet from the Black Sea. To en- 
compass this end, I ask a carte blanche, and only, exclu- 
sive of small boats, five large vessels, like the East- India- 
men which are purchased in London after they have 
made three voyages, and which carry from forty to fifty 
guns. They are strong vessels and good sailers. They 
are sent from London to Naples under the English flag, 
under pretext of being engaged in mercantile enterprises. 
No person can have any thing to say against it. The 



of a plan by which, without interfering with any 
other project, and with the utmost economy, 
great service might be done to Russia. You 
promised to submit it to the Empress; and you 
yourself proposed to place a detachment of ves- 
sels under my command, to serve during the ex- 
isting campaign in the Black Sea, and afterwards 
in the Mediterranean. I could not have ima- 
gined that these plans were so carelessly to be 
thrown aside ; and, in place of discussing and 
arranging them with you, I was very much asto- 

crew of those vessels being arrived in Italy, would en- 
gage in the service of Russia. For the rest we would 
easily find good sailors at Malta and at Naples. I would 
employ two small French vessels between Malta and 
Naples, trading to Smyrna, to procure continual news 
from Constantinople, and of the force and position of the 
Turkish fleet. There are some very important blows to 
be made ; but in order to succeed we must not speak of 
this matter beforehand. We are informed that the want 
of provisions at Constantinople has occasioned a rebel- 
lion, discouraged the people, and caused a great desertion 
of the troops. It is the policy of the vizier to render 
himself popular by providing sufficiently for them." 



nished when his Excellency the Count de Bruce 
announced to me that the Empress had granted 
me a leave of two years. 

" On the 1st of February I gave in, by order 
of his Excellency, Count Ostermann, the plan of 
a treaty, political and commercial, between Russia 
and the United States. As the Vice-Chancellor 
spoke to me of going to America about this 
purpose, and as I shall soon again be connected 
with my old friends who constitute the present 
government of the United States, I would be ex- 
tremely happy to learn, through your Excellency, 
the intentions of her Imperial Majesty in this 
respect, and to be appointed to forward an al- 
liance by which Russia must gain. 

" The United States having concluded a 
treaty of friendship and commerce with the Em- 
peror of Morocco, are about to propose to the 
different powers of Europe a war with the other 
Barbary states, and to form a confederation 
against these pirates, till they shall be annihi- 
lated as maritime powers. It is proposed, that 
even the event of a war between the contracting 
parties shall not disturb the confederation. It 


would be worthy of the august Sovereign of this 
empire to place herself at the head of an alliance 
so honourable, and of which the consequences 
must be so useful to Russia. It would give me 
peculiar satisfaction if your Excellency thought 
fit to appoint me to make known the intentions 
of the Empress to the United States on these 
two points, and I trust I should be able to 
acquit myself of so honourable a duty to your 

" I have the honour to be, with sincere at- 
tachment and high consideration," &c. &c. 

His Excellency did not " think fit" to make 
the solicited appointment. 

The Rear-Admiral, as unfortunate in his at- 
tempts to obtain a diplomatic mission as a naval 
command, was now obliged to turn his back on 
Russia, and devour his chagrin and disappoint- 
ment as he best could. He had, however, the 
honour of an audience of leave, though he found 
considerable difficulty in obtaining his pay and 
arrears. " When," he says in a letter to M. 
Genet, " the Count de Bruce sent for me on 


the 27th June," (two days only after his letter 
to Besborodko,) " he told me, on the part of 
the Empress, that her Imperial Majesty had 
granted me a leave for two years, with the ap- 
pointments belonging to my military rank during 
my absence. The Count de Besborodko wrote 
me 30th July, informing me that M. Strekalow 
had received her Majesty's orders with respect to 
my appointments and arrearages. I have not 
been able to see M. de Strekalow, though I have 
called frequently at the cabinet. I have only 
received my appointments from the time of my 
entry into the service to the 1st of July, at the 
rate of 1800 roubles* a-year ; and I was told yes- 
terday at the cabinet, that her Majesty likewise 
mentions nothing but the appointments then due. 
If I could believe that this was her Majesty's in- 
tention I should remain silent; for I certainly 
did not accept the service her Majesty offered me 
on account of my appointments or the usual 
emoluments of my grade." 

* A rouble was in 1789 worth about four shillings Eng- 
lish money. 


He was satisfied in this respect, and thus left 
St Petersburgh. 

In the Memoir of Paul Jones published in 
London, no occasion is lost of implicating the 
English and England as the cause, if not the di- 
rect instruments, of his persecution in Russia. 
" Notwithstanding," it is said, " his regaining 
the favour of the Empress, the Russian ministers 
were unwilling to offend England by a refusal to 
drive him from the service ; and their intrigues 
to accomplish this end were unceasing. 1 ' Now 
there is not a vestige of evidence that England 
or the English in Russia ever interfered with his 
affairs, save to give him their pity as an ill-used 
man. To this he himself bears testimony, both 
in his Journal, and, as will afterwards appear, in 
his correspondence. Nor does it seem that the 
Russian ministers found it necessary to give 
themselves much trouble to accomplish their ob- 
ject. Nothing, it has been seen, could be more 
cool and contemptuous than the whole tenor of 
their conduct. 

The reader, in possession of the real circum- 
stances attending the departure of Paul Jones 


from Russia, will be able to estimate aright the 
following letter and paragraph, put forth from 
the kindest motives by Count de Segur, imme- 
diately before the Rear-Admiral left that coun- 

" Count de Segur to Count Montmorin. 

" St Petersburgh, 21st July, 1789. 
" The enemies of the Vice- Admiral Paul 
Jones having caused to be circulated reports en- 
tirely destitute of foundation, concerning the 
journey which this general officer is about to un- 
dertake, I would wish the enclosed article, the 
authenticity of which I guarantee, should be in- 
serted hi the Gazette of France, and in the other 
public papers which are submitted to the inspec- 
tion of your department. This article will unde- 
ceive those who have believed the calumny, and 
will prove to the friends and to the compatriots 
of the Vice-Admiral, that he has sustained the 
reputation acquired by his bravery and his ta- 
lents during the last war ; that the Empress de- 
sires to retain him in her service ; and that if he 


absents himself at this moment, it is with his own 
free-will, and for particular reasons, which cannot 
leave any stain on his honour. 

" The glorious marks of the satisfaction and 
bounty of the King towards M. Paul Jones, his 
attachment to France, which he has served so 
usefully in the common cause, his rights as a 
subject, and as an admiral of the United States, 
the protection of the ministers of the King, and 
my personal friendship for this distinguished offi- 
cer, with whom I made a campaign in America, 
are so many reasons which appear to me to jus- 
tify the interest which I took in all that con- 
cerned him during his stay in Russia. 


" Article to be inserted in the Public Prints, and 
particularly in the Gazette of France. 

" St Petersburgh, 21st July, 1789. The 
Vice- Admiral Paul Jones, being on the point of 
returning to France, where private affairs re- 
quire his presence, had the honour to take leave 
of the Empress the 7th of this month, and to be 


admitted to kiss the hand of her Imperial Ma- 
jesty,* who confided to him the command of her 
vessels of war stationed on the Liman during 
the campaign of 1788. As a mark of favour for 
his conduct during this campaign, the Empress 
has decorated him with the insignia of the order 
of St Anne ; and her Imperial Majesty, satisfied 
with his services, only grants him permission to 
absent himself for a limited time, and still pre- 
serves for him his emoluments and his rank." 

This was putting the best face on the affair ; 
and the paragraph appeared in the Gazette of 
France, and in many other journals. 

Early in September Jones left St Petersburgh 
for Warsaw, furnished with letters of introduc- 
tion, explanation, and vindication from the Count 
de Segur to different individuals, all written in 
the same generous spirit as the above. The 
kindness of Count Segur to a man placed in a 
situation generally so fatal to court-friendships 

* " This general officer, so celebrated by his brilliant ac- 
tions during the course of the American war, was called, 
in 1787, to the service of her Imperial Majesty." Note 
to the Newspaper Paragraph. 


does him great honour. His original letters still 
remain among the papers of the Rear-Admiral, 
who, however, transmitted copies of them to many 
of his friends. Count Segur was not the only 
Frenchman who sustained the calumniated 
stranger under the base attempts of his enemies. 
M. de Genet, the younger, was at this time the 
secretary of legation at St Petersburgh. Paul 
Jones, at a former period, had been intimate with 
the father and family of this gentleman at Ver- 
sailles, and the young Frenchman did not now 
forget his father's former friend. M. de Genet 
undertook the arrangement of his pecuniary af- 
fairs with the Russian government, and gave him 
a letter to his sister, the celebrated Madame 
Campan, explaining the atrocious slanders pro- 
pagated in St Petersburgh, and placing the in- 
nocence of the calumniated individual beyond 
all suspicion. This original letter also remains 
among the papers of the Rear-Admiral. It was 
some months before he returned to Paris, and he 
might then have felt reluctant to revive the re- 
collection of a charge so disgusting as to make 


the task of vindication both humiliating and 
painful to a mind of any delicacy. 

Before quitting this subject, it may be proper 
again to notice that Jones, though occasionally 
betrayed by self-complacence into the belief that 
the English were all his enemies, lived to re- 
tract much of this absurd notion. He fairly 
acquits them of having any share in that con- 
spiracy, of which the capital of Russia formed 
the appropriate scene, and in this shows far more 
candour than his American or London historian. 

In 1791, in writing from Paris to Mr Jeffer- 
son, then in America, he gives the following 
clue to the mystery of his treatment in Rus- 
sia. " Chevalier Littlepage, now here on his 
way from Spain to the north, has promised 
me a letter to you on my subject, which I pre- 
sume will show you the meanness and absurdity 
of the intrigues that were practised for my per- 
secution at St Petersburgh. I did not myself 
comprehend all the blackness of that business till 
he came here, and related to me the informa- 
tion he received from a gentleman of high rank 


in the diplomatic department, with whom he 
had travelled in company from Madrid to Paris. 
That gentleman had long resided in a public 
character at St Petersburgh, and was there all 
the time of the pitiful complot against me, which 
was conducted by a little great man behind the 
curtain. The unequalled reception with which 
I had at first been honoured by the Empress 
had been extremely mortifying and painful to the 
English at St Petersburgh; and the courtier 
just mentioned, (finding that politics had taken 
a turn far more alarming than he had expected 
at the beginning of the war,) wishing to sooth 
the Court of London into a pacific humour, 
found no first step so expedient as that of sacri- 
ficing me. But, instead of producing the ef- 
fect he wished, this base conduct, on which he 
pretended to ground a conciliation, rather tend- 
ed to widen the political breach, and made him 
despised by the English minister, by the English 
cabinet, and by the gentleman who related the 
secret to Mr Littlepage." The letter of Mr 
Littlepage, transmitted to Mr Jefferson along 
with the above, in part confirms this solution of 


an intrigue, so essentially Russian. Yet there 
remains some secret cause and movement which 
it is impossible to fathom. " The campaign upon 
the Liman," says Chevalier Littlepage, " added 
lustre to the arms of Russia, and ought to have 
established for ever the reputation and fortune of 
the gallant officer to whose conduct those suc- 
cesses were owing." (Littlepage attributes to the 
Rear- Admiral the entire success of the campaign 
of 1788 ; not, like Count Segur, dividing his lau- 
rels with Nassau; and it is to be remembered, 
that Littlepage was an eye-witness of an import- 
ant part of it). " Unfortunately," he continues, 
" in Russia, more perhaps than elsewhere, every 
thing is governed by intrigue. Some political 
motives, I have reason to think, concurred in 
depriving Rear- Admiral Paul Jones of the fruits 
of his services ; he was thought to be particularly 
obnoxious to the English nation, and the idea 
of paying a servile compliment to a power whose 
enmity occasions all the present embarrassments 
of Russia induced some leading persons to ruin 
him, in the opinion of the Empress, by an ac- 
cusation too ridiculous to be mentioned." 



On leaving Warsaw, it was the intention of 
Paul Jones to return to France by Copenha- 
gen and Berlin ; but, as it was known that he 
had left Russia dissatisfied, he deemed it best 
to avoid all farther occasion of giving his enemies 
any handle against him, and accordingly kept 
away from places where it might be presumed 
that he was tempted to tell tales, or utter com- 

Disgrace at Petersburgh did not at this junc- 
ture imply a cold reception at Warsaw ; and hi 
this capital soon to be a capital no more Jones 
was well received, and remained for two months. 
From Warsaw he despatched the Journal of his 
American Campaigns for the perusal of the Em- 
press, and also an abridgment of the Journal 
of his Campaign on the Liman. Her Imperial 
Majesty had, it seems, at some former period, ci- 
villy expressed a desire to see his Journal of the 
American war. The old spirit was not yet quite 
subdued. " I have added," he says, " some tes- 
timonies of the high and unanimous considera- 
tion of the United States, and of the private 
esteem with which I was honoured by several 


great men to whom I am perfectly known, such 
as M. Malsherbes and the Count oVEstaing* of 

* This evidently refers to the complimentary letters 
with which these gentlemen returned the Journal ; in 
which letters the author of the Journal naturally sees 
perhaps more than is visible to any eyes less interested. 
We give them he*e. 

" Letter from Count d'Estaing to Paul Jones, on reading 
his Journal. 

" It is impossible, Sir, not to abuse your kindness : 
never lend me your Journal again, for I give you my 
honour that I shall every time read it throughout, and 
always with new delight. It is among the number of 
things that one wishes to have by heart. In it the lesson of 
military and naval heroism becomes identified with that 
of generosity, by your conduct towards Lord and Lady 

" I am far from regretting the tribute of admiration 
I have paid to the fight between the Bon Homme Rich- 
ard and the Serapis ; and though in writing it I did not 
imagine it could lead to any thing beyond an admission 
into the society of the Cincinnati,* I cannot but be 

* The Count had recommended Captain Edward Stack for admission 
into this society. 


France, and Mr Morris, minister of the Ameri- 
can marine. I owe to my own reputation and to 

flattered to find that you have inserted it among the 
pieces appended to your Journal. 

" I have the honour to be, with the 
most perfect attachment, 


" Paris, 18th December, 1785." 

" Letter of M. Malsherbes to Captain Paul Jones, on 
perusing his Journal. 

" Paris, 27th February, 1786. 

" SIR, I have received this mark of your confidence 
with much gratitude, and have with great eagerness and 
pleasure read this interesting relation. 

" My first idea was, that you should give it to the 
press ; but since I have perused it, I perceive that it is 
not for the public you have drawn it up, as it contains 
matters written only for the King, for whom the narra- 
tive was intended. In the meanwhile it is highly ne- 
cessary that deeds so memorable as yours should be made 
known to the public in an authentic Journal published 
in your own name. 

" I exhort you to set about this as soon as your affairs 
permit you, and in the meanwhile I hope the King will 


truth, to accompany this Journal with an abridg- 
ment of that of the campaign of the Liman. If 

read this work with the attention he owes to the relation 
of services performed by a man so celebrated as you. 


We may here give the dedication of this Journal to 
the King of France, as a fair specimen of the elaborate 
composition of the writer, whose abilities, merely in a 
literary point of view, are, his narrow education and 
modes of life considered, not a little remarkable. As is 
not singular, however, his fine and careful writing is by 
no means his best style : 

" SIRE, History gives the world no example of such 
generosity as that of your Majesty towards the young 
Republic of America; and I believe that never was a 
compliment more flattering shown by a Sovereign to his 
allies, than when your Majesty determined to arm and 
support a squadron under the flag of the United States. 

" Words cannot express my sense of the preference I 
obtained when your Majesty deigned to make choice of 
me to command that squadron. 

" Your Majesty has as much reputation for know- 


you, Madam, read it with attention, you will see 
how little I have deserved the mortifications I 
have suffered, mortifications which the justice 

ledge, and the desire of information, as you have for wis- 
dom and justice ; but, besides that consideration, I con- 
ceive it to be my duty to lay before your Majesty an 
account of my conduct as an officer, particularly from the 
date of the alliance between your Majesty and the United 
States. As your Majesty understands English, I have 
perhaps judged ill in presenting the extract of my Jour- 
nals in French. My motive was to give your Ma- 
jesty as little trouble as possible. Accept, Sire, with 
indulgence, this confidential offering of my gratitude, 
which is an original, written for your particular infor- 

" It has been and will be the ambition of my life to 
merit the singular honour conferred on me by your Ma- 
jesty's brevet, dated at Versailles the 28th June, 1780, 
which says, ' Sa Majeste voulant marquer au J. Paul 
Jones, Commodore de la Marine des Etats-Unis de 
TAmerique, I'estime particuliere quelle fait de sa personne, 
pour les preuves de bravoure et d'intre'pidite qu'il a don- 
nees, et qui sont connus de sa Majeste', elle a juge a propos 
de 1'associer a 1'institution du Merite Militaire,' &c. 

" The Congress of the United States has, with great 


and goodness of your Majesty can alone make 
me forget. 

" As I never offended in word or thought 
against the laws of the strictest delicacy, it would 
assuredly be most desirable to me to have the 

justice, styled your Majesty e The Protector of the Rights 
of Human Nature/ 

" With the order of Military Merit, your Majesty con- 
ferred on me a gold sword, an honour which, I presume, 
no other officer has received ; and ' The Protector of the 
Rights of Human Nature* will always find me ready to 
draw that sword, and expose my life for his service. 

" I am, Sire, 
" With the truest gratitude, 

" Your Majesty's most obliged 
" And devoted servant, 


" Paris, January 1st, 1786." 

" Protector of fair Freedom's rights, 
Louis, thy virtues suit a god ; 
The good man in thy praise delights, 
And tyrants tremble at thy nod. 

" Thy people's father, loved so well, 
May time respect ! when thou art gone 
May each new year of history tell 
Thy sons with lustre fill thy throne." 


happiness of regaining, in spite of the malice of my 
enemies, the precious esteem of your Majesty. I 
would have taken leave with a heart fully satis- 
fied, had I been sent to fight the enemies of the 
Empress, instead of occupying myself with my 
own private affairs. 

" Trusting entirely on the gracious promise 
that your Majesty gave me, ' never to condemn 
me without a hearing,' and being devoted to 
you, heart and soul, 

" I am with profound respect," &c. &c. 

To ensure the Journal reaching the hands of 
the Empress, this postscript is added to the above 
loyal effusion : " I shall have the honour of 
sending the Journal by the courier of Wednesday 
next, with the proofs of every separate article. 
It will be sealed with my arms, and addressed 
to your Majesty, and sent under a second cover, 
to the address of M. de Chrapowitzky." With 
all these precautions he feared that his Journal 
was intercepted, as it contained such " damning 
proofs against his enemies."" 



DURING his stay in Warsaw, Paul Jones be- 
came known to the celebrated Kosciusko. On 
leaving Poland he sent a farewell note to this 
noble patriot and determined hater of Russia, 
which was followed by a rather singular corre- 
spondence. Sweden was at this time in the heat 
of war, and it had been rumoured that the dis- 
contented American, who had for a brief space 
prided himself on being a Russian officer, was now 
ready to take service with Gustavus III. This 
report was one reason for Jones avoiding the route 
of Copenhagen on his way to Holland, and choos- 
ing rather to go by Vienna. 

" Rear-Admiral Paul Jones to Major General 

" Warsaw, November 2d, 1789. 
" MY DEAR GENERAL, I intend to set out 


this day for Vienna, where I shall only stop 
a few days. I shall then go to Strasburgh, and 
from thence to Holland, where I expect to arrive 
before the 1st of December. My address in Hol- 
land is under cover to Messieurs Nic. and Jacob 
Stophorst, Amsterdam. 

" As I shall be in relation with our friends in 
America, I shall not fail to mention on all occa- 
sions the honourable employment and the re- 
spect you have attained in your own country, and 
the great regard you retain for the natives of 
America, where your character is esteemed, and 
your name justly beloved for your services. I 
am," &c. 

The letter of General Kosciusko* is writ- 
ten in English, a language which he wrote but 

* THADDEUS KOSCIUSKO was a native of Poland, and 
of good birth. He was educated at the Cadet-School 
of Warsaw, and was one of four pupils annually chosen 
by the king, and sent to complete their military studies 
in France or Germany. He was instructed at the Mili- 
tary Academy of Versailles, and acquired a thorough 
knowledge of every department of military science, par- 


imperfectly. The original orthography is re- 

ticularly engineering. It is related, that on return- 
ing home he fell desperately in love with a young lady, 
who eloped with him. The lovers were pursued and 
overtaken before they could pass the frontiers of Po- 
land; and as Kosciusko could only retain his mistress by 
killing her father, he resigned her. In consequence, it 
is said, of this adventure, but more probably from the love 
of employment and distinction, the young Pole went to 
America, and was appointed by General Washington 
one of his aides-de-camp. He continued there till the end 
of the war. The part he afterwards acted in his native 
country is well known. In the battle in which he was 
made prisoner, he had three horses killed under him, 
and was captured as he fell wounded from the last. He 
was kept in a Russian dungeon till the death of the Em- 
press Catharine, and only liberated by Paul at his acces- 
sion. He afterwards visited America and England, 
and was received with the highest distinction. When 
Bonaparte entered Poland, he tried to move the nation by 
a proclamation issued in the name of the patriot chief; but 
Kosciusko disowned it, and refused to have any alliance 
either with the French conqueror or with the Russian 
Emperor, Alexander. " He lived," says his biographer, 


" General Kosciusko to Rear-Admiral Paul Jones, 

" Warsaw, 15th February, 1790. 
" MY DEAR SIR, I had the honour to write 
you the 1st or 3d of February. I do not recollect; 
but I gave you the information to apply to the 
minister of Sweden at the Hague, for the propo- 
sitions (according to what M. D'Engestrom told 
me) they both had order to communicate you. I 
wish with all my heart that could answer your 
expectation. I am totaly ignorant what they 
are; but I could see you to fight against the 
opression and tyranny. Give me news of every 
thing. I am, dear Sir, 

" Your most humble and most 
" obedient servant, 


" in proud independence, superior to fortune and to 
kings." His latter years were passed at Soleure, where 
he distinguished himself by generosity to the poor. He 
possessed a highly-cultivated mind, and was passionately 
fond of poetry, particularly the works of the English 
poets, with which he became well acquainted. He died 
in October 1817, in the 65th year of his age. 


" Write me, if you please, who is minister 
from America at Paris : I want to know his 

In answer to this letter, Jones wrote from Am- 
sterdam in the following month : 

" MY DEAR SIR, The letter you did me the 
honour to write me the 2d February, was deli- 
vered to my bankers here, by a man who demand- 
ed from them a receipt. I was then at the Hague, 
and your letter was transmitted to me. On my 
return here, some days ago, I found another let- 
ter from you of the 15th February. This letter 
had, by the same man, been put into the hands 
of my bankers. You propose, if I am not mis- 
taken, that I should apply to a gentleman at the 
Hague, who has something to communicate to 
me. But a moment's reflection will convince you 
that considerations of what I owe to myself, as 
well as the delicacy of my situation, do not per- 
mit me to take such a step. If that gentleman 
has any thing to communicate to me, he can 
either do it by writing, by desiring a personal 
conference, or by the mediation of a third person. 


I have shown your letter to my bankers, and 
they have said this much to the gentleman from 
whom they received it ; but this message, they 
say, he received with an air of indifference." 

Thus terminated the enigmatical correspon- 
dence between Paul Jones and the illustrious 
Pole. Reckoning a little on the disinterested love 
of freedom, once so loudly boasted by all Ameri- 
cans, and somewhat more, probably, on the avowed 
discontent of the Rear-Admiral, Kosciusko may 
have wished to draw him into some of those daring 
schemes with which his own mind, on the highest 
and purest motives, was now anxiously occupied. 
But the lingering hope and ardent desire of be- 
ing again recalled to serve in Russia, cherished 
in spite of all he had seen and suffered, had not 
yet left the mind of Jones. To this delusive 
hope he indeed clung, with an almost abject per- 
tinacity, to the very close of his life. Prudence, 
besides, forbade a negotiation of so mysterious 
and suspicious a kind ; and there was both hon- 
esty and discretion in avoiding it. 

While in Holland, Jones wrote many letters 
to different quarters, desirous to re-establish 


himself in the good opinion of some old friends, 
and to revive himself in the memory of others 
from whom he had been estranged during his 
Russian bondage, or splendid exile, for it may 
be called indifferently by either name. His letters 
about this time exhibit a curious struggle be- 
tween the desire of domestic peace and the am- 
bition of again launching into the heady current 
of public life. He appears at a loss what plan 
to pursue, whether to purchase a small estate in 
America, and seek the enjoyments of that tran- 
quil life which in reality possessed no charms for 
him; to marry a rich wife, or to drag on an exist- 
ence in the longing, lingering hope of being re- 
called to Russia. His letters reflect the exact 
complexion of his thoughts, disturbed, broken, 
and changeful. 

He, however, once more felt in security, and gave 
his pen such scope, that innumerable letters bear 
date at the Hague or Amsterdam, between De- 
cember, 1789, and March, 1790. 

A selection from the important part of his 
copious correspondence at this period must be 
more satisfactory to the reader than any detail 


we can give : his letters of a private kind written 
at this time are reserved for the limited portion 
of this memoir devoted to the domestic history 
of its subject. 

' ' Rear-Admiral Paul Jones to General Washington, 
President of the United States. 

" Amsterdam, December 20, 1789. 
" SIR, I avail myself of the departure of the 
Philadelphia packet, Captain Earle, to transmit 
to your Excellency a letter I received for you on 
leaving Russia in August last, from my friend, 
the Count de Segur, minister of France at St 
Petersburgh. That gentleman and myself have 
frequently conversed on subjects that regard 
America ; and the most pleasing reflection of all 
has been, the happy establishment of the new 
constitution, and that you are so deservedly 
placed at the head of the government by the 
unanimous voice of America. Your name alone, 
Sir, has established in Europe a confidence that 
was for some time before entirely wanting in 
American concerns ; and I am assured, that the 


happy effects of your administration are still 
more sensibly felt throughout the United States. 
This is more glorious for you than all the laurels 
that your sword so nobly won in support of the 
rights of human nature. In war your fame is 
immortal as the hero of Liberty ! In peace you 
are her patron, and the firmest supporter of her 
rights ! Your greatest admirers, and even your 
best friends, have now but one wish left for you, 
that you may long enjoy health and your present 

" Mr Jefferson can inform you respecting my 
mission to the court of Denmark. I was re- 
ceived and treated there with marked politeness ; 
and if the fine words I received are true, the 
business will soon be settled. I own, however, 
that I should have stronger hopes if America 
had created a respectable marine ; for that argu- 
ment would give weight to every transaction 
with Europe. I acquitted myself of the com- 
mission with which you honoured me when last 
in America, by delivering your letters with my 
own hands at Paris to the persons to whom they 
were addressed." 


He also wrote Franklin and Mr Ross. Both 
of these letters have interest. 

" Amsterdam, December 27, 1789. 

" DEAR SIR, I beg leave to refer you to 
Doctor Franklin or to General St Clair for an 
explanation of my reasons for having left Rus- 
sia. I have by this opportunity sent to those 
gentlemen testimonies in French that cannot fail 
to justify me in the eyes of my friends in Ame- 

" You have no doubt been informed, perhaps 
by Mr Parish, of the unhandsome conduct of 
Le Conteulex and Co. with regard to the letter 
of credit you gave me on them when I was last 
in America for six thousand livres. As I was 
landed in England instead of France, I went to 
London to make an arrangement with Dr Ban- 
croft for supplying the expense of my mission to 
Denmark. He promised to place funds for my 
use at Amsterdam. I went to Paris, and took a 
letter of credit from Le Conteulex on Amster- 
dam by way of precaution. On my arrival at 
Amsterdam I found that Bancroft had not kept 
his word, nor ever wrote me a line. I then de- 


pended on the credit that Le Conteulex had, 
without the least difficulty, given me in an open 
letter ; but his correspondent informed me he 
had received orders to pay me nothing till more 
explicit and satisfactory accounts should be re- 
ceived from you ! I had then no funds in my 
hands ; and if I had not had the fortune to be 
immediately relieved from a quarter on which I 
had no claim, I should have found myself in 
great distress. 

" I should be glad to know the state of the 
bank, &c., though I at present want no remit- 
tance. My address is, under cover, to Messrs 
N. and J. Van-Stophorst and Hubbard, Amster- 
dam. Present my respectful compliments to 
Mrs Ross and the young ladies. I may perhaps 
return to America in the latter end of the sum- 
mer ; and in that case I shall wish to purchase a 
little farm, where I may live in peace. I am al- 
ways affectionately yours. 

" John Ross, Esq., Philadelphia. 

" N. J5. I presume you have received my 
bust, as Mr Jefferson has forwarded it for you." 


" Paul Jones to Dr Franklin. 

" Amsterdam, December 27, 1789. 

" DEAR SIR, The enclosed documents from 
my friend, the Count de Segur, Minister Pleni- 
potentiary of France at St Petersburgh, will ex- 
plain to you in some degree my reasons for leav- 
ing Russia, and the danger to which I was ex- 
posed by the dark intrigues and mean subter- 
fuges of Asiatic jealousy and malice. Your for- 
mer friendship for me, which I remember with 
particular satisfaction, and have ever been am- 
bitious to merit, will, I am sure, be exerted in 
the kind use you will make of the three pieces I 
now send you, for my justification in the eyes of 
my friends in America, whose good opinion is 
dearer to me than any thing else. I wrote to 
the Empress from Warsaw in the beginning of 
October, with a copy of my journal, which will 
show her Majesty how much she has been de- 
ceived by the account she had of our maritime 
operations last campaign. I can easily prove to 
the world that I have been treated unjustly, 


but I intend to remain silent at least till I know 
the fate of my journal. 

" I shall remain in Europe till after the open- 
ing of the next campaign, and perhaps longer, be- 
fore I return to America. From the troubles in 
Brabant, and the measures now pursuing by the 
King of Prussia, Sec., I presume that peace is 
yet a distant object, and that the Baltic will wit- 
ness warmer work than it has yet done. On the 
death of Admiral Greig, I was last year called 
from the Black Sea by the Empress to com- 
mand a squadron in the Baltic, &c. This set 
the invention of all my enemies and rivals at 
work, and the event has proved that the Em- 
press cannot always do as she pleases. If you 
do me the favour to write to me, my address is, 
under cover, to Messieurs N. and J. Van Stop- 
horst and Hubbard at Amsterdam. 

" I am, with sincere affection, dear Sir, your 
most obedient and most humble servant. 
" His Excellency B. Franklin, Esq. fyc. $c. 

" N. B. It is this day ten years since I left 
the Texel in the Alliance." 


To Mr Parish, the well-known Hamburgh 
merchant, with whom Paul Jones had become 
acquainted on his journey to Russia, he thus wrote 
under a vague idea of going to Hamburgh till 
his fate was determined : " My departure from 
Copenhagen was so sudden, that I omitted writ- 
ing to you, intending to have done it from St 
Petersburgh. There I found myself in such a 
round of feasting and business till the moment of 
my departure for the Black Sea, that I again 

" Had I wrote you after my arrival at Cher- 
son, I have every reason to think my letters 
would have been intercepted ; but, notwithstand- 
ing my past silence, I can truly assure you, that 
I have constantly entertained the most perfect 
and grateful sense of your friendly and polite be- 
haviour to me at Hamburgh and Copenhagen. 
I will now thankfully pay to your order the cost 
of the smoked beef you were so obliging as to 
send to my friend, Mr Jefferson, at my request. 
The kind interest you have taken in my con- 
cerns, and the great desire to cultivate your 
esteem and friendship, are my present induce- 
ments for troubling you with the enclosed packet 


for the Chevalier Bourgoing, (the French resi- 
dent at Hamburgh,) which I leave under a fly- 
ing seal for your perusal, praying you to shut 
the exterior cover before you deliver it. I shall 
make no comments on the documents I send for 
the Baron de la Houze, but let the simple truth 
speak for herself. I shall show you, when we 
meet, things that will surprise you, for you can 
scarcely have an idea how much our operations 
have been misrepresented. 

" As I am for the present the master of my 
time, I shall perhaps make you a visit in the 
spring, and pay my court to some of your kind, 
rich, old ladies. To be serious, I must stay in 
Europe till it is seen what changes the present 
politics will produce, and till I can hear from 
America ; and if you think I can pass my time 
quietly, agreeably, and at a small expense at 
Hamburgh, I should prefer it to the fluctuating 
prospects of other places." 

The documents above referred to were copies 
of the letters of Count Segur for Baron de la 
Houze, the French minister at Copenhagen : 
from him they drew a polite and soothing reply : 


<e Baron de la Houze to Paul Jones. 

" Copenhagen, 9th February, 1790. 

" It is but a few days since I received, with 
the letter with which you have honoured me of 
the 29th December, the copies of that of the 
Count de Segur, which you have been pleased to 
communicate to me, and which were accompanied 
by the article inserted on your account in the 
Gazette of France, and which I had read. This 
article, which has been repeated in many foreign 
gazettes, has entirely destroyed all the venomous 
effects which calumny had employed to tarnish 
the distinguished reputation which you have ac- 
quired by your talents and valour. In conse- 
quence, public opinion still continues to render 
you justice, and the most noble revenge you can 
take on your enemies is to gather fresh laurels. 
The celebrated Athenian general, Themistocles, 
has said, ( I do not envy the situation of the 
man who is not envied.' " 

Baron Krudner had been actively useful to 
Paul Jones while in Copenhagen, both in pro- 


moting his views in entering the Russian service, 
and in the affair of the Danish pension. Though 
we are aware that the Rear-Admiral had pro- 
perty of different descriptions, the state of his 
finances must, about this time, have been em- 
barrassed by his large disbursements during the 
Russian campaign, his long journeys, indisposi- 
tion, and other causes of expenses. In writing 
from America to a lady in whom he took a strong 
interest, he represents himself, immediately pre- 
vious to his last voyage in 1787> as " almost 
without money, and puzzled to obtain a supply. " 
He wrote, as has been seen, in this emergency to 
Dr Bancroft,* who afterwards, in London, promis- 
ed him assistance, but failed to keep his word. He 
intimates to Mr Parish, that he could wish " to 

* Dr Bancroft had pecuniary transactions with Paul 
Jones, and at this time may have owed him money. The 
Doctor was addicted to gambling in the English funds, 
and on this account lost the confidence of Congress, and 
the diplomatic appointment which he held. It is pro- 
bable that he employed the money of his friends in the 
same speculations, partly for his own advantage, and 
partly for theirs. 


live at small expense ;" and there are other reasons 
to conclude, that his finances, at least so far as 
regarded ready money, were not flourishing. 
This circumstance of actual exigency may, as was 
formerly hinted, account for the anxiety respect- 
ing the Danish pension manifested in this letter 
to Baron Krudner ; it is in other respects curi- 
ous : 

" Rear-Admiral Paul Jones to Baron Krudner, 
Russian Envoy at Copenhagen. 

" Amsterdam, 29th December, 1789. 
" MY DEAR SIR, Though I have not writ- 
ten to your Excellency since I set out on my 
first journey to St Petersburgh, yet I have con- 
stantly retained the most lively sense of your 
kind behaviour to me at Copenhagen. I must 
beg to refer you to his Excellency the Baron de 
la Houze, to whom I now transmit three docu- 
ments for my justification in the eyes of my 
friends in Denmark. Notwithstanding the un- 
just treatment I received in Russia, the warm 
attachment with which the Empress inspired me 


at the beginning still remains rooted in my heart. 
You know, Sir, that her Imperial Majesty thought 
my sword an object worthy of her attention, sought 
it with the most flattering eagerness, and treated 
me the first time I was at her court with unex- 
ampled distinction. That sword has been suc- 
cessfully and frequently drawn on critical occa- 
sions, to render the most essential services to her 
empire, and to cover her flag with fresh laurels. 
For this I have greatly exposed my reputation, 
and entirely sacrificed my military pride. Yet I 
have seen the credit of my services bestowed on 
others, and I am the only officer who made the 
campaign of the Liman without being advanced. 
In a letter I wrote the Empress the 17th of May 
last, I mentioned that her Majesty would soon 
receive a direct proof from America of the una- 
nimous approbation with which I am honoured 
by the United States. I alluded to the gold 
medal which I am to receive, and respecting 
which you have in your hands a copy of the una- 
nimous act of Congress. That medal is now 
elegantly executed, and is ready for me at Paris. 
The United States have ordered an example of 


my medal to be presented to every sovereign in 
Europe, Great Britain excepted. When we 
meet, I shall produce clear proof of all I have 
said respecting Russia. The only promise I 
asked from the Empress at the beginning, and, 
indeed, the only condition I made with her Ma- 
jesty, was, that ( she should not condemn me 
without having heard me." 1 I need make no 
remark to a man of your clear understanding. 
You advised me to write to the Empress by the 
post. I wrote several letters while in the depart- 
ment of the Black Sea to my friend Mr Jeffer- 
son, at Paris, containing no detail of our opera- 
tions, yet they were all intercepted. I have, I 
think, reason to apprehend that there will be no 
peace this winter, and that the Baltic will witness 
warmer work than it has yet done. 

" You remember that Count B (Bern- 

storf ) showed you a paper which he sent, to be 
delivered to me by the Danish Minister at St 
Petersburgh. I received that paper without any 
alteration whatever, either in the c date"* or other- 
wise. If I understood you right, it was intend- 


ed that ' a year's payment would be made in 
advance? but I have not since heard a word in 
that respect. I wish to be informed how the 
payment is intended to be made. It cannot sure- 
ly be in Danish bank-paper. You will do me a 
great favour if you can obtain an explicit answer, 
and it would be much more agreeable if the pay- 
ment could be made here, instead of being made 
at any other place. I have not yet mentioned 
this affair to any person whatever, except your- 
self. You are no stranger to my sentiments. 
You know the present happy state of America. 
That nation will soon create a respectable ma- 
rine. It is now a year since I gave a plan to 
the court of St Petersburgh, for forming a poli- 
tical and commercial connexion with the United 
States. The Empress approved this much, and 
there was question of sending me to America in 
consequence. But a great man told me, ' que 
cela enrageroit les Anglais d'avantage centre la 
Russie, et qu'il falloit auparavant faire la paix 
avec les Turcs.' Accept my warm congratula- 
tions on the well-merited advancement you have 


received in the Order of St Wolodimer. I hear 
that your lady* is at Paris. I beg you to assure 
her of my great respect," &c. Sec. 

Baron Krudner replied, entirely blinking the 
memorial touching Russian affairs, but assuring 
his correspondent of success in obtaining the Da- 
nish pension, of which he had spoken to Count 
Bernstorf, and obtained a promise of immediate 
payment ; which promise, it is to be inferred, 
was never meant to be kept, as it certainly 
never was. 

Paul Jones appears to have gone to England 
in the spring of this year, (1790,) but did not 
remain long. The object of his visit does not 
transpire ; and that he had been there only comes 
out incidentally in his correspondence, especially 

* The afterwards well-known Madam Krudner, who 
was still enchanting Parisian circles with her charms and 
attitudes in the " shawl-dance," not having as yet as- 
sumed the part of devotee, or prophetess, in which she 
afterwards made an equally remarkable figure. 



in a letter to M. de Genet,* written in June, 
when he had reached Paris. In this letter he 
informs that gentleman, that he had not yet paid 
his respects to his sister, (Madam Campan,-)-) but 
intended doing so, and presenting the lady with 

* M. Genet remained in St Petersburgh after the re- 
turn of Count de Segur to France. Both were revolu- 
tionists to a moderate extent ; and for this they incurred 
the dislike of the Empress. Genet was removed from 
Russia, and soon afterwards appointed by the Gironde 
party, to which he was attached, ambassador to the 
United States. When the faction of Robespierre ob- 
tained the ascendency, he was ordered home, to answer 
at the bar of the Convention for his malversations in 
obeying the instructions of the former government. 
There was in those days but a very short way between 
the bar of the Convention and the scaffold. He took the 
wiser part of marrying the daughter of Governor Clinton A 
and settling in America as a planter. 

t M. Genet had several sisters ; but as Madam Cam- 
pan was the best known and most influential person of 
the family, it is taken for granted that this is the sister 
alluded to here* 


his bust, as a mark of personal regard for her 
father and brother. He continues, " I have 
shown M. de Simolin proof that, if I have not 
sought to avenge myself of the unjust and cruel 
treatment I met with in Russia, my forbearance 
has been only the result of my delicate attach- 
ment towards the Empress. You will oblige me 
by inquiring at the cabinet, and demanding the 
appointments due to me for the current year, 
which ends the 1st of July, agreeably to the pro- 
mise of the Empress, communicated to me by 
the Counts de Bruce and Besborodko. I wish 
to have that money immediately transmitted to 

While in Amsterdam the Rear-Admiral re- 
ceived letters from Madame Le Mair d'Altigny, 
a lady who appears to have taken a peculiar in- 
terest in his welfare. This lady was probably a 
widow ; but her actual condition as wife or widow 
we have no means of verifying, and leave it en- 
tirely to the penetration of our fair readers. 


ff Rear- Admiral Paul Jones to Madame Le Mair 
d'Altignyj at Avignon. 

" Amsterdam, 8th Feb. 1790. 
" I have received, my dear Madam, the two 
obliging letters you did me the honour to address 
to me from Avignon on the 18th and 22d of De- 
cember. Accept also, I pray you, my sincere 
acknowledgments for the two letters you had the 
kindness to send me at Strasburgh. I am in- 
finitely flattered by the interest with which I have 
the happiness to have inspired you, and your 
good wishes in my concerns give me true plea- 
sure. I am not come here on account of any 
thing connected with military operations; and 
though I think it right to retain my rank, I have 
always regarded war as the scourge of the human 
race. I am very happy that you are once more 
above your difficulties. Past events will enable 
you to value the blessings of Providence, among 
which, to a sensible heart, there are none greater 
than health and independence, enjoyed in the 
agreeable society of persons of merit. As soon 


as circumstances permit, I shall feel eager to join 
the delightful society in which you are. As you 
have not sent me your address at Avignon, I beg 
of you to do so, and to be assured of my entire 

The lady, to visit whom the Rear- Admiral was 
willing to make so long a journey, when circum- 
stances permitted, appears to have replied in the 
following month ; but it was not till December 
in the same year that she obtained an answer. 

" Paris, December 27, 1790. 
" MY DEAR MADAM, I have received your 
charming letter of the 2d March. Having an 
affair of business to arrange in England, I went 
from Amsterdam to London at the beginning of 
May, to settle it. I escaped being murdered on 
landing.* From London I came hither, and have 
not had an hour of health since my arrival. I 
now feel convalescent, otherwise I would not have 

* This is undoubtedly meant in jest ; Paul Jones was 
by no means so senseless as to fear assassination in Eng- 


dared to write, for fear of giving pain to your 
feeling heart. In leaving Holland my plan was 
to repair to Avignon, in compliance with your 
obliging invitation. My health formed an in- 
vincible obstacle, but I still hope to indemnify 
myself on the return of the fine weather. I was 
for a long time very much alarmed by the dis- 
turbances which interrupted the peace of your 
city, and am very glad to see they are ended. I 
have learned, with lively satisfaction, that they 
have had no disagreeable consequences so far as 
regards you. Give me news of yourself, I pray 
you, and of those interesting persons of whom 
you speak in your last letter. Accept the assu- 
rance of the sincere sentiments which you are 
formed to inspire. 

" My address is, under cover, to M. Dorbery, 
No 42, Rue Tournon, Paris. 

" N. B. Have you not sufficient confidence 
in my discretion to explain 6 the enigma"* of the 
happiness with which you say ' I will be loaded, 
and which will astonish me so soon as I know 

it?' 1 ' 


Of Madame Le Mair (TAltigny we hear no- 
thing more, so that her enigma in all probabili- 
ty remained unexpounded. 

It might be presumed that the mind of Jones 
was now effectually weaned from the service of 
the country where he had been so "unjustly and 
cruelly treated ;" but such was not the fact. At 
intervals, during the last ten years of his life, he 
had been subject to severe attacks of indisposi- 
tion, and about this time he was labouring under 
that illness which, with brief intermission, never 
again left him ; yet was his mind as ardently oc- 
cupied as ever with hopes of serving in Russia. 
He addressed Prince Potemkin, he addressed the 
Empress : his mind on this subject appears to 
have been possessed; his very eagerness must 
have tended to defeat his anxious wishes. These 
letters from Paris, together with one other docu- 
ment, conclude the history of his unfortunate 
connexion with Russia, a connexion which one 
cannot help regarding as the cause of his prema- 
ture death. The generous reader must be pained 
to see a man of unquestioned bravery, and of very 
considerable talent and professional skill, who, in 


his own adopted country of America, might have 
lived to old age in peace and honour, fighting her 
battles in the senate, as he had already done on 
the ocean, clinging thus in hopeless pertinacity to 
the delusion which had undone him. 

" To his Highness the Prince-Marshal Potemkin. 

" Paris, 24th July, 1790. 

" MY LORD, I do not think it becomes me 
to let pass the occasion of the return of your aide- 
de-camp, to congratulate you on the brilliant suc- 
cess of your operations since I had the honour to 
serve under your orders, and to express to you, 
in all the sincerity of my heart, the regret I feel 
in not being fortunate enough to contribute there- 
to. After the campaign of Liman, when I had 
leave, according to the special desire of her Im- 
perial Majesty, to return to the department of 
the Northern Seas, your Highness did me the 
favour to grant me a letter of recommendation to 
the Empress, and to speak to me these words, 
6 Rely upon my attachment. I am disposed to 
grant you the most solid proofs of my friendship 


for the present and for the future. 1 Do you re- 
collect them ? This disclosure was too flattering 
for me to forget it, and I hope you will permit 
me to remind you of it. Circumstances and the 
high rank of my enemies have deprived me of 
the benefits which I had dared to hope from the 
esteem which you had expressed for me, and 
which I had endeavoured to merit by my ser- 
vices. You know the disagreeable situation in 
which I was placed ; but if, as I dared to believe, 
I have preserved your good opinion, I may still 
hope to see it followed by advantages, which it 
will be my glory to owe to you. M. de Simolin 
can testify to you that my attachment to Russia, 
and to the great Princess who is its sovereign, 
has always been constant and durable ; I attend- 
ed to my duties, and not to my fortune. I have 
been wrong, and I avow it with a frankness which 
carries with it its own excuse 1st, That I did 
not request of you a carte-blanche, and the ab- 
solute command of all the forces of the Liman. 
2d, To have written to your Highness under feel- 
ings highly excited, on the ^ 4 th October, 1788. 
These are my faults. If my enemies have wish- 



ed to impute others to me, I swear before God 
that they are a calumny. It only rests with me, 
my Lord, to unmask the villany of my enemies, 
by publishing my journal of the operations of 
the campaign of Liman, with the proofs, clear as 
the day, and which I have in my hands. It only 
rests with me to prove that I directed, under your 
orders, all the useful operations against the Ca- 
pitan Pacha ; that it was I who beat him on the 
7th June ; that it was I and the brave men I 
commanded who conquered him on the 17th 
June, and who chased into the sands two of his 
largest galleys, before our flotilla was ready to 
fire a single shot, and during the time a very 
considerable part of the force of the enemy re- 
mained at anchor immediately in rear of my squa- 
dron ; that it was I who gave to General Suwar- 
row, (he had the nobleness to declare it at court 
before me, to the most respectable witnesses,) 
he first project to establish the battery and 
breast-works on the isthmus of Kinbourn, and 
which were of such great utility on the night of 
the 17 18th June; that it was I, in person, 
who towed, with my sloops and other vessels, 


the batteries which were the nearest to the place, 
the 1st July, and who took the Turkish galleys 
by boarding, very much in advance of our line, 
whilst some gentlemen, who have been too highly 
rewarded in consequence of it, were content to 
remain in the rear of the struggles of our line, if 
I may be allowed to use the expression, sheltered 
from danger. You have seen, yourself, my Lord, 
that I never valued my person on any occasion 
where I had the good fortune to act under your 
eye. The whole of Europe acknowledges my ve- 
racity, and grants me some military talents, which 
it would give me pleasure to employ in the ser- 
vice of Russia, under your orders. The time will 
arrive, my Lord, when you will know the exact 
truth of what I have told you. Time is a sove- 
reign master. It will teach you to appreciate the 
man, who, loaded with your benefits, departed 
from the court of Russia with a memorial pre- 
pared by other hands and the enemies of your 
glory, and of which memorial he made no use, 
because your brilliant success at the taking of 
Oczakow, which he learned on his arrival in 
White Russia, gave the lie to all the horrors 


which had been brought forward to enrage the 
Empress against you. You know it was the echo 
of another intriguer at the court of Vienna. In 
fine, time will teach you, my Lord, that I am 
neither a mountebank nor a swindler, but a man 
true and loyal. I rely upon the attachment and 
friendship which you promised me. I rely on it, 
because I feel myself worthy of it. I reclaim 
your promise, because you are just, and I know 
you are a lover of truth. I commanded, and was 
the only responsible person in the campaign of the 
Liman, the others being only of inferior rank, or 
simple volunteers ; and I am, however, the only 
one who has not been promoted or rewarded. I 
am extremely thankful for the order of St Anne 
which you procured for me, according to your 
letter of thanks, for my conduct in the affair of 
the ^th June, which was not decisive. The 17th 
June I gained over the Capitan Pacha a com- 
plete victory, which saved Cher son and Kinbourn, 
the terror of which caused the enemy to lose nine 
vessels of war in their precipitate flight on the 
following night, under the cannon of the battery 
and breast-work which I had caused to be erect- 


ed in the isthmus of Kinbourn. On this occa- 
sion I had the honour again to receive a letter of 
thanks ; but my enemies and rivals have found 
means to abuse your confidence, since they have 
been exclusively rewarded. They merited rather 
to have been punished for having burnt nine 
armed prizes, with their crews, which were ab- 
solutely in our power, having previously ran 
aground under our guns. 

" I have been informed that, according to the 
institution of the order of St George, I have the 
right to claim its decorations in the second class 
for the victory of the 17th June, but I rely upon 
your justice and generosity. I regret that a 
secret project, which I addressed* to the Count 
de Besborodko the 6th of June of the last year, 
has not been adopted. I communicated this pro- 
ject to the Baron de Beichler, who has promised 
me to speak to you of it. I was detained in St 
Petersburgh until the end of August, in order to 
hinder me, as I have heard, from proceeding into 
the service of Sweden. My poor enemies, how 
I pity them ! But for this circumstance my in- 
tention was to have presented myself at your 


head-quarters in the hope to be of some utility ; 
and the Baron de Beichler, in departing from St 
Petersburgh in order to join you, promised me to 
assure you of my devotion for the service of your 
department, and that I should hold myself ready 
to return to you the instant I was called. My 
conduct has not since changed, although I hold 
in my hand a parole for two years, and I regard 
eighteen months of this parole, in a time of war, 
more as a punishment than as a favour. I hope 
that your Highness will succeed in concluding 
peace this year with the Turks ; but, in a con- 
trary case, if it should please you to recall me to 
take command of the fleet in the ensuing cam- 
paign, I would ask permission to bring with me 
the French officer concerning whom I spoke to 
you, with one or two others, who are good tacti- 
cians, and who have some knowledge of war. On 
my return here I received a gold medal, granted 
me by the unanimous voice of Congress, at the 
moment I received a parole from this honourable 
body. The United States have decreed me this 
honour, in order to perpetuate the remembrance 
of the services which I rendered to America eight 


years previous, and have ordered a copy to be 
presented to all the sovereigns and all the acade- 
mies of Europe, with the exception of Great Bri- 
tain. There is reason to believe that your High- 
ness will be numbered among the sovereigns of 
Europe, in consequence of the treaty of peace 
which you are about to conclude with the Turks; 
but in any case, if a copy of my medal will be 
acceptable to you as a mark of my attachment 
for your person, it will do me an honour to offer 
it to you. " PAUL JONES." 

The Rear-Admiral suffered much bodily ill- 
ness during the interval which elapsed between 
the despatch of this letter and the period when 
he sent off his forlorn hope, the subjoined epistle, 
in the spring of the following year : 

ff To her Imperial Majesty of all the Russias. 

25th Feb. ,, 

" Pans, , , . r 1791. 
' 8th March, 

" MADAM, If I could imagine that the 
letter which I had the honour to write to your 
Majesty from Warsaw, the 25th September, 


1789, had come to hand, it would be without 
doubt indiscreet in me to beg you to cast your 
eyes on the documents enclosed, which accuse 
no person,* and the only intent of which is, to 
let you see that in the important campaign of 
Liman, the part which I played was not either 
that of a %ero or of a harlequin, who required to 
be made a colonel at the tail of his regiment. I 
have in my hands the means to prove, incontes- 
tably, that I directed all the useful operations 
against the Capitan Pacha. The task which 
was given to me at this critical conjuncture was 
very difficult. I was obliged to sacrifice my own 
opinion and risk my military reputation for the 
benefit of your empire. But I hope you will be 
satisfied with the manner in which I conducted 
myself, and also of the subsequent arrangements, 
of which I am persuaded you have not been ac- 

* In a letter from Warsaw to Mr Littlepage, he says, 

the Count de B , (we know not whether de Bruce or 

de Besborodko, though it is probably the latter,) had in- 
tercepted his despatch to the Empress till orders could be 
got from Potemkin. 


quainted until this moment. The gracious 
counsel which your Majesty has often done me 
the honour to repeat to me before my departure 
for the Black Sea, and in the letter which you 
deigned to write to me afterwards, has since 
been the rule of my conduct; and the faithful at- 
tachment with which you had inspired me for 
your person, was the only reason which hindered 
me from requesting my dismissal when I wrote 
to you from Warsaw ; for I confess that I was 
extremely afflicted, and even offended, at having 
received a parole for two years in time of war, 
a parole which it has never entered into my mind 
to wish for, and still less to ask, and of which I 
have not profited to go to America, or even to 
Denmark, where I had important business ; for 
I had always hoped to be usefully employed in 
your service, before the expiration of this parole, 
which has done me so much injury; and al- 
though in public I would not have failed to have 
spoken to you at the last audience which you 
granted me, yet I was unfortunately led to be- 
lieve the repeated promises made me, that I 
should have a private audience in order to lay 


before you my military projects, and to speak of 
them in detail. 

" I hope that the brilliant success with which 
Providence has blessed your arms will enable 
you to grant peace to your enemies without shed- 
ding more of human blood ; but in a contrary 
case your Majesty can be well instructed from 
my project, No 12, of the last year. 

" As I have my enemies, and as the term of 
my parole is about to expire, I await the orders 
of your Majesty, and should be flattered, if it is 
your pleasure for me to come and render you an 
account in person. Mr , who has the good- 
ness to charge himself with this packet, which I 
have addressed to him, sealed with my arms, 
will also undertake to forward me your orders ; 
I therefore pray you to withdraw me as soon as 
possible from the cruel uncertainty in which I 
am placed. Should you deign, Madam, to in- 
form me that you are pleased with the services 
which I have had the happiness to render you, 
I will console myself for the misfortunes which I 
have suffered, as I drew my sword for you from 
personal attachment and ambition, but not for 


interest. My fortune, as you know, is not very 
considerable ; but as I am philosopher enough 
to confine myself to my means, I shall be always 

" I have the honour to be, 


Of your Imperial Majesty 
The most faithful and 
Obedient servant, 

So late as the month of July of the same year, 
we find Paul Jones still in Paris, and now in 
very bad health, but even yet occupied with Rus- 
sia. His next and final letter is addressed to Ba- 
ron Grimm, the literary correspondent of the 
Empress, who, a dozen years before, had cele- 
brated his praises.* His former attempts having 

* In the original correspondence of Grimm we find 
the following passage, which does not appear in the 
much-abridged edition of his voluminous works pub- 
lished in this country. This passage, which we had 
not seen till after the first volume of the Memoir 


been so utterly unsuccessful, he discovers consi- 
derable address in trying his fortune in a new 

was printed, shows that both Mr Sherburne and the 
present editor are mistaken in supposing that the bust 
of Paul Jones was originally taken at his own sug- 
gestion. The letter of Baron Grimm bears date Janu- 
ary, 1780, at which time he says Paul Jones had been 
some weeks in Paris. This cannot be correct, as it was 
among the very last days of December when he escaped 
from the Texel ; the only error, however, is of a few 
weeks. " The intrepid Paul Jones," says the Baron, " has 
been here for some weeks. He has had the honour to be 
presented to the King. He has been applauded with trans- 
port at all the public places where he has shown him- 
self, and particularly at the opera. It is a singularity 
worthy of remark, that this brave Corsair, who has given 
multiplied proofs of possessing a soul the most firm, and 
courage the most determined, is at the same time the 
most feeling and mild man in the world, and that he 
has made a great many verses full of elegance and soft- 
ness, the sort of poetry which appears most congenial to 
his taste being the elegy and the pastoral. The Lodge 
of the Nine Sisters, of which he is a member, have em- 
ployed M. Houdon to take his bust. This resemblance is 
a new masterpiece worthy of the chisel which appears 


tack. The Empress, it may be premised, had 
long shown herself ambitious of being considered 
the munificent patroness of science and of scien- 
tific men, in whatever regarded the improve- 
ment of her country, and particularly of her 

" Rear-Admiral Paul Jones to Baron Grimm. 

"Paris, 9th July, 1791. 

" SIR, M. Houdon has sent to your house 
the bust which you have done me the honour to 
accept.* Mademoiselle Marchais has told me 

destined to consecrate to immortality illustrious men of 
all kinds." 

* His own bust, " now decorated," he says, " with 
the order of St Anne, on the American uniform, one rea- 
son why I wish to be authorised by the American States 
to wear that order." This is said in a letter to Mr Jef- 
ferson, written soon after his final epistle to the Empress, 
and when he had formed the design of again entering 
the French fleet of evolution, if bodily indisposition, and 
the worse sickness of hope deferred, left him power to 
form any considerate or consistent plan of future conduct. 


all the obliging things you have said regarding 

"As it is my duty to interest myself in ob- 
jects that may be useful to Russia, I must in- 
form you that I have met with a man here, whom 
I have known for fifteen years, who has invent- 
ed a new construction of ships of war, which has 
small resemblance, either externally or internally, 
to our present war-ships, and which will, he says, 
possess the following advantages over them : 

" I. The crew will be better sheltered during 
an engagement. 

"II. The lodging-room of the crew will be 
more spacious ; every individual may have a bed 

There were five orders of knighthood in Russia, three of 
which were instituted by Peter the Great, and two, that of 
St George and St Vladimir, by the Empress Catharine 
the Second. The order of St Anne was a Holstein, and 
not a Russian order. The Empress never conferred this 
order herself. She left it to the Grand Duke Paul, as 
Duke of Holstein, and from him Paul Jones received it. 
It was accordingly less valued than those of her own in- 
stitution bestowed by herself. 


or a hammock, and there may be as much air as 
is wished for, night and day, in the sleeping apart- 

" III. There 'will be less smoke during an 

The enumeration of all the rare qualities of this 
beau ideal of a war-ship might prove tedious ; 
suffice it, that a ship of the new construction, of 
54 guns, if well armed and commanded, might 
have faced one of the old make carrying 100 
guns ; that it would cost less both in artillery and 
timber, be a better sailer, go nearer the wind, 
and possess many other advantages. " For a long 
tune," the Rear- Admiral states, " he had, in 
conjunction with his friend Dr Franklin, tried to 
construct a ship combining the advantages of be- 
ing a fast sailer, not driving to leeward, drawing 
little water, &c. ; but they always encountered 
great obstacles. From the death of that great phi- 
losopher," he continues, " having rather too much 
time on my hands, (a very gentle hint,) I think 
I have surmounted the difficulties which baffled 
us, and stopped our progress. The ship-builder 
of whom I have spoken has explained nothing to 


me in detail, and I can form no idea on the sub- 
ject. He wishes to preserve his invention, and 
to draw emolument from it ; and nothing can be 
more just, if on experiment his discovery holds. 
As this is a thing which appears to me to deserve 
the attention of the Empress, I beg of you to 
acquaint her Majesty as soon as possible. This 
person wished to go to England to offer his dis- 
covery, where I think it would have been re- 
ceived ; but, as I have some influence with him, 
I have persuaded him to remain here, and wait 
your reply. If he receive any encouragement, 
he will communicate his ideas more fully to me. 
But in every case I dedicate to the Empress, 
without any stipulation, all that my feeble genius 
has accomplished in naval architecture." The 
Rear- Admiral then relates his own supposed disco- 
very, and, like a skilful orator, winds up, by 
pressing hard the main point of his argument. 
" Will not this, presuming it correct, be of great 
advantage to the infant marine of the Black Sea, 
and consequently to the prosperity of the Rus- 
sian empire ?" 

It appears that Baron Grimm received an 



answer from the Empress in relation to this first 
application, though it can scarcely be called a 
satisfactory one. She says there was a prospect 
of a speedy peace ; but if peace did not take 
place, she would let M. Paul Jones know her in- 
tentions respecting himself: and she tacitly re- 
proves Grimm's interference by saying, that she 
would not choose him as the medium of her com- 
munications with Paul Jones. 




THE voluminous papers left by Paul Jones af- 
ford very scanty materials for his domestic his- 
tory. From boyhood his place in society was 
completely isolated. His extensive correspon- 
dence, as it came into the hands of his relatives, 
is chiefly that of business, or of the ceremonial 
connected with business, and with the courtesies 
of acquaintanceship. His intercourse with so- 
ciety amounted to little more than the exchange 
of the customary offices of kindness and civility. 
He was early separated, by insurmountable cir- 
cumstances, from his own relatives; he never 
afterwards found a fixed home, nor does his cor- 
respondence afford any trace of the kindly, ge- 
nial, unbending, and cordial familiarity of confi- 
dential friendship. His letters consequently 
want the charm of a particular or individual in- 
terest. Few of them contain a single observation 


on men or manners, or even the expression of 
an opinion not merely professional. His jour- 
nals, in like manner, are strictly confined to pro- 
fessional affairs, and contain little that can either 
extend the range of knowledge or gratify a liberal 
curiosity. With the fields of observation, whether 
in America, France, and Russia, that were pre- 
sented to a mind so active and acute, this is much 
to be regretted. As it is, the interest of this me- 
moir must rest wholly on the public life of its 
subject. The few of his private confidential let- 
ters which exist, do, however, unfold his charac- 
ter in a very amiable way. Those to his rela- 
tions in Scotland, written in the latter years of 
his life, display the most affectionate solicitude 
for the happiness of those who could but little 
add to his, and much good sense in his endea- 
vours to promote it. 

According to his London or American bio- 
grapher, Paul Jones was " as chivalrous in 
love as in war." This is assumed, it is pro- 
bable, on the principle that every seaman is 
bound to be so, as a point of professional 
duty, from Nelson of the Nile down to Jack or 


Ben just paid off at Portsmouth. " Paul Jones," 
we are gravely told, " was always seriously in 
love," and, what is more singular, " often with 
women he had never seen." This contradicts 
all ordinary experience, and even goes beyond 
romantic tradition. Though seamen are not re- 
markable for tedious or roundabout modes of 
courtship, they are seldom so far spiritualized as 
not to require at least one passing glance of the 
fair objects that kindle the sudden flame. That 
among all existing unknown beauties, Paul Jones 
should have singled out Lady Selkirk as the ob- 
ject of his romantic and passionate admiration, 
appears, at least on this, the frigid side of the 
Atlantic, too absurd for serious refutation. His 
gallantry of disposition, and the disagreeable and 
derogatory imputations to which his descent on 
St Mary's Isle was liable, sufficiently account 
for the address to Lady Selkirk of a man who 
had so quick a sense of dishonour, and so tena- 
cious a regard for reputation, as Paul Jones 
evinced in every transaction of his life. It is 
therefore quite unnecessary to account for his 
conduct in this memorable affair, by raising the 


ridiculous hypothesis of his having fallen in love 
with a married lady of high rank, whom he had 
never seen, and whose eldest son was at that 
time of an age to have acted as his lieutenant. 
It is indeed just possible, that, while Paul Jones 
was still a lad, sailing to the port of Kirkcud- 
bright, he might have seen the lady of St Mary's 
Isle, though even then it would be preposterous 
to imagine such long-lived and romantic conse- 
quences from this transient vision, however fair 
and captivating. 

Paul Jones was by no means so great a fool 
as his historian, no doubt to do him honour, 
would insinuate. A man " in the singular si- 
tuation of being in love with every woman in 
Paris," and " often with women he had never 
seen," was evidently in no imminent peril from 
the attractions of any individual charmer, how- 
ever powerful these might be. In the present 
case this seems to have been the fact. The 
true, and, it may be said, the only mistress to 
whom Paul Jones was ever devoted with all the 
powers of his heart and mind was GLORY, in 


pursuit of whom he made no scruple at any time 
to set his foot on the neck of " the gentle Cupid," 
or, if need were, to use that " soft integument" 
as a stepping-stone in his mounting path. 

It is said that John Paul Jones, soon after 
entering the navy, formed an ardent attachment 
to an American lady. Their affection was mu- 
tual, but circumstances forbade their union ; and 
from this period he formed the resolution of 
never marrying. There is, however, much to 
intervene between the cradle and the grave of 
the passions ; and when a man expresses resolu- 
tions of this kind, his friends generally know 
with what proper degree of credit or allowance to 
receive them. He sent a message to his sisters, 
by Mr Kennedy, the French teacher of Dum- 
fries, who waited on him with letters from his re- 
lations, about the year 1784, purporting that he 
would never marry ; yet shortly after this we 
find him expressing a very tender and anxious in- 
terest for a French lady (Madame T ,) with 

whom he was in correspondence. 

The most brilliant period of the bonnes for- 


tunes of Paul Jones was during his residence at 
Paris and Versailles in 1780, and immediately 
after his escape from the Texel; the period 
commemorated by Baron Grimm, the era of his 
court favour, military order, and gold sword. 
He at this time engaged in various flirtations, of 
the kind and complexion which no man of his 
age and profession, moving in gay society in 
Paris, could have avoided, if he wished to live in 
the odour of gallantry. His acquaintance with 
the lady who assumes, or who received the poeti- 
cal appellation of Delia, must have commenced 
about this time, as the hottest fire of her love- 
letters appears to have fallen upon the Chevalier 
at LTOrient during the existence of Landais' 

The conduct of the Chevalier at this time 
was, it is to be feared, more creditable to his 
general spirit of gallantry than to his fidelity 
to the fair and devoted Delia. Among the la- 
dies whom he met most frequently in the society 
he frequented at Versailles was the Countess of 
Lavendal, a married woman, (and marriage in 
Paris at this time made an indispensable ingre- 


dient in the attractions of a mistress,) young, 
beautiful, witty, and withal a little intriguing. 
To the good graces of this lady the Chevalier 
Paul Jones anxiously and assiduously recom- 
mended himself. There is, however, reason to 
surmise, that the gentleman might have been 
somewhat of a self-seeker even in his admiration 
of the beautiful Countess. It is undeniable, that 
he owed all the distinction he had just obtained 
solely to court-favour, to the French ministry he 
owed nothing. " La belle Comtesse," indeed, ap- 
peared to have looked to him as the medium of ad- 
vancement or employment for her husband, with- 
out affecting to possess court-patronage herself; 
but there was no limiting the influence of a clever 
and beautiful woman at the Court of Versailles, 
where, although the reigning sovereign was unas- 
sailable, there were always so many open channels, 
through ministers and favourites, high and low, 
male and female. When the lady, whose object 
was to obtain employment for her husband, in 
conjunction with the American hero, but who 
had no objection to the by-play of a little harm- 
less coquetry, thought it prudent to draw back, 


after a course of very promising encouragement, 
her admirer appears to have borne his disap- 
pointment with great philosophy; and to have 
turned the tables upon the fickle charmer, and 
extricated himself from the affair with a cool 
dexterity that might command the applause of 
Chesterfield himself. 

This Parisian " course of true love 11 is fully 
elucidated by the following extracts of published 
letters, attributed to a young English lady, a 
Miss Edes, residing at the time in Versailles. 
They were written early in Juneand July, 1780. 
Coupling the fact of their immediate publication 
in England, with the staple of their composition, 
if left to our own instincts, and not positively as- 
sured that they were originally the private let- 
ters of a young lady, we would be inclined to at- 
tribute them to some of the gentlemen of the 
press who flourished fifty years ago ; and who 
then exported the scandal of Paris to London, 
in a somewhat clumsier way than the same busi- 
ness is still managed, but exactly in the same 

" The famous Paul Jones dines and sups here 


often," says Miss Edes ; " he is a smart man of 
thirty-six, speaks but little French, appears to 
be an extraordinary genius, a poet as well as a 
hero ; a few days ago he wrote some verses ex- 
tempore, of which I send you a copy. He is 
greatly admired here, especially by the ladies, 
who are all wild for love of him, as he for them ; 

but he adores Lady , (the Countess La- 

vendal,) who has honoured him with every 
mark of politeness and distinction.'" 

fe Verses addressed to the Ladies who have done me 
the Honour of their polite Attention !" Presented 
by Paul Jones to Mademoiselle G .* 

" Insulted Freedom bled, I felt her cause, 
And drew my sword to vindicate her laws, 
From principle, and not from vain applause. 
I've done my best ; self-interest far apart, 
And self-reproach a stranger to my heart ; 

* This is supposed to be one of the daughters of M. 
Genet, but could not have been his eldest daughter, who 
was by this time married to M. Cainpan, and a woman 
of the bedchamber to the Queen. 


My zeal still prompts, ambitious to pursue 
The foe, ye fair ! of liberty and you : 
Grateful for praise, spontaneous and unbought, 
A generous people's love not meanly sought ; 
To merit this, and bend the knee to beauty, 
Shall be my earliest and my latest duty." 

In this, and other effusions fully more credit- 
able to his muse, Paul Jones, we presume, makes 
no worse figure than other clever men have done, 
when, departing from their true character, they 
choose to engage in the solemn fooleries or trif- 
ling puerilities of a part for which neither nature, 
education, nor habit, has fitted them.* 

* In vindication of the critical opinions of Grimm, 
who praises the " grace and softness'* of the verses of 
Paul Jones, we subjoin what is considered a tolerably fair 
specimen of his poetical vein. It is no disparagement of 
our own great naval hero to say, that the verses of Paul 
Jones are far superior to those of Nelson. Indeed, of all 
such effusions the opinion of Byron ought to be adopted as 
quite canonical they are so good, that "bad were better." 
The only use of the verses of Paul Jones is the evidence 
they afford, that their author could not have been the 


The same young lady, supposed to be the Miss 
Edes, sometimes noticed in the correspondence of 

brutal, ignorant, and ferocious pirate he is frequently 
described. In this view they are invaluable to truth and 
to his honest fame : 

" Verses written on Board the Alliance ojfUshant, the 1st 
Day of January, 1780, immediately after escaping out 
oftheTexelfrom the Blockade of the British Fleet ; being 
in Answer to a Piece written and sent to the Texel by a 
young Lady at the Hague. 



<( Were I, Paul Jones, dear maid, the ' King of Sea,' 

I find such merit in thy virgin song, 

A coral crown with bays I'd give to thee, 

A car which on the waves should smoothly glide along ; 

The Nereids all about thy side should wait, 

And gladly sing in triumph of thy state, 

( Vivat, vivat' the happy virgin muse ! 

Of Liberty the friend, whom tyrant power pursues! 


" Or, happier lot ! were fair Columbia free 
From British tyranny, and youth still mine, 


the Chevalier with the Genet family, on another 
occasion, and after further acquaintance, writes 

" Since my last, Paul Jones drank tea and 
supped here. If I am in love with him, for love 
I may die ; I have as many rivals as there are 

I'd tell a tender tale to one like thee 

With artless looks, and breast as pure as thine. 

If she approved my flame, distrust apart, 

Like faithful turtles, we'd have but one heart; 

Together then we'd tune the silver lyre, 

As Love or sacred Freedom should our lays inspire. 


" But since, alas ! the rage of war prevails, 
And cruel Britons desolate our land, 
For Freedom still I spread my willing sails, 
My unsheath'd sword my injured country shall command. 
Go on, bright maid, the Muses all attend 
Genius like thine, and wish to be its friend. 
Trust me, although convey'd through this poor shift, 
My new-year's thoughts are grateful for thy virgin gift."* 

* This gallant effusion was despatched from Corogne, where Jones put 
in for a short time on his way to Groix. The lady was the daughter of 
M. Dumas, the American agent at Amsterdam. 


ladies, but the most formidable is still Lady , 

(the Countess Lavendal,) who possesses all his 
heart. This lady is of high rank and virtue, 
very sensible, good-natured, and affable. Be- 
sides this, she is possessed of youth, beauty, and 
wit, and every other female accomplishment. He 
is gon, I suppose, for America. They corre- 
spond, and his letters are replete with elegance, 
sentiment, and delicacy. She drew his picture, 
(a striking likeness,) and wrote some lines under 
it, which are much admired, and presented it 
to him, who, since he received it, is, he says, 
like a second Narcissus, in love with his own re- 
semblance ; to be sure he is the most agreeable 
sea-wolf one would wish to meet with. As to his 
verses you may do with them what you please. 
The King had given him a magnificent gold sword, 
which, lest it should fall into the hands of the 
enemy, he has begged leave to commit it to the 
care of her ladyship, a piece of gallantry which is 
here highly applauded. If any further account 
of this singular genius should reach my hands, 
you shall have it." 

We believe that even the most finished French 


coquet would feel rather startled at the eclat of 
an appearance like the above in an English pe- 
riodical published within the month. The Coun- 
tess must have been alarmed, and she took her 
measures accordingly. 

When Jones was compelled to return to 
LTOrient, and in the prospect of an immediate 
departure for America, he took courage to speak 
more plainly to this condescending Countess. 
Though, as has been noticed, he found it after- 
wards expedient to give the affair another turn, his 
first letter, which follows, cannot be mistaken : 

" I am deeply concerned, 1 ' he says, " in all 
that respects your happiness ; I therefore have 
been and am much affected at some words that 
fell in private conversation from Miss Edes the 
evening I left Versailles. I am afraid that you 
are less happy than I wish, and am sure you de- 
serve to be. I am composing a cipher for a key 
to our future correspondence, so that you will be 
able to write me very freely, and without risk. 
It is a small dictionary of particular words, with 
a number annexed to each of them. In our let- 
ters we will write sometimes the corresponding 


number instead of the word, so that the meaning 
can never be understood until the corresponding 
words are interlined over the numbers. 

" I beseech you to accept the within lock. I 
am sorry that it is now eighteen inches shorter 
than it was three months ago. If I could send 
you my heart itself, or any thing else that could 
afford you pleasure, it would be my happiness to 
do it. Before I had the honour of seeing you, I 
wished to comply with the invitation of my lodge,* 
and I need not add that I have since found 
stronger reasons that have compelled me to seek 
the means of returning to France again as soon 
as possible." 

There was a manifest want of retenue in this 
epistle. The lady, it is said, kept the trophies, 
namely, the cipher, the letter, and the lock of 
hah-, but wrote to Jones, expressing her astonish- 
ment at his audacity, and her conjecture that his 
packet had been misdirected when, sent to her- 
self. She begged, at the same time, to introduce 

* Probably the lodge of the Neuf Sceurs, of which he 


to him the Count her husband, who was to pass 
through LTOrient. " She should be obliged to 
the Chevalier to show him every civility." This 
he did, and afterwards wrote the Countess : 

" I/Orient, July 14, 1780. 

" MADAM, Since I had the honour to re- 
ceive your packet from Versailles, I have care- 
fully examined the copy of my letter from Nantes, 
but am still at a loss, and cannot conceive, what 
part of the letter itself could have occasioned 
your imagining I had mistaken the address. As 
for the little packet it contained, perhaps it might 
better have been omitted : if so, it is easily de- 
stroyed. If my letter has given you even a mo- 
ment's uneasiness, I can assure you, that to think 
so would be as severe a punishment as could be 
inflicted upon me. However I may have been 
mistaken, my intention could never have been to 
give you the most distant offence. I was greatly 
honoured by the visit of the Count, your husband, 
and am so well convinced of his superior under- 
standing, that I am glad to believe Miss Edes 
was mistaken. I admire him so much, that I 


should esteem myself very happy indeed to have 
a joint expedition with him by sea and land, 
though I am certain that his laurels would far 
exceed mine. I mention this, because M. de 
Genet has both spoken and written to me on the 
subject as from the Count himself. 

" I had the honour to lay a project before the 
King^s ministers in the month of May, for future 
combined expeditions under the flag of America, 
and had the satisfaction to find that my ideas 
were approved by them. If the Count, your 
husband, will do me the honour to concert with 
M. de Genet, that the court may send with me 
to America the application that was intended to 
be made to Congress, conformable to the propo- 
sal I made, it would afford me a pleasing oppor- 
tunity of showing my gratitude to the King, to 
his ministers, and to this generous-minded nation. 
I should be greatly proud to owe my success to 
your own good offices ; and would gladly share 
with your husband the honour that might result 
from our operations. I have within these few 
days had the honour to receive from his Majesty 
the cross of Military Merit, with a sword that is 


worthy the royal giver, and a letter which I ar- 
dently wish to deserve. I hold the sword in too 
high estimation to risk its being taken by the 
enemy ; and therefore propose to deposit it in the 
care of a friend. None can be more worthy of 
that sacred deposite than you, Madam ; and if 
you will do me the honour to be its guardian, I 
shall esteem myself under an additional obliga- 
tion to deserve your ribbon, and to prove myself 
worthy of the title of your knight. I promised 
to send you a particular account of my late ex- 
pedition ; but the late extraordinary events that 
have taken place, with respect to the frigate Al- 
liance, make me wish to postpone that relation 
until after a court-martial in America shall have 
furnished evidence for many circumstances that 
would, from a simple assertion, appear romance 
and founded on vanity. The only reason for the 
revolt on board the Alliance was, because the 
men were not paid either wages or prize-money ; 
and because one or two envious persons persuad- 
ed them that I had concurred with M. de Chau- 
mont to defraud them, and to keep them in Europe 
during the war, which, God knows, was not true. 


For I was bound directly for America ; and far 
from concurring with M. de Chaumont, I had 
not even written or spoken to him, but had highly 
resented his mean endeavours to keep the poor 
men out of their just rights, which was the only 
business that brought me to court in April. 

" If I am to have the honour of writing you 
from beyond sea, you will find that the cipher I 
had the honour to send you may be necessary ; 
because I would not wish all my informations to 
be understood, in case my letters should fall into 
the hands of the enemy. I shall communicate 
no idea in cipher that will offend even such great 
delicacy as yours ; but as you are a philosopher, 
and as friendship has nothing to do with sex, 
pray what harm is there* in wishing to have the 
picture of a friend ? Present, I pray, my best 
respects to the Count. If we are hereafter to be 
concerned together in war, I hope my conduct 
will give him satisfaction ; at any rate I hope for 
the honour of his friendship. Be assured that I 
shall ever preserve for you the most profound es- 
teem and the most grateful respect. 



The lady waived the honour of being constituted 
guardian of the gold sword ; and whatever her in- 
fluence with the Chevalier might have been, it now 
declined rapidly. From the Road of Groix Jones 
wrote to her in the following well-considered and 
measured terms ; and, from his next letters, it 
appears that the correspondence henceforth lan- 
guished on his side : 

" Paul Jones to the Countess de Lavendal. 

"Ariel, Road of Groix, September 21, 1780. 
" MADAM, I was honoured with the very po- 
lite letter that your Ladyship condescended to 
write me on the 5th of last month. I am sorry 
that you have found it necessary to refuse me 
the honour of accepting the deposite mentioned 
in my last, but am determined to follow your 
advice, and be myself its guardian. I have been 
detained in this open road by contrary and stormy 
winds since the 4th of this month. There is 
this moment an appearance of a fair opportunity, 
and I will eagerly embrace it. I have received 
a letter from the first minister, very favourable 


to the project I mentioned to you, and you may 
depend on my utmost interest with Congress to 
bring the matter to issue. I am sure that assem- 
bly will with pleasure say all yourself or the 
Count could wish respecting the Count, if my 
scheme is adopted. 

" I have the satisfaction to inform you, that, by 
the testimony of all the persons just arrived in 
four ships at I/Orient from Philadelphia, the 
Congress and all America appeared to be warmly 
my friends ; and my heart, conscious of its own 
uprightness, tells me I shall be well received. 
Deeply and gratefully impressed with a sense of 
what I owe to you and your husband's attentions 
and good wishes, and ardently desiring to merit 
your friendship and the love of this nation by my 
whole conduct through life, 

" I remain, Madam, &c. &c. 

" P. S. I will not faiUo write whenever I have 
any thing worth your reading ; at the same time, 
may I hope to be honoured now and then with a 
letter from you, directed to Philadelphia. I was 
selfish in begging you to write me in French, 


because your letters would serve me as an exer- 
cise. Your English is correct, and even ele- 
gant. 1 '* 

Long afterwards his correspondence with the 
Countess is thus ceremoniously resumed : 

Captain Paul Jones to M. de Genet, enclosing Let- 
ters to the Countess de Lavendal and the Mar- 
quis de Castries. 

" Triomphant, Porto la Bello, 
February 28, 1783. 

" DEAR SIR, I had the honour to receive your 
favour of the 16th May, 1781, only a few days 
before I launched the America at Portsmouth. 
Perhaps Colonel Lawrence, (who is no more,) in 
the warmth of his public zeal, had forgot my let- 
ter, and carried it with him to the fate of Corn- 

* The above letter is addressed, in the copy before us, 
to the Countess de Bourbon. It is, however, obviously 
intended for the Countess de Lavendal. Paul Jones 
could not have been in correspondence with two differ- 
ent ladies to whom he would have wished to intrust ' ' the 


wallis. My mind was so much on the stretch 
from receiving your letter till I reached Boston, 
that you will, I hope, excuse my silence. I ex- 
pected to have written hy the Iris ; but the stormy 
weather after leaving Boston rendered it impos- 
sible to put letters on board, and I had not a 
moment's time before we left the port. I leave 
the seal of my letter to the Marquis de Castries 
open, that you may read it yourself, and show it 
to the Countess de Lavendal before you seal 
and deliver it. She will there see that invincible 
obstacles have defeated my projects, which I have 
pursued with unremitting attention. I am hap- 
py that my little present was accepted by Miss 
Sophy* with so much favour, and that it was 
taken in good part by her family and intended 
husband. I am not surprised that your son-in- 
law is a worthy man. It could not be otherwise, 
since he has your approbation, and is the choice 
of the young lady. From the complexion of the 
King of England's speech of the 5th December 
the war ought now to be at an end. I hope and 

* A daughter of M. Genet. 


sincerely wish it, for humanity has need of peace. 
But if the war should continue, it is not impos- 
sible that I may command again before it is 
finished. Returning my respectful compliments 
to all your family, and to Miss Edes ; and still 
hoping to revisit France, I am, 

" Dear Sir, &c. &c. 
" M. de Genet, Versailles." 

<f Captain Paul Jones to the Countess de Lavendal, 
enclosed in the above. 

" Triomphant, Porto Cabello, 
February, 28, 1783. 

" I RECEIVED, Madam, a short time before I 
left North America, from M. Genet, a letter, dat- 
ed Versailles, 18th May, 1781, containing a mes- 
sage from your Ladyship respecting the military 
projects I had in contemplation in connexion 
with the Count when I left Versailles. As no- 
thing could add more to my disappointment than 
a supposition on your part that I had not pursu- 
ed these objects with constant zeal, I have de- 
sired M. Genet to put into your hands, before it 



is delivered to the person for whom it is directed., 
a letter, by which you will see that invincible ob- 
stacles alone have prevented the full operation 
of my schemes, which, till very lately, have al- 
ways been supported by hope. I now think the 
war at an end; but if it should continue, I shall 
not voluntarily remain out of the busy scene, 
and I am still of opinion my former projects 
might be adopted with public utility. I can, 
however, promise nothing, but that my prin- 
ciples are invariably the same. I hope to return 
to France, and am persuaded you will rather feel 
compassion for my disappointment than withdraw 
from me any part of your esteem. I am, 

Madam, with sentiments of the most 

profound respect, &c. Sec. 
" To the Countess de Lavendal." 

In reference to her husband, this lady had 
evidently formed expectations from Paul Jones 
which he never possessed the power to realize ; 
and which, it is to be presumed, arose rather 
from the strength of her own wishes, than from 
false hopes held out by her admirer. How he 


could have proposed to connect himself with a 
man of no professional eminence, whom, when 
the idea was formed, he had never seen, and, 
from Miss Edes' report, supposed a fool, must 
be left to the sagacity of the reader, and will, 
perhaps, require his indulgence. 

The letter sent for the perusal of the Coun- 
tess does not appear much in point, nor could it 
have proved very satisfactory to her. 

" Captain Paul Jones to the Marquis de Castries, 
enclosed to M. Genet, for the perusal of the Coun- 
tess de Lavendal. 

" Trioraphant, Porto Cabello, 
28th February, 1783. 

" MY LORD MARQUIS, You have no doubt 
been officially informed of the act of Congress 
presenting the America to his Majesty, to replace 
the Magnifique, when that ship was lost at Bos- 
ton. Perhaps you may have also heard, that 
soon after my return from France to Philadel- 
phia, in the Ariel, I was unanimously elected by 
Congress to command the America. It was pro- 


posed by his Excellency, Mr Morris, Minister of 
Marine, to arm the America en jlute^ and 
send her to Brest in December, 1781, with a 
cargo of large masts, fit for ships of the line, to 
be armed for war, &c. But when I arrived at 
Portsmouth, I found the ship not half built, and 
all the materials were wanting to finish the con- 
struction. Instead of commanding a fine ship, 
and being attended by frigates belonging to the 
continent, the inspection of the construction fell 
entirely upon me, almost without money or ma- 
terials to carry it on. I had been thus employ- 
ed for sixteen months before the act of Congress 
presenting the America to the King deprived 
me of that command. It was thought that act 
of Congress must give me pain, but those who 
were of that opinion did not well know my char- 
acter. It was a sacrifice I made with pleasure, 
to testify my grateful regard for his Majesty, and 
my invariable attention and zeal to promote the 
common cause. I continued my inspection till 
the America was launched, and having then de- 
livered her to M. de Martigne, appointed by his 
Excellency the Marquis de Vaudreuil, I set out 


for Philadelphia. A project was then in con- 
templation between Mr Morris and the Chevalier 
de la Luzerne, for employing me immediately 
with a command of some frigates ; but not being 
able to get the South Carolina frigate out of the 
hands of Mr Gillan, their project did not succeed. 
Thus disappointed, I applied to Congress to send 
me back to Boston to make a campaign for my 
instruction on board his Majesty's fleet. Con- 
gress having passed an act for that purpose, I 
returned to Boston the day before the fleet sail- 
ed, with letters from the Minister of Marine, 
and the Chevalier de la Luzerne, to his Excel- 
lency the Marquis de Vaudreuil, who kindly re- 
ceived me as a volunteer on board of his ship. 
I have been so handsomely treated, both by him 
and the officers, both of the fleet and army, that 
they leave me nothing more to wish for from 
them. I am directed to return to Philadelphia 
when the campaign is ended, unless, in the mean- 
tune, I should receive orders to the contrary. I 
beseech you to assure his Majesty, that I will 
eagerly embrace every opportunity to testify by 
my conduct the high sense I have of the honour- 


able marks conferred on me of his favour and 
esteem, and that I feel a superior obligation for 
the many marks of his bounty. I am, 
" My Lord Marquis, 

with profound respect, &c. 
" To his Excellency the Marquis 
de Castries," fyc. 

Of the Countess de Lavendal we learn no 
more ; nor would the affair have been worth no- 
tice, were it not already before the public. The 
motives which led to the earlier part of this cor- 
respondence cannot be mistaken ; nor is the ad- 
dress displayed in the attempt to give the affair a 
turn much to be commended, unless, as seems 
extremely probable, the coquetry of the lady, and 
her retention of the gifts she disclaims in words, 
justify the affected astonishment of an admirer 
whose vanity was to all appearance more inte- 
rested than his serious affections. If the apolo- 
gy be offered for this correspondence, that Paul 
Jones did not understand French manners, this 
will more strongly justify the lady than her ad- 
mirer ; and it is to be feared that another aggra- 


vation is, its being simultaneous with that of the 
devoted Delia, the anonymous lady mentioned 
at page 261, vol. I. 

Delia has so dexterously preserved her incognita, 
that it is scarce possible, even if it were import- 
ant, to ascertain her real condition. Her letters 
which are preserved appear to have been written 
to Jones while at L'Orient, and when he was sup- 
posed on the eve of sailing for America. These 
epistles, which are warmly passionate, breathe the 
eloquence of deep and genuine feeling, and display 
the boundless generosity of a devoted if not very 
discreet attachment ; but they, at the same time, 
discover a larger experience in " affairs of the 
heart" than was likely to be possessed or ac- 
knowledged by a very young woman, and ha- 
bits of life which intimate more independence 
and freedom than custom permitted to any un- 
married French girl, if above the very lowest 
rank. Delia appears to have received the visits 
of gentlemen, a privilege enjoyed only by mar- 
ried women or widows ; and she alludes to her 
income of eight thousand livres (no small fortune 
in those days) as if it were under her sole and 


uncontrolled command. She alleges her liberal- 
ity of disposition as the cause of her narrow for- 
tune, and thus warrants the conclusion, that her 
conduct was perfectly independent of control. 
Her extreme apprehension lest her letters or her 
portrait should be seen, which is repeatedly ex- 
pressed, is but a natural and becoming female 
feeling, from which nothing can be surmised of 
her real character and condition. It was a duty 
that her lover owed to her memory, or, if she sur- 
vived him, to the memory of their attachment, 
to have placed this warm and animated corre- 
spondence beyond the power of either misrepre- 
sentation or derision. 

In the American Memoir of Paul Jones re- 
published in London, it is said, " the Commodore 
grew alarmed when the lady proposed to follow 
him to America." Her original letters, which 
Paul Jones has preserved with a care he was not 
likely to have bestowed on those of a person to 
whom he was indifferent, bear no trace of any 
proposition so indecorous. In the most fervid 
of her eloquent compositions, with an abund- 
ant lack of discretion, there is no symptom 


of indelicacy. Her distress, her agonies at 
parting with her lover, are very frankly proclaim- 
ed, but she contemplates no such termination 
of her misery as an elopement. " Heaven," 
she says, " will reunite us, and watch over the 
fate of two beings who love faithfully, and whose 
upright hearts deserve to be happy. I inces- 
santly address myself to Heaven for your safe 
arrival in America. If you are satisfied with 
that government you will continue in its service ; 
if not, resign, and rejoin your faithful friend. 
The whole world besides may forsake you, but 
her heart is eternally yours. You inquire how you 
can render me happy ? take care of yourself, 
love me, study the means of enabling us to pass 
our lives together, and never forget that my life 
is bound up in yours." Delia makes her lover 
repeated offers of such assistance as she had the 
power of affording during the exigency of his af- 
fairs at LTOrient : " She had trinkets, she had 
effects," and with the most disinterested spirit 
she is willing to sacrifice them all. These offers 
are made with grace and delicacy, but it does not 
appear that they were accepted; and, from a 



passage in one of her letters, it would seem that 
Paul Jones had given her assistance of a pecuni- 
ary nature. 

It is said by the poet, 

" Those who greatly love must greatly fear ;" 

the love of Delia was extreme, and her fears 
corresponded to its excess. The letters of Jones 
were tolerably frequent for a man engaged in 
quelling a mutiny, and corresponding with a co- 
quetish Countess. They appear to have soothed 
the fears of Delia, and filled her with rapturous 
delight for the moment. She alludes to his re- 
sponding tears, sighs, and verses ; envies her own 
portrait in his possession, but as regularly re- 
lapses into a state of distracting doubt if his si- 
lence exceeded the period she had fixed for re- 
ceiving a letter. 

We can perceive no reason for believing " De- 
lia a young and high lady of the court ;" but her 
early letters possess those indelible marks of sin- 
cerity, and of warmth and generosity of feeling, 
which could not fail to interest, were it possible 
to ascertain who the writer really was. Her me- 


mory, nevertheless, possesses some claim with 
that class of readers pre-eminently called " gen- 
tle ;" nor is it possible to look on the tear-stains 
that blot those crooked characters, traced by a 
hand then trembling with youthful passion, and 
over which the grave must long since have closed, 
without a feeling of pity and kindness for the 
fair writer, so devoted, so eloquent, and probably 
so unfortunate. 

Of the " irresistible love-letters" of Paul 
Jones, commemorated by Miss Edes and the 
London editor, we subjoin one specimen, as they 
have given none. It, we fear, does not lessen 
the suspicion, that, in the case of Delia, the at- 
tachment at this time was strongest on the wrong 
side. It is written on Christmas-day, a season 
for which lovers seldom wait, though parted 
friends often choose on it to make quittance of 
neglected correspondence. 

Paul Jones to Delia. 

" December 25th, 1781. 

" I wrote, my lovely Delia, various letters 
from Philadelphia, the last of which was dated 


the 20th of June. On the 26th of that month 1 
was unanimously elected by Congress to com- 
mand the America of 7^ guns? n the stocks at 
Portsmouth, New Hampshire. I superintended 
the building, which I find so much more back- 
ward than I expected, that a plan of operations 
which I had in view is entirely defeated. I ex- 
pected to have been at sea this winter, but the 
building does not go on with the vigour I could 
wish. Since I came here I have not had a single 
good opportunity to write to Europe. This situa- 
tion is doubly irksome to me, my lovely friend, as 
it stops my pursuit of honour as well as love. It 
is now more than twelve months since I left 
France, yet I have not received a single letter 
from thee in all that time, except the one written 
in answer to my letter at taking leave. That 
one is a tender letter indeed, and does honour to 
thy matchless heart. I read often, and always 
with transport, the many charming things that 
are expressed in thy letters, but especially the 
last. Thy adieu has in it all the finer feelings 
blended with the noblest sentiments of the heart. 
Providence, all just and good, has given thee a 


soul worthy to animate natures fairest work. I 
rest, therefore, assured, that absence will not di- 
mmish but refine the pure and spotless friend- 
ship that binds our souls together, and will ever 
impress each to merit the affection of the other. 
Remember and believe my letter at parting ; it 
was but a faint picture of my heart. I will find 
opportunities to write, and be every thing thou 
canst wish. My address is under cover to the 
Hon. Robert Morris, Esq., Minister of Finance, 

" I have not since heard of your relation I 
left behind, but suppose he is with the army." 

We cannot tell whether Delia profited or not by 
this address ; but three years afterwards, when 
the Chevalier arrived in Paris as agent for prize- 
money, we find her still alive and faithful. Paul 
Jones has preserved her first note, and in his 
own handwriting affixed the date to it : " From 
her apartments in the Boulevard," &c. &c. He 
had some reason to be proud of her fidelity : 
this was Paris in 1783. Delia's note is exceed- 
ingly characteristic of her country, though we 


like its tone much less than that of the earlier ef- 
fusions of its author : " Is it possible that you 
are then so near me, and that I am deprived of 
the sight of a mortal who has constituted the mi- 
sery of my life for four years ? O ! most amiable 
and most ungrateful of men, come to your best 
friend, who burns with the desire of seeing you. 
You ought to know that it is but eight days 
since your Delia was at the brink of the grave. 
Come, in the name of Heaven !" 

It is probable that the Chevalier obeyed this 
summons, since he thought it worth while to 
preserve the billet in which it is conveyed. 

Delia now disappears from the scene as abrupt- 
ly as the u beautiful Countess," unless we are able 

to identify her with Madame T , a lady for 

whom, about this time, the Chevalier evinces a 
warm interest. The supposition, that Madame 

T , a widow, it may be presumed, from her 

friendless and unprotected state, and Delia, are 
the same individual, is feasible in itself, credit- 
able to both parties, and readily accounts for all 
the ambiguities in the letters, and still more in 
the situation of Delia. With Madame T 


Jones corresponded after his return to America 
in 1786. Her letters to him were sent to the 
care of the American minister, as those of Delia 
had formerly been. The reader has the advantage 
of being introduced to this lady by Paul Jones 
himself hi the following letter to Mr Jefferson : 

" I am much obliged to you for the letter 

from Madame T , which you forwarded by 

the June packet. I now take the liberty to en- 
close a letter for that worthy lady ; and, as I had 
not the happiness to introduce you to her, (be- 
cause I wished her fortune to have been pre- 
viously established,) I shall now tell you in con- 
fidence, that she is the daughter of the late King 
and of a lady of quality, on whom his Majesty 
bestowed a very large fortune on his daughter's 
account. Unfortunately the father died while 
the daughter (his great favourite) was very 
young, and the mother has never since shown 
her either justice or natural affection. She was 
long the silent victim of that injustice ; but I had 
the pleasure to be instrumental in putting her 
in a fair way to obtain redress. His present Ma- 


jesty received her last year with great kindness. 
He gave her afterwards several particular au- 
diences, and said ' he charged himself with her 
fortune." 1 Some things were, as I have under- 
stood, fixed on, that depended solely on the 
King, and he said he would dictate the justice 
to be rendered by the mother. But the letter 
you sent me left the feeling author all in tears ! 
Her friend, her protectress, her introductress to 
the King, was suddenly dead ! She was in de- 
spair ! She lost more than a mother ! A loss, in- 
deed, that nothing can repair ; for fortune and 
favour are never to be compared to tried friend- 
ship. I hope, however, she has gone to visit 
the King in July, agreeably to his appointment 
given her in the month of March. I am per- 
suaded that he would receive her with additional 
kindness, and that her loss would, in his mind, 
be a new claim to his protection, especially as 
he well knows, and has acknowledged, her su- 
perior merit and just pretensions. As I feel the 
greatest concern for the situation of this worthy 
lady, you will render me a great favour by writ- 
ing her a note, requesting her to call on you, as 


you have something to communicate from me. 
When she comes, be so good as to deliver the 
within letter, and show her this, that she may 
see both my confidence in you and my advice to 
her. 1 " 

Living so long in Paris or Versailles, it is 
scarcely possible that Paul Jones could have 
been deceived in the character or pretensions of 

Madame T , though such is not the way in 

which the daughters " of Louis XV., by ladies 
of quality," were usually treated. It might also 
be supposed, that some trace of this daughter 
would be found in the numerous memoirs, let- 
ters, and secret histories of the Court of France. 
We are not aware that any such evidence does 
exist. It would, however, be high presumption 
to limit the number of the illegitimate children of 
so patriarchal a monarch as Louis XV. Ma- 
dame T was therefore, in all probability, 

one of his numerous descendants, the only in- 
explicable circumstance being, that a daughter, 
" his great favourite," should not otherwise be 
ever heard of; and that, " very young" when her 
father died, (in 177^?) we should find in her either 


the Delia of 1780, or the Madame T , 

a widow unknown or unfriended, of 1786. The 
lady, her protectress, to whom Paul Jones al- 
ludes, was, we are incidentally informed, the Mar- 
chioness de Marssan, to whom he introduced her. 
This lady we should presume to be her of the 
same name, governess to the grand-daughters of 
Louis XV. and sisters of his unfortunate succes- 
sor. There is, in short, something inexplicable 

to us in the history of Madame T : The 

sentiments entertained for her by Paul Jones 
are, however, abundantly clear ; they breathe a 
far more anxious interest than that of friendship. 
The subjoined letter is a copy of that enclosed 
to Madame T in the letter to Mr Jeffer- 
son ; the other letter was written to her shortly 

" Paul Jones to Madame T . 

" New York, September 4th, 1787. 

" No language can convey to my fair mourner 

the tender sorrow I feel on her account ! The 

loss of our worthy friend is indeed a fatal stroke ! 

It is an irreparable misfortune which can only be 


alleviated by this one reflection, that it is the 
will of God, whose providence has, I hope, other 
blessings in store for us. She was a tried friend, 
and more than a mother to you ! She would have 
been a mother to me also had she lived. We 
have lost her ! Let us cherish her memory, and 
send up grateful thanks to the Almighty that we 
once had such a friend. I cannot but flatter 

myself that you have yourself gone to the K 

in July as he had appointed. I am sure your 
loss will be a new inducement for him to pro- 
tect you, and render you justice. He will hear 
you, I am sure ; and you may safely unbosom 
yourself to him, and ask his advice, which can- 
not but be flattering to him to give you. Tell 
him you must look on him as your father and pro- 
tector. If it were necessary, I think, too, that 

the Count d'A ,* his brother, would, on your 

personal application, render you good offices 
by speaking in your favour. I should like it 
better, however, if you can do without him. Mr 
Jefferson will show you my letter of this date to 

* Count d'Artois, now Charles X. 


him. You will see by it how disgracefully I 
have been detained here by the Board of Trea- 
sury. It is impossible for me to stir from this 
place till I obtain their settlement on the busi- 
ness I have already performed ; and as the sea- 
son is already far advanced, I expect to be or- 
dered to embark directly for the place of my 
destination in the North. Mr Jefferson will for- 
ward me your letters. I am almost without 
money, and much puzzled to obtain a supply. 
I have written to Dr B.,* to endeavour to assist 
me. I mention this with infinite regret, and for 
no other reason than because it is impossible for 
me to transmit you a supply under my present 
circumstances. This is my fifth letter to you 
since I left Paris. The two last were from 
France, and I sent them by duplicates. But 
you say nothing of having received any letters 
from me ! Summon, my dear friend, all your re- 
solution! Exert yourself, and plead your own 
cause. You cannot fail of success your cause 
would move a heart of flint ! Present my best re- 

* Bancroft. 


spects to your sister. You did not mention her 
in your letter ; but I persuade myself she will 
continue her tender care of her sweet god-son, 
and that you will cover him all over with kisses 
from me : they come warm to you both from the 
heart P 

To the same. 

" New York, October 24, 1787. 
" The last French packet brought no letter to 
me from the person whose happiness is dearer to 
me than any thing else. I have been on the rack 
of fear and apprehension, and am totally unable 
to account for that silence ! My business is done 
here, and the moment of my return to Europe 
approaches. My sentiments are unchanged, and 
my impatience can better be imagined than ex- 
pressed. I have been honoured here beyond my 
own expectations.* But your silence makes 
even honours insipid. I am, however, far from 
blaming you ; want of health, or some other mis- 

* See page 305, vol. i. 


fortune, must have interposed. If this reaches 
you, remember me affectionately to your sister 
and her god-son. May Heaven avert all trouble 
from you !" 

Paul Jones almost immediately followed this 
letter to Europe. During his short stay in Paris 
in the winter of 1787> ^ e mus * ify a ll probability 
have again seen the lady to whom it was address- 
ed. Both the letters, as well as that sent to Mr 
Jefferson, bear testimony how deeply his feel- 
ings were involved in this attachment, by what- 
ever name it is called, love or friendship. Yet 
it must have terminated unsatisfactorily, if not 
unhappily. From the period of his setting out 
for Denmark and Russia, his correspondence 

bears no trace of Madame T ; and by the 

time he reached Amsterdam on his return, this 
lady must either have been forgotten, or deemed 
unworthy of remembrance. Whether this arose 
from his own conduct or fickleness, or the in- 
constancy of that friend of whose silence while 
in America he had complained as " making even 
honours insipid," it is now impossible to deter- 
mine, though on this occasion we are inclined to 


decide against the lady, should she even be, as 
we have surmised, the u eternally devoted" De- 
lia herself. 

From a letter written by Paul Jones to two 
ladies whom he numbered among his friends, 
and who had pointedly alluded to the supposed 
state of his affections, and his engagements 
in Paris, there is reason to suppose that he 
may, in addition to baffled professional hopes, 
have suffered disappointment of a more tender 

" Paul Jones to Mesdames Le Grande and Rinsby, 
a Trevoux, pres de Lion. 

" Paris, Feb. 25, If91. 

Clement has read me part of a letter from you, 
in which you conclude that I prefer love to 
friendship, and Paris to Trevoux. As to the 
first part you may be right, for love frequently 
communicates divine qualities, and in that light 
may be considered as the cordial that Providence 
has bestowed on mortals, to help them to digest 
the nauseous draught of life. Friendship, they 


say, has more solid qualities than love. This is 
a question I shall not attempt to resolve ; but 
sad experience generally shows that where we ex- 
pect to find a friend we have only been treacher- 
ously deluded by false appearances, and that the 
goddess herself very seldom confers her charms 
on any of the human race. As to the second, I 
am too much a philosopher to prefer noise to 
tranquillity : if this does not determine the pre- 
ference between Paris and Trevoux, I will add, 
that I have had very bad health almost ever 
since your departure, and that other circumstan- 
ces have conspired to detain me here, which have 
nothing to do either with love or friendship. My 
health is now recovering, and as what is retarded 
is not always lost, I hope soon to have the hap- 
piness of paying you my personal homage, and 
of renewing the assurance of that undiminished 
attachment which women of such distinguished 
worth and talents naturally inspire. I am, in 
the mean time, dear and amiable Ladies, 

" Your most obedient and most humble 



The lady's answer merits to be preserved. It 
displays the true kindness of female friendship, 
and the frank politeness of a Frenchwoman. 

" Trevoux, 6th March, 1791. 

" SIR, I had given up the hope of receiving 
any intelligence of your Excellency, and I ac- 
knowledge it cost me much before I could be- 
lieve that the promise of a great man was no 
more to be relied on than that of the herd of 
mankind. The letter with which you have honour- 
ed me convinces me that my heart knew you 
better than my head ; for though my reason whis- 
pered that you had quite forgotten us, I was 
unwilling to believe it. 

" Madame Wolfe, as well as myself, is much 
concerned for the bad state of your health. I 
am sorry that, like myself, your Excellency is 
taught the value of health by sickness. Come 
to us, Sir ; if you do not find here the pleasures 
you enjoy in Paris, you will find a good air, 
frugal meals, freedom, and hearts that can ap- 
preciate you. 



" I am concerned to perceive that your Ex- 
cellency is an unbeliever in friendship. Alas, 
if you want friends, who shall pretend to possess 
them ! I hope you will recover from this error, 
and be convinced that friendship is something 
more than a chimera of Plato. 

4 c Do me the favour to acquaint me with the 
time we may expect the honour of seeing you. 
I must be absent for some days, and I would not 
for any thing in the world that I should not be 
here on your arrival. If I knew the time, I 
would send my little carriage to meet the stage- 
coach, as I suppose you will take that convey- 

" Madame Wolfe expects the moment of your 
arrival with as much eagerness as myself, (she 
says ;) but as I best know my own feelings, I am 
certain I go beyond her. Of this I am certain, 
that we shall both count the day till we have 
the happiness of seeing you. Come quickly then, 
I pray you. 

" I beg you, Sir, to receive the assurance of the 
respectful consideration with which I have the 


honour to be your Excellency's most humble 
and obedient servant." 

The letters of Paul Jones to his sisters in Scot- 
land are those in which his private character is 
most truly and advantageously seen. With them 
he had no part to act, no interests to pursue. 
His fraternal feelings were warm and steady, and 
the advice he conveyed to his discordant family, 
who acquainted him with their dissensions, as a 
person to whom both parties were disposed to ap- 
peal, does equal credit to his head and heart. That 
these letters should display any traits of the affec- 
tionate, confidential cordiality which render the 
familiar letters of near relatives so delightful, is 
not to be expected. With his sisters he had 
enjoyed no domestic intercourse from boyhood, 
and he could little know of them by an unfre- 
quent interchange of letters. Though not alienat- 
ed from his affections, they were strangers to his 
tastes, his habits, his friends, and modes of life, 
and it is therefore of their own interests and 
affairs only that he chooses to speak to them. 


" Paul Jones to his Sister, Mrs Taylor. 

" Amsterdam, March 26, 1790. 
" I WROTE you, my dear friend, from Paris, by 
Mr Kennedy, who delivered me the kind letter 
you wrote me by him. Circumstances obliged 
me to return soon afterwards to America, and on 
my arrival at New York, Mr Thomson delivered 
me a letter that had been intrusted to his care 
by Mrs Loudon. It would be superfluous to 
mention the great satisfaction I received in hear- 
ing from two persons I so much love and esteem, 
and whose worthy conduct as wives and mothers 
is so respectable in my eyes. Since my return 
to Europe, a train of circumstances and changes 
of residence have combined to keep me silent. 
This has given me more pain than I can ex- 
press ; for I have a tender regard for you both, 
and nothing can be indifferent tome that regards 
your happiness and the welfare of your children. 
I wish for a particular detail of their age, re- 
spective talents, characters, and education. I do 
not desire this information merely from curiosity. 


It would afford me real satisfaction to be useful 
to their establishment in life.^ We must study 
the genius and inclination of the boys, and try 
to fit them, by a suitable education, for the pur- 
suits we may be able to adopt for their advan- 
tage. When their education shall be advanced 
to a proper stage, at the school of Dumfries for 
instance, it must then be determined whether it 
may be most economical and advantageous for 
them to go to Edinburgh or France to finish 
their studies. All this is supposing them to have 
great natural genius and goodness of disposi- 
tion ; for without these they can never become 
eminent. For the females, they require an edu- 
cation suited to the delicacy of character that 
is becoming in their sex. I wish I had a fortune 
to offer to each of them ; but though this is not 
the case, I may yet be useful to them. And I 
desire particularly to be useful to the two young 
women, who have a double claim to my regard, 
as they have lost their father. Present my kind 
compliments to Mrs Loudon, to her husband, to 
Mr Taylor, and your two families, and depend 
on my affectionate attachment. 


" Write me without delay, and having sealed 
and directed your letter as you did the one you 
sent me by Mr Kennedy, let it be enclosed in a 
cover, and direct the cover thus, * To Messieurs 
Stophorst and Hubbard, Amsterdam.'' You 
will inquire if it be necessary to pay a part of 
the postage, in order that the letter may be sent 
to Holland in the packet. I should be glad if 
the two Miss Youngs* would do me the favour 
to write me each a paragraph in your letter, or 
to write me, if they prefer it, each a separate let- 
ter, and I should be glad to find that they un- 
derstand and can write the French/' 

This letter, like all those to his own family, 
has no signature. 

In the end of this year (1790) we find another 
of his letters, from which, with very great pleasure, 
we give the following extract. The sisters of 
the Rear- Admiral, who were probably both in the 
wrong, had, it appears, appealed to him in their 
disputes. It is to be hoped they profited by his 

* His orphan nieces alluded to above. 


" Paris, December 27, 1790. 

" I duly received, my dear Mrs Taylor, your 
letter of the 16th August, but ever since that 
time I have been unable to answer it, not hav- 
ing been capable to go out of my chamber, and 
having been for the most part obliged to keep 
my bed. I have now no doubt but that I am in 
a fair way of a perfect recovery, though it will 
require time and patience. 

" I shall not conceal from you that your fa- 
mily discord aggravates infinitely all my pains. 
My grief is inexpressible, that two sisters, whose 
happiness is so interesting to me, do not live to- 
gether in that mutual tenderness and affection 
which would do so much honour to themselves 
and to the memory of their worthy relations. Per- 
mit me to recommend to your serious study and 
application Pope's Universal Prayer. You will 
find more morality in that little piece than in 
many volumes that have been written by great 


' Teach me to feel another's wo, 

To hide the fault I see ; 
That mercy I to others show, 

Such mercy show to me !' 

" This is not the language of a weak supersti- 
tious mind, but the spontaneous offspring of 
true religion, springing from a heart sincerely in- 
spired by charity , and deeply impressed with a 
sense of the calamities and frailties of human 
nature. If the sphere in which Providence has 
placed us as members of society requires the ex- 
ercise of brotherly kindness and charity towards 
our neighbour in general, how much more is 
this our duty with respect to individuals with 
whom we are connected by the near and tender 
ties of nature as well as moral obligation. Every 
lesser virtue may pass away, but charity comes 
from Heaven, and is immortal. Though I wish 
to be the instrument of making family-peace, 
which I natter myself would tend to promote the 
happiness of you all, yet I by no means desire 
you to do violence to your own feelings, by tak- 
ing any step that is contrary to your own judg- 


ment and inclination. Your reconciliation must 
come free from your heart, otherwise it will not 
last, and therefore it will be better not to attempt 
it. Should a reconciliation take place, I recom- 
mend it of all things, that you never mention 
past grievances, nor show, by word, look, or ac- 
tion, that you have not forgot them." 

From this time Paul Jones never quitted Pa- 
ris. His continual bad health, and the state 
of France, and of the capital, torn by faction, 
the threatening shadow of those evil days, 
which were so soon to follow, already lowering 
over it, alike enjoined retirement from society. 
It does not appear to what political party he was 
attached, though it is probable that of the Gi- 
rondists, which was the legitimate offspring of 
the American revolution, had his good wishes, 
tempered by strong feelings of personal attach- 
ment and gratitude towards the amiable Prince 
who had shown him such distinguished marks 
of favour. He had never appeared at Court 
from the time of his return from Russia ; and if 
he appeared at all, it was only once, which must 
have been a very few months before his death. 


The scroll of a letter, dated December 7 tn ? 
1791, to the Marquis of La Fayette, remains 
among his papers, and explains his situation 
and his loyal and grateful feelings, and proves 
that, as this crisis drew near, he took the gener- 
ous part. The Marquis at this time, from his 
official situation, was constantly in the Palace. 

" Rear- Admiral Paul Jones to the Marquis de la 

" Paris, December 7th, 1791. 

u DEAR GENERAL, My ill health for some 
time past has prevented me from the pleasure of 
paying you my personal respects, but I hope 
shortly to indulge myself with that satisfaction. 

". I hope you approve the quality of the fur- 
linings I brought from Russia for the King and 
yourself. I flatter myself that his Majesty will 
accept from your hand that little mark of the sin- 
cere attachment I feel for his person ; and be 
assured, that I shall be always ready to draw 
the sword with which he honoured me for the 
service of the virtuous and illustrious ' PRO- 



" When my health shall be re-established, 
M. Simolin will do me the honour to present 
me to his Majesty as a Russian admiral. After- 
wards it will be my duty, as an American officer, 
to wait on his Majesty with the letter* which I 
am directed to present to him from the United 

" I am, dear General, 

" With sincere friendship, 
" Your affectionate and 
" Most humble servant." 

From the mutilated fragment of an angry 
but very energetic letter, addressed to the Mi- 
nister of Marine, we gather that the claims of 
Paul Jones on the French government still re- 
mained unsettled, which was indeed the case at his 
death, and that he had been treated with in- 
dignity as well as denied justice. The following 

* That given at page 305, vol. I. 


letter, which introduces this warm statement of 
injuries, has peculiar interest, as it is presumed 
to be the last effusion of his pen. It does not 
appear to whom this letter was addressed, though 
it might probably be to the Minister of Marine 
for the time. It proves that, however sunk in 
health and hope, the writer retained the same 
keenness of temper and acuteness of mind which 
distinguished him at all periods. 

" Rear-Admiral Paul Jones to the Minister of the 
French Marine* 

" Paris, March, 1792. 

SIB, In the beginning of the administration 
of your predecessor, I informed him, that this 
government, not having paid the salary due to 
a part of the crew of the Bon Homme Richard 
at the time when they were discharged from 
the service, they had been paid on their arri- 
val at Boston ; and having myself been sent 
back here after the war, under a special com- 
mission from the United States, to settle the 
claims of my crews, I presented a memorial, 


reclaiming that part of the salary that had never 
been reimbursed. The Minister held me in sus- 
pense for about five months, and then, to my 
great surprise, instead of satisfying my just de- 
mand, he addressed me in a very uncivil letter, 
treating me, as I conceive, like a schoolboy, 
and permitting himself to cast unjust and uncivil , 
reflections on my past conduct. My health did 
not permit me to answer him immediately ; but 
I had prepared a letter, and was just going to 
send it, when I learned that he had resigned 
his place as the Minister of the Marine, and 
that you were named as his successor. 

" I request the favour, Sir, that you may read 
his letter and my answer ; after which I per- 
suade myself you will do justice to my first 
demand, which is merely official. As to my 
personal pretensions, I never should have set up 
a claim on that score under circumstances less 
affecting to my sensibility. Of this I need offer 
no other proof than my silence in that respect 
for twelve years past. My losses and unavoid- 
able expenses during my long connexion with 
this nation amount to a large sum, and have 


greatly lessened my fortune. I have given so- 
lemn proofs of my great attachment towards 
France, and that attachment still remains undi- 
minished. I persuade myself that I may with 
full assurance repose my interests through your 
ministry on the national justice. 

66 I have the honour to be," &c. &c. 

The beginning of the letter referred to above 
is wanting, as well as the letter of the minister 
which drew forth the following pithy reply. What 
of it remains entire commences with the " risks'" 
of the writer in the Texel " for three months to- 
gether, blocked, 1 ' he says, " within by the fleet of 
Holland, and without by the fleets of England, 
while, my head was rendered a prize to excite 
private treachery and avarice. My fortitude and 
self-denial alone dragged Holland into the war, 
a service of the greatest importance to this na- 
tion ; for without that great event no calculation 
can ascertain when the war would have ended. 

" Would you suppose, Sir, that my prisoners, 
600 in number, were treacherously taken out of 
my hands in the Texel, with two of my prizes, 


a new ship of war, pierced for 56 guns, and a 
frigate of 24 guns in one battery ? Would you 
suppose that I was driven out of the Texel in a 
single frigate belonging to the United States, 
in the face of 42 English ships, and vessels 
posted to cut off my retreat ? My prisoners 
were disposed of without my consent, and con- 
trary to my intention. My prizes were all 
wrested out of my hands, and some of them, 
particularly the ship of 56 guns, degraded and 
cut to pieces before my eyes, and in contempt 
of my authority, though that ship, by the laws 
of the American flag, was the exclusive pro- 
perty of the captors. 

" You appear, Sir, to treat me like a school- 
boy, when you say, ' fai Fhonneur de vous 
observer, monsieur, qiCil est toujours cTusage de 
payer directement aucc marins le decompte des 
salaires qui leur reviennent au desarmement 
de .batimens.' 1 I could not have supposed, Sir, 
that you had thought me so ignorant as to need 
that information seventeen years after I was first 
honoured with the rank of captain in the navy. 


" Though my crews were almost naked, and I 
had no money to administer to their wants, yet 
my constant application to Court for two months 
produced no relief, no payment whatever, either 
for salary or prize-money. I was on the point 
of sailing back to America, without any appear- 
ance of obtaining justice, without the least ac- 
knowledgment, direct or indirect, that the Court 
was satisfied with my services ! Under these 
circumstances, in a moment of despair, I came 
to Court to demand satisfaction. 

" The Minister of the United States accom- 
panied me to M. Sartine, who gave us a recep- 
tion as cold as ice, did not say to me a single 
word, nor ask me if my health had not suffered 
from my wounds and the uncommon fatigue I 
had undergone. The public did me more justice 
than the minister ; and I owe to the King alone 
the flattering marks of distinction with which I 
was honoured, a gold sword, and the Order of 
Military Merit. 

66 But I solicited in vain for salary and prize- 
money ; and the Minister of Marine detained me 
so long at Court, that the crew of the American 


frigate I had left at L'Orient, despairing to ob- 
tain redress, revolted, and carried that frigate 
back to America. * 

" It is true, the Marquis de Castries pre- 
tended for a long time that I should give him 
security for the prize-money ; but I at last made 
him recede from the absurdity of that demand. 
I was detained in Europe four years ; and hav- 
ing in that time spent sixty thousand livres of 
my own money, I received for my share of all 
the prizes, as commander of the Bon Homme, 
thirteen thousand livres ! * 
Permit me, by way of comparison, just to men- 
tion the treatment the French officers received 
who served in the American army. The war 
had been carried on for several years by the 
Americans alone, and there is no instance where 
the United States invited a French officer to en- 
ter into their service. Such as presented them- 
selves and were accepted, have all of them bet- 
tered their situation by that connexion. At the 
end of the war they received a gratification of 
five years' pay, the Order of Cincinnatus, and a 
lot of land ; and they now enjoy grades far su- 


perior to what they could have attained under 
other circumstances. If we except the Marquis 
de la Fayette, none of them were rich when they 
went to America. They are all now in easy cir- 
cumstances. In short, they have been treated 
much better than the Americans themselves, who 
served from the beginning to the end of the Re- 

" I hope and desire, Sir, that you may lay 
this letter before the King. It contains many 
things out of the general rule of delicacy which 
marks my proceedings, and which, on any occa- 
sion less affecting to my sensibility, would never 
have escaped from my tongue or pen." 

From about this time the health of Paul Jones 
sunk rapidly. Symptoms of jaundice appeared, 
a disease which not unfrequently follows men- 
tal chagrin and disappointment. It does not, 
however, appear that he was long confined. 
About the beginning of July dropsical symptoms 
supervened on his other disorders, and he expired 
on the evening of the 18th of that month. 
Though far from those on whose affection he 
had a natural claim, his dying hours were not 


unsolaced by the constant and tender offices of 

Many idle rumours connected with his death 
have been circulated, as if his latter days had been 
spent in extreme poverty, chilling neglect, and 
entire abandonment. These are of a piece with the 
other calumnies and marks of obloquy with which 
his memory and character have been loaded. 
The subjoined letters and documents afford a 
simple and an ample refutation of charges and as- 
sumptions made, probably, as much in ignorance 
as malice. 

" Letter of M. Beaupoil to either Mrs Taylor or Mrs 
Loudon, Sisters of Paul Jones, Esq. Admiral in 
the Russian Service. 

" MADAM, I am sorry to acquaint you that 
your brother, Admiral Paul Jones, my friend, 
paid, yesterday, the debt we all owe to nature. 
He has made a will, which is deposited in the 
hands of Mr Badinier, notary, St Servin Street, 
Paris. The will was drawn in English, by Mr 
Governor Morris, Minister of the UNITED 


STATES, and translated faithfully by the French 
notary aforesaid. The Admiral leaves his pro- 
perty, real and personal, to his two sisters and 
their children. They are 'named in the will as 
being married, one to William Taylor, and the 
other to Loudon, of Dumfries. The ex- 
ecutor is Mr Robert Morris of Philadelphia. If 
I could be of any service to you in this business, 
out of the friendship I bore your brother, I'll do 
it with pleasure. I am a Frenchman and an of- 
ficer. I am sincerely yours, 


" Paris, July 19, 1792, No 7, Hotel Anglais, 
Passage des Petits Peres." 

" The English will is signed by Colonels Swan, 
Blackden, and myself. The schedule of his pro- 
perty lying in Denmark, Russia, France, Ame- 
rica, and elsewhere, is signed by Mr Morris, and 
deposited by me in his bureau, with the ori- 
ginal will. Every thing is sealed up at his 
lodgings, Tournon Street, No 42, Paris. 

" You may depend also on the good services 
of Colonel Blackden, who was an ultimate friend 

PAUL JOttES. 309 

of the Admiral's. That gentleman is setting out 
for London, where you may hear of him at No 
18, Great Tichfield Street, London." 

On receiving this letter, Mrs Taylor wrote to 
Colonel Blackden in London, and obtained a re- 
ply in course of post. 

" Colonel Blackden to Mrs Taylor of Dumfries, 
eldest Sister of Admiral Paul Jones. 

" Great Tichfield Street, 
London, Aug. 9th. 

" MADAM, I had the honour of receiving 
your letter of the 3d instant, and shall answer 
you most readily. Your brother, Admiral Jones, 
was not in good health for about a year, but had 
not been so unwell as to keep house. For two 
months past he began to lose his appetite, to grow 
yellow, and show signs of the jaundice ; for this 
he took medicine, and seemed to grow better ; but 
about ten days before his death his legs began 
to swell, which increased upwards, so that two 
days before his exit he could not button his 
waistcoat, and had great difficulty of breathing. 


" I visited him every day, and, beginning to 
be apprehensive of his danger, desired him to set- 
tle his affairs; but this he put off till the af- 
ternoon of his death, when he was prevailed on 
to send for a notaire, and made his will. Mr 
Beaupoil and myself witnessed it at about eight 
o'clock in the evening, and left him sitting in a 
chair. A few minutes after we retired he walk- 
ed into his chamber, and laid himself upon his 
face, on the bed-side, with his feet on the floor ; 
after the Queen's physician arrived, they went 
into the room, and found him in that position, 
and upon taking him up, they found he had ex- 

" His disorder had terminated in dropsy of 
the breast. His body was put into a leaden cof- 
fin on the twentieth, that in case the United 
States, whom he had so essentially served, and 
with so much honour to himself, should claim 
his remains, they might be more easily removed. 
This is all, Madam, that I can say concerning 
his illness and death. 

" I most sincerely condole with you, Madam, 
upon the loss of my dear and respectable friend, 


for whom I entertained the greatest affection, and 
as a proof of it, you may command the utmost 
exertion of my feeble abilities, which shall be 
rendered with cheerfulness. 

" I have the honour to be, 

" Madam, 
" Your most obedient humble servant, 


The American Ambassador, Governor Mor- 
ris, did not think it necessary to claim the re- 
mains of Admiral Jones, nor did the United 
States. As a protestant and heretic, it was 
still, we believe, necessary to obtain liberty of 
burial hi consecrated ground, and this was pro- 
bably done. The National Assembly paid his 
memory the honour of sending a deputation of 
twelve of their body to attend the funeral. He 
was buried at Paris on the 20th July, and the 
following funeral discourse was pronounced over 
his grave by Mr Marron, a protestant clergy- 
man of Paris ; busy faction at this period seizing 
this and every other occasion to promote its own 
interests : 



<f Discourse pronounced by Mr Marron, officiating 
Protestant Clergyman, at the Funeral of Admiral 
Paul Jones, July 20, 1792, in Paris. 

" Legislators ! citizens ! soldiers ! friends ! 
brethren ! and Frenchmen ! we have just re- 
turned to the earth the remains of an illustrious 
stranger, one of the first champions of the liberty 
of America, of that liberty which so gloriously 
ushered in our own. The Semiramis of the north 
had drawn him under her standard, but Paul 
Jones could not long breathe the pestilential air 
of despotism ; he preferred the sweets of a pri- 
vate life in France, now free, to the eclat of titles 
and of honours, which, from an usurped throne, 
were lavished upon him by Catharine. The 
fame of the brave outlives him, his portion is im- 
mortality. What more flattering homage could 
we pay to the manes of Paul Jones, than to 
swear on his tomb to live or to die free ? It 
is the vow, it is the watch-word of every French- 


" Let never tyrants, nor their satellites, pol- 
lute this sacred earth ! May the ashes of the 
great man, too soon lost to humanity, and 
eager to be free, enjoy here an undisturbed re- 
pose ! Let his example teach posterity the efforts 
which noble souls are capable of making, when 
stimulated by hatred to oppression. Friends and 
brethren, a noble emulation brightens in your looks ; 
your time is precious, the country is in danger I 
Who amongst us would not shed the last drop 
of their blood to save it ? Associate yourselves 
to the glory of Paul Jones, in imitating him in 
his contempt of dangers, in his devotedness to 
his country, in his noble heroism, which, after 
having astonished the present age, will continue 
to be the imperishable object of the veneration 
of future generations T 

(Translated from the French.) 

" Testament of Paul Jones, 18th July, 1792. 

" Before the undersigned notaries, at Paris, 

appeared Mr John Paul Jones, citizen of the 

United States of America, resident at present in 

Paris, lodged in the street of Tournon, No 42, 



at the house of Mr Dorberque, huissier audi- 
ancier of the tribunal of the third arrondisse- 
ment, found in a parlour in the first storey above 
the floor, lighted by two windows opening on the 
said street of Tournon, sitting in an arm-chair, 
sick of body, but sound of mind, memory, and 
understanding, as it appeared to the undersigned 
notaries by his discourse and conversation, 

" Who, in view of death, has made, dictated, 
and worded, to the undersigned notaries, his tes- 
tament as follows : , 

" I give and bequeath all the goods, as well 
moveable as heritable, and all, generally, what- 
ever may appertain to me at my decease, in 
whatever country they may be situated, to my 
two sisters, Janet, spouse to William Taylor, and 
Mary, wife to Mr Loudon, and to the children 
of my said sisters, to divide them into as many 
portions as my said sisters and their children 
shall make up individuals, and to be enjoyed by 
them in the following manner : 

" My sisters, and those of their children, who on 
the day of my death shall have reached the age of 
twenty-one, will enjoy their share in full proper- 


ty from the date of decease. As for those of my 
nephews and nieces who at that period of time 
may not reach the age of twenty-one years, their 
mothers will enjoy their shares till such time as 
they attain that said age, with charge to them to 
provide for their food, maintenance, and educa- 
tion ; and as soon as any of my nephews or 
nieces will have reached the age of twenty-one 
years, the same will enjoy his share in full pro- 

" If one or more of my nephews and nieces 
should happen to die .without children before 
having reached the age of twenty-one, the share 
of those of them who may have deceased shall 
be divided betwixt my said sisters and my other 
nephews and nieces by equal portions. 

" I name the honourable Robert Morris, Esq. 
of Philadelphia, my only testamentary executor. 

" I revoke all other testaments or codicils 
which I may have made before the present, which 
alone I stand by as containing my last will. 

" So made, dictated, and worded, by said tes- 
tator, to the said notaries undersigned, and after- 
wards read, and read over again to him by one 


of them, the other being present, which he well 
understood, and persevered in, at Paris, the 
year 1792, the 18th July, about five o'clock af- 
ternoon, in the room heretofore described, and 
the said testator signed the original of the pre- 
sent, unregistrated, at Paris the 25th September, 
1792, by Defrance, who received one livre, pro- 
visionally, save to determine definitively the 
right after the declaration of the revenue of the 
testator. The original remained with Mr Pettier, 
one of the notaries at Paris, undersigned, who 
delivered these presents this day, 26th Septem- 
ber, 1792, first of the French Republic. 


" (Signed) L'AVERNIER." 


" Schedule of the Property of Admiral John Paul 
Jones, as stated by him to me this 18th of July, 

" 1st, Bank stock in the Bank of North - 
America, at Philadelphia, 6000 dollars, with 
sundry dividends. 

" 2d, Loan-Office certificate left with my friend, 


John Ross of Philadelphia, for 2000 dollars at 
par, with great arrearages of interest, being for 
ten or twelve years. 

" 3d, Such balance as may be in the hands of 
my said friend, John Ross, belonging to me, 
and sundry effects left in his care. 

" 4th, My lands in the State of Vermont. 

" 5th, Shares in the Ohio Company. 

" 6th, Shares in the Indiana Company. 

" 7th, About L.I 800 sterling due to me from 
Edward Bancroft, unless paid by him to Sir Ro- 
bert Herries, and is then in his ; ands. 

" 8th, Upwards of four years of iy pension due 
from Denmark, to be asked from the. Count de 

" 9th, Arrearages of my pay from the Em- 
press of Russia, and all my prize-money. 

" 10th, The balance due to me by the United 
States of America, and sundry claims in Europe, 
which will appear from my papers. 

" This is taken from his mouth. 

(Signed) " Gov. MORRIS, 

" Ambassador from the United States to 
the Court of France." 


The manners and moral character of Paul 
Jones have been the frequent subject of discus- 
sion and of very contradictory statements. His 
professional talents and personal appearance are 
less the topics of dispute. It is agreed that he was 
about the middle size, slightly made, but active 
and agile, and in youth capable of considerable 
exertion and fatigue. In advancing life, though 
he continued equally hardy and active in his 
habits, it was the vehement, fiery spirit that o'er- 
informed its shattered tenement; and after al- 
most every journey we find him suffering from 
cold and fatigue, or having serious illnesses. He 
was of the complexion usually united with dark 
hair and eyes, which his were ; but his skin had 
become embrowned by exposure from boyhood to 
all varieties of weather and of climate. His phy- 
siognomical expression indicated that promptitude 
and decision in action which were striking cha- 
racteristics of his mind. His bust is said to be a 
good likeness ; his portrait, painted in America, 
and probably a very indifferent resemblance, 
exhibits a rather precise-looking little man. The 
style of the highly-powdered hair, or wig, would, 


however, convert Achilles himself into a pedant 
or a petit-maitre. 

In manners Paul Jones has been described by 
one party as stiff, finical, and conceited ; by an- 
other as arrogant, brutal, and quarrelsome. The 
first statement may have some colour of truth, 
the last is impossible. He had reached manhood 
before he could have had much intercourse with 
polite society; and manners, formed so late in 
life on the fashionable models of Paris and Ver- 
sailles, may have sat somewhat stiffly on the 
Anglo-American, who, in giving up his own re- 
publican simplicity, and professional openness and 
freedom, might not have acquired all the ease and 
grace, even if he did attain the elegance and polish 
of French manners ; but his appearance and man- 
ners must have been those of a gentleman. Mau- 
vais ton, to a certain degree, might have been 
tolerated in a seaman and a foreigner ; but " rude- 
ness, arrogance, and brutality, 1 ' must have proved 
an effectual barrier of exclusion from those polite 
and courtly circles where Paul Jones was not 
only received but welcomed ; and into which he 
made his own way, and maintained his place, 


long after he had lost the gloss and resistless 
attraction of novelty. The letter of Madame 
Rinsby, and other published documents, prove 
the footing he held in respectable French female 
society to his death, and are quite conclusive as 
to the propriety of his manners. He has again 
been described as " grossly ignorant." No one 
who pursues his career, or peruses his letters, can 
for a moment believe a charge so absurd. From 
his first appearance as a ship-boy he must have 
been set down as a very clever and promising 
lad ; and if not a prodigy of learning, which was 
aa impossibility, he had far more literature than 
was at all usual in his day, even in the very 
highest ranks of his profession. His verses are 
far from despicable. Baron Grimm, we think, 
overrates them, yet he was an admirable critic. 
They were found amusing and agreeable in po- 
lished society, which is the very best test and 
use of occasional verse, namely, of all such verse 
as the public can well spare, and his muse was 
humanizing to his own mind. We like his prose 
better than his verse. It is often admirable if 
struck off at one hit, particularly when the wri- 


ter gets warm, and gives way to his feelings of 
indignation. It is said, that a minister, in read- 
ing the despatches of Lord Collingwood, who 
went to sea at twelve years of age, used to ask, 
" Where has Collingwood got his style ? He 
writes better than any of us." With fully more 
propriety many of the members of Congress, so 
far as regarded their own compositions and re- 
solves, might have put a similar question in rela- 
tion to Paul Jones. He is allowed to have been 
kind and attentive to his crews, and generous and 
liberal in all pecuniary transactions of a private 
nature; though his correspondence shows that he 
was commendably tenacious of his pecuniary 
claims on states and public bodies. His memoirs 
afford some pleasing instances of his kindness to 
his prisoners, and of his desire to rescue them 
from the fangs of agents and commissaries. So 
far as discipline descends^ Paul Jones was a 
rigid and strict disciplinarian. In his own per- 
son he appears to have been so impatient of all 
control and check as to be unfit for any regu- 
larly-organized service, though admirably adapted 
to the singular crisis at which he appeared. To 



his dress he was, or t least latterly became, so 
attentive as to have it remarked. It was a bet- 
ter trait that his ship was at all times remarkable 
for cleanliness and neatness, and for the same 
good order and arrangement which pervaded all 
his private affairs. He is said to have been fond 
of music, and to have performed himself. 

The acute understanding of Paul Jones per- 
petually conflicting with his natural keenness 
and warmth of temper, gave at times the 
appearance of vacillation to his conduct, and 
the unpleasant and unwise alternation of bold 
defiance with undue submission. This is pain- 
fully conspicuous hi his unhappy and heart- 
breaking connexion with Potemkin. On other 
occasions, as on the sailing of Landais in the 
mutiny, he showed a remarkable degree of self- 
command and forbearance. On many occasions 
he betrays the jealousy and dislike of England, 
which mark the half-conscious renegade. Frank- 
lin confines his vituperation to the Sovereign ; 
Paul Jones extends it to the whole nation. The 
extravagant self-eulogium which so frequently 
obtrudes itself in his writing, and which must be 



very offensive to English readers, was, it should 
be recollected, generally called forth by peculiar 
circumstances. A man has every right to bring 
forward his services, when those who should re- 
member appear disposed to forget them. Be- 
sides, what is here concentrated into two small 
volumes, was in reality diffused over the corre- 
spondence of twenty years of an active life. Boast- 
ing, for some reason which we leave to philoso- 
phy to investigate, appears an inherent quality 
in great naval commanders. Nelson, Rodney, 
Drake, were all, in one sense, arrant braggarts. 

It is a less amiable trait in the character 
of Paul Jones, that we find him very frequent- 
ly quarrelling with rival and associate comman- 
ders, and never once bestowing hearty cordial 
praise on any one of them. His avarice of fame, 
like the same vice of a more sordid kind, not 
only gave him the insatiable desire of accumu- 
lation, but tempted him, if not to defraud, at 
least to trench on the rights of others ; and his 
hostility, though open, was often far from gene- 
rous : yet his squabbles were wholly professional 
In private life there appears to have been no rea~ 



son to fasten on him the odious imputation of 
being quarrelsome, which some have attempt- 
ed. He was fonder, not of glory alone, but 
of its trappings and badges, than quite became 
the champion of a republic, and the pupil of 
Franklin ; but this is a mere subject of opinion. 
He may have considered these symbols as the 
seals with which Fame ratines her bonds. 

The moral character of Paul Jones, at all stages 
of his career, has been in this country the subject 
of violent abuse and of gross misrepresentation. 
If this has been done by Englishmen from a 
mistaken love of their country, they dishonour 
their country and themselves. If it is, as we 
hope, to be attributed to ignorance of facts, such 
statements should henceforth cease. The writer of 
this sketch by no means looks on the career of 
Paul Jones with Transatlantic eyes, nor views his 
character or attainments through the medium 
of Transatlantic partiality, as will be obvious to 
any one who pursues the course of this narrative. 
His political sins have been in no shape extenu- 
ated ; and to the full extent of the evidence af- 
forded by his papers the best and only evidence 


now to be obtained his moral delinquencies 
have been fairly unfolded. Judging by the or- 
dinary averages of human conduct, they shrink 
into very small compass. His failings were 
precisely such as he must have been a moral 
monster to have escaped ; they arose from his 
natural character and from his profession : it 
is the utmost malice could say, and more than 
is warranted by truth, that he was 

" Jealous in honour ; sudden and quick in quarrel : 

Seeking the bubble reputation 

Even in the cannon's mouth.'' 



" Particulars of the Engagement between the Bon 
Homme Richard and the Serapis, by Richard 
Dale, First Lieutenant of the Bon Homme Richard. 

" On the 23d of September, 1779, being be- 
low, was roused by an unusual noise upon deck. 
This induced me to go upon deck, when I found 
the men were swaying up the royal yards, pre- 
paratory to making sail for a large fleet under 
our lee. I asked the coasting pilot what fleet it 
was ? He answered, ' The Baltic Fleet, under 
convoy of the Serapis of forty-four guns, and the 
Countess of Scarborough of twenty guns.' A 
general chase then commenced of the Bon 
Homme Richard, the Vengeance, the Pallas, and 

* The charges against Landais (A.) have been omitted 
in the Appendix, as their substance is given in the text. 


the Alliance the latter ship being then in sight, 
after a separation from the squadron of nearly 
three weeks ; but which ship, as usual, disre- 
garded the signals of the Commodore. At this 
time our fleet headed to the northward with a 
light breeze, Flamborough-head being about two 
leagues distant. At seven p. m. it was evident 
the Baltic fleet perceived we were in chase, from 
the signal of the Serapis to the merchantmen to 
stand in shore. At the same time, the Serapis 
and Countess of Scarborough tacked ship and 
stood off shore, with the intention of drawing off 
our attention from the convoy. When these 
ships had separated from the convoy about two 
miles, they again tacked and stood in shore after 
the merchantmen. At about eight, being within 
hail, the Serapis demanded, 'What ship is that?' 
He was answered, 6 I can't hear what you say.' 
Immediately after the Serapis hailed again, 
' What ship is that ? Answer immediately, or I 
shall be under the necessity of firing into you.' 
At this moment I received orders from Commo- 
dore Jones to commence the action with a broad- 
side, which indeed appeared to be simultaneous 
on board both ships. Our position being to 
windward of the Serapis, we passed ahead of her, 
and the Serapis coming up on our larboard quar- 
ter, the action commenced abreast of each other. 
The Serapis soon passed ahead of the BonHomme 


Richard, and when he thought he had gained a 
distance sufficient to go down athwart the fore- 
foot to rake us, found he had not enough distance, 
and that the Bon Homme Richard would be 
aboard him, put his helm alee, which brought the 
two ships on a line; and the Bon Homme Richard 
having head-way, ran her bows into the stern of 
the Serapis. We had remained in this situation 
but a few minutes, when we were again hailed by 
the Serapis, f Has your ship struck ?' To which 
Captain Jones answered, ' I have not yet begun 
to fight. 1 As we were unable to bring a single 
gun to bear upon the Serapis, our top-sails were 
backed, while those of the Serapis being filled, 
the ships separated. The Serapis wore short 
round upon her heels, and her jib-boom ran into 
the mizen-rigging of the Bon Homme Richard ; 
in this situation the ships were made fast toge- 
ther with a hawser, the bowsprit of the Serapis 
to the mizen-mast of the Bon Homme Richard, 
and the action recommenced from the starboard 
sides of the two ships. With a view of separat- 
ing the ships, the Serapis let go her anchor, 
which manreuvre brought her head and the stern 
of the Bon Homme Richard to the wind, while 
the ships lay closely pressed against each other. 
A novelty in naval combats was now presented to 
many witnesses, but to few admirers. The ram- 
mers were run into the respective ships to enable 


the men to load, after the lower part of the Se- 
rapis had been blown away, to make room for 
running out their guns, and in this situation the 
ships remained until between ten and eleven 
o'clock p. m., when the engagement terminated 
by the surrender of the Serapis. 

" From the commencement to the termination 
of the action there was not a man on board of the 
Bon Homme Richard ignorant of the superiority 
of the Serapis, both hi weight of metal and in 
the qualities of the crews. The crew of that 
ship were picked seamen, and the ship itself had 
been only a few months off the stocks ; whereas 
the crew of the Bon Homme Richard consisted 
of part American, English, and French, and a 
part of Maltese, Portuguese, and Malays ; these 
latter contributing, by their want of naval skill 
and knowledge of the English language, to de- 
press rather than elevate a just hope of success in 
a combat under such circumstances. Neither the 
consideration of the relative force of the ships, 
the fact of the blowing up of the gun-deck above 
them, by the bursting of two of the eighteen- 
pounders, nor the alarm that the ship was sink- 
ing, could depress the ardour or change the de- 
termination of the brave Captain Jones, his of- 
ficers and men. Neither the repeated broad- 
sides of the Alliance, given with the view of sink- 
ing or disabling the Bon Homme Richard, the 


frequent necessity of suspending the combat to 
extinguish the flames, which several times were 
within a few inches of the magazine, nor the li- 
beration, by the master-at-arms, of nearly 500 
prisoners, could change or weaken the purpose 
of the American commander. At the moment of 
the liberation of the prisoners, one of them, a 
commander of a twenty-gun ship, taken a few days 
before, passed through the ports on board the Se- 
rapis, and informed Captain Pearson that if he 
would hold out only a little while longer, the 
ship along-side would either strike or sink, and 
that all the prisoners had been released to save 
their lives; the combat was accordingly con- 
tinued with renewed ardour by the Serapis. The 
fire from the tops of the Bon Homme Richard 
was conducted with so much skill and effect as 
to destroy ultimately every man who appeared 
upon the quarter-deck of the Serapis, and in- 
duced her commander to order the survivors to 
go below. Nor even under shelter of the decks 
were they more secure. The powder-monkeys of 
the Serapis finding no officer to receive the 
eighteen-pound cartridges brought from the ma- 
gazines, threw them on the main-deck, and went 
for more. These cartridges being scattered along 
the deck, and numbers of them broken, it so 
happened that some of the hand-grenades thrown 
from the main-yard of the Bon Homme Richard, 


which was direct over the main-hatch of the 
Serapis, fell upon this powder, and produced a 
most awful explosion. The effect was tremen- 
dous ; more than twenty of the enemy were blown 
to pieces, and many stood with only the collars 
of then: shirts upon their bodies. In less than 
an hour afterwards the flag of England, which 
had been nailed to the mast of the Serapis, was 
struck by Captain Pearson's own hand, as none 
of his people would venture aloft on this duty ; 
and this too when more than 1500 persons were 
witnessing the conflict and the humiliating ter- 
mination of it from Scarborough and Flambo- 

" Upon finding that the flag of the 3< 
had been struck, I went to Captain Jones, and 
asked whether I might board the Serapis? to 
which he consented ; and, jumping upon the gun- 
wale, I seized the main-brace pennant, and swung 
myself upon her quarter-deck. Midshipman 
Mayant followed with a party of men, and was 
immediately run through the thigh with a board- 
ing-pike by some of the enemy stationed in the 
waist, who were not informed of the surrender of 
the ship. I found Captain Pearson standing on 
the leeward side of the quarter-deck, and ad- 
dressing myself to him, said,-' Sir, I have or- 
ders to send you on board the ship along-side." 
The first lieutenant of the Serapis coming up 


at this moment, inquired of Captain Pearson 
whether the ship along-side had struck to him ? 
To which I replied, ' No, Sir, the contrary ; he 
has struck to us. 1 The lieutenant renewing his 
inquiry, ' Have you struck, Sir ?"* was answered, 
c Yes, I have.' The lieutenant replied, ( I have 
nothing more to say ;' and was about to return 
below, when I informed him he must accompany 
Captain Pearson on board the ship along-side. 
He said, 4 If you will permit me to go below, I 
will silence the firing of the lower-deck guns. 1 
This request was refused, and with Captain Pear- 
son he was passed over to the deck of the Bon 
Homme Richard. Orders being sent below to 
cease firing, the engagement terminated, after a 
most obstinate contest of three hours and a half. 
" Upon receiving Captain Pearson on board 
the Bon Homme Richard, Captain Jones gave or- 
ders to cut loose the lashings, and directed me to 
follow him with the Serapis. Perceiving the 
Bon Homme Richard leaving the Serapis, I sent 
one of the quarter-masters to ascertain whether 
the wheel-ropes were cut away, supposing some- 
thing extraordinary must be the matter, as the 
ship would not pay off, although the head-sails 
were aback, and no after-sail ; the quarter-master 
returning, reported that the wheel-ropes were 
all well, and the helm hard a-port. Excited by 
this extraordinary circumstance, I jumped off the 


binnacle, where I had been sitting, and, falling 
upon the deck, found, to my astonishment, I had 
the use of only one of my legs ; a splinter of one 
of the guns had struck, and badly wounded my 
leg, without my perceiving the injury until this 
moment. I was replaced upon the binnacle, 
when the sailing-master of the Serapis, coming up 
to me, observed, that from my orders he judged 
I must be ignorant of the ship being at anchor. 
Noticing the second lieutenant of the Bon 
Homme Richard, I directed him to go below 
and cut away the cable, and follow the Bon 
Homme Richard with the Serapis. I was then 
carried on board the Bon Homme Richard to 
have my wound dressed." 



" Manifesto. 


" Through the whole course of our reign, 
our conduct towards the States General of the 
United Provinces has been that of a sincere 
friend and faithful ally. Had they adhered to 
those wise principles which used to govern the 
republic, they must have shown themselves 


equally solicitous to maintain the friendship which 
has so long subsisted between the two nations, 
and which is essential to the interests of both. 
From the prevalence of a faction devoted to 
France, and following the dictates of that court, 
a very different policy has prevailed. The re- 
turn made to our friendship, for some time past, 
has been an open contempt of the most solemn 
engagements, and a repeated violation of public 

" On the commencement of the defensive war, 
in which we found ourselves engaged by the ag- 
gression of France, we showed a tender regard 
for the interest of the States General, and a de- 
sire of securing to their subjects every advantage 
of trade, consistent with the great and just prin- 
ciple of our own defence. Our ambassador was 
instructed to offer a friendly negotiation, to ob- 
viate every thing that might lead to a disagree- 
able discussion ; and to this offer, solemnly made 
by him to the States General, the 2d of Novem- 
ber, 1778, no attention was paid. 

" After the number of our enemies increased 
by the aggression of Spain, equally unprovoked 
with that of France, we found it necessary to call 
upon the States General for the performance of 
their engagements. The fifth article of the per- 
petual defensive alliance between our crown and 
the States General, concluded at Westminster 


the 3d of March, 1678, besides the general en- 
gagements for succours, expressly stipulates, 
' That that party of the two allies that is not 
attacked shall be obliged to break with the ag- 
gressor in two months after the party attacked 
shall require it.' Yet two years have passed 
without the least assistance given to us, without 
a single syllable in answer to our repeated de- 

" So totally regardless have the States been of 
their treaty with us, that they readily promised 
our enemies to observe a neutrality, in direct 
contradiction to those engagements ; and whilst 
they have withheld from us the succours they 
were bound to furnish, every secret assistance 
has been given the enemy; and inland duties 
have been taken off, for the sole purpose of faci- 
litating the carriage of naval stores to France. 

" In direct and open violation of treaty, they 
suffered an American pirate to remain several 
weeks in one of their ports, and even permitted 
a part of his crew to mount guard in a fort in 
the Texel. 

" In the East Indies the subjects of the 
States General, in concert with France, have 
endeavoured to raise up enemies against us. 

" In the West Indies, particularly at St Eus- 
tatius, every protection and assistance has been 
given to our rebellious subjects. Three priva- 


teers* are openly received into the Dutch har- 
bours, allowed to refit there, supplied with arms 
and ammunition, their crews recruited, their 
prizes brought in and sold ; and all this in direct 
violation of as clear and solemn stipulations as 
can be made. 

" This conduct, so inconsistent with all good 
faith, so repugnant to the sense of the wisest part 
of the Dutch nation, is chiefly to be ascribed to 
the prevalence of the leading magistrates of Am- 
sterdam, whose secret correspondence with our 
rebellious subjects was suspected long before it 
was made known, by the fortunate discovery of 
a treaty, the first article of which is, 

" c There shall be a firm, inviolable, and uni- 
versal peace, and sincere friendship, between 
their High Mightinesses the estates of the Seven 
United Provinces of Holland and the United 
States of North America, and' the subjects and 
people of the said parties, and between the 
countries, islands, cities, and towns, situate under 
the jurisdiction of the said United States of Hol- 
land and the said United States of America, and 
the people and inhabitants thereof, of every de- 
gree, without exception of persons or places.' 
" This treaty was signed in September, 

* Paul Jones's squadron. 



by the express order of the Pensionary of Am- 
sterdam, and other principal magistrates of that 
city. They now not only avow the whole trans- 
action, but glory in it, and expressly say, even 
to the States General, that what they did c was 
what their indispensable duty required.' 

" In the mean time the States General de- 
clined to give any answer to the memorial pre- 
sented by our ambassador, and this refusal was 
aggravated by their proceeding upon other busi- 
ness, nay, upon the consideration of this very 
subject to internal purposes ; and while they found 
it impossible to approve the conduct of their 
subjects, they still industriously avoided to give 
us the satisfaction so manifestly due. 

" We had every right to expect that such a 
discovery would have roused them to a just in- 
dignation at the insult offered to us and to them- 
selves, and that they would have been eager to 
give us full and ample satisfaction for the of- 
fence, and to inflict the severest punishment upon 
the offenders. The urgency of the business made 
an instant answer essential to the honour and 
safety of this country. The demand was accord- 
ingly pressed by our ambassador in repeated 
conferences with the ministers, and in a second 
memorial : it was pressed with all the sense of 
recent injuries, and the answer now given to a 
memorial on such a subject, delivered about five 


weeks ago, is, That the States have taken it 
ad referendum. Such an answer, upon such an 
occasion, could only be dictated by the fixed 
purpose of hostility meditated, and already re- 
solved .by the States, induced by the offensive 
councils of Amsterdam, thus to countenance the 
hostile aggression which the magistrates of that 
city have made in the name of the republic. 

" There is an end of the faith of all the treaties 
with them, if Amsterdam may usurp the so- 
vereign power, may violate those treaties with 
impunity, by pledging the States to engagements 
directly contrary, and leaguing the republic with 
the rebels of a sovereign to whom she is bound 
by the closest ties. An infraction of the law of 
nations by the meanest member of any country 
gives the injured State a right to demand satis- 
faction and punishment : how much more so, 
when the injury complained of is a flagrant vio- 
lation of public faith, committed by leading and 
predominant members of the State ? Since, then, 
the satisfaction we have demanded is not given, 
we must, though most reluctantly, do ourselves 
that justice which we cannot otherwise obtain ; 
we must consider the States General as parties 
in the injury which they will not repair, as 
sharers in the aggression which they refuse to 
punish, and must act accordingly. We have, 
therefore, ordered our ambassador to withdraw 


from the Hague, and shall immediately pursue 
such vigorous measures as the occasion fully jus- 
tifies, and our dignity and the essential interests 
of our people require. 

" From a regard to the Dutch nation at large, 
we wish it were possible to direct those measures 
wholly against Amsterdam ; but this cannot be, 
unless the States General will immediately de- 
clare that Amsterdam shall, upon this occasion, 
receive no assistance from them, but be left to 
abide the consequences of its aggression. 

" Whilst Amsterdam is suffered to prevail in 
the general councils, and is backed by the 
strength of the state, it is impossible to resist the 
aggression of so considerable a part, without con- 
tending with the whole. But we are too sensi- 
ble of the common interests of both countries, 
not to remember, in the midst of such a contest, 
that the only point to be aimed at by us, is to 
raise a disposition in the councils of the republic 
to return to our ancient union, by giving us that 
satisfaction for the past, and security for the 
future, which we shall be as ready to receive as 
they can be to offer, and to the attainment of 
which we shall direct all our operations. We 
mean only to provide for our own security, by 
defeating the dangerous designs that have been 
formed against us. We shall ever be disposed 
to return to friendship with the States General, 


when they sincerely revert to that system which 
the wisdom of their ancestors formed, and which 
has now been subverted by a powerful faction, 
conspiring with France against the true interests 
of the republic, no less than against those of 
Great Britain. 

(Signed) G. R. 
" St James's, December 20, 1780." 



VOL. I. p. 31, line 7 from bottom, for Duncan read Dunmore. 
II. p. 30, line 10, and p. 95, line 5, for Saporoses, read 

Oliver & Boyd, Printers. 



E Jones, John Paul 

207 Memoirs of Rear-Admiral 

J7 Paul Jones