Source: "Paul Jones." The Weekly Register 46 (18 July 1812): 330-331.
The Navy Department Library
Niles' Weekly Register Articles Relating to John Paul Jones
Note: The title of the Niles' Weekly Register varies: Sept 1811-Aug 1814: The Weekly Register; Sept 1814-Aug 1837: Niles' Weekly Register.
JOURNAL OF PAUL JONES. A copy of this valuable and interesting manuscript, in the best of binding and handsome writing, is now in Portsmouth, N.H. It was copied from the original by Paul Jones himself, and presented to Louis XVI on the 1st of Jan. 1786, as will be seen by referring to Jones' life, page 353; it is shortly to be published, together with some correspondence relating to our revolutionary war.
Source: "Journal of Paul Jones." Niles' Weekly Register 815 (28 April 1827): 151.
PAUL JONES. By a singular accident, a large collection of original letters to this celebrated man, have been recently found in a huckster's shop in this city. Among them, are the copies of a great number of his own letters, which are completely illustrative of the character of the individual. Of the genuineness of those documents and letters, there is not the least doubt, for the hand-writing of such men as La Fayette, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and fifty others like them, cannot be mistaken. We understand the papers are now in the possession of Mr. Wiley, who has submitted them to the inspection of several literary gentlemen with a view to their publication. [N.Y. American]
Source: "Paul Jones." Niles' Weekly Register 673 (7 August 1824): 369.
(from the New York Commercial Advertiser)
It is a matter of some surprize, in this age of book making, that the world has never been presented with an accurate and authentic account of the life and exploits of this eccentric and chivalrous officer. In the days of our boyhood, we recollect to have read a little six-penny account of his adventures; and many a time and oft, have we listened with wonder and admiration to tales of the superior prowess and desperate courage displayed by him while scouring the coats of England and Scotland, with his little armament, during the American revolution. But we have never been able to learn more of his real life and character, than what is to be gleaned from tradition, or from the pages of American history, where we believe his name occasionally appears.
An opportunity is now presented to the American public, to avail themselves of a full, authentic, and probably excellent, history of the life and transactions of this brave and extraordinary man. At the last meeting of the New York Historical Society the following extract of a letter from a lady (a niece of the hero of whom we are speaking,) dated Edinburgh, March 29, 1820, to her correspondent in this city, was communicated by Mr. Pintard:
"I have still another favor to beg of you. It has long been to me a matter of wonder, that America has never shewn any disposition to give to the world the history of those brave men who were the first assertors of her rights, and to whom she owes that independence, her sons seem so much disposed to be proud of. I have in my possession a number of important papers, that belonged to my late uncle, the chevalier Paul Jones. They consist of his correspondence with Washington, Jefferson, Dr. Franklin, Adams, and the duke de la Rochfoucault, La Fayette, and, in fact, with all the eminent characters connected with the American revolution. I have either the originals, or else authentic copies, extracted from the records of Congress. These, with a memoir of his life, and an account of his campaign in Russia, will make three large octavo volumes. I have been advised to publish them in England, and would have done so, had money been my object: But they contain some bitter reflections against the British government, which, in that case, it would have been thought necessary to suppress, and of which I apprehend the suppression would have essentially injured the work; -- my principal motive for giving them to the world, being to exhibit my uncle's character in a just point of view. The favor I have to ask of you, is to let me know if there is any bookseller in New York, who would undertake to publish them, and what I may expect for them. There is one thing however, must be insisted upon, which is, that they are not to be garbled, but are to be given to the world just as they are, without either adding or diminishing. You will perhaps think me very unreasonable to expect you to inform me, what I am to get for a work which you have not to show to the publisher. But understand me right, I do not expect that you will be able to name a certain sum; but only that you may perhaps, after enquiry, have it in your power to give me a hint of what it is probable that I might receive. If you will have the goodness to assist me in this affair, the papers shall be sent to you, addressed as you shall direct, and to be disposed of as you think best; with only this one provision - that they must be published as they are."
The letter was referred to a committee consisting of Messrs. W.L. Stone, J. Pintard, and Dr. J. W. Francis, to ascertain, if possible, whether it would be practicable to publish the memoirs of the chevalier Paul Jones in this country, and to report the result.
We are sensible that the present is a period of general pecuniary embarrassment throughout the country; and we are sensible also, that the country has been so overrun with subscriptions, that many can hardly endure even the sight of a new proposal. But it does appear to us, notwithstanding these obstacles, that an enterprising bookseller might undertake the publication of this work, not only with perfect safety, but with a fair prospect of realizing a handsome profit. From what we have heard of the talents and character of the fair author of the foregoing letter, [who we presume to be the writer of the memoirs,] we have no doubt the work will be found highly interesting and valuable. The documents it will contain, most, of themselves, possess great interest, as containing many curious facts which have probably never been developed, and also the views and feelings of their distinguished authors, during those days of peril and alarm.
It may well be said of Paul Jones, that he was the father of our naval glory. And who is there, that does not desire to become familiar with the life of the first American commander, who dared to grapple ship to ship with Albion - who, in fact, entered the Thames, and assailed the lion in his den? We should suppose all the officers of our navy, and in fact all the principal characters in the United States, would eagerly patronize a work like the one proposed.
Source: "Paul Jones." Niles' Weekly Register 460 (1 July 1820): 320-321.
As the time is coming when such men as Paul Jones was, will come into fashion, the present is a proper season to make his character and conduct better known to our readers. The following interesting narrative is translated from a French manuscript, written by himself.
While we condemn the author for his egotisms, we must make great allowances, on that account, for the splendid success that attended his enterprizes, and estimate his vanity by the reasons he had to be vain. Few even, perhaps, circumstanced as Paul Jones was, would have praised themselves less than he has done in this sketch; which possesses the singular merit of being substantially correct in all its parts, so far as we are informed of the matter.
"At the commencement of the American war (during the year 1775) I was employed to fit out the little squadron, which the congress had placed under commodore Hopkins, who was appointed to the command of all the armed vessels appertaining to America; and I hoisted with my own hands the American flag, on board the Alfred, which was then displayed for the first time.
"I at the same time, acquainted Mr. Hewes, a member of congress, and my particular friend, with a project for seizing on the island of St. Helena, by means of our little squadron, which would have infallibly rendered us masters of part of the homeward-bound East India fleet; and as the congress, at that time, proposed to appropriate two-thirds of the prizes to itself, they would have thus been furnished with the means of carrying on the war during several years: but an event of a more pressing nature prevented this scheme from being carried into execution.
"The cruelties and vexations at that time exercised by Dunmore, in Virginia, determined the congress to detach the squadron against him; but Mr. Hopkins displayed neither zeal nor talents upon this occasion, and lost so much time that his squadron was frozen in the Delaware.
"After a delay of two months, the squadron was at length disengaged, and set sail for New Providence, the principal of the Bahama islands. There we've found a large quantity of artillery, mortars, and other implements of warfare, of which we stood greatly in want in America; and I had the good fortune to render myself extremely useful to the commodore, who was but little acquainted with military operations. It was to me he was indebted for the plan adopted by him when the squadron came in sight of New Providence, and I also undertook to moor the squadron in a proper birth to execute our enterprize.
"On our return from New Providence, we took two armed vessels one of which was loaded with bombs, and fell in, near Rhode Island, with an English man of war, called the Glasgow, carrying twenty-four guns; but notwithstanding our superiority, both in point of force and sailing, the commander in chief suffered her to escape, after having many men killed and wounded, both on board the Alfred and the Cabot.
"The squadron now entered the port of New London, in Connecticut; and Hopkins, on receiving intelligence that the English frigates had been driven from Newport, took advantage of the darkness of the nights to repair to Rhode Island.
"A council of war having dismissed the captain of the Providence, one of the ships of the squadron, the commodore gave me orders in writing to take the command of her, and to escort some troops that were proceeding from Rhode Island to New York, with a view of serving under general Washington. After this, I received instructions to escort a convoy of artillery from Rhode Island to New York, for the defence of which it was destined. On this occasion, I had two different engagements with the Cerberus frigate; the first for the protection of the vessels under my command, and the second for the preservation of a vessel from St. Domingo, laden with naval stores, for the congress. In the course of my service between Boston and New York, I had also many actions with ships of war under the command of lord Howe; but on these as on former occasions, I was enabled to preserve my convoy, and I at length arrived safe in the Delaware, August 1, 1776.
"On the 8th of the same month the president of the congress presented me in person, with the commission of captain in the marine in the United States; this was the first-granted by congress since the declaration of independence, which took place on the 4th of July of that same year.
"Orders had been given for the construction of thirteen frigates: but, as none of them was yet ready, I proceeded to sea alone, on board the Providence, which was a vessel of but small force, as she carried no more than seventy men, and twelve small cannon. When in the neighborhood of Bermudas, we fell in with the Solebay, and her convoy, from Charleston; she was a thirty-two gun frigate, and formed part of the squadron under admiral Parker. I was of course desirous of avoiding an engagement with such superior force; but, as my officers and men insisted that it was the Jamaica fleet, as it was necessary to command by means of persuasion at this epoch of the war, the result was a serious engagement during six hours, which, towards the close, was carried on with pistol shot. A desperate maneuver was the sole resource left me; I attempted this, it succeeded, and I was fortunate enough to disengage myself.
"A short time after this, I took several prizes, and then sailed towards the coast of Nova Scotia, on purpose to destroy the whale and cod fisheries in that neighborhood. When near Sable Island, we fell in with the Milford frigate, carrying thirty-two guns, with which it was impossible to avoid an engagement. A cannonade accordingly took place, from ten o'clock in the morning until sunset; but the engagement was neither so close nor so hot as that with the Solebay, and I at length escaped by passing through the flats, and entered a little harbor next day, where I destroyed the fishery and vessels.
"After this, I set sail for Ile Madame, where I made two descents, at the same time destroying the fisheries, and burning all the vessels I could not carry away with me. Having accomplished this, I returned to Rhode Island, after an absence of six weeks and five days from the Delaware; during this interval I had taken sixteen prizes, without including those destroyed.
"The commander in chief, who had remained all this time in harbor, now adopted a plan proposed by me, and which consisted:
"1. In the destruction of the enemy's fisheries at Ile Royale; and,
"2. Of restoring to liberty more than 300 American prisoners detained there in the coal mines. - Three vessels were destined for this service, the Alfred, the Hampden, and the Providence, but the Hampden having received considerable damage in consequence of running on a rock, could not accompany me. I, however, embarked on board the Alfred, and, taking the Providence by way of consort, I set sail, and on the 2d of November, 1776, made prize of a vessel from Liverpool, and soon after the Mellish, a large armed vessel, having two British naval officers on board, and a captain belonging to the land service, with a company of soldiers. This ship was carrying ten thousand complete sets of uniform to Canada, for the army posted there under the orders of generals Carleton and Burgoyne.
"The Providence having now left the Alfred during the night without the least pretext whatever, I remained alone, and that too during the stormy season, on the enemy's coast; but notwithstanding this, and that I was also greatly embarrassed with my prisoners, I resolved not to renounce my project. I accordingly effected a descent, destroyed a transport of great value, and also burned the magazines and buildings destined for the whale and cod fishery.
"In addition to this, I took three transports and a vessel laden with ling and furs, near Ile Royale; these prizes were escorted by the Flora frigate, which happened to be at a small distance, but which was concealed from us by a fog. Having taken a privateer from Liverpool, mounting 16 guns, in the course of next day, I instantly returned with my prizes, towards the United States; but, when in the latitude of Boston, fell in with the Milford frigate, which I unwillingly engaged. Towards night, however, I placed the Alfred between the enemy and my prizes, and having given the necessary instructions to the latter, to make for the nearest port, I changed my course, set up lights, and by this stratagem saved the vessels I had captured, as the frigate continued in chase of me. Next day I myself was fortunate enough to escape, after a very serious action, which was not terminated until dark, and even then in consequence of a hard gale of wind.
"Having returned to Boston, December 10, 1776, the intelligence of the uniforms taken on board the Mellish, re-animated the courage of the army under general Washington, which at that period happened to be almost destitute of clothing. Let me add also, that this unexpected succour contributed not a little to the success of the affair at Trenton against the Hessians, which took place immediately after my arrival.
"I now paid out of my own purse the wages due to the crews of the Alfred and the Providence, and sent the rest of my money to the congress. That assembly transmitted me orders from Philadelphia on the 5th of February, to undertake a secret expedition of great importance, the design of which was, to lay the island of St. Christopher, and the north side of Jamaica, under contribution; after which we were to attack Pensacola. This project was first conceived by me, and then communicated to Mr. Morris, afterwards minister of finance: but such was the jealousy of Hopkins, the commander in chief, that it was never carried into execution. He was, however, soon after suspended, and then dismissed from the service.
"The season being now too far advanced for the execution of the scheme in the West Indies, myself and crew received orders to remove on board the Amphytrite, a French vessel, destined to sail from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to France, whence we were to pass into Holland, and take possession of the Indienne, a large frigate constructing there for the congress; some difficulties however ensued, and I was ordered to prepare the Ranger, a vessel mounting eighteen guns.
"When general Burgoyne and his army were obliged to surrender at Saratoga, it was I who was the first obliged to carry this interesting intelligence to Nantes, whither I arrived on the 2d of December, 1777. In the course of my voyage, I took two prizes, forming a part of a convoy from the Mediterranean, under the protection of the Invincible, a seventy-four-gun ship, under the guns of which one of them was taken.
(TO BE CONTINUED)
Source: "Paul Jones." The Weekly Register 40 (6 June 1812): 230-231.
(continued from page 231)
"In the month of January 1778, I repaired to Paris, to make the necessary arrangements with the American ministers, relative to the equipment of the Indienne; but, as the recent intelligence relative to the capture of Burgoyne had determined the court of France to recognize the independence of America by means of a treaty of alliance, and as the English ambassador to the Hague, in consequence of obtaining possession of the papers of an American agent, found that the Indienne was the property of congress, I acquiesced in the opinion of the American ministers; and it was determined to cede the property to his most christian majesty, this being the most likely method of preserving the property.
"I then returned on board the Ranger, and as I had received information from America, relative to the force and stations of the English fleet in that quarter, I immediately transmitted a letter to Mr. Deane, one of the American ministers at Paris, communicating a plan of an expedition with a squadron of ten sail of the line, a few frigates, and a small body of land forces, with a view of completely destroying the enemy's naval power acting against the United States. This scheme was not adopted until it was too late, and then it of course became impracticable.
"In the mean time I took several American vessels under my convoy, from Nantes, to the bay of Quiberon, where M. la Motte Piquet was lying at anchor, with six sail of the line, a few frigates, and several merchantmen, which he was to take under his protection to the westward of cape Finisterre. M. de la Fayette was on board this fleet, which was provided with clothing, ammunition, and military stores for America.
"I reached the bay, February 13, 1778, and sent to demand of, the admiral, if he would return my salute; and this compliment was immediately agreed to by that brave officer, although neither he nor I knew at that period, that a treaty of alliance had been signed between France and America seven days before. This was the first salute received by the American flag from any power, and occasioned much dispute in the English parliament.
"I now set sail from the bay of Quiberon to Brest, but did not enter the road on the contrary, I anchored at Cammeret, where I was detained by contrary winds until the French ambassador at the court of St. James', had announced the treaty lately concluded between his most christian majesty and the United States.
"On this, I immediately sailed into Brest water, and saluted the count D'Orvilliers, who returned the salute, and received me with all the honors due to an admiral, on board his flag ship La Bretange.
"In the month of February, 1776, the parliament of England had authorised George III to treat all the Americans taken at sea, with arms in their hands, as traitors, pirates, and felons: this more than any other circumstances, rendered me the declared enemy of Great Britain. From the very commencement of the war, an exchange of prisoners had taken place between general Washington and the commanders of the enemy's army; notwithstanding the haughty conduct of Great Britain, she was obliged to submit to this arrangement, and consider the American soldiers as prisoners of war. It was, however, an attrocious crime to act against her by sea; and England, on this occasion, perpetuated a new all the cruelties on America which she had lavished on Scotland in 1745. A ferocious and vindictive people would have rejoiced to have seen the American sailors cut down from the gibbet while yet alive, their breast opened with a knife, and their yet palpitating hearts thrown into the flames! If they did not dare to attempt this, they, however, shut up a number of citizens of the United States in the English prisons during five whole years, where they suffered all the horrors proceeding from cold, hunger, and every sort of mal treatment. Some of these unfortunates were sold on the coast of Africa, while others, were transported to the West Indies. The firmness with which these martyrs of liberty supported their hard lot, is wholly unexampled; for they preferred every kind of prosecution to serving on board the English navy.
"Indignant at the barbarous treatment experienced by the Americans, I determined to make a grand effort in their behalf, with a view of stopping the barbarous proceedings of the English in Europe, as well as on the western continent, in the latter of which they set fire to their houses, destroyed their property, and burned and destroyed whole towns. I accordingly determined, by way of retaliation, to effect a descent upon some part of England, with a view of destroying the shipping. It was also my intention to make some person of distinction prisoner, whom I resolved to detain as a hostage for the security of, and in order to exchange with, the American prisoners in England.
"Admiral D'Orvilliers, to whom I communicated this project, offered to procure for me a captain's commission in the French marine, that, in case I met with any disaster, I might claim the protection of his most christian majesty; but however advantageous this was, I determined to decline the acceptance; because, in the first place, I was not authorized by congress to change my flag; and, in the second, such a conduct might have rendered my attachment to America suspected.
"I accordingly sailed from Brest, and advanced towards Ireland, neglecting the capture of a number of vessels within my reach, as I did not wish to diminish the strength of my crew. Near to the entrance into Carrickfergus, I however, seized on a fishing-boat, manned with six persons, who proved to be pilots. The Drake, a twenty-gun ship, happened to be then in the road, and even within sight, I imagined it possible to obtain possession of her by surprise during the night. With this view, I immediately gave orders for making the necessary preparations; but the mate, who had drank too much brandy, did not let go the anchor according to orders, which prevented the Ranger from running foul of the Drake, according to my intentions. As I had reason to believe, that my appearance had not hitherto given any alarm, I deemed it prudent to cut my cable, and return into St. George's channel. I remained there, buffeted about by the winds, during three days, until the weather having become more favorable, I determined a second time to attempt a descent; this project, however, greatly alarmed my lieutenants; they were poor, they said, and their object was gain, not honor; they accordingly excited disobedience among the ship's company, by persuading them that they had a right to determine, whether the measures adopted by me were well concerted or not.
"I happened to be at this period within sight of Whitehaven, in Cumberland, at the mouth of the Solway Frith. This is a considerable harbor, in which there then were about 400 sail, some of them vessels of 250 tons burthen; and I had determined to take advantage of the ebb tide, when the shipping was dry, to destroy them. To effect this, it was necessary to land about midnight, with a party of determined men, and seize on a fort and battery, which defended the port. My two lieutenants, being averse to the enterprize, and yet being unwilling to discover their true motives, feigned illness. On this I determined to take the command in person, and with much difficulty prevailed on thirty volunteers to follow me.
"With this handful of men, and two small boats, I quitted the Ranger, at eleven o'clock at night and rowed towards the harbor; but it being farther off than we imagined, and the tide against us, day broke before we had effected a landing.
"I now sent the smallest of the boats towards the northern side of the harbor to set fire to the vessels, while I myself advanced with the other to the south, to take possession of the fort and battery, the first of which was taken by assault, I myself being the first to enter it through one of the embrasures. We then nailed up the thirty-six cannon mounted on the batteries, and advanced towards the south, with a view of burning all the vessels, when, to my infinite astonishment, I beheld the other boat returning without having done any thing.
"On this, I deemed it best to unite my forces, with a view of effecting, at least, some part of our enterprize. In short we set fire to some of the vessels, and it soon burned with great fierceness, and began to communicate; but as it was now eight o'clock in the morning, and the inhabitants began to approach near us in crowds, I could no longer defer my retreat which was made in good order. On my return on board the Ranger, the wind being favorable, I set sail for the coast of Scotland. It was my intention to take the earl of Selkirk prisoner, and detain his lordship as a hostage, in conformity to the project already mentioned. It was with this view about noon of the same day I landed on that nobleman's estate, with two officers and a few men. In the course of my progress, I fell in with some of the inhabitants, who, taking me for an Englishman, observed, that lord Selkirk was then in London, but that her ladyship and several ladies were at the castle.
"On this, I determined to return: but such moderate conduct was not conformable to the wishes of my people, who were disposed to pillage, burn, and destroy every thing, in imitation of the conduct of the English towards the Americans. Although I was not disposed to copy such horrid proceedings, more especially when a lady was in question, it was yet necessary to recur to such means as should satisfy their cupidity, and, at the same time, provide for lady Selkirk's safety. It immediately appeared to me, to be the most proper mode to give orders to the two officers to repair to the castle with the men, who were to remain on the outside under arms, while they themselves entered alone. They were then instructed to enter, and demand the family plate, in a polite manner, accepting whatever was offered them, and then to return, without making any further inquiries, or attempting to search for more.
"I was punctually obeyed; the plate was delivered; lady Selkirk herself observed to the officers, that she was exceedingly sensible of my moderation; she even intimated a wish to repair to the shore although a mile distance from her residence, in order to invite me to dinner; but the officers would not allow her ladyship to take so much trouble.
"Next day, April 4, 1778, I prepared to return to Carrickfergus, to attack the Drake in open day; but the lieutenants were averse to the project, and the crew of the Ranger became so mutinous, that I ran no small risk of being either killed or thrown into the sea; and but two days before, I was on the point of being abandoned, and left ashore at Whitehaven.
"In the mean time, the captain of the Drake sloop of war, having been informed of our descent at Whitehaven, prepared to attack us; and, while every thing was getting ready, he despatched an officer on board of his boat, with a spy glass, in order to reconnoiter the Ranger. On this, I immediately masked my guns, kept my men out of sight, and disguised the vessel in such a manner as to resemble a merchantman; in consequence of this the crew of the boat were deceived and taken. This trifling success produced the effect of enchantment on my sailors, who were no longer averse from giving her battle.
"The Drake, having fired some cannon to recall her boat, hoisted her anchor, and came out attended by a number of yachts and pleasure-boats, with ladies and gentlemen on board; but when the engagement became serious, they thought proper to withdraw to a respectful distance.
"No sooner did the enemy make his appearance, than I lay to, determined not to engage until she came within pistol shot. The engagement was accordingly sustained with great vivacity on both sides, during an hour and five minutes, when, the captain and lieutenant being both mortally wounded, the English flag was lowered, and I took possession of her. I regretted greatly the death of these brave men, and committed them to the ocean with all the honors due their valor. I at the same time, dismissed the six fishermen, whom I have before mentioned, whose loss I repaired, and whose services I recompensed out of my own purse.
"The Drake was greatly damaged in her masts and tackling, and lost forty men either killed or wounded during the action. I had also taken several other prizes; but, as my compliment of men had only amounted to 123, I retained no more than two of them, which arrived in safety at Brest, where I myself anchored with the Ranger and Drake, on the 7th of May, after an absence of twenty eight days, during which I had taken upwards of 200 prisoners. This expedition was of great disservice to Great Britain, as she was not only obliged to fortify her ports but also to permit the arming of the Irish volunteers, as lord Mountmorris demonstrated in a speech in parliament.
"At the time I had been obliged to permit my people to take lady Selkirk's plate, I determined to redeem it out of my own funds the moment it should be sold, and restore it to the family. Accordingly on my arrival at Brest, I instantly dispatched a most pathetic letter to her ladyship, in which I detailed the motives of my expedition, and the cruel necessity I was under, in consequence of the conduct of the English in America, to inflict the punishment of retaliation. This was sent open to the post-master-general, that it might be shewn to the king of England and his ministers, and the court of St. James was at length obliged to renounce the sanguinary act of its parliament, and exchange those very Americans whom they called traitors, pirates and felons, against the prisoners of war, whom I had taken and carried to France.
"During the course of the war, I found it impossible to restore the plate belonging to the Selkirk family; I however, purchased it at a great price, and at length found means to send it by land from l'Orient to Calais, by means of M. de Calonne, who transmitted me a very flattering letter on the occasion; in short I at length received a very flattering letter from the earl of Selkirk, acknowledging the receipt of it.
(TO BE CONTINUED)
Source: "Paul Jones." The Weekly Register 41 (13 June 1812): 249-251.
(continued from page 251)
"I had no sooner arrived at Brest, than admiral the count D'Orvilliers transmitted an account of my expedition to the minister of the marine, in consequence of which it was intimated to Dr. Franklin, that his majesty was desirous that I should repair to Versailles, as he was resolved to employ me on a secret expedition, for which purpose he would give me the Indienne, with some other frigates, with troops, &c. for the purpose of effecting a descent. I was instantly informed of this by the ambassador, who observed to me, at the same time, that this must be considered as a profound secret, it being of so important a nature, that it had been deemed proper to withhold a communication of it even to his colleagues.
"M. de Sartine received me with the most distinguished politeness, making me, at the same time, the most flattering promises; and the prince de Nassau was sent into Holland to give instructions for the necessary arrangements for arming and equipping the frigate intended for me. But, in a short time after this, hostilities took place between France and England in consequence of the action with La Belle Ponte. This not a little embarrassed the minister of the marine, and the difficulty was not diminished by the intelligence brought by the prince, who asserted that the Dutch would not permit the Indienne to be equipped.
"As M. de Sartine had written the three American ministers, and obtained their consent for my remaining in Europe, I offered to serve on board of the grand fleet; I also communicated several plans for crippling the power of England, such as that of destroying her trade and settlements on the coast of Africa, and in Hudson's bay; of annihilating their fisheries in Newfoundland; intercepting their East and West India and, above all, the Baltic fleet, which was escorted by a single frigate, as I learned by certain information from England. The minister adopted the last of these plans and I accordingly repaired to Brest, to take the command of one of the frigates of that port, with two others, and a cutter, &c. then at St. Maloes; but I found on my arrival, that the admiral had appointed a French officer to the vessel in question, and as there was not a single moment to be lost, the senior officer of the frigates at St. Maloes was dispatched against the Baltic fleet, which he missed, by not steering sufficiently near to the coast of England to intercept it.
"Being greatly disgusted with a series of delays that ensued during nine months, I at length repaired to Versailles, with an intention of returning to America, if I should not immediately obtain a command; for I recollected the saying of Old Richard, 'if you wish that your affairs should be prosperous, superintend them in person,' &c. This induced me to promise, that if the minister should at length comply with my request, I should call my own ship 'Old Richard.'
"Accordingly, on obtaining Le Duras, until a better vessel could be procured, I called her ------. She was a very small and very old and infirm vessel, that had made four voyages to the East Indies. As proper guns could not be procured at L'Orient, where the ------- lay, I repaired, first to Bordeaux, and then to Angouleme, where I made a contract for such as I wanted. On my return, I found that the Marquis de la Fayette, who had returned from America, was desirous to join me in the expedition, it being intended that he should command a body of land forces, he having obtained the king's command for that purpose.
"While the necessary arrangements were making at court, a naval commissary purchased at Nantes a merchantman, called La Pallas, of thirty-two eight-pounders, and a brig, named La Vengeance, of twelve three-pounders; but neither of them was calculated for war; to these was added Le Cerf, a very fine cutter belonging to the royal navy, carrying eighteen nine-pounders; with the Alliance, a new frigate, belonging to the United States but, as the guns had not as yet arrived from Angouleme, The Good Man Richard was armed from an old battery of twelve-pounders; and, as the expedition was intended against the enemy's ports, I mounted six old eighteen-pounders in the gun room, so that she might, in some measure, be called a forty gun ship. As it was found impossible to procure a sufficient number of American sailors, I determined to supply the deficiency by enrolling English ones, who happened to be prisoners of war in France and in addition to these a certain number of peasants was levied, so that we may be said to have had as bad a crew as was ever shipped on board any vessel. I was given to understand, however, that the chosen body of troops, under the command of the Marquis de la Fayette, would serve as a guarantee for their good conduct; but no sooner was the little squadron ready, than I received a letter from the Marquis, intimating that the object of the expedition having been divulged at Paris, the king had issued orders to prevent the embarcation of the troops, in consequence of which he had joined his regiment.
"Thus the project, which was no less than that of putting Liverpool, the second town in England, under contribution, failed, in consequence of having been indiscreetly communicated to. *****
"I ought also to remark, that according to the first arrangement, my little squadron was to have been joined by two fire ships, and five hundred men of Walsh's Irish regiment, but the minister did not keep his word, for he neither procured for me the fire ships, nor the soldiers, so that it became impossible for me to fulfill the plan I had concerted, although it was still more important than that of seizing on Liverpool.
"I now received orders to escort a fleet of transports and merchantmen from l'Orient, destined for different ports, between that and Bordeaux; and after that I was to chase away the English cruizers from the bay of Biscay, and then to return for further orders.
"After executing this commission, on my representing how necessary it was to make a diversion in favor of the count D'Orviliers, then cruizing in the channel, with sixty-six ships of the line, I received a carte blanche, during six weeks, without any other restriction than that of repairing to the Texel, by the 1st of October. By this time, I received intimation from England, that eight East Indiamen were soon expected on the coast of Ireland, near to Limerick. This was an object of great attention; and as there were two privateers at port l'Orient ready for sea, Le Monsieur, of forty guns, and Le Granville of fourteen, the captains of which offered to place themselves under my orders, I accepted the proposition. But the French commissary who superintended the naval department, acted with great impropriety on this, as well as on many former occasions.
"The little squadron, at length, set sail from the road of Groays, on the fourteenth of August, 1779; but we had no sooner proceeded to the north of the mouth of the channel, than Le Monsieur and Le Granville abandoned me during the night, and Le Cerf soon after imitated their conduct. I was extremely anxious to cruize for a fort-night in the latitude of Limerick, but the captain of the Alliance, after objecting to this, also left me only the Pallas and the Vengeance, I was obliged to renounce my original intentions.
"I took two prizes on the coast of Ireland; and within sight of Scotland, came up and seized two privateers, of twenty-two guns each, which, with the brigantine, I sent to Bergen in Norway, according to the orders I had received from Dr. Franklin: these prizes however, were restored to the English by the king of Denmark.
"When I entered the North sea, I captured several vessels and learned by my prisoners, as well as by the newspapers, that the capital of Scotland and the port of Leith were left totally defenceless. I also understood at the same time that my information relative to the eight Indiamen was correct; they having entered Limerick three days after I had been obliged to leave the neighborhood of that port.
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Source: "Paul Jones." The Weekly Register 43 (27 June 1812): 277-278.
(continued from page 278)
"As there was only a twenty gun ship and two cutters in Leith Road I deemed it practicable to lay those two places under contribution. I had indeed no other force to execute this project, than the Richard, the Pallas, and the Vengeance; but I well knew, that, in order to perform a brilliant action, it is not always necessary to possess great means. I therefore held out the prospect of great booty to the captains under my command; and, as to myself, I was satisfied with the idea of making a diversion in favor of the count D'Orvilliers, who was then in the channel.
"I now distributed red clothes to my men, and put some of them on board the prizes, so as to give them the appearance of transports full of troops. All the necessary arrangements were also taken to carry the enterprize into execution: but about a quarter of an hour before the descent was to have been made, a sudden tempest arose, and drove me out of the Forth, or Edinburgh Frith, and so violent was the storm that one of my prizes was lost.
"This did not, however, deter me notwithstanding the smallness of my forces, from forming different enterprizes of a similar nature; but I could not induce the captains of the Pallas and Vengeance to second my views, I was therefore obliged to content myself by spreading alarm on the coast, and destroying the shipping, which I did as far as Hull.
"On the morning of the 23d of September, while I was cruising in the latitude of Flamborough Head, which I had appointed as a place of rendezvous for my little squadron, and where I hoped to be rejoined by the Alliance and Le Cerf, and also to fall in with the Baltic fleet; this convoy accordingly appeared, at a time when I had been abandoned by several of my consorts, had lost two boats, with their crews, who had run away on the coast of Ireland, and when a third, with eighteen men on board, was in chase of a merchantman to the windward, leaving me with a scanty crew, and only a single lieutenant and some inferior officers, on board.
"It was about two o'clock in the afternoon that the Baltic fleet appeared in view; I then happened to have the wind of it, and was about two leagues distant from the coast of England. I learned from my prisoners, that the convoy was escorted by the Serapis, a new vessel, that could mount fifty six guns but then carried only forty four, on two decks, the lower battery carrying eighteen-pounders, and the Countess of Scarborough, a new twenty-two gun ship.
"We were no sooner descried than the armed vessels stood out to sea, while the trade took refuge under the cannon of Scarborough Castle.
"As there was but little wind, I could not come up with the enemy before night. The moon did not rise until eight, and at the close of the day the Serapis and the Countess of Scarborough tacked and stood in for the fortress. I was lucky enough to discover this maneuvre by means of my night glass, without which I should have remained in ignorance of it. On this I immediately altered my course six points, with a view of cutting off the enemy; which was no sooner perceived by the Pallas, than it was supposed my crew had mutinied, which induced her captain to haul his wind, and stand out to sea while the Alliance lay to, to windward, at a considerable distance; and as the captain of this vessel had never paid any attention whatever to the signal of the Richard since her leaving France, I was obliged to run all risks and enter into action with the Richard only, to prevent the enemy's escape.
"I accordingly began the engagement at 7 o'clock at night, within pistol shot of the Serapis, and sustained the brunt of it for nearly a whole hour at that distance, exposed, not only to her fire, but also to that of the Countess of Scarborough, which raked the Richard, by means of the broadsides she fired into her stern.
"It ought to be here remarked, that the Richard, properly speaking, was only a thirty-four-gun frigate, carrying only twelve pounders; but six eighteen-pounders had been placed in the gun room, in case of being obliged to recur to a cannonade in an enemy's harbor. The sea being very calm during the engagement, I hoped to be able to derive great advantage from this circumstance; but instead of this they burst at the commencement of the action, and the officers and men posted at this service, and who were selected as the best of the whole crew, were either killed, wounded, or affrighted to such a degree, that none of them were of any service during the rest of the engagement.
"In this unfortunate extremity, having to contend with three times my own strength, the Richard being in imminent danger of going to the bottom, and her guns being no longer in a condition to return the enemy's fire, I had recourse to a dangerous expedient, to grapple with the Serapis, in order on the one hand, to render her superiority useless, and, on the other, to cover ourselves from the fire of her escort. This maneuvre succeeded most admirably, and I fastened the Serapis, with my own hands, to the Richard. On this, the captain of the Countess of Scarborough, who was a natural son of the duke of Northumberland, conducted himself like a man of sense, and from that moment ceased to fire upon us, well knowing that he must at the same time damage the Serapis.
"That vessel being to windward at the moment we had grappled, instantly dropped her anchor, hoping by this to disengage herself from us; but this did not answer her expectations; and the engagement, from that moment, consisted of the discharge of great guns, swivels, musquetry, and grenades. The English, at first, testified a desire to board the Richard, but they no sooner saw the danger than they desisted. The enemy, however, possessed the advantage of their two batteries, besides the guns on their forecastle and quarter-deck, while our cannon was either burst or abandoned, except for four pieces on the forecastle, which were also relinquished during some minutes. Mr. Mease, the officer who commanded these guns, had been dangerously wounded on the head, and having at that period, no greater object to occupy my attention, I myself took his post. A few sailors came to my assistance of their own accord, and served the two guns next to the enemy with surprising courage and address. A short time after this, I received sufficient assistance to be able to remove one of the forecastle guns from the opposite side; but we had not strength sufficient to remove the other, so that we could only bring three guns to bear upon the enemy during the remainder of the action.
"The moon, which, as I have already observed, rose at eight, beheld the two vessels surrounded by flame, in consequence of the explosion of the cannon. It so happened at this period, that the main-mast of the Serapis, which was painted yellow, appeared extremely distinct, so as to form an excellent mark, on this, I pointed one of my guns at it, taking care to ram home the shot. In the meantime the two other pieces were admirably served against the ----- and swept its forecastle, by means of an oblique fire. The tops also seconded us bravely, by means of musquetry and swivels, and also threw a multitude of grenades so as greatly to annoy the enemy. By these means they were driven from their quarters, notwithstanding their superiority in point of men and artillery.
"The captain of the Serapis, after consulting with his officers, resolved to strike; but an unlucky accident, which occurred on board the Richard, prevented this: a bullet having destroyed one of our pumps, the carpenter was seized with a panic, and told the gunner, and another petty officer, that we were sinking. Some one observed at the same time, that both I and the lieutenant were killed; the consequence of which the gunner, considering himself as the commanding officer, ran instantly to the quarter deck, in order to haul down the American colors, which he would have actually hauled down, had not the flag staff been carried away at the time the Richard grappled with the Serapis.
"The captain, on hearing the gunner express his wishes to surrender, in consequence of his supposing that we were sinking, instantly addressed himself to me, and exclaimed, 'Do you ask for quarter? - Do you ask for quarter?' I was so occupied, at this period, in serving the three pieces of cannon on the forecastle, that I remained totally ignorant of what had occurred on deck; I replied, however, 'I do no dream of surrendering, but I am determined to make you strike!'
"The English commander, however, conceived some faint hopes, in consequence of what had been said, that the Richard was actually sinking; but when he perceived that her fire did not diminish, he immediately ordered his men from the forecastle, where they were too much exposed, and stationed them below, where they kept up such a tremendous discharge against the Richard, that it at once indicated vengeance and despair.
"It has already been observed, that when I commenced the action, the Pallas was at a great distance to windward, while the Alliance lay to in the same position. When the captain of the former perceived that the engagement took place, he spoke to his consort; but they lost a great deal of time, and it was not until now, that they came within gun shot of the Countess of Scarborough, and a kind of running fight took place between the latter and the Pallas. The Alliance followed them, and, on passing us, fired a broadside, which, as we were closely engaged with the enemy, did no more harm to them than to us.
"The battle still continued with uncommon ardor between us and the enemy, whose ----- or burned, and her main-mast cut away, by degrees, by our bullets; while the heavier metal of the Serapis drove in one of the sides of my ship, and met with little or no resistance. In short, our helm was rendered useless, and the poop was only supported by an old and shattered piece of timber, which alone prevented it from giving way.
"At length, after a short engagement, the Countess of Scarborough surrendered to the Pallas; it was then that the captain of the latter asked the commander of the Alliance, 'whether he would take charge of the prize, or sail and give succor to the commodore?' On this, the Alliance began to stand backwards and forwards under her topsails, until, having got to the windward, she came down, and discharged a second broadside against the forepart of the Serapis, and the hind-part of the Richard. On this I and several other persons begged for God's sake, that they would cease firing, and send a few men on board of us: but he disobeyed, and fired another broadside as he passed along; after which he kept at a most respectful distance, and took great care not to expose himself during the remainder of the action, without receiving a single shot, or having a man wounded during the whole engagement.
"The idea that we were sinking had taken such possession of the armourer's mind, that he actually opened the scuttles, and made all the prisoners, to the number of a hundred, sally forth, in opposition to my reiterated orders. This event might have proved fatal had I not taken advantage of their affright to station them at the pumps, where they displayed surprising zeal, appearing actually to forget their captivity; for there was nothing to prevent their going on board the Serapis; or it was in their power to put an end to the engagement in an instant, by either killing me, or throwing me into the sea.
"As our three quarter-deck guns continued to play, without interruption, on the enemy, raked her hinder parts, and damaged her mast in such a manner, that it was only supported from falling by the yards of our ship, while the tops poured in a continual discharge, the fire of the English began to deaden in such a manner as to bereave them of all hope of success.
"A circumstance, however, occurred that contributed not a little to the victory of the Richard: this was the extraordinary intrepidity and presence of mind of a Scotch sailor, posted in the main-top; this brave fellow, of his own accord, seized a lighted match, and a basket of hand-grenades with which he advanced along the main-yard, until he had arrived exactly above the enemy's deck. As the flames of their parapets and shrouds, added to the light of the moon, enabled him to distinguish objects, the moment he perceived two or three persons assembled together, he instantly discharged a hand grenade among them; he had even address enough to drop several through their scuttles, and one of them set fire to the cartridge of an eighteen pounder belonging to the lower deck, the discharge of which scorched several of the crew.
"On this, the captain of the Serapis came upon the quarter-deck, lowered his flag and asked for quarter, at the very moment his main-mast had fallen into the sea. He then came on board with his officers, and presented me with his sword. When this was transacting, eight or ten men belonging to the Richard seized on the Serapis's shallop, which had been at anchor during the engagement, and made off.
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Source: "Paul Jones." The Weekly Register 44 (4 July 1812):296-298.
(continued from page 298)
"It was more than eleven o'clock when the battle ended, it had consequently lasted more than four hours. My ship had no more than 322 men, good, bad and indifferent, on board, at the commencement of the engagement; and the sixty of these, posted in the gun-room, when the gun burst, having been of no further service during the action, could not be properly considered as forming part of the crew opposed to the Serapis, which had received a supply of English sailors while in Denmark; and it appeared, indeed, by the muster roll, that there were upwards of 400 on board of her, when the first gun was fired. Her superiority was still more considerable in respect to guns, without mentioning her greater weight in metal, which surpassed ours beyond all comparison. Thus, setting aside the damage done by the Countess of Scarborough, during the forepart of the action, and also by the three broadsides from the Alliance, it will be easy to form a due judgment of the combat between the Richard and the Serapis, and set a proper value on a victory obtained over a force so greatly superior, after such a long, bloody and close engagement.
"The Vengeance, a corvette, mounting twelve three pounders, and the boat belonging to the pilot, with my second lieutenant, another officer, and ten men, would have been of singular service, either in pursuing and capturing the convoy, or by reinforcing me: but, strange as it may appear, the fact is, that they remained all this time mere spectators of the action, in which they took no interest, keeping themselves to windward, and out of all danger; while, on the other hand, the conduct of the Alliance had, at least, the appearance of proceeding from a principle worse than ignorance or insubordination.
"It must appear clear, from what has been already said, that if the enemy's ports were not annoyed, the Baltic fleet taken, and the eight Indiamen seized, the blame did not lie with me.
"It is but justice, however, to observe, that some of my officers conducted themselves admirably during the action. The lieutenant, Mr. Dale, being left alone at the guns below, and finding he could not rally his men, came upon the deck, and superintended the working of the pumps, notwithstanding he had been wounded. Notwithstanding all his efforts, the hold was more than half full of water when the enemy surrendered.
"During the last three hours of the action both the vessels were on fire; by throwing water on the flames, it was sometimes supposed that they were quenched, but they always broke forth anew, and, on the close of the action, we imagined it wholly extinguished. It was very calm during the remainder of the night; but, when the wind began to blow, our danger became imminent, the fire having penetrated the timbers, and spread until it had reached within a few inches of the powder magazine. On this ammunition was brought on the deck, to be thrown in the sea, in case of extremity; but we, at length, succeeded in our endeavors, but cutting away a few planks, and employing our buckets.
"Next morning the weather was hazy and not a sail to be seen. We then examined the Richard to see if it were possible to carry her into any port. This proving wholly impracticable, all the boats were employed in carrying the wounded on board the other vessels. This occupied much of our time and on the succeeding day, notwithstanding all our pumps had been at work, the hold was entirely full of water, and the vessel soon after sunk. On this occasion I could only save the signal flags, and I lost all my property, amounting to more than 5,000 livres.
"On this I instantly assumed the command of the Serapis, on which we erected jury masts; but the sea was so tempestuous that it was ten days before we reached the Texel.
"No sooner was my arrival known than forty-two vessels, forming different squadrons of frigates, were fitted out from the various ports in Great Britain against me, and two of these were stationed during three months at the mouths of the Texel and the Fly. My situation in Holland influenced not a little the conduct of the belligerent powers, at the same time that it excited the attention of all Europe. The English minister at the Hague addressed different memorials to the states general, in all which he insisted that the Serapis and the Countess of Scarborough 'should be delivered up to the king, his master;' and he, at the same time claimed me under the appellation of 'the Scotch pirate.'
"Instead of listening to these propositions, the states general permitted me to land my wounded on the island of the Texel, which was delivered up to me for that purpose; on this the British government became furious, and Holland was reduced to so critical a situation, that the states were under the necessity of insisting that I should either leave the Texel, or produce a commission from his most christian majesty, and hoist the French flag.
"The prince of Orange, who was attached to the English interest, sent the vice-admiral Rhynst, who was also English in his heart, to assume the command of the Dutch squadron in the Texel, composed of thirteen two-deckers. This officer drew up his squadron, during six weeks, in such a manner as to menace us; and, in short, did every thing in his power to render my situation both dangerous and disagreeable.
"In the mean time I had an interview with the duke de la Vanguyon, at Amsterdam, who intimated to me, that it was the intention of the king of France that I should hoist his flag during my stay in the Texel, as he imagined, that my prizes would assuredly fall into the enemy's hands if I tried to escape - I, however, refused this honor, as I had declared myself an American officer, and had given a copy of my commission from congress to the Dutch admiral. It was contrived, however, at length, that I should go on board the frigate Alliance, the captain of which had been sent to Paris, to give an account of his conduct, and where I should still carry my former colors while the prizes should hoist the French flag.
"At length the wind becoming favorable, on the 27th of February, 1779, the Alliance set sail, after having lost all her anchors, one only excepted, in consequence of admiral Rhynst's instructions to the pilot; and it was at least an hundred to one, that we should fall in with the enemy. I, however, had the good fortune to escape, although the Alliance passed the straits of Dover, within sight of the English squadron in the Downs. After getting clear of the channel, I soon reached the latitude of Cape Finistere, and entered the port of Corunna, January 16, 1780.
"On my return to France, I found that the French commissary had made a private sale of my prizes to the king without consulting me. On this I repaired to Versailles, along with Dr. Franklin, but was received with great coolness by the minister of the marine. On this account I declined asking him to present me to his majesty. This honor was conferred on me the next day by the prince de Beauyeau, captain of the guards. The public received me at the opera, and all the public places where I appeared, with the most lively enthusiasm; this added to the very favorable reception I received from his majesty, afforded me singular satisfaction; and the minister of the marine from that moment paid me the most marked attention.
(TO BE CONTINUED IN OUR NEXT)
Source: "Paul Jones." The Weekly Register 45 (11 July 1812): 317-318.
(concluded from page 318)
"The count de Maurepas about the time intimated to me, that his majesty had resolved to confer some distinguished mark of his bounty and personal esteem on me; this proved to be a sword, mounted with gold, on which was engraven the following flattering motto:
"LUDOVICUS XVI. REMUNERATOR
"The hilt was of gold, and the blade, &c. were emblazoned with his majesty's arms, the attributes of war, and an emblematical representation of the alliance between France and America. The most christian king, at the same time, transmitted a most admirable letter to congress, in which he offered to decorate me with the order of military merit. All this was extremely flattering, as Louis XVI had never presented a sword to any other officer, and never conferred the cross, except on such officers as were invested with his majesty's commission.
"The minister of the marine, a short time after this, lent me the Ariel, a king's ship, carrying twenty guns, with which I sailed, October 8th, 1780, for America. The wind was at first favorable, but I was soon after in danger of foundering on the Penmarks - and escaped only by cutting away my main and mizen masts. As soon as the storm abated, we erected jury masts, and returned to refit; in short it was the 18th of December before I could proceed for Philadelphia.
"During the voyage, I fell in with an English twenty gun ship, called the Triumph, and partly by stratagem, and partly by hard fighting, forced her to strike her flag; but, while we were about to take possession of her, the captain, taking advantage of her superior sailing, made off and escaped.
"On my arrival in America, the congress, on the representation of the Chevalier de la Luzerne, passed a law to enable me [to] accept the military order of France. The French minister, on this occasion, gave an entertainment, to which all the members of congress, and the principal inhabitants of Philadelphia, were invited; after which I was invested, in their presence, with the decorations of the order.
"As the three ministers plenipotentiary from America had unfortunately disagreed, it necessarily follows that there would be some contradiction in respect to their reports concerning me. In consequence of this, the congress enjoined the admiralty to enquire into the nature of my connection with the court of France, and the reasons which had induced me to remain in Europe, and delay the convoy of the military stores appertaining to the United States. In consequence of the examination that ensued, and the report that was delivered in, the congress passed an act, dated April 14, 1781, in which I was thanked, in the most flattering manner, "for the zeal, the prudence, and the intrepidity, with which I had sustained the honor of the American flag; for my bold and successful enterprizes, with a view to redeem from captivity the citizens of America, who had fallen into the power of the English, and for the eminent services by which I had added lustre to my own character and the arms of America." A committee of congress was also of opinion 'that I deserved a gold medal in remembrance of my services.'
"On the 21st of June, 1781, I was appointed, by an unanimous vote of congress, to the command of the America, a seventy-four-gun ship, then building; and on the birth of the Dauphin, I, at my own expense, celebrated that happy event by royal salutes during the day, and a brilliant illumination in the evening, accompanied by fire works.
"An unfortunate accident, soon after this, deprived me of the command of that fine vessel: for the Magnifique of 74 guns, belonging to the Marquis de Vaudreuil's fleet, happening to be lost at Boston, the congress seized on this occasion to testify its gratitude to his most christian majesty, by presenting him with the America to re-place her.
"In the mean time, it was resolved to place a French frigate, called l'Indienne, with two or three armed vessels, under my orders, in order to seize on Burmudas: but, as this was never put into execution, I applied to congress for leave to serve on board the fleet of the Count d'Estaing, then destined for the expedition against Jamaica.
"The Marquis de Vaudreuil received me with great distinction on board his own ship, the Triumphant, where I occupied the same cabin as the baron de Viomenil, who commanded the land forces. When we were within sight of Porto Rico, intelligence was received that admirals Pigot and Hood were preparing to intercept us; and as Don Solano, with the Spanish fleet, did not meet us at Porto Cabello, according to his promise, many of the officers becoming disgusted with the enterprize, fell sick, and I myself was in a dangerous state; but we were relieved from our disagreeable situation, by intelligence from Europe that a general peace had taken place. This circumstance afforded me great pleasure, as I now learned, that Great Britain, after a long and bloody contest, had been forced to recognize the sovereignty and independence of the United States of America.
"On this, we repaired to St. Domingo, where I received every possible mark of esteem from Mr. de Bellecombe, the governor; after a short stay, I embarked for Philadelphia, penetrated with gratitude for the various marks of esteem I had received from all the French officers during the five months I had been on board his majesty's squadron.
"I was unable to re-establish my health, during the rest of the summer, which I spent in Pennsylvania; and I did not get well until the autumn, when I recovered by means of the cold bath.
"I then demanded permission to return to Europe, on purpose to recover the prize money due to myself, officers and sailors; which was granted me by an act of congress, dated at Prince-Town, November 1, 1783
"On this I embarked at Philadelphia, on board a packet boat destined for Havre de-Grace; but being forced into Plymouth by contrary winds, I took post horses for London, and then set out for Paris, and was received with great cordiality by the ministry.
"Having at length received from the court of France the amount of the prizes, I returned to America on board a French packet boat."