The Commissioners to John Paul Jones
Passi August <
15> 22 1778
Your Letter from Brest of August the 15th is before us, and We are very sorry to hear that Reports so groundless are circulated to your Disadvantage. However We trust they will do you no lasting Injury, as Insinuations so grossly false seldom hurt any but the Maker and Propagator.>
We write this Letter that you may have it in your Powers to assure any Body you think proper, that, so far from turning you out of the service, your coming away from the Ranger to Paris was without our orders or Knowledge1 that on the sixteenth of June We gave you orders to return to America Commander of the Ranger and that this Destination was altered for no other Reason, than a Letter from M. De Sartine which We never solicited representing that he had occasion for your services, and requesting our Consent, which We readily gave, Supposing that you might be [more serviceable?] to the Common Cause, in this Way, than in any other,>2 that your Letter to Us of the 16 July,3 expressing your Willingness to drop the Dispute between you and Lieutenant Simpson, and to give up his Parole, was made as far as we know of your own voluntary Choice and certainly without any order or solicitation from Us.4< and that it appeared to Us to do honour to your Disposition, and your Character. And We hope that Lieutenant Simpson will consider it in the same Point of Light.>
We are, sir, with Respect, your most obedient servants.>
LbC (Adams Papers).
1. That is, without the orders or knowledge of JA and Arthur Lee. Even at this late date, JA and Lee were apparently unaware of Franklin’s role in bringing Jones to Paris; yet it is likely that this letter was intended to be signed by all three Commissioners. It may have been a draft that JA was proposing to his colleagues.
2. The material deleted to this point was canceled with a much heavier hand than was used for the passages deleted later in either this or the Commissioners’ second letter to Jones of this date (below).
4. It is not clear why this portion of the Commissioners’ reply was not also canceled, unless they intended to insert it in some other letter. In any event, no letter of 22 Aug. or on the subjects dealt with in this letter and the one immediately following has been found.