From John Paul Jones
L’Orient May 13th. 1779
You will confer on me a singular Obligation by favoring me with your Opinion and Advice respecting the unhappy misunderstanding which I am told prevails on board the Alliance. I ask your advice because, tho I am determined to preserve Order and Disciplin where I command, yet I wish to reprove with moderation and never to punish while there remains a good Alternative. It appears that there is a fault at least in one of the parties, and I wish much to know where the fault lies, for without harmony and general good will among the officers I cannot proceed with a good prospect.
I beseech you to favor me with an Answer as soon as possible.1 When I have the honor of seeing you Ashore I will put into your hands a letter2 which I have received—in the meantime if you require it I will promise to keep your Answer a Secret.
I have the honor to be with sentiments of great respect Sir Your very Obliged very Obedient humble Servant
Jno. P. Jones
RC (Adams Pacers).
1. Jones, at Lorient preparing for the planned assault on the English and Irish coasts (see Benjamin Franklin to JA, 24 April, note 1, above), lost no time in consulting JA, who had arrived on the previous day in the Alliance (JA, Diary and Autobiography description begins Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1961; 4 vols. description ends , 2:369). JA indicated that he continued to hold the opinion expressed in his letter to Benjamin Franklin of 13 April (above) and then stated that “these little unhappinesses appear to me to be so little essential, that I fancy the shortest and surest way to cure them is to get to Sea, and find something else to think of.” (JA to Jones, 13 May, offered for sale by Anderson Galleries, First Editions, Autograph Letters and Manuscripts, cat. 4135, N.Y., 1934, p. 4. The current location of this letter is unknown to the editors.)
2. The letter is unidentified, but Jones may have shown it to JA when the two men dined together on 13 May. JA’s Diary entry for that day contains a description of the dinner and a brief character sketch of Jones (Diary and Autobiography description begins Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1961; 4 vols. description ends , 2:370–371).