Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from John Paul Jones, 8 August 1781

From John Paul Jones2

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Philadelphia August 8th. 1781.


Though I have nothing to communicate to your Excellency of a Public nature, yet I cannot refuse myself the pleasure of repeating to you the grateful Sense I shall ever retain of the kind attention you shewed me while I remained in Europe.— Mr. Barclay, whom Congress have appointed Consul General for the United States in France,3 will have the honor of delivering this letter: He is known to you,4 otherwise I should introduce him to your attention, as a Gentleman for whose private character I entertain a high respect. He will inform you respecting my present Situation, and prospects,— I am with profound Veneration Your Excellencie’s most Obliged and most humble Servant

Paul Jones

His Excellency B. Franklin Esqr. Minister for the United States in France.

Endorsed: Com. Jones.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

2A month earlier Jones had been appointed captain of the ship of the line America, building at Portsmouth, N.H. He left Philadelphia for Portsmouth on Aug. 12: JCC, XX, 698; Morison, Jones, pp. 315–18.

3On June 26 Thomas Barclay was elected vice consul in France, nothing being known of the fate of Consul William Palfrey, missing at sea: XXXIV, 83n, 187n; JCC, XX, 687, 698. Born in Ireland, Barclay (1728–1793) was a Philadelphia merchant and former member of the local committee of correspondence and of the Pa. Navy Board. He left for France in October, after being given the title of consul. After the Revolution he was sent to Morocco to negotiate a treaty between the U.S. and the sultan, and in 1791 he served as consul there: Smith, Letters, XVII, 355; John C. Campbell, History of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick and the Hibernian Society of Philadelphia, 1771–1892 (Philadelphia, 1892), pp. 95–6; R. Burnham Moffat, The Barclays of New York … (New York, 1904), p. 234.

4BF once had received a bill of exchange of his (XXI, 388, 468), and the Bache family had stayed with the Barclays during the British occupation of Philadelphia: RB to BF, Oc. 4, below.

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