From John Paul Jones, with Enclosure
On board the Wolodimer, before Oczakoff,
9 Sept. 1788.
Since I wrote you last from Copenhagen, the 8th of April, I have been very much hurried; but my greatest difficulty has not been want of time, but want of a private opportunity to write to you. Mr. Littlepage is now on the point of leaving the army of the Prince Maréchal de Potemkin, and talks of being at Paris in the month of October. I avail myself, therefore, of the opportunity he offers, to send you enclosed a copy of my last letter from Copenhagen, with a copy of the official letter I received from the Count de Bernstorff, and a copy of the letter I have just received, on the subject of my public business there, from Monsieur Framery, Secretary to the Legation of France at the Court of Denmark, informing me he had received and forwarded to you the answer I expected from the Consul of France, at Bergen in Norway. This last must necessarily make you acquainted with all you wanted to know respecting our claim on the Court of Denmark.
The within letter to the Marquis de la Fayette, was intended for you as well as him, and I send you the copy because I am not sure if he received the original.
The American constitution, I suppose is adopted; but I am still afraid of the danger that may result from entrusting the President with such tempting power as military rank and command must give him. I can in no situation, however remote I am, be easy, while the liberties of America seem to me to be in danger. I leave to Mr. Littlepage to inform you particularly of the military events that have taken place here, this campaign. I can take no delight in telling over tales of blood. God knows there has been too much of it spilt. Scenes of horror have been acted under my eyes in which, however, I have the happiness to say, I had no part.
I pray you to inform me, if you possibly can, what is become of Mrs. T—. I am astonished to have heard nothing from her since I left Paris. I had written to her frequently, before I left Copenhagen. If you cannot hear of, and see her, you will oblige me much by writing a note to Monsieur Dubois, Commissaire du Regiment des Guardes Français, vis à vis la Rue de Vivienne, Rue neuve des petits Champs, desiring to speak with him. He will wait on you immediately. You must know, that besides my own purse, which was very considerable, I was good-natured, or, if you please, foolish enough to borrow for her, four thousand four hundred livres. Now Mr. Dubois knows that transaction, and as she received the money entire from me for the reimbursement, I wish to know if she has acquitted the debt. When that affair is cleared up, I shall be better able to judge of the rest. I am, with perfect esteem, dear Sir, &c.
J. P. Jones
MS not found, and probably lost as a result of having been lent by TJ to Sherburne, who printed it in his John Paul Jones, p. 309, as bearing date according to both the Julian calendar (29 Aug.) and the Gregorian (9 Sep.). Above text from Dipl. Corr., 1783–89, iii, 732–3. Recorded in SJL as received 27 Apr. 1789. Enclosures: (1) Jones to TJ, 8 Apr. 1788. (2) Bernstorff to Jones, 4 Apr. 1788 (see enclosure 4, Jones to TJ, 8 Apr. 1788). (3) Framery to Jones, 3 May 1788, informing him that he has sent the packet Jones expected from Dechezaulx, French consul at Bergen, that it had been received and, as requested, forwarded to TJ, whom he was eager to serve and to whom he offers services in every thing that could interest or please him in this country; that he had asked TJ to pay postage for packet, which was voluminous, to his banker in Paris; that news of Jones’ arrival in St. Petersburg is awaited with interest, especially because of rumor that he had been lost in a storm in Gulf of Finland, but, as the story of this misfortune changes every day, he is persuaded it exists only in the mouths of evil disposed persons; that the Baron de la Houze does not credit the rumor, sends his compliments, and expects Jones’ promised letter; that affairs in Denmark are tranquil, though the twelve ships of the line and eight frigates fitted out by Gustavus iii of Sweden raise questions among those who know the state of his finances—whether it is England or Turkey that furnishes him the means of fitting out such a force; what his intentions are, since the armament is too large for a mere naval parade and too small for any enterprise whatever; where he will procure sailors, &c.; that [in postscript, underlined] Bernstorff has informed De la Houze that he was about to send full powers to Baron de Blome, to treat definitely with TJ on the matter that was agitated during Jones’ stay in Copenhagen (Tr in French in DLC: John Paul Jones Papers, attested by Jones under date of 29 Aug. 1788, O.S.). (4) Jones to Lafayette, 15/26 June 1788. All of the foregoing are printed in Dipl. Corr., 1783–89, iii, 719–28, the last being given here because Jones intended it also as a letter to TJ. See Framery to TJ, 29 Apr. 1788; TJ to Bernstorff, 19 June 1788; and TJ to Blome, 27 June 1788.
For a note on Mrs. T—, see note to Jones to TJ, 4 Sep. 1787. See also, Jones to TJ, 26 and 31 Jan. 1789; TJ to Jones, 23 Mch. 1789; Littlepage to TJ, 12 Feb. 1789. These later letters make it clear why the present letter was so long delayed, and they also explain that the “Extract” of 29 Aug.–9 Sep. actually belongs to this abbreviated text.