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ALS : Dartmouth College Library; copy: National Archives <Lorient, December 9, 1778: A Virginia pilot boat arrived in twenty-three days from Boston. Her captain reports that comte d’Estaing had sailed on a secret mission a fortnight before, that the Somerset was lost on Cape Cod and her crew made prisoners, that the Providence, Boston , and Ranger arrived with prizes, that the Raleigh was...
ALS : American Philosophical Society; draft: National Archives; copy: United States Naval Academy Museum <Brest, August 28, 1778: M. de la Prévalaye, who commands here in the absence of the comte d’Orvilliers, has just told me that he can no longer furnish a guard for the Ranger prisoners detained aboard the Patience . Unable to depend on the Ranger ’s officers, I had arranged for a guard with...
ALS : University of Virginia Library; AL : United States Naval Academy Museum; copy: National Archives <Brest, May 16, 1778: The local admiralty will apparently delay the sale of the Ranger ’s prizes; I therefore have to draw on you through M. Bersolle for 24,000 l.t. to distribute among my officers and men. They need to provide for their families in America, who will expect clothing, etc., by...
ALS : American Philosophical Society; draft: National Archives; copy: United States Naval Academy Museum <Brest, August 30, 1778: My friend M. de la Porte, intendant, has now agreed to furnish a vessel and send the Ranger ’s prisoners to England, if you consent. This offer is too generous to refuse. The guard will be discontinued unless you procure an order from the minister. As for the...
I have the honor to inform you that this day Arrived here a Virginia Pilot boat from Boston in 23 days. The master reports—that Comte Destaing had saild from thence a fortnight before on a Secret destination—that the Summerset was lost on Cape Cod, the materials saved and the Crew Prisoners —that the Providence, Boston, and Ranger were Arrived having taken two or three Merchant Vessels—That...
ALS : American Philosophical Society; copies: National Archives (two), United States Naval Academy Museum <Brest, August 15, 1778: I have been here five days and have neither seen nor heard from Lt. Simpson; but Mr. Hill reports the general rumor that I have been turned out of the service, that Simpson has replaced me with a captain’s commission, and that my letter to you of July 16 was only...
Copy: Harvard University Library <[July 3, 1778: ] I came to Paris when I learned on good authority that the minister wanted to speak with me on a matter of great utility to the United States. Permission to sell the prizes, or an exchange of prisoners, was not in immediate prospect; and something had to be done to assuage the Ranger’s crew. The minister pledged me to reveal his plan to no one,...
Copies: American Philosophical Society, United States Naval Academy Museum, National Archives (two), Massachusetts Historical Society When I took Lieutenant Simpsons Parole I did not expect to have been long absent from America: but as circumstances have now rendred the time of my return less certain, I am willing to let the dispute between us drop for ever by giving up that parole which will...
ALS : American Philosophical Society; two copies: National Archives < Ranger , Brest, June 10, 1778: One of the Ranger ’s prizes was, I understand, sold in Bordeaux by Messrs. Delap. I wrote to request that the captors’ share be sent to Mr. Williams at Nantes, so that it might be divided before the Ranger left, but my letter was not answered. Please give orders for the money to be remitted...
ALS : American Philosophical Society; AL (draft): National Archives; AL : United States Naval Academy Museum <Brest, June 3, 1778: I promise never again to draw on you for supplying my men with necessities; you do not think, I hope, that I touched a dollar for my own purposes. On my way from America I took two brigantines. Messrs. Morris and Williams sold one in Nantes, and the captors...
ALS : American Philosophical Society; AL : National Archives, United States Naval Academy Museum <Brest, May 27, 1778: Here is the promised account of my late expedition. I sailed from here on April 10; after the 14th I took a series of prizes, and bad weather frustrated me in a number of projected attacks. On the morning of the 23rd I landed at Whitehaven and burned shipping; if we could have...
ALS : University of Virginia Library; AL (draft): National Archives; copy: United States Naval Academy Museum When Congress thought proper to order me to France it was proposed that the Ranger should remain under my direction and be Commanded by a Lieutenant, and as the French Ministry have now in contemplation Plans which promise Honor to the American Flag, the Ranger might be very Useful to...
AL : National Archives I had the honor of writing to you yesterday by post under cover by Mr. Williams. I inclosed copies of two letters which I wrote you previous to my departure from Portsmouth, together with a plan which I drew up at Philadelphia on the Regulation and Equipment of our infant Navy. I now inclose you a letter which I had the honor to receive in charge from the Secret...
ALS : American Philosophical Society; copy: National Archives <Lorient, December 9, 1778: I forward the enclosed memorial from gentlemen who were taken prisoner under my command. They observe that “I am well acquainted with their situation.” Their present treatment is incompatible with reason, law, and humanity. Of the two hundred prisoners on board the Patience , only one hundred thirty...
AD : American Philosophical Society I ask the Commissioners Whither they do or do not mean that the Ranger should depart before her Prizes are Realized? Whither the advances paid to the seamen must be deducted from their Prize Money, and at what Rate? And whither it is not inexpedient for a ship that is Crank, that sails slow, and that is of a triffling force, to pursue a tract where there is...
ALS : American Philosophical Society; copies: Harvard University Library, National Archives (two) I had the honor of writeing to you from Nantes the 27th ulto. The affair of Quiberon (which I did not then know of) is now in every Brokers mouth. Strange! that nothing can remain Secret. Should I find that Force likely to depart within a few days I will Avail myself of its protection, especially...
Copies: United States Naval Academy Museum, National Archives, University of Virginia Library <Passy, August 2, 1778: Captain Jones requests the commissioners to supply him with copies, or allow him to copy, the following letters: M. de Sartine’s letter to the commissioners about Capt. Jones, their answer, the commissioners’ letter to Lieut. Simpson resulting from Capt. Jones’s proposition in...
ALS : Boston Public Library Your esteemed favor of the 17th. I have recived. I wish to leave the Ranger in such a situation as to expect to find her nearly ready for Sea on my return, as I think it will be for the intrest of the Service that I should then proceed with her alone Unless an Additional force can be very soon procured. Should circumstances Admit, an Additional force may be...
ALS : American Philosophical Society; copy: United States Naval Academy Museum Inclosed I send you Copies of my Letters since the 10th February. As the Port of Brest is so crowded with Shipping that the Ranger was prevented from entering into it I thought it the most expiditious to return here to clean her bottom which is now effected. On surveying the Masts it has been concluded that they...
It is my duty to forward to you the within Memorial of Facts from Gentlemen whom the fortune of War made Prisoners to the American Arms under my command. In their application to me they observe that “I am well acquainted with their situation.” The late treatment which these unfortunate Men have met with appears to me to carry with it a degree of severity which cannot be Justified by reason nor...
ALS : American Philosophical Society; copy: United States Naval Academy Museum <Passy, August 6, 1778: By a resolve of Congress the seamen engaged on the Ranger were given forty dollars each, and the landsmen twenty dollars advance in continental bills. They have also been supplied with slops, and received a small cash advance at Nantes last winter. I consider it my duty to represent these...
ALS : American Philosophical Society Inclosed you have copies of letters which I had the honor of writing you from Portsmouth the latter of which could not have reached your hands as I understand that the mail was destroyed. I sailed from Portsmouth the 1st. Ulto. and arrived safe in this River in the Ranger the 2d. Current having taken two brigtines from Malaga laden with Fruit for London. I...
ALS : University of Virginia Library; AL : American Philosophical Society, United States Naval Academy Museum; copy: National Archives <Brest, May 9, 1778: I arrived last night with the British warship Drake , and will soon give you an account of the cruise. I have almost two hundred prisoners, but there is danger they may be surrendered without an exchange. I plan to refit the Drake as fast...
ALS : American Philosophical Society I have the honor to inform you that from Paris I reached this place in 56 hours. As I have in my possession repeated Orders from Congress to Afford Aid and protection to the American Commerce, I conceive it to be my duty to give my best protection and safe conduct to the Squadron with Supplies now nearly in readiness to sail from hence, until they are at...
ALS : American Philosophical Society I had the honor of writing to you from hence the 3d day of June last Copy whereof is here inclosed. Congress have thought fit to put the new Sloop of War therein mentioned, now called the Ranger under my command, and have authorized Genl. Whipple, Colo. Langdon and myself to appoint the Officers. When I took this command, the middle of last month, I found...
ALS : American Philosophical Society I take the Liberty of acquainting you that in obedience to Orders from the Honorable the Marine and Secret Committees of Congress, bearing date the 9th ulto, I immediately repaired here in Order to proceed in the French Ship Amphitrite from hence to Charlestown South Carolina and thence to France. The intention of the Secret Committee was first to avail of...
LS : American Philosophical Society; AL (draft) and transcript: National Archives I am honored in due Course with your esteemed favor of the 22d. Ult.— I send this by an Express that has given me no warning, but sets out immediately; so that I have not time to be very particular— The Ariel is in the Road, nearly ready for the Sea— I have taken on Board 146 Chests of Arms and 400 Barrels of...
ALS : American Philosophical Society; AL (draft): National Archives; copy: United States Naval Academy Museum The Court Martial that has been held on board here for the last two Days past has not yet come to a determination respecting the Bon homme Richard and Alliance being run foul of one another—and as the health of Lieutenant Robinson, who commanded the Bon homme Richard Deck, did not...
AL (draft): Library of Congress; copy: Archives de la Marine On the 23d. day of September 1779 in Sight of Flamborough Head on the East Coast of England I discovered a Fleet under British Colours and made the Signal for Chase with the necessary preparation for Battle.— The Bon Homme Richard of 40 Guns which I then commanded in Person came up with and Hailed the largest Ship of the fleet. The...
LS : National Archives; copies: Algemeen Rijksarchief, Library of Congress, National Archives This letter is of considerable historiographical interest because it forms the basis for most subsequent accounts of Jones’s cruise and his battle with H.M.S. Serapis . Central to these accounts is the premise here expounded by Jones that the Bonhomme Richard had to overcome the fire not only of his...
ALS : American Philosophical Society; AL (draft): Library of Congress I had the pleasure of writing to your Excellency on my arrival at Corogne.— Having refreshed my people and shunned a Gale of Wind in that Port I Sailed again the 28th. Ulto.— I took a turn to the Westward of Cape Finistre in hopes of intercepting some of the Enemies Ships, but without Success, and meeting with Mr. Haywood in...
ALS : American Philosophical Society; AL (draft): National Archives; copy: United States Naval Academy Museum The Fleet hath this day returned here, having been absent a Month and done nothing; for I call taking a small Tender and a small Privateer Nothing. A Frigate, the Juno, of 32 Guns 12 pounders is also Arrived and has brought in the English Frigate the Fox that was formerly taken by our...
ALS : American Philosophical Society; copy: Library of Congress I had the honor to write your Excellency a line from the Hague on the 8th.— His Excellency the French Ambassador and the Agent have no doubt marked the situation of Affairs with respect to the Squadron, as concerned with this Government and with the Enemy.— I am doing every thing in my Power towards fulfiling the Advice which I...
ALS : American Philosophical Society; AL (draft): National Archives; copy: United States Naval Academy Museum I should have acknowledged sooner the receipt of Your Orders dated the 30th. Ulto. which I recd. the 7th. Curr. but waited for the letter which yours alludes to from M. de Chaumont which has but this moment appeared and except the Name of a Merchant contains nothing New. I have had...
ALS : University of Pennsylvania Library; AL (draft): National Archives When I had the honor of writing to your Excellency the 23. Ult. I hoped about the end of this Month to have set foot on the Continent beyond the Atlantic. The prospect changed however, immediately after I had sent away my dispatches, and Prudence bid me again drop Anchor at Groix.— The within Declaration of my Officers...
ALS : American Philosophical Society; AL (draft): National Archives; copy: United States Naval Academy Museum Since my last the Irish Brigantine the Three Friends from Bordeaux taken by the Alliance has sunk at her Anchors in this Road. This unfortunate Accident happened about Eleven in the fore noon the Day before yesterday, and the Prize Master and People declare that the Vessel made no...
ALS : American Philosophical Society; AL (draft): Library of Congress I am honored with your Excellencies letter of the 19th.— I feel your reasons for Urging frugallity, and as I have not hitherto been among the most extravagant Servants of America so you may depend on it my regard for you will make me particularly Nice in my present situation. It will give me very great pleasure to be able to...
LS : American Philosophical Society; AL (draft): National Archives I have duly received your Excellencies dispatches of the 4th and 9th Current.— The Wind is Fair, the Pilot on Board, and the Ship will be under Sail at day Break.— Mr. Gourlade nor M. de La Grave have not yet appeared.— I will Steer as directly as possible for our Ports.— Enclosed is a receipt from Messrs. Gourlade and Moylan...
ALS : American Philosophical Society The mystery which you so delicately mention in your much esteemed favor of the 24th. Ulto.— it has been my intention for more than Twelve Months past to communicate to you; which however I have put off from time to time on reflecting that the Account must give you more pain than pleasure:—yet had I not, on my sudden departure from hence for Paris,...
ALS : American Philosophical Society; copies: Library of Congress, United States Naval Academy Museum I hope you will find the within letters entirely free from asperity or ill Nature. I have been and am, in the Eyes of Brest and of the French Fleet, considered as having incurred your Displeasure and being consequently in Disgrace. The Commissioners’ refusal of my Bill, my Journey to Paris...
ALS : American Philosophical Society I have this day received your esteemed letter of the 9th—The Alliance arrived here the 12th. and the Sensible is this day arrived at Port Louis (at the entrance of this Harbour)—There is also this day arrived here a Cutter of 18 Guns from Cherbourg—this last I hope will be added to the Armament—the Pallas with the rest of the small Vessels from Nantes have...
ALS : American Philosophical Society; AL (draft): National Archives; copy: United States Naval Academy Museum The Bowsprit of the Bon homme Richard, having been landed and examined is found not only Sprung in 2 places but in several others much decayed and Rotten:— It is therefore condemned as being Unfit for future Service.— The Old Bowsprit mentioned in my last is now Undergoing a Survey and...
ALS : American Philosophical Society With respect to the reception which I meet with here I beg leave to refer you to the Accounts which I know you will receive from Mr——— by whose hands I had the honour to receive your esteemed favor of the 7th. of September.— His Excellency —— I understand makes propositions respecting certain Commissions.— Whatever you may find Consonant with the good of...
ALS : American Philosophical Society; two copies and transcript: National Archives Previous to the appearance of your Excellency’s letter of the 8th: Current, I had forwarded thro’ the hands of M. Dumas the Certificates which you required respecting Captain Landais; And the Serapis was ready for Sea when the French Ambassador sent for me a Second time to meet him at Amsterdam.— I hope my...
AL : University of Pennsylvania Library Mr Paul Jones has the Honor to accept Doctor Franklin’s kind Invitation for Dinner on Wednesday the 4th. Instant Addressed: A son Excellence / Monsieur Franklin Ministre / Plenipotentiere des Etâts-Unis / en son Hotêl à Passy / près Paris. The Duke of Dorset was also among the “grande Compagnie” dining with BF on this date: BFB ’s journal, entry of Aug....
ALS : American Philosophical Society The Marquis de la Fayette was so obliging as to translate and enforce my two last Letters, which I had the honor to communicate to you of the 6th. and 13th. Current, to the Marechal de Castries, on the subject of the Prize-money due to the Officers and Men who served in the Squadron I commanded in Europe. But, from a Letter written the 29th. of May 1780...
LS : American Philosophical Society It is but this moment that the Court martial has finished the affairs of the Bonhomme Richard and the Alliance being run foul of Each other. I inclose you the Whole proceedings of that Court, Which being the only one of Consequence, it is unnecessary to trouble you With bundles of papers Where the Conclusions have only Amounted to Whipping Which has been...
ALS : American Philosophical Society; copies: National Archives, United States Naval Academy Museum The inclosed letter for M. de Chaumont will I hope have your approbation. I wish it were possible that the first plan could be pursued—or if it is postponed, it is perhaps a delicate point, but I wish I could have some assurance that the Indien will not be put under the command of another, but...
LS : American Philosophical Society; AL (draft): National Archives; copy: United States Naval Academy Museum I by the last post gave you an account of the events here respecting Captain Landais and the Alliance, and inclosed all the necessary papers to explain circumstances.— Yesterday the Serapis was publicly sold for I think 240,000 livres.— Mr. Williams and myself have been looking after a...
ALS : American Philosophical Society; AL (draft): National Archives It being represented to me by Saml. Wharton Esqr. & Captain Hall of Philadelphia, Mr. Robt. Mease Merchant of Virginia and Mr. Mathew Mease Purser of the Ariel that Five persons lately arrived here directly from Maryland and Pensylvania were Under the following circumstances Vizt. Mr. Cheston from Maryland confesses he has...