Benjamin Franklin Papers
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To Benjamin Franklin from John Paul Jones, 30 July 1779

From John Paul Jones

ALS: American Philosophical Society; AL (draft): National Archives; copy: United States Naval Academy Museum

L’Orient July 30th. 1779.

Honored & dear Sir,

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 Water and that the Pump sucked at Nine in the Morning.— Neither Captain Landais nor myself were made acquainted with the matter till about a quarter before Eleven, and the assistance of several Boats which were immediatly sent could not then prevent the Vessel from Sinking.— The Admiralty have taken off the Seals and part of the Cargo is Landed.— The remainder will be landed as circumstances will admit, and I will endeavour to have the Leak found and stopped as soon as possible.— It is thought that the Prize has sunk by getting upon an Anchor: But should it be found to have been the Effect of carlessness, a Court Martial shall determin what Punishment to inflict.

I mentioned in my last9 that if the Court Martial should Sentance any Person to Death, and if I should Sail before I received your Orders respecting the matter I would leave the condemned ashore here in Prison.— But I have since on reflection concluded to carry the Condemned with me that the Sentance may be executed at Sea.— The Bon homme Richard is ready for the Sea— except only that the 100 Men that I have been ordered to Land must be previously1 replaced.

I am ever with Sentiments of the heighest Esteem & Affection Dear Sir Your very obliged Friend and very Obedient humble Servant

Jno P Jones

His Excellency Doctor Franklin.

Notation: Capt. Jones July 30. 1779

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

9Above, July 28.

1Jones retained the draft and later added a marginal note: “they were replaced before Mr. De Chaumont returned to L’Orient.” Cutting Lunt recruited thirty crewmen for the Bonhomme Richard at Nantes, while the Epervier contributed thirty-eight Portuguese, Danish, and Dutch sailors: Bradford, Jones Papers, reel 4, no. 713; Morison, Jones, p. 197. Lunt’s group, now 29, reached Lorient on Aug. 7: Boudriot, John Paul Jones and the Bonhomme Richard, p. 59.

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