John Paul Jones to Benjamin Franklin and John Adams
L’Orient Decr. 9th 1778
I have the honor to inform you that this day Arrived here a Virginia Pilot boat from Boston in 23 days.1 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 Prisoners2—that the Providence, Boston, and Ranger were Arrived having taken two or three Merchant Vessels—That the Enemy were embarking their Stores and provision at N. York—That the Raleigh was chaced ashore to the Eastward of Boston, the Crew made Prisoners and the Ship got off by the Enemy3—that it was reported that three of Byrons Fleet were ashore on Nantucket Shoals,4 and that Barbados and Granadoes &ca. were taken.5
I have the honor to be, with due esteem & respect Gentlemen, your most Obedient and very humble Servant
Jno P Jones
RC (NhD: Ticknor Autograph Coll.).
1. This was the schooner Dauphin, which had left Boston on 16 Nov.; it was identified in another letter to the Commissioners of 9 Dec. from the Lorient mercantile firm of Gourlade & Moylan. That letter contained the same information as this one from Jones (PPAmP: Franklin Papers), adding only that the Dauphin had brought no letters for the Commissioners.
2. The 64-gun ship of the line Somerset was driven aground during a storm on 2 Nov. An account of the wreck appeared in the Boston Gazette of 9 Nov. and is reprinted in Adams Family Correspondence description begins Adams Family Correspondence, ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1963– description ends , 3:118.
4. Sightings of two overturned vessels and the masts of a third were reported in the Boston Gazette of 16 Nov.
5. On the day that the Dauphin left Boston the Boston Gazette printed the erroneous report that the French had captured three or four West Indian islands in addition to Dominica, taken in September. According to the Boston Independent Chronicle of 19 Nov., the islands were Montserrat, Nevis, St. Christopher, and Antigua.