Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from John Paul Jones, 18 May 1778

From John Paul Jones

ALS: Princeton University Library; AL (draft): National Archives; copies: Library of Congress1, United States Naval Academy Museum

Brest May 18th. 1778.

Honored Sir

The within letter addressed to the Countess of Selkirk2 which I leave open for your perusal will I hope apologize for the liberty I take when I request you to forward it via Holland. Two copies are already forwarded, one of which under cover to the Post Master at Calis and Lord Le Despencer,3 so that I hope at least one of the three will reach the Ladys hands.

I cannot but feel myself hurt by the dirty insinuation of the Enemy, that my enterprize at Whitehaven was in consequence of a Capital Sum paid me in hand by the Court of France: They have other Visits of the same kind to expect (if I am not deprived of the means of making them) and that too without my having either a certainty or hope of Gain. I have the honor to be with great Esteem and Respect Sir Your very Obliged very Obedient very humble Servant

Jno P Jones

His Excellency Doctor Franklin

Notations in different hands: Capt Jones June 6. 784 / Brest

1In Jones’s hand.

2An outgrowth of his raid on the Selkirks’ house on St. Mary’s Isle, during which his men appropriated some silver. Jones was proud of this long and rambling letter—or gallant, as BF called it in his reply on the 27th—and broadcast many copies: Morison, Jones, pp. 147–51.

3The Postmaster General.

4Whoever wrote this notation dated Jones’s letter below of June 6 as May 18.

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