Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from John Paul Jones, 18 June 1779

From John Paul Jones

AL (draft): National Archives; copy: United States Naval Academy Museum

On board the Bon homme Richard At Anchor under the Isle of Groa6 June the 18th. 1779. 5ôClock P. M.

Honored and dear Sir,

I have this moment Anchored here. M. de Chaumont will communicate to you the Object of my present destenation7 as well as inform you where I mean to anchor about Ten days hence to receive your final Orders.—8 I have had a most disagreeable Task to compose Affairs on board the Alliance— The two principal Officers Lieutenants hill and adams have at last left her without a Congée9 And I believe in consequence that a better Understanding will Subsist between the Officers that remain.— The inclosed letter respecting Mr. Amiel1 I hope will meet with your Approbation and when I anchor to receive your orders I can take him again on board or not as you direct.

I am with real Sentiments of honest Esteem and Affection Dear Sir Your truely Obliged Friend and very humble Servant

His Excellency Doctor Franklin.

Notation in Jones’s hand: His Excellency Doctor Franklin— Passy—Bon homme Richard June 18th. 1779 at Anchor under the Isle of Groa No. 11.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

6The Ile de Groix, off which was Lorient’s roadstead.

7At some later date Jones began making notations in the margins of his drafts for use in his dispute with Landais. Here Jones inserted “To convoy a fleet from Groix to the Different Ports in the Bay of Biscay send them to Cadiz for Privateers on my return to Groix.”

8On June 19, at Sartine’s request, Jones sailed from Lorient with the Bonhomme Richard, Alliance, Pallas, Vengeance, and Cerf to escort French merchantmen to various ports in the Bay of Biscay. The squadron returned to Lorient on July 1 after a cruise marred by a collision between the Bonhomme Richard and Alliance: Morison, Jones, pp. 193–4; Idzerda, Lafayette Papers, II, 268n; Peter Landais, Memorial to Justify Peter Landai’s Conduct during the Late War (Boston, 1784), pp. 18–20; Jones to BF, July 1 (APS).

9I.e., without leave. See their letter of June 8. On June 13 Jones chaired a hearing attended by JW and others which unsuccessfully tried to reconcile the conflict between Landais and his officers: Landais, Memorial, pp. 16–18.

1Granting his secretary Lt. Peter Amiel leave of absence; see our annotation to John Browne’s letter of May 13. A copy of Jones’s letter is at the APS.

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