Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to John Paul Jones, 30 June 1779

To John Paul Jones

LS:2 National Archives; copies: National Archives, Library of Congress

Passy 30. June 1779.

Dear sir,

Being arrived at Grois, you are to make the best of your Way, with the Vessels under your Command, to the West of Ireland; and establish your Cruise on the Orcades, the Cape of Dirneus, and the Dogger Bank: in order to take the Ennimies Property in those Seas.3

The Prizes you may make, send to Dunkirk, Ostend, or Bergen in Norway: according to your Proximity to either of those Ports. Address them to the Persons M. De Chaumont shall indicate to you.4

About the 15th August, when you will have sufficiently cruised in these Seas, you are to make Route for the Texel, where you will meet my further Orders.5

If by any personal Accident you should be render’d unable to execute these Instructions, The Officer of your Squadron next in Rank, is to endeavour to put them in execution.

With best Wishes for your Prosperity, I am ever, Dear Sir, your affectionate Friend & humble Servant.

B Franklin

Honble Capt. Jones.

Endorsed: from his Excellency Doctor Franklin Passy June 30th. 1779 recd. L’Orient July. 6th. 1779. No. 11.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

2In WTF’s hand. In a July 8 letter to Jones (National Archives) BF explained that the following instructions had been drafted in French by Sartine’s ministry and brought to him by Chaumont. BF then had them translated into English.

3The Orcades is another name for the Orkney Islands. Morison, Jones, p. 194, claims that the second reference point is the Cape of Lindesnes (also known as the Naze), the southern tip of Norway; another possibility is Cape Dennis (Dennis Head) at the northeast tip of the Orkneys: Thomas J. Schaeper, John Paul Jones and the Battle off Flamborough Head: a Reconsideration (New York, 1989), pp. 108–9. The Dogger Bank is one of the prime fishing grounds in the North Sea.

4On June 30 Chaumont told Jones to send his prizes to the French consul at Bergen or, for prizes directed to Ostend or Dunkirk, to M. Calliez père (XXVIII, 560–1): Bradford, Jones Papers, reel 3, no. 660.

5Shipping to and from Amsterdam generally passed through the channel south of the Texel, an island off the entrance to the Zuider Zee. Wood needed by the French navy had been accumulating at Amsterdam; see Dumas’ letter of June 11. As the Dutch refused to convoy it to France, Jones’s squadron, after completing its initial cruise, would be available to bring the timber ships safely through the English Channel: Dull, French Navy, pp. 174–6.

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