Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from John Paul Jones, 4 April 1780

From John Paul Jones

ALS: American Philosophical Society; AL (draft): National Archives

L’Orient April 4th. 1780.

Honored and dear Sir,

I have received yesterday yours of the 1st by Express from Versailles and went immediately down to Port Louis where I was told that the powder is ready but that a considerable part of the Small Arms are not expected there before the 15th.— The necessary Arrangement to receive them will in the meantime be made on board the Alliance.6 I fear that you will now find that M. C—— has imposed upon you by promising what he has had no intention to perform—7 He has given no means of advancing money here—and if the people remain much longer dissatisfied I tremble and let him tremble too for the Consequence! Besides the Affairs mentioned in the within letter he has made another proposition that an Honest Man would be Ashamed of—8 I wait for something further by the Next post—for I am very 10th to expose his Conduct and willing to give him time to repent.

I am ever with the most Affectionate Esteem, Dear Sir truly yours in haste.

Jno P Jones

His Excellence B. Franklin Esqr. &c &c.

Notation: J.P. Jones, L’orient. April. 4. 80

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

6Deleted in the draft at this point: “I have this day by post had the honor to receive Your”.

7On April 4 Jones went to Chaumont’s correspondent Pierre-André Montigny de Monplaisir for the 100,000 l.t. BF had said Chaumont would provide. Monplaisir could not honor the request; his written explanation is dated April 5: Bradford, Jones Papers, reel 5, nos. 1037–8. A week later Jones called on Gourlade and Moylan for 800 louis (19,200 l.t.) to distribute among the crew of the Alliance and on the 22nd they were given a month’s pay: Bradford, Jones Papers, reel 5, nos. 1044–5; John S. Barnes, ed., The Logs of the Serapis-Alliance-Ariel under the Command of John Paul Jones 1779–1780 (New York, 1911) p. 81. Bancroft told Jones on April 15 that Chaumont had given the excuse that the French government was in arrears with him; from this letter we also learn that BF had given Jones permission to pay the crew the 24,000 l.t. BF had authorized: Bradford, Jones Papers, reel 5, no. 1048.

8Perhaps what Monplaisir reported to Jones on the 5th: Chaumont supposedly told him that BF had decided to pay the crew of the Bonhomme Richard in France, but to make the crew of the Alliance wait for their pay until they returned to America.

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