Alexander Hamilton Papers

Continental Congress Report on a Letter from Captain John Paul Jones, [4 December 1782]

Continental Congress
Report on a Letter from Captain John Paul Jones

[Philadelphia, December 4, 1782.] Report of a committee, consisting of Samuel Osgood, James Madison, and Hamilton on a request of Captain John Paul Jones1 for permission to serve on a campaign with the Marquis de Vaudreuil.2 The committee reported that, “Congress having a high sense of the merit and services of Capt Jones,” the permission be granted.

D, in writing of James Madison, with interlineations by H, Papers of the Continental Congress, National Archives.

1John Paul Jones, a native of Scotland, was in the American colonies at the outbreak of the Revolution, having shortly before left England to avoid facing charges against him. In December, 1775, he was given a commission in the Continental Navy and during the Revolution became, as is well known, the naval hero of the war. His fame in France was as great as in the American colonies. In February, 1781, Congress expressed its “high sense of the distinguished bravery and military conduct” of Jones and in June elected him to command the America, the largest ship in the Continental Navy, then being built at Portsmouth, New Hampshire. After he had supervised the construction of the America, it was presented to the French. Jones requested permission to join the Marquis de Vaudreuil for the purpose of gaining experience in the management of fleets.

2Louis Philippe de Rigaud, Marquis de Vaudreuil, had a long and distinguished career in the French navy. He had served with Comte de Grasse at the battle of the Saintes in April, 1782, and in August of the same year had been promoted to the rank of lieutenant general. In December, 1782, Vaudreuil was commander of a French fleet which was at Boston.

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