Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from John Paul Jones, with Enclosure, 7 July 1786

From John Paul Jones, with Enclosure

Paris, July 7th, 1786.


I have the honor to enclose and submit to your consideration the account I have stated of the prize money in my hands, with sundry papers that regard the charges. I cannot bring myself to lessen the dividend of the American captors by making any charge either for my time or trouble. I lament that it has not yet been in my power to procure for them advantages as solid and extensive as the merit of their services. I would not have undertaken this business from any views of private emolument that could possibly have resulted from it to myself, even supposing I had recovered or should recover a sum more considerable than the penalty of my bond. But I was anxious to force some ill-natured persons to acknowledge that, if they did not tell a wilful falsehood, they were mistaken when they asserted “that I had commanded a squadron of privateers!” And, the war being over, I made it my first care to shew the brave instruments of my success that their rights are as dear to me as my own.

It will, I believe, be proper for me to make oath before you to the amount charged for my ordinary expenses. I flatter myself that you will find no objection to the account as I have stated it, and that you are of opinion, that after this settlement has been made between us, my bond ought to stand cancelled, as far as regards my transactions with the Court of France. Should any part of the prize money remain in the treasury, without being claimed, after sufficient time shall be elapsed, I beg leave to submit to you—to the treasury—and to Congress, whether I have not merited by my conduct since I returned to Europe that such remainder should be disposed of in my favor? I have the honor to be with great esteem, &c.


Amount of Prize-Money belonging to the American Part of the Crew of the Bon-[Homme]-Richard (and to some few Foreigners, whose Names and qualities are inserted in the [roll), with the] Amount also of the Prize-Money belonging to the Crew of the Alliance; [received at] L’Orient, by order of the Marechal de Castries, in Bills on Paris

From which deduct Vizt.
[Nett] amount of my ordinary expences
since I arrived in Europe
to [settle] the Prize-Money belonging
to the Citizens and Subjects
of America, who served on
board the Squadron I commanded,
under the Flag of the United-States
at the expence of his most Christian
Majesty [stated] to his
Excellency Thos. Jefferson Esqr.
the 4th. of this Month
[Paid] the draft of Mr. le Jeune for
the amount of Prize-Money due
to Jacque Tual, Pilot of the Alliance
Amount of Prize-Money Paid Mr.
de Blondel, Lieutenant of Marines
of the Pallas, as stated on
the Roll of the Bon-Homme-Richard
Advances made to sundry Persons,
which stand at my Credit on [the
roll] of the Bon-Homme-Richard
[Advances] made to sundry Persons
belonging to the Bon-Homme-Richard;
[these] advances do not
stand at my Credit in the Roll
settled at L’Orient by Mr. le
Jeune, because the Commissrs.
had neglected to send him [the
origin]al Roll from the Bureau at
Versailles; but that Commis[sary
has] rectified that ommission by
his Certificates dated Septr. 5th.
and Feb. 22d. 1786
[My share] by the Roll, as Captain
of the Bon-Homme-Richard
£112,172-  2–4

Paris July 7th. 1786 (Signed) J Paul Jones

MS not located. Text printed from Sherburne, John Paul Jones, p. 277–8. Enclosure (missing); printed from a slightly mutilated Tr (DLC: John Paul Jones Papers); in Jones’ hand; at head of text: “No. 13”; at foot of text: “[…] the Kingdom of France to wit, The within named John Paul Jones made Oath before me on the holy Evangelists that his ordinary expences since his Arrival in Europe for the purpose of receiving the Prize-Money within stated have amounted to forty seven thousand nine hundred and seventy two livres eleven sous tournois. Given under my Hand this fifth day of August 1786. Th: Jefferson.” The accompanying “sundry papers” have not been identified.

1The itemized figures actually total 68,776–19–6 livres tournois.

Index Entries