Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from John Paul Jones, 31 January 1789

From John Paul Jones

St. Petersburgh, January 31, 1789

My dear Sir

I had the honor to write you a line the 26th from this place, where I am arrived a short time ago from the Black sea. I send1 enclosed an extract of the journal of my campaign in 1779, as you desired; and I now enclose an extract of a letter I wrote you by Mr. Littlepage. I have heard nothing from him since he left me. I know only that he arrived at Warsaw, but am quite uncertain about his return, as he proposed, to Paris. I can only inform you that I returned here by special desire of the Empress, but I know not, as yet, how or where I am to be employed for the next campaign. I mentioned in my last, as my opinion, that if the new Government of America determines to chastise the Algerines, I think it now a favorable moment to conclude a treaty with Russia. The Turks and Algerines were combined against us on the Black sea. The United States could grant leave for Russia to enlist American seamen; and making a common cause with Russia in the Mediterranean, America might, at the peace, obtain a free navigation to and from the Black sea. If such a treaty were to take place, I believe I could obtain the command of the combined force; at least no objection would be made to it here. Such a connexion might lead to various mutual advantages in the commerce between the two nations. I beg to hear from you, and to know the situation of our claim on the Court of Denmark, for the only objection made by the Count Bernstorff is now removed, by the establishment of the new American Constitution. I am, with perfect esteem, &c.,

J. P. Jones.

MS missing; text taken from Dipl. Corr., 1783–89, description begins [William A. Weaver, ed.] The Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States of America, from the Signing of the Definitive Treaty of Peace …to the Adoption of the Constitution, Washington, 1837, 3 vols. description ends iii, 735. Recorded in SJL as received 28 Feb. 1789. The enclosed extract of a letterby Mr. Littlepage was that from Jones to TJ, 29 Aug. to 9 Sep. 1788.

1The original MS must have read thus, for TJ interpreted the passage to mean that Jones had also enclosed in the present letter an extract from his journal of the campaign of 1779: in his acknowledgement of 23 Mch. 1789 TJ replied that it was not enclosed. Jones meant to write “sent,” for he had enclosed the extract in his letter of 26 Jan. 1789.

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