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The Tory Lover by Sarah Orne Jewett
"The Life and Character of John Paul Jones, a Captain in the United States Navy during the Revolutionary War. By John Henry Sherburne, author of "Naval Sketches," "Osceola, a Tragedy," "John Adams' Administration," and "Spectemur Agendo:" Let us be tried by our actions. Second Edition. New-York: Adriance, Sherman & Co., Astor House.
THE record of the life and character of Paul Jones has been made the vehicle for much misrepresentation and obloquy by English writers. In the school books in common use in the British islands, he is presented to the young as a daring freebooter, or at best, a "bold adventurer," whose only motives were self-aggrandizement and a natural love of danger. Many romantic stories and nouvelettes are in circulation, of which he is the hero, and a fine one he makes; but not seldom is he presented in a doubtful view, depriving him of that meed of respect and honor which is awarded to Montgomery, La Fayette, Steuben, De Kalb, Sterling, Paine, Burke, and other foreign allies and sympathizers, who, by blood or brain, upheld the truth and necessity of American liberty, in the days of the revolution. That this should be the case with English writers, intending to mislead the youthful mind of their country, is not at all astonishing, but otherwise, and appears to us quite natural; as they do not relish writing of that period of their history at all, much more doing justice to the heroes of what the Annual Register for 1776 calls "the rebellion in America."
"In truth, affairs had run so counter in America, and every measure had produced an effect so directly contrary to what was proposed or expected" by the British government, "that it was not easy to set a good face upon the matter, either to the parliament or the nation." Such are the admissions made by a writer, reviewing the affairs of 1776 at the time. And when we consider the insurmountable disgrace attending the British arms at the close of the war, we do not wonder that the subsequent writers-up of Anglo-Saxon glory, should hide the truth in a fog of misconstructions, and essay to throw all the odium their imaginations could suggest, on the statesmen who baffled their "conciliatory resolutions," which were made, as the same writer at the same time says, for the "double capacity of converting and dividing," and which were "supposed well adapted to accomplish all that was wanted." To the further dishonor of Britain, the same British writer, in most pitiable plight, adds: "To these, however," (lest words would not do, they had " looks" for us,) "was added an army sufficient, as the sanguine thought, to look America into subjection, without the trouble of a blow. And to crown the whole, a naval force, which would in itself be nearly equal to the purpose" -- A Daniel come to judgment!
To silence more effectually our "troublesome clamor," to remedy the mischiefs of past tardiness, and to appease the insulted and outraged "military pride of the English people," it was determined to carry on the war with a vigor that should astonish Europe," (and so it did,) "and to employ such an army in the ensuing campaign as never before had entered the New World" And, indeed, when we remember that the army was composed of poor Germans, sold to be shot at so much a head and body; of Canadian Indians with a tariff for the valuation of scalps; of English "gentlemen" come to "look us down;" of English boors choke full of loyalty and bacon, and of the sweepings of the hulks and the hells of London, and especially to kill, burn, rape, and murder, we do believe that such an "army" had never before or since entered this New World, or any other.
It is refreshing to look back through the historical fogs that have been raised since, and read such paragraphs, written while the air was yet echoing with the shouts of artillery, and the clanging of Hessian broad-swords. Could the English people dream of such a climax? Could roast-beef and plum-pudding descend to contemplate such a thing? Unheard-of condescension! Their army and navy would "look America down," as they looked at their pudding, wishing it would come to their mouths, and save the trouble of knifing or spooning it. But the reality comes. Will they give into it? Give up their nature first!
That such should be the case, does not appear strange to us; but we are astonished to find such an indefatigable bookman, book-writer, and antiquarian, as the late Mathew Carey, of Philadelphia, holding the opinion up to the year one thousand eight hundred and twenty-five, that "he always regarded Paul Jones as very few degrees above a freebooter, who, in the prospect of plunder, was reckless of his life." The letter from which we quote is one to Col. J. H. Sherburne, author of "The Life," on the publication of the first edition. It goes on to say: "I am now thoroughly undeceived," ('twere high time, old Mathew,) "and consider him deserving a conspicuous rank among the most illustrious of those heroes and statesmen," &c., of the revolution. Mathew Carey must have been remarkably ignorant of Jones's career, or learned it from entirely English sources. The latter we take to be most probable, though Carey was no lover of England or the English as a nation. But it is not likely or reasonable to think, that the National Assembly of France would adopt mourning in respect to the memory of one but "a few degrees above a freebooter." Friend Mathew must have heard of such an honor to the deceased chevalier, and might have heeded the same.
Colonel Sherburne's work is compiled from authentic documents, dispatches, and papers, recovered after much research from the archives of Russia and France, and from other sources, including papers and letters from La Fayette and President Jefferson. It is a most interesting record, and is highly creditable in its spirit, execution, and sympathies, though the work is, more properly speaking, an auto-biography by Admiral Jones than a biography by Colonel Sherburne. The latter's most commendable province has been the pursuit of every thing which could throw a light upon the character and life of Jones: and in connecting with gracefulness the numerous official accounts and letters of Jones to the government authorities, marine committees and commissioners, and his correspondence with and from the Countess of Selkirk, (wife of the Earl, whose house at St. Mary's Isle had been sacked in Jones's memorable descent on Whitehaven, in 1778,) with Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Jay, Sartine, French minister of marine affairs, La Fayette, Duc de Chartres, Le Ray de Chaumont, Robert Morris, Arthur Lee, Duc de Vauguyon, ambassador of France at the Hague, the Marechal de Castries, Prince Potemkin, Count de Segur, the Empress of Russia, and some letters friendly and amatory to certain members of the softer sex.
Colonel Sherburne has done well to prefer giving the letters in the main -- allowing them, with the extracts from Jones's journals, to tell the hero's life, than to have taken the incidents from them, and grouped them after the fashion of some biographers. The freshness of the story is preserved. There is nothing second-hand in the recital; and they stand more on the interest of the action and thought they recite than on any ornateness of style. The letters of Paul Jones are remarkably clear, candid, and comprehensive; are quite characteristic of a spirit of true instincts and manly decision: strong in expressiveness; statesmanlike in the views he takes; jealous of honor, as much for others he thought deserving, as for himself; and occasionally betraying that sensitiveness which lies at the bottom of all true and noble natures. For a man without sensitiveness cannot make allowance for the finer feelings of others; terms the outward appearance of such, pride and affectation; and with this conviction, not unlikely sets to work in a very rude and boorish manner to thwart his sensitive fellow on every opportunity; and, if his situation affords the unfortunate chance, strives to break down the fine-strung heart, unthinking what an atheist he is in denying and demolishing so much godhead. The romantic nature and restless love of adventure of Paul, did not allow his sensitiveness time to grow into a characteristic; but from certain passages in his letters, we perceive that, without being a whiner, he felt sorely the slightest breath or aspersion which might lead any one to doubt his honor or courage. This is a commendable and decidedly natural spirit. Every capable man is aware of his capacity. A fool is no fool, who thinks he is a fool. That would be too near truth to be unwise. The patent of his foolship is in his believing he is a wise man. And so, every really gifted man is conscious of his powers, be they in whatever line, and we cannot find fault if he is jealous of taking care of that power, which nature assigned to his earthly trust and development. The more his ability, the more is he able, and the more he ought, to see the necessity for his using the same to the best advantage. Strong in his ability, such a man is the more sensitive to a slight, even though circumstances do not afford him his opportunity. He longs to make his opportunity. This is not selfish. For great ability cannot be selfish. Heaven does not give its bounties for one man; but makes him the lightning-conductor, as it were, to the brains and actions of millions. A great mind is not selfish. It is really great, boundless. It is only selfish men who would persuade you and themselves they are great; but greatness needs no persuasion to contemplate it, or enlist your sympathies. It is as cosmopolite as the sun-light. You must feel its influence.
Paul Jones was born to be a leader: and had he not been a naval hero, we see in him qualities which would make him -- if he followed out his quondam idea of retirement and study -- a leading man, even in literature; his intellect was clear, and his style without extreme culture -- but coming naturally with the circumstances he narrates, vigorously and convincingly. But let us look at his early life, ere we view his maturity and character more minutely.
Our hero, John Paul Jones, was born in Arbigland, parish of Kirkbean [Kirbean], and stewartry of Kirkcudbright, Scotland, July, 1747, and was the son of a gardener, as was the old English poet, Dick Corbet -- "witty Bishop Corbet," as Percy calls him; and John Lowe, the Scottish bard, author of the famous "Mary's Dream," and as is a present (shall we say witty or arch) Bishop in an American city, famous for his anti-republican principles, being quite unlike his Christian "brother in God," of Paris. The rudiments of Paul's education, such as it was, were received at the parochial school. We are told, that the Solway Frith was the scene of many a naval juvenility, and that "while yet a mere child, he hoisted his flag on board his mimic ship, and issued audible mandates to his imaginary officers and crew, with all the consequence of a legitimate commander." Nay, more: a little older he felt big with inspired naval engagements, and held converse long with, and questioned the experience of, practical sailors. He did not quarrel with the "bright-eyed mariners" for holding him. He felt, gazing upon the muttering sea, as it wrangled with the shore, no doubt, that it should --
"Grow civil at his song,"
as it had done erst, when King Oberon's mermaid had stilled it with her "dulcet and harmonious breath." As Demosthenes had sought the sea-shore, and thundered his harangues to the congratulating ears of imaginary Grecians, and the applauding audience of waves: so our young Paul, standing on an eminence which commanded the port of Carse-Thorn, hurled the incipient thunder of his child-voice to the ships which were entering the harbor, poured out his inspired sea-skill to the empty air, and manúuvred the unknowing barks, as they tacked and stood in for the port. They did not hear that child-voice -- no -- but its echo, rolling over their heads into the future, sunk many an English ship, out-cadenced many a wild storm since, and is even now vibrating the air around us, in this our little study, and drying the very ink on the pen which records it; as though no inky tear should oracle its fame.
Paul Jones was never greater than at that moment when Carse-Thorn stood below him. The world to him was afterwards a Carse-Thorn. The spirits of the Vikings were around that boy as he stood, the apotheosis of a sea-king's son. What followed in his life was only the second enactment of his childhood's inspiration. As he stood there, the past, present, and future, were in him: the inspired experience of the past -- the deeds of the future; the boy full of both. He never could grow greater; perhaps, never grew as great. But as the star, borne beyond visible ken, sends its light traveling down to meet our vision, so, from this hill over Carse-Thorn he sent his deeds traveling to the deck of the sinking "Bon Homme Richard," and to the captured hull of the "Serapis," that they might be more plain and visible to the eyes of history and the world.
At the age of twelve, Paul crossed the Frith to Whitehaven, and was apprenticed to a Mr. Younger, a merchant in the American trade. "His first voyage was made on board the Friendship, Captain Benson. His course was steered for the Rappahannock; and before he had completed his thirteenth year, he landed on the shores of that country, which he was destined to adopt as his own." An elder brother had married a Virginian, and previously settled at this port; and, while here, young Paul was sufficiently taken with the New World and its people, as to look to it as his future home. This it became in 1773, when, free of his apprenticeship, and after visiting many foreign ports, he turned his way to Virginia to settle the affairs of his brother, who had died without issue. This visit only the more strongly warmed his pre-disposition to dwell in[-]America; and deciding accordingly, he intended to live a peaceable life ashore, free from the conflict of the winds and waves, and find in retirement and study that enjoyment which his youthful brain had pictured only on the ocean. The sea-gods were right! for
"Odin crowned his stately spirit
In the hero's hall of shells,
Far away from Helas' darkness,
And the coward's hill of hells."
How long he dwelt in his Arcadia we shall see:"The discontents of the colonists had by this time occasioned much commotion, and their murmurs became daily deeper and much more frequent, till at last they broke off all connection with the parent country. Towards the latter part of the year 1775, it was determined by Congress to fit out a naval force to assist in the defence of American independence, and an anxious search was made for friends to the cause, who should be at once able and willing to act as officers on board their vessels. It now appeared that Jones had, in his romantic schemes of tranquil enjoyment, falsely estimated the natural bent of his genius. With deep interest he had watched the progress of those political events which were to decide the fate of his adopted country; and, when an open resistance was made to the dominion of Britain, he could no longer remain an inactive spectator. Having only just completed his twenty-eighth year, he was full of bodily vigor and of mental energy, and he conceived that his nautical skill would qualify him to be a distinguished assertor of the rights of the colonists. He was appointed, on the 22d of December, 1775, first lieutenant of the Alfred, and on board that vessel, before Philadelphia, he hoisted the flag of independent America with his own hands, the first time it was ever displayed."Thus we see him fairly awakened after a two years' dream: a fitful dream, pulsed betimes by the flitting through of the boy-soul of Carse-Thorn, and which ever calleth the dreamer away, like the "marvelous horn," which "toned home to the soul" of Justinus Kerner --
"There calleth me ever a marvelous horn,
Come away -- come away!
Is it earthly music faring astray,
Or is it air-born?
+ + + + +
Come away! -- come away."
Was it of earth or air? Surely no. It was some Triton, "winding his wreathed horn;" or Fame, crooning by his couch, anxious to see the sleeper on the deck of Destiny.
He is there! -- clear the decks.
On the 17th of February, 1776, the fleet, consisting of four ships, the Alfred, Columbus, Andrew Doria, and Cabot, put to sea: Ezekiel Hopkins, commander-in-chief. On the 1st March they anchored at Abaco, one of the Bahamas, "having previously brought-to a couple of New-Providence sloops to take pilots out of them." Being informed by these that some cannon and a quantity of powder might be had at the two forts of New-Providence, three hundred men were embarked in sloops, under the command of Captain Nicholas. After some manúuvring, and without firing a gun, they possessed themselves of the forts, and, on the 17th, brought off the governor and two others prisoners. On their return they took three prizes; and on the 6th April fell in with the Glasgow man-of-war, and a warm engagement took place, which proved disastrous for the young American squadron. Though there was sufficient in this cruise to warrant self-gratulation in most minds, Jones felt deeply the mishap with the Glasgow -- the more so, that public opinion, overlooking what they had effected, only questioned what they had failed in. Jones had not the command of any of the American ships, was but a lieutenant, yet still writhed beneath the stigma cast upon the affair by the landsmen. He was in no way to blame in the failure, but, with a confidence of his own ability, it is evident he tries to reconcile a want of knowledge on the part of his superior officers, with his own position as subaltern. In a letter to the Hon. Mr. Hewes, of North Carolina, he remarks, that his"Feelings, as an individual, were hurt by the censures that had been indiscriminately thrown out. My station confined me to the Alfred's lower gun-deck, where I commanded during the action; yet -- though the commander's letter, which has been published, says 'all the officers in the Alfred behaved well' ---- still the public blames me, among others, for not taking the enemy. But a little consideration will place the matter in a true light; for no officer, under a superior, who does not stand charged by that superior for cowardice or misconduct, can be blamed on any occasion whatever."Of the same affair, writing to the same he says -- "I wish a general inquiry might be made respecting the abilities of officers in all stations, and then the country would not be cheated." This latter remark, though it does not directly impugn the capacity of any of the officers commanding, conveys, at least, a doubt in the mind of the writer as to their naval ability. Considering his position, he is remarkably candid; and throughout all his letters, he labors to convince his correspondents of the necessity of discipline and skill alone warranting the appointment of officers. That he was right, is unwise to doubt; and that a different tale might be told of the engagement with the Glasgow, had he commanded, is most probable. Two courts-martial were held on board the Alfred; on whom, Col. Sherburne does not say; but "the consequence of the second, as far as it affected Lieut. Jones, was an order for him to take command of the sloop Providence, on the 10th May, 1776." From this the life of Jones forms a remarkable and deeply interesting portion of the naval history, not only of our revolution, but of the world.
That he had good foundation for questioning the ability of the chief officers in command, may be judged from a passage which occurs in a letter to Mr. Hewes of the date 19th May, 1776, in which he says: --
"On my appointment to the Providence, I was indeed astonished to find my seniority question.
+ + + + +I am ready to have my pretensions inquired into by men who are judges. When I applied for a lieutenancy, I hoped, in that rank, to gain much useful knowledge from those of more experience than myself. I was, however, mistaken: for, instead of gaining information, I was obliged to inform others. I formed an exercise, and trained the men so well to the use of the guns in the Alfred, that they went through the motions of broadsides and rounds as exactly as soldiers generally perform the manual exercise."
The first portion of our quotation refers to his refusal of the command of the Fly, which he considered only a "paltry message-boat," and to the claim of seniority made in favor of the officer who accepted the appointment.
The navy of America had just been ushered into life, and consequently was in a very disorganized state. That discipline, obedience, and machine-mind so necessary to the forcible working of such an engine, was not only imperfect, but scarcely existed: the lines of distinct action between officers and seamen not completely settled or understood; the former tenacious of the honor and respect their new stations demanded the latter, not schooled by experience into submission and obedience; the former lacking the urbanity and decision in command so necessary to, and characteristic of, a leader to be loved and obeyed -- the latter not estimating the responsibility of their superior officers, or neglecting, through direct opposition or ignorance of duty, to obey them, rendered the young navy an instrument of much danger in handling, liable to cut both ways, or neither. Jones, seeing [seing] the danger hanging over the strong but untutored child, and knowing his own qualifications, purchased by years of experience, constantly urged upon those parties with whom he was acquainted in Congress, the necessity of a determined and care-taking spirit of action towards but of the navy.
His letters to those parties were manly, clear-thinking and appropriate. No branch of the sea-service escaped his attention. He impressed on them the necessity of discipline and ability being of the "utmost consequence" in the selection of officers -- the harmonizing of the ranks of the officers of the navy with those of the army -- the consequence of the "paltry emolument of two-thirds of the prizes to the finances of this vast continent," as then was the law; and argued, that "if our enemies, with the best established and most formidable navy in the universe, have found it expedient to assign all prizes to the captors, how much more is such policy essential to our infant fleet?" Seamen could not be had for the service; they preferred entering privateers, where the emolument was greater. He argued the necessity of offering more advantages to overcome the obstacle. His suggestions at this time, touching as they did all questions of interest to the navy, are the foundation of our sea-service. He is the father of the American navy. We see Congress passing all his requests and hints brought up in the shape of resolutions, (the wording being scarcely changed,) by the friends whose attention he directed, and whose minds he furnished with the necessary information. He seems, at this early period, like some great leader dictating to his secretaries. He looks as though the whole weight of the power he was creating was incipiently weighing on him, and that he knew it. A sea-king among sailors, he soon proved he was a sailor (in its truest sense) among sea-kings. His diligence in ennobling the navy was only equaled by his promptitude and courage in taking advantage of every new change; and his anxiety for ability on the quarter-deck was only subserved by his sympathy for the forecastle.
Jones, lieutenant, in command of the sloop-of-war Providence, is on sea 4th September, 1776.
"Oh, who can tell, save he whose heart hath tried,
And danced in triumph o'er the waters wide,
The exulting sense -- the pulse's maddening play,
That thrills the wanderer of that trackless way!
That for itself can woo the approaching fight,
And turn what some deem danger to delight."
Now is the boy-soul over Carse-Thorn again, but his voice is heard by more than the empty air. He has overtaken its echo on one of its resting-places into the future; and he commemorates the fact. The deep is illuminated, and Liberty smiles, while the hoary sea, and its Tritons, devour like salamanders the burning crafts of Britain. Certes, in the enraged and blood-shot eyes of Britain, is this Jones a "freebooter;" for in this cruise of but one month and three days, sixteen red flags of St. George fluttered their last for the weal of merrie England. Eight of these sixteen did the polite "pirate" -- this Claude du Val of the ocean -- set fire unto, to light their captured fellows to the welcoming shores of Rhode Island, where they arrived, "merrie" Englishmen, crafts and all, and were received as conquerors, although they were but prisoners of war. How unmerrie! It is evident the "rebellious" colonists had a taste for satire.
Having returned on October 7th to give his English friends an introduction to the "American Rebels," and otherwise to take care of them as became that spirit of politeness for which seamen are celebrated; and having duly performed the same, and received his captaincy commission, "dated Philadelphia, October 10, 1776," and signed
"By Order of the Congress, JOHN HANCOCK, President,"
he is on the sea again in November -- out on a cruise; and verily his craft was not ill-named the Providence.
On land the gloomiest period of the American war was taking place. Several discomfitures had befallen the army of Congress. The British had forded the marshes about the Bronx, dislodged General McDougall's sixteen hundred militiamen at Chatterton's Hill -- had crossed the East River to New-York Island, and taken General Magaw and over two thousand prisoners at Fort Washington. General Washington's army was much reduced, and his letters at this period, though full of his usual calmness and determined spirit, earnestly press upon Congress for support from New-Jersey and Pennsylvania. The entire army with him was about three thousand; and these were suffering from ill success, want of clothes, and a severe winter, the greater portion of which was still in prospect. Raimentless and in retreat, the American soldier saw but in the wintry snow the pale shadow of a death-shroud.
But it is not so. Providence is on the side of right. And a voice thence comes amid their gloom, as did the angels to the dream of Jacob. But, beloved Christian reader! down no ladder of light came their hopes, as they came to Jacob; but down yielding steps of hemp, twisted, and smelling woundily of tar; made, too, behind the chalk cliffs of Albion. This coincidence of England's pride being her chalk cliffs and her boast that she "sways the water," forcibly impresses us with the fact that John Bull's "milk of human kindness" is but a decoction of both -- something better than Hood's ass --
"Who never in his life had given a pail
Of milk, or even chalk and water."
On the 10th of December Jones arrived at Boston, after destroying a transport at Isle Royale, and burning the whale and cod fishery buildings there. He brought with him five prizes, including a privateer mounting sixteen guns, a vessel laden with ling and furs, and the armed ship Mellish, having on board (hear it, ye perishing soldiers of freedom!) ten thousand suits of uniform, and a company of British soldiers. This very timely prize "tended to reanimate the spirits of the soldiers."
Jones was now winning fast the confidence and good opinion of Congress. They saw he was a man equal to the times; and on the 25th March, 1777, the Marine Committee, writing to him, gave him the choice of one of "three fast-sailing good ships, that will conveniently mount eighteen six pounders on one deck," and inclose him a resolution of Congress, giving the command of same "until better provision can be made for him." On the 14th of June he was appointed to the Ranger. The Marine Committee gave him unlimited authority, -- a further proof of their confidence; and in a letter of commission, dated "Philadelphia, June 18th, 1777," say, "We will not limit you to any particular cruising station, but leave you at large to search for yourself where the greatest chance of success presents; "at the same time giving him very welcome, but unnecessary instructions, to "take, sink, burn, or destroy all such of the enemy's ships, vessels, goods and effects as you may be able." The appointment of Jones to the Ranger, and the adoption of the American flag as it now waves, took place on the same day; and Captain Paul Jones was the first to carry to Europe the national stars and stripes.
Columbus had as much certainty of success to find land at the far west side of the wide Atlantic, as Jones had when he set out, of success in striking terror into his enemies on the opposite extreme. The one went to find land unknown, the other to strike terror where terror was unknown, save only in conferring it on others. Like Gratiano, in the Merchant of Venice, he went to scoff at the Shylock of the nations --
"It is so nominated in the bond."
He went to beard the Sea-God in his own chosen cave -- to un-trident the Neptune -- to tear the azure mantle from his back, and send his offspring Tritons howling in disgrace, as erst their father fled with Apollo to Laomedon, when Jupiter expelled him from the classic Heaven.
He rushed into the very Pantheon of the waves to tear down the flag that scattered an invincible Armada in 1588 -- that waved its blood-red satisfaction when the gallant Van Tromp fell, off the coast of Holland, in 1653 -- that fanned the flame which burnt the Spanish fleet at Vera Cruz in 1657 -- that hugged the mast-head for joy when one hundred and thirty of the French fleet were destroyed in 1664 -- that cast its potent shadow over the Spanish galleons in the port of Vigo, in 1702, and but lately was victoriously defended by Hawke, at Ushant and Quiberon Bay. The echo of the boy's voice over Carse-Thorn ruffles the red flag in its greatness. Ay! the very ghosts of Drake, and Howard, and Blake, and York, all trembled at the sound of that voice, as the giants in the fabled castle when the invisible hero had passed the dragon sentries, and wound the horn at the portal. It seems almost like an "old wife's tale," that he should venture three thousand miles from home to carry out his design against such odds, and at such a time. His history shows that he felt, in its truest sense and noblest application, Macbeth's saying,
"I go, and it is done."
On the 2d of December, the Ranger arrived at Nantz, in France, and displayed the "New Constellation" of Liberty. The last anniversary of its arrival was commemorated in France by a saturnalia of blood, by a human offering of men, women and children," not to Freedom -- just Heaven, no! but to the Juggernaut of military usurpation which rolled through the corpse-paved streets of Paris, out-dyeing with crimson gore
"The bloody sun at noon" --
in a pale, wintry sky. Such deification hath "my uncle's" Marengo, Lodi, and Helena entailed on "his nephew." Is there no French Brutus for this Cśsar of grisette camps, who loves France more, and a "name" less? Is there no maiden to immortalize herself for France? Beautiful France! Whence cometh the Corday for this Marat in his bloody bath?
At Nantz, Jones was recognized by the American Commissioners, Benj. Franklin, Silas Dean, and Arthur Lee, and favored by them "with a letter of credit for 500 louis d'ors, which proves that he acted in concert with the public authorities of the United States, both at home and abroad." Certainly, Colonel Sherburne; but then "George Washington, Esquire," was no general at all, as my Lord Howe would have it. He was but a "rebel," as were Benj. Franklin, and Silas Dean, and Carroll of Carrollton, and John Hancock, and all of them; and Jones being the sea arm of such a set, stamps him as a "pirate." No matter for that, this pirate has anti-English boarding-pikes and cutlasses about him; and ∆olus have mercy on the red flag that meets his constellation, for by the boy-soul of Carse-Thorn he will have none!
He sailed from Brest on the 10th of April, 1778, with, as he says himself, an "extensive plan." On the 14th, he took and sunk a brigantine between Scylla and Cape Clear; on the 17th, he chased the ship Lord Chatham, and took her "almost within sight of her port," Dublin, manned her, and sent her to Brest. On the evening of the 18th, he "stood over from the Isle of Man with an intention to make a descent at Whitehaven," and was actually off the harbor with a party of volunteers at 10 o'clock: but the wind increasing, prevented a landing. "The next morning, off the Mull of Galloway," he found himself so near a Scotch schooner, that, in his own words, he "could not avoid sinking her." Polite pirate! On the evening of the same day he fell in with a Dublin sloop and sunk her, "to prevent intelligence." -- Thoughtful buccaneer! "Dead men tell no tales." On the 21st, near Carrickfergus, he learned from a fishing boat which he detained and questioned -- querulous adventurer! -- that a certain ship at anchor in the road was the British ship-of-war Drake, 20 guns. "I determined to attack her that night," -- audacious continental sea-captain! Wind and weather did not permit, and after being within half a cable's length of the enemy, a mishap in loosing the anchor disarranged his plan to take her on the bow so as to command her decks, and the weather becoming very stormy and the sea very high, he was obliged to run for the Scotch shore for shelter.
On the 22d, fair weather and his project on Whitehaven returned. A light wind prevented him approaching as near as he had contemplated. As far as the eye can reach, the three kingdoms are covered with snow, and the pale hills loom up through the midnight, like ghosts, and the air hangs breathless with anxiety. Earth and air, like the witnesses of a great deed, are white and silent. The greatest passion is always pale, and the surest action silent. The sea rolls calm and dignified; lazily conscious of its strength, it moves as a horse "that knows his rider." If all around is calm, action is eloquent on the deck of the Ranger. -- Who goes with Jones? Thirty-one volunteers step out, and then there is a choosing of arms, a piling of combustibles, and hearty oaths of vengeance, a letting down of boats, a silent scramble over the ship's side, and the echo of the boy-soul of Carse-Thorn has dashed into the hearts and arms of those thirty-one volunteers.
Here, within sight of Carse-Thorn, where his childhood's maturity had conquered the sea, he felt the whole glory of his soul. He was a child again! and thundered his voice out on the Solway Frith. As the centuries looked down on Napoleon amid the Pyramids, so the infant inspiration of Paul looked down on him from Carse-Thorn. He felt he should not disgrace it. Let us see if Carse-Thorn did not loom o'er Whitehaven, as
"Birnam forest moved to Dunsinane."
In two boats they push off into the midnight and the silent sea, making towards the land, like two stray cloudlets in a clear twilight moving to the horizon. The day begins to dawn as they reach the outer pier. But, in the face of day or devil, Jones will not abandon his enterprise.
One boat, with Lieutenant Wallingsford and Mr. Hill, he dispatches to fire the shipping at the north side of the harbor, while he himself, with the other, will "do likewise" on the south side. A scaling of walls, and Jones's party have spiked up all the cannon in the first fort. Good. "Finding the sentinels shut up in the guard-house, they were secured without being hurt." This Jones is a worthy leader: where danger is, he is. "With one man only (Mr. Green) he proceeds to the second fort, a quarter of a mile distant, and spiked up all the cannon there."
But the course of true love never did run smooth; and on his return, he found that the lights which were to have fired the shipping of both parties had burnt out. The day, too, is looking more earnestly on the work. What says Jones in this dilemma? -- That he "would by no means retreat while any hopes of success remained." Old Joseph Glanvil said right, "Who knoweth of the will with its vigor?" A light is obtained near the town. It is hard winter time, and over one hundred and fifty ships are aground, "dried as 'twere to skeleton chips," and divided from them by a stone pier were also from "seventy to an hundred large ships aground, and clear of the water." In the centre of the former, in the "steerage of a large ship," a fire is kindled. A traitor English tar barrel is in the way, and does good service; and -- "clear decks, my hearties" -- the red flames leap from the hatchways like enraged elves; now they cling to the rigging, and sit upon the spars, and leap and flame till the ropes are unraveled into dust; and the yards crackle, and the shadows of the masts and ropes of the ships around make the ice look like a Mosaic pavement with the hues of the smoke and flame. The astonished inhabitants, wondering if, during their sleep, their good town had been carried to the banks of the Styx, and that the gates of Hades had been incautiously left open, rush down to remonstrate or annihilate the devil; but lo! there he stands, with a blue coat and cocked hat -- the very dress of the American navy officers -- his back to the burning ship, and his arm extended to them with pistol in hand, bidding them for a crowd of lubbers to stand back, which they wisely do, and presently flee with precipitation. The sun is getting high, and the flames are getting higher: away they go from spar to spar, while Jones stands for a considerable time on the pier, contemplating the scene, and the crowds of amazed inhabitants who are gazing down from the eminences about the town as his men disembark. When the boats had got to a "considerable distance," the "natural bravery and pride" of the English returned, and they manfully sought their forts, mounted one or two old guns, and began firing nobly on the retiring desperadoes; and now, as Captain Jones is not so busily engaged, we will allow him to tell the remainder:
"Had it been possible to have landed a few hours sooner, my success would have been complete. Not a single ship out of more than two hundred could possibly have escaped, and all the world would not have been able to save the town. What was done, however, is sufficient to show, that not all their boasted navy can protect their river coasts, and that the scenes of distress which they have occasioned in America may be soon brought home to their own door. One of my people was missing, and must, I fear, have fallen into the enemy's hands after our departure. I was pleased that in this business we neither killed nor wounded any person. I brought off three prisoners as a sample."
What graceful wit! He could afford to be humorous at times.
At noon of the same day (23d) he effected a landing at St. Mary's Isle, with one boat and a small party; and the day following, steered back to Carrickfergus, where, after a hard fight of one hour and four minutes, he captured the Drake. He met the Drake coming out with five small vessels, filled with volunteers, to attack him; an express having been sent during the night, from Whitehaven. The volunteers "wisely put back," and Jones "suffered the Drake to come within hail." He had his stars and stripes hoisted, and thought the sight of his constellation sufficient preface for the Drake: but she hailed, and demanded what ship it was. "I directed the master," says Jones, "to answer -- The American continental ship Ranger; that we waited for them, and desired them to come on. The sun was now little more than an hour from setting; it was therefore time to begin." One would think Jones was a born Yankee, he "calculated" so pertinently.
The Ranger followed up its announcement with a broadside; rather a brazen echo, but quite worthy of the Yankee introduction. "The action was warm, close, and obstinate," and ended by the enemy calling for quarters. The Ranger lost Lieutenant Wallingsford, and one seaman killed, and six wounded, one of whom afterwards died. The Drake had killed and wounded forty-two men. The captain was shot at the moment of his defeat, and the lieutenant died of his wounds. Both were buried by Jones "with the honor due to their rank."
Of the landing at St. Mary's Isle, and carrying off the plate from Lord Selkirk's castle, much misrepresentation has been made. In Jones' letter to the Countess of Selkirk, which, by the way, is one of most polite, sarcastic, humorous, and, withal, gallant letters we have ever read, he says:
"Knowing Lord Selkirk's interest with his king, and esteeming, as I do, his private character, I wished to make him the happy instrument of alleviating the horrors of hopeless captivity, when the brave are overpowered and made prisoners of war. It was, perhaps, fortunate for you, Madam, that he was from home; for it was my intention to have taken him on board the Ranger, and to have detained him until, through his means, a general and fair exchange of prisoners, as well in Europe as in America, had been effected."
That is sufficient explanation for his going there. As to his taking the plate, he offers, that
"In America, no delicacy was shown by the English -- "
Sufficient justification, conscientious Paul; but we will finish your sentence:
" -- Who took away all sorts of movable property -- setting fire to the houses of the rich, without distinction, but not even sparing the wretched hamlets and milch cows of the poor and helpless, at the approach of an inclement winter."
The plate was the prize of the ship. He afterwards purchased and restored it to the Countess.
The day after the capture of the Drake, he brought-to a "large brigantine," belonging to Whitehaven; and the wind shifting him "once more off Belfast Lough," he released the honest fishermen whom he had picked up on the 21st, giving them a boat, (their own being lost,) and money to purchase every thing new." The grateful fishermen were in. raptures; and expressed their joy in three huzzas as they passed the Ranger's quarter. He came to anchor at Brest, 9th of March, having been less than a month on this famous cruise, which so terrified England. "This year," says one of their book-makers, "a bold adventurer, of the name of Paul Jones, kept all the western coast of the island in alarm." Had the weather been less stormy, there would have been the more alarm. It was when the wind was tired out Paul Jones began his operations. He managed to transact all his business in a sort of elemental parenthesis -- between times. He took forcible possession of every lull of the wind, and more than repaid the occupation by the immortality he conferred on it, by using it to his purpose. Contrary winds prevailed nearly all the time he was in the channel; and he was driven to and fro, not only a running, but a flying commentary on the weather. The manúuvring off Carrickfergus -- his chasing the Chatham to Dublin -- his descent on Whitehaven and St. Mary's Isle, and capture of the Drake, seem like aggravated bursts of eloquence, provoked by the uncertainty of the stormy text.
In France, Paul Jones was as untiring in his suggestions to the French government and the American commissioners, as he had been in America. "He suggested a number of enterprises to the French ministry, but they were slow in their determinations." He wrote to them with the same boldness and candor he had used towards Congress. To M. de Sartine, secretary of the marine department, he writes, under date March 31st, 1778, (previous to his cruise on the west of England,)
"I am, sir, convinced that the capture of Lord Howe's light ships and frigates in America, and the destruction of the enemy's fishery at Newfoundland, might be easily effected this summer." And on June 1st of same year, he impresses upon Franklin the fact, that if two or three fast-sailing ships could be collected, much might be effected for the "interest and honor of America." To these parties he submitted plans for expeditions to completely destroy Whitehaven, and thereby cut off the supply of coals to Ireland; to take the "bank, and destroy the town of Ayr, perhaps the whole shipping in the Clyde, with the towns and stores of Greenock and Port-Glasgow;" to the destruction of the coal shipping of New-Castle, "which would occasion the utmost distress for fuel in London; "to the fishery of Campbelltown; and directed their attention to the Irish ports, where were ships "worth from £150,000 to £200,000 sterling each; "also, the interception of the West India and Baltic fleets, and the destruction of the English Hudson's Bay ships and their Greenland fisheries. He conceived all these bold projects with the eye of a statesman. He showed the panic they would create, and truly felt, "it would convince the world that their coasts are vulnerable, and would consequently hurt their public credit." But his grand schemes were destined for the most part to remain in his brain or on paper. He had been disappointed in not receiving the command of a new ship which had been built at Amsterdam. The Ranger had returned to America, and in August of 1778, we find him bewailing his fate of "shameful inactivity." "Such dishonor," says he, "is worse to me than a thousand deaths. I have already lost the golden season, the summer, which in war is of more value than all the rest of the year."
He constantly urged upon those parties in power with whom he corresponded, the fact, that "he was no adventurer in search of fortune;" he had a sufficiency. He asked "no favors; "his mission was to "humble the common enemy of humanity."
"When the American banners were first displayed, I drew my sword in support of the violated dignity and rights of human nature; and both honor and duty prompt me steadfastly to continue the righteous pursuit, and to sacrifice to it not only my private enjoyments, but even my life, if necessary."
Had he been an adventurer, anxious to realize a fortune, with titles and honors, the Court of England was open to him, and presented a shorter road than the one he chose. It would have been but too glad to receive the name and aid of this matchless "pirate." To dwell on such a point in the character of Jones, is folly, with his acts before our mind's eye. The fact of his leaguing with America, France, Russia, any country but England -- conceiving it to be "the common tyrant of humanity, as it is" -- is enough to prove his motives of honor and love of liberty. The various correspondence in Col. Sherburne's Life, show the noble nature and undying hatred of despotism which swayed the soul of this Alcibiades of the Ocean, who was as winning and courteous in his manner as he was desperate in a crisis or decisive in action.
Jones was weary of waiting on promises of "men in place," and his restless nature was eating his heart to torture. On November 27, 1778, he writes to Franklin, from Brest:
"Let them give me but powers, and I will find a ship and men without loss of time. I will undertake if necessary, at the risk of my private property, that the seamen's wages shall be either paid from the public funds in America, or from the part of prizes usually claimed by the American government."
He felt sorely the "mysterious situation" he was placed in, and feared he would be "considered an officer in disgrace." He had been detained by the French court -- promised several ships, one after the other, at the same time that the minister was afraid to provoke the displeasure of the French navy officers, who were jealous of Jones' success and reputation, by giving him a superior command; and he declined taking some ships "inferior to the Ranger." Writing to one of his old friends, he says: --
"The French officers (though they would gladly think me in disgrace) are stung to the soul, and cannot look at me here but with rival eyes; these cabals are so high and dangerous, that the minister really cannot, and dare not, do what he wishes. He has, however, authorized M. de Chaumont to purchase a ship to my liking, if to be found in any private dock or yard in France."
M. de Sartine redeemed this promise, however, and acquainted Jones on the 4th February, 1779, that the ship Duras, 40 guns, was under his command; that pursuant to his American commission, he was to hoist the stars and stripes, and determine for himself the course he was to take, "whether in the European or American seas." At Jones' desire, the name of the ship was changed to Le Bon Homme Richard, in compliment of his friend Franklin, whose "maxims" he chanced to meet while he was troubled with his disappointments. Reading in it this advice to a man -- " if he wishes to have any business faithfully and expeditiously performed, to go on it himself; otherwise to send;" and recollecting that he had been sending letters instead of going personally to court, "he instantly set out, and, by dint of personal representations, procured the squadron which his management has rendered famous in naval history. The effect of this sentence on Jones is the recommendation the "maxims," in our mind, possess; and through Jones in this instance, they have reached more renown than their own intrinsic value could ever command. For morality must come naturally, not "cut and dried" by even a lightning-tamer. Man's flesh cannot be saved as hogs' can, unless the salt is naturally in him.
Jones was now invested with the chief command of the American squadron in Europe, and which consisted of the Bon Homme Richard, 40 guns; the Pallas, 32 guns; the Cerf, 18 guns; and the Vengeance, 12 guns; joined by two privateers, the Monsieur and the Granville. Commodore "the Honorable" Paul Jones, with this little squadron, sailed from the Road of Groaix, at daybreak on the 14th of August, 1779, on his ever memorable cruise. Up to the fight with the Serapis, on the night of the 23d September, they had taken sixteen prizes, variously laden with butter, salt provisions, oil, blubber, naval stores, coals, and other freights, chased numerous vessels, and sank many useless or small crafts. The jealousy and disobedience of Captain Landais, and the indecision or want of courage of Captain Cotineau, and the discontent of other parties who could not understand the quicksightedness of Jones, reduced his little squadron frequently to two ships. Captain Landais of the Alliance, whose persistence in disobedience, and treachery on the night of the battle with the Serapis, should have recommended him to the yard-arm, rarely deigned to notice the signals or keep in sight of the commodore. The Monsieur parted company the second day they were out, after striving to pillage a Holland ship which they re-took from the English. The Cerf was sent to reconnoitre the Irish coast, and did not return. The privateer Granville dropped off; and altogether, a more "rascally set of scamps" never were placed under man's command than the captains under Jones. They looked upon their situation as entirely desperate, and all their energies were directed to thwart the commodore and force him from his glorious purposes. But for their non-support, he would have prosecuted an expedition he planned to take the town of Leith, and levy £100,000 sterling; he actually had his proclamation to the chief magistrate of the town and the form of the corporations' surrender, penned; and he would have succeeded, no doubt -- he himself felt confident he should. The younger officers he found, to their honor, "as ardently disposed to the business as he could desire." He was in a most deplorable situation, but his hopes never failed him; not even when the Alliance kept pouring her broadsides on him while he was engaged with the Serapis.
It is unnecessary to detail this desperate encounter, which is so well known to every school-boy. The account given by Colonel Sherburne is from Jones's own pen, and is admirable. Our space will not allow us to extract it. Some particulars of the engagement are given by First Lieutenant Dale, of the Bon Homme Richard, which agrees with the commodore's account. From twenty to thirty pages is devoted to show the treachery of Landais, who, on arriving at France, set up a ridiculous claim to the honor of having most materially aided in capturing the Serapis. The attestation of the captains of the Vengeance, (which lay at a safe distance, and looked on during the action,) the Pallas, (which took the Countess of Salisbury of 20 guns, after over an hour's action,) and all the officers of the squadron, prove that he fired three broadsides into his commodore's ship, killing therein several of his ablest men; that he also fired into and killed some men on board the Pallas; and that had he attended to the orders of Commodore Jones, the action with the Serapis would not have been so protracted or bloody; and it is probable the Baltic fleet, which the Serapis and Countess of Salisbury had in convoy, would not have escaped.
Europe and America rang with the renown of Jones after this; and the red flag of St. George shook nervously on the breath of curses that fell on him in England. The national pride could ill brook this disgrace. Shades of Howard, Blake, and Hawke, what think you of it? The two ships tied together with a hauser, side to side, muzzle to muzzle, laying over against each other like gladiators whose eyes are blood-blinded, and their grip is death to either; -- both ships on fire. Now, ye heroic ghosts, the American constellation shines forever brilliant as the moon that's looking peacefully down, or else St. George kills another dragon. Three hours and a half they cling in this death grip, till the dragon tamer cries peccavi, and the thirteen stars and stripes waves victory to truth. Amen!
It would far outstrip our space to follow the career of Commodore Jones in the American, French, and Russian navies. Our chief object has not been so much to chronicle his bravery, as to show that he bore the commission of Congress in all his enterprises. More: that he enjoyed its confidence, and deservedly merited the same. Invited by the French court to stay in Europe, the king, in token of the services he rendered to the united interests of France and America, voluntarily presented him with a superb sword, and the decoration of the cross of military merit. Jones sailed for the United States on the 18th December, 1780, bearing letters of approbation of his past actions, and of recommendation and confidence of his ability and patriotism from Franklin, who strenuously supported Jones while in Europe, and De Sartine, who also conveyed the highest opinion from Louis, King of France. But in truth he needed none of these, for his renown had become world-wide. The treacherous Landais, and his abettor, Arthur Lee, who had preceded him, strove to defame the chevalier, and instigated the Board of Admiralty to put forty-seven interrogatories to him on his arrival, the "answers to which would embrace his public acts from his departure from Portsmouth in the Ranger, in November, 1777, to his return in the Ariel." Their machinations completely failed. Jones answered them in March, 1781, and his triumph was furthermore acknowledged and perpetuated by a vote of Congress on the 14th of April, in which the "United States, in Congress assembled," gave their approbation and thanks to Captain John Paul Jones, for the zeal, prudence, and intrepidity with which he has supported the honor of the American flag; for his bold and successful enterprises to redeem the citizens of these United States," &c. The month following he received a flattering letter from Washington, and a warm and brotherly epistle from Lafayette in the December of the same year, after the downfall of Lord Cornwallis. Even John Adams was of opinion, that it would be "rich compensation for a continuance of the war, if there were half a dozen line-of-battle ships under the American flag commanded by Commodore Paul Jones."
At the close of the war, in 1783, Jones was dispatched to France by a resolution of Congress, as its accredited agent, to receive payment for the prizes which were taken under his command in Europe. Owing to a desire of M. Le Ray Chaumont to perform this agency, and speculate on the prizes, Jones met with much opposition from parties interested: but finally, on the 15th July, 1785, an order was issued to pay over to Jones the sum total of 181,039 livres, 1 sous, and 10 deniers.
In October, 1787, Congress "resolved unanimously, that a medal of gold be struck, and presented to the Chevalier John Paul Jones, in commemoration of the valor and brilliant services of that officer," &c.
In the early part of 1788, he was dispatched to Copenhagen, to demand an account of some of his prizes, which the Danish government had delivered up to the British minister there. He was received with distinguished honor by the royal family of Denmark. "I am so continually feasted," he writes to Jefferson, "and have so many visits to pay and receive, that I have scarcely a moment to call my own." Jones pressed his business with his usual ardor, but the Danish court, "from a fear of offending Great Britain, pleaded a want of full powers in the chevalier to treat, and transferred negotiation to Paris." Catharine II. had invited the chevalier to Russia, and offered to create him a rear-admiral. "It was Mr. Jefferson who originally projected for the chevalier this adventure." In a letter to Jefferson, he avows his gratitude to him for the "prospect that is now before" him, and continues, "I must rely on your friendship to justify to the United States the important step I now take, conformable to your advice." In going to Russia, he hoped to further the project of including America into the armed neutrality, at the head of which "humane combination" was Catharine.
He was feasted at the Russian court, as he had been at the Danish, and received from the Empress the rank promised. In the campaign against the Turks, Jones displayed his usual intrepidity and decision, not only overcoming the open enemy, but those secret ones whom jealousy of his ability had raised against him. The Empress decorated him with the order of St. Ann for his services, and with other favors; and he returned to Paris at close of 1789, where he met with the most flattering reception from the brave, the distinguished, and the learned.
His latter days "were spent partly in France, partly in Holland;" and on the 13th of September, 1792, he died of water on the chest. His funeral was attended by a deputation of the National Assembly, and an eloquent oration was pronounced over his tomb by M. Marron.
Paul Jones' passion was glory, which happily was used in a serviceable way by his noble instincts for humanity, and which led him to advance it on the side of right and on the battle-ground of freedom. His devotion to America was undoubted; and were it even doubtful, the services he rendered her cause more than over-balance [over-balances] any paltry speculations as to whether his actions were prompted by vain glory or stern love of the cause. He hated Britain with a holy and praiseworthy devotion; and we have no reason to doubt that much of his vengeance-craving spirit on that nation was owing to the tortures they inflicted on Americans, one of whom he considered himself. With this there was also some secret spring in his life regarding Britain, which has not been publicly touched, and we think never will be. The Hon. Mr. Hewes was aware of it; but to all appearance, none other. By a letter in the early part of his life, it appears that he left England in debt, but that he had property there out of which it would seem he had been cheated. He speaks of property also in Tobago.
Jones was chivalrous, generous, and regarded his honor as most sacred. His letters display a clear knowledge, statesmanlike views, and the same boldness which characterized his actions. He had a fund of humor, much sarcasm, and poetic ability of not a mean order. He was courteous to a fault, and sometimes we think very unnecessarily so. At the same time that he was the terror of the western coast of Britain, (which thought him a monster,) he was most humane; and while charged with being a plunderer, and one who set out to make money, a most liberal and non-receiving individual. As he said himself of the time he was in France, he received nothing but "hard knocks and honor." He was distinctly marked with that nerve, determination and decision, which are the salt of manhood, and which have made Bonaparte and Jackson famous. A hero by nature, he was the sailor of fortune. Born to be a leader, circumstances made him a benefactor. Unlike most soldiers of fortune, though he lived to fight, he did not fight to live.
As dangerous as Medusa's head to any enemy, he was polite as a dancing-master to a friend. Loving glory, he would accept of it but on the most truthful grounds. Renown was his wife, not his mistress. Naturally gifted with a comprehensive understanding, he matured it by study, first by books, when he purposed living in
"Calm contemplation and poetic ease,"
and afterwards by observations of men. As brave as a lion, he was quiet as a child, at the same time that he insisted upon respect to his character and position as pertinently, as he was officious to pay it to others, whose place or merit deserved it. Such was Jones: a man of few foibles and many virtues, who never injured a friend or abandoned an enemy till death parted them, and swept finally into the tomb the hero and the "piratical" father of the navy of the United States.
Let us build to him one monument -- men less deserving have had many -- and inscribe thereon the proud sentence, truest of men, "In vita ad castra -- in morte ad astra:" In life fighting -- in death immortal!
So sleeps Paul Jones!
This book review is reprinted from The United States Democratic Review 30: issue 164 (Feb. 1852) 153-168. Where it appears there are errors, the text is corrected and the change indicated by brackets.
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Annual Register, vol. 19, page 37.
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Sherburne, p. 11.
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In Putnam's World's Progress, under the head "Naval Battles of the United States," we find the following: "Paul Jones, in the Providence privateer, takes sixteen prizes -- 1776." In his preface, Mr. Putnam says he was much indebted to certain English Books of Dates in the compilation of his work. This admission accounts for the falsehood of the "historical" quotation we have made. The Providence was no privateer, and Jones did not take sixteen, but twenty one prizes, irrespective of the transport he destroyed at Isle Royale. As to the privateer assertion, of course English authorities would wish to make all parties who seek "books of reference" believe that all the vessels in service during our revolution were privateers, (so they were owned by the Congress.) By commission, Jones entered the service as first lieutenant of the Alfred, from which he was removed to the command of the Providence, 10th May, 1776, after the failure of the undisciplined little squadron with the Glasgow, as alluded to previously in the text. It is not strange that British writers persist in wilfully misconstruing our heroes, when books "got up" here echo their every slander.
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We append the resolution designating our flag, as many of our readers may not have met it.
In CONGRESS, June 14th, 1777.
"Resolved, That the flag of the thirteen United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white: that the Union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.
"Resolved, That Captain John Paul Jones be appointed to command the ship Ranger."
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Vide Sparks' Washington, vol. i., ch. viii., p. 185.
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Jones' Letter to American Com. at Paris. Sherburne's Life, p. 46.
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See his letter, with an account of this affair, p. 47.
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W. Cooke Taylor, LL.D., in 31st "Revised Edition" of Pinnock's Improved Goldsmith's History. London, 1841. (We now improve "Pinnock's Goldmith's Taylor's History.)
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Letter to the Prince de Nassau, page 72.
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Letter to Louis, King of France and Navarre, Oct. 19, 1778, page 79.
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Letter to Hon. Robert Morris, page 83.
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Vide from page 114 to 171. Also, Ben. Franklin's letter to Capt. Landais, reproving him, p. 173.
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Sherburne, page 282.
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Letter to Stewart Mawey, Esq., Tobago, page 41.
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Edited by Terry Heller, Coe College.
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