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Title: Paul Jones
Author: Hapgood, Hutchins, 1868-1944
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Paul Jones" ***

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Internet Archive/American Libraries.)

The Riverside Biographical Series





       *       *       *       *       *

The Riverside Biographical Series
















Each about 140 pages, 16mo, with photogravure
portrait, vols. 1-9, 75 cents; other subsequent
vols., each 65 cents, _net_; _School Edition_,
each, 50 cents, _net_.


       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: Paul Jones [signature]]

       *       *       *       *       *



[Illustration: Publisher's logo]

The Riverside Press, Cambridge



_Published November, 1901_


The amount of material bearing on Paul Jones is very large, and consists
mainly of his extensive correspondence, published and unpublished, his
journals, memoirs by his private secretary and several of his officers,
published and unpublished impressions by his contemporaries, and a
number of sketches and biographies, some of which contain rich
collections of his letters and extracts from his journals. The
biographies which I have found most useful are the "Life," by John Henry
Sherburne, published in 1825, which is mainly a collection of Jones's
correspondence; another volume, composed largely of extracts from his
letters and journals, called the "Janette-Taylor Collection," published
in 1830; the first and only extended narrative at once readable and
impartial, by Alexander Slidell MacKenzie, published in 1845; and the
recently published "Life" by Augustus C. Buell. To Mr. Buell's
exhaustive work I am indebted for considerable original material not
otherwise accessible to me. On the basis of the foregoing mass of
material I have attempted, in a short sketch, to give merely an unbiased
account of the man.


CHAP.                                             PAGE

   I. EARLY VOYAGES                                  1


 III. THE CRUISE OF THE RANGER                      30


   V. THE FIGHT WITH THE SERAPIS                    56

  VI. DIPLOMACY AT THE TEXEL                        70

 VII. SOCIETY IN PARIS                              80


  IX. IN THE RUSSIAN SERVICE                       108

   X. LAST DAYS                                    118

_The portrait is from the original by C. W. Peale, in Independence Hall_




John Paul, known as Paul Jones, who sought restlessly for distinction
all his life, was born the son of a peasant, in July, 1747, near the
ocean on which he was to spend a large portion of his time. His father
lived in Scotland, near the fishing hamlet of Arbigland, county of
Kirkcudbright, on the north shore of Solway Firth, and made a living for
the family of seven children by fishing and gardening. The mother,
Jeanne Macduff, was the daughter of a Highlander, and in Paul Jones's
blood the Scotch canniness and caution of his Lowland father was united
with the wild love of physical action native to his mother's race.

Little is known of the early life of the fifth and famous child of the
Scotch gardener. He went to the parish school, but not for long, for the
sea called him at an early age. When he was twelve years old he could
handle his fishing-boat like a veteran. His skill and daring were the
talk of the village. One day James Younger, a ship-owning merchant from
Whitehaven, then a principal seaport on the neighboring coast of
England, visited Arbigland, in search of seamen for one of his vessels.
It happened on that day that Paul Jones was out in his yawl when a
severe squall arose. Mr. Younger and the villagers watched the boy bring
his small sailing-boat straight against the northeaster into the harbor;
and Mr. Younger expressed his surprise to Paul's father, who remarked:
"That's my boy conning the boat, Mr. Younger. This isn't much of a
squall for him." The result was that Mr. Younger took Paul back with him
to Whitehaven, bound shipmaster's apprentice. A little while after that,
Paul Jones made his first of a series of merchant-ship voyages to the
colonies and the West Indies. He continued in Mr. Younger's employ for
four years; when he was seventeen he made a round voyage to America as
second mate, and was first mate a year later.

Paul left Mr. Younger's service in 1766 and acquired a sixth interest in
a ship called King George's Packet, in which he went, as first mate, to
the West Indies. The business instinct, always strong in him, received
some satisfaction during this voyage by the transportation of blacks
from Africa to Jamaica, where they were sold as slaves. The slave-trade
was not regarded at that time as dishonorable, but Jones's eagerness to
engage in "any private enterprise"--a phrase constantly used by him--was
not accompanied by any keen moral sensitiveness. He was always in
pursuit of private gain or immediate or posthumous honor, and his grand
sentiments, of which he had many, were largely histrionic in type. After
one more voyage he gave up the slave-trading business, probably because
he realized that no real advancement lay in that line.

On the John O'Gaunt, in which Jones shipped for England, after leaving
Jamaica, the captain, mate, and all but five of the crew died of yellow
fever, and the ship was taken by Paul into Whitehaven. For this he
received a share in the cargo, and in 1768, when he was twenty-one years
old, the owners of the John (a merchantman sailing from the same port)
gave him command, and in her he made several voyages to America. Life on
a merchantman is rough enough to-day, and was still rougher at that
time. To maintain discipline at sea requires a strong hand and a not too
gentle tongue, and Jones was fully equipped in these necessaries. During
the third voyage of the John, when fever had greatly reduced the crew,
Mungo Maxwell, a Jamaica mulatto, became mutinous, and Jones knocked him
down with a belaying pin. Jones satisfactorily cleared himself of the
resulting charge of murder, and gave, during the trial, one of the
earliest evidences of his power to express himself almost as clearly and
strongly in speech as in action.

Up to this time in Paul's career there are two facts which stand out
definitely: one, that his rough life, in association with common seamen
from the time that he was twelve years old, and his lack of previous
education, made difficult his becoming what he ardently desired to
be,--a cultivated gentleman. Stories told of his impulsive roughness in
later life, such as the quaint ones of how he used to kick his
lieutenants and then invite them to dinner, are probable enough. It is
even more clear, however, that in some way he had educated himself, not
only in seamanship and navigation, but also in naval history and in the
French and Spanish languages, to a considerable degree. On a voyage his
habit was to study late at night, and on shore, instead of carousing
with his associates, to hunt out the most distinguished person he could
find, or otherwise to improve his condition. His passion for acquisition
was enormous, but his early education was so deficient that his
handwriting always remained that of a schoolboy. He dictated many of his
innumerable letters, particularly those in French, which language he
spoke incorrectly but fluently.

It was during Paul's last voyage as captain of a merchantman that the
event took place which determined him to change his name and to live in
America. Several years previously his brother, who had been adopted by a
Virginia planter named Jones, had come at the death of the latter into
possession of the property, and Captain Paul was named as next in
succession. In 1773, when the captain reached the Rappahannock during
his final merchant voyage, he found his brother dying, and, in
accordance with the terms of old Jones's will, he took the name by which
he is famous and became the owner of the plantation. He consequently
gave up his sea life and settled down to "calm contemplation and poetic
ease," as he expressed it at a later period.

But Jones was very far from being contemplative, although he certainly
was rather fond of inflated poetry, and even as a planter, surrounded by
his acres and his slaves, there is no evidence that he led a lazy life.
He seems to have been partly occupied in continuing the important
acquaintances he had made at the intervals between his voyages and in
watching the progress of events leading to war with England. Jones was
given to gallantry, and while on the plantation he carried on the social
affairs which he afterwards continued, as recognized hero and chevalier
of France, on a magnificent scale. He resisted, as he did all through
his life, any benevolent efforts on the part of the colonial dames to
marry him off, and as the war grew nearer his activity in promoting it
grew greater. He made frequent visits to his patriot friends, met,
besides Joseph Hewes, whom he had already known, Thomas Jefferson,
Philip Livingston, Colonel Washington and the Lees, and was later, if
not at this time, in an intimate official relation with Robert and
Gouverneur Morris. In Jones's intercourse with these men he showed
himself one of the most fiery of Whigs. In a letter to Joseph Hewes
written in 1774, he tells how a British officer made a remark reflecting
on the virtue of colonial women. "I at once knocked Mr. Parker down,"
he adds, in a style that suggests the straightforward character of his
official reports.

Although dueling was at that time the conventional method of settling
affairs of that nature, no personal encounter resulted between Jones and
Mr. Parker. Jones, indeed, did not seem averse to such an issue, for he
sent a friend to propose pistols, with which he was a crack shot. It is
nevertheless a striking fact that Paul Jones, the desperate fighter, who
was certainly as brave as any one, and was often placed in favorable
situations for such settlements, never fought a duel. Add to this that
his temper was quick and passionate, and that he had to the full the
high-flown sentiments of honor of the time, and the fact seems all the
more remarkable. The truth is that Jones was as cautious as he was
brave. He acted sometimes impulsively, but reflection quickly came, and
he never manifested a dare-devil desire to put his life unnecessarily in
danger. When there was anything to be gained by exposing his person, he
did it with the utmost coolness, but he consistently refused to put
himself at a disadvantage. When, on at least one occasion, he was
challenged to fight with swords, with which he was only moderately
skillful, he demanded pistols. Fame was Jones's end, and he knew that
premature death was inconsistent with that consummation.

Although Jones was, at the time, in financial difficulties, he no doubt
welcomed the outbreak of the war. Service in the cause of the colonies
could not be remunerative, and Jones knew it. A privateering command
would have paid better than a regular commission, but Jones constantly
refused such an appointment; and yet he has been called buccaneer and
pirate by many who have written about him, including as recent writers
as Rudyard Kipling, John Morley, and Theodore Roosevelt. Nor is it
likely that a feeling of patriotism led Jones to serve the colonies
against his native land. The reason lay in his overpowering desire of
action. He saw in the service of the colonies an opportunity to employ
his energies on a larger and more glorious scale than in any other way.
Service in the British navy in an important capacity was impossible for
a man with no family or position. Jones accordingly went in for the
highest prize within his reach, and with the instinct of the true
sportsman served well the side he had for the time espoused.

Soon after the battle of Lexington Jones wrote a letter to Joseph Hewes,
sending copies to Jefferson, Robert Morris, and Livingston. "I cannot
conceive of submission to complete slavery. Therefore only war is in
sight.... I beg you to keep my name in your memory when the Congress
shall assemble again, and ... to call upon me in any capacity which your
knowledge of my seafaring experience and your opinion of my
qualifications may dictate." Soon after Congress met, a Marine
Committee, Robert Morris, chairman, was appointed, and Jones was
requested to report on the "proper qualifications of naval officers and
the kind of armed vessels most desirable for the service of the United
States, keeping in view the limited resources of the Congress." He was
also asked to serve on a committee to report upon the availability of
the vessels at the disposal of Congress. Jones was practically the head
of this committee, and showed the utmost industry and efficiency in
selecting, arming, and preparing for sea the unimportant vessels within
the disposition of the government.

At the beginning of the war there was no American navy. Some of the
colonies had, indeed, fitted out merchant vessels with armaments, to
resist the aggressions of the British on their coasts, and in several
instances the cruisers of the enemy had been captured while in port by
armed citizens. The colonial government had empowered Washington, as
commander in chief, to commission some of these improvised war vessels
of the colonies to attack, in the service of the "continent," the
transports and small cruisers of the British, in order to secure powder
for the Continental army. It was not, however, until October of 1775
that the first official attempt towards the formation of a continental,
as opposed to a colonial, navy, was made. The large merchant marine put
at the disposal of the new government many excellent seamen and skippers
and a good number of ships, few of them, however, adapted for war. To
build regular warships on a large scale was impossible for a nation so
badly in need of funds. It was almost equally difficult to secure
officers trained in naval matters, for the marine captains, although as
a rule good seamen, were utterly lacking in naval knowledge and the
principles of organization.

In this state of affairs Paul Jones proved a very useful man. He was not
only a thorough seaman, but had studied the art of naval warfare, was in
some respects ahead of his time in his ideas of armament, and was
familiar with the organization and history of the British navy. In the
early development of our navy he played, therefore, an important part,
not only in equipping and arming ships for immediate service, and in
determining upon the most effective and practicable kind of vessels to
be built, but also in laying before the committee a statement of the
necessary requirements for naval officers.

To the request of Congress for reports, Jones answered with two
remarkable documents. One was a long, logical argument in favor of swift
frigates of a certain size, rather than ships of the line, and showed
thorough knowledge, not only of naval construction and cost of building,
but also of the general international situation, and the best method of
conducting the war on the sea. On the latter point he wrote: "Keeping
such a squadron in British waters, alarming their coasts, intercepting
their trade, and descending now and then upon their least protected
ports, is the only way that we, with our slender resources, can sensibly
affect our enemy by sea-warfare." This is an exact outline of the policy
which Jones and other United States captains actually carried out.

Jones also made the statement, wonderfully foreshadowing his own
exploits and their effect, that, "the capture ... of one or two of
their crack frigates would raise us more in the estimation of Europe,
where we now most of all need countenance, than could the defeat or even
capture of one of their armies on the land here in America. And at the
same time it would fill all England with dismay. If we show to the world
that we can beat them afloat with an equal force, ship to ship, it will
be more than anyone else has been able to do in modern times, and it
will create a great and most desirable sentiment of respect and favor
towards us on the continent of Europe, where really, I think, the
question of our fate must ultimately be determined.

"Beyond this, if by exceedingly desperate fighting, one of our ships
shall conquer one of theirs of markedly superior force, we shall be
hailed as the pioneers of a new power on the sea, with untold prospects
of development, and the prestige if not the substance of English
dominion over the ocean will be forever broken. Happy, indeed, will be
the lot of the American captain upon whom fortune shall confer the
honor of fighting that battle!"

Jones was that happy captain, for both the events mentioned as highly
desirable he brought to pass.

In the report on the qualifications of naval officers Jones showed
himself to be quite abreast of our own times in the philosophy of naval
organization, and, moreover, possessed of a pen quite capable of
expressing, always with clearness and dignity and sometimes with
elegance, the full maturity of his thought. George Washington, one of
whose great qualities was the power to know men, read this report of
Jones and said: "Mr. Jones is clearly not only a master mariner within
the scope of the art of navigation, but he also holds a strong and
profound sense of the political and military weight of command on the
sea. His powers of usefulness are great and must be constantly kept in

Jones was appointed first lieutenant in the navy on the 22d of December,
1775. He was sixth on the list of appointees, the other five being made
captains. Subsequent events showed that Jones would have been the best
man for the first place. He thought so himself, but hastened on board
his ship to serve as lieutenant, and was the first man who ever hoisted
the American flag on a man-of-war,--a spectacular trifle that gave him
much pleasure.



The infant squadron of the United States, under the command of Ezek
Hopkins, consisting of the Alfred, of which Jones was the first
lieutenant, the Columbus, the Andria Doria, and the Cabot, sailed in
February, 1776, against Fort Nassau, New Providence Island, in the
Bahamas. The only vessel of any force in the squadron was the Alfred, an
East Indiaman, which Jones had armed with twenty-four nine-pounders on
the gun-deck, and six six-pounders on the quarter-deck. The only officer
in the fleet who, with the exception of Jones, ever showed any ability
was Nicholas Biddle of the Doria. The expedition, consequently, was
sufficiently inglorious. A barren descent was made on New Providence
Island, and later the fleet was engaged with the British sloop of war
Glasgow, which, in spite of the odds against her, seems to have had the
best of the encounter. Jones was stationed between decks to command the
Alfred's first battery, which he trained on the enemy with his usual
efficiency. He says in his journal what was evidently true: "Mr. Jones,
therefore, did his duty; and as he had no direction whatever, either of
the general disposition of the squadron, or the sails and helm of the
Alfred, he can stand charged with no part of the disgrace of that

A number of courts-martial resulted from this inept affair and from
other initial mistakes. Captain Hazard of the Providence, a sloop of war
of fourteen guns and 103 men, was dismissed from the service, and Jones
was put in command of the ship. "This proves," said Jones, "that Mr.
Jones did his duty on the Providence expedition."

Jones continued to do his duty by making a number of energetic descents
on the enemy's shipping. His method was to hunt out the merchant vessels
in harbor, whence they could not escape, rather than to search for them
on the open sea. In June, 1776, he cruised in the Providence from
Bermuda to the Banks of Newfoundland, a region infested with the war
vessels of the British, captured sixteen vessels, made an attack on
Canso, Nova Scotia, thereby releasing several American prisoners, burned
three vessels belonging to the Cape Breton fishery, and in a descent on
the Isle of Madame destroyed several fishing smacks. He twice escaped,
through superior seamanship, from heavy English frigates. One of these
strong frigates, the Milford, continued to fire from a great distance,
after the little Providence was out of danger. Of this Jones wrote: "He
excited my contempt so much, by his continued firing, at more than twice
the proper distance, that when he rounded to, to give his broadside, I
ordered my marine officer to return the salute with only a single

While Jones was on this cruise his plantation was ravaged by the
British--buildings burned, live stock destroyed, and slaves carried off.
He was dependent upon the income from this estate, having drawn up to
that time only £50 from the government, not for pay, but for the expense
of enlisting seamen. On his return to port he wrote to Mr. Hewes: "It
thus appears that I have no fortune left but my sword, and no prospect
except that of getting alongside the enemy."

It was during the same cruise that Jones, by the act of Congress of
October 10, 1776, was made captain in the United States navy, an
appointment that brought him more bitterness of spirit than pleasure,
for he was only number eighteen in the list of appointees. This was an
injustice which Jones never forgot, and to which he referred at
intervals all through his life. He thought he ought to have been not
lower than sixth in rank, because, by the law of the previous year,
there were only five captains ahead of him. In the mean time, too, he
had done good service, while the new captains ranking above him were
untried. It was no doubt an instance of political influence outweighing
practical service, and Jones was entitled to feel aggrieved,--a
privilege he was not likely to forego. Rank was to him a passion, not
merely because it would enable him to be more effective, but for its own
sake. He liked all the signs of display,--busts, epaulets, medals, marks
of honor of all kinds. "How near to the heart," he wrote, "of every
military officer is rank, which opens the door to glory!"

In regard to this appointment he wrote Thomas Jefferson a bitter and
sarcastic letter. He attributed the injustice to the desire of John
Adams to create captains from among the "respectable skippers" of New
England. "If their fate," he wrote, "shall be like that of his share in
the first five captains last year, I can only say that Mr. Adams has
probably provided for a greater number of courts-martial than of naval
victories! You are well aware, honored sir, that I have no family
connections at my back, but rest my case wholly on what I do. As I
survey the list of twelve captains who have been newly jumped over me by
the act of October 10th, I cannot help seeing that all but three are
persons of high family connection in the bailiwick of Mr. Adams!"

He wrote, at this time and later, many vehement letters about these
"skippers." To Joseph Hewes: "There are characters among the thirteen on
the list who are truly contemptible--with such, as a private gentleman,
I would disdain to sit down--I would disdain to be acquainted.... Until
they give proof of their superior ability, I never shall acknowledge
them as my senior officers--I never will act under their command." He
wrote to Robert Morris: " ... Nor will I ever draw my sword under the
command of any man who was not in the service as early as myself, unless
he hath merited a preference by his superior services or abilities." In
these and similar remarks, Jones did not show that sense of absolute
subordination which he had said, in his report on the qualifications of
naval officers, was of prime importance, and which he strenuously
demanded from his inferiors in rank. He was always jealous of any
superior in his own line, but, fortunately, after his first cruise, he
was always the ranking officer on his ship.

Jones protested, however, without avail, but on the 4th of November,
1776, he was put in command of the Alfred, and with the Providence in
company made a cruise of about a month, captured seven merchant ships of
the enemy, several of them carrying valuable supplies to the army, and
again cleverly avoided the superior British frigates. Complaining of the
action of the Providence, "which gave him the slip in the night," as he
put it, Jones wrote Hewes: "If such doings are permitted, the navy will
never rise above contempt!... the aforesaid noble captain doth not
understand the first case of plain Trigonometry." On the subject of the
navy he wrote Robert Morris, at a later period: "The navy is in a
wretched condition. It wants a man of ability at its head who could
bring on a purgation, and distinguish between the abilities of a
gentleman and those of a mere sailor or boatswain's mate." In still
another letter: "If my feeble voice is heard when I return to
Philadelphia, our navy matters will assume a better face." Again, as
late as 1782, he wrote Captain O'Neill: "I am altogether in the dark
about what has been done to reëstablish the credit of our marine. In the
course of near seven years' service I have continually suggested what
has occurred to me as most likely to promote its honor and render it
serviceable; but my voice has been like a cry in the wilderness."

After his return from the cruise in the Alfred, Jones served on the
Board of Advice to the Marine Committee, and was very useful in many
ways. He urged strongly the necessity of making a cruise in European
waters for the sake of moral prestige,--he, of course, to be in command
of the squadron. His energy and dashing character made a strong
impression on Lafayette, who was then in the country, and who heartily
supported Jones in the projected scheme. Lafayette was one of the
strongest advocates for an alliance between the colonies and France, and
believed that a fleet fitted out in French ports under the United
States flag would not only help out the weak colonial navy, but would
precipitate war between England and France. He wrote a letter to General
Washington strongly recommending Jones as leader of such an undertaking.
About the same time Jones had an interview with Washington to appeal
against what he deemed another injustice. The Trumbull, one of the fine
new frigates just completed and built in accordance with Jones's
recommendations, was placed under the command of Captain Saltonstall,
who had been captain of the Alfred when Jones was first lieutenant of
the same ship, and against whom the latter had made charges of
incompetence. Jones did not get the Trumbull, but the interview was
probably instrumental in procuring an order from the Marine Committee
for Jones to enlist seamen for a European cruise. On June 14, 1777,
Congress appointed him to the command of the sloop of war Ranger,
eighteen guns, and on the same day the permanent flag of the United
States was determined upon. Jones, as usual, saw his spectacular
opportunity and said: "That flag and I are twins; born the same hour
from the same womb of destiny. We cannot be parted in life or in death.
So long as we can float, we shall float together. If we must sink, we
shall go down as one!"

Jones, with the Ranger, sailed for France under the Stars and Stripes
November 1, 1777, bearing with him dispatches to the American
commissioners, the news of Burgoyne's surrender, and instructions from
the Marine Committee to the commissioners to invest him with a fine
swift-sailing frigate. On his arrival at Nantes he immediately sent to
the commissioners--Benjamin Franklin, Silas Deane, and Arthur Lee--a
letter developing his general scheme of annoying the enemy. "It seems to
be our most natural province," he wrote, "to surprise their defenseless
places, and thereby divert their attention and draw it from our own

It had been the intention of the commissioners to give Jones the Indien,
a fine strong frigate building secretly at Amsterdam. But this proved to
be one more of Jones's many disappointments, for the British minister
to the Netherlands discovered the destination of the vessel and
protested to the States-General. The result was that the commissioners
were forced to sell the ship to France, to keep her out of the hands of
England, and Jones was compelled to make his invasion in the Ranger.

While proceeding in this little sloop to L'Orient, for the purpose of
fitting her out, he met the great French fleet and demanded and obtained
the first salute ever given the United States flag by the war vessels of
a foreign power. He wrote to the Marine Committee triumphantly: "I am
happy in having it in my power to congratulate you on my having seen the
American flag, for the first time, recognized in the fullest and
completest manner by the flag of France.... It was in fact an
acknowledgment of American independence." As the secret treaty between
France and the United States was signed about that time, it perhaps
needed less than the pertinacity of Paul Jones to extract a salute from
the imperial fleet. Shortly before sailing on his first famous cruise,
the restless man sent Silas Deane a letter proposing a plan of
operations for the French fleet in the coming war with England. The
scheme was for the superior French fleet to attack the English fleet
under Lord Howe, and destroy it or block it up in the Delaware. Jones
said in his journal that the plan, which was adopted, would have
succeeded if it had been put in immediate execution, and complained
because the credit of the scheme had been given to others.

This was only one of the bits of business which the energetic Jones
transacted before he sailed in the Ranger to harass England. He wrote,
as usual, innumerable letters, proposing, condemning, recommending. He
had trouble with an insubordinate first lieutenant. He began, too, his
social career in France. It was then that he met the Duchesse de
Chartres, great-granddaughter of Louis XIV. and mother of Louis
Philippe, who at a later time called Jones the Bayard of the Sea, and
whom Jones at that time promised "to lay an English frigate at her
feet." He kept his word in spirit, for years afterwards he gave her the
sword of Captain Pearson, commander of his famous prize, the Serapis.



Jones started on his cruise in the Ranger April 10, 1778, and, after
taking several unimportant prizes on the way to the Irish Channel,
decided to make a descent upon the town that had served him as
headquarters when he was a merchant sailor, Whitehaven, where he knew
there were about two hundred and fifty merchant ships, which he hoped to
destroy; "to put an end," as he said, "by one good fire, in England, of
shipping, to all the burnings in America."

Owing to contrary winds Jones was unable to make the attack until
midnight of April 22. His daring scheme was, with the small force of
thirty-two men in two small boats, to land in a hostile port, defended
by two forts, surprise the sleeping inhabitants, and burn the ships
before the people could assemble against him. By the time the boats
reached the outer pier, day had dawned and no time was to be lost. The
forts were surprised and taken, the guns spiked by Jones with his own
hand; but while he was thus occupied his officers had failed to fire the
shipping, in accordance with his orders, Lieutenant Wallingford stating
as an excuse that "nothing could be gained by burning poor people's
property." Jones thought otherwise, however; and although the
townspeople were beginning to assemble in consequence of the pistols
that had been fired in capturing the forts, he made fire in the steerage
of a large ship, closely surrounded by many others, and an enormous
conflagration ensued. He stood, pistol in hand, near the burning wreck,
and kept off the constantly increasing crowd until the sun was an hour
high, when he and his men retired to the Ranger, taking away with them
three of the captured soldiers, "as a sample," Jones said, and followed
by the eyes of the gaping multitude of English country folk.

Although the amount of property destroyed by this raid was small, the
importance of it was considerable, and is well stated by Jones himself,
who, if proper allowance is made for the effects of his vanity, is, as a
rule, his own best biographer: "The moral effect of it was very great,"
he writes, "as it taught the English that the fancied security of their
coasts was a myth, and thereby compelled their government to take
expensive measures for the defense of numerous ports hitherto relying
for protection wholly on the vigilance and supposed omnipotence of their
navy. It also doubled or more the rates of insurance, which in the long
run proved the most grievous damage of all."

On the same day Jones made a descent on the estate of the Earl of
Selkirk, near his old home in Kirkcudbright, with the intention of
carrying off the earl as a hostage. But the earl was not at home, and
Jones consented, he says, to let his men, mutinous and greedy, seize the
Selkirk family plate, which Jones put himself at a great deal of trouble
and some expense to restore at a later date. This incident is
interesting chiefly as it was the cause of a letter illustrative of
Jones's character, sent by him to the Countess of Selkirk, who was
present at the time of the raid. After stating in rather inflatedly
polite terms that he could not well restrain his men from the raid,
Jones promised to return the plate, condemned the brutalities of the
English, spoke of the horrors of war, boasted of his victory over the
Drake the evening following the raid, spoke of the English dead and his
chivalrous treatment of them,--"I buried them in a spacious grave, with
the honors due to the memory of the brave,"--and then made the following
rather amusing statements: "Though I have drawn my sword in the present
generous struggle for the rights of men, yet I am not in arms as an
American, nor am I in pursuit of riches. My fortune is liberal enough,
having no wife nor family, and having lived long enough to know that
riches cannot secure happiness. I profess myself a citizen of the world,
totally unfettered by the little mean distinctions of climate or of
country, which diminish the benevolence of the heart and set bounds to
philanthropy. Before this war had begun, I had, at an early time of
life, withdrawn from sea service in favor of 'calm contemplation and
poetic ease.' I have sacrificed not only my favorite scheme of life, but
the softer affections of the heart and my prospects of domestic
happiness, and I am ready to sacrifice my life also with cheerfulness if
that forfeiture could restore peace among mankind.... I hope this cruel
contest will soon be closed; but should it continue, I wage no war with
the fair. I acknowledge their force, and bend before it with

Jones was probably sincere when he wrote that letter, although it is
full of misstatements. He was not a self-conscious man and did not
analyze his motives very carefully. He always posed, with perfect
sincerity, as a hero, and when he had to do with a distinguished woman
his exalted words exactly expressed, no doubt, his sentiments.

Jones's next exploit was the famous capture of the Drake on April 23.
Previous to the attack on Whitehaven, while off Carrickfergus, he had
conceived the bold project of running into Belfast Loch, where the
British man-of-war Drake, of twenty guns, was at anchor; where he hoped
to overlay the Drake's cable, fall foul of her bow, and thus, with her
decks exposed to the Ranger's musketry, to board. He did, indeed, enter
the harbor at night, but failed after repeated efforts, on account of
the strong wind, to get in a proper position to board. Three days later,
after the Earl of Selkirk affair, Jones was again off Carrickfergus,
looking for the Drake, which, having heard of his devastations from the
alarmed country people, sailed out to punish the invader of the sacred
soil of England. The two sloops of war were very nearly matched, though
the Drake technically rated at twenty guns and the Ranger at eighteen.
When they came within range of one another they hoisted their colors
almost at the same time, but the Drake hailed:--

"What ship is that?"

Jones directed the sailing-master to answer:

"The American Continental ship Ranger. We are waiting for you. Come on.
The sun is now near setting, and it is time to begin."

The Ranger then opened fire with a full broadside. The Drake replied
with the same, and the two ships ran along together at close quarters,
pouring in broadsides for more than an hour, when the enemy called for
quarter. The action had been, as Jones said in his terse official
report, "warm, close, and obstinate." There was little manoeuvring,
just straight fighting, the victory being due, according to Jones, to
the superior gunnery of the Americans. At first Jones's gunners hulled
the Drake, as she rolled, below the water-line, but Jones desired to
take the enemy's ship as a prize, rather than to sink her, and told his
men so.

"The alert fellows," he said in a letter to Joseph Hewes, "instantly
took this hint and began firing as their muzzles rose, by which practice
they soon crippled the Drake's spars and rigging, and made her an
unmanageable log on the water. I am persuaded that if I had not advised
them to this effect, my gunners would have sunk the Drake in an hour! As
it was, we had to put spare sails over the side after she struck, to
keep her afloat, and careen her as much as we could the next day to plug
the holes they had already made between wind and water."

The Drake, indeed, was almost a wreck, while the Ranger was little
injured. Jones lost only two men killed and six wounded, to the enemy's
approximate loss of forty-two killed and wounded. It was the first
battle of the war which resulted in the capture of a regular British
man-of-war by a ship of equal if not inferior force. The Drake belonged
to a regularly established navy, not accustomed to defeat. Perhaps that
fact inspired her commander with overconfidence, but McKenzie's
statement of the cause of the victory is no doubt correct: "The result,"
he said, "was eminently due to the skill and courage of Jones, and his
inflexible resolution to conquer." That resolution, which was indeed a
characteristic of Jones, reached on at least one occasion, that of the
later battle with the Serapis, a degree of inflexibility which amounted
to genius.

The effect of this bold cruise was great. Jones had not, however, been
the only American captain, by any means, to render good service in
destroying the commerce of the enemy and in annoying the British coast.
Before the French alliance more than six hundred British vessels fell a
prey to American cruisers, mainly privateers. There were, likewise,
captains in the regular United States navy who had before this cruise of
Jones's borne the flag to Europe. The first of these was the gallant
Wickes, in the summer of 1777. Though Jones was not the first captain,
therefore, to make a brilliant and destructive cruise in the English
Channel, he was nevertheless the first to inspire terror among the
inhabitants by incursions inshore. The cruise of the little Ranger
showed that the British, when they ravaged the coast of New England,
might expect effective retaliation on their own shores; and the capture
of the Drake inspired France, then about to take arms in support of the
American cause, by the realization of what they themselves had longed to
do--to worst England on the high seas--with increased respect for their
allies. It filled Great Britain with wild, exaggerated, and unjust
condemnation of Paul Jones, who has been looked upon for more than a
hundred years, and is even to-day in England, by sober historians, as a
bloody-handed, desperate buccaneer. The persistent charge, often of late
refuted, hardly needs refutation, in view of the well-authenticated fact
that Jones never served on a war vessel except under a regular
commission. Moreover, he was a man too ambitious and too sensible to
hurt his prospects by being anything so low and undistinguished as a

After the battle with the Drake, Jones saw that he would have to bring
the cruise to a close. His crew of 139 men had, through the necessity of
manning the several merchant prizes and the Drake, been reduced to
eighty-six men, and he consequently put into Brest, reluctantly, on the
8th of May, 1778. He was there met by the great French fleet, then
actually at war with England, and he and his prize were admired by
visiting French officers. From that time Jones, hated in England, was a
hero in France, fêted whenever he was at the capital, and favored by
fair ladies.

He was a hero, however, with a thorny path all through life. He arrived
at Brest with a miserably clothed, wholly unpaid, discontented, and
partly mutinous crew. During the voyage his first lieutenant, Simpson,
had stirred up dissatisfaction among the men, and had refused to obey
orders, for which Jones had him put in irons. The unpaid men, not
assigning their troubles to the true but unseen cause, the poverty of
the government, easily believed that their captain was responsible for
all their ills. Under no conditions, however, was Jones likely to be
popular with the greater number of his men, for the energetic man was
bent on making them, as well as himself, work for glory to the
uttermost, and the common run of seamen care more for ease and pelf than
for fame. Jones's unpopularity with the crew of the Ranger is attested
by a passage from the diary of Ezra Green, one of Jones's officers, on
the occasion, at a later period, of the Ranger's sailing back to
America: "This day Thomas Simpson, Esq., came on board with orders to
take command of the Ranger; to the joy and satisfaction of the whole
ship's company."

With the impulsive inconsistency which, in spite of his shrewdness,
sometimes marked his conduct, Jones alternately demanded a court-martial
for Simpson and recommended him to the command of the Ranger, he himself
hoping for a more important vessel; it was Jones's own conduct, as much
as any other circumstance, which finally resulted in the sailing away of
the Ranger under the mutinous Simpson. With the frankness customary with
him when not writing to anybody particularly distinguished, Jones wrote
Simpson, at one stage of their quarrel: "The trouble with you, Mr.
Simpson, is that you have the heart of a lion and the head of a sheep."

Even more annoying to the imperious and high-handed Jones than the
trouble with Simpson was the manner in which, on his arrival at Brest,
the commissioners refused to honor his draft for 24,000 livres. He held
a letter of credit authorizing him to draw on the commissioners for
money to defray necessary expenses; but instead of dealing with the
regular American agent at Brest, he placed his order with a Brest
merchant, who, when Jones's draft was returned dishonored, stopped his
supplies. Jones thereupon wrote the commissioners: "I know not where or
how to provide food for to-morrow's dinner to feed the great number of
mouths that depend on me for food. Are then the Continental ships of war
to depend on sale of their prizes for the daily dinner of their men?
Publish it not 'in Gath'!"

He then, without authority, but very possibly forced by the necessities
of his crew, sold one of his prizes, with the money from which he paid
the Brest merchant. Of this act he said: "I could not waste time
discussing questions of authority when my crew and prisoners were

The point of view of the commissioners is tersely expressed in a letter
from them to the French Minister of Marine, de Sartine, June 15, 1778:
"We think it extremely irregular ... in captains of ships of war to draw
for any sums they please without previous notice and express
permission.... Captain Jones has had of us near a hundred thousand
livres for such purposes [necessaries]."

The frugality of Benjamin Franklin, the most important commissioner, is
well known, and also the financial straits of the country at that time.
That Jones was in a difficult position at Brest is certain, and he
perhaps asked for no more than he needed. But that he was naturally
inclined to extravagant expenditure there can be no doubt,--a fact that
will appear saliently in a later stage of this narrative.



War having broken out between England and France, Jones was detained in
Europe, instead of sailing home in the Ranger, through the request of
the French Minister of Marine, de Sartine, who wished an important
command to be assigned to the famous conqueror of the Drake. The
difficulties, however, in the way of doing so were great. The
commissioners had few resources, and one of them, Arthur Lee, was
hostile to Jones. Moreover the French government naturally thought first
of its own officers, of whom there were too many for the available
vessels. Several privateering expeditions were suggested to Jones, which
he quite justly rejected. Several opportunities had also been given him
for small commands, which he had likewise rejected. His manner in doing
so could not exactly be called diplomatic. He wrote M. Chaumont, that
patriotic and benevolent gentleman whom Jones alternately flattered and
reviled, a rather typical letter: "I wish to have no connection with any
ship that does not sail fast; for I intend to go _in harm's way_. You
know, I believe, that this is not every one's intention. Therefore buy a
frigate that sails fast, and that is sufficiently large to carry
twenty-six or twenty-eight guns on one deck. I would rather be shot
ashore than sent to sea in such things as the armed prizes I have

The innumerable delays which consequently intervened between his arrival
at Brest, in May, 1778, and his departure on his next cruise a year
later, in June, 1779, put the active Scotchman in a state of constant
irritation. He continued his dunning correspondence with the greatest
energy, alternately cajoling, proposing, complaining, begging to be sent
on some important enterprise. He wrote innumerable letters to de
Sartine, Franklin, the Duc de Rochefoucauld, de Chaumont, and many
others, and finally to the king himself, with whom he afterwards had an
interview. The statement of his wrongs in his letter to the king,
reiterated in letters to many others, involves an account of the many
promises de Sartine had made and broken, and of Jones's various
important proposals for the public good, which had been slighted.

"Thus, sire," he writes, "have I been chained down to shameful
inactivity for nearly five months. I have lost the best season of the
year and such opportunities of serving my country and acquiring honor as
I can hardly expect again in this war; and to my infinite mortification,
having no command, I am considered everywhere an officer cast off and in
disgrace for secret reasons."

Jones's pertinacity and perseverance in working for a command are quite
on a par with his indomitable resolution in battle, and he was finally
rewarded, probably through the king's direct order, by being put in
command of a small squadron, with which he made the cruise resulting in
the capture of the Serapis and in his own fame.

Jones was highly delighted with the appointment, but his troubles
continued in full measure, and to all his troubles Jones gave wide and
frequent publicity. All the ships of his squadron, with the exception of
the Alliance, were French, largely officered and manned by Frenchmen.
The expense of fitting out the expedition was the king's. The flag and
the commissions of the officers were American. The object of the French
government was to secure the services of the marauding Jones against the
coasts and shipping of England. This could better be done under the
United States flag than under that of France; for the rules of civilized
warfare had up to that time prevented the British from ravaging the
coasts of France as they had those of rebel America, and France was
therefore not morally justified in harassing the English shipping and
coasts directly; as, on the principle of retaliation, it was fair for
America to do.

This peculiar character of the expedition brought with it many drawbacks
and difficulties for the unfortunate Jones. He had a motley array of
ships,--those which were left over after the French officers had been
satisfied. The flagship, the Bonhomme Richard, was a worn-out old East
Indiaman, which Jones refitted and armed with six eighteen-pounders,
twenty-eight twelve-pounders, and eight nine-pounders--a battery of
forty-two guns. The crew of 375, of many nationalities, contained, when
the fleet sailed, only about fifty Americans; but fortunately, a few
days later, Jones was compelled to put back to port, where he was
unexpectedly able, owing to a recent exchange of prisoners, to get rid
of some of his aliens, and to secure 114 American officers and sailors,
who proved to be the backbone of the Richard's crew. The Alliance, the
only American ship, was a good frigate rating as a large thirty-two or
medium thirty-six, but captained by a mad Frenchman in the American
service, Landais, who refused to obey Jones, and in the important fight
with the Serapis turned his guns against his commander. The Pallas,
thirty-two guns, the Vengeance, twelve guns, and the little Cerf were
all officered and manned by Frenchmen.

The greatest hindrance, however, to the efficiency of the squadron was
the famous _concordat_, or agreement between the captains, which Jones
was compelled to sign just before sailing. The terms, indeed, which
related largely to the distribution of prize money, left Jones in the
position of commander in chief, but the fact that there was any
agreement whatever between Jones and his subordinates weakened his
authority. Of this, as of so many other injustices, Jones complained
most bitterly all through his subsequent life. He signed it, however,
because, he said in his journal, he feared that he would otherwise be
removed from his position as commodore. In a letter to Hewes he gave
Franklin's command as the cause.

The squadron, accompanied at the outset by two French privateers, sailed
finally from L'Orient, after one futile attempt, August 14, 1779, and
made during the first forty days of the fifty days' cruise a number of
unimportant prizes. On the 18th of August, the privateer Monsieur,
which was not bound by the _concordat_, took a prize, which the captain
of the Monsieur rifled, and then ordered into port. Jones, however,
opposed the captain's order, and sent the prize to L'Orient, whereupon
the Monsieur parted company with the squadron. According to Fanning, one
of Jones's midshipmen, who has left a spirited account of the cruise,
Jones attempted to prevent the departure of the privateer by force, and
when she escaped was so angry that he "struck several of his officers
with his speaking trumpet over their heads," and confined one of them
below, but immediately afterwards invited him to dinner. "Thus it was
with Jones," says Fanning, "passionate to the highest degree one minute,
and the next ready to make a reconciliation."

The defection of the Monsieur was, however, only the beginning of
Jones's troubles with the insubordinate officers. While attempting to
capture a brigantine, Jones, through the desertion of some of his
English sailors, lost two of his small boats, for which he was bitterly
and unjustly reproached by the crazy, incompetent, and greedy Landais,
captain of the Alliance, who said that hereafter he would chase in the
manner he saw fit. Shortly afterwards, the Cerf abruptly left the fleet,
and the other privateer also went off on its own account. Jones was left
with only the Bonhomme Richard, the Pallas, the Vengeance, and the
Alliance; and it would have been better, as the result showed, if the
last-mentioned vessel and its extraordinary captain had also decamped at
this time for good. Landais paid no attention to Jones's signals, but
left the squadron for days, unfortunately returning. Against Jones's
orders he sent two prizes into Bergen, Norway, where they were given by
the Danish government to the English, and were for many years after the
war a source of trouble between Denmark and the United States.

Jones was also compelled to treat with the other French captains, and
several times modified his course in compliance with their demands. He
had formed a daring design to lay Leith, on the coast of Scotland, and
perhaps Edinburgh, under contribution, but first he had to argue the
matter with his captains. Fanning says: "Jones displayed so artfully his
arguments in favor of his plan that it was agreed pretty unanimously to
put it in immediate execution." Jones's art was manifested in this
instance, according to his account, by showing the captains "a large
heap of gold at the end of the prospect." During this enforced
conference, however, the wind shifted, and the undertaking had to be
given up. Fanning quaintly remarks: "All his [Jones's] vast projects of
wealth and aggrandizement became at once a shadow that passeth away,
never more to appear again!"

Jones, however, said that he would have succeeded, even at this late
hour, if his plan had been followed, and showed a touch of the weak side
of his character when he added: "Nothing prevented me from pursuing my
design but the reproach that would have been cast upon my character, as
a man of prudence, had the enterprise miscarried. It would have been
said: 'Was he not forewarned by Captain Cottineau and others?'"

With his old ship, his motley squadron, and his insubordinate officers,
Jones then cruised along the Yorkshire coast, destroyed or captured a
number of vessels, and was preparing to end his voyage at the Texel,
Holland, when chance threw in his way the opportunity which he so
greatly embraced.

On the 23d of September the squadron was chasing a ship off Flamborough
Head, when the Baltic fleet of merchantmen, for which Jones had been
looking, hove in sight. The commodore hoisted the signal for a general
chase. Landais, however, ignored the signal and went off by himself. The
merchant ships, when they saw Jones's squadron bearing down upon them,
made for the shore and escaped, protected by two ships of war, frigates,
which stood out and made preparations to fight, in order to save their

These British ships of war were the Serapis, a new frigate of forty-four
guns, and the Countess of Scarborough, twenty guns. The Alliance, at
that time, which was late in the afternoon, was not in sight, and the
little Vengeance, which had been sent to look for Landais, was also not
available. There were, therefore, two ships on each side, and Jones
ordered Captain Cottineau, of the Pallas, to look after the Countess of
Scarborough, while he himself took care of the Serapis. Jones never lost
his head in action, and yet he decided, with that "cool, determined
bravery," of which Benjamin Franklin spoke, and with "that presence of
mind which never deserted him" in action, recorded by Fanning, to engage
a ship known by him to be the superior of the Bonhomme Richard in almost
every respect. It has been said of Jones by one who fought with him that
only in battle was he absolutely at ease: only at times of comparative
inaction, when he could not exert himself fully, was he restless and
irritable. On this occasion he joyfully engaged a ship which threw a
weight of metal superior to his by three to two, that sailed much
faster, and was consequently at an advantage in manoeuvring for
position, and that had a crew equal to that of Jones in numbers, and
far more disciplined and homogeneous. A battle resulted which for
desperate fighting has never been excelled, and perhaps never equaled on
the sea.



Jones crowded on all possible sail, and the Bonhomme Richard came within
pistol shot of the Serapis. It was seven o'clock of a fine moonlight
night. Captain Pearson, of the British ship, then hailed, and was
answered with a whole broadside from the Bonhomme Richard, an unfriendly
salute which was promptly returned by the British ship.

From the beginning the fight seemed to go against the Bonhomme Richard.
There was hardly any stage of the three and a half hours' desperate
combat when Jones might not, with perfect propriety, have surrendered.
Hardly had the battle begun when two of the six old eighteen-pounders
forming the battery of the lower gun-deck of the Richard exploded,
killing the men working them and rendering the whole battery useless for
the rest of the action. Captain Pearson, perceiving his advantage in
speed and power of shot, attempted again and again to pass the bow of
the Richard and rake her. Jones's whole effort, on the other hand, was
to close with the Serapis and board, knowing that it was only a question
of time when, in a broadside fight, the Richard would be sunk.

After the broadsiding had continued with unremitting fury for about
three quarters of an hour, and several of the Richard's twelve-pounders
also had been put out of action, Captain Pearson thought he saw an
opportunity, the Serapis having veered and drawn ahead of the Richard,
to luff athwart the latter's hawse and rake her. But he attempted the
manoeuvre too soon, and perceiving that the two ships would be brought
together if he persisted in his course, he put his helm alee, bringing
the two vessels in a line; and the Serapis having lost her headway by
this evolution, the Richard ran into her weather quarter. Jones was
quick to make his first attempt to board, but he could not mass enough
men at the point of contact to succeed, and the ships soon swung apart.

The Richard, even at this early stage of the action, was in a deplorable
condition. Little of her starboard battery was left. Henry Gardner, a
gunner during the action, stated in his account of the battle that, at
this time, of the 140 odd officers and men stationed in the main
gun-deck battery at the beginning, over eighty were killed or wounded.
There were three or four feet of water in the hold, caused by the
Serapis's eighteen-pound shot, which had repeatedly pierced the hull of
the Richard.

It is no wonder that Captain Pearson, knowing that his enemy was hard
put to it, thought, after the failure to board, that Jones was ready to

"Has your ship struck?" he called, and Jones made his famous reply:--

"I have not yet begun to fight."

That Jones really made some such reply, there is no doubt. Certainly, it
was characteristic enough. Jones fought all his life, and yet when he
died he had hardly begun the conflict, so many of his ambitious
projects remained unrealized.

When the ships had swung apart, the broadsiding continued, increasingly
to the advantage of the Serapis. Had not a lucky wind, favorable to the
Richard, arisen at this point, doubtless her time above water would have
been short. The veering and freshening breeze enabled the Richard to
blanket the enemy's vessel, which consequently lost her headway, and
another fortunate puff of wind brought the Richard in contact with the
Serapis in such a way that the two vessels lay alongside one another,
bow to stern, and stern to bow. Jones, with his own hand, helped to lash
the two ships together. The anchor of the Serapis fortunately hooked the
quarter of the Richard, thus binding the frigates still more firmly

During the critical time when Jones was bending every nerve to grapple
with the Serapis, the Alliance made her first appearance, poured a
broadside or two into the Richard, and disappeared. Of this remarkable
deed Jones wrote to Dr. Franklin: "At last the Alliance appeared, and I
now thought the battle at an end; but to my utter astonishment he
discharged a broadside full into the stern of the Bon Homme Richard." It
is probable that the Serapis also suffered from Landais's attack, but
not so much as the Richard, which lay between the other two ships.

After the Serapis and the Richard had been well lashed together, there
began a new phase of the battle, which had already lasted about an hour.
There were only three guns left in action on the Richard, nine-pounders
on the quarter-deck, and the ship was badly leaking. The
eighteen-pounders of the enemy had riddled the gun-deck of the American
ship, rendering her, below-decks, entirely untenable. The real fight
from this time to the end was consequently above-decks. Jones abandoned
any attempt at great gun fire, except by the three small pieces on the
quarter-deck, drew practically his entire remaining crew from below to
the upper deck and the tops, and devoted his attention to sweeping the
decks of the enemy by the musketry of his French marines from the
quarter and poop decks, and of the American sailors in the tops. The
crew of the Serapis, on the other hand, were forced mainly to take
refuge in their well-protected lower decks, from which they continued to
fire their great guns into the already riddled hull and lower decks of
the Richard.

After the juncture of the vessels Captain Pearson made several desperate
attempts to cut the anchor loose, hoping in that way to become free
again of the Richard, in which case he knew that the battle was his.
Jones, of course, was equally determined to defend the anchor
fastenings. He personally directed the fire of his French marines
against the British in their repeated attempts to sever the two ships,
to such good purpose that not a single British sailor reached the
coveted goal. So determined was Jones on this important point that he
took loaded muskets from the hands of his French marines and shot down
several of the British with his own hand.

The captain of the French marines, who rendered at this important stage
of the action such good service, had been wounded early in the battle,
and the succeeding lieutenants had also been either killed or disabled.
The marines had been greatly diminished in numbers and were much
disheartened at the time Jones took personal command of them. Nathaniel
Fanning vividly narrates the manner in which Jones handled these
Frenchmen: "I could distinctly hear, amid the crashing of the musketry,
the great voice of the commodore, cheering the French marines in their
own tongue, uttering such imprecations upon the enemy as I never before
or since heard in French or any other language, exhorting them to take
good aim, pointing out objects for their fire, and frequently giving
them direct example by taking their loaded muskets from their hands into
his and firing himself. In fact, toward the very last, he had about him
a group of half a dozen marines who did nothing but load their firelocks
and hand them to the commodore, who fired them from his own shoulder,
standing on the quarter-deck rail by the main topmast backstay."

A French sailor, Pierre Gerard, who has left a memoir of the battle,
tells how his countrymen responded to Jones's presence: "Commodore Jones
sprang among the shaking marines on the quarter-deck like a tiger among
calves. They responded instantly to him. In an instant they were filled
with courage! The indomitable spirit, the unconquerable courage of the
commodore penetrated every soul, and every one who saw his example or
heard his voice became as much a hero as himself!"

Both vessels were at this time, and later, on fire in various places.
Captain Pearson says in his official report that the Serapis was on fire
no less than ten or twelve times. Half the men on both ships had been
killed or disabled. The leak in the Richard's hold grew steadily worse,
and the mainmast of the Serapis was about to go by the board. The
Alliance again appeared and, paying no heed to Jones's signal to lay the
Serapis alongside, raked both vessels for a few minutes
indiscriminately, went serenely on her way, and brought her inglorious
and inexplicable part in the action to a close. Captain Pearson had, for
a moment, towards the end of the action, a ray of hope. A gunner on the
Richard, thinking the ship was actually sinking, called for quarter, but
Jones stunned him with the butt end of a pistol, and replied to Pearson,
who had again hailed to know if the Richard had struck, to quote his own
report, "in the most determined negative." About the same time, the
master at arms, also believing the ship to be sinking, opened the
hatches and released nearly two hundred British prisoners, taken in the
various prizes of the cruise.

Nothing, apparently, could be more desperate than the situation of Paul
Jones then. His guns useless, his ship sinking and on fire, half of his
crew dead or disabled, the Alliance firing into him, a portion of his
crew panic-stricken, and two hundred British prisoners at large on the
ship! But with Lieutenant Richard Dale to help him, he boldly ordered
the prisoners to man the pumps, and continued the fight with
undiminished energy. Soon after occurred the event which practically
decided the battle in his favor. He had given orders to drop hand
grenades from the tops of the Richard down through the enemy's main
hatch. It was by this means that the Serapis had been so often set on
fire. Now at an opportune moment, a hand grenade fell among a pile of
cartridges strung out on the deck of the Serapis and caused a terrible
explosion, killing many men. This seemed to reduce materially the
fighting appetite of the British, and soon after a party of seamen from
the Richard, with the dashing John Mayrant at their head, boarded the
Serapis, and met with little resistance. Captain Pearson thereupon
struck his colors, and the victory which marked the zenith of Jones's
career, and upon which all else in his life merely served as commentary,
was scored. Captain Pearson, in his court-martial, which was a formality
in the British navy in case of defeat, explained Jones's victory in a
nutshell: "It was clearly apparent," he said, "that the American ship
was dominated by a commanding will of the most unalterable resolution,"
and again, "the extraordinary and unheard-of desperate stubbornness of
my adversary had so depressed the spirits of my people that, when more
than two hundred had been slain or disabled out of 317 all told, I could
not urge the remnant to further resistance."

The capture of the British ship, which took place about half-past ten at
night, came none too soon, for the old Bonhomme Richard was sinking. The
flames were extinguished by combined efforts of crew and prisoners by
ten o'clock the next morning, but with seven feet of water, constantly
increasing in the hold, it was then apparent that it was impossible to
keep the old vessel afloat, and men, prisoners, and powder were
transferred to the Serapis. On the morning of the 25th Jones obtained,
"with inexpressible grief," as he said, "the last glimpse of the
Bonhomme Richard," as she went down.

The desperate battle fought in the bright moonlight was witnessed by
many persons in Scarborough and on Flamborough Head, and they spread
the alarming tidings throughout England. In a letter to Robert Morris,
written soon after, Jones said, of the cruise in general: "We alarmed
their coasts prodigiously from Cape Clear round to Hull; and had I not
been concerned with sons of interest I could have done much."

With his two new prizes (for the Countess of Scarborough had after a
short action struck to the greatly superior Pallas) Jones set off for
the Texel, with a most dilapidated crew and fleet. The Alliance, well
called a "Comet" by the editor of the Janette-Taylor collection of
Jones's papers, disappeared again after the battle. Landais, whose
conduct was described by Jones as being that of "either a fool, a
madman, or a villain," was afterwards dismissed the service, but not
until he had cut up other extraordinary pranks. He now went off with his
swift and uninjured frigate to the Texel, leaving Jones, laden down with
prisoners and wounded, unassisted. Of the Richard's crew of 323, 67 men
had been killed, leaving 106 wounded and 150 others to be accommodated
on the injured Serapis. Then there were 211 English prisoners on the
Richard at the beginning of the action; and of the 332 (including 8 sick
men and 7 non-combatants) men composing the crew of the Serapis, there
were 245 left to be cared for--134 wounded, 87 having been killed. There
were, consequently, only 150 well men to look after 562 wounded and
prisoners. Some of the latter were afterwards transferred to the Pallas,
but altogether it was an unwieldy fleet which slowly sailed for the
Texel, at which neutral port Jones arrived October 3, none too soon, for
as he entered the roads, an English squadron, consisting of a sixty-four
ship of the line and three heavy frigates, which had been looking for
him, hove in sight.

The effect of the cruise was very great. The English people, alarmed and
incensed, never forgot it. Never before had one of their ships of war
been conquered by a vessel of greatly inferior force. Their coasts,
deemed impregnable, were again invaded by the man whom they called, in
the blindness of their rage, pirate and renegade. Professor Houghton, a
serious-minded historian, writing of Jones said: "His moral character
can be summed up in one word--detestable." English comment on Paul Jones
may be summed up truthfully in one word,--envenomed. Jones's exploits,
moreover, greatly increased the prestige of young America, and made of
himself a still greater hero at home and particularly in France. For the
rest of his life, indeed, Jones, in France especially, where spectacles
are peculiarly appreciated, was the man on horseback, and he enjoyed the
position intensely. Fanning narrates how Jones, while at Amsterdam, soon
after his arrival in the Texel, "was treated as a conqueror. This so
elated him with pride, that he had the vanity to go into the State
House, mount the balcony or piazza, and show himself in the front
thereof, to the populace and people of distinction then walking on the
public parade."



Jones found himself in a position at the Texel which demanded all the
shrewdness as well as the determination of his character. Impatient,
irritable, and passionate as he often was, his judgment was nevertheless
excellent. Benjamin Franklin, when Jones at a later time was again put
in a delicate situation, wrote him:--

"You have shown your abilities in fighting; you have now an opportunity
of showing the other necessary part in the character of a great
chief,--your abilities in policy."

Jones's ability in policy appeared in a more favorable light in the
Texel than at any other period of his career, although too great weight
has been laid upon the degree of it. The important problem to be solved
was how to induce the Dutch authorities to allow him and his battered
ships to remain for a time in the shelter of their port. Jones knew
that the attainment of this object would help to bring about a rupture
between England and Holland. The latter country was secretly in sympathy
with the revolted colonies, but eager at that time to maintain
officially friendly relations with England. Consequently, when Jones
arrived with his prizes, the Dutch authorities were in a quandary, much
aggravated by the action of the British minister in Holland, Sir Joseph
Yorke, who demanded that the "pirate's" prizes be delivered up to
England. He reiterated his demand to the States-General in the following
language: "I only discharge the orders of his Majesty in renewing the
most strong and urgent demand for the seizure and restitution of said
vessels as well as for the enlargement of their crews, who have been
seized by the pirate, Paul Jones, a Scotchman, a rebellious subject, and
state criminal."

Jones, in reply to the allegations of the British minister, copies of
whose letters had been sent him, wrote the States-General an able
letter. He inclosed a copy of his commission from the United States
government, and then argued that the United States was a "sovereign
power" and entitled to issue such a commission. He pointed out that the
sovereignty had been recognized by France and Spain, and that
belligerent rights had been recognized by Prussia and by Russia. Only
one of Sir Joseph's charges he admitted to be true,--that he was a
Scotchman, but he denied the inference made from it,--that he was a
"state criminal." He wrote: "It cannot have escaped the attention of
Your High Mightinesses that every man now giving fealty to the cause of
American Independence was born a British subject." If he were a "state
criminal," then, he argued, General Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and
all other American patriots were also "state criminals."

Soon after this letter was received the States-General passed a
resolution declining to "consider any question affecting the validity of
Paul Jones's commission or his status as a person." They declined
likewise "to do anything from which it might lawfully be inferred that
they recognized the independence of the American colonies." They also
resolved that Paul Jones should be asked to leave their port, but not
until the wind and weather should be favorable. They had refused,
therefore, to consider Jones as a pirate, or to deliver up his prizes.

Paul Jones's plan was not to admit that a favorable wind had arisen
until the last possible moment. He did not wish to be taken by the
strong British fleet waiting for him outside the harbor, and he desired,
as he said, in order to provoke war between Holland and England, "to try
the patience of the English party to the last bit of strain it would
bear by keeping my anchorage in Dutch waters on plea of distress, and at
the same time I wished to be ready for instant departure the moment I
saw that the plea of distress could no longer be plausibly held."

The French Minister of Marine, de Sartine, however, fearing that
ultimately the pressure would be so great that the squadron would be
compelled to depart and thus fall into the clutches of the British,
demanded that the French flag, which naturally commanded greater respect
from Holland than the flag of the United States, should be displayed.
Benjamin Franklin agreed with the French minister, but Jones

"In vain I expostulated with them that by accepting the shelter of the
French flag I should do exactly of all things what Sir Joseph Yorke
wished me to do, namely, withdraw all pretensions of the United States
as a party to the situation, and thereby confess that the United States
claimed no status as a sovereign power in a neutral port."

Jones was forced to yield, the French flag was displayed, the command
was given to the French captain, Cottineau, and Jones retained only the
Alliance, an American ship, from which he was allowed, however, to fly
the American flag.

To add to Jones' sorrows de Sartine offered him, through the Duc de
Vauguyan, a French commission to command the Alliance as a letter of
marque. He rejected it with indignation: "My rank from the beginning
knew no superior in the marine of America; how then must I be humbled
were I to accept a letter of marque! I should, my lord, esteem myself
inexcusable were I to accept even a commission of equal or superior
denomination to that I bear, unless I were previously authorized by
Congress, or some other competent authority in Europe." That the
Serapis, the prize for which he had so bravely contended, had been taken
from him, was another of the wrongs which rankled deeply in Jones's

Jones must have got a great deal of satisfaction, however, from the fact
that he continued defiantly to wave the American flag from the Alliance,
and that he delayed his enforced departure, in spite of great pressure
from the admiral of the Dutch fleet, until December 26, when with the
Alliance he dashed out of the harbor "under his best American colors,"
ran the gauntlet of the British fleet cruising outside, and escaped into
the open sea.

Before leaving the Texel, Jones, on December 17, 1779, wrote Dr.
Bancroft: "I am sure that the strain put upon the relations between
Holland and England must end in rupture between them within this year."

War was indeed declared between England and Holland on December 19,
1780, and in the bill of grievances set forth in the proclamation of a
state of war against Holland, the statement is made: "That, in violation
of treaty, they [the States-General] suffered an American Pirate (one
Paul Jones, a Rebel, and State Criminal) to remain several weeks in one
of their ports."

It is clear, therefore, that Jones's pertinacious stay in the Dutch port
brought about important results.

Another instance of Jones's _sang-froid_ in matters where time was given
for his judgment to come into play, was the way he treated Landais at
the Texel. On his arrival at that port Jones sent to Dr. Franklin
charges against the captain of the Alliance, whom he removed from
command. Whereupon Landais sent Jones a challenge to a duel. Fanning
narrates: "But the latter [Jones], perhaps not thinking it prudent to
expose himself with a single combatant, who was a complete master of the
smallsword, declined." In the second edition of his memoir Fanning said
that Jones accepted Landais's challenge, but insisted on substituting
pistols, with which he was an expert, for swords, a proposition which
Landais refused.

Although again on the sea and free from the irritations of the Texel,
Jones, when he had eluded the British fleet, found plenty of other
things to annoy him. He had fortunately transferred many of his
trustworthy men from the Serapis to the Alliance, but there were enough
of the latter ship's old officers and men to divide the crew into two
hostile camps. The discontent at the delay over payment of wages and
prize money had deepened. Although the crew was large, fierce in temper,
and at first very anxious to look for further prizes, they yet, after
the cruise had continued for some time without success, refused to
continue unless they were paid. Jones, in order to induce them to embark
from Corunna, Spain, where the Alliance had put in for repairs and
provisions, promised that he would sail immediately for L'Orient, where
they should receive their prize money. As soon as he was again at sea,
however, Jones informed his officers that he intended to make a further
cruise of twenty days. Fanning, one of the officers, quotes Jones:--

"'And,' says he, with a kind of contemptuous smile, which he was much
addicted to, 'Gentlemen, you cannot conceive what an additional honor it
would be to all of us, if in cruising a few days we should have the good
luck to fall in with an English frigate of our force and carry her in
with us.... This would crown our former victories, and our names, in
consequence thereof, would be handed down to latest posterity by some
faithful historian of our country.'" Fanning adds in a footnote: "Jones
had a wonderful notion of his name being handed down to posterity."

When the officers remonstrated on the ground that the men were badly
clothed, Jones flew into a rage and ordered them to go to their duty.
He found, however, that he could not, with a mutinous crew, continue his
course effectively, and reluctantly sailed for L'Orient, where he
arrived on February 10, 1780.



The following year, passed mainly in France, at Paris or L'Orient, was
spent by Jones in trying to collect prize money, secure an important
command, and in society, where he shone more resplendently than ever. He
wrote rather more than his usual large number of letters,--to Franklin,
Robert Morris, the Duchesse de Chartres, Arthur Lee, Dr. Bancroft, and
many others,--in practically all of them urging some one of his warmly
desired projects.

His correspondence with Benjamin Franklin was largely about prize money
and the expense of repairing the Alliance, which he undertook to do
immediately on his arrival at L'Orient. The frugal doctor attempted to
curb, in the matter of expense, the free-handed Jones. The latter had an
enormous respect for Franklin, and it is quite likely that he attempted
to be economical, but he seems to have been less successful in that
direction than in any other. Fanning speaks of the "great and
unnecessary expense" involved in Jones's elaborate alterations, and
narrates how, at a later period, when Jones was in command of the Ariel,
anchored in the harbor at L'Orient, a magnificent spectacle was given on
board for the entertainment of the ladies and gentlemen invited by
Jones. A mock fight between the Bonhomme Richard and the Serapis, in
which vast quantities of ammunition were destroyed, took place. The
vessel was finely carpeted and decorated, a regal banquet was served,
military music played, and in general "neither cash nor pains," says
Fanning, "were spared in order that the scene every way should appear
magnificent." Although the hero never seemed to take account of the
extreme poverty of the infant republic, it is only fair to add that he
spent his own money as freely as any one else's, and that he often
served without pay, a fact continually attested to by himself in his
letters and journals.

Jones's lack of success, in spite of his energetic attempts in
collecting at this time the prize money, about which there were many
annoying technicalities, increased the discontent of his crew, and
prepared the way for the seizure of the Alliance by the mad Landais.
Arthur Lee, formerly one of the American commissioners in Europe, had
always been hostile to Jones and unsympathetic with Dr. Franklin and
with the revolutionary party generally; to such a degree, indeed, that
he was accused, not unjustly, of treachery to the cause of American
independence. At the time that the Alliance was at L'Orient, Lee was
waiting an opportunity to return to America. Captain Landais, who had
been deprived of the command of the Alliance by order of Benjamin
Franklin, then the sole representative of the United States in France,
and who had likewise been ordered by the doctor to report to the Marine
Committee on the charge of infamous conduct, planned to take the
Alliance from Jones, and was supported in the attempt by Lee, who
contended that neither Franklin nor Jones could deprive Landais of a
command given him by Congress. Lee's desire to take the ship from Jones
was augmented by the latter's refusal to make room for the
ex-commissioner's many effects, including two fine coaches,--space which
was much needed for the accommodation of supplies for Washington's army.

Lee and Landais consequently encouraged the discontent among the crew of
the Alliance, and one day, June 13, when Jones was on shore at L'Orient,
Landais went on board the ship, and, supported by his old officers and
by Lee, took possession. When Jones heard of it he was very angry, and
acted, according to Fanning, "more like a madman than a conqueror;" but,
as usual, his anger was quickly controlled and the definite steps he
took in the affair were marked by great moderation. The commandant of
the defenses at L'Orient had received orders from the French government
to fire on the Alliance, if Landais should attempt to take her out of
the harbor; and it seems he would have obeyed and probably sunk the
ship, had not Jones himself interfered, and induced him to stay his
hand. In a letter to Franklin, Jones said:--

"Your humanity will, I know, justify the part I acted in preventing a
scene that would have made me miserable the rest of my life."

Jones was probably not over sorry to lose the Alliance. There was
nothing very thrilling in the prospect of carrying supplies to America,
and Jones at that time hoped fervently to get hold of the Serapis and
other ships and make another warlike cruise against the coast of
England. So Landais sailed away with the Alliance, but to his own ruin,
as the clear-sighted Jones had predicted in a remarkable letter written
a short time before the ship sailed to a mutinous officer on the
Alliance. On the voyage Landais's eccentricity caused his friend Lee to
put him under arrest, and on the arrival in America, a court of inquiry
found him unfit for command, and he never again burdened the service.

Jones was left at L'Orient with the little Ariel, armed with eighteen
twelve-pounders and four six-pounders, a ship loaned by the king to Dr.
Franklin, and with high hopes, as usual, of more glorious opportunities.
But many months intervened before he sailed again,--a time he devoted to
business and society. As Jones and his interesting midshipman Fanning
separated at the end of this period, the latter's final impressions of
his captain may here be given:--

"Captain Jones was a man of about five feet six inches high, well shaped
below his head and shoulders, rather round shouldered, with a visage
fierce and warlike, and wore the appearance of great application to
study, which he was fond of. He was an excellent seaman and knew naval
tactics as well as almost any man of his age; but it must be allowed
that his character was somewhat tinctured with bad qualities ... his
courage and bravery as a naval commander cannot be doubted. His
smoothness of tongue and flattery to seamen when he wanted them was
persuasive, and in which he excelled any other man I was ever acquainted
with.... His pride and vanity while at Paris and Amsterdam was not
generally approved of."

Fanning has many anecdotes to relate in regard to Jones's affairs of
gallantry of an humble character. Several of Jones's biographers have
dwelt upon the gorgeous and aristocratic nature of the hero's amours.
Fanning has the solitary distinction of narrating the other side. Jones,
indeed, was a good deal of a snob, but he was broadly appreciative of
the fair sex. He probably was never deeply in love with anybody,
certainly not with any woman of humble character. Of such his
appreciation was of a simple and earthly kind.

Although Jones seems to have had no intimate friends, with possibly one
exception, there certainly was about him a very strong charm, which made
him a favorite in good society. He had a flattering tongue, a ready wit,
and a gallant manner. Of Jones's attractions Benjamin Franklin once
wrote to a woman:--

"I must confess to your Ladyship that when face to face with him neither
man nor, so far as I can learn, woman can for a moment resist the
strange magnetism of his presence, the indescribable charm of his
manner, a commingling of the most compliant deference with the most
perfect self-esteem that I have ever seen in a man; and, above all, the
sweetness of his voice and the purity of his language."

Mr. Varnum of Rhode Island, who met Jones only in connection with public
business, said of him:--

"I confess there was a magic about his way and manner that I have never
before seen. Whatever he said carried conviction with it."

Even more sensible of Jones's charms than the men were the women, who
were universally dazzled by the brilliant hero. Miss Edes-Herbert, an
Englishwoman living in Paris, writes, among other flattering things
about him:--

"Since my last, the famous Paul Jones has dined here and also been
present at afternoon teas. If I am in love with him, for love I may die,
I am sure, because I have as many rivals as there are ladies."

She records that Jones wrote verses for the ladies extempore, and gives
a sample, the sentiments of which are as characteristic of the
declamatory century as of the naïvely vain Jones:--

     "Insulted Freedom bled,--I felt her cause,
     And drew my sword to vindicate her laws,
     From principle, and not from vain applause.
     I've done my best; self-interest far apart,
     And self-reproach a stranger to my heart;
     My zeal still prompts, ambitious to pursue
     The foe, ye fair, of liberty and you:
     Grateful for praise, spontaneous and unbought,
     A generous people's love not meanly sought;
     To merit this, and bend the knee to beauty,
     Shall be my earliest and latest duty."

Many of Jones's flowery letters to distinguished women are preserved. On
one occasion he wrote to a certain countess, informing her that he was
composing a secret cipher for a key to their correspondence, and added:
"I beseech you to accept the within lock (of hair). I am sorry that it
is now eighteen inches shorter than it was three months ago."

The only case in which Jones's affections seem to have reached beyond
good nature, common kindness, or gallantry, to the point of love, was
that of Aimée de Thelison. She was the natural daughter of Louis XV.,
and this fact no doubt greatly heightened her interest in the eyes of
the aristocratic Jones. She was a person of beauty and charm, and felt
deep love for Jones. His love for her was of a cool character, which did
not interfere with any of the enterprises taking him so frequently away
from Paris. His letters to her are with one exception hardly love
letters. The warmest words in that exception are:--

"The last French packet brought no letter to me from the person whose
happiness is dearer to me than anything else.... Your silence makes even
honors insipid."

It was while Jones was waiting thus gayly to sail for America, that the
king of France bestowed upon him, in recognition of his services to the
common cause, the Royal Order of Military Merit and a gold-mounted sword
of honor, and made him Chevalier of France. It was, as Jones himself
frequently wrote, a singular honor, he being the first alien to be made
a French chevalier; and Jones prized this favor from a king more than he
would the gift of a million dollars. The gold sword also pleased him
deeply, and he asked the countess to whom he had sent the lock of hair
to keep it for him, lest he lose it. He wrote of this gift:--

"His Majesty ordered a superb sword to be made for me, which I have
since received, and it is called much more elegant than that presented
to the Marquis de la Fayette."



Benjamin Franklin, knowing the value of the supplies to Washington's
army, had implored Jones to embark several months before the little
Ariel actually set sail, October 8, 1780. But Jones, hoping for an
important command in Europe, and delayed by business in connection with
fitting out his ship, and perhaps by the gayeties he was engaged in at
Paris, did not show much concern over General Washington's distress.
When he finally did sail, he encountered a terrible storm, and it was
only the best of seamanship which enabled him to avoid shipwreck. As it
was, he was compelled to put back for repairs to L'Orient, where, in a
series of letters, he manoeuvred in vain for the loan of the fine ship

It was not until December 18 that the Ariel got under way again for
America. The voyage was uneventful, with the exception of a night
battle with a British privateer sloop of inferior force. Jones cleverly
concealed his greater strength, and thus lured the Englishman to engage.
After a ten-minute fight, the Triumph struck its colors, but, when the
Ariel ceased firing, sailed away and escaped, to Jones's exceeding

"The English captain," he wrote in his journal, "may properly be called
a knave, because after he surrendered his ship, begged for and obtained
quarter, he basely ran away, contrary to the laws of naval war and the
practice of civilized nations."

Paul Jones, when he arrived in Philadelphia, the 18th of February, 1781,
was thirty-three years old and had actively served in the United States
navy for five years and five months. He never fought another battle
under the United States flag; indeed, with the exception of his
distressing experiences in Russia, he never fought again under any flag.
But to his dying day he did not cease to plan great naval deeds and to
hope for greater opportunity to harass the enemy--any enemy. In view of
his great ambition and ability, circumstances allowed him to accomplish
little. He had only one opportunity, and the way he responded made him
famous; but though it brought him honor it did not satisfy him, and the
rest of his life was a series of disappointments. His bitterness grew
apace, and before he died he was a genuinely pathetic figure.

Soon after Jones's arrival at Philadelphia, the Board of Admiralty
required him to give "all the information in his power relative to the
detention of the clothing and arms in France intended for Washington's
army;" and a series of forty-seven questions, on the subject not only of
the delay but also on matters connected generally with his cruises, were
submitted to him. He attributed, with probable justice, the instigation
of this investigation to his enemy Arthur Lee, whom he desired in
consequence to challenge to a duel. He was dissuaded, however, from this
step, as well as from the publication of a paper he had written called
"Arthur Lee in France," in which he made a circumstantial charge
against Lee of "treason, perfidy, and the office of a spy," by some of
his distinguished friends, including Morris and Livingston.

Without either the duel or the publication of the paper, Jones was,
however, completely vindicated. He answered the questions with clearness
and skill, to the complete satisfaction of the board, which recommended
that Congress confer on the hero some distinguished mark of approbation.
A committee was appointed to question Jones personally, and the
impression he made upon it is another proof of the remarkable suavity,
plausibility and magnetism of the man. One of the examining committeemen

"From his beginning no one thought of disputing him. Toward the end we
seldom ventured to ask him any questions. He made himself master of the
situation throughout. At the end the committee felt honored by having
had the privilege of listening to him."

On the committee's recommendation Congress, which had already on Jones's
arrival resolved "that Congress entertain a high sense of the
distinguished bravery and military conduct of John Paul Jones, Esq.,
captain in the navy of the United States, and particularly in his
victory over the British frigate Serapis," gave Jones a further vote of
thanks, "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 from captivity the citizens of these States who
had fallen under the power of the enemy, and in general for the good
conduct and eminent services by which he has added lustre to his
character and to the American arms."

Soon after, the intrepid man to whom were given so many testimonials and
so few satisfactory commands received an appreciative letter from
General Washington, who, after stating his satisfaction with Jones's
explanation of the delay of the supplies, said:--

"Whether our naval affairs have in general been well or ill conducted
would be presumptuous in me to determine. Instances of bravery and good
conduct in several of our officers have not, however, been wanting.
Delicacy forbids me to mention that particular instance which has
attracted the admiration of all the world and which has influenced the
most illustrious monarch to confer a mark of his favor which can only be
obtained by a long and honorable service or by the performance of some
brilliant action."

It now seemed to Jones a favorable opportunity to improve his rank, and
on May 28 he sent a memorial to Congress reiterating his claims to stand
above the captains who had been unjustly put ahead of him. He failed,
probably on account of the political influence wielded by the captains;
but in the way of compensation he was appointed commander of the new
vessel then building at Portsmouth, a seventy-four, called the America,
the only ship of the line owned by the States,--a "singular honor," as
he expressed it. John Adams, who had at one time been unfriendly to
Jones, looking upon him as "a smooth, plausible, and rather capable
adventurer," wrote him, _à propos_ of this appointment:--

"The command of the America could not have been more judiciously
bestowed, and it is with impatience that I wish her at sea, where she
will do honor to her name."

Jones had hoped to join Washington's army, then campaigning against
Cornwallis, as a volunteer, but he cheerfully gave up this exciting
prospect in order to prepare the America for sea,--"the most lingering
and disagreeable task," he wrote, "he had been charged with during the
whole of the war." He did his job with his usual efficiency, however,
and with his usual extravagance, which he called simplicity. He wrote in
his journal: "The plan which Captain Jones projected for the sculpture
expressed dignity and simplicity. The head was a female figure crowned
with laurels. The right arm was raised, with the forefinger pointing to
heaven.... On the left arm was a buckler, with a blue ground and
thirteen silver stars. The legs and feet were covered here and there
with wreaths of smoke, to represent the dangers and difficulties of war.
On the stern, under the windows of the great cabin, appeared two large
figures in bas-relief, representing Tyranny and Oppression, bound and
biting the ground, with the cap of Liberty on a pole above their heads.
On the back part of the starboard quarter was a large Neptune; and on
the back part of the larboard quarter gallery, a large Mars."

As a reward for all this industry and æsthetic effort Jones had another
disappointment; for in August, 1782, the French seventy-four gunship,
the Magnifique, was wrecked at the entrance to Boston harbor, and
Congress gave the America to the king of France.

With undaunted energy Jones now attempted to get hold of the South
Carolina, originally called the Indien, which he had formerly, when he
crossed the ocean in the Ranger, failed to secure. She was now, under
the new name, in the service of the States, and Robert Morris tried to
turn her over to Jones, that he might again "harass the enemy." But the
plan failed, and Jones remained without a command. Unable to rest,
although his health had for some time been failing, he now requested and
obtained consent "to embark as a volunteer in pursuit of military
marine knowledge with the Marquis de Vaudreuil, in order to enable him
the better to serve his country when America should increase her navy."
He went off, accordingly, on the cruise with the French fleet; but the
expedition, during the course of which peace was declared, was
uneventful, and Jones, who had had an attack of fever, spent the summer
of 1783 quietly in the town of Bethlehem. In the following November,
however, he renewed his activity, and on his application was appointed
by Congress agent to collect all moneys due from the sale of the prizes
taken in European waters by vessels under his command.

Although money was subordinate, in Jones's mind, to glory and the
opportunity for action, he was an excellent business man. His commercial
transactions had been successful enough to enable him to pay with his
own resources the crews of the Alfred and Providence, so that when he
set sail in the Ranger he had advanced £1500 to the United States. After
the close of the war, at a period of comparative inactivity, he began a
profitable trade in illuminating oils, and in his character as prize
money agent he continued to show his business dexterity. He began a long
campaign of a year of most pertinacious and vigorous dunning for money
due the United States, himself, and the officers and sailors under his
command. He wrote innumerable letters to Franklin, to de Castries, the
new Minister of Marine, to de Vergennes, Minister of Foreign Affairs; to
many others, and prepared for the king a careful account of his cruises,
in order to show that prize money was due. In arguing for all that he
could get he showed great acuteness, legal sense, and, beyond
everything, invincible determination. He also again demonstrated his
happy talent for abuse of those who stood in his way. He finally secured
the allowance of his claims; and the settlements, which began in
January, 1784, were completed, as far as France was concerned, in July,
1785. He was paid 181,000 livres, which he turned over, less deductions
for expenses and his own share of the prize money, to Thomas Jefferson,
then minister to France, who approved the account. Jones charged for
his ordinary expenses, however, the sum of 48,000 livres and his share
of prize money was 13,000 livres, a total of 61,000 livres, a generous
allowance. One of the free-handed man's biographers, A. S. MacKenzie,
pointed out that Jones "charged his shipmates for his expenses, during
less than two years, more than General Washington did the people of the
United States throughout the Revolutionary War."

The next public business of Jones was to attempt to collect indemnity
from the Danish government for the delivery to England of the prizes
sent by the mad Landais, during Jones's most famous cruise, to Bergen,
Denmark. He delayed his trip to Copenhagen, however, for a number of
reasons. At this time he was carrying on several private business
enterprises of importance, was occupied with society in London and
Paris, and was eagerly desirous of being sent by the French government
against the Dey of Algiers, who held in bondage many Christians. At
various times during his career Jones showed a keen sense of the wrongs
inflicted on Americans by the Barbary pirates in search of tribute, and
in his letters to Jefferson and others he often suggested plans for
their extermination. For de Vergennes and de Castries he prepared a
memorandum urging the necessity of a movement against the pirates, and
ably pointing out the good that would accrue therefrom to the world, and
particularly to France, to which nation he attributed future dominion in
North Africa, provided action was taken in time to forestall Great

"The knowledge of the race persuades me," he wrote, "that England will
soon invade the Mediterranean--doubtless as soon as she recovers from
the exhaustion of the late war."

The United States, however, were after the war lacking so completely in
resources that a war with the pirates was impossible, and France was on
the brink of her great Revolution, and had more important things to
consider. So Jones died before the expedition for which he had so
ardently hoped, and which brought so much honor, as he had predicted,
to the man who commanded it--Commodore Dale, once Jones's first
lieutenant on the Bonhomme Richard--was dispatched.

Jones finally set off for Copenhagen to collect the indemnity from the
Danish government; but hearing of a crisis in an important business
matter in which he was interested, he made, before arriving at his
destination, a flying trip to America. While there, he was awarded a
gold medal by Congress, and said in his journal that such a medal had
been given to only six officers.

"To General Washington, for the capture of Boston; General Gates, for
the capture of Burgoyne's army; General Wayne, for the taking of Rocky
Point;... General Morgan, for having defeated and destroyed a
detachment of 1100 officers and soldiers of the best troops of England,
with 900 militia merely; General Greene, for having scored a decisive
victory on the enemy at Euta Spring.... But all these medals, although
well merited, were given in moments of enthusiasm. I had the unique
satisfaction of receiving the same honor, by the unanimous voice of the
United States assembled in Congress, the sixteenth October, 1787, in
memory of the services which I rendered eight years earlier."

It was not until January, 1788, that Paul Jones arrived at Copenhagen,
where, during his short stay, he was magnificently entertained by the
court. The negotiations for the indemnity, which he began almost
immediately, were abruptly terminated by the transfer of the matter for
settlement to Paris. Jones, on the day he agreed to suspend the
negotiations, received from the Danish government a patent for a pension
of 1500 crowns a year, "for the respect he had shown the Danish flag
while he commanded in the European seas." Jones kept this transaction,
for which he possibly felt ashamed, to himself, until several years
afterwards, when, writing to Jefferson, he said: "I have felt myself in
an embarrassing situation, with regard to the king's patent, and I have
not yet made use of it, though three years have elapsed since I received

On Jones's return to Paris from America, previous to his Copenhagen
trip, the Russian ambassador to France, Baron Simolin, had made, through
Mr. Jefferson, a proposition looking to the appointment of the conqueror
of the Serapis to a position in the navy of Russia, then about to war
with the Turks. Simolin wrote Catherine II. of Russia that, "with the
chief command of the fleet and _carte blanche_ he would undertake that
in a year Paul Jones would make Constantinople tremble." This exciting
possibility was no doubt constantly in Jones's mind while he was at
Copenhagen, and probably increased his willingness to dismiss the
indemnity negotiations. He began immediately to manoeuvre for the
highest command possible. He demurred to the rank of captain-commandant,
equal to that of major-general in the army, and maintained that nothing
less than rear-admiral was fitting. He laid the account of all his deeds
and honors before the dazzled Russian minister at Copenhagen, and said:
"The unbounded admiration and profound respect which I have long felt
for the glorious character of her Imperial Majesty, forbids the idea
that a sovereign so magnanimous should sanction any arrangement that may
give pain at the outset to the man she deigns to honor with her notice,
and who wishes to devote himself entirely to her service." In order to
be in a better position for extorting honors from the empress, Jones
wrote Jefferson suggesting that Congress bestow upon him the rank of
rear-admiral; and took occasion to assert, on the eve of taking service
under a despot, the undying character of his love for America.

"I am not forsaking," he wrote, "the country that has had so many
distinguished and difficult proofs of my affection; and can never
renounce the glorious title of _a citizen of the United States_"
[Italics are Jones's].

Jones left Copenhagen on his ill-fated Russian mission, April 11, and
made a flying and perilous trip to St. Petersburg. He crossed the
ice-blocked Baltic in a small boat, compelled, at the muzzle of his
pistols, the unwilling boatmen to proceed, and on his arrival at his
destination, on April 23, was presented to the empress, who conferred
upon him the coveted rank of rear-admiral, to the intense irritation of
many of the English officers in the service of Russia, who looked upon
Jones as a red-handed pirate. In June Catherine wrote to her favorite at
the time: "I am sorry that all the officers are raging about Paul Jones.
I hope fervently that they will cease their mad complaints, for he is
necessary to us." In 1792, long after the war in which Jones had played
a part, Catherine said, with a different accent: "Ce Paul Jones était
une bien mauvaise tête." Certainly Jones's diplomacy, which was of a
direct character, was not equal to his present situation, unfamiliar to
him, and for success demanding conduct tortuous and insincere to an
Oriental degree. Jones, in comparison with his associates in Russia, was
remarkably truthful,--a trait which involved him in humiliating
difficulties, and which was a source of irritation to the empress and to
all concerned.



Paul Jones left St. Petersburg on May 7, to take command of the Russian
squadron in the Black Sea. Before his departure he requested of the
empress "never to be condemned unheard." This, one of the most modest
demands Jones ever made, was, as the sequel will show, denied him. He
arrived on the 19th at St. Elizabeth, the headquarters of Prince
Potemkin, the former favorite of the empress and the commander in chief
of the war against the Turks. Potemkin, under whose orders Jones stood,
was of a thoroughly despotic type. As Potemkin was a prince, Jones was
at first disposed to flatter him extravagantly, but the commodore was by
nature averse to being dictated to, particularly by those whom he deemed
his inferiors, and it was not long before they began to quarrel.

Paul Jones was put in command of the squadron which was to oppose the
fleet of the Capitan Pacha, and thus help the Russian army to take
Oczakow, a town lying at the junction of the Bog with the Knieper, which
had been strongly fortified by the Turks. Unfortunately, Jones was not
only subject to the orders of Prince Potemkin, but the immediate command
of the fleet was divided between him and a thoroughly incompetent and
arrogant adventurer, the Prince of Nassau. Jones commanded the heavier
ships, forming the squadron, while Nassau was in charge of a
considerable force of Russian gunboats and barges, composing what was
called the flotilla. Between Jones and Nassau existed extreme jealousy.
In fact, the only officer in high position with whom Jones stood on an
amicable footing was the distinguished General Suwarrow. Early in the
campaign the Russian had advised Jones to allow Potemkin to take the
credit of any success that might result, and to hold his tongue,--two
things which Jones, unfortunately, was quite incapable of doing.

It is impossible to enter into the details of this campaign, but enough
may be given to explain the difficulties which Jones encountered. After
some unimportant engagements between the two fleets, an action of
importance occurred which disclosed the deep differences between Jones
and his Russian allies. The Capitan Pacha attempted to attack the
Russian fleet, but one of his ships ran aground, and the others
anchored. Jones saw his opportunity and ordered a general attack on the
confused Turkish fleet, which cut anchor and fled, with Jones in
pursuit. The Wolodimer, Jones's flagship, steered straight for the
Capitan Pacha's ship, which ran aground; whereupon one of Jones's
officers, without orders, dropped the Wolodimer's anchor. In the mean
time the flotilla, under Nassau, lagged behind, and Jones, in order to
offset the operations of the Turkish flotilla, which had already
destroyed one of the Russian frigates, left his anchored flagship to go
in search of Nassau, whom he found with his flotilla occupied in firing
on two Turkish ships which were aground and were, moreover, under the
guns of the Russian ships, and might justly be regarded as prizes.
Nassau persisted in this useless undertaking until the enemy's vessels
had been burned and the crews had perished in the flames. When Jones
found he was unable to withdraw the prince from this bloody and
unprofitable proceeding, he ordered an attack, with a part of Nassau's
ships, upon the Turkish flotilla, which was soon driven off.

During the night the Capitan Pacha attempted to pass out from the Liman,
with the remains of his squadron; but nine of his ships grounded, and,
being thus brought within range of the Russian fort on the extreme point
of Kinburn, were fired upon and were practically at the mercy of the
Russians. Nevertheless, the Prince of Nassau advanced in the morning
with his flotilla, and, to Jones's extreme rage, burned the grounded
Turkish ships, three thousand Turks who were practically prisoners
perishing in the flames.

On July 1 Nassau, with his flotilla, advanced against the flotilla of
the Turks, but did not seem anxious to go within grapeshot; and Jones,
with his heavier ships, went to capture five Turkish galleys lying under
the cover of the guns of the Turkish battery and flotilla. Two of these
galleys were captured and the others destroyed. Nassau and Alexiano
directed their belligerent efforts against the captured galleys, one of
which was--with all the slaves on board,--ruthlessly burned. Other
Turkish ships were likewise needlessly destroyed, a mode of warfare
quite at variance with the traditions of Jones. He expressed his
consequent disgust in terms more genuine than diplomatic.

As a reward of his idiotic actions, on the basis of an inflated and
dishonest report of the battle which was sent to the empress, Nassau
received a valuable estate, the military order of St. George, and
authority to hoist the flag of rear-admiral; other officers were also
substantially rewarded; while all that was given to Jones, whose honest
but unflattering report had been rejected by Potemkin, was the order of
St. Anne. It is easy to imagine Jones's bitterness. He says in his
journal: "If he (Nassau) has received the rank of vice-admiral, I will
say in the face of the universe that he is unworthy of it."

Referring to the cowardice of his associates who, in order to escape, he
says, provided their boats with small _chaloupes_, Jones writes:--

"For myself I took no precautions. I saw that I must conquer or die."

Jones's bitterness, partly justified by the facts, seems at this time to
have reached almost the point of madness, and the quarrel between him
and his associates increased in virulence. In the course of the
unimportant operations following the defeat of the Turks, during which
the squadron maintained a strict blockade of Oczakow, Jones was sent on
a number of trivial enterprises by Potemkin, whose language was
carefully chosen to irritate the fiery Scotchman. On one occasion he
commanded Jones "to receive him (the Capitan Pacha) courageously, and
drive him back. I require that this be done without loss of time; if
not, you will be made answerable for every neglect." In reply, Jones
complained of the injustice done his officers. Shortly afterwards Jones
doubted the wisdom of one of Potemkin's orders, and wrote: "Every man is
master of his opinion, and this is mine." When Potemkin again wrote
Jones "to defend himself courageously," the latter's annotation was: "It
will be hard to believe that Prince Potemkin addressed such words to
Paul Jones." To the prince he wrote in terms alternately flattering and

"Your Highness has so good a heart that you will excuse the hastiness of
expression which escaped me. I am anxious to continue in the service."

But the despotic Potemkin had made up his mind that he could not get
along with Paul Jones, and with an indirectness characteristic of him,
secured an order for the latter for service "in the northern seas." This
was practically a dismissal for Jones, who returned in virtual disgrace
to St. Petersburg, where he hoped to be put in command of the Baltic
fleet. Catherine, however, was now sincerely anxious to get rid of
Jones, but on account of his powerful friends in France did not dare to
do so openly. She had "condemned him unheard," and repeated her
injustice in a still more pointed way; for in March, 1789, while Jones
was waiting for the command which never came, he was falsely accused of
an atrocious crime and forbidden to approach the palace of the empress,
being again "condemned unheard." Had it not been for the French
ambassador, de Ségur, who had a strong influence on Catherine, the crime
might always have been attributed to Paul Jones. De Ségur, however,
proved to Catherine that Jones was the victim of a plot, and she was
forced to recall the unfortunate man to court. Soon afterwards Jones,
who had for a long time been greatly suffering in health, was given two
years' leave of absence.

Paul Jones's experience in Russia was the most unfortunate part of an
unfortunate career. His services to that country, which were
considerable, were never recognized. His report of the Liman campaign
had been rejected, and he had been unjustly deposed from the actual
command and an empty promise substituted. His letters had been
systematically intercepted, and he was a victim, not only of a
detestable plot involving his moral character, but of many other charges
equally virulent and untrue.

It was grotesquely reported, for instance, that he had murdered his
nephew, who in reality did not exist. The leave of absence, moreover,
must have been to a man of his spirit a severe blow.

At the close of the journal of the Liman campaign Jones's bitterness is
pathetically expressed in inflated self-praise, called out by the desire
to confute the calumnies of his enemies. "Every one to whom I have the
honor to be known," he wrote, "is aware that I am the least selfish of
mankind.... This is known to the whole American people.... Have I not
given proofs sufficiently striking that I have a heart the most
sensitive, a soul the most elevated?... I am the only man in the world
that possesses a sword given by the king of France ... but what
completes my happiness is the esteem and friendship of the most virtuous
of men, whose fame will be immortal; and that a Washington, a Franklin,
a D'Estaing, a La Fayette, think the bust of Paul Jones worthy of being
placed side by side with their own.... Briefly, I am satisfied with



On August 18, 1789, Paul Jones left St. Petersburg, never to return, and
never again to fight a battle. He was only forty-two years old, but
although his ambition was as intense as ever, his health had through
unremitting exertions and exposure become undermined. For many years the
active man had not known what it was to sleep four hours at a time, and
now his left lung was badly affected, and he had only a few years more
to live. After an extended tour, devoted mainly to business and
society,--during the course of which he met Kosciusko at Warsaw,
visited, among other cities, Vienna, Munich, Strassburg, and
London,--Jones reached Paris, where Aimée de Thelison and his true home
were, on May 30, 1790. He resigned from his position in the Russian
navy, and remained most of the time until his death in the French

The great French Revolution had taken place; and Paul Jones occupied the
position, unusual for him, of a passive spectator of great events.
Acquainted with men of all parties, with Bertrand Barère, Carnot,
Robespierre, and Danton, as well as with the more conservative men with
whom his own past had led him to sympathize,--Lafayette, Mirabeau, and
Malesherbes,--Jones's last days were not lacking in picturesque
opportunity for observation. He felt great sympathy for the king, with
whom he had been acquainted, and who had bestowed upon him the title of
chevalier and the gold sword. For Mirabeau, as for other really great
men Jones knew,--Franklin, Washington, and Suwarrow,--he had extreme
admiration, and on the occasion of the famous Frenchman's death wrote:
"I have never seen or read of a man capable of such mastery over the
passions and the follies of such a mob. There is no one to take the
place of Mirabeau." Of the mob Jones wrote with aristocratic hatred:
"There have been many moments when my heart turned to stone towards
those who call themselves 'the people' in France. More than once have I
harbored the wish that I might be intrusted by Lafayette with the
command of the Palace, with _carte blanche_ to defend the constitution;
and that I might have once more with me, if only for one day, my old
crews of the Ranger, the Richard, and the Alliance! I surely would have
made the thirty cannon of the courtyard teach to that mad rabble the
lesson that grapeshot has its uses in struggles for the rights of man!"

Jones always had much to say on the organization of navies and the
principles of naval warfare. About this time he wrote a letter to
Admiral Kersaint, of the French navy, in which he criticised fearlessly
and trenchantly the naval tactics of the French. Their policy, he
explained, was to "neutralize the power of their adversaries, if
possible, by grand manoeuvres rather than to destroy it by grand
attack;" and objecting to this policy, the dashing Jones, who always
desired to "get alongside the enemy," wrote: "Their (the French)
combinations have been superb; but as I look at them, they have not been
harmful enough; they have not been calculated to do as much capturing or
sinking of ships, and as much crippling or killing of seamen, as true
and lasting success in naval warfare seems to me to demand.... Should
France thus honor me [with a command] it must be with the unqualified
understanding that I am not to be restricted by the traditions of her
naval tactics; but with full consent that I may, on suitable occasion,
to be decreed by my judgment on the spot, try conclusions with her foes
to the bitter end or to death, at shorter range and at closer quarters
than have hitherto been sanctioned by her tactical authorities."

Paul Jones, although in these last years he was forced, more than was
agreeable to him, to play the rôle of an intelligent commentator,
remained a man of action to the end. He sought, this time in vain, to
extract from the French government wages still due the crew of the old
Bonhomme Richard. His failure brought out an unusually bitter letter, in
which he again recounted his services and the wrongs done him by the
various ministers of marine. As he grew older and more disappointed the
deeds he had done seemed mountain high to him. "My fortitude and
self-denial alone dragged Holland into the war, a service of the
greatest importance to this nation; for without that great event, no
calculation can ascertain when the war would have ended.... Would you
suppose that I was driven out of the Texel in a single frigate belonging
to the United States, in the face of forty-two English ships and vessels
posted to cut off my retreat?"

With equal energy the failing commodore never ceased to hope and strive
for an important command. To head an expedition against the Barbary
pirates had long been with him a favorite scheme, and now he looked
forward eagerly to a position in the French navy.

By the irony of fate a letter came from Mr. Jefferson announcing Jones's
appointment as commissioner for treating with the Dey and government of
Algiers. But it was too late, for before the letter arrived in Paris
Paul Jones was dead. On July 11, 1792, a week before he died, he had
attended a session of the French Assembly and had made a felicitous
speech. He expressed his love for America, for France, and for the cause
of liberty, and regretted his failing health as interfering with his
activity in their service. He closed with the pathetic words:--

"But ill as I am, there is yet something left of the man--not the
admiral, not the chevalier--but the plain, simple man whom it delights
me to hear you call 'Paul Jones,' without any rank but that of
fellowship, and without any title but that of comrade. So now I say to
you that whatever is left of that man, be it never so faint or feeble,
will be laid, if necessary, upon the altar of French Liberty as
cheerfully as a child lies down to pleasant dreams! My friends, I would
love to pursue this theme, but, as you see, my voice is failing and my
lower limbs become swollen when I stand up too long. At any rate I have
said enough. I am now ready to act whenever and wheresoever bidden by
the voice of France."

Jones's cough and the swelling in his legs continued; a few days later
jaundice and dropsy set in, and it was clear to his friends that the end
was near. Aimée de Thelison, Gouverneur Morris, and some of the
distinguished revolutionists were about him during the last few days of
his life. On the afternoon of July 18, 1792, his will was witnessed, and
about seven o'clock in the evening he was found in his room, lying with
his clothes on, face down across the middle of the bed, dead.

The next day the National Assembly passed a resolution decreeing "that
twelve of its members shall assist at the funeral of a man who has so
well served the cause of liberty."

True or not, the words attributed to Napoleon after Trafalgar, in 1805,
are no more than justice to Paul Jones.

"How old," Napoleon asked, "was Paul Jones when he died?"

On being told that Jones was forty-five years old at the time of his
death, Napoleon said:--

"Then he did not fulfill his destiny. Had he lived to this time, France
might have had an admiral."

Paul Jones has been called by his friends patriot, and by his enemies
pirate. In reality he was neither. He was not one of those deeply
ethical natures that subordinate personal glory and success to the
common good. As an American he cannot be ranked with his great
contemporaries, for his patriotism consisted merely in being fair and
devoted to the side he had for the time espoused rather than in quiet
work as a citizen after the spectacular opportunity had passed. He was
ready to serve wherever he saw the best chance for himself, whether it
was with the United States, Russia, or France. In no unworthy sense of
the word, however, was he an adventurer. The deepest thing in his soul,
the love of glory, rendered him incapable at once of meanness and of
true patriotism. In search for fame he gave up family, friends, and
religion. In these relations of life he would have been and was, as far
as he went, tolerant and kind; but in them he was not interested. Love
of glory made him a lonely figure. It rendered him a _poseur_, vain and
snobbish, but it also spurred him on to contend, with phenomenal energy,
against almost innumerable difficulties.

As far as his deeds are concerned, Paul Jones appears in the popular
consciousness as he really was,--a bolt of effectiveness, a desperate,
successful fighter, a sea captain whose habit was to appear unexpectedly
to confound his enemies, and then to disappear, no one knew where, only
to reappear with telling effect. He has been the hero of the novelists,
who, expressing the popular idea, have pictured him with essential
truth. A popular hero, indeed, he was, and will remain so, justly, in
the memory of men.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Riverside Press

_Electrotyped and Printed by H. O. Houghton & Co._

_Cambridge, Mass., U. S. A._

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