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and will hereafter send you duplicates of the papers that may be lost.
But I would previously remark, as to the expedition in general, that this court, having, I suppose, some enterprise in view, which Captain Jones, who had signalized his bravery in taking the Drake, was thought a proper person to conduct, had soon after that action requested we would spare him to them, which was the more readily agreed to, as a difference subsisted between him and his lieutenant, which laid us under a difficulty, that was by that means got over. Some time passed, however, before any steps were taken to employ him in a manner agreeable to him, and possibly the first project was laid aside, many difficulties attending any attempt of introducing a foreign officer into the French marine, as it disturbs the order of their promotions, &c., and he himself choosing to act rather under the commission of Congress. However, a project was at length formed of furnishing him with some of the King's ships, the officers of which were to have temporary American commissions, which being posterior in date to his commission, would put them naturally under his command for the time; and the final intention, after various changes, was to intercept the Baltic fleet.
The Alliance was at that time under orders to. carry Mr. Adams back to America; but the minister of the marine, by a written letter requesting I would lend her to strengthen the little squadron, and offering a passage for Mr. Adams in one of the King's ships, I consented to the request, hoping, that, besides obliging the minister, I might obtain the disposition of some prisoners to exchange for our countrymen in England.
Question 1st. "Whether the ships with which the frigate Alliance was concerted in an expedition, of
which Captain John Paul Jones had the command, were the property of private persons, and if so, who were the owners of those ships?"
Answer. The ships with which the Alliance was concerted, were, 1st, the Bon Homme Richard, bought and fitted by the King, on purpose for Captain Jones; 2dly, the Pallas frigate; 3dly, the Vengeance, a corvette; 4thly, the Cerf, a cutter; all belonging to the King, and the property of no private person whatever, as far as I have ever heard or believe.
Two privateers, the Monsieur and the Granville, were indeed with the little squadron in going out; I suppose to take advantage of the convoy; but, being on their own account, and at their own discretion, the Monsieur quitted company on the coast of Ireland, and the Granville returned about the same time to France. I have not heard, that the Monsieur ever claimed any part of the prizes. The Granville has made some claim, on account, not only of what were taken while she was with the squadron, but of the whole taken after her departure, on this pretence, that, some prisoners being put on board of her, and losing company, she found herself obliged to go back with them, not having wherewith to maintain them, &c.; but this claim is opposed by the other ships, being regarded as frivolous, as she was not concerted. The claim, however, is not yet decided, but hangs in the courts. These circumstances show, that these vessels were not considered as a part of the armament. But it appears more plainly by the concordat of the captains, whereof I send you a copy. Who the owners were of those privateers I have not heard. I suppose they may be inhabitants of Bordeaux and Granville.
Question 2d. "Whether any agreement was made by you, or any person in your behalf, with the owners
of the ships concerted with the Alliance in that expedition, respecting the shares they were severally to draw of the prizes, which might be taken during said expedition?"
Answer. I never made any such agreement, nor any person in my behalf. behalf. I lent the vessel to the King simply at the minister's request, supposing it would be agreeable to Congress to oblige their ally, and that the division, if there should be any thing to divide, would be according to the laws of France, or of America, as should be found most equitable. But the captains, before they sailed, entered into an agreement, called the concordat above mentioned, to divide according to the rules of America, as they acted under American commissions and colors.
Question 3d. "Whether the Serapis and Scarborough, and other captures made during said expedition, were divided among the captors, and the distribution nade according to the resolutions of Congress, and, if not, what mode was pursued in making the distribution?"
Answer. No division has yet been made of the Serapis and Scarborough. It is but lately that I have heard of the money being ready for division at L'Orient. I suppose the mode will be that agreed on by the captains.
Question 4th. "What were the net proceeds of the Serapis, Scarborough, and the other prizes taken during the said expedition?"
Answer. I have not yet heard what were the net proceeds of the prizes, nor have I seen any account. As soon as such shall come to my hands, I will transmit it to you, and will endeavour to obtain it speedily. No satisfaction has yet been obtained for the prizes carried into Norway, and delivered up by the King of Denmark.
Question 5th. "What benefit the United States of America have received from the prisoners made during said expedition?"
Answer. I did expect to have had all the prisoners taken by the squadron, to exchange for Americans, in consideration of my having lent the Allumce; and Captain Pearson engaged in behalf of the British government by a written instrument, that those set on shore in Holland should be considered as prisoners of war to the United States, and exchanged accordingly. But I was, nevertheless, disappointed in this expectation. For, an exchange of all the prisoners being proposed to be made in Holland, it was found necessary at that time by the Dutch government, in order to avoid embroiling their State with England, that those prisoners should be considered as taken by France, and they were accordingly exchanged for Frenchmen, on the footing of the French cartel with England. This I agreed to on the request of the French ambassador at the Hague, and also to avoid the risk of sending them by sea to France (the English cruising with seven ships off the Texel to retake them), and as it would be more convenient and certain for us to have an equal number of English delivered to me by France, at or near Morlaix, to be sent over in the cartel. But the English government afterwards refused, very unjustly, to give any Americans in exchange for English, that had not been taken by Americans. So we did not reap the benefit we hoped for.
Question 6th. "What orders were given to Cap
Answer. That he should obey the orders of Captain Jones.
Question 7th. "What was the ground of dispute between Captain Jones and him?"
Answer. That, when at sea together, he refused to obey Captain Jones's orders.
Question 8th. "What were the disbursements on the Alliance, from the time of her first arrival in France, until she left that kingdom?"
Answer. The disbursements on the Alliance, from the time of her first arrival in France, till the commencement of the cruise under Captain Jones, as appears by the accounts of Mr. Schweighauser, agent appointed by William Lee, amounted to which I paid. The disbursements on her refit in Holland were paid by the King, as were also those on her second refit after her return to L'Orient, as long as she was under the care of Captain Jones. But Captain Landais, when he resumed the command of her, thought fit to take what he wanted of Mr. Schweighauser's agent, to the amount of 31,663 livres, 12s. 3d., for which, being contrary to my orders given to Mr. Schweighauser, on his asking them upon the occasion, I refused to pay (my correspondence with him will show you my reasons), and of those paid by the King I have no account.
Question 9th. "Why the Alliance lay so long at Port L'Orient, after her arrival there from the Texel, and in general every information in your power respecting the Alliance and the expedition referred to."
Answer. Her lying so long at L'Orient was first occasioned by the mutinous disposition of the officers and men, who refused to raise the anchors till they should receive wages and prize money. I did not conceive they had a right to demand payment of wages in a foreign country, or anywhere but at the port they came from, no one here knowing on what terms they were engaged, what they had received, or what was due to them. The prize money I wished them to