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the whole system of the new government in America, may thereby be shaken.
That if the English are suffered once to recover that country, such an opportunity of effectual separation as the present, may not occur again in the course of ages; and that the possession of those fertile and extensive regions, and that vast sea coast, will afford them so broad a basis for future greatness, by the rapid growth of their commerce, and breed of seamen and soldiers, as will enable them to become the terror of Europe, and to exercise with impunity that insolence which is so natural to their nation, and which will encrease enormously with the increase of their
power. I am with great respect, &c.
To the same.
Passy, March 6, 1781. SIR, BY perceiving the enclosed instructions to colonel Laurens and myself, your excellency will see the necessity I am under, of being importunate for an answer to the applica. tion lately made for aids of stores and money.
As vessels are about to depart for America, it is of the utmost importance that congress should receive advice by some of them, of what may or may not be expected. I therefore earnestly entreat your excellency to communicate to me as soon as possible the neces
essary information. With sincere and great respect, I am, &c.
To Monsicur de Rayneval, secretary to the council of state, of his
most Christian majesty.
Passy, March 11, 1781. Sir, I have examined the list of supplies wanted in America, which I received yesterday from you, in order to mark as desired, what may be most necessary to forward thither
As that list is of old date, and I do not know what part of it may have been already procured by other channels, and I understand by my letters, that a new list has been made out, which is given to colonel Laurens, and though mentioned to be sent to me also, is not yet come to my
hands. I have thought it may be well for the present to order the making of a quantity of soldiers and officers clothing, equal to one third part of what has been demanded from
31 to page 42, inclusive; and to collect and get ready also one third of the other articles mentioned in the said pages, which I have marked with a red line in the margin; the whole to be sent by the first good opportunity. I think it would be well also to send five thousand more good fusils, with fifty tons of lead, and two hundred thousand flints for fusils. If these could go with the feet, it would be of great service. More powder is not necessary to be sent at present, as there goes in the marquis de la Fayette, the remainder of the two thousand barrels granted last year, and also two hundred tons of salt petre which they will make into powder. For the other articles that may be wanted, as colonel Laurens will come fully instructed, as well by the list given to him, as from his own observation and experience in the army, and from the informations he will receive from general Washington, with whom and the marquis de la Fayette, he was to consult before his departure, I conceive it will be best to wait a little for his arrival.
I return the lists, and having by some unaccountable accident mislaid and lost the papers you gave me containing what count de Vergennes said to me yesterday, I must beg the favor of you to report it, and send it by the bearer. I am ashamed to give you this trouble, but I wish to be exact in what I am writing of it to congress. With the greatest esteem, &c.
$ The paper was found soon after this letter was sent
To Francis Lewis, Esq. and the board of admiralty.
Passy, March 17, 1781. GENTLEMEN, I RECEIVED the honor of yours, dated January the 2d, containing sundry questions relating to the ship Alliance, and the expedition under the command of John Paul Jones, Esquire.
I apprehend that the letters and papers sent by the Alliance, if they came to your hands, and those which went in the Ariel, taken together, would pretty well inform you of most of the particulars you enquire about, and the defici. encies might be supplied by captain Jones himself, and others who were engaged in the expedition. But as I learn from colonel Laurens, that his arrival was not heard of at Boston, the 11th of February, though he sailed the 18th of December, and possibly he may havė miscarried, I shall endeavor to answer, as well as I can, your several queries, 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 the action requested we could 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
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 promotion, &c. and he himself chusing 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. Questions of the admiralty board respecting the squadron under
chevalier Jones answered. Question ist. “ 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 Bonhomme Richard, bought and fitted by the king on purpose for captain Jones. 2d. The Pallas frigate. 3d. The Vengeance, a corvette. 4th. 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 on going out. to take advantage of its 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 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 shew that the vessels were
But it appears
not considered as a part of the armament.
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. 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 abovementioned, to divide, according to the rules of America, as they acted under American commissions and colors.
Question 3d. " Whether the Serapis and the Scarborough, and other captures made during said expedition, were divided among the captors, and the distribution made according to the resolutions of congress ; and if not, what mode was pursued in making the distributions?”
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 neat proceeds of the Serapis, Scarborough, and the other prizes taken during the said expedition ?”.
Answer. I have not yet heard what were the neat proceeds of the prizes, nor have seen any account, As soon as such shall come to my hands, I will transmit it to you, and will endeavor to obtain it speedily. No satisfaction has yet been obtained for the prizes carried into Norway, and delivered up by the king of Denmark,