Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

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 Alliance; 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 embassador 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, deli. vered 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 captain Landais ?”

Answer. That he should obey the orders of captain Jones.

Question 7th, " What was the ground of the dispute between captain Jones and him?"

Answer. That when at sea together he refused to obey captain Jones's orders.

Question 8th. " What the disbursements were 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, Esq. 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 re-assumed the command of her, thought fit to take what he wanted, of Mr. Schweighauser's agent, to the amount of £31,668 12s. 3d. for which, it being contrary to my orders given to Mr. Schweighauser, on his asking them upon the occasion, I refused to pay, (my correspondence with him on the occasion will shew 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 laying 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 any where 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 have, but as that could not soon be obtained, I thought it wrong in them to detain the vessel on that account, and as I was informed many of them were in want of necessaries, I advanced twenty-four thousand livres on account, and put it into captain Jones's hands, to relieve and pacify them, that they might go more willingly. But they were encouraged by some meddling passengers to persist. The king would have taken the prizes, and paid for them, at the rate per gun, &c. as he pays for warlike yessels, taken by his ships, but they raised a clamor at

this, it being put into their heads that it was a project for cheating them, and they demanded a sale by auction. The minister, who usually gives more, when ships are taken for the king, than they will produce by auction, readily con- . sented to this, when I asked it of him ; but then this method required time to have them inventoried, advertised in different ports, to create a fuller concurrence of buyers, &c. captain Jones came up to Paris, to hasten the proceedings, in his absence captain Landais by the advice of Mr. Lee and commodore Gillon, took possession of the ship, and kept her long in writing up to Paris, waiting answers, &c. I have often mentioned to congress the inconvenience of putting their vessels under the care of persons, living perhaps one hundred leagues from the port they arrive at, which necessarily creates delays, and of course enormous expenses, and for a remedy, I have as often recommended the appointment of consuls, being very sensible of my own insufficiency in maritime affairs, which have taken up a vast deal of my time, and given me abundance of trouble, to the hindrance, sometimes, of more important business. I hope these inconveniencies will now be soon removed, by the arrival of Mr. Palfrey.

As the ministry have reasons, if some of the first plans had been pursued, to wish the expedition might be understood as American, the instructions were to be given by me, and the outfit was committed to Monsieur de Chaumont, known to be one of our friends, and well acquainted with such affairs. Monsieur le marquis de la Fayette, who was to have been concerned in the execution, can probably acquaint you with those reasons; if not, I shall do it hereafter. It afterwards continued in the hands of M. de Chaumont to the end. I never paid or received a farthing, di. rectly or indirectly, on account of the expedition, and the captains having made him their trustee and agent, it is to him they are to apply for their proportions of the captures. There may be something, though I believe very little, coming to the United States, from the Alliance's share of a small ransom made contrary to orders. No account has

been rendered to me of that ransom, therefore I cannot say how much, but I will enquire about it, and inform you hereafter. Most of the colliers taken were burnt or sunk, the ships of war taken, I understand, belong wholly to the captors.

If any particulars remain, on which you desire information, be pleased to mention them. I think it my duty to give you all the satisfaction in my power, and shall do it willingly. Being with great regard, gentlemen, &c.

B. FRANKLIN.

TRANSLATION. Concordat made between captain John Paul Jones, and the officers

of the squadron. . AGREEMENT between Messieurs John Paul Jones, captain of the Bonhomme Richard; Pierre Landais, captain of the Alliance; Dennis Nicolas Cottineau, captain of the Pallas ; Joseph Verage, captain of the Stag ; and Philip Nicolas Ricot, captain of the Vengeance; composing a squadron that shall be commanded by the oldest officer of the highest grade, and so on in succession in case of death or retreat. None of the said commanders, whilst they are not separated from the said squadron, by order of the minister, shall act but by virtue of the brevet, which they shall have obtained from the United States of America, and it is agreed that the flag of the United States shall be displayed.

The division of prizes to the superior officers and crews of the said squadron, shall be made agreeable to the American laws: but it is agreed that the proportion of the whole, coming to each vessel in the squadron, shall be regulated by the minister of the marine department of France, and the minister plenipotentiary of the United States of America. · A copy of the American laws shall be annexed to the present agreement, after having been certified by the com. mander of the Bonhomme Richard : but as the said laws cannot foresee nor determine as to what may concern the vessels and subjects of other nations. It is expressly

agreed that whatever may be contrary to them, shall be regulated by the minister of the French marine, and the minister plenipotentiary of the United States of America.

It is likewise agreed that the orders given by the minister of the French marine, and the minister plenipotentiary of the United States of America shall be executed.

Considering the necessity there is of preserving the interests of each individual, the prizes that shall be taken shall be remitted to the orders of monsieur le Ray de Chaumont, honorary intendant of the royal Hotel of Invalids, who has furnished the expenses of the armament of the said squadron.

It has been agreed, that Mr. le Ray de Chaumont, be requested not to give up the part of the prizes coming to all the crews, and to each individual of the said squadron, but to their order, and to be responsible for the same in his own and proper name. .

Whereas the said squadron has been formed for the purpose of injuring the common enemies of France and America: it has been agreed that such armed vessels, whether French or American, may be associated therewith as by common consent, shall be found suitable for the purpose, and that they shall have such proportion of the prizes which shall be taken, as the laws of their respective coun tries allow them.

In case of the death of the beforementioned commanders of vessels, he shall be replaced agreeably to the order of the tariff, with liberty however, for the success, or to chuse whether he will remain on board his.own vessel, and give up to the next in order, the command of the vacant ship. .

It has moreover been agreed, that the commander of the Stag shall be excepted from the last article of this present agreement, because in case of a disaster to Mr. de Varage,

M

« ZurückWeiter »