Journal Lost -Thirty enter with Jones - Joins the Alliance - Arrive at L' Orient with Prize - Second Cruise - Journal Lost - Extracts from Paul Jones' Life - At Dr. Franklin's House - Joins again the Alliance - Sails Home.
[THE journal of their passage to France is lost. The next record that is preserved, presents Mr. Herbert to us at Nantes, situated on the river Loire, in the south-western part of France.]
April 12. We lay here under pay, from the 5th of this month; have our board paid, and have nothing to do but walk about town. I have tried, but can get no labor, as business is very much stagnated here. Nearly forty sail of merchantmen are hauled up, and lay idle in this port.
14. About forty of our men have entered with Captain Jones, for twelve months, and this morning they set out for L' Orient, about seventy-five miles distant, by land.
17. Yesterday and to-day, I have been at work on board the Pallas, a French ship, To-day, the Alliance arrived here, with prisoners to be exchanged for us.
28. This day I received from Mr. Odaire, sixteen livres, which, including the four crowns before received, amounts to forty livres, which is a month's pay.
30. This day we embarked on board the Alliance. The Alliance is said by Commodore Jones to have been so called, for the following reasons:
"When the treaty of alliance with France arrived in America, Congress, feeling the most lively sentiments of gratitude towards France, thought how they might manifest the satisfaction of the Country by some public act. The finest frigate in the service was on the stocks, ready to be launched, and it was resolved to call her the Alliance."
May 16. This day we sailed for L'Orient.
[Extract from correspondence of Dr. Franklin, at this time, throwing light upon the journal of Mr. Herbert:
Passy, June 26th, 1779.
Dr. Franklin from the Committee on Foreign Affairs.
The Marquis de Lafayette, who arrived here on the 11th of February, brought me yours of October 28th, and the new commission, credentials, and instructions, the Congress have honored me with.
I immediately acquainted the minister of foreign affairs with my appointment, and communicated to him, as is usual, a copy of my credential letter, on which a day was named for my reception. The end of that part of the instructions, which relates to American seamen taken by the French in English ships, had already been obtained; Captain Jones having had for some time, an order from court, directed to the keepers of the prisoners, requiring them to deliver to him such Americans as should be found in their hands, that they might be at liberty to serve under his command. Most of them, if not all, have been delivered to him. The minister of marine requesting that the Alliance might be added to Commodore Jones' little squadron, and offering to give Mr. Adams a passage in the frigate, with the new ambassador, I thought it best to continue her a little longer in Europe, hoping she may, in the projected cruize, by her extraordinary swiftness, be a means of taking prisoners enough to redeem the rest of our countrymen now in the English jails. With this view, I ordered her to join Captain Jones, at L'Orient, and obey his orders, where she is now, accordingly.]
June 19. This day we sailed from L'Orient, on a cruize in company with Captain Jones, a French frigate, a brig and a cutter.
[From Paul Jones to Dr. Franklin.
On board the Bon homme Richard, at anchor, Isle of Groaix, off L' Orient, July 1st, 1779.
His Excellency Benjamin Franklin.
HONORED AND DEAR SIR,
On the 19th ult., the American squadron under my command, consisting of the Bon homme Richard, 42 guns, Alliance, 36 guns, Pallas, 30 guns, Cerf, 18 guns, and the Vengeance, 12 guns, sailed from hence with a convoy of merchant ships and transports with troops, &c., bound to the different ports and garrisons between this place and Bordeaux.
On the evening of the following day, I had the satisfaction to see the latter part of the convoy safe within the entrance of the river of Bordeaux, the rest having been safely escorted into the entrance of Nantz, Rochefort, &c. But at the preceding midnight, while lying-to off Isle of Vew, the Bon homme Richard and Alliance got foul of one another, and carried away the head and cut-water, sprit-sail yard, and jib-boom of the former, with the mizen mast of the latter; fortunately, however, neither received damage in the hull. In the evening of the 21st, I sent the Cerf to reconnoitre two sail, and Captain Varage was so ardent in the pursuit, that he had lost sight of the squadron next morning; and I am now told, that he had a warm engagement with one of them, a sloop of 14 guns, which he took, but was obliged to abandon, on the approach of another enemy of superior force. The action lasted an hour and a half; several men were killed and wounded on board the Cerf. That cutter is now fitting at L'Orient. On the 22d we had a rencontre with three ships of war. They were to windward, and bore down in a line abreast for some time, but seeing we were prepared to receive them, they hauled their wind, and by carrying a press of sail got clear, in spite of our utmost endeavors to bring them to action. On the 26th, we lost company of the Alliance and Pallas. I am unable to say where the blame lays. I gave the ships a rendezvous off Penmark rocks, but did not meet them there.
I anchored here yesterday noon, having had a rencontre the night before with two of the enemy's ships of war in the offing, in the sight of this island and Belle Isle. Previous to this I had given the Vengeance leave to make the best of her way to this road, so that the enemy found me alone in a place where I had no expectation of a hostile visit. They appeared at first earnest to engage, but their courage failed, and they fled with precipitation, and to my mortification out-sailed the Bon homme Richard and got clear. I had, however, a flattering proof of the martial spirit of my crew, and I am confident, that had I been able to get between the two, which was my intention, we should have beaten them both together.]
June 20. Last night, precisely at 12 o'clock, just as the starboard watch was going on deck, it was very pleasant weather, and we were lying to, with our topsails back to the masts. Captain Jones came down before the wind and run us down upon our starboard quarter, carrying away our mizenmast, and doing us much damage, and himself more, by springing his bowsprit, carrying away his head and cut-water, but fortunately no one was killed on board either of the ships.
July 2. We arrived at L'Orient, after a cruize of thirteen days ; likewise, the prize brig, which we took on the 28th of June, from Bordeaux bound to Dublin, with five hundred and sixty casks of wine and brandy on board.
[Dr. Franklin to Paul Jones.
I can say nothing about Captain Landais' prize. I suppose the minister has an account of it, but I have heard nothing from him about it. If he reclaims it on account of his passport, we must then consider what is to be done. I approve of the careenage proposed for the Alliance, as a thing necessary. As she is said to be a remarkable swift sailer, I should hope you might by her means take some privateers and a number of prisoners, so as to continue the cartel, and redeem all our poor countrymen.]
August 14. Having repaired our ships, and got a clean bottom, we sailed this day for L'Orient on a cruise with Captain Jones, two French frigates, two brigs, and a cutter. With this fleet we made the best of our way to Ireland. On our passage, we took in company a ship; soon after, Captain Jones took a brig laden with provisions. A few days after, we made Ireland. Upon making land, Captain Jones took a brig from Newfoundland, laden with oil and blubber, and after cruizing a few days along shore, we parted from the fleet in a gale of wind.
[Here some pages of the journal are lost, but the journal of Captain Jones will supply its place.]
[From Paul Jones to Dr. Franklin.
On board the ship Serapis, at anchor without the Texel, in Holland, Oct. 3d, 1779.
His Excellency Benjamin Franklin.
HONORED AND DEAR Sir,
When I had the honor of writing to you on the 11th of August, previous to my departure from the Road of Groaix, I had before me the most flattering prospect of rendering essential service to the common cause of France and America. I had a full confidence in the voluntary inclination and ability of every captain under my command to assist and support me in my duty with cheerful emulation; and I was pursuaded that every one of them would pursue glory in preference to interest.
Whether I was, or was not deceived, will best appear by a relation of circumstances.
The little squadron under my orders, consisting of the Bon homme Richard, of 40 guns, the Alliance, of 36 guns, the Pallas, of 32 guns, the Cerf, of 18 guns, and the Vengeance, of 12 guns, joined by two privateers, the Monsieur and the Granville, sailed from the Road of Groaix at day-break on the 14th of August.
The evening of the 26th brought with it stormy weather, with the appearance of a severe gale from the S. W. The gale continued to increase in the night, with thick weather. To prevent separation, I carried a top-light, and fired a gun every quarter of an hour. I carried, also, very moderate sail, and the course had already been clearly pointed out before night, yet with all this precaution, I found myself accompanied only by the brigantine Vengeance in the morning, the Granville having remained astern with a prize. As I have since understood, the tiller of the Pallas broke, after midnight, which disabled her from keeping up, but no apology has yet been made on behalf of the Alliance.
On the 31st, we saw the Flamie Islands situated near the Lewis, on the N. W. coast of Scotland; and the next morning, off Cape Wrath, we gave chase to a ship to windward; at the same time two ships appeared in the N. W. quarter, which proved to be the Alliance and a prize ship which she had taken, bound, as I understand, from Liverpool to Jamaica. The ship which I chased brought too at noon; she proved to be the Union letter of marque, bound from London to Quebec, with a cargo of naval stores on account of government, adapted for the service of the British armed vessels on the lakes. The public despatches were lost, as the Alliance very imprudently hoisted American colors, though English colors were then flying on board the Bon homme Richard. Captain Landais sent a small boat to ask whether I would man the ship or he should, as in the latter case he would suffer no boat nor person from the Bon homme Richard to go near the prize. Ridiculous as this appeared to me, I yielded to it for the sake of peace, and received the prisoners on board the Bon homme Richard, while the prize was manned from the Alliance.
On the morning of the 4th, the Alliance appeared again, and had brought too two very small coasting sloops, in ballast, but without having attended properly to my orders of yesterday. The Vengeance joined me soon after, and informed me that in consequence of Captain Landais' orders to the commanders of the two prize ships, they had refused to follow him to the rendezvous. I am at this moment ignorant of what orders these men received from Captain Landais, nor know l by virtue of what authority he ventured to give his orders to prizes in my presence, and without either my orders or approbation.
Two rich Letters of Marque were taken off the coast of Scotland, and Captain Landais took upon himself, even under my very nose, and without my knowledge, to order them to Bergen, in Norway, where they were given up to the English - Paul Jones to the Board of Admiralty.
Three of their prizes sent into Bergen, in
Norway, were, at the instance of the British minister, seized
by order of the court of Denmark, and delivered up to him.
- Letter from Dr. Franklin to Samuel Huntington, Esq. President of Congress.
The following letter from Dr. Franklin to Paul Jones, shows the value of those prizes, taken and delivered up as above. There can be no doubt that Mr. Herbert was sent in one of the above prizes, as the next entry in his journal is from Bergen, in Norway.
Havre, July 21st, 1785. The Hon. Paul Jones.
DEAR SIR, - The offer of which you desire I would give you the, particulars, was made to me by M. le Baron de Waltersdorff, in behalf of His Majesty the King of Denmark, by whose ministers he said he was authorised to make it. It was to give the sum of ten thousand pounds sterling, as a compensation for having delivered up the prizes to the English. I did not accept it, conceiving it much too small a sum, they having been valued to me at sixty thousand pounds. I wrote to Mr. Hodgson, an insurer in London, requesting he would procure information of the sums insured on those Canada ships. His answer was, that he could find no traces of such insurance, and he believed none was made, for the government, on whose account they were said to be loaded with military stores, never insured. - But, by the best judgment he could make, he thought they might be worth about sixteen or eighteen thousand pounds each.
By the following letter it will be seen that Bergen was one of the places designated by Dr. Franklin, for sending prizes to.
Passy, June 30th, 1779.
Hon. Captain Jones.
DEAR SIR, - The prizes you may make, send to Dunkirk, Ostend, or Bergen, in Norway, according to your proximity to either of those ports.
February 5th, 1780. This day our officers received a letter from France, from a gentleman in Paris, which informs us that the King of Denmark is to pay for the prizes we brought in here, fifty thousand pounds stirling, which is two hundred and fifty thousand Rix dollars. He is likewise to pay all our expenses while here. We likewise received orders to repair to Dunkirk as quick as possible, but we are to have a pass from the King of Denmark, which is what we wait for.]
8. This day I received a pair of shoes, in balance of four shillings due me as wages.
25. This day I received half a guinea of a Scotchman, for which I gave him eleven shillings.
March 4. This morning arrived here from Virginia, a ship laden with tobacco, under French colors.
18. Fortunately I have got another guinea for which I paid only twenty-one shillings.
21. This day I received a pair of shoes, at five shillings.
April 1. 1 have received one shilling and sixpence for repairing shoes.
5. This day I received of Captain Thomas White, in behalf of wages due, four Rix dollars, each valued at four shillings stirling.
I have worked several days on board the before-mentioned tobacco ship, and have likewise made some chests for the seamen, for all of which I received four dollars.
10. This day I received of Captain Thomas White, two pounds six shillings and sevenpence halfpenny, stirling, which was the ballance due me for clothing which I was charged with, but did not receive - all of which was given by the King of Denmark. The occasion of this was, that when we were turned on shore, many of our men were in want of clothing. Our officers interceded for them, and procured the amount of four pounds four shillings sterling each; and as I received only a trifle in clothing, I received the remainder in money.
11. This day we embarked on board a gallion, of about seventy tons, found and provisioned by the King of Denmark, to carry us to Dunkirk, after boarding us here nearly six months.
19. This day we sailed from Bergen, after being there seven months and five days.
May 4. We arrived at Dunkirk, after a passage of seventeen days.
5. To-day I received of Captain Thomas White, forty livres, in behalf of wages due.
16. We set out to travel to Paris, which is one hundred and eighty miles, having a wagon to carry our baggage, and received eighteen livres per man, of Mr. Coffin, the American agent in Flanders, to bear our expenses to Paris.
21. This day, about eight o'clock in the morning, we arrived in the city of Paris, after a pleasant journey of more than three days, through Flanders into France and Paris. After we arrived at Paris we put up our horses, and stopped not either to eat or to drink, but made the best of our way to Passy, about four miles from Paris, where Dr. Franklin resides. After we came to Dr. Franklin's house and had a little conversation with him, he ordered his servants to get us breakfast, which we eat in his house, and likewise dinner. The Dr. sent his servants to provide lodgings for us, which he could not procure, on account of the King and Queen, and all the nobility, being in town, and all the public houses being taken up; therefore we carried our luggage to Dr. Franklin's house, where we were well entertained; and here we saw Mr. Adams and Mr. Dean. We procured lodgings for ourselves in the afternoon. The gentleman who owns the house where Dr. Franklin resides, ordered one of his servants to show us his gardens, to guide us through the town, and show us the King and Queen and all the nobility; these we have seen twice to-day, as they passed through the town, besides many other curious objects, both in Paris and Passy.
23. To-day our board was paid, and we received two guineas to bear our expenses to L'Orient, which is three hundred and sixty miles, and likewise a pass. [ The widow of Mr. Herbert has now in her possession a crown piece, which her husband received of Dr. Franklin, at this time.] We shall be obliged to travel on foot; therefore I am compelled to sell, or give away, all my clothing, except a trifle of the best, which I shall retain as a change.
24. This day we commenced our journey to L'Orient.
June 5. We arrived at L'Orient.
7. To-day I went on board the Alliance.
8. We sailed in the Alliance for America, in company with a ship, a brig, a schooner and a lugger. Also, I received this day of the purser, on board the Alliance, two shirts, one pair of shoes, a pair of trousers and a knife.
July 10. This day I received of the purser, one outside jacket.
August 13. We made land, which proved to be Cape Ann, having a passage of thirty-eight days, from land to land.
I left the Alliance, August 21st, and arrived home at Newbury, August 23d, 1780.