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served in this expedition be true, he ought not only to have lost his commission, but his life, for his most atrocious conduct in this affair. Landais applied to Dr Franklin to be reinstated in the command of the Alliance after her return from the cruise. To this application Dr Franklin replied as follows:
No one has ever learned the opinion I formed of you from the inquiry made into your conduct. I kept it entirely to myself—I have not even hinted it in my letters to America, because I would not hazard giving to any one a bias to your prejudice. By communicating a part of that opinion privately to you, I can do no harm, for you may burn it. I should not give you the pain of reading it, if your demand did not make it necessary : I think you then so imprudent, so litigious, and quarrel. some a man, even with your best friends, that peace and good order, and consequently the quiet and regular subordination so necessary to success, are, where you preside, impossible; these are within my observation and apprehension: your military operations I leave to more capable judges. If, therefore, I had twenty ships of war in my disposition, I should not give one of them to Captain Landais.
M. Landais afterwards resided on Long Island and was for many successive years a petitioner to Congress for an indemnity for the part which he claimed of the prizes, taken by Commodore Jones's squadron.
With the expectation of aid from this man, to whom the proper signal had been made, and, as usual, disregarded, the Bon homme Richard bore down within pistol shot of the Serapis, and answered her hail with a broadside. This was at 7 o'clock on the evening of the 23d of September, 1779. Jones immediately closed with the enemy, and in order to prevent the advantage which he would derive from superior maneuvring, his ship being much the most manageable, made the two frigates fast together. Two out of his six eighteen pounders burst at the first fire, and killed almost all the men who were stationed to manage them. The prisoners, of whom there were two or three hundred on board, being the officers and crews of the prizes which had been captured and sent in, were liberated by the master at arms, from an idea that the Bon homme Richard would soon sink and the prisoners be drowned. The side of the Bon homme Richard was so beat in, that some of the people, thus set at liberty, crawled through and got on board of the enemy, informing him that the Bon homme Richard was on the point of sinking. To cap the climax of folly and misfortune, three of Jones's officers called for the enemy just as the enemy himself was going to
call for quarters. “The English Commodore asked Jones if he demanded quarters, and was answered in the most determined negative." The fight had now continued two hours, when at last Capt. Landais approached with the Alliance. The reader shall have the rest in Com. Jones's own words, for no one can give it better or more briefly.
All this time the Bon homme Richard had sustained the action alone, and the enemy, though much superior in force, would have been very glad to have got clear, as appears by their own acknowledgments, and by their having let go an anchor the instant that I laid them on board, by which means they would have escaped had I not made them well fast to the Bon homine Richard.
At last, at half past 9 o'clock, the Alliance appeared, and I now thought the battle at an end; but, to my utter astonishment, he discharged a broad side full into the stern of the Bon bomme Richard. We called to him for God's sake to forbear firing into the Bon homme Richard; yet he passed along the off side of the sbip and continued firing. There was no possibility of his mistaking the enemy's ship for the Bon homme Richard, there being the most essential difference in their appearance and construction; besides, it was then full moon light, and the sides of the Bon homme Richard were all black, while the sides of the prizes were yellow; yet for the greater security, I showed the signal of our reconnoissance, by putting out three lanthorns, one at the head, (bow,) another at the stern, (quarter,) and the third in the middle, in a horizontal line. Every tongue cried that he was firing into the wrong ship, but nothing availed; he passed round, firing into the Bon homme Richard's head, stern, and broadside, and by one of his vollies killed several of my best men, and mortally wounded a good officer on the forecastle. My situation was really deplorable. The Bon homme Richard received various shot under water from the Alliance; the leak gained on the pumps, and the fire increased much on board both ships. Some officers persuaded me to strike, of whose courage and good sense I entertain a high opinion. My treacherous master-at-arms let loose all my prisoners without my knowledge, and my prospect became gloomy indeed. I would not, however, give up the point. The enemy's mainmast began to shake, their firing decreased, ours rather increased, and the British colours were struck at half an hour past 10 o'clock.
Our readers will recollect that the Bon homme Richard did not survive this victory long enough to arrive in port, where her commander was very anxious to exhibit her; but sunk some hours after the engagement, going down like the orb of day in the fulness of her glory. She was called Bon homme Richard, (Poor Richard,) in compliment to Dr Franklin, and in memory of a signal benefit conferred by his writings. The anecdote deserves to be known and remembered.--Soon after the capture of the Drake, Capt. Jones was invited by the French government, and permitted by that of the United States, to remain in France for the purpose of taking the com
mand of a squadron which it was proposed to fit out there. After successive disappointments and delays, and a long and unprofitable correspondence, when his active and impatient spirit was almost in despair, he met with the maxims of l'oor Richard by Dr Franklin, and among them this one, “ If you wish to have your business done quick and well, go yourself; if you would have it neglected or done ill, send." He was so struck with it that he set off instantly for the Court, and soon had his squadron equipped for sea. In remembrance of this, to pay, as he himself said, “ a well merited compliment to a great and good man, he asked and obtained leave of M. De Sartine to change the name of his flag ship from the “ Dumas," to the “ Bon homme Richard."
Having made the above extracts to show that the Chevalier excelled ordinary commanders as much in describing, as he did in fighting a battle, we will proceed to state some of our objections to receiving this book as the “ Lite &c." of John Paul Jones. Our general objection is, that it is not his biography, but his correspondence, naval plans and projects, interspersed with acts and resolutions of Congress, and orders of the marine committee in relation to those plans or to their author, and sometimes to the navy in general. These are valuable as materials for naval biography or history, and some of them might properly go into an appendix, but are too diffuse or too irrelevant to be admitted into the text.
The arrangement of the documents is bad. Chronological order is constantly violated; and therefore a great many things, prematurely brought forward are unintelligible, and remain so, till we arrive, after some hours of suspense, at a letter or other paper which ought to have preceded and prepared us for that which we did not understand.
The compiler, or rather the editor, appears also to have been deficient in materials. There are several chasms in the life of the Chevalier, which ought to have been, and we presume might have been, filled up. His character was sufficiently remarkable to make every circumstance of bis education and habits interesting. But we have none of the particulars of his childhood, scarcely any of his youth, or even of his manhood, till the age of thirty. What is told of his childhood is different from the general account, and from the one which he gave himself, as we shall pretty soon show. Had Jones lived till this time, he would have been 77 years of age. Undoubtedly there are persons living both in Scotland
and the West Indies, who would give every necessary particular of his history, while he was among them. We regret the more, that Mr Sherburne did not resort to these living sources of information to supply the chasms in the life of this hero; because they are sources which must soon fail.
We have the following facts from an authentic source, and we believe them, rather than the parallel part of the work under consideration, both from the character of the narrator and from their agreement with the generally received account. Mr Sherburne says, that neither Jones nor his father had any connexion with Lord Selkirk. A gentleman who was a fellow lodger with the Chevalier at Paris, had it from himself, that his father was the gardener of Lord Selkirk; that he was for a time brought up to the same business; that the old Duke of Queensberry, who was an occasional visitor at Lord Selkirk's, noticed him, and sometimes in taking his walks in the garden, patted him on the head, and told his father that he would do for something better; and that the Duke subsequently procured him a midshipman's warrant and placed him in the royal navy. This statement certainly derives confirma.ion, if any were wanted, from Capt. Jones's correspondence with the inarine committee of Congress at the commencement of the revolution, in which he shows a familiarity with his profession, and refers to his “ intimacy with officers of note in the British navy.” It is observed that he had “ a good English education.” It is evident from his writings that he had not only a good, but a very excellent English education ; nor was it merely English. He became so perfect in French, that the gentleman, to whom we have before alluded, used to go to him when they lived in the same hotel, to correct his notes and letters written in that language. These particulars, trifling as they are, derive importance from the celebrity of the man, and the scantiness of our information respecting his education and early history.
For the capture of the Serapis Com. Jones was decorated by Louis XVI. with the cross of the order of military merit,” and for his successes in the Black sea, in the service of the Semiramis of the north, he was complimented with the order of St Anne. He died at Paris of a dropsy in the chest on the 12th of Sept. 1792, at the premature age of forty-five. He bequeathed a moderate fortune to his two sisters and their children residing in Scotland.
We will close this article with the following letter from the gentleman already alluded to. It is worthy of entire contidence. • Dear Sir,
• I have gone through “ The Life and Character of John Paul Jones,” by Mr Sherburne, which you kindly sent to me. pears to be as correctly given, as the materials, from which it is selected, and the time which has elapsed since the circumstances occurred, would permit. If my memory is faithful, Com. Jones told me soon after his return from Russia, that his parents were in obscure situations, that by accident he was known to the old late Duke of Queensberry, who introduced him in early life to a commander in the British navy; that he was placed on board a British man of war, as acting midshipman, where he continued sometime, how long I do not remember, but long enough to perceive that family interest had more influence than personal merit. His juniors were promoted while he remained unnoticed; this determined him to enter the merchant service, where he continued until about two years before our revolution commenced; so that at the time be engaged in our service, he stood in the same position in regard to England with every native American. All were considered by Britain, as British subjects, until our own declaration of Independence, or, as Englishmen chose to think, until the peace of 1783. The appellation of Pirate or Renegade, therefore, was no more applicable to him than to those who were born in America before the battle of Lexington. All our writers allow, that success gives a better title than that of Rebels. A recurrence to the correspondence of Lieut. Jones, in 1775, with the Hon. Mr Hewes, I think will fully prove that he had previously received some education in the profession in which he so eminently distinguished himself during our revolutionary war.
* The circumstances attending his capture of the Drake appear to be nearly as he related them to me; and the description of the affair with the Serapis, as far as it goes, appears to be correct. When fitting out the Bon homme Richard, every exertion was required to find men of any and every nation, not interdicted by the laws of France. The result was, that he procured about 75 men, wbo were, or called themselves, Americans, and about 230 from all the nations of the earth. He then came to a stand with about 200 men short of a necessary complement; and the only expedient left, was to address Mons. de Sartine (through Dr Franklin) for permission to recruit from the prisons, where Engfish sailors were confined. It was granted, and he soon obtained a sufficient number to enable him to sail with about 500 men, of this motley description. The various captures he made before