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John Paul Jones
Chapter III - 1775 - 1777


IT was Fortune's whim to make a pet of Paul Jones. To please him she created opportunities for which others had waited in vain. One morning he received word that two French frigates had dropped anchor in Hampton Roads. With the hospitality of the true sailor, lie loaded his sloop with the best the plantation afforded, and set sail to welcome the stranger. The two frigates were under the command of Captain de Kersaint, one of the ablest officers in the French navy, who afterwards became an admiral. The second in command was no less a personage than the Duc de Chartres, eldest son of the Duc d'Orléans, and later Iga1itt of the Revolution, who had been sent to America on a "Cruise of Instruction," to fit him for the hereditary post of Lord High Admiral of France, in which he was to succeed his father-in-law, the Duc de Bourbon Penthièvre. The Duc de Chartres, born in 1747, the same year as Paul Jones, was a young man of affable disposition and pronounced democratic leanings; and it was to break up these ideas, and take him beyond the reach of the infamous companions he affected, that he was sent to sea. It neither corrected the one nor the other; for his later exploits in Paris would fill a volume of scandal too racy for print.

His wife, Marie Adelaide de Bourbon Penthièvre, granddaughter of a former high admiral—perhaps the most distinguished France has known—the Comte de Toulouse, a natural son of Louis XIV and Mme. de Montespan, was known far and wide for her benevolence and charities. Her well-known admiration for her sailor ancestor, who had distinguished himself when commanding the French fleet in the great battle off Malaga in 1704, made her from the first display a more than common interest in the projects of the fascinating sailor who crossed her path. The charming Duchesse de Chartres inherited the wit and beauty of Louis's dashing favourite, but there the resemblance ended, for she was a sweet and virtuous woman. She employed the influence and tact of which she was mistress to help the American cause, giving liberally of her enormous fortune, a generosity always lauded as the kindness of her husband.

Going aboard the ship, Jones found himself cordially welcomed, and lost no time putting the cargo of the sloop at the disposal of the French officers. It was to be a strong factor in the cause he championed, that de Chartres took one of his violent fancies to the adventurous Scotchman; for the latter made no secret that he desired most minute information as to the construction of the frigate La Terpsichore. With royal prerogative the Due furnished him with complete data. He had deck plans and sail plans made by the carpenter. The construction of the hull, batteries, spars and rigging, nothing was too trifling for Jones to note; and it is a fact that the American frigate Alliance, built some time later, followed closely the same general lines and mounted the same battery, twenty-eight long twelve-pounders on the gun deck, and ten long nines above.

During the interview Kersaint, who was more conservative—and had more to lose—than his prince, was ill at ease; for he had received news of the battle of Lexington, and it was French policy to remain neutral. This put him under a certain constraint for the couple of days Jones was their guest. Though the prince was eager to accept the proffered invitation and visit the plantation near Urbana, de Kersaint, as senior officer, was obliged to use his authority and state the case freely, much to the chagrin of de Chartres, who wished to see for himself the much advertised charms of the colonial belles. La Terpsiclzore weighed anchor and sailed for Corunna, where the señoritas soon consoled the volatile Duc.

It was of inestimable advantage to Jones to have had the opportunity of inspecting at such close range one of the best and most modern ships of the French navy; and a desire to be at sea once more obsessed him to such an extent, that he could hardly wait the slow train leading to the great culmination desired. To be prepared for whatever contingency might arise he arranged his affairs, appointing "the Frazier Bros.," of Port Royal, trustees of his estate, ad interim, So there would be no confusion if his absence was prolonged.

The Continental Congress met in second session on May 10, 1775. The Provisional Marine or Naval Committee consisted of the chairman, Robert Morris, Philip Livingstone, Benjamin Harrison, John Hancock, Joseph Hewes, and Nicholas Van Dyke, members. On the motion of this Committee, Mr. Hewes authorised the chairman to invite "John Paul Jones, esquire, gent. of Virginia, Master Mariner, to lay before the Committee such information and advice as may seem to him useful in assisting the said Committee to discharge its labours."

It took much discussion, much scratching of quills on stiff paper, to frame the rules and regulations for the new navy. An elementary, plucky little fleet, which dared defy the finest navy in the world, with its reputation of unbroken supremacy over the seas, manned by tried sailors, commanded by the smartest officers afloat. But, after all, the new and the old were of the same blood. There was the same dauntless spirit in the heart of the man who was its founder as led Drake and Raleigh on their path over the trackless ocean.

Then, as now, the pay of officers was unpretentious. On vessels of twenty guns the captain received sixty dollars (£12) per calendar month. This was in 1776. The lieutenant thirty dollars (£6), and the master the same sum. The mate received three pounds a month, as did the gunner, boatswain, surgeon's mate and captain's clerk. The surgeon got twenty-five dollars (£5) the chaplain twenty, the cooper, quartermaster, coxswain, armourer, and that most important individual, the cook, received nine dollars (£1 16s.) per month. The sail-maker, steward and master-at-arms, ten dollars. The "Yeoman of the powder-room" had nine dollars and a half, and the seaman was last in the scale, at eight. On ships of "ten to twenty guns," the pay ran a little less.

The uniforms were chiefly red and blue, the captain being gay in "blue cloth with red lappels, slashed cuff, stand-up collor, flat yellow buttons, blue britches, red waistcoat with narrow lace." The lieutenants had "blue britches, and a round cuff, faced," and they lacked the lace which adorned the commanding waistcoat. The masters had no "red lappels" or "stand-up collor," their cuffs were not faced; they had "blue britches and red waistcoats," but the midshipmen were most gorgeous in "blue lappelled coat, a round cuff, faced with red, stand-up collor, with red at the button and button hole, blue britches and red waistcoat."

It seems a strange oversight that with all this minuteness there is no mention made of any sort of hat or cap. It was probably understood that they wore the prevalent black three-cornered hat. The dress of the seamen is not specified, indeed it was not until some years after that a regular dress was adopted for sailors in the English navy, and this, of course, was the model on which the venture of the United States was founded. It is noticeable that there is no mention of gold lace, or any tinsel, even brass buttons; and the choice of side-arms was left entirely to the discretion of the wearer. In the case of the marine officers, the orders are a little more detailed, for they were to wear: "A green coat faced with white, round cuff, slashed sleeves, and pockets, with buttons round the cuff, silver epaulett on the right shoulder, skirts turned back, with buttons to suit the facings."

"White waistcoat and britches edged with green, black gaiters, green shirts for the men, if they can be procured." This last remark calls to mind the immense difficulty experienced in finding sufficient clothing, much less proper uniforms, for the "Ragged Continentals" who served under Washington's standard. It is quite likely the gallant marines put to sea in shirts of less aesthetic hue than those specified—if indeed they were blessed with any shirts at all!

Unquestionably the colour of their shirts interested the crews much less than the regulations in regard to prize money. On November 15, 1776, Congress "resolved that a bounty of twenty dollars be paid to the commanders, officers and men of such Continental ships or vessels of war as shall make a prize of any British ships or vessels of war, for every cannon mounted on board such a prize at the time of such capture; and eight dollars per head for every man then on board and belonging to such prize." All of which added zest to the gentle pastime of war.

In addition to this, General Washington "approved" the following distribution of the prize: "That the captain or commander should receive six shares, the first lieutenant five, the second lieutenant and the surgeon four, the master three, steward two, mate, gunner, gunner's mate, boatswain and sergeant, one and one-half shares, the private one." The cook as omitted, but undoubtedly ranked with the ordinary seaman when the hour of distribution struck.

Living must have been extremely cheap, for the commanders of "Continental vessels of ten guns and upwards," were allowed the extravagant sum of "five and one-third dollars (£1 1s. 6½d.) per week for subsistance," while in domestic or foreign ports. At sea, they received "two dollars and two-thirds per week for cabin expenses." The Marine Committee was "empowered to allow such cabin furniture for continental vessels of war as they shall judge proper." It cannot even be hinted that the officers were encouraged to live in a wantonly extravagant fashion, or is it possible they should entertain at all, if wines were to figure on the table?

What an undertaking, to make a navy out of whole cloth, for, at the outbreak of hostilities, the Continental government owned one water-tight craft! What a risk, to man those ships, collected haphazard, with sailors from the ends of the earth; officer them with men who accepted the positions from the hope of the prizes they should take ! There was little talk of patriotism, the Continental government had no money to spend and offered nothing in comparison to the chances aboard privateers.
"It is distressing to the last degree," Jones wrote, "to contemplate the state and establishment of our navy. The common class of mankind are actuated by no nobler principle than that of self-interest. This, and this only, determines all adventures in privateers—the owners, as well as those they employ; and while this is the case, unless the private emolument of individuals in our navy is made superior to that in privateers, it never can become respectable it never will become formidable; and without a respectable navy, alas, America! In the present critical condition of human affairs, wisdom can suggest no more than one infallible expedient—enlist the seamen during pleasure, and give them all the prizes. What is the paltry emolument of two-thirds of prizes to the finances of this vast continent? If so poor a resource is essential to its independence, in sober sadness we are involved in a woeful predicament, and our ruin is fast approaching.

"The situation of America is new in the annals of mankind: her affairs cry haste! and speed must answer them. Trifles, therefore, ought to be wholly disregarded, as being in the old vulgar proverb, 'penny wise and pound foolish,'" he continues, pleading the necessities of a liberal policy.

If our enemies, with the best established and most formidable navy in the universe, have found it expedient to assign all prizes to the captors, how much more is such policy essential to our infant fleet? But I need no argument to convince you of the necessity of making the emoluments of our navy equal, if not superior, to theirs."

There was good common-sense in this logical appeal which he laid before Congress. He was not actuated by a love of gain; he was in the struggle from motives of sound conviction that it was a righteous cause, and though only a young man of twenty-eight, he was one of the most experienced sailors of his day. "He knew there could be no navy unless it was founded on a proper system of subordination," and rigid discipline, which, "however unpleasant to the turbulent, fierce spirit of republicans, is especially indispensable in the sea service."

How soundly correct was his judgment is often shown in later life, when the lack of proper subordination ruined plans which he had brought to the pitch of perfection—to have them fall like card houses at a puff of unexpected wind.

The creation of a navy in a country where precedent was unknown, with no ancient custom or usage to refer to, was a labour of Hercules. To all intents and purposes an American, the fact remains that Paul was a Scotchman. His enthusiastic soul was wholly for the cause of liberty in his new country, but the men who envied him and wanted his position never let him forget he was an alien. This was, in truth, most absurd, for what were they themselves? what had they been, until a few months ago? Paul Jones had served under different masters, till he was a far more competent officer than many of those in the established navies of Europe, where influence and patronage often officered vessels with men of long lineage and short experience. Jones differed from many of the patriots, in that he cared nothing for money. He was one of those rare spirits left from the golden age, who infinitely preferred leading a forlorn hope to being paid for the same. He loved fame and rank and glory, but, to the money part, he had a sublime, un-Scotch lack of appreciation, delightful to the romanticist. He displayed none of the Lowland peasant thrift of his supposed father. On one or two occasions he defrayed the expenses of expeditions out of his own slender resources, when money could not be squeezed out of the prudent gentlemen who fostered the glories of American independence.

Of course, all these arrangements were not the work of a day, for men weighed carefully the consequences involved by cutting adrift from the home government, unpopular as it was, and, on the other hand, a large percentage of the colonists sided with King George and his ministers. It was on the day of October 10, 1776, three months after the Declaration of Independence, that Jones received his formal commission of "Captain in the Navy of the United States of North America."

In the Journal of Congress, December 22, 1775, the name of John Paul Jones heads the list of first lieutenants. This shows the strong political influence against which the Scotchman always had to contend, when a man with more practical experience of seamanship than the "Commander of the Fleet" and all his officers combined, was relegated to a secondary place at this critical moment in the organisation of the navy. Of course he came from Virginia, and this state being supreme in military matters, had been obliged to yield to the north, which demanded full control of the navy, and many were the acrimonious disputes between Jones's friend Joseph Hewes, and John Adams, who each had his candidates to advance.

Lieutenant Jones's first historical action was that of "hoisting the flag of independent America" on board the Alfred "with his own hands, the first time it had ever been displayed," December 3, 1775. Captain Saltonstall commanded the Alfred, which lay at Philadelphia, but had not arrived to assume his duties, and Jones was ordered by John Hancock and other members of the Congress to break the pennant on board of the Al/red. This was not the well-known stars and stripes, but the "Pine Tree and Rattlesnake Flag," with the motto, "Don't Tread on Me!" which Jones always hated, and rejoiced when the other one was formally adopted by Congress, by a strange coincidence, on the same day that he was commissioned captain. The Alfred, on which this ceremony was enacted, was formerly known as the Black Prince, built at Maryport in Cumberland in 1766, for the East India trade, and was undoubtedly the best ship in the newly formed navy.

The nucleus of that navy for which he worked heart and soul, consisted of the Alfred, Columbia, Andrew, Doria and Cabot. In the latter part of February 1776 they put to sea, going to the Cape of Delaware, where they were joined by the Hornet, sloop-of-war, and Wasp, schooner from Maryland. An appropriate couple to sail in company!

Sharp north-easterly gales blew the little fleet from its course. On March 1st they dropped anchor at Abaco, in the Bahama Islands; the voyage affording no adventure or profit, as they captured only a couple of sloops, for the sake of their pilots. Learning from these men that the fort at New Providence was well supplied with powder and shot, they determined to seize it by landing a force before the inhabitants of the island got wind of their arrival. However, the plan was frustrated, for the fort fired a shot on their approach to the mouth of the harbour, and, though a force of sailors and marines landed, it was met by a messenger, "with the compliments of the governor," and the news that the western fort was at their disposal; the powder they found removed, but got some cannon and supplies, carrying off the governor and two gentlemen as prisoners.

Off Block Island on April 6th the Al/red and Cabot fell in with the British sloop-of-war Glasgow, twenty guns, which they engaged with much damage to the Alfred, the Glasgow showing a clean pair of heels, and the American fleet not attempting to pursue. This was a disgraceful encounter which only Hopkins's political backing pulled him through. The Glasgow was a small sloop-of-war, twenty guns, the Alfred carried twenty-four long nines on the gun deck and six sixes on the quarterdeck, and a crew of two hundred and twenty. All the guns could be worked in fine weather, and during the action the sea was as smooth as a mill-pond. The Cabot was a brigantine armed with fourteen guns and a crew of two hundred. Surely, even with the damage to the Al/red's steering gear, and the sure low aim of the Glasgow's gunners, the day could have been saved from the sheer ignominy that marked it? The commanders of the American ships, and particularly Commander-of-the-Fleet Hopkins, senior officer in this fight, were scathingly criticised for not having given chase, and certainly should have taken the British sloop.

No sooner had the Americans reached port than the storm broke, the public condemning every one, from commander to cook, with lavish impartiality. Hopkins was blamed by the country at large as incompetent, was court-martialled, and nothing but Adams's influence kept him from being dismissed the navy. It is interesting to note that this is what happened to him in similar circumstances a few years later, when there was no Adams to shield him from the consequences of his incompetence. The enraged colonists, with blissful ignorance of naval regulations, blamed the officers individually, an injustice unendurable to Jones's love of fair play.

"My feelings as an individual were hurt by the censure that has been indiscriminately thrown out," he wrote. "My station confined me to the Alfred's lower gun deck, where I commanded during the action; yet though the commander's letter, which has been published, says, 'all the officers in the Alfred behaved well'; still the public blames me, among others, for not taking the enemy. But a little consideration will place the matter in a true light; for no officer under a superior, who does not stand charged by that superior for cowardice or misconduct, can be blamed on any occasion whatever." He very diplomatically concludes, "I wish a general inquiry might he made respecting the abilities of officers in all stations, and then the country would not be cheated."

There were two courts-martial following the Glasgow affair, and as the result of these Captains Hazard and Whipple were dismissed the service, Lieutenant Jones, on May JO, 1776, succeeding Hazard as captain of the Providence.

The moment had now arrived when the "tide in the affairs of men" carried the adventurous sailor toward those heights to which he so ardently aspired. The command of the Providence was a distinct triumph over those who had barred his advancement, and meant that he was a recognised factor in the cause he so hotly championed. Some of the Alfred's crew followed Jones to the Providence. Among them was a full-blooded Narragansett Indian, from Martha's Vineyard, a whaleman by trade, the first and one of the very few Indians ever in the United States navy. On August 21st Jones sailed on a six-weeks' cruise in the Providence, and this has been called the first cruise of an American man-of-war—the first to be noticed by the enemy, and to shed any glory on the flag of the new republic.

Far beyond the numbing influence of red tape, far beyond the gossip of the stay-at-homes and fainthearted, every inch of canvas swelled by winds that favoured the hopes of that silent, swarthy man, he never let an opportunity escape his alert eye, watchful of the most trifling detail on which, in the hour of action, so much depended. It was a venture worthy of the Vikings and their rude boats, for the seas were full of English frigates, outranking the little vessel in everything but the "alertness of her commander and the courage of her crew."

Sixteen prizes he took, eight were sunk, and the other eight manned and sent home. Twice he was chased, and once nearly captured by the Solebay, twenty-eight guns, which he had chased, mistaking her for a merchantman, only escaping by a manoeuvre "unparalleled in its audacity." It was one of those opportunities which seemed created expressly to aid the Scotchman in his hour of need. He says—

"We should not have escaped, judging by the usual rules of sea manoeuvres, if the frigate, instead of trying to box about as she did in a fresh breeze, which he was standing as close hauled to as his trim would stand, had simply followed my manoeuvre of wearing around under easy helm, trimming his sails as the wind bore. I could not have distanced him so much in the alteration of the course, and he must have come off the wind very nearly with me, and before I could get out of his range. But he put his helm the other way to, luffed into the teeth of a little squall that I saw already cat's-pawing to the windward when I wore my ship, and so he broke his steering way, got taken aback, and let me have the chance to show him a clean pair of heels on my little sloop's best point of sailing. I do not take to myself all the credit for this, I did the best I could, but, after all," he comments modestly, "there was more luck than sense about it. The fact is, it was one of those singular cases often happening at sea, where the fortune of a lucky sailor beats all kinds of calculation, and where a go4id or bad puff of wind foils all kinds of skill one way or the other."

Be this as it may, I got off scot free, as you will see by the date of this letter; leaving my big adversary to clear away his sheets and reeve preventers at his leisure; meantime answering his distant broadsides by now and then a musket shot from my taifrail by way of derision. The old saying that 'discretion is the better part of valour,' may in this case, I think, be changed to 'impudence is—or may be, sometimes —the better part of discretion.

Luck, impudence, call it what you will, this remarkable cruise served to bring the name of Paul Jones before the eyes of his adopted countrymen, as well as others farther afield. It was his long wished-for opportunity, and he worked indefatigably to improve it. On November 2nd he sailed with the Alfred and Providence, Captain Hacker, for a cruise. Landing at Isle Madame he captured a quantity of arms, replenished his ammunition and burned three vessels belonging to the fishermen at Cape Breton, adding another loaded with salt fish to his fleet. Jones made a dashing landing at Canso, Nova Scotia, capturing the "Tory" flags, destroying the fishing and striking terror as he went. He failed in his intention of rescuing the Americans, who were working as prisoners in the coal mines, owing to the failure of Captain Hacker to obey orders, which was the cause of so much of Captain Jones's annoyance in his early American experiences. The Alfred brought her cruise to a triumphant finish, and put into Boston on December 10, with flag snapping in the breeze and every inch of bright work glittering like gold. On his cruise of thirty-three days he had brought in seven prizes. One, the Mellish, armed transport, laden with quartermaster's supplies for the British army, and the Bideford, with similar cargo for Sir Henry Guy Carleton's forces assembling in Canada. These ships, sailing under convoy of the Milford, frigate of thirty-two guns, were separated from their convoy by a terrific gale, and fell an easy prey to the Al/Ted, though larger and heavier ships in every way. The value of his prizes and the lateness of the season determined Paul Jones to make for port, as he did not wish to take chances of the prizes being recaptured. Events proved his foresight, for, two days later, with the Bideford, Mellish, and two smaller prizes under convoy, they were overhauled by the Milford, in company with a letter-of-marque. They immediately gave chase to the Al/red and her prizes. Instantly Jones signalled his little fleet to crowd on all sail, and make to the south and westward; he dropping to leeward until he could judge the force of the enemy. The Milford was a "dull sailer," and, the one virtue about the Alfred being her good sailing, Jones was able to stay between the Milford and his prizes, though the Alford managed to keep up the chase during the night, recapturing the least valuable of the ships, which, through a sprung foretopmast, had fallen astern. The cruise of a month was considered most successful, and all Boston assembled to greet him.

He wrote to Robert Morris, immediately on arriving, the reason of his not fighting the Milford, a larger and better armed ship. "I felt that it would be wrong in such conditions to ask one hundred and fourteen men in a ship of only twenty-four guns to stand alongside a thirty-two of regular rate and battery, with surely over two hundred in her complement. I felt that it would be asking too much of the cards,' as we say in whist, when we have a poor hand. So I ran, and I am not ashamed to confess it. But I brought my prizes safe in, and I did not submit the poor At/red and her short crew to the chance of being sunk and butchered by what I considered a foe so superior that battle with him would he hopeless."

This good reasoning brought its very substantial reward, for, when the Mellish's cargo was broken out, untold treasures appeared, prosaic, but more welcome to the ragged continentals than precious jewels. There were ten thousand complete uniforms, with cloaks, great boots, socks and woollen shirts, intended for Lord Howe's army. Fourteen hundred tents, and seven thousand pairs of blankets, six hundred saddles, with complete cavalry equipment, and one million seven hundred thousand rounds of "fixed ammunition"—as cartridges were then called. A large supply of medical stores, and forty cases of medical instruments, with sundry odds and ends, and forty-six soldiers sent out to join the different regiments. The Bideford was not far behind in value, for she had seventeen hundred fur overcoats, for the use of the British forces in Canada, eleven thousand pairs of blankets, destined for the troops and Indians who were fighting with them on the northern frontier of the United States; a thousand "Indian trade smoothbore " guns, with hatchets, flints and knives, for the same red-skinned warriors, and eight light six-pound field-guns and equipage for four-gun batteries of horse artillery. All Sir Guy Carleton's choice wines fell into the hands of his foes, and a fine case of Galway duelling pistols was appropriated by Jones, with a share of the wines. He had no use for the rest of the spoil.

In a measure he was content, having practically demonstrated his favourite point, that, in time of war, a small fleet, aiming directly at the destruction of commerce, especially the shipping at various ports, can cripple the enemy by interrupting the sinews of war more than can a larger fleet, fighting in the open, where it is impossible to capture more than a given number of merchant ships, with the greater element of chance to aid their escape, and the trouble and care of the prisoners to contend with.

"Jones's plan contemplated destruction, not capture; injury to the enemy, not prize-money primarily. The latter he recognised as a necessary concession to the sordid weakness of the mass of mankind; for himself, glory, distinction, was the prime motive— self-seeking in him took the shape of loving military success, not money."

A few weeks later he received the tidings of the total destruction of his plantation, his worldly wealth, swept away in a twinkling. As he said, "It appears that I have no fortune left but my sword, and no prospect except that of getting alongside the enemy." Little as he prized money, this was a serious blow. His plantation had been the source of a good sound revenue. "During the three seasons of my ownership, 1773-4-5, the net income from the agriculture, trade and milling of the plantation, was nearly 4000 guineas in the aggregate over and above all necessary outlays." And that sum was worth quite three times what it is to-day. "Since my coming to Philadelphia, a year ago last June, I have lived on this surplus, having drawn from the public funds only ,Lo in all that time; and this not for pay or allowances, but to reimburse me for expenses of enlisting seamen. Since July 1751 I have drawn to Philadelphia about 2000 guineas in prime bills. Of this 900 guineas remain on balance. This is all I have in the world, except an interest in the firm of Archibald Stuart & Co. of Tobago, which, being under the enemy's control, is of course unavailable."

He was much grieved over the capture of his slaves, "whose existence was a species of grown-up childhood, not slavery. The plantation was to them a home, not a place of bondage . . . now they are carried off to die under the pestilential lash of Jamaica cane fields, and the price of their poor bodies will swell the pockets of English slave traders. For this cruelty to these innocent, harmless people, I hope some time, soon, to exact a reckoning."

Canny old Macbean had escaped in the confusion of Lord Dunmore's raid, and, despite his three score years, joined General Morgan's riflemen, and Jones begs Mr. Hewes to "mention him" to Morgan. Old Duncan, "who always limps a little with an old wound of Braddock's defeat," was "without rival in the art of deer-stalking in the tidewater country, and a dead shot. He has—I presume—taken with him the fine Lancaster rifle of my brother. It is the best rifle I know of in Virginia, and if Duncan has it, all is well." He expresses a low opinion of "his lordship's conception of civilized warfare," which opinion all the tidewater region of Virginia heartily endorsed; though the burning of Norfolk, for which Dunmore in blamed, was the work of the townspeople themselves, to keep the troops from shelter in the bitter weather. He describes the plantation, after a visit some months later, as "the completest wreck imaginable of every kind of possessions that were on the land, and therefore could not be scuttled and sunk in the sea."

But in his tempestuous life, where the bitter mingled so with the sweet, there was no time for repining. On his return he learned that a number of unheard-of skippers had been promoted over his head, making him eighteenth instead of sixth captain on the list. Six of these estimable persons were friends of Adams, and hailed from New England, which, Jones remarks, "gives rise to the suspicion in my mind that Mr. Adams has taken advantage of my absence, cruising against the enemy, and thus debarred from watchfulness of the happenings ashore to promote at small cost to himself several more of his respectable skippers of West Indian lumber-droghers at my expense. If their fate shall be like that of his share in the first five captains last year, I can only say that Mr. Adams has properly provided for a greater number of courts- martial than of naval victories!

A nasty stab in the back to one, who, as he says, was at sea, ignorant of what was taking place. He tells Jefferson : "You are aware, honoured sir, that I have no family connection at my back, but rest my case wholly on what I do. As I survey the list of twelve captains who have been newly jumped over me by the act of October 10th, I cannot help seeing that all but three are persons of high family connection in the bailliwick of Mr. Adams."

The following month, so great had been the dissatisfaction shown by many members of the Congress, a new list of captains was drawn up with a "rearrangement of linear rank," in which Jones was sixth, or just after Nicholas Biddle. But the "political skippers," as Jones always called them, had influence enough to get this pigeon-holed, and it was heard of no more.

Almost immediately on returning from this successful voyage, Jones was surprised and chagrined at the orders he received to turn the Alfred over to Captain Hineman. Jones was ordered to report to Philadelphia, then the capital of the United States, for duty in connection with the Board of Advice to the Marine Committee, remaining there from January till June 1777. He worked with a will to bring order out of the chaos by which he was confronted, succeeding in leaving the stamp of his personality on even so dull a subject as naval regulations. On June 14th, Jones was ordered to Portsmouth to command the Ranger, then building, and from this moment begins the most interesting part of his stormy career, when from a reputation not more than local, he sprang into worldwide fame which, with its glamour, remained undimmed to the hour of his death.


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