Commodore Paul Jones

Brady Cyrus Townsend
Commodore Paul Jones


"Here comes brave Paul Jones, Oho!
He's a jolly good fellow.
His ship has sunk 'neath the sea,
On a bold English cape, O.
"Here comes brave Paul Jones, Oho!
He's a jolly good fellow.
Born an American true,
And English not a bit, O.
"Here comes brave Paul Jones, Oho!
He's a jolly good fellow.
He does so many brave deeds
For the good of his friends, O."
"Oh, had we him here,
Or had they him there,
He'd well know what to try for
And luck he'd let go by, sir!"

" Testament of Paul Jones, July 18, 1792

"Before the undersigned notaries, at Paris, appeared Mr. John Paul Jones, citizen of the United States of America, resident at present in Paris, lodged in the street of Tournon, No. 42, at the house of Mr. Dorberque, huissier audiancier of the tribunal of the third arrondissement, found in a parlour in the first story above the door, lighted by two windows opening on the said street of Tournon, sitting in an armchair, sick of body, but sound of mind, memory, and understanding, as it appeared to the undersigned notaries, by his discourse and conversation, -

"Who, in view of death, has made, dictated, and worded, to the undersigned notaries, his testament as follows:

"I give and bequeath all the goods, as well movable as heritable, and all, generally, whatever may appertain to me at my decease, in whatever country they may be situated, to my two sisters, Janette, spouse to William Taylor, and Mary, wife to Mr. Loudon, and to the children of my said sisters, to divide them into as many portions as my said sisters and their children shall make up individuals, and to be enjoyed by them in the following manner:

"My sisters, and those of their children who on the day of my death shall have reached the age of twenty-one, will enjoy their share in full property from the date of my decease. As for those of my nephews and nieces who at that period of time may not reach the age of twenty-one years, their mothers will enjoy their shares till such time as they attain that said age, with charge to them to provide for their food, maintenance, and education; and as soon as any of my nephews or nieces will have reached the age of twenty-one years, the same will enjoy his share in full property.

"If one or more of my nephews and nieces should happen to die without children before having reached the age of twenty-one, the share of those of them who may have deceased shall be divided betwixt my said sisters and my other nephews and nieces by equal portions.

"I name the Honourable Robert Morris, Esq., of Philadelphia, my only testamentary executor.

"I revoke all other testaments or codicils which I may have made before the present, which alone I stand by as containing my last will.

"So made, dictated, and worded, by said testator, to the said notaries undersigned, and afterward read, and read over again to him by one of them, the others being present, which he well understood, and persevered in, at Paris, the year 1792, the 18th July, about five o'clock, afternoon, in the room heretofore described, and the said testator signed the original of the present, unregistrated, at Paris, the 25th of September, 1792, by Defrance, who received one livre, provisionally, save to determine definitively the right after the declaration of the revenue of the testator. The original remained with Mr. Pettier, one of the notaries at Paris, undersigned, who delivered these presents this day, 26th September, 1792, first of the French Republic.



"Schedule of the Property of Admiral John Paul Jones, as stated by him to me, this 18th of July, 1792.

"1. Bank stock in the Bank of North America, at Philadelphia, six thousand dollars, with sundry dividends.

"2. Loan-Office certificate left with my friend Mr. Ross, of Philadelphia, for two thousand dollars, at par, with great arrearages of interest, being for ten or twelve years.

"3. Such balance as may be in the hands of my said friend John Ross, belonging to me, and sundry effects left in his care.

"4. My lands in the State of Vermont.

"5. Shares in the Ohio Company.

"6. Shares in the Indiana Company.

"7. About eighteen thousand pounds sterling due to me from Edward Bancroft, unless paid by him to Sir Robert Herries, and is then in his hands.

"8. Upward of four years of my pension due from Denmark, to be asked from the Count de Bernstorf.

"9. Arrearages of my pay from the Empress of Russia, and all my prize money.

"10. The balance due to me by the United States of America, of sundry claims in Europe, which will appear from my papers.

"This is taken from his mouth.

"Gouverneur Morris."

This property was estimated as being worth about thirty thousand dollars at the date of Jones' death.

R th Dec. 1777.anger, Nantes 11

"Honored Sir: – I think it my duty to give you some account of my Passage from Portsmouth to this place, as this may perhaps find you at home in the Bosom of domestic happiness. I had passed the Western Islands before a Sail appeared within our Horizon from the Mast head; but this Halcyon Season was then interrupted, and changed into continued alarms Night and day till the Ranger cast Anchor here the 2d Current, this afforded me excellent opportunities of exercising the Officers and Men especially in the Night, and it is with much Pleasure that I assure you their behaviour was to my entire Satisfaction. I fell in with an Enemies Fleet of Ten Sail off Ushant, bound up Channel, but notwithstanding my best endeavours, I was unable to detach any of them from the strong Convoy under which they sailed. I fell in with and brought too a number of other Ships and Vessels none whereof proved to be British Property except two Brigantines with fruit from Malaga for London which became Prizes, the one is arrived here, the other I am told in Quiberon Bay. The Rangers sailing does not answer the general expectation, oweing in a great measure to her being too deep, very foul and over Masted, her Ballast laid too high, on account of its improper quality, for a Ship of this construction, this with the extraordinary weight of her lower Masts; occasioned her being very Crank, I am paying my whole Attention to remedy these inconveniences as much as Possible, I am shortening the lower Masts, shifting the Main Mast further aft, and mean to ballast with Lead; as that Article will store under the lower tier of Water the less quantity will be sufficient, of course the Ship will be so much the lighter, and Sail so much the faster, and we shall then, I hope, be able to store the Cables under the Platform. Tho' I have yet received no Letter from the Commissioners, I understand that they had some time ago provided for me one of the Finest Frigates that can be imagined, calculated for Thirty two, Twenty four Pounders, on One deck, and longer than any Ship in the Enemies Fleet, but it seems they were unfortunately under the necessity of giving her up on Account of some difficulties which they met with at Court, however I esteem the intention as much as tho' it had succeeded, as I shall always cherish the grateful remembrance of the Honor which Congress hath conferred on me by this and every other instance of their generous Approbation, I shall be the happiest of Men if a Life of services devoted to the Intrests of America can be rendered instrumental in securing its Independance.

"My particular thanks are due to you Sir, as one of the four Members of that Honorable Committee to whose generous intention, and Approbation I more immediately owe this great and unsolicited Obligation, but I hope for Opportunities of proving by my Conduct the deep sense I entertain of that favor.

"The inclosed letter, and its consequences hath given me real concern. Malice is a stranger to my Nature. I hate domestic broils, or misunderstandings, and would do, or suffer much, as a private Person to prevent them. But as an Officer, honored with the Approbation of Congress, and conscious of having at no time exceeded even in Thought the delicate lines of my duty, or express letter of my Orders; I am in the highest degree tenacious of the respect due to my Signature; and I bid the most contemptuous defiance to the insinuation of any Man out of Congress.

"I have been informed in Portsmouth that the four Oared Boat which attended the Ranger was built for the Portsmouth Privateer, and after being rejected as misconstructed and unuseful for that Ship, was assigned over to the Ranger, be this as it may, I will boldly affirm that she was the worst constructed and most unservicable Boat that I ever saw, belonging to a Ship of War, for tho' a Man stepping on her Gunnel, would bring it down to the Waters edge, yet was her Weight equal, or nearly so to that of the Cutter, which I planned, and had built, capable of carrying 40 Armed Men, had I been able, which I was not, to stow the two Boats, which I found provided for the Ranger, I must have been reduced to the Alternatives of throwing them overboard, or strikeing the Top Masts several times, on the Passage to prevent oversetting the Ship. I mention this matter to you in confidence as a Friend, declaring on the Honor of a Gentleman that I wish on my part to give it to Oblivion. I have the Pleasure to hear that Captains Thompson and Hinman are well at Lorient of which please to inform Mrs. Thompson. I shall endeavour to procure the Articles mentioned in Mrs. Whipple's Memorandum, I hope to live in the remembrance of the few acquaintances I have in Portsmouth, and I have the honor to be with due Respect.



"Your very Obliged

"very Obedient

"most humble Servant,

"Jno P Jones"72

72The above hitherto unpublished letter, with its unusual signature, was addressed to William Whipple, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence from New Hampshire, who in 1777 was a member of the Continental Congress, and one of the four Navy Commissioners. The original of the Commodore's interesting letter is in the collection of Mr. Ferdinand J. Dreer, of Philadelphia. – Editor.
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