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an occasion which he called a dirty He immediately hurried to the north, business, and then taking leave, at and it was not till he had gone half the head of his men returned to the way that he learned the real truth. vessel, leaving the family not a little On clearing the land, Jones stood to rejoiced at their escape. Still, how- the westward, and towards evening, ever, as the ship did not get under making the Irish coast, entered Bela weigh, fears were entertained of a fast Loch, capturing, or burning as second visit, and Lady Selkirk lost he proceeded several fishing boats. no time in sending off her children, He was soon observed by Captain and removing whatever property was Burdon, of the Drake sloop of war, likely to become a source of tempta- of 14 guns and 100 men ; conceiving tion, to a place of security. Her the privateer to be a merchantman, fears were fortunately groundless, and a boat was dispatched for the purin a few hours, she had the satisface pose of impressing her crew. On tion of seeing the privateer under coming alongside, the man of war's weigh without offering further mo- men immediately boarded, and were lestation.
as immediately secured. Jones how. Some days afterwards she received ever did not think it prudent to pera letter from Paul Jones himself, severe in his progress up the bay, in written in a romantic, almost poetical the presence of an armed vessel in style. He entreated her pardon for the king's service, and accordingly the late affront, which he assured put about. Captain Burdon's susher was so far from being planned picions were immediatly excited by or sanctioned by him, that he had this measure and the evident detendone every thing in his power to pre- tion of his boat, and not a moment vent its taking place; but his officers was lost in giving chace and clearing and crew insisted on the attempt, for action. On coming up with the hoping to secure the person of Lord enemy, Captain Burdon opened a Selkirk, for whose ransom a considere spirited fire, but owing to the darkable sum might be expected. This ness of the night he was unable to he declared was the object of their continue it with effect, and the vessels first visit, and having failed in it, separated. But as soon as it was they returned on board, when, after light the engagement was gallantly some murmuring, they insisted on renewed, and continued for upwards again landing and plundering the of an hour, when Captain Burdon house. To this he was obliged to and his first Lieutenant being killed, consent, though with great reluctance, twenty of his crew disabled, a topadding, as a proof of his innocence, mast shot away, and the ship dreadthat he would endeavour to purchase fully cut up, the Drake was compelthe plunder they had so disgrace- led to surrender. During the action fully brought off, from the crew, and the prisoners on board the privateer transmit (if not the whole) whatever were kept in irons, but on its ceasing he could procure, to her ladyship. they were all sent on shore in the deNot hearing again for several years, tained fishing boats. By this time, all hope, of course, was given up of the coast on both sides the Channel the fulfilment of his promise, when, being generally alarmed, Paul Jones to her great surprise, in the spring of felt it unsafe to remain in that quar1783, the whole was returned, car- ter, and therefore hastened with his riage paid, precisely in the same prize towards Brest, which port he state in which it had been carried succeeded in making without interaway, to all appearance never having ruption. On his arrival, he communibeen unpacked, the very tea leaves cated the result of his cruize to Dr. remaining in the tea-pot as they were Franklin, the American representaleft after the breakfast on the day of tive, then resident in Paris, and it capture. The report of his landing, has been generally supposed that the rapidly spread through the country, Doctor, so far from approving, strongattended with every variety of ex- ly censured his piratical attack upon aggeration by the time it reached St. Mary's Isle, insisting on his reLondon. Lord Selkirk received it storing such unjustifiable plunder. with the additional particulars, that That this representation is not true his family were all made prisoners to the full extent, the fact of the and his castle burnt to the ground. abovementioned letter, written a few days after the event, is a sufficient Scarborough, armed ship of 20 guns, proof.
commanded by Captain Thomas In the course of the following win- Piercy, which meeting occasioned ter, he appears to have exchanged the one of the most memorable actions command of the Ranger for a trigate ever recorded. Captain Pearson's of 40 guns and 370 men, called the conduct is, indeed, beyond all praise. Bon Homme Richard, acting as com- We give it to the reader in his own modore, with an additional force of words-being an official communicathe Alliance frigate, of 36 guns and tion to the Admiralty. 300 men, the Vengeance brig, of 14
Pallas Frigate in Congress Service, guns and 70 men, and a cutter of 18
Texela Oct. 6, 1779. guns, all in the service of Congress; the Pallas, a French frigate of 32 borough about 12 o'clock, a boat came on
On the 23d ult, being close in with Scar. guns and 275 men, was also added to board with a letter from the Bailiffs of that the squadron.
corporation, giving information of a flying Sailing from Port l'Orient in July squadron of the enemy's ships being on the 1779, he appeared off the coast of coast, and of a part of the said squadron Kerry, where he landed a boat's crew having been seen from thence the day bein the hope of bringing off some fore standing to the southward. As soon sheep, but the country people assem- as I received this intelligence, I made the bling in defence of their property, se- signal for the convoy to bear down under cured the assailants, and sent them my lee, and repeated it with two guns ; prisoners to Tralee jail. From thence notwithstanding which, the van of the con he continued his course, and sailing voy kept their wind, with all sail stretching
out to the southward, from under Flambonorth about, ran down the east coast rough Head, till between twelve and one, of Scotland, capturing in his passage when the headmost of them got sight of many valuable prizes, amongst others the enemy's ships which were then in chace a store ship from Quebec, all of which of them. They then tacked, and made the he ordered to France. On the 14th best of their way under the shore for Scarof September, they were off Dunbar, borough, and letting fly their top-gallantand seen to capture two prizes close sheets, and firing guns ; upon which I in shore. No competent force was
made all the sail I could to windward, to at that time in the north, of which get between the enemy's ships and the he seems to have been perfectly convoy, which I soon effected. At one aware, for, dispatching the vessels of from the mast head, and about four we
o'clock we got sight of the enemy's ships his squadron in different directions, made them plain from the deck to be three he resolved on the bold and hazard- large ships and a brig; upon which I made ous attempt of burning the shipping the Countess of Scarborough's signal to join im Leith harbour, and collecting tri- me, she being in shore with the convoy; at bute from the defenceless towns on the same time I made the signal for the the Fifeshire coast; and, dashing up convoy to make the best of their way, and the Firth of Forth, he came in sight repeated the signal with two guns. I then of Edinburgh on the evening of Sep- brought to, to let the Countess of Scarbotember 16. The wind blowing strong rough come up, and cleared ship for action. from the westward, and the tide At half-past five the Countess of Scarborunning down, he came to an an
rough joined me, the enemy's ships then chor under the island of Inch Keith, bearing down upon us with a light breeze
at S.S. W, at six tacked and laid our head nearly opposite to Kirkcaldy; on the in shore, in order to keep our ground the following morning he weighed, and better between the enemy's ships and the endeavoured to beat up the Leith convoy: soon after which we perceived the roads, but the breeze increasing to a ships bearing down upon us to be a twogale, he spring one of his top-masts, decked ship and two frigates, but from their and was obliged to bear up, running keeping end upon us on bearing down, we down the Firth with such speed that could not discern what colours they were he was soon out of sight. Foiled in under. At about twenty minutes past his atteinpt, he rejoined his squadron, seven, the largest ship of the three brought and proceeded to cruize off the coast hailed him, and asked what ship it was ?
10 on our lee bow within musket shot. I of England, where on the 23d of Sep- They answered in English, the Princess tember, he fell in with a British Cov- Royal. I then asked where they belonged voy from the Baltic, escorted by his to ? They answered evasively; on which Majesty's ship, Serapis, Captain Pear- I told then, it they did not answer directly, son, of t1 gius, and Countess of I would fire into them. They then au
swered with a shot, which was instantly I therefore struck (our main-mast at the returned with a broadside ; and after ex- same time went by the board). The first changing two or three broadsides, he back- lieutenant and myself were immediately ed his topsails, and dropped upon our escorted into the ship alongside, when we quarter within pistol shot, then filled again, found her to be an American ship of war, put his helm a-weather, and ran us ou board called the Bon Homme Richard, of 40 upon our weather quarter, and attempted guns and 375 men, commanded by Capt. to board us, but being repulsed he sheered Paul Jones ; the other frigate which enoff, upon which I backed our topsails in gaged us, to be the Alliance of 40 guns order to get square with him again, which and 300 men ; and the third frigate, which as soon as he observed, he then filled, put engaged and took the Countess of Scan his helm a-weather, and laid us athwart borough, after two hours action, to be the hawse—his mizen-shrouds took our jib- Pallas, a French frigate of 30 guns and boom, which hung him for some time, till it 275 men ; the Vengeance, an armed brig at last gave way, and we dropt alongside of 12 guns and 70 men; all in Congress of each other head and stern, when the service, under the command of Paul Jones. fluke of our spare anchor hooking his quar- They fitted out and sailed from Port L'Ori. ter, we became so close fore and aft, that ent the latter end of July, and came north the muzzles of our guns touched each other's about. They have on board 300 English sides. In this position we engaged from prisoners, which they have taken in difhalf-past eight till half-past ten ; during ferent vessels, in their way round, since which time, from the great quantity and they left France, and have ransoned some variety of combustible matters, which they others. On my going on board the Bon threw in upon our decks, chains, and in Homme Richard, I found her in the greatest short into every part of the ship, we were distress ; ber quarters and counter on the on fire, not less than ten or twelve times in lower deck entirely drove in, and the whole different parts of the ship; and it was of her lower deck guns dismounted ; she with the greatest difficulty and exertion was also on fire in two places, and six or imaginable
at times, that we were able to seven feet of water in her hold, which kept get it extinguished. At the same time the increasing upon them all night and the largest of the two frigates kept sailing round riext day, till they were obliged to quit us during the whole action, and raking us her, and she sunk, with a great number of fore and aft; by which means she killed her wounded people on board her. She or wounded almost every man on the quar. had 300 men killed and wounded in the ter and main decks. About half-past nine, action ; our loss in the Serapis was also very either from a hand grenade being thrown great. My officers and people in general in at one of our lower deck-ports, or from behaved well; and I should be very remiss some other accident, a cartridge of powder in my attentions to their merit, were I to was set on fire, the flames of which running omit' recommending them to their Lordfrom cartridge to cartridge all the way aft, ships' favour. I must at the same time blew up the whole of the people and officers beg leave to inform their Lordships, that that were quartered abaft the main-mast, Capt. Piercy, in the Countess of Scarborough, from which unfortunate circumstance all was not in the least renriss in his duty, he those guns were rendered useless for the having given me every assistance in his remainder of the action, and I fear the power, and as much as could be expected greatest part of the people will lose their from such a ship. in engaging the attenlives. At ten o'clock they called for quar- tion of the Pallas, a frigate of 32 guns, ters from the ship alongside, and said they during the whole action. I am extremely had struck. Hearing this I called upon sorry for the misfortune that has happened, the Captain to know if they had struck, or that of losing his Majesty's ship which I if he asked for quarter, but no answer had the honour to command; but at the being made, after repeating my words two same time I flatter myself with the hopes, or three times, I called for the boarders, that their Lordships will be convinced that and ordered them to board, which they did; she has not been given away, but on the but the moment they were on board her, contrary, that every exertion has been used they discovered a superior number laying to defend her ; and that two essential pieces under cover with pikes in their hands ready of service to our country have arisen from to receive them, on which our people re- it--the one in wholly oversetting the cruise treated instantly into our own ship, and and intentions of this flying squadron ; the returned to their guns again till half- other in rescuing the whole of a valuable past ten, when the frigate coming a- convoy from falling into the hands of the cross our stern, and pouring her broad. enemy; which must have been the case side into us again without our being had I acted any otherwise than I did. We able to bring a gun to bear on her, I found have been driving about the North Sea ever it in vain, and in short impracticable, from since the action, and endeavouring to make the situation we were in, to stand out any to any port we possibly could, but have not longer, with the least prospect of success : been able to get into any place till to-day
we arrived in the Texel...Herewith I in. States General, prevailed on them to close you the most exact list of the killed cause the wounded seamen belonging and wounded I have as yet been able to to the Serapis and the armed ship procure, from my people being dispersed to be landed; and farther urged them among the different ships, and having been to detain, and to order to be delirefused permission to muster them.
vered up, both the ships and their
R. PEARSON. P.S. I am refused permission to wait on
« which,” he said “the Pirate, Sir Joseph Yorke, and even to go on shore.
Paul Jones of Scotland, who is a The killed were, I boatswain, 1 master's rebel subject, and a criminal of the mate, 2 midshipmen, 1 quarter-master, state, had taken.” This request was 29 sailors, 15 marines.—Total 49. refused, and the only effect of his
Wounded_Second Lieutenant, Michael remonstrances was, that they would Stanhope, Lieutenant Whiteman, marines not allow the prizes to be sold there, -2 surgeon's mates, six petty officers, 46 but gave orders that they should desailors, 12 marines. Total 68.
part from their ports as they came. Captain Piercy confirms this ac- The States General did not on this count; and adds, that at the begin- occasion behave with that spirit and ing of the action he made sail to dignity which so faithful an ally as assist the Serapis ; but finding her Great Britain had been to them, had and the ships she was engaged with a right to expect. In spite of this so close together and covered with pretended_order that they should smoke, so that he could not distin- quit the Texel, however, they sufguish one from the other, he shortened fered them to remain ; and it cost sail and engaged the Pallas for near Sir Joseph Yorke infinite trouble to two hours, when, being so unfortu- procure the release of the prisoners nate as to have all his braces, great they had on board, every obstacle part of the running rigging, main being thrown in his way, by their and mizen top-sail sheets, shot away; calling themselves sometimes French 7 guns dismounted, 4 men killed and and sometimes Americans. At last, 20 wounded; and another frigate however, the prisoners were released; coming up, he saw it was in vain and the squadron, notwithstanding a any longer to continue the contest, long and close blockade, stole out in and was obliged to strike to such su- a dark night, and effected their esperior force.
cape to Dunkirk. The King was so well pleased The appearance of Jones in so with the behaviour of the two cap- large a ship in the Firth of Forth, tains and their officers and men, that had excited, as may well be suphe conferred the honour of knighthood posed, the greatest alarm; and the on Captain Pearson, and soon after- Admiralty, aware of the unprotected wards made Captain Piercy Post-Cap- state of the northern part of the tain, and promoted the other officers. kingdom, directed a squadron, conThe service they had performed de- sisting of the Prudent of 64 guns, served indeed every reward; and so and some frigates, under the comsensible were the Directors of the mand of Captain Burnet, to proceed Royal Exchange Assurance Com- without delay from Spithead, for the pany of their obligations to these protection of the Scotch metropolis. excellent officers for protecting the So strict indeed were his orders to rich fleets under their care, that they make the best of his way, that Capvoted their thanks to both; and as a tain Burnet did not think himself further testimony of their approba- justified in spreading his squadron tion, requested Captain Pearson's as wide as he could; though had he acceptance of a piece of plate worth done so, there is every probability 100 guineas, and Captain Piercy of that he would have intercepted Jones another valued at 50 guineas. when beating about in the North Sea
Although Captain Pearson was not in his disabled state, before he was permitted to go on shore, and make able to reach the Texel. his case known to Sir Joseph Yorke, Having lost the Bon Homme this Ambassador, by his representa- Richard, he shifted his flag into the tions to their High Mightinesses the Alliance,* and the squadron no longer
* Or another of the same name, as when afterwards mentioned she is stated to mount only 28 guns, with 250 men.
acting in concert, each ship was left complished, by burrowing under the singly to shift for itself; and in Ja- foundations. nuary or February, 1780, Jones es- From this time till 1783, little is caping the vigilance of our cruisers, known of Paul Jones; but in the reached Corunna, having on board month of December of that year he Captain Gustavus Cunningham, a ce- arrived in London from Paris, with lebrated character, whose case in despatches from Congress to John many points resembled his own. Adams, the American Resident. He
Early in the disturbances with had crossed the Atlantic from PhiAmerica Cunningham had taken an ladelphia to France in the short space active part against his country, and of 22 days; and after delivering his rendered himself particularly obnox- papers, he set out at three o'clock ious to Government; but at length he the following morning for Paris, to was fortunately captured in a private proceed to America. armed cutter which he commanded, During the peace his mind seems and carried into New York. The to have languished for active emAmericans were so well aware of ployment; and in March, 1988, his services, and the danger to being then at Copenhagen, he made which he was now exposed, that an offer of his services to the Emthey took every means in their power press of Russia, and was accepted ; to procure his exchange; and as a but how or where he was employed last effort, sent a very strong re- does not appear: that he was unmonstrance to Sir George Collier, successful, and gave no satisfaction then commanding the Raisonnable off to his employers, may however be New York, threatening severe reta- inferred from his being under the neliation: for which purpose, Henry cessity of retiring to Paris, where he Hamilton, Esq. Lieutenant-Governor spent the remainder of a life now of Dehors; Philip Degean, a Justice drawing to its close. The revolution of Peace; and William Lambe, Cap- soon after broke out, and not finding tain of Volunteers; then prisoners, employment in the deranged and were singled out by the Governor of useless state of the French navy, his Virginia: a young gentleman of spirits failed, and he sunk into such fortune, also, was put in irons and abject want, that Captain Blackden confined in a dungeon at Boston:- was obliged to raise a small sum by on all of whom it was determined to way of subscription in order to bury proceed in every respect as Cun- him; he died in the utmost poverty, ningham should be treated in Eng- in June, 1792. land. To their remonstrance Sir Being a Scotchman, he was deemGeorge Collier sent a firm and ed a Calvinist, and as the laws respirited reply, denying that any of lating to the interment of persons of his prisoners were treated with in- that persuasion were not then abrohumanity; but adding that, as it gated, it was necessary to make was the practice of civilized nations an application to the National Asto punish criminals in the usual sembly, who not only revoked these course of justice, Gustavus Cun- laws as far as they interfered with ningham standing in that predica- his case, but yoted that a depument, was therefore about to be tation of its members should atsent to England, to receive that tend his funeral. Whatever might punishment from his injured country be the reality, a semblance of atwhich his crimes should be found to tachment to the national religion yet deserve. He was accordingly put remained, and a few of the Assembly on board the Grantham packet from objected to this mark of respect on New York, which landed him at account of his being a Protestant, Falmouth, in July, 1779, and he but this idea was scouted by a vast was immediately lodged in the majority; and the remains of Paul Castle ; but no sooner was he con- Jones were escorted to the grave by fined, than his ingenuity exercised many who were well calculated to itself in contriving the means of emulate the darkest and most desescape—which he in a short time ac- perate deeds of his eventful life.