“The prisoners shall be delivered agreeable to the orders which you have done me the honour to send me from his excellency the American ambassador in France.
“I will also with great pleasure not only permit a part of my seamen to go on board the ships under your excellency’s orders, but I will also do my utmost to prevail with them to embark freely; and if I can now or hereafter, by any other honourable means, facilitate the success or the honour of his Majesty’s arms, I pledge myself to you as his ambassador, 长沙桑拿洗浴会所排名 that none of his own subjects would bleed in his cause with greater freedom than myself, an American.
“It gives me the more pain, my lord, to write this letter, because the court
has enjoined you to prepare what would destroy my peace of mind, and my future veracity in the opinion of the world.
“When, with the consent of the court, and by order of the American ambassador, I gave American commissions to French officers, I did not fill up those commissions to command privateers, nor even for a rank equal to that of their commissions in the marine of France. They were promoted to rank far superior. And why? Not from personal friendship, nor from my knowledge of their services and abilities (the men and their characters being entire strangers to me), but from the respect which I believed America would wish to show for the service of France.
“While I remained eight months seemingly forgot by the court at Brest, many commissions, such as that in question, were offered to me; and I believe (when I am in
pursuit of plunder) I can still obtain such an one without application to court.
“I hope, my lord, that my behaviour through life will ever entitle me to the continuance of your good wishes and opinion, and that you will take occasion to make mention of the warm and personal affection with which my heart is impressed toward his Majesty.”
In no other letter among the many which I have examined does Jones appear in so brilliant and successful a light. His high-souled decision, and his dignified but explicit way of conveying it, alike do him the greatest credit. In the hands of such a man, not only his own honor but that of his country would be perfectly safe always. As usual, on the 16th of December, he inclosed a copy of his letter to Franklin with the following original comment:
“I hope,” he said, “that the within copy of my letter to the Duc de la Vauguyon will meet your approbation, for I am persuaded that it never could be your intention or wish that I should be made the tool of any great r—- whatever; or that the commission of America should be overlaid by the dirty piece of parchment which I have thus rejected! They have played upon my good humour too long already, but the spell is at last dissolved. They would play me off with assurance of the personal and particular esteem of the king, to induce me to do what would render me contemptible even in the eyes of my own servants! Accustomed to speak untruths themselves, they would also have me to give under my hand that I am a liar and a scoundrel. They are mistaken, and I would tell them what you did to your naughty servant. ‘We have too contemptible an opinion of one another’s understanding to live together.’ I could tell them, too, that if M—- de C—- had not taken such safe precautions to keep me honest by means of his famous concordat, and to support me by so many able colleagues, these great men would not have been reduced to such mean shifts; for the prisoners could have been landed at Dunkirk the day that I entered the Texel, and I could have brought in double the numbers.”
After annoying him with daily injunctions and commands, on the 16th of December Vice Admiral Rhynst finally commanded Jones to come on board his flagship and report his intentions. Jones promptly refused to obey this astonishing order, telling the Dutchman that he had no right to order him anywhere. Whereupon the vice admiral wrote to him as follows:
“I desire you by this present letter to inform me how I must consider the Alliance which you are on board of: whether as a French or American vessel. If the first, I expect you to cause his Majesty’s commission to be shown to me, and that you display the French flag and pendant, announcing it by discharging a gun. If the second, I expect you to omit no occasion of departing, according to the orders of their High Mightinesses.”
Jones had passed beyond the arguing point, and treated this communication with contempt. He rightly judged that the Dutch would not resort to force in the end, and he refused to go out to certain capture; indeed, he would not move until he was ready and a fair chance of escape presented itself.
When the French Commissary of Marine at Amsterdam, the Chevalier de Lironcourt, saw Rhynst’s communication, which Jones sent to him, he suggested that Jones might waive the point and display French colors on his ship, disclaiming, at the same time, any ulterior motive not in consonance with the dignity of the commander, on the part of himself or his government, in this proposition. But Jones was not to be moved from the stand he had taken. The man of the world was becoming the dauntless citizen of the United States at last. He curtly told the Dutch admiral that he had no orders to hoist any other flag than the American, and that it only should fly from the gaff of his ship. He also told him that as soon as a pilot would undertake to carry out his ship he would leave. But his most significant action was to state emphatically to the vice admiral’s flag captain, who came aboard the Alliance for an answer to his note of the 16th, that he was tired of the annoyances, insults, and threats which had been directed at him daily, and that they must be stopped in future, as he would receive no more communications from the vice admiral. He also requested the flag captain to say to his superior officer that, although the Dutch flagship mounted sixty-four guns, if she and the Alliance were at sea together the vice admiral’s conduct toward him would not have been tolerated for a moment. I have no doubt that Jones meant exactly what he said, and I think the vice admiral was lucky in not being required to test the declaration. From this time until his departure no communications of any sort were received by Jones from his baffled and silenced tormentor.
He had done all that mortal man could do to retain his prizes, to protract his stay in Dutch waters, to commit Holland to the side of the United States, to effect an exchange of prisoners, and to maintain the honor of the American flag. In doing this, on all sides he had been harassed and insulted beyond measure. It was therefore some consolation to him to receive on the 21st the following note of explanation and apology from De la Vauguyon:
“December 21, 1779.
“I perceive with pain, my dear commodore, that you do not view your situation in the right light; and I can assure you that the ministers of the king have no intention to cause you the least disagreeable feeling, as the honourable testimonials of the esteem of his majesty, which I send you, ought to convince you. I hope you will not doubt the sincere desire with which you have inspired me to procure you every satisfaction you may merit. It can not fail to incite you to give new proofs of your zeal for the common cause of France and America. I flatter myself to renew, before long, the occasion and to procure you the means to increase still more the glory you have already acquired. I am already occupied with all the interest I promised you; and if my views are realized, as I have every reason to believe, you will be at all events perfectly content; but I must pray you not to hinder any project by delivering yourself to the expressions of those strong sensations to which you appear to give way, and for which there is really no foundation. You appear to possess full confidence in the justice and kindness of the king; rely also upon the same sentiments on the part of his ministers.”
To this letter Jones sent the following reply; he was a generous man, who bore no malice:
“Alliance, Texel, December 25, 1779.
“The Duke de Vauguyon.
“My Lord: I have not a heart of stone, but I am duly sensible of the obligations conferred on me by the very kind and affectionate letter that you have done me the honour to write me the 21st current.
“Were I to form my opinion of the ministry from the treatment that I experienced while at Brest, or from their want of confidence in me afterward, exclusive of what has taken place since I had the misfortune to enter this port, I will appeal to your Excellency as a man of candour 长沙桑拿全套场子 and ingenuousness, whether I ought to desire to prolong a connection that has made me so unhappy, and wherein I have given so little satisfaction? M. de Chev. de Lironcourt has lately made me reproaches on account of the expense that he says France has been at to give me reputation, in preference to twenty captains of the royal navy, better qualified than myself, and who, each of them, solicited for the command that was lately given to me! This, I confess, is quite new and indeed surprising to me, and had I known it before I left France I certainly should have resigned in favour of the twenty men of superior merit. I do not, however, think that his first assertion is true, for the ministry must be unworthy of their places were they capable of squandering the public money merely to give an individual reputation! and as to the 长沙桑拿服务 second, I fancy the court will not thank him for having given me this information, whether true or false. I may add here that, with a force so ill-composed, and with powers so limited, I ran ten chances of ruin and dishonour for one of gaining reputation; and had not the plea of humanity in favour of the unfortunate Americans in English dungeons superseded all considerations of self, I faithfully assure you, my lord, that I would not have proceeded under such circumstances from Groix. I do not imbibe hasty prejudices against any individual, but when many and repeated circumstances, conspiring in one point, have inspired me with disesteem toward any person, I must see very convincing proofs of reformation in such person before my heart can beat again with affection in his favour; for the mind is free, and can be bound only by 长沙桑拿会所哪里最好玩 kind treatment.
“You do me great honour, as well as justice, my lord, by observing that no satisfaction can be more precious to me than by giving new proofs of my zeal for the common cause of France and America; and the interest that you take to facilitate the means of my giving such proofs by essential services, claims my best thanks. I hope I shall not, through any imprudence of mine, render ineffectual any noble design that may be in contemplation for the general good. Whenever that object is mentioned, my private concerns are out of the question, and where I can not speak exactly what I could wish with respect to my private satisfaction, I promise you in the meantime to observe a prudent silence.