« PreviousContinue »
Southern District of New York, ss.
BE IT REMEMBERED, That on the fourth day of October, A. D. 1830, in the fifty-fifth year of the Independence of the United States of America, Sherman Converse, of the said District, hath deposited in this office the title of a book, the right whereof he claims as proprietor, in the words following, to wit:
“ Life and Correspondence of John Paul Jones, including his Narrative of the Campaign of the Liman. From Original Letters and Manuscripts in the possession of Miss Janette Taylor."
In conformity to the Act of Congress of the United States, entitled, “ An Act for the encouragement of Learning, by securing the copies of Maps, Charts, and Books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies, during the time therein mentioned." And also to an Act, entitled " An Act, supplementary to an Act, entitled an Act for the encouragement of Learning, by securing the copies of Maps, Charts, and Books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies, during the times therein mentioned, and extending the benefits thereof to the arts of designing, engraving, and etching historical and other prints."
FRED. J. BETTS, Clerk of the Southern District of Nero York.
PAUL JONES was an extraordinary man, and was engaged suddenly, after having been in a comparatively humble employment, in a career connected with events which occupied the attention of the civilized world. Setting aside the services rendered by him to the cause of American freedom, there would be no need of preface or explanation in presenting an account of his life, and selections from the most interesting portions of his correspondence to the public at large; were it not that several works, professing to do so, have already made their appearance.
The first which the Editor of the present work remembers to have seen, was a shilling pamphlet, exhibited in the windows of the New York retail bookstores, in which was a frontispiece, representing Paul Jones as large as the frigate he bestrode, shooting a Lieutenant Grubb with a horse-pistol, more grand in its dimensions than any piece of artillery introduced into the picture. This juvenile reminiscence would be hardly worth recalling, were it not that, but the other day, in one of the Southern papers, the writer actually met with a detailed account, purporting to be a biographical sketch of somebody recently dead, who had served under Paul Jones in the Serapis, describing the latter as shooting this Lieutenant Grubb, with the same horse-pistol, aggrandized in the manner above specified. As no Lieu
tenant Grubb ever sailed under the orders of Captain John Paul Jones, and as no such person could, in consequence, have been shot by him, it is evident that an unvarnished and full account of the rear admiral's life ought to be circulated, in regions where such fabulous and monstrous legends obtain, in this age of light, admission into public prints.
Ten years ago, a large quantity of original papers belonging to the legatees of Paul Jones, were sent to this country with a view to their being properly connected and published. They were submitted to the Historical Society of New York. The committee who examined them, found that they were valuable and interesting ; but circumstances prevented their publication at the time. Mr. Sherburne, register of the United States navy, opened a correspondence with the owners of these documents, as the Editor of the present work is informed, with the view of preparing a life of Jones; but, the negotiation failed.
Shortly after, some of the Chevalier's manuscripts, belonging to his legatees, if they had known how and where to reclaim them, were accidentally found by a gentleman of New York, in a house in the city. They had been left in the custody of its former proprietor. From these, with copies of letters and documents on file in the department of state, Mr. Sherburne prepared a volume which was published in 1825.
Some singularly capricious demon, wonderfully ingenious in producing puzzling and painful disorder, seems to have presided over the arrangement of the materials. The appearance of order in some parts of the compilation only makes the general and particular entangle ments more perplexing; and in some places, the