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being keeped in the Butler's Pantry were forgot, together with some other very small things of little value, all the large things left were of the Birmingham plated kind. Your genteel offer Sir, of returning the Plate is very polite but at the same time neither Lady Selkirk nor I can think of accepting of it, as you must purchase it you say for that purpose, but if your delicacy makes you unwilling to keep that share of its value which as Captain you are entitled to, without purchasing, I would in that case wish that part to be given to those private men who were on the party, as an encouragement for their good behaviour. You Sir, are intitled to what is more honorable, viz: The Praise of having your men under good discipline, which on all occasions I take care to make known. There is one thing not so agreeable, as it must put me to considerable inconvenience, it seems the people you sent away from the Ranger, after taking the Drake, have reported, that you have said, “You were still determined to take me Prisoner, and would do so within a few months.” As to my own personal danger, I have no apprehension about it, but Justice to my Wife and Children makes it necessary to remove myself and family to a more inland situation. Thus your illjudged and useless intention whilst it can do no good to you, nor be of any service to those in captivity, serves only to deprive my family and me of our country residence. Were there anything in my power for the procuring of an exchange of Prisoners, God knows I would most willingly do it, for I all along thought the refusing it both unjust and an impolitic measure, and which I still think will prove useless and will have to be departed from. Though your letter is wrote like a man who means well, and who wishes to be considered a man of honour, yet some people in this Country who say they know you, (tho' I do not think it certain you are the person they mean) laugh at your saying you are not in pursuit of Riches, and at your intention of taking me for the purpose of a general exchange of Prisoners. They say your design must have been a Ransom, and that your offer of returning the Plate is only a snare, to put me off my guard. But as I chanced to be entirely ignorant of you and your character, till your enterprise on the 23rd of April, I have therefore nothing certain to judge by but your behaviour, then, and since, and as that has in so far as regarded my Family, been genteel, and though your intention of taking me was certainly absurd, yet as it was so from mistake I therefore will not allow myself to think with those people, that a man who professes honorable sentiments, and is acting under an honorable commission for what he thinks is supporting the Rights of Mankind, would for the sake of a pitiful Ransom degrade himself to the low and vile character of a Barbary Pirate, which would be the case if these people were right in the opinion they give, but I chuse to judge more favourably of you, and am Sir, Your most obedient serv t,
LETTER FROM LORD SELKIRK
ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF RETURN OF SILVER
[From contemporary copy in Library of Congress.]
LONDON, 4th August, 1785. SIR. I received the letter you wrote to me, at the time you sent off my plate, in order for restoring it. Had I known where to direct a letter to you at the time it arrived in Scotland, I would have then wrote to you, but not knowing it, nor finding that any of my acquaintance at Edinburgh knew it, I was obliged to delay writing till I came here, when by means of a gentleman connected with America, I was told Mr Le Grand was your banker at Paris, and would take proper care of a letter for you, therefore I inclose this to him. Notwithstanding all the precautions you took for the easy and uninterrupted conveyance of the plate, yet it met with considerable delays, first at Calais, next at Dover, then at London. However it at last arrived at Dumfries, and I daresay quite safe, though as yet I have not seen it, being then at Edinburgh. I intended to have put an article in the newspapers about your having returned it, but before I was informed of its being arrived, some of your friends, I suppose, had put it in the Dumfries newspaper, whence it was immediately copied into the Edinburgh papers, and thence into the London ones.
Since that time I have mentioned it to many people of fashion, and on all occasions, Sir, both now and formerly, I have done you the justice to tell, that you made an offer of returning the plate, very soon after your return to Brest, and although you, yourself was not at my house, but remaining at the shore with your boat, that yet you had your officers and men in such extraordinary good discipline, that you having given them the strictest orders to behave well, to do no injury of any kind, to make no search, but only to bring off what plate was given them, that in reality they did exactly as ordered, and that not one man offered to stir from his post on the outside of the house, nor entered the doors, nor said an uncivil word, that the two officers stood not a quarter of an hour in the parlour and butler's pantry, while the butler got the plate together, behaved politely, and asked for nothing but the plate, and instantly marched their men off in regular order, and that both officers and men behaved in all respects so well at it would have done credit to the best disciplined troops what ever. Some of the English newspapers at that time having put in confused accounts of your expedition to Whitehaven, and Scotland, I ordered a proper one of what happened in Scotland, to be put in the London newspapers by a gentleman who was then at my house, by which the good conduct and civil behaviour of your officers and men was done justice to, and attributed to your orders, and the good discipline you maintained over your people. I am, Sir, Your most humble servant,
REPORT OF JOHN PAUL JONES
CRUISE OF THE U. S. SHIP RANGER AND CAPTURE OF
H. B. M. S. DRAKE
[From the original draft in John Paul Jones's letter-book at U. S. Naval Academy.)
BREST, May 27, 1778. GENTLEMEN, I now fulfil the promise made in my last, by giving you an account of my late expedition. I sailed from Brest ioth of April. My plan was extensive.
. I therefore did not, at the beginning, wish to encumber myself with prisoners. On the 14th I took a brigantine between Scylla and Cape Clear, bound from Ostend with a cargo of flaxseed for Ireland, sunk her, and proceeded into St. George's Channel. On the 17th I took the ship Lord Chatham, bound from London to Dublin, with a cargo consisting of porter and a variety of merchandize, and almost within sight of her port; the ship I manned and ordered for Brest. Towards the evening of the day following, the weather had a promising appearance, and the winds being favorable, I stood over from the Isle of Man, with an intention to make a descent at Whitehaven. At 10 o'clock, I was off the harbor with a party of volunteers, and had everything in readiness to land, but, before eleven, the wind greatly increased, and shifted so as to blow directly upon the shore; the sea increased of course, and it became impossible to effect a landing. This obliged me to carry all possible sail, so as to clear the land, and to await a more favorable opportunity. On the 18th, in Glenbue Bay, on the south coast of Scotland, I met with a revenue wherry; it being the common practice of these vessels to board merchant ships, and the Ranger then having no external appearance of war, it was expected that this rover would have come alongside. I was, however, mistaken, for, though the men were at their quarters, yet this vessel outsailed the Ranger, and got clear, in spite of a severe cannonade.
The next morning, off the Mull of Galloway, I found myself so near a Scotch coasting schooner, loaded with barley, that I could not avoid sinking her. Understanding that 10 or 12 sail of merchant ships, besides a tender brigantine with a number of impressed men on board, were at anchor in Loughryan in Scotland, I thought this an enterprise worthy attention, but the wind, which at the first would have served equally well to sail in or out of the Lough, shifted in a hard squall so as to blow almost directly in, with an appearance of bad weather; I was therefore obliged to abandon my project.
Seeing a cutter off the lee-bow steering for the Clyde, I gave chase in hopes of cutting her off; but finding my endeavors ineffectual, I pursued no farther than the rock of Ailsa. In the evening I fell in with a sloop from Dublin, which I sunk to prevent intelligence.
The next day, the 21st, being near Carrickfergus, a fishing boat came off, which I detained. I saw a ship at anchor in the road, which I was informed by the fisherman, was the British ship-of-war Drake, of 20 guns.
I determined to attack her in the night. My plan was to overlay her cable, and to fall upon her bow, so as to have all her decks open, and exposed to our musketry, &c.; at the same time it was my intention to have secured the enemy by graplings, so that, had they cut their cables, they would not thereby have attained an advantage. The wind was high, and unfortunately the anchor was not let go so soon as the order was given; so that the Ranger was brought up on the enemy's quarter, at the distance of half a cable's length. We had made no warlike appearance, of course had given no alarm; this determined me to cut immediately, which might appear as if the cable had parted, and at the same time enabling me, after making a tack out of the Lough, to return with the same prospect of advantage which I had at the first. I was, however, prevented from returning; as I with difficulty weathered the lighthouse on the lee side of the Lough, and as the gale increased.
The weather now became so very stormy and severe, and the sea so high, that I was obliged to take shelter under the south shore of Scotland. The 22d introduced fair weather; though the three kingdoms as far as the eye could reach were covered with snow. I now resolved once more to attempt Whitehaven; but the wind became very light, so that the ship could not in proper time approach so near as I had intended. At midnight I left the ship, with two boats and thirty-one volunteers. When we reached the outer pier, the day began to dawn. I would not however abandon niy enterprise; but despatched one boat under the direction of Mr. Hill and Lieutenant Wallingsford, with the necessary combustibles, to set fire to the shipping on the north side of the harbor, while I went with the other party to attempt the south side. I was successful in scaling the walls, and spiking up all the cannon in the first fort. Finding the sentinels shut up in the guard house, secured them without their being hurt. Having fixed sentinels, I now took with me one man only (Mr. Green), and spiked all the cannon on the southern fort; distant from the other a quarter of a mile.
On my return from this business, I naturally expected to see the fire of the ships on the north side, as well as to find my own party with everything in readiness to set fire to the shipping in the south. Instead of this, I found the boat under the direction of Mr. Hill and Mr. Wallingsford returned, and the party in some confusion, their light having burnt out at the instant when it became necessary. By the