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REPORT OF GENERAL PORTER
PON assuming charge of our embassy in Paris and finding myself
among the old landmarks, which are still honored there as recall
ing the many historic incidents in the sojourn of Paul Jones in that brilliant capital, I felt a deep sense of humiliation as an American citizen in realizing that our first and most fascinating naval hero had been lying for more than a century in an unknown and forgotten grave, and that no serious attempt had ever been made to recover his remains and give them appropriate sepulture in the land upon whose history he had shed so much luster.
Knowing that he had been buried in Paris, I resolved to undertake personally a systematic and exhaustive search for the body.
The investigation began in June, 1899. The first step was to study all the writings obtainable relating to him, including official documents. The certificate of his burial had been registered, but the register had been placed with other archives of the city of Paris in an annex of the Hôtel de Ville, situated on Victoria avenue, and had been destroyed with other important records when the Government buildings were burned by the Commune in May, 1871. Fortunately, in 1859, Mr. Charles Read, an archæologist, investigator, and writer of note, had made a transcript of the register in which this certificate was recorded, and I finally succeeded in securing a correct copy. The following is an English translation of this interesting document:
To-day, July 20, 1792, year IV of Liberty, at 8 o'clock in the evening, conformably to the decree of the National Assembly of yesterday, in presence of the delegation of the said assembly, composed of Messrs. Brun, president of the delegation of the said assembly; Bravet, Cambon, Rouyer, Brival, Deydier; Gay Vernon, bishop of the Department of Haute-Vienne; Chabot, Episcopal vicar of the Department of Loir-etCher; Carlier, Petit, Le Josnes, Robouame; and of a deputation of the consistory of the Protestants of Paris, composed of Messrs. Marron the pastor, Perreaux, Benard, Marquis Mouquin, and Empaytaz, anciens, was buried in the cemetery for foreign Protestants, Jean Paul Jones, native of England and citizen of the United States of America, senior naval officer in the service of the said States, aged 45 years, died the 18th of this month at his residence situated at No. 42 Rue de Tournon, from dropsy of the chest, in the faith of the Protestant religion. The said burial was made in our presence by Pierre François Simonneau, commissary of the King for this section and commissary of police for the Ponceau section, in presence of M. Samuel Blackden, colonel of dragoons in the service of the State of North Carolina and a citizen of the United States of America; J. C. Mountforence, formerly major in the service of the United States; Marie Jean Baptiste Benoist Beaupoil, formerly a French officer, residing in Paris at No. 7 Passage des Petits Pères; and of Louis 7257407-4