On Board the Bonhomme Richard at L'Orient, France. June 14, 1779.. p. manuscript letter on a folded folio sheet. Docketed on the fourth page and addressed in Jones' hand to "Captain M[atthew] Parke of the Marine troops." Sheet strengthened around the edges, closed tear mended in the second sheet. Very good. In a half morocco and cloth folding box, spine gilt. A very interesting manuscript letter, signed by Captain John Paul Jones as commander the American squadron off the coast of Europe, ordering Matthew Parke, a member of the Marine troops, to attend a court- martial on board his ship, the Bonhomme Richard. Jones would gain everlasting fame and glory just a few weeks after he signed this letter, when he captured the H.M.S. Serapis in the North Sea. In 1779, John Paul Jones took command of a 900-ton French East Indiaman, armed and renamed Bonhomme Richard as a compliment to his patron, Benjamin Franklin. The outfitting of the ship in the port of L'Orient consumed several months, and it was not ready for sea until June. The ship's crew was originally formed of prisoners taken from English ships by the French. Evidently, a group of these prisoner-sailors conspired to capture the ship, and Jones ordered their court-martial to take place on June 15 on board the Bonhomme Richard. The manuscript text, signed by Jones in his own hand at the end, reads: "By the Honble. John P. Jones Captain in the American Navy and Commander in Chief of the American Squadron now in Europe. Sir you are hereby required and directed to attend at a Court Martial to be held on board the Bon homme [sic] Richard tomorrow for the Trial of James Enion, John Atwood, John Lomney, John Balch, John Layton, Andrew Thompson, George Johnston, William Carmichael, Alexander Cooper, William Hanover, Thomas Cole and Nathaniel Bonner - all of whom have been put under confinement by Lieutenant John Brown for mutinous behaviour and for refusing to do their duty on board the American ship of war the Bon homme Richard. You are also to try any other person or persons belonging to the American service who may in the course of the evidence appear to have been principally concerned in that mutiny - for which this shall be your order. Given on board the Bon homme Richard at L'Orient the 14th day of June 1779." Along with the letter, laid into a compartment in the box, is a commemorative medal, 2 1/4 x 3 1/4 inches, with a portrait on the recto of Jones after the bust by Houdon, and an allegorical scene on the verso entitled "America claims her illustrious dead - Paris Annapolis 1905." The medal was issued to commemorate the exhumation and re-burial of Jones' body from beneath the streets of Paris to its final resting place in Annapolis, Maryland in 1905. Any substantive, Revolutionary-era John Paul Jones letters or manuscripts are extremely rare in the market. This is an especially interesting and displayable artifact of Jones' tenure as commander of the Bonhomme Richard, with several references to the ship, where he earned his greatest fame during the Revolution.
Bookseller: William Reese Company - Americana
- Bookseller Inventory #: WRCAM 44597
- Title: [MANUSCRIPT LETTER, SIGNED BY JOHN PAUL JONES, ORDERING A MEMBER OF THE MARINES TO ATTEND A COURT-MARTIAL ON BOARD HIS SHIP, THE BONHOMME RICHARD]
- Author: Jones, John Paul:
- Book condition:
- Binding: Hardcover
- Publisher: On Board the Bonhomme Richard at L'Orient, France. June 14, 1779.
New Haven, Connecticut
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