JOHN PAUL JONES TO BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
Correspondence of Benjamin Franklin, Philadelphia Philosophical Society. Vol. 13. Letter 176
L'ORIENT--March 6th, 1779.
HONORED AND DEAR SIR,
The mystery which you so delicately mention in your much esteemed favor of the 24th. Ult.--it has been my intention for more than Twelve Months past to communicate to you; which however I have put off from time to time on reflecting that the account must give you more pain than pleasure:--yet had I not, on my sudden departure from hence for Paris, inadvertently neglected to take with me the Original Paper wherof the inclosed is a Copy, I cercainly should then have put it into your hands. --The subject at the beginning of the War was communicated to Sundry members of Congress among whom I may mention Mr. Hewes of No. Carolina and Mr. Morris of Philadelphia; and to various other persons in America before and since.--It was the advice of my friends, Govr. Young among many others, when that great Misfortune of my Life happened, that I should retire Incog to the continent of America, and remain there until an Admiralty Commission should arrive in the Island, and then return.--I had waited that event Eighteen Months before Swords were drawn and the Ports of the Continent were Shut. It had been my intention from the time of my misfortune to quit the Sea Service altogether, and, after Standing Trial, as I had the means, to purchase some small tracts of Land on the Continent, which had been my favorite Country from the age of thirteen, when I first saw it.--I had settled my future plan of retirement in "calm contemplation and Poetic ease."--But the revolution in America deranged every thing --and the person with whom I had in Trust left a considerable part of my Effects in the West Indies, had, while the ports were open shewn very little inclination to make me proper Remittances.--Many of my friends had expressed their fears