Overseas in the Ranger
The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew, The furrow followed free; We were the first that ever burst Into that silent sea.
EARLY in May, 1777, the Marine Committee thought of a new way to use the harassing Captain Jones. They sent him to New Hampshire to take command of the French ship Amphitrite, which had arrived there with a cargo from Beaumarchais, who when not making watches and writing operas, was sending supplies to America under the guise of Roderigo Hortalez & Co., for which he was seldom paid. Jones was to sail direct to France and report to Commissioners Silas Deane, Benjamin Franklin, and Arthur Lee, who would purchase a fine frigate for him and give him orders. This frigate was then being built in Holland. Her name was the Indien, later the South Carolina, aboard which a rare comedy was to be later played.
This was very fine -- "generous indeed," as the happy Jones wrote to Hewes. But the Marine Committee neglected one small but important ceremony: they failed to notify the French commander of the Amphitrite that he was expected to step down and make room for John Paul Jones. Consequently they inflicted upon the latter the humiliation of being informed by the surprised and indignant French captain that he was willing to take him as a passenger but not as the commander. Jones saw the justice of that, and had no choice but to return to Boston to await a new suggestion as to what he should do.