John Paul Jones: Man of Action

By Phillips Russell | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXIV
Further Intrigues

The very deep did rot; O Christ!
That ever this should be!
Yea, slimy things did crawl with legs
Upon a slimy sea.


I

WHILE the air about his powdered head was thus scented with amour, a heavier undercurrent of intrigue was playing about Jones's legs in a new endeavor to trip him.

Soon after his return to port, he tried to induce Franklin to find the money to repair the Alliance and to buy the Serapis. The harassed doctor replied, in what was for him an unusually testy letter, that the French government would be unlikely to consent to either proposal:

"The whole expense would therefore fall on me and I am ill provided to bear it, having so many unexpected calls for me from all quarters. I, therefore, beg you would have mercy upon me, put me to as little charge as possible, and take nothing which you can do without. . . . I have no money if I had authority and no authority if I had money. The purchase of the Serapis is in the same predicament. For God's sake, be sparing! unless you mean to make me a bankrupt, or have your drafts disregarded for want of money in my hands to pay them."

Jones replied with a gesture of filial obedience: "As I have not hitherto been among the most extravagant servants of

-184-

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