Paul Jones's Funeral


IT is just a hundred years since Paul Jones entered on the fifth act, a mute and inglorious one, of his life drama. He arrived in Paris in the winter of 1789-90. In the previous year he had gone to St. Petersburg. There he was introduced by Ségur, the French ambassador, a fellow-member of the order of Cincinnatus, to the Empress Catherine, and was appointed rear-admiral in the Russian navy, much to the annoyance of the English officers, who were with difficulty deterred from resigning. He was sent out of their way to the Black Sea, where he helped to defeat the Turkish squadron. On his return to St. Petersburg, Russian jealousy led to a girl being suborned to accuse him of immorality ; he was forbidden the court, and was boycotted by fashionable society. The truth soon came to light, and Jones received full reparation ; but he had had enough of a country where a man’s reputation could be thus blasted, and, receiving ostensible leave of absence, together with a pension, he went in the autumn of 1789 to Vienna. There, however, he found no opening, for Austria had no navy to speak of, and he went on to Paris. But he had no sympathy with the Revolution, nor the Revolution with him, and in lieu of the ovation which greeted him in 1780 he found himself ignored. He died July 18, 1792. Gouverneur Morris describes his illness and death, but neither Morris nor any biographer gives the funeral register. The original document was destroyed in 1871, when the Commune set fire to the Hôtel de Ville, with all its records of Parisian interments ; but, fortunately, a copy of it had been taken by Mr. Charles Read, a French antiquary of Scotch extraction, and published by him in the Correspondance Littéraire of 1859. It reads as follows : —

“ This day, 20th July, year 4 of liberty, at 8 o’clock in tlie evening, conformably to the decree of the National Assembly of yesterday, in presence of a deputation from the said Assembly, consisting of MM. Brun, president of the deputation, Bravet, Cambon, Rouyer, Brival, Deydier, Gay-Vernon, episcopal vicar of the department of Loir et Cher, Caulier, Petit, Le Josne, Robeaume, and another deputation from the consistory of the Protestants of Paris, consisting of MM. Marron, pasteur, Perreaux, Binard, Monquin, and Empaytaz, elders, was buried in the cemetery of foreign Protestants John Paul Jones, native of England and citizen of the United States of America, commodore in the service of the said States, aged 45 years, deceased the 18th of this month, at his house situate Rue de Tournon No. 42. in consequence of dropsy in the chest, in the sentiments of the Protestant religion. The said interment was made also in the presence of us, Francois Pierre Simonneau, king’s commissary in that behalf, and commissary of police of the section Ponceau, MM, Samuel Blackden, colonel of dragoons in tlie service of the United States of America, S. James Col. Mountflorence [sic], ex-major in the service of the State of North Carolina and citizen of the United States of America, Marie Jean Baptiste Benoist Beaupoil, exFrench officer living at Paris, Passage des Petits Pères No. 7, and Louis Nicolas Villeminot, officer commanding the detachment of gendarmerie grenadiers which escorted the deputation from the Assembly, and of other witnesses who have signed with us.”