28 FEBRUARY 1914, Page 17


[To vs. EMT. or ras .6rsorarol."] SIR,—The Americans make a great ado over the capture of the ' Seraphs' by Paul Jones (referred to by Carlyle as a fight in a cock-pit). But the fact remains that the fight is one of the most gallant episodes in English naval annals The facts are these. In 1779 Paul Jones (who was Com- modore) sailed from L'Orient in the 'Bon Homme Richard'. of forty guns, with two frigates of thirty-six and thirty- two guns each, with a brig of twelve guns, and a cutter,. with the intention of intercepting the Baltic, merchant fleet under convoy of the • Serapis,' forty-four guns, Captain Pierson, and the Countess of Scarborough,' twenty guns, Captain Percy. The enemy was sighted off Scarborough by Captain Pierson, September 23rd. The action began at nightfall, the ' Serapis ' engaging the ' Bon Homme Richard' and one of the frigates at close range. Paul Jones endeavoured to hoard the ' Serapis; but in this attempt be failed, The Serapie,' having fought till midnight against two of the largest ships of the enemy, struck her colours, shot to- pieces. The ' Bon Homme Richard' sank two days aftet•- wards. The loss of the enemy was heavier than that of the English. The object of Pierson's heroic resistance was the safety of the convoy which was under his conduct. Why England did not make more use of her eea-power in the American War of Independence seems to us inexplicable, but- we must remember that the value of sea-power was not demonstrated at that remote time as it is now.—I am, Sir, &c.,