Page:Dramatic Moments in American Diplomacy (1918).djvu/50

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30
DRAMATIC MOMENTS

and men; of Secretary of the Navy in fitting out and manning and commissioning privateers; and of Supreme Admiralty Judge in determining prize questions and adjusting the almost innumerable controversies in which those concerned with these privateers were engaged.

It was he who engaged the services of the immortal Lafayette, whose spirit leads the American host to-day, and equipped that daring and enterprising seaman, John Paul Jones, with the guns of the Bonhomme Richard.

And then things began to happen. Rumour, always by mysterious process faster than mortal means of travel, reported that a special messenger from the United States had eluded the English frigates and was tearing toward Paris with all signs of some portentous news. The old American Nestor gathered his council about him in his retreat at Passy, and waited with great impatience. There were Arthur Lee and Silas Deane and the doubtful Bancroft—William Lee, of Virginia, and