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Whitehaven Record Office has some old photographs of a handwritten transcript of Whitehaven-related material from John Paul Jones's report of his Irish Sea exploits aboard Ranger in April 1778. Here is a transcript of that transcript, with some blanks filled in from another source:

"Extract to the Amn. Plenipotentiaries at the Court of Versailles
May 27 '78"

On the 17th April towards evening I stood over from the Isle of Man with an intention to make a descent at Whitehaven. At 10 bells I was off the harbour with a party of volunteers and had everything in readiness to land; but before 11, the wind greatly encreased & shifted and blowed directly upon the shore & the sea encreased of course, and it became impossible to effect a landing. This obliged me to carry all possible sail, so as to clear the land and to wait a more favorable opportunity-

[omission in transcript; material here from "Memoirs of Rear-Admiral Paul Jones" (Oliver & Boyd, Edinburgh, 1830), v1 pp69-]
On the 18th, in Glentinebay [presumably a mistranscription of "Glenlucebay"], on the south coast of Scotland, I met with a revenue wherry; it being the common practice of these vessels to board merchant ships, the Ranger then having no external appearance of war, it was expected that this rover would have come alongside; I was, however, mistaken, for though the men were at their quarters, yet this vessel out-sailed the Ranger, and got clear in spite of a severe cannonade.
[end of omission in handwritten transcript]

The morning, of the 19th, off the Mull of Galloway, I found myself so near a Scotch coasting Schooner, laden with Barley, that I could not avoid sinking her. Understanding that there were ten or twelve sail of merchant ships besides a tender Brigantine with a number of impressed men on board at anchor in Loughryan in Scotland, I thought this an enterprize worth my attention; but the wind (which at first would have served equally well to sail in or out of the Lough) shifted in a hard squall so as to blow almost directly in, with an appearance of bad weather, I was therefore obliged to abandon my project-"

[omission in transcript; material here from "Memoirs of Rear-Admiral Paul Jones" (Oliver & Boyd, Edinburgh, 1830), v1 pp69-]
"Seeing a cutter off the lee-bow steering for the Clyde, I gave chase, in hopes of cutting her off; but finding my endeavours ineffectual, I pursued no farther than the Rock of Ailsa. In the evening I fell in with a sloop from Dublin, which I sunk, to prevent intelligence.
The next day, the 21st, being near Carrickfergus, a fishing-boat came off, which I detained. I saw a ship at anchor in the road, which I was informed by the fishermen was the British ship-of-war Drake, of twenty guns. I determined to attack her in the night; my plan was to overlay her cable, and to fall upon her bow, so as to have all her decks open and exposed to our musquetry, &c; at the same time, it was my intention to have secured the enemy by grapplings, so that, had they cut their cables, they would not thereby have attained an advantage. The wind was high, and unfortunately the anchor was not let go so soon as the order was given, so that the Ranger was brought to upon the enemy's quarter at the distance of half a cable's length. We had made no warlike appearance, of course had given no alarm; this determined me to cut immediately, which might appear as if the cable had parted, and at the same time enable me, after making a tack out of the Loch, to return with the same prospect of advantage which I had at the first. I was, however, prevented from returning, as I with difficulty weathered the light-house on the lee-side of the Loch, and as the gale increased. The weather now became so very stormy and severe, and the sea ran so high, that I was obliged to take shelter under the south shore of Scotland." [end of omission in handwritten transcript]

"The 22d introduced fair weather tho' the three kingdoms as far as the eye could reach were covered with snow. I now resolved once more to attempt Whitehaven but the wind became so light that the ship could not in proper time approach so near as I had intended: at midnight I left the ship with two boats and thirty one volunteers. When we reached the outer pier the day began to dawn. I would not however abandon my enterprize but dispatched one boat under Mr Hall & Lt. Wallingford with the necessary combustibles to set fire to the shipping on the north side of the harbour while I went with the other party to attempt the south side.- I was successful in scaling the walls and spiking up all the cannon on the first fort finding that the centinels were shut up in the guard house we secured them without their being hurt: having placed centinels I took with me one man only (Mr Green) and spiked all the cannon in the southern fort distant from the other a quarter of a mile.
On my return from this business I naturally expected to see the fire of the ships on the north side as well as to find my own party with everything in readiness to set fire to the shipping in the south, instead of this I found the boat under Mr. Hill & Mr. Wallingford returned and the party in some confusion their light having burnt out at the instant it became necessary.- On the strangest fatality my own party were in the same situation, the candles being all burnt out:- The day too came on apace, yet I would by no means retreat while any hopes of success remained. Having again placed centinels a light was obtained from an house at a distance from the town and fire was kindled in the steerage of a large ship which was surrounded by at least an hundred & fifty others chiefly from two to four hundred tons burthen and laying side by side aground unsurrounded by the water. There was besides from seventy to an hundred large ships in the north arm of the harbour aground clear of the water and divided from the rest only by a stone pier of a ship's height. I should have kindled fires in other places if the time had permitted as it did not our care was to prevent the one kindled from being easily extinguished:- after some search a barrel of Tar was found and pour'd into the flames which now ascended from all the hatchways. The inhabitants began to appear in thousands and individuals ran hastily towards us. I stood between them and the ship on fire with a pistol in my hand and ordered them to retire which they did with precipitation. The flames had already caught the rigging and began to ascend the main-mast- the sun was a full hour above the horizon and as sleep no longer ruled the world it was time to retire- we re-embarked without opposition, having released a number of prisoners as our boats could not carry them- after all my people had embarked I stood upon the pier for a considerable time yet no one advanced- I saw all the eminences around the town covered with amazed inhabitants.
When we had rowed a considerable distance from the shore the English began to run in vast numbers to their forts; their disappointment may easily be imagined when they found at least thirty cannon (the instruments of their vengeance) rendered useless; at length however they began to fire, having as I apprehend either brought down ships guns or used one or [?=of] cannon which lay on beach at the foot of the wall dismounted and which had not been spiked; they fired with no direction and the shot falling short of the boats instead of doing us any damage afforded some diversion, which my people could not help shewing by discharging their pistols &c in return of the salute. Had it been possible to have landed a few hours sooner my success would have been complete; not a single ship of more than two hundred could have escaped and the whole world would not have been able to save the town. What was done however is sufficient to shew that not all their boasted navy can protect their own coasts, and that the scenes of distress which they have occasioned in America may soon be brought home to their own doors. One of my people was missing and must I fear have fallen into the hands of the enemy after our departure. I was pleased that in this business we neither killed nor wounded- I brought off three prisoners as a sample. We then stood over for the Scotch shore and I landed at noon on St. Mary's Isle with one boat and a very small party, the motives which induced me to land there are explained in the within copy of a letter which I have written to the Countess of Selkirk.
On the morning of the 24th I was again off Carrickfergus..."

For much more on the cruise of the Ranger, see my book "Captain Jones's Irish Sea Cruize". I've also put online the Court Martial of HMS Drake's crew.