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American Revolutionary War figures, John Paul Jones

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John Paul Jones

(July 6, 1747(1747-07-06) – July 18, 1792(1792-07-18)) was a Scottish sailor and the United States' first well-known naval fighter in the American Revolutionary War. Although he made enemies among America's political elites, his actions in British waters during the Revolution earned him an international reputation which persists to this day.During his engagement with HMS Serapis, Jones uttered, according to the later recollection of his first lieutenant, the legendary reply to a taunt about surrender from the British captain:

"I have not yet begun to fight!"John Paul (he added "Jones" later) was born on the estate of Arbigland near Kirkbean in the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright on the southwest coast of Scotland. His father, John Paul (Sr.), was a gardener at Arbigland, and his mother was named Jean Duff. His parents married on November 29, 1733 in New Abbey, Kirkcudbright. John Paul started his maritime career at the age of 13, sailing out of Whitehaven in the northern English county of Cumberland, as apprentice aboard the Friendship under Captain Benson. Paul's older brother William Paul had married and settled in Fredericksburg, Virginia, the destination of many of the youngster's early voyages.

For several years John sailed aboard a number of different British merchant and slaver ships, including the King George in 1764 as third mate, and the Two Friends as first mate in 1766. After a short time in this business, he became disgusted with the cruelty in the slave trade, and in 1768 he abandoned his prestigious position on the profitable Two Friends while docked in Jamaica. He found his own passage back to Scotland, and eventually obtained another position.

During his next voyage aboard the brig John, which sailed from port in 1768, young John Paul's career was quickly and unexpectedly advanced when both the captain and a ranking mate suddenly died of yellow fever. John managed to successfully navigate the ship back to a safe port and in reward for this impressive feat, the vessel's grateful Scottish owners made him master of the ship and its crew, giving him 10 percent of the cargo.[1] He then led two voyages to the West Indies before running into difficulty. During his second voyage in 1770, John Paul viciously flogged one of his sailors, leading to accusations that his discipline was "unnecessarily cruel." While these claims were initially dismissed, his favorable reputation was destroyed when the disciplined sailor died a few weeks later. Sources disagree on whether he was arrested for his involvement in the man's death, but the negative effect on his reputation is indisputable.[1]

Leaving Scotland, John Paul commanded a London-registered vessel, the Betsy, for about 18 months, engaging in commercial speculation in Tobago. This came to an end, however, when John killed a member of his crew, a mutineer, Blackton, with a sword in a dispute over wages.[2] Years later, in a letter to Benjamin Franklin describing this incident, he claimed it was in self-defense, but because he would not be trialed in an Admiral's Court, he felt compelled to flee to Fredericksburg, Province of Virginia, leaving his fortune behind.

He went to Fredericksburg to arrange the affairs of his brother, who had died there without leaving any other family; and about this time, in addition to his original surname, he assumed the surname of Jones. There is a long tradition held in the state of North Carolina that John Paul adopted the name "Jones" in honor of Willie Jones of Halifax, North Carolina.[3][4]

His prepossessions became even more in favor of America and were confirmed. From that period, as he afterwards expressed himself to Baron Joan van der Capellen tot den Pol, that became "the country of his fond election." It wasn't long afterwards that John Paul "Jones" joined the American navy to fight against Britain.

Jones sailed from the Delaware River in February 1776 aboard Alfred on the Continental Navy's maiden cruise. It was aboard this vessel that Jones took the honor of hoisting the first U.S. ensign over a naval vessel. Jones actually raised the Grand Union Flag, not the later and more familiar Flag of the United States. The fleet, which had been expected to cruise along the coast, was ordered instead by Commodore Esek Hopkins to sail for The Bahamas, where Nassau was raided for its military supplies. On the fleet's return voyage it had an unsuccessful encounter with a British packet ship. Jones was then assigned command of the sloop Providence. Congress had recently ordered the construction of thirteen frigates for the American Navy, one of which was to be commanded by Jones. In exchange for this prestigious command, Jones accepted his commission aboard the smaller Providence. During this six week voyage, Jones captured sixteen prizes and inflicted significant damage along the coast of Nova Scotia. Jones's next command came as a result of Commodore Hopkins's orders to liberate hundreds of American prisoners forced to labor in coal mines in Nova Scotia and also to raid British shipping. On November 1, 1776, Jones set sail in command of Alfred to carry out this mission. Although winter conditions prevented the freeing of the prisoners, the mission did result in the capture of the Mellish, a vessel carrying a vital supply of winter clothing intended for John Burgoyne's troops in Canada.

After making the necessary preparations, Jones sailed for France on November 1, 1777 with orders to assist the American cause however possible. The American commissioners in France, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and Arthur Lee, listened to Jones's strategic recommendations. They assured him the command of L'Indien, a new vessel being constructed for America in Amsterdam. Britain, however, was able to divert L'Indien away from American hands by exerting pressure to ensure its sale to France instead (who had not yet allied with America). Jones was again left without a command, an unpleasant reminder of his stagnation in Boston from late 1776 until early 1777. It is thought that it was during this time Jones developed his close friendship with Benjamin Franklin, whom he greatly admired. In 1778, he was accepted, together with Benjamin Franklin, into the Masonic Lodge "Les Neuf Sœurs".

became the first American naval vessel to be saluted by the French, with a nine-gun salute fired from Admiral Piquet's flagship. Jones wrote of the event: "I accepted his offer all the more for after all it was a recognition of our independence and in the nation." Finally, on April 10, 1778, Jones set sail from Brest, France for the western coasts of Britain.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Paul_Jones

Last Updated on Wednesday, 28 September 2011 19:49