John Paul Jones: Sailor, Hero, Father of the American Navy by Evan ThomasThe New York Times bestseller from master biographer Evan Thomas brings to life the tumultuous story of the father of the American Navy.
John Paul Jones, at sea and in the heat of the battle, was the great American hero of the Age of Sail. He was to history what Patrick O’Brian’s Jack Aubrey and C.S. Forester’s Horatio Hornblower are to fiction. Ruthless, indomitable, clever; he vowed to sail, as he put it, “in harm’s way.” Evan Thomas’s minute-by-minute re-creation of the bloodbath between Jones’s Bonhomme Richard and the British man-of-war Serapis off the coast of England on an autumn night in 1779 is as gripping a sea battle as can be found in any novel.
Drawing on Jones’s correspondence with some of the most significant figures of the American Revolution—John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson—Thomas’s biography teaches us that it took fighters as well as thinkers, men driven by dreams of personal glory as well as high-minded principle, to break free of the past and start a new world. Jones’s spirit was classically American.
Apprenticed at age 12 to John Younger, a Scottish merchant shipper, John Paul sailed as a cabin boy on a ship to Virginia, where he visited his older brother William at Fredericksburg. After two years he quit the slave trade and shipped passage for Scotland. When both master and chief mate died of fever en route, he brought the ship safely home and was appointed a master. In he purchased a vessel in the West Indies but the following year, after killing the ringleader of a mutinous crew, he fled the islands to escape trial and changed his name to John Paul Jones. Two years later he returned to Fredericksburg and when the Revolution broke out, he went to Philadelphia and was commissioned a senior lieutenant in the new Continental Navy. Assigned to the Alfred , flagship of the little fleet commanded by Commodore Esek Hopkins , Jones distinguished himself in action in the Bahamas and against the British ship Glasgow on the return trip. In he was in command of the Providence , and between August and October he ranged over the Atlantic from Bermuda to Nova Scotia , twice outwitting British frigates, manning and sending in eight prizes, and sinking and burning eight more.
John Paul Jones was a Revolutionary War hero known as the father of National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of.
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John Paul Jones
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John Paul Jones lived from 6 July to 18 July Later in his career he briefly became an Admiral in the Imperial Russian Navy, before ending his life in France. The wider picture in Scotland at the time is set out in our Historical Timeline. John Paul, as he was known at birth, was the son of a gardener on the Solway coast south of Dumfries at Arbigland, near Kirkbean. The cottage in which he was born is now the John Paul Jones Museum.
From a Scottish port to colonial Fredericksburg to the royal courts of France and Russia, the little man who famously refused to give up the fight was perfectly at home in both cottages and elegant salons, but he was always eager to set sail for adventure and glory. He was a Scot by a whisker, born at an estate named Arbigland at Kirkbean, Kirkcudbright, on the southern coast of Scotland on July 6, His father was no nobleman. John Paul had the usual course of study at a village school in Kirkbean and by the time he was 13 he was ready to go to sea. This was not an unusual choice for teenage boys growing up on the Scottish coast, and his parents gave their blessing.
At the age of 12 he entered the British merchant marine and went to sea for the first time as a cabin boy. He became first mate on a slaver brigantine in , but soon left that trade in disgust. He was appointed master in In , he killed the leader of his mutinous crew in self-defense at Tobago, in the West Indies. To avoid trial, he fled to Virginia and was considered a fugitive by the British.