View Full Version : John Paul

Syd MacDonald
12-28-2001, 11:12 PM
Jones. Who was he?

Art Read
12-29-2001, 12:41 AM
Scottsman... Sailor. "Adopted" the name Jones from a benifactor I believe. Eventually, he found himself in the American colonies. Depends on whose side you were on, but later on, during the American War of Independence, he became either a patriot and the "Father of his nation's navy", or just "another damned traitor". Pestered the hell out of the British in their own "backyard" of the English Channel with a privateer and later earned a lasting place in US naval lore by losing his ship while capturing a British frigate. I gather he held some coastal communities hostage for "ransom" and was mostly regarded as little more than a pirate by the Crown, but managed to endear himself to some of his "victims" by occasional acts of gallantry and generousity.
"Strike sir? I have not yet begun to fight!"

Don Z.
12-29-2001, 08:30 AM
He was not, nor ever was a privateer. He held no Letter of Marque. He held a commission in the Continental Navy, commanded Providence, Ranger, Bon Homme Richard, Serapis, and Alliance.

He was considered a Pirate by the British, who never gave sailors the same rights as prisoners of war that they gave the Continental Army.

After the war, was commissioned in the Imperial Russian Navy as a Vice Admiral.

He died an unknown in Paris. His body was discovered buried in Paris early in the last century, and was moved, with all ceremony, to the United States. He is currently buried, in the crypt beneath the chapel at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

Of all the biographies, Buell is probably the worst, Samuel Elliot Morrison is probably the best. It is available from the United States Naval Institute. It's a good read.

12-31-2001, 11:23 AM
I haven't read the JPJ biography yet, but Samuel Eliot Morrison is definitely a great writer, read some of his other work.

Ian McColgin
12-31-2001, 11:47 AM
I remember a lovely cartoon of a couple of Marines in a fighting top looking down on JPJ's fameous call, "I've not yet begun to fight."

The marine's remark, "Just like the friggen navey to get the word last."

Frank Hagan
01-01-2002, 02:10 AM
There's an interesting bit in the new biography of John Adams that's out now ... seems Abigail Adams was very excited to be meeting JPJ, and then disappointed when she did. He wasn't the large, strapping presence she had expected, but a rather smallish man that did not impress her too much.

Alan D. Hyde
01-02-2002, 01:04 PM
Captain Jones did spend quite a bit of time with Dorthea Dandridge, a noted belle of her day, who later married Patrick Henry.

I am right now on the Fourth Volume of Samuel Eliot Morison's fifteen-volume "History of U.S. Naval Operations in World War II." It is well-written.

His biography of John Paul Jones, and indeed anything Morison wrote, is well worth reading. He sailed a cruising boat harbored on the coast of Maine for many years, and did much offshore sailing as well, often in conjunction with his books, so he has a sailor's point of view.

His biography of Christopher Columbus is excellent, as are "Builders of the Bay Colony" (1930), "A Maritime History of Massachusetts," and his edition of "Of Plymouth Plantation," by William Bradford.

He wrote many other good books, and there is a small Morison anthology, introduced by his daughter Emily, which was published after his death. Morison was, among many things, the Harmsworth Professor of History at Oxford, a Professor of History at Harvard, and a Rear Admiral in the U.S. Naval Reserve.


Frank Hagan
01-03-2002, 02:13 AM
Alan, thanks for the tip on Morrison. My history reading is currently on the American colonial and revolutionary period, and I've just about satisfied my curiousity on the main question I had when I began reading. So I've just started to branch out into other general works (the Adams book, Ben Franklin's autobiography, and sections of Jeffersons "Notes" have been my most recent reads.) Franklin's notes on sail performance were interesting, so I would probably enjoy some maritime history of the period.