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John Paul Jones and the American Navy

When someone mentions “naval hero” only one name should come to mind, John Paul Jones. Jones was born in Kirkcudbright, Scotland, on July 6, 1747(Abbazia). He became a merchant at the age of 12-13, and went out to sea, to learn the art of seamanship. He sailed among merchantmen and slavers without any worry in the world.

In 1769 he received his first in command. After several years as a merchant skipper in the West Indies, John Paul immigrated to North America and added “Jone” to his name. This name change was probably because when the commander of a merchant’s vessel killed a mutinous crewman. John Paul thought Jones would conceal his identity enough for him to live a meaningful life.

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At the outbreak of the war with Britain in 1775, John Paul Jones went to Philadelphia, obtaining a lieutenant’s commission in the Continental Navy (Morison). The following year he became a captain of the sloop Providence. In his first couple of adventures, he was very prosperous. He destroyed British fisheries and captured 16 British Ships.

Then in 1777, he took command of the sloop Ranger. ?During the spring he terrorized the coastal population of Scotland and England by making daring raids ashore and destroying many British Vessels (John Paul Jones).? His reputation greatly enhanced, receiving from the French government, a converted French merchantman. The Duras, which he renamed Bonhomme (Good Man Richard) in honour of Benjamin Franklin (250th Anniversary of the Birth of John Paul Jones).

Jones was then promoted to commodore and placed in command of a mixed fleet of American and French Ships. Setting sail as the head of this small squadron on Aug. 14, 1779. He captured 17 merchantmen off the British coast and, on September 23, fell in with a convoy of British merchants (Morison). “With the muzzles of their guns touching, the two warships fired into each other’s insides (Morison).” Although his smaller vessel was on fire and sinking, Jones rejected the British demands for surrender. There he said

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these famous seven words? I have not yet begun to fight.? More than three hours later they surrendered and Jones took command of their ship.

Although hailed as a hero in both Paris and Philadelphia, Jones encountered such stiff political rivalry at home that he never again held a major American command at sea (250th Anniversary of the Birth Of John Paul Jones). In 1788, Russian Empress Catherine II appointed him rear admiral in the Russian navy (Abbazia).

He took a leading part in the Black Sea campaign against the Ottoman Turks. Jealousy and political intrigue among the Russian rivals prevented him from receiving proper credit for his successes, which resulted in his discharge (Morison). In 1790 he retired and went to live in Paris.

Jones died at the age of 45 on 18 July 1792. He was buried in St. Louis Cemetery, which belonged to the French royal family. In 1845 Col. John H. Sherburne began a campaign to return Jones? remains to the United States (John Paul Jones). American Ambassador Horace Porter began a search for it in 1899.

On 26 January 1913 remains of John Paul Jones were laid to rest in the crypt of the U.S Naval Academy Chapel in Annapolis, Md (John Paul Jones). Public visiting for this heroic figure can be seen from 9 a.m to 4p.m, Monday through Saturdays (John Paul Jones).

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