John was born in Scotland to gardener father. His prospects as a son of a commoner were limited. Without money or an education there was little more to which he could aspire. [Thomas] At the age of 13 in 1760 he went to sea, hoping to advance in life. Jones in 1774 fled to America facing legal problems after hanging a mutionous sailor. The Continental Congress in 1775 the Continental Congress desperately needing naval officers commissined Jones. He became the leading American naval officer of the Revolutionary War--bedelving the Royal Navy throughout the War. He was not rewarded with the rank of admiral and never received the public acclaim of other important Revolutionary War leaders. He died in Paris largely forgotten by the American public.
John was born in Scotland to a gardener father.
His prospects as a son of a commoner were limited. Without money or an education there was little more to which he could aspire. [Thomas]
Jones at the age of 13 went to sea, hoping to advance in life (1760). He fled to America facing legal problems after hanging a mutionous sailor (1774).
The Continental Congress desperately needing naval officers commissined Jones (1775). He became the leading American naval officer of the Revolutionary War--bedeviling the Royal Navy throughout the War. The Continental Congress did not have the money to fund a navy. The hard-pressed Colonists could not afford to properly equip the Continental Army, let alone a navy. So the only possibility was a navy on the cheap--priveteering. This was a natural progression from the pervasive smuggling that developed in the Colonies to avoid British trade restrictions, especially the Navigation Acts. The privateers authorized by Congress could keep half of the proceeds that they took. And there were plenty of targets. About half of the British merchant fleet at the time of the Revolution was involved in the Atlantic trade between Britain and the Colonies. [Patton] Jones at first was involved in esort duty and seeking out British cruisers. He lobbied Congress to increase the prize share from one-half to two-thirds. [Patton] Then in 1778 he actually staged an attack on an English village--Whitehave. It was the first such attck in more than a century. The raid caused little real damage, but shocked the British public which had assumedthat the Royal Navy would have no trouble shielding the country. This was followed by the most famous naval engamenent of the War. Jones in the Bonhomme Richard, a vessel obtained in France with the help of Benjamin Franklin, engaged the Serapis a new 50 gun copper bottom frigate conoying merchantmen. It was the blodiest naval engagement of the War. Half of Jones' crew was killed or wounded, but it was Serapis that struck its colors. The engagement took place in the Channel off Flamborough Head and was a second shock to the British public.
Jones, despite his exploits, was not rewarded with the rank of admiral. Having never lived in America, he had no family ties or patrons to promote his cause. Nor was his personality one to engage the support of others. [Thomas] Nor was he especially committed to independence and republicanism. In fact after the War he was quite willing to serve European monarchs. Jones never received the public acclaim of other important Revolutionary War leaders. He died in Paris largely forgotten by the American public. It was not until Theodore Roosevelt decided that america needed a naval hero that Jones' naval exploits became widely known.
Morrison, Samuel Elliot.
Patton, Robert H. Patriot Pirates.
Thomas, Evan. John Paul Jones: Sailor, Hero, Father of the American Navy (Simon & Schuster, 2003), 383p.
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