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John Paul Jones on Bridge of Bonhomme Richard - Framed Print - 12"H x 16"W


John Paul Jones on Bridge of Bonhomme Richard - Framed Print - 12"H x 16"W

John Paul Jones was a Scottish-born American sailor cum Pirate and the United States' first well-known naval fighter in the American Revolutionary War. He made many friends and enemies among America's political elites, and his actions in British waters during the Revolution earned him an international reputation which persists to this day. As such, he is sometimes referred to as the "Father of the American Navy," (an epithet that he shares with John Barry). He later served in the Imperial Russian Navy, subsequently obtaining the rank of rear admiral.

Jones was born John Paul (he added "Jones" in later life to hide from the law) on the estate of Arbigland in the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright. John Paul started his maritime career aged 13, sailing out of Whitehaven as apprentice aboard Friendship under Captain Benson. Paul's older brother William Paul had married and settled in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

John Paul's career was quickly and unexpectedly advanced during his next voyage aboard the brig John, when both the captain and a ranking mate suddenly died of yellow fever. John managed to 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.

During his second voyage in 1770, John Paul viciously flogged one of his sailors, a carpenter, leading to accusations that his discipline was "unnecessarily cruel." These claims initially were dismissed, but his favorable reputation was destroyed when the sailor died a few weeks later. John Paul was arrested for his involvement in the man's death, and imprisoned in Kirkcudbright Tolbooth but later released on bail. The negative effect of this episode on his reputation is indisputable as the man was not a usual sailor but an adventurer from a very influential Scottish family.

Leaving Scotland, John Paul engaged in commercial speculation in Tobago. This came to an end, however, when John killed a mutineer crewmember named Blackton with a sword in a dispute over wages. He claimed that it was in self-defense years later in a letter to Benjamin Franklin describing this incident, but he was not willing to be tried in an Admiral's Court, where the family of his first victim had been influential. He felt compelled to flee to Fredericksburg, leaving his fortune behind.

From that period, America became "the country of his fond election,". It was not long afterward that John Paul "Jones" joined the American navy to fight against Britainm, as they had kept trying to arrest him for his crimes

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