Jul 18

John Paul Jones Remembered

Wednesday, July 18, 2012 8:15 AM

Portrait of John Paul Jones by Cecilia Beaux in the U. S. Naval Academy Museum

The United State’s first well-known naval fighter died 220 years ago, on July 18, 1792. Originally published in the July 1947 issue of Proceedings to mark the bicentennial of his birth, the following article outlines the life of John Paul Jones and his contributions to the Navy.

THE BICENTENNIAL OF JOHN PAUL JONES

By DR. LINCOLN LORENZ

VIEWED from the bicentennial of his birth, John Paul Jones has even greater eminence now as a leader of the American Navy at its beginning than he won at the time of his incomparable triumph in the battle of the Bonhomme Richard with the Serapis. The climax of his intrepid career on this occasion was in keeping with his life so that he remains today, even following the panorama of heroic exploits of two world wars, an indomitable warrior of unique personality. He became the first American naval officer to set a tradition of victory, to win respect for the flag by other nations, and to have the statesmanship to foresee and urge the paramount importance of the Navy in our future history.

Born on July 6, 1747, and named John Paul, he lived from boyhood to death at a fiery pitch of endeavor. His thoughts lit and his feelings glowed in a limitless quest for honor and fame. Such ambition, pulsing with a love for freedom and action, inevitably met many obstacles, but it was the nature of Jones to win his victories not only by prodigal valor superior to death but also by cultivated professional wisdom stamped with uncanny genius.

All the conditions of his birth, youth, and young manhood contributed to make him a lover and champion of liberty for himself and for his adopted country. He inherited from both his parents the independence of the Scotch Lowlander, and in addition from his mother the fighting instinct of the Highlander. He breathed the salt spray of Atlantic waters almost at his doorstep. He surveyed from nearby Mount Criffel the idyllic, picturesque countryside of Kirkcudbright. His gaze followed the glamorous vessels whose sails gleamed in the sun on the Solway and Nith. His age was only twelve when he sailed as a shipboy in a merchantman to America, following the Rappahannock to Fredericksburg, where his elder brother William was established in business.

America, he was to vow, has been ” my favorite country from the age of thirteen when I first saw it.” Liberty seemed a birthright of the Colonies, while Scotland had to fight for centuries to win it. His native Galloway had successfully resisted the Roman yoke; his country had the patriotic lore of a Wallace and a Bruce. In offense as well as defense, the warlike Scots had tried to seize the throne of England for the Stuarts, and the Jacobites in the bitterness of defeat at Culloden, just one year before his birth, turned the more to America.

With precocious intelligence, energy, and ambition, the advancement of youthful Jones aboard ships was speedy but fateful. From merchant vessels he turned, it seems, to ships of war, presumably to service in the British Navy as an acting midshipman; favoritism, however, appears to have caused him soon to seek new employment. Service in slave ships won him quick promotion, but distaste for slavery caused his resignation­and even a poem in behalf of the freedom of the Negro. Then in an emergency, in practice of his own maxim, “A warrior is always ready,” his resourcefulness and skill gained for him the position as master of a merchantman at the age of twenty-one.

While his resolute nature developed under such favorable circumstances, it became steeled in later adversity, which promoted his deep gratitude to opportune friends in America and to their country chosen as his own. In command of his first merchant vessel at Tobago in the West Indies, he punished with the cat-o’-nine-tails, perhaps through an exaggerated sense of his own importance, a negligent carpenter, Mungo Maxwell, who later died from malaria aboard another ship. By testimony before an admiralty commission in Tobago, by several affidavits, and by readiness to stand trial in Scotland, Jones proved his innocence of the death of Maxwell, but the breath of calumny, especially in the neighborhood of his Scottish home, sorely troubled him.

Two years later, in the same ship and at the same island, when a mutineer held aloft and swung a bludgeon at him, Jones parried the blow and in self-defense killed his assailant. As an admiralty court was not in session at the time in Tobago, and as the feelings of many of the crew ran high against him, he left the island with the intention to return for trial after a suitable period, and with the advice of officials who were his friends to assume temporarily an incognito. Therefore he left Tobago for America approximately at the close of 1773. According to romantic legend based on idle gossip of sailors and on jealousy of enemies, he adopted the role of a pirate, assuming the command of a rakish Black Buccaneer and marauding after the fashion of Captain Kidd and his pieces of eight at the head of “a set of Spanish and Portuguese desperadoes.” While such embellishments are admirable for the interest of fiction, both the facts and the spirit of the life of Jones prove their basic falsity. Indeed the deep instinct of the man to respect his own character on the one hand and to merit the affection of his friends and the love of his country on the other were the springs of his heroic ambition and achievement.

With only fifty pounds which he had taken with him from Tobago, Jones passed twenty months in comparative obscurity in America, chiefly if not wholly in Fredericksburg and elsewhere in Virginia, while agents in Tobago and London withheld funds which were due him. In poverty and with clouded name, he felt new bonds of affection for America because of timely friends. Apropos of his part in the Revolution, he later confided: “The good offices which are rendered to persons in their extreme need ought to make deep impressions on grateful hearts; in my case I feel the truth of that sentiment, and am bound by gratitude as well as honor to follow the fortunes of my late benefactors.” Numbered among such friends and benefactors were Dr. John K. Read of Virginia, the nephew of Franklin’s wife; Robert Smith, the junior partner of the ship merchants Hewes & Smith; Joseph Hewes of Edenton, North Carolina, the senior partner of this firm, signer of the Declaration of Independence, and member of the Continental Congress; and probably Thomas Jefferson.

A web of tradition, which has no rational support, assumes that he changed his name during this period from John Paul to Paul Jones and John Paul Jones in gratitude to the two brothers, Willie and Allen Jones of North Carolina, despite the absence of any authentic record to prove that he ever met either of them or that they served him in any way. It is reasonable to believe, on the other hand, that after the death of the mutineer he chose for his declared incognito the common name Jones, which, like Smith, best served his anonymity, and later determined to retain it. If he had in mind, moreover, the person to whom his obligation was greatest, Jones would have chosen the name of his foremost benefactor, whose influence led to his commission in the Continental Navy and to other notable services-Joseph Hewes, “the angel of my happiness.”

Symbolically and literally, Jones was among the foremost in patriotism and service at the founding of the Continental Navy in the Revolution. As the first lieutenant in the frigate Alfred, the flagship of the squadron, he affirmed: “I hoisted with my own hands the flag of freedom the first time it was displayed on board the Alfred in the Delaware; and I have attended it ever since with veneration on the ocean.” It was he who was initially in charge of fitting out and manning the fleet. It was he who trained the men in using the guns of the Alfred. It was he and Biddle alone who completed the cruise against New Providence and engaged in the battle against the Glasgow with proof of their strategy and daring.

Then as captain of the sloop-of-war Providence and as the commander of both the Alfred and the Providence, he evinced the free exercise of his maturing talents-his circumspection, his courage, his naval acumen. His humanity also appeared in his zeal to capture British prisoners so as to effect an exchange for American sailors whose suffering was notorious, and it was manifest further in his vow to retaliate for the cruelty of the enemy in burning towns like Falmouth and Norfolk. He captured valuable British merchantmen; he escaped by ruse from ships faster and stronger than his own; he destroyed important fisheries and many vessels. His skill in harrying the enemy with ships of little force was so great and stood in such pronounced contrast with the inactivity and incompetence of Commodore Esek Hopkins that the Marine Committee directed its secretary, Robert Morris, to place the Continental fleet in his hands, only to have the jealousy and prevarication of Hopkins thwart such orders. And in step with such flagrant injustice by a naval officer was the parallel political intrigue which caused Jones, who was one of the relatively few volunteers initially commissioned in the Continental Navy, to be superseded by many others who entered later under safer conditions and received commands of newly built frigates without proof of their equal, let alone superior, abilities. Jones found himself, according to a second commission as captain which John Hancock handed him, in naval rank eighteenth, and in effect without the command of any ship at all.

Nevertheless both Hancock as President of Congress and Robert Morris as spokesman of the Marine Committee greatly admired the demonstrated abilities of Jones and sought to give him the untrammeled opportunities which his original talents merited. He received, accordingly, the independent command of the new sloop of war Ranger of 18 six-pounders, in which he sailed to France with the expectancy of having a large frigate, the Indienne, for cruises in European waters. Despite the support of Franklin, who was then one of the American commissioners in Paris, Jones had to reconcile himself for the present to an enterprise in the small Ranger, with mean-spirited sailors and cowardly officers in his crew.

At once he proceeded to justify a later characterization of him by John Adams as the most ambitious, bold, and independent officer in the American Navy, whose eye “has keenness and wildness and softness in it.” He was intrepid enough to sail to the very shores of England and try to burn the shipping at Whitehaven. His partial failure is attributable only to recalcitrant officers and men, including a traitor. Along with the strategy of Jones remains the memorable picture of him on the shores of Whitehaven as dawn came and thousands of residents streamed to the wharves. “I would by no means retreat,” he declared, “while any hopes of success remained.”

At St. Mary’s Isle, his next object was to take the Earl of Selkirk as a hostage for the exchange of prisoners. Quixotic as the undertaking appeared, and unfortunate as it proved by encouragement of fantastic tales in which Jones became a freebooter and even a son of the Earl of Selkirk, the stern instructions of the Captain to his mercenary officers, his ultimate return of the family silver plate despite repeated difficulties, and the exchange of letters between Jones and the Earl of Selkirk reflect a rare chivalry amid the realities of war.

The most important enterprise in this cruise, which came to an issue after Jones’ persistence in a third attempt, was the capture of the Drake-the first victory of a Continental vessel over an English ship of war, even in the home waters of the enemy. Again the attitude of the American officers and men, led by Thomas Simpson, the first lieutenant, became cowardly and mutinous. The battle was fought and won only because the heart and mind of the Captain had been moved to a cumulative fixity of will as set as the coils of a tense spring for the final dramatic moment of action. That power thrilled the sailors to gallant behavior at the crisis as they felt the magnetic personality of Jones.

Upon his return to Brest in the Ranger, accompanied by the Drake with “English colors inverted under the American stars,” Jones was keyed to undertake more ambitious enterprises in ships of greater force. He was to find, however, political and naval toils, both French and American, perhaps even more difficult to master than conquest over the enemy at sea, even though Franklin usually supported him. Of the American Commissioners in France, Arthur Lee consistently and John Adams frequently opposed him; of the French official and semi­official agents, both De Sartine and De Chaumont followed a devious course of flattery and non-fulfillment.

Straightforward and bold, Jones ultimately appealed to the royal Princess of Chartres and to King Louis XVI himself. This forthright action may well have had a greater indirect influence than these statesmen were disposed to permit to become public, for it was only when the petition to the King was about to be delivered that the political artfulness changed to explicit performance. Even then the Duras, renamed the Bonhomme Richard in honor of Franklin, was a ship slow and old, ill suited to fight or escape; the accompanying French vessels of the squadron were privateers in spirit; and the American frigate Alliance was in command of the unpredictable Landais. Finally, the French special agent De Chaumont required Jones to sign just before sailing a concordat which practically gave the separate ships independence and therefore promoted insubordination. “At any other time and in all other circumstances,” Jones vowed, “I should have rejected these conditions with disdain….I took the resolution to expose myself to every peril.”

If the strategy of Jones, implied in his principle, “Who can surprise well must conquer,” was not to prove as successful as his daring, American spies like Edward Bancroft, unscrupulous agents like De Chaumont, and jealous captains like Landais were chiefly at fault. Almost at the outset of the cruise, three of the French ships, governed by greed and rebellion, followed their own courses in pursuit of prizes and abandoned the enterprise. Shortly, the Alliance, too, governed by the whims of Landais, alternately left and rejoined the squadron as its captain’s malicious inclinations dictated. Even the two remaining French vessels, the Pallas and the Vengeance, lacked the aggressiveness to act in harmony with Jones. Therefore such a daring enterprise as the plan of Jones to exact an indemnity of one hundred thousand pounds by a sudden raid on Leith or possibly Edinburgh appears to have failed however frightened were the inhabitants along the coast, only because of fearful vacillation of his officers with the loss of the propitious time at the later onset of a gale.

Off Flamborough Head, the last rendezvous, only eight days before the cruise was to end at the Texel, Jones felt that his career in the Revolution, in fact his life, lay in the balance. On this momentous occasion he was resolved to abide by his own bold judgment. Now no impediment direct or indirect, against which the last resources of his brain and the last breath of his life might avail, would snatch from him the valorous victory on which his existence was set like adamant.

Jones, in patrol of the waters south of Flamborough Head, spied the expected Baltic merchant fleet of 41 sail in company with two ships of war, the Serapis of 50 and the Countess of Scarborough of 22 guns, circling the cape from the north. It was the Richard by herself, slow as she was, and without the support of the Pallas and Vengeance, not to consider the Alliance, which prevented the escape of the British frigates while the merchantmen scurried to the nearest haven. “I was obliged,” Jones stated, “to run every risk and to bring the enemy to action with the Bonhomme Richard alone.”

The American ship gained a position to windward on the port bow of the enemy as the initial broadsides flamed from both frigates. Early in the grim battle Jones had to fight not only against the superior crew, armament, speed, and qualities in manoeuver of the Serapis and against the aid of her consort, the Countess of Scarborough, but also against a grave and almost fatal accident. Two of the old eighteen-pounders of the Richard (only three of the six cannon of this calibre were used, as the other three were mounted in the port battery) burst at their first broadside, and they killed, wounded, or totally unstrung all their gun crews and the other men who had been nearby. In the face of this misfortune, Jones turned to the bold decision to board the Serapis and carry her by close fighting.

Captain Pearson of the Serapis in the meantime, however, had his chance and seized it. He directed his heavy cannonades against the Richard, and his manoeuvers may even have enabled him to rake her. Jones, on the other hand, succeeded only in running the bows of the Richard into the stern of the Serapis on her weather quarter. As in this position of one ship almost in line with the other, boarding offered no prospect of success and neither vessel could bring her guns to bear, the Richard shortly backed her topsails and dropped clear. Already the Serapis hailed to ask whether the Richard had struck. Even if Jones heard, he did not deign at this time to reply.

Now it became imperative for Jones, who could not outsail Pearson, to outwit him. In the further contest of manoeuver, when the Serapis laid her topsails aback to get square with the Richard which was astern, Jones set sail after sail and trimmed his yards to a fresh gust of wind so that he drew ahead and put his helm aweather in a supreme effort to lay his ship athwart the enemy’s hawse and at the same time to grapple her. Regardless of the braces shot away, the slowness with which the Richard responded to her sails and helm, and the incalculable movement of the enemy astern, Jones managed by his speed in thought and his skill in seamanship to bring the starboard side of the Richard alongside the Serapis, not amidships as he would have preferred but somewhat further aft, so that the jibboom of the enemy became entangled in his starboard shrouds near the mizzenmast and over the poop of his ship. ” Well done, my brave lads,” cried Jones; “we have got her now.” As Jones bent every effort to lock the ships together, Pearson used every expedient to separate them. Ultimately the frigates swung to a close, fixed position in which they lay starboard broadside to starboard broadside, with the bow and stern of the one opposite respectively the stern and bow of the other.

Against the furious fire that recommenced at such proximity from the nine and eighteen-pounders of the starboard batteries of the Serapis, the Richard now had few guns for counterattack and relatively few officers and sailors fit for duty to man them. Jones himself helped to drag several nine-pounders into position and took charge of the operation of them. A resource not less surprising than effective was the bombardment from the tops of the Richard by the marines with their grenades, muskets, and other weapons.

Yet the desperate plight of Jones grew greater and greater. The Serapis was bursting in one of the Richard’s sides and blowing out the other. Most of the guns of the American ship were broken and silenced. The Alliance entered the battle only to rake the two combatants-the Richard indiscriminately with the Serapis-three separate times. The Richard with her dry old timbers was afire again and again in almost all sections, often with imminent danger to the powder magazines. The water in the hold rose ominously, and a shot which carried away one of the pumps increased the danger of flood. The carpenter, the master gunner, and the master-at-arms became panic­stricken. The gunner ran precipitantly aft upon the poop to haul down the American flag, and indeed would have succeeded before anyone could have prevented him if a cannonball had not previously swept away the ensign staff with the colors. Then he called for quarters, and Pearson loudly responded, “Do you ask for quarters?” Now Jones made his memorable reply, emphasizing it by hurling his two pistols at the head of the gunner: “I have not yet begun to fight!”

When Pearson returned to the battle with the fury of vengeance and despair, the critical state of the Richard threatened to cross the threshold of absolute defeat. In the conviction that the ship was sinking and must surrender, the master-at-arms had opened the hatchways and let loose several hundred British prisoners, who rushed wildly upon the decks. Nothing prevented them from stampeding the crew except the presence of mind of Jones who, with the aid of Lieutenant Dale, so impressed them with the fear of sinking that they set to work at the pumps and otherwise tried to control the flood in the hold.

At this juncture, while the marines in the tops of the Richard continued their fire under precarious conditions, one of them let fall down the hatchways of the Serapis a grenade which set aflame cartridges brought from the magazines for the eighteen-pounders. An explosion resulted which put out of action five starboard guns and killed, wounded, or shattered the nerves of a large number of men. The cannonade from Jones’ three remaining nine-pounders continued resolutely, and the steadfast topmen still seconded his guns with their muskets and grenades. The mainmast of the enemy reeled. At last the Serapis called for quarters and struck her colors to Jones after three and a half hours of the desperate battle in the full moonlight. Still at the scene of her victory, the Bonhomme Richard sank during the next forty-­eight hours with the stern and mizzenmast uppermost and with her colors flying.

On the deck of the captured Serapis, John Paul Jones salutes the Bon Homme Richard as it sinks with its colors still flying. (Taken from a print in the John Paul Jones house at Portsmouth)

The escape of Jones in the Serapis, with the accompanying ships, to the Texel in Holland in accordance with orders of diplomacy, his conduct in the Dutch port, and his later successful dash in the Alliance to the open sea attest not less to his personal honor than to his naval genius. After the battle, British squadrons soon sailed in hot pursuit, but he eluded them by unexpected and changing routes. When Holland wavered in her policies as a neutral nation, Jones at the Texel was induced at the instance of Franklin as well as the French Ambassador to turn over the Serapis and other vessels to the keeping of France. He insisted upon retaining at least the Alliance under the American flag. While the British maintained a blockade outside the harbor and the Dutch insisted that he sail without delay, the French tried to induce him to accept the commission of a French privateersman so as to proceed from the port safely under a neutral flag. Jones replied: “They are not rich enough to buy ‘the pirate Paul Jones’,” as his enemies called him; and then with rare strategy and boldness he escaped from the Texel in the Alliance, flying the American flag in defiance of the hostile Dutch, the disingenuous French, and the blockading’ British.

The fame of Jones, heralded from the Texel, continued to be attended with malice and dangers after his return to L’Orient in France and his later journey to Paris. In the capital, Franklin did him honor, the Masonic Order of the Seven Sisters eulogized him, Louis XVI conferred on him the cross of the Order of Military Merit and a magnificent gold sword. And among the French ladies whom he came to know, the Countess of Nicolson epitomized her worship by her vow: “God, she would willingly be the lowest of your crew.” Amid such regard, Jones not only suffered disappointment in his hope of commanding a greater enterprise with the aid of the French Court and King, but he suffered the mortification of having the Alliance, ready to sail for America, snatched from his command by Landais supported by Arthur Lee and other enemies more of Franklin than of himself.

“I will drag the wretches into open day and hold them up to the world for such as they are,” Jones declared regarding Landais, Lee, and their adherents in anticipation of his return to America. Soon the government partly, if not wholly, meted out justice. Jones reached America only after a second passage in the Ariel. Upon the first sailing, the small vessel escaped from shipwreck as if by miracle. Jones saved her in a hurricane near the dangerous Penmarque Rocks in a manner which excited the awe of crew and passengers alike for his “matchless skill and cool, unshaken courage.” He himself made no allusion to the episode.

“That he hath made the Flag of America respectable among the Flags of other nations … ” was among the praises of Jones in a report of the Board of Admiralty. Congress itself lauded him and his officers and men of the Bonhomme Richard, and recommended that a gold medal emblematical of his signal victory should be presented to him. But politics intervened so that he did not receive such an honor until after the war, sharing it with only five generals of the Revolution. Naval as well as political intrigue likewise prevented him both at this time and later from winning the promotion to Rear Admiral. Still in spirit he attained this rank when Congress appointed him to the command of the only ship-of-the-line of the Navy, the America, which his vigilance, determination, and mastery over obstacles were alone able to bring to completion shortly before the end of the Revolution.

With the close of the war, his statesmanship characteristically appeared in a letter to the United States Minister of Marine in which he urged, along with many other suggestions, “In time of peace it is necessary to prepare, and be always prepared for war by sea,” and also “America must become the first marine power in the world.” Yet the Navy soon became practically non-existent, and little opportunity remained for the exercise of his talents. His recovery of the prize money due from the French Government to the sailors of his Bonhomme Richard cruise was an undertaking which enlisted not only his sense of justice and honor but also his affection for the crew of his own ship. It was during his residence in Paris for this purpose that he formed an attachment for Madame T-(the second of the two ladies of such designation), in whom his interest for a period even rivalled his passion for naval achievement. She was a natural daughter of Louis XV; her name was Madame Townsend.

The vision of service in the Russian Navy as a Rear Admiral caused both Madame T- and a second mission for the collection of prize money in Denmark to fade in the background. Yet conflicting forces moved Jones. He himself described Russia in the time of the German born and bred usurper, Catherine the Great, as a country of “the dark intrigues and mean subterfuges of Asiatic jealousy and malice.” He asserted on the one hand that he wished no foreign service and that he would never renounce the glorious title of a citizen of the United States; he stated on the other hand that he looked upon an offer from the Empress as “a castle in the air.” Men no less astute than Washington and Jefferson as well as Jones himself seemed to feel that employment in Russia would qualify him for higher professional duties in America if she should again be at war. And it was Jefferson who appears to have begun and approved the negotiations by which he at length entered the Russian Navy.

The career of Jones in Russia had its prelude in his amazing dash from Denmark to St. Petersburg so that he might reach the court of Catherine II at the earliest moment. The manner in which he completed a passage of five hundred miles in midwinter with two small open boats as he circled the broken ice from Gresholm in Sweden to Revel in Esthonia was considered “a kind of miracle.” In the Liman, an estuary of the Black Sea, Jones received command of a squadron for a campaign against the Turks, who held the nearby stronghold of Oczakow. He had as his colleague the arrogant and cowardly De Nassau, as his superior the half-mad Potemkin, and as the power behind both of them the Empress herself, whose guile and despotism were oriental. It was the grim dedication of Jones to his professional duties which resulted in victories scarcely less daring and strategic, although less known, than those in the Revolution. It was primarily his operations which both saved Kherson and Crimea and decided the successful outcome of the war. But while he won the battles, his confederates usurped the honors of them. “The first duty of a gentleman is to respect his own character,” he wrote in explanation of his aloofness from the deceit which surrounded him. ” I saw that I must conquer or die. For me there was no retreat,” he stated further upon his early recognition of the ineptitude as well as villainy to which he was exposed. When Jones determined no longer “to pull the chestnuts from the fire for them,” the intrigue against him, both professional and personal, became so fantastic as almost to seem incredible. Jones left Russia, but he maintained an undue reticent courtesy towards the Empress; she herself, when the time suited her after the use of all her tricks against him, cynically remarked, “I have emptied my bag.”

While his new plans were in abeyance and his health was uncertain, Jones in Paris confirmed the stand which he had taken in Russia : “I can in no situation, however remote I am, be easy while the liberties of America seem to me to be in danger.” As if in recognition of his solicitude, apparently greater than that of any other American officer, for American sailors in prisons both during and after the Revolution, Jefferson sent him a commission to ransom our captives in the hands of Algiers. But before the letter for this mission reached him, Jones met his only conqueror. Progressively ill, on July 18, 1792 “he walked into his chamber and laid himself upon his face, on the bedside, with his feet on the floor”-and so he fought to the end, standing.

The example of the indomitable valor and unerring strategy in the patriotic exploits of John Paul Jones stirs remembrance today with the awed admiration which he originally won. Moral courage inspired by reverence for his country, physical boldness derived from a nature inured from youth to hardship and danger, and spiritual strength of an artist’s conscience and zeal for perfection in his profession-these qualities combined to make Jones the warrior who rose from obscurity to international eminence.

He is outstanding among his more important fellow-officers for never having lost a ship. He is unequalled by any of them for the vision and resourcefulness of his urgent recommendations for an unmatched American Navy. He towers most above them for his miraculous victory in the old Bonhomme Richard against the new Serapis under those circumstances in his sinking, burning, and betrayed frigate which will always keep memorable his defiance: ” I have not yet begun to fight!” Jones will remain known especially as the fighter who found in the liberty of America and in the dictates of his naval genius the transcendent aspiration to ascend “the slippery precipices” even to “the pinnacle of fame.”

A GRADUATE of Harvard, Dr. Lorenz obtained his doctorate of philosophy at Stanford University. He has taught English at the Universities of Wisconsin, Texas, and California at Los Angeles, and at Western Maryland College. He is the author of The Life of Sidney Lanier and of John Paul Jones, Fighter for Freedom and Glory, recognized as an authoritative biography of America’s greatest naval hero.

 
 
 
  • Jim Valle

    When all the florid language and the hagiographic tone of this bio are discounted what we are left with is a fighting sailor whose personality was typical of the late Eighteenth Century. Jones was brave to a fault, daring, ambtious, a bold original thinker and a fertile source of unusual raids and operations. Reading between the lines we can detect a distinct lack of skill in leadership and the art of man management, at least when not engaged in a hot fight. He also seems to possess a marked inability to cope with the scheming and intriguing that was an integral feature of life and politics in that era. Certainly he’s a great naval hero but valuable lessons can be learned from his weaknesses as well as his strengths.

  • zach

    i agree