John Paul Jones' Memoir of the American Revolution: Presented to King Louis XVI of France
The revolutionary career of John Paul Jones, which is the subject of this memoir, needs no elaboration here. His voyages, first on the Alfred under Capt. Dudley Saltonstall, and later at the helm of the sloops Providence, Ranger and Ariel, the old East Indiaman Duras (renamed the Bonhomme Richard), and the American-built frigate Alliance are thoroughly recounted here. What is generally not known, however, is the commodore's post-revolutionary war career. Having made numerous inveterate enemies during the course of the war, both in and out of Congress, Jones had little chance of gaining flag rank in the American navy. Realizing this, he decided in the spring of 1788 to pursue fame in other waters, first in the service of Louis XVI of France and later under Catherine the Great of Russia. France, unfortunately, was in no position to expand its naval staff, but Catherine, who was in need of good officers to fight in the second Russo-Turkish war, offered him an admiral's commission in the Russian navy, and on May 26, 1788, Rear Admiral Jones raised his flag on the Black Sea. Anyone familiar with the life of John Paul Jones, one of America's most popular naval heroes, would agree that in fighting spirit the commodore was perhaps equal to any officer in the history of the United States Navy. Unquestionably, he was deserving of the belated tribute paid to him by President Theodore Roosevelt on April 24, 1906, at the formal reception at Annapolis of the body of Capt. Paul Jones, as the hero was known at the height of his career. President Roosevelt admonished an audience of naval officers and cadets, statesmen and visiting dignitaries: "Every officer in our Navy should know by heart the deeds of John Paul Jones. Every officer in our Navy should feel in each fiber of his being an eager desire to emulate the energy, the professional capacity, the indomitable determination and dauntless scorn of death which marked John Paul Jones above all his fellows."
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