A Short History of Human Error by Oliver Thomson

A Short History of Human Error by Oliver Thomson

Author:Oliver Thomson [Thomson, Oliver]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Arena Books
Published: 0101-01-01T00:00:00+00:00

The enigmatic character of John Paul Jones (1747-92) founder of the United States Navy is perhaps at least partly explained by his avowed long-term insomnia. The son of a poor family from the Galloway coast of Scotland John Paul went to sea at an early age and rapidly worked his way up to captain, gaining his first command when he alone of his ship's officers proved immune to yellow fever. He taught himself French and Spanish, made money in the slave trade and so ingratiated himself with a Virginia planter called Jones that he made him his heir on condition of his adding Jones to his name. Meanwhile he had twice been accused of brutality or murder in putting down mutinies. Once ashore in America he transformed himself into a New England gentleman, dressing immaculately, mixing with the colonial elite, but apparently taking no serious interest in the opposite sex. In 1776 he used his charm to acquire the plans of a French warship and offered his services to Washington to build a new navy. Despite serious eye problems and other ill-health, perhaps due to his years as a slave trader, he then had spectacular success as a self-taught naval captain famously raiding the British coast and capturing the British frigate HMS Serapis against considerable odds.



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