John Paul Jones: Man of Action

By Phillips Russell | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IX
The First Independent Command

He holds him with his glittering eye -- The Wedding-Guest stood still, And listens like a three years' child; The Mariner hath his will.

ON the Providence the newly appointed captain found, ready for orders, the only unquestionably 100 per cent American who ever, as far as is known, served in the navy. He was Anthony Jeremiah, a full-blooded Narragansett Indian and whaleman from Martha's Vineyard, Mass. Jones noticed him from the first, took infinite delight in him, and kept him on his ships as long as possible. The Indian afterwards helped Jones fight two of his most famous battles. The crew called him "Red Jerry," which they later altered, in token of his color and cheerful disposition, to "Red Cherry."

"I have seldom seen a person in whom I take such keen interest as in this boy," wrote Jones to Hewes, after he had seen the red man in action. "Though not more than twenty-one or twenty-two years old, I haven't a better seaman. He is small in stature, but active and strong. . . . He tells me that, 'he likes to see the big gun shoot," (and) that, 'he likes to hear the big noise of much battle.'" Jones added that the Indian was never either sick or homesick, wherein he differed from the young Captain's two negro boys, Cato and Scipio, who, like their chief, often yearned for "calm contemplation and poetic ease."

Other men were added to the crew who became Jones's devoted followers, and fought, bled or died by his side. Among

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