John Paul Jones: Man of Action

By Phillips Russell | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXVIII
The Collection Agent

I pass, like night, from land to land; I have strange power of speech; That moment that his face I see, I know the man that must hear me: To him my tale I teach.

To Barney's surprise, Jones insisted on being put ashore at Plymouth, though there was still some danger that he might be seized as the "pirate and renegade which the English had always declared him to be. However, he was not molested when he took a post-chaise for London, and he was soon safe in the capital where a few months previous terrible things might have happened to him.

There is some evidence that Jones?s haste to reach London was to establish connections for a commercial enterprise, through which he hoped to recoup himself for the personal losses he had sustained during the war and to fill the gap left in his bank account by the failure of Congress to pay him his due. Letters exist showing that soon after partly recovering his health at Bethlehem, he was obtaining cargoes of whale oil on credit and sending them on French merchant ships to France and Holland, where they were sold by the agents and bankers he had met when abroad. This oil, used for lighting, fetched high prices, and assisted by Dr. Bancroft, Jones in the course of a few months pocketed tidy sums which made him independent of a poverty-stricken Congress. There is

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