Beskrivning av boken
In preparing this work I began, I admit, with an ardent admiration for John Paul Jones, born of long study of his career. I have endeavored, however, so far as possible, to lay aside my preconceived opinions and predisposition in his favor, and I have conscientiously gone over the immense mass of material bearing upon him, de novo, in an attempt to be absolutely and strictly impartial. Perhaps I have not altogether succeeded, but if it be found that I have erred in Jones' favor, I shall be glad that I have followed the impulses of affection rather than those of depreciation. I have not, I trust, been blind to the faults in the character of the great sailor, nor to the mistakes he committed, nor to the wrongdoings in his career to which I have called attention; but, in spite of these things, which I have most reluctantly recorded, I am happy that renewed investigation, careful study, and much thought have only endeared him the more to me. I lay down the pen with a higher respect, with a more affectionate regard, with a greater admiration for him than ever.
In Miss Seawell's fine phrase, "It may be said of him as of the great Condé: 'This man was born a captain.'" His place among the great sea kings as a strategist, a tactician, and a fighter is now unquestioned by the most calumnious of his defamers; but the wound he inflicted upon British pride still rankles after the lapse of more than a century, and his professional status and personal character are still bitterly aspersed. So doth prejudice blind the eyes of truth. I have devoted some space to the old charge that he was a pirate, which was renewed recently in an article in the London Academy, one of the leading journals of England, and I trust that the reader will find that I have finally disposed of that absurd statement, and the other slanders concerning him, in these pages. And I have tried to be fair to the enemy as well...
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