So in May of 1790 Jones returned to Paris, and took a third floor front apartment at #42 Rue de Tournon (above). And it was here, over the next two years, that the self assurance and self promotion that served Jones so well in obtaining a ship and winning battles, now isolated him. The Marquis de Lafayette, once an admirer, could no longer tolerate his "colossal egotism.". And the American Minister to the Court of Louis XVI, Gouverneur Morris, grew so weary of his badgering demands, that after tending to the Admiral's pneumonia, Morris retreated from Jones' sick bed for a dinner appointment. It was when he reluctantly returned 2 days later, on the afternoon of 17 July 1792, that Morris found the 45 year old admiral lying face down on his bed, his feet still on the floor, but dead as a door nail. Jones' servants and few admirers pickled the hero in rum, packed him into an iron coffin, and buried him in the old Saint Louis Cemetery, set aside for foreign protestants. The expectation was that he would be transferred home to America, as quickly as funds could be raised.
Over the next century, John Paul Jones floated in rum and slowly pickled while the mundane world continued on with out him. In time the land atop John Paul Jones came to be occupied by a grocery, a laundry, an apartment house (above) and their attendant backyard sheds, toilets, cesspits and wells.
Unfortunately, despite the construction over the graves, the ground was not well compacted, and a great deal of time and money would have to be spent shoring up the shafts, and supporting the walls of the buildings above. Or at least that's what Ms Weiss told Ambassador Porter when he presented the bill. Noted Porter, “Slime, mud, and mephitic (foul smelling and poisonous) odors were encountered, and long red worms appeared in abundance.”
On April 24, 1906, he was placed in a temporary tomb (above) at the U.S. Naval Academy, in Annapolis, Maryland. It was temporary tomb because Congress had yet to pass the appropriation to even pay the cost to recover the body. They never did.
By now, Teddy had been re-elected without serious opposition in part because, luckily for Teddy, his Republican foe Mark Hanna had died of typhoid fever in February of 1904. So the the entire effort to rescue John Paul Jones from anonymity to save Teddy's political future, had been unnecessary. And Teddy had already lost interest in the dead hero. It turned out Teddy's entire effort to recover John Paul Jones had been about Teddy - in much the same way that John Paul Jones efforts to create an American Navy had been about John Paul Jones. And Congress never did pass the authorisation to pay for the effort because the members of Congress were under the impression that it was all about them.. Poor General Porter had to take up a collection. But at least, at last, the body of John Paul Jones had been found and was home.
I told you John Paul was lucky.
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