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Otters Oddities

"There's a lady knows, all that glitters is gold, and she has not yet begun to fight...."

John Paul Jones. Bassist. Producer. Session Musician. Sea Captain?

Ha ha! Gotcha!

You thought I was going to write a post about John Paul Jones, the musician known for being a member of The New Yardbirds. (look it up....)


Instead, I am going to write about Pavel de Zhoves.


Allow me to explain.

In 1787, Pavel de Zhoves entered the service of the Empress Catherine II of Russia as a Rear Admiral. He was given command of the 24 gun flagship, Vladimir. His task? Lead his fleet against the Ottoman Turks in the Black Sea.

Catherine had such confidence in the admiral that she felt he would get to Constantinople and throw the Ottomans out of power.

You see, the Turks pissed off the Russians when they tried to retake lands they had previously lost to Russia in the 1760's. But, anyone who knows the Russians realizes it's a really dumb thing to try and invade Russian territory. Just ask.....anyone who's done it.


Admiral Zhoves preformed well. His fleet completely repulsed the Turks from the Liman area of the Black Sea. This was a big deal, as that removed access to the Bug and Dnieper rivers to the Turks. This effectively crippled their plans, and eventually contributed to their loss in the war.

Catherine would heap praise and accolades on the Admiral. Or, she would have, if she had known it was him who accomplished the feat.


Credit for his victory was stolen away from Zhoves by his rivals, Admiral Potemkin, And Prince Nassau-Siegen. In fact, the stories they spread caused him to lose his ship and to be recalled to St. Petersburg.

In 1789, he was arrested and charged with raping a 12 year old girl. (it is my policy to not identify victims of sexual assault). By this time, the only friend Zhoves had left in the capital was the French representative to the Russian court.


He conducted his own investigation into the matter and found that the charges of rape were false. (although, Zhoves did admit to paying the girl for...'favors', he deinied taking her virginity). When the evidence was presented before the courts marshal, Admiral Potemkin, it was shown that the alleged rape was totally fabricated by Prince Nassau-Siegen.

The whole incident left a bad taste in Zhoves mouth, and he decided it was time to get out of Russia. (why do people always flee Russia?)


He resettled in Poland where he tried to join the Swiss navy. Upon failing that, he travelled to Paris, where he tried to regain his former fame by rejoining the Russian navy.

In 1792, he finally got a job. He was appointed the American representative in negotiations to secure the release of American prisoners in Algiers. Unfortunately, before he could begin his task, he died of an intestinal infection.


By now, most of you are wondering what connection Pavel de Zhoves has with the introduction. Has Otter decided to change his modus operandi? Is he no longer connecting the picture and silly, throw away jokes with the rest of the post?


You see, Pavel de Zhoves in an English speaking language would be called, Paul of Jones. And, had he been given the proper Russian name, it would have been Ivan Pavel Zhoves.


John Paul Jones. Hero of the American Revolution.

After the American revolution, John Paul Jones found himself without a ship. He was assigned the captain of the new frigate America, but before she was launched, she was given to France to make up for the loss of a French ship during the war.


So, Jones headed for Europe to try and find work with one of the navies over there. Which, he did, but I've already told you about that.

After his death, he was buried in a vat of alcohol inside a lead coffin to facilitate easy identification if the US government ever wanted his body back. His grave was in a graveyard owned by the French royalty. During the French revolution, the revolutionary government sold the grave yard and it was used as a garden, then abandoned. Finally, in 1905, the American ambassador to France searched for and located the grave.


His body was exhumed with great ceremony and transported to the states ion the USS Brooklyn, with an escort of 3 destroyers. Upon arriving in US waters, the escort was joined by seven battleships, and the body was finally laid to rest in a bronze and marble tomb in the US Naval Academy, where you can still see it today.

You can file this with all the stuff that they didn't teach you in school, but if they had, it would have made school a ton more interesting. Instead, all they teach about John Paul Jones in school is the fact that he was an admiral in the Revolutionary War, and he said "I have not yet begun to fight!". Stupid schools.....


**Authors Note**

Interestingly enough, the one thing most people know about Jones is the fact that, during the revolution, while in command of the Bonhomme Richard, having suffered heavy damage and in the early stages of sinking, he was asked to strike his colors and surrender by the English. His famous response? "I have not yet begun to fight!"


Too bad he never said that. According to sailors on his ship at the time, what he actually said was, "I may sink, but I'll be damned if I strike!" In later years, Jones recalled saying to the English, "I am determined to make you strike!"

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