Horace Porter - Ambassador to France
On March 16, 1897, the American President William McKinley nominated Porter to the post of Ambassador to
France. Porter and his family arrived in Paris on May 13, 1897. On May 27, 1897 at the Palace of the Elysée, General Porter presented his Credentials
as Ambassador to Mr. Faure, the President of the French Republic.
Ambassador and Mrs. Porter visited Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Russia in the summer of 1899. On
a trip to Turkey they met Sultan Abdul Hamid. During the winter of 1901 Ambassador Horace Porter received an invitation to attend Queen Wilhelmina's marriage to
Henry, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin on February 7, 1901. In January 1902, the Porter family attended a court in Berlin where the Ambassador was presented to the
John Paul Jones - "The father of the American Navy"
When Horace Porter was appointed American Ambassador to France in 1899, he commented "I feel a deep sense of
humiliation as an American citizen realizing that our first and most fascinating naval hero had been lying for more than a century in an unknown and forgotten grave... Knowing
that he had been buried in Paris, I resolved to undertake personally a systematic and exhaustive search for the body (E. Mende p.294)." The investigation began in
A search for the certificate of burial indicated that this document had been burned by the Commune in 1871.
After an exhaustive search, finally a magazine called the "Correspondance Littéraire," written by Charles Read provided a copy of the certificate of burial, which he had made
from the Commune register in 1859. Although it was now known that Commodore Jones had been buried in the long forgotten cemetery of "Saint Louis," also
known as the Cemetery for Foreign Protestants," the exact location of the grave was not known.
In following up every possible source of information about the burial of John Paul Jones, it was
realized that for the first time that, the hero who had once been the idol of the American people, had been buried by charity. Although Jones did not die broke,
his investments of over USD 30,000 took some time to collect. Gouverneur Morris, the American Minister to France, refused to spend on "such follies" as a public funeral
"either as money of Jones' heirs or of the United States." A French admirer of Jones, M. Simonneau, donated three times the price of an average funeral for a
top-of-the-line leaden coffin. The bill of 462 francs had provided for thorough preparation of the body to insure its preservation, in case the Unites States
should claim his remains one day.
When U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt learned of the undertaking to repatriate Jones' body, he sent an urgent message to the Congress
in February 1905, recommending an appropriation of USD 35,000 for carrying the work.