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    John Bull the art of a traveling man Essay

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    When discussing the work of John Bull, it is noted that it is very different from other carvers. This may be because he traveled as a sailor and saw many different cultures. However, it is unclear which cultures he saw. To find out, research was conducted to determine the major trade routes running out of Newport during his lifetime. This would provide insight into the possible places Bull might have visited. Did he see the Sistine Chapel himself, or was his knowledge of it only from new books? Did he travel to Africa or other places? Are there any similarities between his work and the art of the places where ships went? It was discovered that Bull likely traveled between 1753 and 1764. Some of the destinations for ships from Newport during this time were Spain, Russia, Ireland, Dominica, Portugal, South America, and the west coast of Africa. Although this is a long list, it is interesting to note that no ships went to the Orient at that time. John Bull is remembered by his son, Henry Bull the 4th, as being about 5ft 9in or 5ft 10in with a light complexion.

    John Bull had light blue eyes and a hardy, robust constitution. Although he was good-looking, he was not as handsome as his father. In terms of temperament, he was quick but not vengeful, and his judgment of men and things was sound and comprehensive. His natural talents were of the first order, although not much refined by education. He retained much of the sailor manners he had acquired in nautical life but was always respected and often courted by those of the first circles of society. John Bull was the son of Henry and Phoebe Bull. He received a common school education, and by the time he was old enough to work, his father was too advanced in age and reduced.

    In circumstances that required continued support, John was sent to work as an apprentice to William Stephens, who had married John’s sister Ann. He was trained as a stone carver by William and also worked part-time in a grocery store owned by the Stephens. However, he was dissatisfied with the work and ran away. He was secretly shipped on board a vessel bound for a foreign voyage. He continued sailing until he was either 28 or 30 years old. All that is really known from this time is that he was a privateer in the French war, became a prize master, and brought in a valuable prize taken from the French.

    He later settled in Newport, where he worked as a carver to support his parents, who had become very stressed due to circumstances and therefore needed to live with him. He married Ruth Cornell, daughter of George Cornell, a reputable farmer of Middletown. They were wed on August 18th, 1769, and had four children, the last of whom was Henry Bull the 4th. John’s father died on December 24th, 1774, but before he passed away, he was convinced by his daughter Phoebe to change the will, making her the executor.

    John considered himself grievously insulted by this, thus causing a rift between him and his sister that was never resolved. One of the main points of the will was that Phoebe gained control of their father’s estate. He was a Whig during the Revolution, for which he was imprisoned with many others on board the Lord Sandwich prison ship for about six weeks. This was due to his outspoken patriotism in favor of Britain. One instance of this is when he helped the armorer of the king to hide the king’s tools in his possession in a hole dug in Bull’s father’s basement, the day before the armorer defected to the American army.

    A British general searched for the tools in most of the houses in Newport, but luckily they were not found. After the evacuation of the town by the British army, the tools were returned to the armory and used for the American cause. When the town was occupied by the British army, the Bull estate was used to quarter soldiers, forcing Bull’s sister out. But when spring came, the soldiers moved to camp.

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