|John "Jack" Aubrey|
|First appearance||Master and Commander|
|Last appearance||21 or The Final Unfinished Voyage of Jack Aubrey|
|Created by||Patrick O'Brian|
|Portrayed by||Russell Crowe|
|Nickname(s)||Lucky Jack, Goldilocks|
|Children||Charlotte, Fanny, George, Sam Panda|
John "Jack" Aubrey, JP, MP, FRS is a fictional character in the Aubrey–Maturin series of novels by Patrick O'Brian. The series portrays his rise from lieutenant to rear-admiral in the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars. The twenty (and one incomplete draft)-book series encompasses Aubrey's adventures and various commands along his course to flying a rear admiral's flag. He starts as a lieutenant, depressed, poor and without a ship until he is given his first command: a fourteen-gun brig-rigged sloop, HMS Sophie.
Most of his naval battles and adventures are drawn from actual Royal Navy history. Several of his exploits and reverses, most importantly those in the plots of Master and Commander, The Reverse of the Medal and Blue at the Mizzen, are directly based on the chequered career of Thomas Cochrane: as his friend the botanist and surgeon Stephen Maturin mused, "There was something of Cochrane in Jack, a restless impatience of authority, a strong persuasion of being in the right."
Throughout the books, Aubrey is presented as interested in maths and astronomy, a great lover of music and player of the violin, and is generally accompanied by his friend and shipmate Stephen Maturin on the cello. Aubrey is particularly fond of the music of Corelli and Boccherini. He is noted for his mangling and mis-splicing of proverbs, sometimes with Maturin's involvement, such as “Never count the bear’s skin before it is hatched” and “There’s a good deal to be said for making hay while the iron is hot.” 
Education and Early life
In Master and Commander, Aubrey attributes his education to "Queeney," who returns into his life unexpectedly, now the wife to Lord Keith; she is the historic Hester Maria Elphinstone, Viscountess Keith, and in her mother the reader will recognize the historic Hester Thrale. Her family had occupied Damplow, a house adjoining General Aubrey's estate ("they were almost in our park"), and Jack learned mathematics and Latin from her.
This section covers the career of Aubrey before the Aubrey-Maturin series, for more information on that period, see the individual books.
Like many officers in the British fleet, Aubrey spent much of his life raised on the sea, joining the navy very early: he was on the books at the age of nine and at sea when he was twelve. While a midshipman aboard HMS Resolution commanded by a friend of General Aubrey's, Captain Douglas, Jack was turned before the mast for hiding a girl aboard the ship. He spent six months as a common seaman before being re-rated as a midshipman. This was when Lord Keith was still Captain Elphinstone, therefore pre-1797.
Aubrey also spent some time as fifth lieutenant aboard HMS Hannibal (in service 1786–1801), under Captain John Newman. There, after insulting the first lieutenant, he was put in front of a board, with Lord Keith upon it, which reprimanded him for his "petulance," which led to Aubrey spending eight months ashore with half pay.
Ships commanded by Jack Aubrey
During the series of novels, Jack Aubrey commands a succession of many different vessels. Most of them are ships of the Royal Navy, prefixed HMS. On one occasion he commands an Honourable East India Company ship, and for some time Surprise is a hired vessel working for the Royal Navy (HMHV), and the Franklin is a privateer Jack Aubrey captures and uses for a brief time before he sells it. Nutmeg of Consolation's status is undefined, as she belongs to Stamford Raffles, the Governor of Batavia.
|Ship||Rate||Guns||Main armament||Book||Notional year||End of commission||Fictional?|
|HM Sloop Sophie||Brig-Sloop||14||4 lb||Master and Commander||1800||Captured||= HM Sloop Speedy|
|HM Sloop Polychrest||Sloop||24||32 lb carronades||Post Captain||1803||Sunk (structural failure)||Yes|
|HMS Lively||5th||38||18 lb||Post Captain||1804||Temporary command||No|
|HMS Surprise||6th||28||12 lb||HMS Surprise||1805||Paid off||No|
|HMS Boadicea||5th||38||18 lb||The Mauritius Command||1809||Transferred to Raisonnable||No|
|HMS Raisonnable||3rd||64||24 lb||The Mauritius Command||1809||Monsoon season; transferred back to Boadicea||No|
|HMS Leopard||4th||50||24 lb||Desolation Island||1811||Converted to transport||No|
|HM Sloop Ariel||Sloop||16||6 lb||The Surgeon's Mate||1813||Sunk after striking reef||No|
|HMS Worcester||3rd||74||32 lb||The Ionian Mission||1813||Converted to shear hulk following storm damage||Yes|
|HMS Surprise||6th||28||12 lb||The Ionian Mission||1813||Temporary command||No|
|HEICS Niobe||9 lb||Treason's Harbour||1813||Temporary command||Yes|
|HMS Surprise||6th||28||12 lb||The Far Side of the World||1813||Paid off, then sold out of service||No|
|HMS Diane||5th||32||18 lb||The Thirteen Gun Salute||1813||Grounded on a reef, then destroyed by storm||Yes|
|Nutmeg of Consolation||6th||20||32 lb carronades||The Nutmeg of Consolation||1813||Returned to governor, transferred to Surprise||Yes|
|HMHV Surprise||6th||28||12 lb||Clarissa Oakes||1813||Transferred himself to Franklin||No|
|Privateer Franklin||22||24 lb carronades||The Wine Dark Sea||1813||Transferred himself back to the Surprise||Yes|
|HMS Bellona||3rd||74||32 lb||The Commodore
The Yellow Admiral
|HMS Pomone||5th||38||18 lb||The Hundred Days||1815||Transferred to HMS Surprise||No|
|HMS Surprise||6th||28||12 lb||The Hundred Days||1815||Damaged in collision, then sent in for repairs||No|
|HMHV Surprise||6th||28||12 lb||Blue at the Mizzen||1815||Promoted: raised Flag on HMS Suffolk||No|
|HMS Suffolk||3rd||74||32 lb||The Final Unfinished Voyage of Jack Aubrey||1817||was sold in 1816|
- Patrick O'Brian (1978). Desolation Island. United Kingdom: Collins. ISBN 9780393308129.
- The Nutmeg of Consolation, Ch.10.
- H.M.S. Surprise, Ch.5.
- Jan Harold Brunvand. 2004. “The Early Bird Is Worth Two in the Bush”: Captain Jack Aubrey’s Fractured Proverbs. What Goes Around Comes Around: The Circulation of Proverbs in Contemporary Life, Kimberly J. Lau, Peter Tokofsky, Stephen D. Winick, (eds.), pp. 152-170. Logan, Utah: Utah State University Press.
- "Dr Johnson - Dictionary Johnson was a great friend of theirs, until their mother ran off and married an Italian, a Papist. Queeney was wonderfully upset at having a Papist to her father-in-law, as you may imagine." Master and Commander, pp.164–165 (Norton ed.).
- Master and Commander, pp.162–163 (Norton ed.)
- Post Captain, p.250 (Norton ed.)
- Patrick O'Brian (2003). Master and Commander (Norton ed.). New York: W. W. Norton. ISBN 0-393-32517-2.