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Bonhomme Richard

John Paul Jones

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Jones, John Paul (orig. John Paul) US (Scot.-born) naval officer & hero in American Revolution; as captain of ship Bonhomme Richard, defeated ship Serapis 1779 _1747-1792

John Paul Jones was a American naval hero during the AMERICAN REVOLUTION. Born on July 6, 1747, he was the son of a Scottish gardener and was originally named John Paul. At the age of 12 he entered the British merchant marine. Sailing aboard merchantmen and slavers, he received his first command in 1769. In 1773, however, he murdered a mutinous crewman at Tobago in the West Indies and fled to North America, adopting the name Jones.

In 1775 obtained a lieutenant's commission in the Continental Navy. The following year he became captain of the sloop Providence . The Providence was built by New England businessman John Brown as the Katy. A square-topsail-gaff-rigged sloop, she was the first ship commissioned into the Continental Navy. She was outfitted with 12 guns and made the transformation from the merchant vessel Katy to the battle ready warship Providence. She was the most victorious American Ship of the Revolutionary War. She captured or sank forty British fighting ships, earning the nickname 'The Lucky Sloop'. She was the first command of John Paul Jones who said of her, 'she was the first and she was the best.'

Sailing to France aboard the 18-gun Ranger in 1778, Jones received from the French the first salute given to the new American flag by a foreign warship. During the spring he terrorized the coastal population of Scotland and England by making daring raids ashore.

After conducting sea raids on the coast of Britain, he took command in 1779 of a rebuilt French merchant ship, renamed the U.S.S.Bonhomme Richard to honor Benjamin Franklin. On September 23, 1779, Jones engaged the British frigate Serapis in the North Sea, daringly sailing in close, lashing his vessel to the British ship, and fighting the battle at point-blank range. During the fight two of his cannon burst, and the British captain asked Jones if he was ready to surrender. Replied Jones: "Sir, I have not yet begun to fight." The American crew finally boarded the Serapis after the British had struck her colors, and from the deck of the Serapis they watched the U.S.S.Bonhomme Rich ard sink into the North Sea.


Ariel and Taeping
Ariel and Taeping
Dawson, Montague
Buy this Art Print at
Java and Constitution
Java and Constitution
Dawson, Montague
Buy this Art Print at


Picture from Peabody Collection

Another Web Site on John P Jones

John Paul Jones theme site



Bonhomme Richard (formerly the Duc de Duras),1779. 40-gun frigate. Starboard side, under sail. Artwork, n.d. 19-N-7873.


Bonhomme Richard. Starboard side. Photograph of wooden model, n.d. 19-N-9509.


Bonhamme Richard. Battle with the Serapis, 1779. Painting by James Hamilton, n.d. 19-N-12013. <



I Have Not Yet Begun to Fight : A Life of John Paul Jones
by James A. MacKay

John Paul Jones essentially founded the U.S. Navy, and he sustained its life during the Revolutionary War through the force of his indomitable will against vastly superior British forces. Mackay is a historian who has previously written biographies of Sir William Wallace and Michael Collins. In this riveting account of Jones' life, he strips away much of the romantic veneer surrounding his subject, but the truth seems far more interesting than the myth. Mackay illustrates how Jones' strengths--his stubborn will to win and his almost mystical faith in his own abilities--also led to his downfall later in life. This is a well-written and superbly researched analysis of one of our most fascinating and enigmatic military heroes


The Eighteenth Captain: A Novel of John Paul Jones
by Nicholas Nicastro
James L. Nelson, author of the Revolution at Sea Saga
"In The Eighteenth Captain, Nicolas Nicastro gives us a nuanced, insightful and thoroughly believable portrait of an American hero that few know beyond his saying "I have not yet begun to fight" which, in fact, he probably did not say. Nicastro does what the artist can do and the historian cannot; probe the inner mind of the historical John Paul Jones, guess who he really was from the empirical evidence, and then present that portrait in words and deeds that are on the one hand often fiction, but on the other true to the spirit of Jones. And he does it very well, showing us our American Tragic Hero, great but flawed, a conqueror brought down by his own faults. The Eighteenth Captain is beautifully framed by the fall-out of the French Revolution which represented the end of much that Jones loved but was a consequence in part of Jones' own actions, a lovely metaphor for the man's life and deeds. Carefully researched, accurate in tone and detail, The Eighteenth Captain is an insightful portrait of a man, a hero and his times, and what each of those things, in their essence, truly mean."

. A Boy's Will ~ Ships in 2-3 days

Erik Christian Haugaard / Paperback / Published 1990
Our Price: $4.76 ~ You Save: $1.19 (20%)
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John Paul Jones : America's Sailor (Naval Institute Book for Young Readers) ~ Ships in 2-3 days

Clara Ann Simmons / Hardcover / Published 1997
Our Price: $13.27 ~ You Save: $5.68 (30%)
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John Paul Jones : Hero of the Seas

Keith Brandt / Paperback / Published 1983
Our Price: $3.50 + $2.85 special surcharge (Special Order)
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John Paul Jones and the Battle Off Flamborough Head : A Reconsideration (American University Studies; Series IX : History, Vol 82)

Thomas J. Schaeper / Hardcover / Published 1990
Our Price: $29.50

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