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In Harm's Way

In Harm's Way

Welcome to our heritage series. We will discuss the origins of the quotes on our Heritage Collection Mugs collection voted on by our fans. 

I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast; for I intend to go in harm’s way. - John Paul Jones

John Paul Jones, one of the original commissioned officers of the Continental Navy, was a man born of modest means who built his career on sheer capability, daring, and will. A complicated and imperfect man, he was nonetheless a skilled sailor and tactician. He commanded multiple ships during the Revolution, and a was highly successful raider of English merchant ships. 

On November 16, 1778, Jones was petitioning the French, a tacit ally in the Revolution, for a new ship to command. He had been offered several, but he rejected all of them. In a letter penned to Le Ray de Chaumont, a French supporter of the revolution and an ally of Benjamin Franklin, he wrote "I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast; for I intend to go in harm’s way."

Jones received his wish in the form of on Old East Indiaman, the Due de Duras. Jones oversaw the ship's transformation into the Bonhomme Richard, which he named in honor of Franklin. The Richard went on to engage in a harrowing battle with HMS Serapis in which the newer, faster Serapis was defeated by the sheer will of Jones and his crew. It is this famous battle where Jones is attributed with saying "I have not yet begun to fight."

  • Post author
    Matt Melton

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