John Paul Jones

Jones_broadside_1777The Chapin Library has been able to acquire, on its Class of 1940 Americana Fund, an apparently unique broadside by John Paul Jones (1747–1792), the “Father of the American Navy”. The sheet was almost certainly printed in Portsmouth, New Hampshire in 1777, as a means of raising a crew for the sloop Ranger, the command of which had been assigned to Jones on June 14th of that year. Ranger, originally Hampshire, had been launched only on May 10th in Kittery, Maine.

To fill out his crew, Jones promised men wages, shares, bounties, even insurance against dismemberment or death. This proved more than he could deliver, but his intent seems genuine, the effort having been approved by the Marine Committee of the Continental Congress. The manuscript note at the foot of the sheet, attesting to this, has been identified as in Jones’s own hand.

On November 1, 1777, Jones and the crew of Ranger set sail for France, and subsequently caused mischief up the coast of Britain and around Ireland, taking several prizes. The ship returned to Portsmouth on October 15, 1778. – WGH

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