Naval History and Heritage Command

National Museum of the U.S. Navy

Father of the American Navy

[Abigail Adams]: Everyone knows how it was my John who successfully pressed for the establishment of a fleet in the Continental Congress in 1775, how he served on the committee that brought in the resolution to acquire and send out the first ships, how it was he who drew up the Rules for the Regulation of the Navy that Congress adopted, and how he served faithfully on the Naval Committee charged with the purchasing, outfitting, manning, and operations of the Continental Navy--a navy, by the way, that eventually sent more than fifty warships to sea, ships which took nearly 200 British vessels as prizes, seized enemy supplies, and carried correspondence and diplomats (including my John) to Europe, returning with needed munitions.

[Sarah Barry]:  'May the saints pr'serve us, Abigail.  You are aware, are you not, that my John, Commodore Barry, made the Continental Navy's first capture of a British Navy vessel, when on April 17, 1776, the brig Lexington took the British tender Edward in battle.  Then, after a glorious series of gallant battles through the course of the Revolution, the heroic wounds of which he after carried with him until his passing--may he find rest in the arms of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph--he also fought the last naval battle of the war.

[Fiona Paul]: Pardon me, but I canna help interjecting myself into your discussion.  Surely you must agree that my uncle John, the famous John Paul Jones, has an equal claim to being called father of the navy.  After all, it was he who did so much to promote professional standards among naval officers:  "None other than a Gen'leman, as well as a Seaman, both in theory and practice is qualified to support the character of a Commissioned Officer in the Navy, nor is any man fit to command a Ship of War who is not also capable of communi­cating his Ideas on Paper in Language that becomes his Rank."  With his own hands my uncle first raised the American flag on a Con'i­nen'al Navy ship, the Alfred.

[Abigail Adams]: Not only was my John largely responsible for founding the Continental Navy, but also it was during his term as president of the United States that the Department of the Navy was founded in 1798 and that the United States Navy won its first laurels in the Quasi-War with France.

[Sarah Barry]:  In 1794, when Congress authorized ships for a revived navy, Presi­dent George Washington, of blessed memory, bestowed upon my John commission number one as captain in the United States Navy, and it was under his leadership that the young officers of the Navy learned the art of command.

[Fiona Paul]: But my uncle John wrote the phrase des­tined to become the most quoted naval cliché in history:  "I want nothing to do with a ship that does not sail fast, for I intend to go in harm's way," not to mention his famous bettle cry, "I have not yet begun to fight."  And my uncle John won the most famous victory of the Con'inen'al Navy, the capture of HMS Serapis by the Bonhomme Richard.

[Abigail Adams]:  The Father of the American Navy is my John, JOHN ADAMS!

[Sarah Barry]:  The Father of the American Navy is my John, JOHN BARRY!

[Fiona Paul]: The Father of the American Navy is my John, JOHN PAUL JONES!



Published: Mon Aug 08 11:47:37 EDT 2016