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**I serve the Country for nothing"— -^'^'^^J' 


May a suitable recompense always attend your bravery'* — 




Member of The American Catholic Historical Society, of Philadelphia; The 
Historical Society of Pennsylvania; The Buffalo Historical Society"; The 
American-Irish Historical Society, and The American Historical Association 
of the United States. 





(^ t> ¥Szt. y ,3 

i.'.if T or 

liAtu/.. -i. .Vi.lD ALLEN 


To My Son 

The Reverend Martin I. J. Griffin 

Minneapolis, Minnesota 


To My Daughter 

Sister M. Dorothea 

of the 


Centennial Edition 

boo copies 

A \"*i -7 Gbo. W. Gibbons, Primer 

ATO. Jii^./.:.X PhiUidelphU 

Ss . • I 



The publication of this book is due to the subscriptions of 
those named who, prior to publication, ordered copies. 
Personally I am grateful for their co-operation in my work, 
thus enabling me to put in enduring form the Record op 
John Barry. Those who honor this gallant man should 
honor likewise the Patrons of this work without whose good- 
will it would not have been printed. 

1 Michael J. Ryan, Philadelphia. 

2 T. M. Daly. Philadelphia. 

3 Owen Kelly, Philadelphia. 

4 Dennis Griffin, Philadelphia. 

5 V. Rev. M. Barry, Oswego, N.Y. 

A(t 4» it tt 

7 P. J. Fahey. Pittsburg, Pa. 

8 Rev. F. C. kelley, Lapeer, Mich. 

9 Rev. Dean Savage, Detroit. 

10 Rev. L. Mulhane, Mount 

Vernon, O. 

11 Miss Minnie H. Kelleher, Green 

Bay, Wis. 

12 J. F. Brennan, New Haven. 

14 Rev. F. X. McGowan, O, S. A., 

Cambridge, N. Y. 

15 H. J. Routt, Jacksonville, lU. 
i6 T. O'Malley, Somerville, Mass. 
17 Rev. T. P. Fitzgerald, Mas- 

scna, N. Y. 
i8 Very Rev. Thos. C. Middleton, 

O. S. A., Villanova. Pa. 
19 James Hastings, Philadelphia. 

21 W. H. Bennett. Brooklyn, N. Y. 

22 Rev. Ambrose Murphy, La 

Crosse, Wis. 

23 Theo. Wolfram, Columbus, O. 

24 Rev. P. McCabe, Bristol, R. I. 

25 Rev. T. Rafter, Bay City, Mich. 

26 Rev. Jos. Brokaw, Reese, Mich, 

27 A. A. Hirst. Philadelphia. 

28 John A. Dardis, Philadelphia. 

29 M. J. O'Callaghan, Philadelphia. 

30 * * • * 

31 Thos. Plunkett. East Liver- 

pool. O. 

t « 



< t 

< * 

4 ( 


1 1 

4 1 




32 Henry J. McDevitt, Phila. 

33 Michael Dowd, Tacoma, Wash. 

34 Daniel Wade, Philadelphia. 

35 Daniel Nolan. Galesburg, 111. 

36 Hugh McCaffrey, Philadelphia. 





42 J. H. Lynch. Brookl5m, N. Y. 

43 Rev. J.J. Howard, Otter River, 


44 John C. Linehan, Concord. N. H. 

45 Patrick C. Sheehan, Conneaut- 

ville. Pa. 

46 W. F. Harrity. Philadelphia. 

47 Hugh F. E. Farrell, Salem, 


48 Daniel A. Guilinan, Benning- 

ton, Vt. 

49 E. J. McClallen, Rutland. Vt. 

50 Rev. R. F. Walshe. East 

Hampton, Mass. 

51 John M. Carr, Freeland, Pa. 

52 P. A. Devine, Manchester. N.H. 

53 Rev. J. Flatley, Camb'ge. Mass. 

54 Rev. Martin Mahoney, Hop- 

kins, Minn. 

55 Rev. Martin Mahoney. 

56 Chas. F. Kennedy, Brewer, Me. 

57 Rev. H. T. Comerford, Pinck- 

ney, Mich. 

58 Rev. Austin Dowling. Wash- 

ington, D. C. 

59 D. H. Tiemey, Waterb'y, Conn. 

60 H. A. Millar, Philadelphia. 



6i Rev. G. Marshall. Milfd. N. H. 

62 Edmund Burke, Milwaukee. 

63 S. J. Richardson, New York, 

64 James O'Neill, Washington. 

65 PatrickWalsh, Waterb'y, Conn. 

66 J. P. Healy. Thomas. W. Va. 

67 ] oseph E. Burke, Philadelphia. 

68 ] . H. Carmichael, Lowell, Mass. 

69 ' ames Cleary. S. Amboy. N. J. 

70 Bro. Paul, Notre Dame, Ind. 

71 T. H. Sieele, Minneapolis, Minn. 

72 Matt. O'Doherty.LfOuisviile, Ky. 

73 Rev. P. R. McDevitt, Phila. 

74 T. O'Brien, Washington. D. C. 

75 Elizabeth Ford Brooklyn. 

76 Pratt Free Library. Brooklyn. 

77 Dr. P. Byrne, Spokane, Wash. 

78 W. T. Doyle. Milwaukee, Wis. 

79 M. D. Long. O'Neill, Neb. 

80 St. Benedict's Abbey, Atchi- 

son. Kas. 

81 St. Benedict's Abbey, Atchi- 

son. Kas. 

82 Philomena I. Griffin, Phila. 

83 Rev. M. J. Regan, Bowling 

Green, O. 

84 Rev. M F. Foley. Baltimore. 

85 W. A. Hennessy, Bangor, Me. 

86 Peter Hoben. Philadelphia. 

87 Roger Vail. Minneapolis, Minn. 

88 John J. Clark, Helena, Mont. 

89 P. J. Kennedy. Minneapolis. - 

90 Patrick Ford, Brooklyn. N. Y. 

91 A. B. Ford, Brooklyn, N. Y. 

92 las. T. Elliott, Superior, Wis. 

93 W. D. Dwyer. W. Superior, Wis. 

94 Rev. T. J. O'Brien, Brooklyn. 

95 Very Rev. P. J. Garvey. D.D. 

96 " *• 

97 John M. Doyle, Philadelphia, 

98 Richard S. lYeacy, New York. 
99 R. H. Mooney,Worcest'r,Mass. 

100 D. O'C O'Donoghoe, Port- 

land. Me. 

1 01 las. S. McVey. Pittsburg. Pa. 

102 Rev. P. J. McGuire, Canton. O. 

103 Rev. J. D. Shannon, Middle- 

bury, Vt 

104 P. E. C. Lally, Denison, Iowa. 

105 J. J. Cassin, Waterbury, Conn. 

106 D. Tierney. Waterbury, Conn. 

107 J. J. Quinn, Milwaukee, Wis. 

108 A. A. McCabe, Milwaukee. 

109 Thomas A. Rice, St. Louis, 
no J. Loman. Spring Valley, N. Y. 

111 J. F. Galvin, Waterbury, Conn. 

112 John Sullivan, Waterbury. 

13 Jas. E. Smith, Waterbury. 

14 T. C. Devine, Alliance, O. 

15 Edmond Mallet, Washington. 

16 M. W. Morris, Pittston, Pa. 

17 Rev. W. A. Cunningham, 

Turtle Creek, Pa. 

18 Rev. Gerald P. Coghlan. Phila. 

20 M Keeley, West Bend, Wis. 

21 Dr. D. W. Lynch, West Bend. 

22 Thos. P. Kennedy, Phila. 

23 Rev. M. Keiley, Ferndale. Cal 

24 Frank Haverty, New York. 

25 Richard Kearney, Phila. 

26 James Hastings, Philadelphia. 

2*r ** *< •* 

28 *• •• •* 

29 T. M. Daly, Philadelphia. 



• « 





• 4 


33 Thos. A. Fahy, Philadelphia. 

34 las. O'Sullivan, Philadelphia. 

35 John J. Keough, Brooklyn. 

36 P. T ReUihan, Brooklyn, N. Y. 

37 Brother Raphael, Brooklyn. 

38 Charles Scribner's Sons. N. Y. 

39 Edmond Mallet, Washington. 

40 Jas. F. Brennan, Peterbor- 

ough, N. H. 

41 ]ohn T. Doyle, New York. 

42 Rev. James H. O'Donnell, 

Norwalk, Conn. 

43 J. T. Reily. McSherrytown, Pa. 

44 Rev. J. T. Flanagan, Reading. 

45 Rev. John F. Hickey, Cincin- 

nati, O. 

46 Rev. P. J. Hally, Allston, Mass. 

47 Rev. J. C. Herr, Crestline, O. 

48 M L Weller, Washington. 

49 Rev. J. P. Bodfish. Canton, O. 

50 Rev. G. Heinz, O. S. B., Atchi- 

son. Kas. 

51 Right Rev. R. Phelan, D. D., 

Pittsburg, Pa 

52 David Barry, Jersev City, N. T. 

53 Rev. Thos. Finn, Rochelle, IlL 

54 Simon J Martin, Philadelphia. 

55 Rev. John Gunn. Atlanta Ga. 

56 Gen. Harry C. Kessler, Butte. 

1 1 






57 •* 

58 •• 
5Q •* 

60 Hon. John D. Crimmins, N. Y. 

61 W. Dwyer, W. Superior, Wis. 
6a Rev.Wm. T.Russell, Baltimore 
63 John A. Dwyer, Toledo. O. 



164 Rev. N. J. Horan, Calais. Me. 

165 Capt. John S. Barnes, N. Y. 

166 Rev. Jas. A. Haggarty. Port 

Leyden, N. Y. 

167 D. Donegan, New Castle, Pa. 

168 E. Byrne. Davenport, Iowa. 

169 Rev. M. O'D. Barry, Helena. 

170 John W. Hogan, Providence. 

171 John W. Hogan, Providence. 

172 F. H. Quinn, Providence, R. I. 

173 D. J. Scully, Baltimore, Md. 

174 G. W. Allen, Boston, Mass. 

175 John J. Coyle, Philadelphia. 

176 Capt R. S. Hayes, New York. 

177 '* 

1 78 James O'Mara, Decatur, 111. 

179 Capt. John S. Barnes, N. Y. 

180 •* *• ** 

181 C. B. Hayes, Kansas City, Mo. 

182 R. F. CuUinan, Philadelphia. 

183 Owen Kelly, Philadelphia. 

184 T. Donovan, Lynn, Mass. 

185 Hon. J. M. Campbell, Phila. 

186 Rev. J. M. Langan, Escanaba, 


187 Chas. J. Bigley, Philadelphia. 

188 Jas. N. Cox, Calumet, Mich. 

189 Rev. W. H. J. Reany, U. S. N. 

190 D. F. Bremner, Chicago, 111. 

191 Capt. John Barry, Wilmington, 

N. C. 

192 Edw. Everett McCall, N. Y. 

193 Tames Rielly, Memphis. Tenn. 

194 Mary Anglin, Philadelphia. 

195 John M. Doyle, Philadelphia. 

196 irl. J. Murphy, Newburg, N. Y. 

197 W. J. Fitzmaurice, Phila. 

198 Wilham Earley. Philadelphia. 

199 Rev. A. T. Connelly, Roxbury* 

200 Rev. Chas. Kemper, Dajrton 

201 Rev. R. L. Burtsell, Rondout. 

N. Y. 

202 Rev. Martin I. J. Grifl&n, 

Minneapolis, Minn. 

203 John F. Cunneen, Chicago. 111. 

204 J- P. O'Connor, Chicago. III. 

205 William Daly, Brooklyn. 

206 Rev. P. F. McAlenny, Hart- 

ford Conn. 

207 Warren A. Cartier, Santa Fe. 

208 Frank J. Lanahan, Pittsburg. 

209 D. Crimmens, Staunton, Va, 

213 Hon. O'Neill Ryan, St Louis. 

214 Rt. Rev. Phil. J. Garrigan, 

Sioux City, Iowa. 

215 R. E. Morrison, Prescott, Ariz. 

216 Jas. T. Flaherty, Philadelphia. 

217 J. E. Kelly, New York. 

218 Dr. P. E. McCahey. Phila. 

219 P. J. Brankin, Philadelphia. 

220 J. H. Lynch, Brooklyn, N. Y. 

221 Geo. W\ Gibbons, Phila. 

222 Daniel Donovan, Lynn, Mass. 

223 Geo E. Littlefield, Boston. 

224 Dr. Geo. McAleer, Worcester. 

225 Thomas E. Mullin, Phoenix- 

ville. Pa. 

226 P. S. P. Conner, Rowlands- 

ville, Md. 

227 J. J. Greeves, Cleveland, O. 

228 D. P. Murphy. Philadelphia. 

229 C. J. O'Brien, Owatoma, Minn. 

230 A. M. Coneen, Philadelphia. 

231 W. Horace Hepburn, Phila. 

232 John F. M'Alevy, Pawtucket. 

233 J, Washington Logue, Phila. 

234 C. Maloney, Waterbury, Conn. 

235 Dr. J. J. Mangan, Lynn, Mass. 

236 N. Barry, Muscatine, Iowa. 

237 N. Barry, Jr. , Muscatine, Iowa. 

238 P. J. Barry, 

239 '* '* 

240 Thomas Barry, 

241 John Barry, 

242 Wm. Barry, 

243 C. J. Lynch, Bangor, Me. 

244 John J. Wall, Philadelphia. 

245 John A. Begg^, Philadelphia. 

246 Hon. Victor J. Dowling, N. Y. 

247 Jas. Geoghegan, Salt Lake 

City. Utoh. 

248 P. C. B. O'Donovan, Phila. 

249 Rev. A. J Zeller, Philadelphia. 

250 S. E. Megargee, Philadelphia. 

251 P- J. Fahey, Pittsburg, Pa. 

252 J. E. Lowery, Sopris, Colo. 

253 V. Rev. Dean Savage, Detroit. 

254 Tames O'Neill, Washington. 

255 W. T. Doyle, Milwaukee, Wis. 

256 P. T. Barry, Chicago. III. 

257 Patrick C. Sheehan, Conneaut- 

ville. Pa. 

258 Dr. W. L. J. Griffin, Phila. 

259 P. J. Kennedy, Minneapolis. 

260 Jas. F. Kavanagh, New York. 

261 Capt. R. Somers Hayes, N. Y. 

262 ** *' " *' 

263 Rev.T. J. Murphy. Flint. Mich. 

264 Daniel Wade, Philadelphia. 

265 R. W. McCallion, Philadelphia. 


• * 


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FBOn THB Portfolio 


Table of Contents ix 


BaiT\' attacks the British Supply Vessels below Philadelphia — 
Passes the City in the Night — Captures the Mermaid, the 
Kitty and the Alert — Supplies sent to Washington at Valley 
Forge — Thanks of Washington — Did the British offer a Com- 
mand in the Navy 69 


Mrs. Barry — British Destroy the Effingham and other Vessels 
at White Hill— Evacuate Philadelphia 88 

Barry Appointed to the Raleigh — Pursued — Escapes — Appoint- 
ed to an Expedition against East Florida 93 


Sponsor for Daughter of his Brother Thomas — Conversion of 
his Wife to the Catholic Church — Takes Command of the 
Privateer Delaware — Resists the Pressing of his Crew by 
a Continental Frigate — Cruise to Port-au-Prince — His 
Captures — The Needs of the Navy 106 

Administrator of Estate of Captain Patrick Barry — Washing- 
ton Given the Direction of the Frigates — Barry appointed to 
the America — It is Presented to France — He is Given the 
Alliance, the Best Vessel of the Revolutionary Navy ...116 


The Alliance takes Col. John Laurens to France on an Import- 
ant Mission — Barry Makes a Capture and Releases a Venetian 
Ship from British Captivity — Arrives in France 124 


Success of Laurens' Mission — Barry Convoys the Lafayette 
Laden with Supplies — Mutiny on the Alliance — Captures the 
Mars and Minerva, the Atalanta and Trepassy Ships of War 
and several Merchant Vessels — Is Wounded — "If the Ship 
Cannot be Fought Without me I will be Brought on Deck ' * — 
Arrives at Boston 130 

X Table of Contents 


Barry's Report of his Cruise to and from France and of the 
Loss of the Lafayette — Captain Nicholson Tells Marine Com- 
mittee that Barry ought to be made an Admiral — Captain 
John Paul Jones sends Barry a Naval Cocade 143 


The Alliance arrives at L*Orient — A Fruitless Cruise — Returns 
to America — Escapes the Chatham British Frigate — Arrives 
at New London — "1 Serve the Country for Nothing" — Barry 
Appeals to Washington for the Exchange of His Tory Brother 
in Law — Congress Investigates the Loss of the Lafayette. 162 


Cruise of the Alliance in the West Indies and off Newfoundland — 
Captures Eight Prizes — Takes Four Prizes to France and 
Sends Four to the United States — Barry's Report of his Oper- 
ations 176 


Captain Barry in France — Correspondence with Lafayette and 
Franklin — Six Officers of the Alliance Refuse to do duty until 
paid Back Wages — Sails on a Cruise to the West Indies under 
orders of Congress to Bring Specie from Havana 183 


Barry's Report of the Battle with the Sybille on March loth, 
1783 — The Last Battle of the Revolution 211 

Correspondence 233 


Captain Barry returns to Philadelphia — At New York Meets 
Captain Vashon of the Sybille 249 

Table of Contents xi 


Sale of the Alliance the Last of the Revolutionary Navy — She 
becomes a Merchant Ship in the China Trade — Letters and 
Bills of Captain Barry — Legal Proceedings against him — 
Congress Orders Pa)rment of Claim 257 

Barry's Spirited Action Against the Opponents of the New Fed- 
eral Constitution — He goes to China — Returns — Reports to 
Washington — Barry at Home 272 


Another Captain John Barry — Unfavorable Action on the Mem- 
orial of Captains Barry and Read — Barry's Advice to an 
Irish Immigrant: "America the Best Place to Live in under 
the Sun." 282 


Barry offers his Service to President Washington in Case 
of War against the Algerines — Is Appointed the First 
Captain of the New Navy — Commission No i — Congratu- 
lations 290 


Barry appointed Superintendent of the Building of the Frigate 
United States — Goes to Georgia to Select Timber — He 
Secures Live Oak that the Frigate may exist for Half a 
Century 297 


Reports of the Progress of the Frigate United States — Wash- 
ington Urges the Increase of the Navy — Captain Barry con- 
tributes to the Building of St. Augustine Church 310 


Preparing for War — Barry with Commission No. One — The 
Launch of the Frigate United States — The Yellow Fever 314 

xii Table of Contents 


Barry Advises the Creation of a Navy Department and the 
Establishment of Navy Yards — War with France — Barry 
given Authority to Capture Hostile French Vessels — Sent on 
an Expedition 334 


The Cruise in the West Indies — Captures the Lc Jaloux — Re- 
turns to Philadelphia — Makes a Fruitless Cruise to the East- 
Ward 3 56 


Instructions of President Adams, to Commodore Barry — 
Starts on a Course to the West Indies — Squadron Sent.. 368 


Orders to Barry — Operations and Captures of His I^*leet in 
the West Indies — Return to Philadelphia 3 75 


Orders Given Barrv^ — His Fleet Ordered to Protect Commerce — 
An Unworthy Midshipman — Barry Returns to Newport — 
No Captures — Takes the Special Ministers to France — **Vou 
Are Not to Capture Anything." 390 


Chaplain or Teacher — Cruise in the West Indies of the Fleet 
Under Barry as Commander-in-Chief — Treaty with France — 
Presidency of Thomas Jefferson — Reduction of the Navy — 
Fleet Recalled — Barr>' One of Nine Captains Retained. .405 


Death of Commodore Barry — His Will — Value of His Estate — 
Three Epitaphs — Monument 411 




The achievements of the American Navy are of imperishable 
honor and to its ever enduring fame. To relate the careers 
of its heroes has been the loved work of many distinguished 
writers who have set forth the deeds of those who have upheld 
the honor of the Country in the Wars in which the Navy has 
been a most important factor. 

Withdrawing no meed of praise due to those whose services 
have been so marked as to gain the admiration of their country- 
men and who have been so fortunate as to win distinguished 
names to record and proclaim their deeds of heroism and of 
duty, it is nevertheless true that 


of the Revolutionary Navy has not received that biographical 
distinction which his deeds merited. So his name has not 
become impressed upon the minds and hearts of his country- 
men to the degree justified by the value of his services. 

In 1897, the centennial year of the launching of the frigate 
THE UNITED STATES, Commanded by Captain John 
Barry, the first frigate of the Navy of the United States under 
the Constitution, I issued THE HISTORY OF COMMODORE 
JOHN BARRY in a limited edition of two hundred copies. 

The present work is a more complete record founded on 
later discovered official and personal documents of the Com- 
modore and other authoritative sources. 

This, the centennial year of his death, and the present 
prominence of the Navy of which he was the first and ranking 
Captain by the appointment of President Washington, is most 

2 Intfoducihn 

aptly, the proper time to narrate his career during the Revolu- 
tionary struggle, which resulted in the freedom and Indepen- 
dence of our Country and in which he bore a most heroic part, 
and also to record his deeds during the war with the French 
Republic in which his services were no less useful and brilliant. 
These will, in a measure, demonstrate that JOHN BARRY, 
the County Wexford Irish Catholic, well merits the favorable 
judgment of all true Americans as worthy of the honor due 
to one who well served the land of his adoption and upon 
whom may, fitly, be bestowed the coveted title of 


Yet this Patriot of sterling worth and heroic services has not 
in the popular mind secured even a secondary position nor 
are his merits, founded on his deeds, known to his Country- 
men beyond the most primary knowledge. Even his name 
seems not to be known to those, in Naval circles, who, on 
public occasions, speak of the deeds of the Navy or make 
manifestation of a knowledge of its heroes. Near a century 
after his death a tardy recognition of his services has come 
from the Government he aided so well in establishing and 
from the Navy Department, which he was the earliest in 
advising the creation of, by the naming in his honor of a 
torpedo boat destroyer THE BARRY. 

Captain Richmond Pearson Hobson, U. S. N., in an address 
on THE NAVY on Flag Day, June 14th, 1901, at the Buffalo 
Pan American Exposition spoke of the extraordinary record 
of our Navy. **At the time of the Revolutionary War we can 
scarcely be said to have had a Navy, yet how many of us 
know that we captured from the British over 800 vessels and 
more than 12.000 seamen, and of these more than 100 were 
war vessels of the royal navy carrying more than 2,500 guns. 
Usually it is the weaker side that suffers the heaviest loss, 
yet in the sea fighting of the Revolution the American losses 
were scarcely more than one-sixth those of the British.*' 
But Captain Hobson said, "As my mind looks over the range 
of our Naval history, I see a long list, a long line of majestic 
figures whose very names are an inspiration." Then he gave 

Introduction 3 

the names of twenty-one whom ''History with her bright and 
luminous pencil inscribed upon the glorious scroll." Yet 
that of JOHN BARRY, the Commander of the largest and 
finest vessel in the Revolutionary Navy, the earliest and latest 
fighter, the first Commodore of the very Navy Captain Hobson 
glorified by his bravery, was not named. 

This relation of the career of COMMODORE JOHN 
BARRY is intended to be the Historical Record of this 
gallant officer. It is presented not as an eulogy or laudatory 
biographical memoir but as a plain historical recitation of the 
events of his public career as the records preserve them. 

It is given without the attractiveness of literary merit, and 
with no desire to indulge in the glorification of a patriot who 
served our country well. The record of his career renders 
words of praise unnecessary, even though we be bid to 
** praise men of renown." 

To General Henry Clay Kessler, of Butte City, Montana^ 
the grandson of mate and clerk John Kessler, of the Alliance 
and of the Delaware, under Captain Barry ; to Captain John 
S. Barnes, of New York City ; to Mrs. W. Horace Hepburn ; 
to Simon Gratz, Esq. ; to the American Catholic Historical 
Society of Philadelphia ; to the late Ferdinand Dreer, Esq. ; 
and the late Mr. Charles Roberts, I am gratefully indebted for 
help given in the compilation of this work. 

I have endeavored to be absolutely correct historically. 
My intent has been to gather facts and not to indulge in 
eulogium; ** which, if I have done well and as becometh the 
history, is what I have desired ; but if not so perfectly it must 
be pardoned me." (Machabees xv, 39.) 

Martin I. J. Griffin 

4 Amah of the Barry Family 



The family of Barry deserve well of the county Wexford; 
in fact, I do not know of any names among the Anglo-Norman 
settlers in that county which can show so honorable a record 
of services rendered, and filled such important posts of trust 
and responsibility in the past, and extending over so long a 
period in the earlier history of the county. The earliest 
settler of the name in Wexford that I can find is Adam de 
Barry, settled in Wexford 28 Edw. Ill, 1354; a cadet of the 
noble house of Barrymore of Cork, although the name of 
Odo de Barry appears, as will be found futher on, in the **List 
of the Receipts of the 15th" — a tax imposed on the inhabitants 
for the protection and government of the Pale — as either an 
occupier of land or one of the collectors of the tax in the year 
1297. But before proceeding any further we will take a 
glimpse at the Cork, or head branch, and their intermarriages. 

William de Barret or Barri, common ancestor of the family, 
married Angarette, daughter of Nesta, daughter of the Prince 
of South Wales, and sister to Robert Fitzstephen and Maurice 
Fitzgerald, had issue four sons, Robert, Philip, ancestor to 
Earls of Barrymore, Walter, and Gerald, or Gerard, well 
known as Giraldus Cambrensis, so styled from the word 
Cambria, the ancient name of the county of Pembroke, being 
bom at Tenby about the year 1146. 

In my father's papers I find it stated that this noble family 
(Lord Barry, of Buttevant, premier Viscoimt of Ireland) 
derived their name from the Island of Barry, off the coast 
of Glamorganshire, from whence the young knight, Sir Robert 
de Barry, accompanied FitzStephen in his perilous enter- 
prise, was the first man wounded in the reduction of the kingdom 
when scaling the walls of Wexford, and the first who ever flew 
a hawk in Ireland. His brother Gerald was the learned his- 
torian of the period, Giraldus Cambrensis. In this family 
occurred the remarkable precedent of an elder son being de- 
prived of the family honors and estates in consequence of 
being deaf and dumb. According to Lodge, this young 

Annals of the Barry Family 5 

knight, Sir Robert, was of great resolution and courage, and 
mounting the walls of Wexford with the foremost, he received 
a stroke upon his helmet with a large stone, which tumbled 
him from the wall into the ditch, where he had perished if he 
had not been timely relieved by his men, who ventured their 
lives to save him, and, through the violence of the blow, about 
1 6 years after, he lost all his great teeth. After Wexford was 
reduced, and a way opened for the settlement of the English, 
he endeavoured to bring the Irish into a state of civility, on 
which account he gained such repute among them that they 
gave him the title of Barrymore, as Cambrensis writes, who 
also honors him with a large character, being **a young knight 
that for his worthiness cared not for his life, and was rather 
ambitious to be really eminent than to seem so"; and remarks 
"that he was the first that ever manned a hawk in this island.*' 
After his services in Ireland he is said to have seated himself 
at Levington in Kent, but, however, that may be, he returned 
here again, and about the year 1185, being killed at Lismore, 
coimty Waterford, his brother, Philip de Barry, in February 
following, arrived with a choice company of men to assist his 
uncle, Robert FitzStephen, and Raymond le Gros, to preserve 
the kingdom of Cork, and to recover and build castles upon 
his lands of Oletham, Killede and Muskerry Donegan (un- 
justly detained by Ralph son of said Robert FitzStephen) 
which was confirmed to him by the said Robert's charter, 
dated 21st February, 1206, and soon afterwards he built the 
castle of Barry's Court. 

James Lord Barry, his descendant, was knighted by Sydney, 
in 1566. Sir George Carew states that this nobleman, in 
order to "make himself * Barry-roe,' murthered Redmond and 
John Barry, on which their two brothers, Richard and James, 
fled for succour to the Earl of Desmond." He adds that on 
the death of James Barry the Viscount dispossessed the daughter 
and heiress (who was afterwards married to Lord Power) and 
made himself Viscount Buttevant by force. 

His son, David Fitz James Barry, Viscount Buttevant, 1585^ 
married Helena, daughter of David Roche, Viscount Fermoy, 
leaving a son, David, and six daughters, one of which, Honora 

6 Armab of the Barry Family 

after marriage with Gerald Pitz Gerald, of Decies, married 
Pat Browne, of Mulrankin, county Wexford, and by him (who 
died 3rd April, 1637) had two sons, William and Walter, and 
several daughters. 

James Barry descended from Sir Robert Barry, of the Rock, 
county Cork, married several times, according to Lodge; he 
left six sons and five daughters by his first wife. Nicholas, 
his younger son, married loan, daughter of Nicholas Howard, 
and had issue a daughter. Rose, married to Gerald Foy, and 
two sons, Matthew and Richard. The latter married Mary 
daughter of John Haughton, of Wexford, Esq, and had James, 
his heir, and Mary, married to Richard Neville, of Forenaughts, 
county Kildare. From this branch sprang the Barrys of 
Newtownbarry according to Mr. Lodge." 

Chronological annals from the year 1207 then follow the 
above from The People of Wexford, October 2 ist, 1893. These, 
though numerous and interesting, especially to those of the 
Barry name, are not within our purpose to present. 

Ccmunodore John Barry 


Barry's reputation — his family connections — his boy- 

CAPTAIN JOHN BARRY **may justly be considered the 
father of our Navy/* wrote Mr. Dennie, the editor, of the 
Portfolio of Philadelphia, in a biographical sketch of the 
Commodore which appeared in that periodical for July, 1813. 

In publishing the Portfolio remarked: **A full delineation 
of the character of Captain Barry would be peculiarly interest- 
ing, but the materials which have been supplied are not suffi- 
cient for such a work. We leave it to the industry and research 
of the future historian to fill up the outline and give to the 
picture that detail of incident and richness of color which the 
subject merits. Among the naval heroes of America who 
have advanced by the utility of their services and the splendor 
of their exploits the interests and glory of their country, Com- 
modore John Barry holds a distinguished rank. His eminent 
service during our struggle for Independence, the fidelity and 
ability with which he discharged the duties of the important 
stations which he filled, from the period of the establishment 
of that Independence till within a few years of the close of his 
life, give him a lasting claim upon the gratitude of his country." 

In Allen's ''Biographical Dictionary," published in 1809, 
we read: "Barry was a patriot of integrity and unquestioned 
bravery. His naval achievements a few years before his 
death reflect honor on his memory. The carnage of war did 
not harden his heart into cruelty. He had the art of command- 
ing without supercilious haughtiness or wanton severity. 
Another trait in his character was -the punctilious observance 
of the duties of religion." 

In Frost's **Naval Biography" it is said: "His name occurs 
in connection with not a few remarkable events in the history 

6 His Reputation 

of the Revolutionary War, and always with credit to himself 
and honor to the flag under which he sailed. Few commanders' 
in the Navy were employed in a greater variety of service or 
met the enemy under greater disadvantages. Yet in no one 
of the numerous actions in which he engaged did Commodore 
John Barry ever fail to acquit himself of his duty in a manner 
becoming a skilful seaman and a brave warrior." 

The National Portrait Gallery said: **His lofty feelings 
of honor secured the confidence of the most illustrious men of 
the nation, and gave him an extensive influence in the various 
spheres in which his active life required him to move. The 
regard and admiration of General Washington, which he 
possessed to an eminent extent, was among the most eminent 
fruits of his patriotic career. His public services were not 
limited to any customary rule of professional duty, but with- 
out regard to labor, danger or excuses, his devotion to his 
country kept him constantly engaged in disinterested acts 
of public utility." 

Judson's Sages and Heroes of the Revolution says (page 
417): — "He was noble in spirit, humane in discipline, discreet 
and fearless in battle, urbane in his manners, a splendid ofiicer, 
a good citizen, a devoted Christian and a true patriot." 

The Gallery of Distinguished Americans said: Barry was 
above the ordinary stature and of graceful and commanding 
person, expressing in his strongly marked countenance the 
qualities of his mind and the virtue of his heart. His private 
life was as estimable as his public career was brilliant. In 
his domestic relations he was ingenuous, frank and affectionate. 
In his intercourse with mankind his deportment procured an 
extensive circle of friends. Deeply impressed with religion, 
he exacted an observance of its ceremonies and duties 
on board of his ship, as well as in the retirement of pri- 
vate life. His lofty feelings of honor secured the con- 
fidence of the most illustrious men of the nation and gave him 
an extensive influence in the various spheres in which his 
active life required him to move. The regard and admiration 
of General Washington he possessed in an eminent degree 
were among the enviable fruits of a patriotic career. 

Ballvsampson. Birthplace 

The Birthplace of Commodore John Batry 9 

Similar quotations might be given from numerous bio- 
graphical sketches which, though scant in historical material, 
testify to the high esteem in which Captain Barry was held 
and the importance of his services to the Country. 

Maclay's History of American Privateers (p 85) says "One 
of the most successful Commanders in the Navy of the Revolu- 
tion was Captain John Barry/' 

That writer errs in relating that Captain Barry commanded, 
when unable to get employment in the Continental Navy, 
the privateers General Montgomery 6 guns and the Rover 24 
gims. The former was a brig of 20 men commanded in 1782 
by J. Barry of Massachusetts — the latter a ship of 100 men 
under command, in 1781, of J. Barre also of Massachusetts 
and doubtless the commandant of the Montgomery the fol- 
lowing year. 

Our John Barry, the Philadelphian, was, as we shall learn. 
Commander of the Alliance from November, 1780, until after 
Peace in 1783. 

Not only had he a namesake in naval operations in Massa- 
chusetts but also one in Maryland who is mentioned as early 
as December, 1776, in connection with the row galleys of that 

JOHN BARRY was bom in the townland of Ballysampson 
and lived his boyhood in the townland of Rostoonstown, 
both in the parish of Tacumshin, Barony of Forth, Province 
of Leinster, in Ireland. 

The Parish covers 3000 acres; is situated between two 
townland locked gulfs with very narrow openings — Lake Ta- 
cumshin and Lady's Island Lake. Possibly these lakes gave 
young Barry the inspiration for the sea and upon both he in 
youth oft pulled the oar. *'The old people show a house in Ros- 
toonstown where Barry lived after his father left Ballysamp- 
son," writes Mr. Michael Browne. 

But Mr. P. J. Barry, of Muscatine, Iowa, writes that his father, 
now over eighty years of age, relates that young John Barry 
lived in Ballahaley, that the house is still standing on the 
BaUahaley side of Lake Tacumshin. The present occupants 
are Mr. John Barry and his mother, Mrs. Mary Ann Barry. 

10 His Mother 

He visited it within ten years and describes it as being two 
stories or what would in this country be called one story and 
a half, a fair sized building, the walls partly stone and mud, 
roof thatch. 

In letters written early in 1877 by Miss Sarah Smith Staf- 
ford, an aged lady of Trenton N. J., to Capt. John S. Barnes, 
whose wife is the grandniece of Commodore John Barry, it is 
stated that Catharine Barry, the mother of the Commodore 
was married three times. First to John Barry, a clerk in a 
malt house in Wexford. The issue of this marriage was three 
sons, John, Peter, and Thomas, and one daughter Catharine. 
John is the subject of this memoir. Thomas came to America 
after the Revolution, settled in Wilmington, married a Swede 
and died without issue. Of Peter nothing is known. Catha- 
rine married in Ireland a Mr. Meyler and had three sons, John- 
Robert and James. 

The second husband of the mother of Commodore Barry was 
John Howard Stafford. The issue of this marriage was Pat- 
rick (or Philip) and Margaret. Margaret married first Philip 
Bennet, secondly Lawrence Furlong. Patrick (or Philip) 
married at Wexford, Brigetta Davemess, daughter of Walter 
Davemess, merchant of Wexford. 

The third marriage of Commodore Barry's mother was to 
a Mr. Roche. No issue resulted from this marriage. 

Miss Stafford's brother Samuel Bayard Stafford, in 1891, 
when living "near Lanham's, Prince George County, Maryland," 
wrote me: "My grandfather Col. William Howard Stafford, 
after the death of his wife, married the widow Catharine Barry, 
of Wexford, in Ireland, mother of Captain Barry." 

Mr. Stafford was then in feeble health but promised infor- 
mation concerning the Barry ancestors which, in manuscript, 
was at his former home in Trenton, New Jersey. This never 
was received, though I had been in correspondence seeking it 
from early in 1888. No verification of these statements of 
Mr. Stafford and sister has been found. 

On the contrary, besides the doubt because of the thrice 
marrying, Mr. Michael Browne, of Bridgetown, County Wexford, 

The Date of Birth J J 

writes ''It is said here that his mother accompanied him to 
America when first leaving.'* 

He also sends a photographic record which seems to show 
that James and Ellen (CuUen) Barry were the parents of our 
John Barry. 

Instead of his brother Thomas coming to America after the 
Revolution it is all but certain he was in Philadelphia early 
in 1779, as on February 15th in that year Captain John Barry 
and his wife Sarah * 'stood for*' Anna the daughter of Thomas' 
and Anna Barry at her baptism by Father Farmer on the day 
of her birth. No other clue of Thomas has been discovered. 
He is probably the brother of whom Captain John Barry wrote 
to Lafayette on November nth, 1782 from L'Orient that he 
had had the honor at Bordeaux of calling on Madame 
Lafayette, but "is since lost at sea." 

A manuscript by the late Edmund Hore, Editor of '*The 
Wexford Independent,** says "Commodore John Barry, the third 
son of a farmer was bom in Ballysampson in 1746. At the 
age of fifteen he went to sea with his uncle master of a vessel 
trading out of Wexford.'* 

The first published sketch of Commodore Barry, that in the 
Portfolio for July 1813, founded on information given by John 
Kessler, an associate of Barry's during the Revolution, gives 
the year 1745 as that of the date of birth of the Commodore. 
This has been followed in all subsequent recitals of his career 
which have simply been rewritings of the original sketch 
until the publication in 1897 of the History of Commodore 
John Barry. Kessler, being an intimate of Barry's and 
preparing his account at the request of Mrs. Barry, both, most 
probably, knew the date of birth but investigations made for 
this work in Ireland do not confirm this date. 

The Register of Births of Lady Island Church, the parish 
Chtu'ch of Tacumshin, which is yet preserved, has no record 
of a baptism of a John Barry in 1745. But the following ap- 
pears under August, 1739. 

3. John Barry and Marianna twins were bom at Bally 
Sampson, son and daughter to James and Ellen Cullen. Go- 

12 Baptismal Record 

sheps were Andrew Parle and Johanna Barry and John Ros- 
setter and Ellen O. Morrow. 

The record was made by Father James W. French who was 
Parish Priest of Lady's Island at the time and kept the records 
from 1736 to 1763. 

A pencil mark may be observed by the side of the entry. 
Father Whitty, the present pastor at Lady's Island, writes: 
**It was certainly there before I came here and may have been 
there for many years previously." Concerning the year of 
of this baptismal record Mr. Michael Browne, of Bridgetown, 
writes : 

"As this is six years earlier than 1745, the supposed date of 
Commodore Barry's birth, there may be a doubt whether it 
refers to him at all. But as it is certain he was bom in Bally- 
sampson and as there is no entry of his birth in 1 745 it may be 
taken that this entry refers to him, except there is some strong 
evidence to the contrary.'* 

Father John Codd, now sixty-five years of age, declares that 
when he was young he heard an old Priest say that Commo- 
dore Barry's birth was registered in the Registry of the 

A possible point of confirmation may also be found in the 
name of John Rosseter, a sponsor. This is probably the 
father of Captain John Rosseter, a privateersman of the Revo- 
lution and an associate and friend of Captain Barry. 

Mrs. Nancy Merryman Kelly, writing to Barry from Wex- 
ford, May 2oth, 1802, for assistance, said she was '* your sister 
Margaret's eldest daughter. Your father gave me half a 
guinea out of the money you last sent him. My husband, who 
was killed in the disturbances in this country[i798] was living 
with me in your father's time when he was living with my father's 

Mrs. Augusta (Clopper) Hutton now living in Montgomery 
County, Maryland, states that she was often informed by older 
members of her family that James Byrne, of Philadelphia, mar- 
ried Jane, a sister of Commodore Barry. 

By the will of James Byrne April 30th, 1793, probated 

"-Ktta. /fciw^ --«>««- /{ir>--/l 

His Relafiues 13 

August 24th, 1795, he mentions his wife Jane and bequeaths 
money to ** Rebecca Willcox in North Carolina daughter of 
wife Jane/' Captain Barry was appointed administrator of the 
estate of Jane Byrne on January 28th, 1796. [Letter Mr. Jos. 

Captain Barry's father had a brother Nicholas. Richard 
Barry, writing to the Commodore from New York on May 21st, 
1799, said he was *'the son of Nicholas Barry, that is your 
father's brother." 

No traces of these reputed relatives appear in the many papers 
examined in the preparation of this History. These recitals 
are recorded as, perhaps, of future help in the genealogical 
research of the Barry family. The collateral descendants of 
the Commodore are without knowledge which might be useful 
in this connection. Unsatisfactory though this genealogical 
record is, much time given to the unravelment of its intricacies 
has not enabled the compiler to present a clear family chart. 
Like other eminent Americans the pedigree of Commodore 
John Barry must begin with the first immigrant — himself — but 
with himself it closes, as being childless, though twice married, 
he left no direct descendants. 

"The Father of the Navy" like "The Father of the Country" 
had no children. God, it has been said, made Washington child- 
less that a Nation might call him Father. The galaxy of dis- 
tinguished men Stewart, Decatur, Dale, Murray, and others 
who served under Captain Barry merited for him the title 
so long given of Father of the Navy. 

In a letter of February 15th, 1877, Miss Stafford wrote: 

"I have for more than sixty years been a visitor to Commo- 
dore Barry's residence in Philadelphia. I was shown by Mrs. 
Sarah Barry's niece, Mrs. Patrick Barry Hayes, the ball that 
tore the flesh of the Commodore from his left shoulder." A 
later letter says the ball was lost. 

On April i6th, she wrote: "As I am far advanced in years I 
have concluded to write something respecting my father's 
valued friend Commodore Barrv. Life is so uncertain and I 
may die suddenly, then some part of history may be lost." 

14 His Language 

This account if ever written has not been found. Miss Staf- 
ford died January 6th, 1880, age 78 years. 

It is a noteworthy incident to relate that while young Barry 
remained in his native Barony of Forth he must, undoubtedly, 
have spoken the only language or dialect which prevailed. 

The Very Rev. C. V. Russell, D. D., President of Maynooth 
College, at a meeting of the British Association in 1857, read 
a paper, "On the Inhabitants and Dialect of the Barony of 
Forth in the County Wexford." It is published in "A Glos- 
sary with some Pieces of Verse in the old Dialect of the English 
Colony in the Baronies of Forth and Bargy" by Jacob 
Poole. Edited by W Barries, 1867. 

Dr. Russell said : — "The peculiar dialects which up to the last 
generation continued to be commonly spoken in the Baronies 
of Forth and Bargy in the County Wexford, Vallancey, in the 
second volume of the Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy, 
considers the ordinary English of the period of the invasion, 
preserved unaltered by the descendants of the original colony. 
Popular opinion in Ireland, however, looks upon it as of Flemish 
origin. In the Southwell Mss., written in 1680, are a series 
of returns regarding the County of Wexford which reports: 
"They preserve their first language (old Saxon English) and 
almost only understand the same unless elsewhere educated, 
they wear the same sort of apparel their predecessors first 
used which according to the English mode, is of very fine 
dressed frieze; they profess and maintain the same faith and 
form of religion, they seldom dispose of their children in marriage 
but unto natives or such as will determine to reside in the 

Vallancey, in 1788, collected specimens of the dialect with 
some difficulty. The vocabulary which he printed was chiefly 
supplied by an old gentlewoman named Browne, commonly 
known as "The Madam," and an old man named Dick Barry 
of Ballyconnor, who lived to an exceedingly old age and was 
probably the last genuine representative of the Forth speaking 
peasantry." Dr. Russell, however, considers "the Flemish a 
wild theory." Stanyhurst regarded it as "neither good 

Barony of Forth 


English nor good Irish and to have made a mingle-mangle of 
both languages." 

Dr. Russell concludes, "the Barony of Forth language, 
is a lineal descendant of the English introduced by the first 
settlers, modernized in its forms also, though in a less remark- 
able degree, in its vocabulary" 

He continues, 

The only complete piece which I have been able to recover 
is that printed by Vallancey. I shall give a short account of 
it, together with the opening and concluding verses, as a sort 
of text for the observations on the structure of the dialect 
which it seems to suggest. The theme is of the simplest. An 

16 Barony of Forth Dialect 

old yeoman Wathere (Walter), who is described a **loumach" 
and **hackee" ("low spirited" and **out of temper") with the 
worid, in answer to the remonstrance of one of his neighbors, 
Joane (John) on his downcast and moody appearance, relates 
how a great match of the well known rustic game of commane 
or hurley, in which two neighboring parishes were pitted 
against each other, had been lost through an unfortunate 
miss on the part of his son Tommeen. 
It begins by Joane*s demanding: — 

"Fade teil thee zo loumagh," co joane, "zo knaggee? 
Th' weithest all curoagh, wafur, an comcc. 
Lidge w'ouse an a milagh, tis gaay an louthee : 
Huck nigher; y'art scuddeen; fartoo 20 hachee?" 

Walthere replies, 

"Well, gosp, c'huU be zcid; mot thee fartoo, an fade; 
Ha deight ouse yar gabble tell ee zin go t'glade. 
Ch'an a stouk, an a donel; wou'U leigh out ee dey. 
Th' valler w'speen here, th'lass ee chourch-hey." 


"What ails you so melancholy" quoth John "so cross? 

You seem all snappish, uneasy, and fretful. 

Lie .with us on the clover, 'tis fair and sheltered : 

Come nearer; you've rubbing your back; why so ill tempered?" 

"Well, gossip, it shall be told ; you ask what ails me, and for what ; 

You have put us in talk 'till the sun goes to set, 

I am a fool and a dunce; we'll idle out the day. 

The more we spend here the less in the church yard. " 

I must refer to Vallancey for the narrative. Wathere proceeds 
to tell that the game was **was jisting our hone" — all but 
won by his party — had it not been by ill luck that his son 
*' Tommeen was eepit t 'drive in" — that is placed as the player, 
to give the bamaugh-blow, the decisive stroke, which was 
finally to drive the ball through the enemy's goal. At first 
the odds had been against Tommeen 's party, but the scale 
turned and they were on the point of complete success. The 
ball was almost at goal, and needed but a gentle stroke to 
drive it through, when, instead of a gentle '*dap on kewe," 
Tommeen in his unlucky over eagerness "yate a rishp"— drew 
a tremendous blow, and striking his bat upon an anthill, 

Barony of Forth Dialect 17 

(emothee knockane) shivered it in his hand. Losing the 
advantage by this unlucky indiscretion, he gave the adverse 
party an easy victory. Hence the mortification and chagrin 
of the narrator. The concluding stanzas, which describe the 
rough but hearty consolation oflfered by Wathere to his listeners 
are highly characteristic : — 

"Ha-ha! be me coshes, th'ast ee-pait it," co joane; 
Y'oure w'thee crookeen, an ye mee thee poane. 
He at nouthe fade t'zey, Uean vetch ee man, 
Twish thee an Tommeen, an eer emothee knaghane. 
"Come w'ouse, gosp Leany, theezel an menchere; 
Outh o'mee hoane ch'uU no part wi' Wathere.** 
Joane got leigheen; shoo pleast aam all, fowe? 
Shoo ya aam zim to doone, as w*be doone nowe: 
Zo bless all oore frends, an God zpeed ee plowe. 

"Hey-ho! by my conscience, you have paid it," quoth John; 

"Give over your crossness, and give me yoiu* hand. 

He knows what to say, mischief fetch the man, 

Betwixt you and Tommy and the pismire-hill. 

"Come with us, gossip Larry, yourself and Miles; 

Out of my hand I'll not part with Walter." 

Joan set them a laughing, she pleased them all, how ? 

She gave them some to do, as we are doing now (drinking), 

So bless all otu- friends and God speed the plough. 

Meagre, as is this specimen of the language, it will enable us 
at least to form a general idea of its chief structural and gram- 
matical peculiarities. Such was the language young John 
Barry spoke. Such may have been the game he oft as a boy 
took part in. This may have been a hurling match he witnessed 
and so have felt the chagrin of the defeat of his parish or 
bounded with joy at its victory snatched from defeat. Perhaps 
Dick Barry, the last of the Forthers to speak this peculiar 
dialect, may have been of John Barr>''s own family. 

18 Barry in America 



While the tradition at his birth place is that Barry ''came to 
America with his mother," Miss Stafford relates: 

"He left home without the knowledge of his friends, went to 
Spanishtown in the Island of Jamaica ; came to Philadelphia, 
from thence worked for Mr. Willing; then lived with Samuel 
Meredith. Being an active youth the Merediths and Cadwal- 
laders assisted him in procuring a situation. He lived with 
General Cadwallader." So wrote Miss Stafford April i6th, 
1877. She simply meant that Barry, after coming to Phila- 
delphia, was in the employ of the merchants Willing, Meredith 
and Cadwallader and sailed on their vessels. It is generally 
stated that Barry was fifteen years of age on his arrival in 
Philadelphia. In a letter he wrote in 1792 he speaks of having 
lived in this country "thirty odd years." Being but a youth 
no documentary evidences of his career prior to his early man- 
hood are available. 

The first record shows he was Captain of the schooner 
Barhadoes which cleared at Philadelphia on October 2d, 1766, 
for the Barbadoes Islands. John Barry, the master of the 
vessel, if bom 1 745, was then but twenty-one years of age. t 
is unlikely that he was earlier entrusted with a command, 
though it is probable that upon that or other vessels engaged 
in the West Indies trade he had been employed until promoted 
to the command as Master. The Barbadoes was first registered 
at the Custom House on September 29th, 1766. She was 
built at Liverpool, in the Province of Nova Scotia, and owned 
by Edward Denny, of Philadelphia. John Barry was regis- 
tered as Captain. [Ms. Pa. His. Soc] 

His Voyage 19 

Though but of 60 tons is it not more probable that one older 
than twenty-one years was given such an important com- 
mand and that at, say, 27 years of age he was more likely 
to have been selected, thus helping to sustain the record of 
birth in 1739. 

On January 2, 1769, he was elected a member of the Society 
for the Relief of Poor and Distressed Masters of Ships. He 
continued in command of the Barhadoes until 1771, when, 
on May 30, he arrived at Philadelphia from St. Croix, in charge 
of the schooner Patty and Polly. In October of the same 
year we find him commanding the schooner Industry, arriving 
from Virginia. He continued to sail her until 1772, when, 
on September 2, he arrived from Halifax as captain of the 
Frugality. He had gone thither in command of the Industry, 
but there he and Captain Wilkinson changed places and both 
returned to Philadelphia on the same day. Captain Barry 
was then given the Peggy, which he sailed to St. Eustatia and 
Montserrat. In this command he continued until assigned 
to The Black Prince, which sailed from Philadelphia December 
21, 1774, for Bristol, England, where he arrived between 
January 24th and February 4th, 1775. He arrived at London 
June 7th, 1775. [Felix Farley's Journal cited by J. E. Allen, 
of Bristol, England to Louis A. Lathrop, U. S. Consul July 
23, 1902.] In September The Black Prince sailed for Phila- 
delphia, where she arrived October 13, 1775. 

The Black Prince belonged to John Nixon, whose grand- 
father Richard, a Catholic, native of Barry's own county, 
Wexford, arrived in Philadelphia in 1686. It was John Nixon 
who read the Declaration of Independence to the people of 
Philadelphia on July 8, 1776. 


The following record of the voyages of Captain John Barry, 
of Philadelphia, to and from the West Indies, is mainly compiled 
from the lists of arrival and departure of vessels in the Phila- 
delphia papers of the years given. 


His Voyages 

• • • • I yoo . • • . 
Oct. 2. Clears for the Barbadoes in thtschoontt Barbadoes of 60 tons, 
[Pa. Gaz.] Pennsylvania At chives gives Oct. i8th, as the date. 


Oct. 29. From Barbadoes. 

Aug. 20. For Barbadoes 
Nov. 12. " 

May 19. From Barbadoes. 
Aug. 12. " 
Nov. 10. " 

May II. From Barbadoes. 
Aug. 24. •• 

1768. . . . 

June 2. To Barbadoes. 
Aug. 25. " 
Nov. 17. " 


June I. To Barbadoes. 
Aug. 31. " 


July. 5 To Barbadoes. 
Oct. II. 


June 21. From Barbadoes. 
Sept. 21. •' 

May 30. From St. Croix in brig Patty and Polly. 

Oct. 24. " Virginia in schooner Industry 45 tons. 

Oct. 31. To New York, " 

Dec. 26. To Nevis. 

. . . .1772 

April 9. From Nevis. 

May 14. To Halifax. 

July 21. From Halifax. 

Sept. 2. From Halifax in sloop Frugality. The Industry under Capt. 
Williamson arrived the same day from Halifax, where probably, Capt. 
Barry had taken her. 

Oct. 9. Register for sloop Peggy, 25 tons, John Barry, Master 
issued [2 Pa. Ar. 2 vol. p. 660.] 

Oct. 14. For St. Eustatia in the Peggy, 25 tons. 

Dec. 16. From " 

Dec. 23. To 


June I. From Montserrat in Peggy. July 7. For St. Eustatia. 

Sept. I. " " " " Oct. 13. ' 

Dec. 8. " " " " Dec. 27. " " 

<< << 



(4 14 

.... 1 774 • • • • 
March 2. From St. Eustatia. March 23. For Montserrat. 

June 15. " Monsterrat. June 29. " " 

Sept. 21. " " 

Dec. 19. Register for ship Black Prince issued to John Barry. 
Master. [Pa. Ar. ii . p 668.) 

Dec. 21. To Bristol, England in Ths Black Prince. 

His Marriages 21 

• • • • ^ifS • • • ■ 
Jan. 24 — Feb. 4. Arrival at Bristol, England. 
June 7. Arrives at London. 
Oct. 13 Axrives at Philadelphia. 

The Pennsylvania Gazette of October 7th, 1772, reports: 
Captain Barry from St. Christopher on September i6th in 
latitude 25:17 spoke schooner Diligence, Captain Fulsom, 
from London for Providence; sloop Edenton from Jamaica, 
schooner Kingston for Philadelphia from Jamaica; sloop 
Good Intent from New York to Madeira." This Captain 
Barry, however, was Captain Patrick Barry. Captain John 
Barry, on September i6th, was in Philadelphia. What re- 
lation, if any, Patrick was to John has not been discovered, 
but as Captain John Barry administered to Patrick's estate 
in 1780 it is reasonable to conclude that a family connection 
existed. Captain Barry's nephew, Patrick Barry Hayes, was 
probably named after Captain Patrick . Was he a brother 
or the uncle with whom young John sailed in and out of Wexford 

Captain Barry was twice married. The remains of both 
wives rest in the grave with his own in the burial ground of 
St. Mary's church, Philadelphia. The name of his first wife 
is uncertain. Miss Sarah Smith Stafford, in letters to Captain 
John S. Barnes, said Barry's first wife was "Mary Bums the 
daughter of a rank Presbyterian from Scotland — a Presby- 
terian minister." Among the marriage licenses in the Penn- 
sylvania Archives the names of John Barry and Mary Bums 
do not appear nor do the records of the Presbyterian churches 
in the colonies show a minister named Bums. 

On October 31st, 1767, a marriage license was issued to 
John Barry and Mary Cleary. If this was our Captain Barry 
he took out the license two days after returning from the 
Barbadoes, for which he set sail again November 12th. 

On October loth, 1772, a marriage license was issued to 
John Barry and Mary Farrell. If this was our John Barry 
the license was procured four days before sailing in command 
of the new sloop Peggy for St. Eustatia. 

22 Conuerskm of His Wife 

No record of any of these marriages appear in the register 
of Father Farmer. 

But whether his wife's name was Bums or Cleary or Farrell 
she died on February 9, 177 — , aged twenty-nine years and 
ten months. When, years ago, I copied the inscriptions, 
the last figure of the year of her death was illegible on the old 
tombstone, which yet remains near the present tomb, where 


H was cast aside, when, in 1876, the present tomb was erected. 
In Gregory B. Keen's "Descendants of Joram Kyn,*' in the 
Pennsylvania Magazine, Vol. IV, the date of death is given 
as 1 77 1. 

Prof. Keen, the Librarian of the Pennsylvania Historical 
Society, cannot tell the source of his statement as to the year 

It is possible that the true date is 1774, as given in Camp- 
bell's History of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick. The Provin- 
cial Tax List for that year records: "John Barry of Walnut 
Ward, one servant jC^-' ^^ ^^^s was our Captain Barry it 
seems to indicate house-keeping and so the probability that 
Mrs. Barry directed it when the List was compiled, say, to- 
wards the close of 1773, and justifies the inference that she 
died in 1774. 

On July 7, 1777, Captain Barry married, at Christ Church 
(P. E.), Sarah Austin, daughter of Samuel Austin and Sarah 
Keen ("Penna. Archives," Vol. VIII.) Mrs Barry became a 
convert to the Catholic faith, and was baptized on July 21, 
1779, according to the register preserved at St. Joseph's 
Church. Anna Barry, only sponsor. She was the wife of 
Thomas Barry brother of Captain John Barry. Mrs. Barry 
and her sister, Mary Austin with other ladies of Gloria Dei 
Church, made and presented to John Paul Jones the flag of the 
Bon Homme Richard. She died on November 13, 1831, at 
the age of seventy-seven. Her father was a son of John 
Austin, ship carpenter, who, on November i, 1683, received 
from William Penn a lot of ground, 50 by 178 feet, at Third 
and Chestnut streets ; and her mother was Sarah Keen, daughter 
of Jonas and Sarah (Dahlbo) Keen, who was bom in Piles- 
grove township, Salem coimty. New Jersey, on January 20, 1722. 

War Services Begin 23 

Mrs. Barry had two brothers. One, Isaac Austin, adhered 
to the cause of the Colonies throughout the War, but the other, 
William Austin, at first upheld the rights of the Colonies and 
took up arms in defence, marching with the militia to Camp 
Elizabeth Town from whence he wrote his sister on July 30th, 
1776, (Ms) but later, like many thousands, accepted British 
allegiance and so was, by the Pennsylvania Assembly, attainted 
of treason and his estates confiscated. He owned the old Arch 
Street Ferry on the Delaware. The Assembly passed An Act 
to vest in his brother Isaac Austin, '*a certain messuage, wharf, 
ferry and ferry-landing on the north side of Mulberry [Arch] 
Street at the eastern extremity thereof in the City of Phila- 
delphia late the property of William Austin, attainted of high 
treason.*' On December 22d, 1 784, a bill to repeal this Act and 
to vest the property in George Adam Baker was offered in 
the Assembly. There had been litigation over this property 
and on October 26th, 1780, Captain John Barry, and his wife 
Sarah, Isaac Austin and the children of Christian Keen, late 
Christiana Stilling, petitioned the Supreme Court in the case. 
{Ms 1572). 

To William Austin, Commodore Barry bequeathed his 
'*silver-hilted sword as a token of esteem." He died at Charles- 
ton, S. C, on August 3, 1 8 14. 


Captain Barry's ship the Black Prince was purchased by 
Congress, named the Alfred, after Alfred, the Great, who is 
credited with being the founder of the English navy. Under 
Captain Salstonstall the Alfred became the flagship of Captain 
Esek Hopkins, who, as commander of the first fleet sailing 
under Continental authority, was the first "Commodore," 
or ** Admiral" titles which, though not then official, were com- 
monly applied to the commander of more than one vessel. 

Captain Barry's return to Philadelphia from Bristol was 
opportune for himself and his country. The very day of his 
home-coming, October 13, 1775, the Continental Congress 
resolved to fit out two armed cruisers, one of fourteen and the 

24 The Lexington 

other of ten guns, with authority to capture vessels bringing 
supplies to the British army. Two vessels were purchased 
under authority of this resolution, by the M a ri ne Committee 
of Congress. They were named the Lexington and the Repri- 
sal, On Decmber 7, Captain Barry was appointed to the 
command of the Lexington and Captain Wickes to the Reprisal, 

"At that interesting crisis when Great Britian brought her 
veteran armies and powerful navies to coerce a compliance 
with her unjust demands ; and when all but men struggling for 
their liberties would have deemed resistance folly, it became 
important to select officers whose valor and discretion, whose 
experience and skill could give the utmost efficiency to our 
insignificant means of defence and annoyance. The rare 
union in Commodore Barry of all these qualities, recommended 
him to the notice of Congress and he was honored by that body 
with one of the first naval commissions. [Bailey's Am. Naval 
Biog. 1815. p. 157.] 

The Lexington was named in honor of the scene of the first 
combat with Great Britian. Captain Barry was probably 
the first Catholic appointed in the Continental service" (Scharf 
and Westcott's 'Hist. Phila.,' I, p. 302.)" On entering it he is 
reported to have said that he had "given up the command of 
the finest ship and left the first employ of America." 

The Lexington had been "purchased earlier than the Alfred, 
and in the nature of things, was more readily equipped" 
(Cooper's "Hist. Navy"). She carried fourteen four pounders 
These and other stores were obtained from Willing & Morris, 
Barry's former employers. This firm alone had a quantity of 
"Round Shott for 4 and 9 pounders in their store under the pave- 
ment in Penn street and in their yard" ("Pa. Arch.," Vol. II, 

P- 556). 

Though Congress had, in October, begun the formation of 
a Navy, it was not until December 22, 1775, that Esek Hopkins, 
of Rhode Island, was appointed commander-in-chief, and 
Dudley Saltonstall, Abraham Whittle and John Hopkins Cap- 
tains. Captain Barry's commission, bearing date December 
7th, two weeks before the formal organization of the Navy, was 
the first issued by the Marine Committee of the Continental 

The Bag 25 

Congress. By Alliston's *Xife of Elbridge Gerry" we learn 
that on Decmber 13th, Congress resolved to build thirteen ships 
and appointed a Committee of Thirteen to direct affairs and 
that John Adams wrote to Gerry, years afterwards, ** I was 
gone home by leave of Congress, but I presume Barry and 
Jones were appointed by this Committee.*' 

The journal of John Paul Jones records. " My commission 
under the United Colonies is dated the seventh day of De- 
cember, 1775, as Lieutenant of the Alfred.'* (Sand's Life of 

Thus Captain John Barry was the first Catholic — the first 
officer appointed to the first vessel purchased, named after the 
place of the first battle, made the first capture of a British 
vessel which was brought to Philadelphia as a prize. 

It was long claimed for Captain Barry that the Lexington* 
was the first cruiser to display at sea the first flag of our coun- 
try. Cooper, in the earlier editions of his History of the Navy, 
gave Barry the honor probably because first commissioned and 
first ready for service. The severity of the weather and an 
outbreak of small-pox among the crews are known to have 
detained the fleet under Hopkins at Reedy Island for six weeks, 
so that it did not put to sea before February 1 7th, 1 776. Later 
investigations by Cooper(ed 1853) by an examination of Barry's 
papers show that he was. employed on shore or in the Delaware 
after Hopkin's fleet had put to sea. These papers of Barry's, 
which Cooper had examined, are not now available. 


There was no regulation flag until, in June 1777, Congress 
adopted the Stars and Stripes as we now have it. 

John Jay, writing, Philadelphia, March 23d, 1776, to Col. 
McDougal, said: *'As to Continental Colors the Congress have 
made no order as yet concerning them ; and I believe the Captains 
of their armed vessels have, in that particular, been directed by 
their own fancies and inclinations. I remember to have seen 
a flag designed for one of them, in which was extremely well 
painted a large rattlesnake, rearing his crest and shaking his 

26 The Flag 

rattles, with this motto **Don*t tread on me" but whether this 
device was generally adopted by the fleet I am not able to 
say; I rather think not" [Am. Ar. 4 Ser. Vol. V., p. 471]. 

Captains of armed vessels had been "indulging their fancies" 
and displaying flags with various devices. Thus on December 
3d, 1775, Lieutenant John Paul Jones, of Commodore Hopkin's 
flagship T/ie Alfred^ off Walnut street wharf, hoisted the "Rat- 
tlesnake flag" This flag was of yellow silk with a lively repre- 
sentation of a rattle-snake in the middle in the attitude of 
going to strike and underneath: "Don't Tread on Me." 

But as early as October 20th, 1775, General Washington, 
by his Secretary Colonel Joseph Reed, had written Colonel 
Stephen Moylan, who with Colonel Glover was at Salem, Mass., 
fitting out armed vessels : " Please fix upon some particular flag 
and a signal by which our vessels may know one another. What 
do you think of a flag with a white ground, a tree in the middle, 
the motto 'Appeal to Heaven'? This is the flag of our floating 
batteries. We arc fitting out two vessels at Plymouth, and 
when next I hear from you on this subject I will let them know 
the flag and signal, that we may distinguish our friends from 
our foes." [Am. Ar. 4 Ser. 3 Vol. p. 1 126.] To which Colonel 
Moylan replied: "The schooner sailed this morning. As 
they had none but their old colors, we appointed them a signal 
that they may know each other by and be known as friends as 
the ensign up the main topping lift." 

Preble's Origin of the Flag gives illustrations of fifteen devices 
used as flags in 1775-6, thus showing how the "fancies" of 
commanders prevailed. Washington, on January 2d, 1776, at 
Cambridge, hoisted the flag with thirteen stripes and the En- 
glish Cross as the Union or Continental colors designed, chiefly, 
that at sea "We may distinguish our friends from our foes." 

On February 8th, 1776, a Rattlesnake flag was presented to 
Congress as "a standard such as is to be used by the Comman- 
der-in-Chief of the American Navy." It was placed on the 
President's Chair. 

Though Preble's Origin of the Flag says : Captain Barry's Lex- 
ington was the first vessel that bore the Continental flag to 
victory on the ocean "and made the first capture under the 

The Hag 27 

striped flag," it may be asked, as he presents no evidence: 
What was the "Continental flag" in April, 1776? The Con- 
gress of the Continent had not yet adopted a flag. Its Presi- 
dent's chair was decorated with the standard borne by Com- 
modore Hopkins' ship — The Rattlesnake Flag — and Captains 
of vessels were indulging their fancies as to the flag used. Did 
Captain Barry fly the flag Washington had adopted for use of 
vessels off Boston? No known record justifies a declaration. 

But when Hopkins' fleet on February 17th, 1776, sailed 
from the Delaware Bay, after being obstructed for weeks by 
ice in the river and the small pox among the crew, *'they 
sailed from Philadelphia amidst the acclamations of thousands 
assembled on the joyful occasion, under the display of a Union 
flag with thirteen stripes in the field ; emblematic of the thir- 
teen United Colonies. [Am. Ar. 4 S. Vol. 8 p. 965.] 

So it would appear that the ** Rattlesnake Flag" was the 
personar'standard"orflagof the Commander-in-Chief Hopkins, 
which also was painted on the drums of the marines of the 
Alfred. [Am. Ar. 4 Ser. 4 Vol. p. 468.] The fleet flag was, 
however, the Union or Continental flag adopted by Washington 
and first displayed at Cambridge, January 2d, 1776. 

That was the flag of the Hopkins* fleet. Did Captain Barry's 
Lexington, then ready in the Delaware, fly the Rattlesnake or 
other device or the Union flag of Washington? There is no 
direct evidence to show. 

But as Hopkins, though having a personal standard, the 
Rattlesnake, as typical of his watchfulness and power to 
wound, flew the striped flag which Washington had caused to 
be adopted, is it not most probable, then, that Captain Barry, 
about to enter upon his activity on the ocean, used the striped 
flag or Continental colors as his sea flag, as did Hopkins and 
the Commanders to the Northward so that all at sea might 
know one another by this ensign? 

Hopkins got to sea on February 17th, 1776, and so if not the 
first to display the Union flag he preceded Barry, who then had 
not sailed from Philadelphia in the Lexington, 

Not only has there been controversy as to whether or not 
Barry's Lexington was the first cruiser put to sea under the 

28 The Flag 

new flag, but also as to whether or not **the first British flag 
on the ocean was struck to him.'* 

Preble's Origin of the Flag (p. 243) says: *'The Lexington 
of the seas, occupies the position in our naval annals that the 
Lexington from whence she derives her name does from hav- 
ing been the arena of the first conflict of the Colonies with Eng- 
land. For Barry it can be truthfully claimed that he was the 
first under the striped flag to capture an armed vessel of the 

In 1 8 13, John Adams wrote to Ellbridge Gerry: '* Phila- 
delphia is now boasting that Paul Jones has asserted in his 
journal that his hand hoisted the first American flag, and Cap- 
tain Barry has asserted that the first British flag was struck to 
him. Now I assert that the first American flag was hoisted 
by Captain John Manly and the first British flag was struck to 
him" (Adams' Works, vol. X, p. 30). Adams also wrote to 
John Langdon respecting this denial of honors to Jones and 
Barry, adding: "Both these vain boasts I know to be false, 
as you know them to be so. I wish your testimony to corrobo- 
rate mine. It is not decent nor just that these emigrants, 
foreigners of the South, should falsely arrogate to themselves 
merit that belongs to New England sailors, officers and men" 
{Ibid., X, 28). Langdon replied that the "pretensions" of 
Jones and Barry " are both unfounded." 

Adams and Langdon writing thirty-eight years after Manly 's 
captures and solicitous for the "merit" they believed due to 
"New England sailors" had in mind the early captures, and 
not specially the form of the flag the victors bore, if any. 
Barry had in 1 8 1 3 been dead ten years. 

First Capture 29 


Barry's services in the "lexington" in the Delaware 

bay and "off the capes " — capture of the 

"edward," the "lady susan," the 

"betsy," and other prizes. 

The Lexington^ under Barry, had been fitted up and was ready 
for service. On March 23, 1776, Congress ordered letters of 
marque to be issued. Public and private cruisers were also 
authorized to capture British vessels. Cooper and other writers 
on the history of the Navy do not give the date of the Lexing- 
ton's sailing from Philadelphia. 

Henry Fisher, of Lewes, Delaware, reporting on April ist, 
1776, to the Committee of Safety of Pennsylvania, related that ' 
"On Friday the brig [Lexington] Captain Barry, came down 
under Cape May and on Sunday morning, [March 31st,] 
went out. The ship and her tender put out to sea also after 
the brig, but returned on Sunday evening into the road." 

**The ship" was the Roebuck, man-of-war, one of **His Ma- 
jesty's Pirates," which kept guard of the Delaware Bay. 
Barry was now at sea. His career has begun. On April 5th, 
Fisher reported to the Committee: **Last night at ten o'clock 
I received your letter, dated April 3d, per express, with a let- 
ter from Captain Faulkner with a signal for Captain Barry, 
which I shall take great care shall be answered." 

On Sunday April 7th, 1776, the Lexington '* off the Capes of 
-Virginia," fell in with the Edward, a tender of the man-of-war 
Liverpool "shattered her in a terrible manner;" captured her 
and brought her, on April nth, to Philadelphia — the first 
prize brought to the city and to the Marine Committee of Con- 
gress, thus giving delight to the Patriots of Barry's home city. 
It was this capture which caused Preble [''Origin of the 
Flag, 2d Ed. p. 242] to say ''The Lexington was the first ves- 
sel that bore the Continental flag to victory on the ocean." 

30 The Edward 

Captain Barry in his report to the Marine Committee, under 
date of the day of capture, April 7th, **in sight of the Capes of 
Virginia," says: 

'*At one P. M. this day I fell in with the sloop Edward belong- 
ing to the Liverpool frigate. She engaged us near two glasses. 
They killed two of our men and wounded two more. We shat- 
tered her in a terrible manner, as you will see. We killed 
and wounded several of her crew. I shall give you a particular 
account of the powder and arms taken out of her, as well as my 
proceedings in general. I have the happiness to acquaint you 
that all our people behaved with much courage." (Penna. 
Gazette, Apr. 17, 1776.) 

From the official report of the fight (Force's Amer. Archives," 
4th series. Vol. V) we learn that it *' was continued desperately 
for one hour and twenty minutes, when the tender struck." 
Of this important capture John Adams, writing from Phila- 
delphia on April 12, said: *'We begin to make some little 
figure here in the navy way. Captain Barry fitted out here a 
few days ago in a 1 6 gun brig and put to sea by the Roebuck man- 
of-war in the Delaware river, and after he got without the Capes 
fell in with a tender belonging to the Liverpool man-of-war and 
took her after an engagement of two glasses. She had eight 
carriage guns and a number of swivels" (AtheruBnum Mag., 
May, 1826). And Richard Henry Lee, writing to General 
Charles Lee, at Williamsburg, Va., from Philadelphia, April 15, 
said : "Captain Barry in an armed brig hence has taken off the 
Capes of Virginia, and sent in here, a cutter with eight carriage 
guns belonging to the Liverpool, with one of that ship's lieu- 
tenants commanding her. He fought his tender well, not 
submitting until he was near sinking" ("Lee Papers," "N. Y. 
Hist. Soc. Coll.," 1 871). 

The British seaman captured on this occasion were : Rich- 
ard Boger, lieutenant, John Johnston, (midshipman), Isaac 
Burch, Owen Humphries, William Fulton, John Henderson, 
Seth Bowen, Robert Oytson, Jacob Smith, Thomas Dopson, 
John Dayton, James Webb, John Palmer, James Ogleby, 
Richard Gibson, James Spencer, John Doyle, Henry Kelly, 
Thomas Phillips, John Shad, John Wilson, John Nesbit, (**Pa. 

The British Captives 31 

Arch.," 2d series, Vol. I, 479). Another list given on p. 421 
of the same volume gives additional names of prisoners as fol- 
lows: John Dreaper (mate), Andrew Kelly and John Steed, 
stated to be **in the sloop." Of these, it is stated, John 
Nesbith as "left at Capt. Temithy Schler's, sick," Thomas 
Phillips as **left at Meg'r Richard Weitcot's, sick," and John 
Wilson, *'do." The Captain of the Edward was Richard Boger 
[or Bowdger] 2d heutenant of the Liverpool, [Ibid. p. 410]. 
Among those captured on the Edward and not named in the 
list of prisoners was Richard Dale. He had been heutenant of 
a light cruiser belonging to Virginia, which had been captured 
by the Edward. Dale "was induced to adopt the royal cause," 
and so served on the Edward. When taken prisoner by Barry 
explanations followed and Dale renewed his allegiance to Vir- 
ginia. Barry, in July, appointed him midshipman on the 
Lexington. In October, when Johnston became Captain of 
that vessel. Dale was made master's-mate. He rose to be 
Commodore in the Navy established under the Constitution. 

The Edward prisoners were lodged in the jail at Sixth 
and Walnut streets. On April 19th, Lieutenant Boger was 
at Germantown on parole of an allowance of fifteen shillings 
a week for subsistence. On June 13, the Committee of Safety 
ordered him to be removed to York, with the same allowance. 
He refused to sign a parole and on July 3d was ordered to be 
taken to York and delivered to the common jail if he still per- 
sisted in refusing. Congress had a month before, June 4th, 
empowered the Committee to arrange an exchange of prisoners 
with Captain Bellew of the Roebuck, but debarred Lieutenant 
Boger from the exchange [Am. Ar. 4 S. vi, p. 1283-95-97]. 

In July Colonel Kirkland, a prisoner in the Philadelphia 
jail aided by Arthur Thomas, his two sons and Mr. Hales, made 
their escape, got to Salem, N. J. and thence on board a British 
vessel. A horse was sent to Lieutenant Boger at Germantown, 
but he refused to "go off because he would not forfeit his word 
of honor." Thomas "damned him for talking of honor among 
thieves and rogues." [2d Pa. Ar., i p. 603-4]. 

Perhaps Boger did not wish to be honor-bound at York and 
so would not sign a new parole. In January, 1777, he was ex- 

32 Expedition Against New Providence 

changed by Washington, who on 13th wrote Lord Howe: **I 
lately sent on Lieutenant Boger who belonged to the Liverpool 
frigate.'* This was in accordance with the request of Robert 
Morris, on Decmber 23, 1776, that Boger be exchanged for 
Lieutenant Josiah, then a prisoner of New York. 

The Marine Committee of Congress wrote to Commodore 
Hopkins, April, 1776: 

'*The Roebuck, Captain Hammond, of forty guns, is now in 
Le wist own Road. You will observe by the paper that Cap- 
tain Barry, in the Brigantine Lexington, has taken an armed 
tender of twenty-five picked men, commanded by a Lieuten- 
ant of the Liverpool; which is a loss they cannot easily provide 
for — the want of men." [Am. Ar., 4 S, 5 Vol., p. 1140]. 

The fleet under Commodore Hopkins, which went to sea 
from Cape Henlopen, on February 17th, 1776, not being "in 
a condition to keep on a cold coast" went southward to the 
Bahama Islands rendezvouing at Abacco, where after a fif- 
teen days wait for the arrival of all the vessels, Hopkins 
formed an expedition against New Providence and set it in 
execution on March 3, when he captured the town, eighty- 
eight cannon, fifteen mortars and a supply of ammunition 
and other stores. On St. Patrick's Day, while Washington's 
Army was entering Boston after its forced evacuation by the 
British, Hopkins sailed from New Providence with the Gov- 
ernor and other hostages and the captured stores. 

On the 4th of April, off of Long Island, Hopkins captured a 
British schooner of 18 guns and eight swivels, and on the fifth, 
a bomb brig of eight guns and two howitzers, ten swivels and 
forty-eight men with all sorts of stores, ammunition powder. 
On the sixth of April, Hopkins fell in with the British frigate 
Glasgow and her tender and engaged her for near three hours, los- 
ing six men killed on the A If red and four of the Cabot. The wheel 
ropes and blocks of the Cabot being shot away the Glasgow had 
time to make sail away. On the eleventh, Hopkins reached 
New London, Connecticut, with his prizes. The same day 
Captain Barry arrived at Philadelphia with his prize. The 
Edward was captured on the 7th, or two and three days after 
the captures off the east end of Long Island by Hopkins. 

His First Capture 33 

Barry 's arrival at Philadelphia, the seat of the ** Rebel'* gov- 
ernment, before the report of Hopkins' captures doubtless 
caused a belief that **the first British flag on the ocean was 
struck" to Barry. This evoked.a demonstration of satisfaction 
with the endeavor being made to have a fleet formidable to 
Great Britian by its alertness and power in the protection of 
merchant vessels bringing supplies to the battlers against 
England, as well as in the captiwes of those sent to the British 
army then at New York. 

Hopkins, not capturing the Glasgow was disappointing. 
Other delinquences were alleged against him. Congress passed 
censure upon him. Captain Whipple of the fleet also was tried 
for lack of efficiency, while throughout the fleet a spirit of jeal- 
ousy prevailed. 

Fortunately Captain Barry, having an independent com- 
mand and so answerable only to the Marine Committee of 
Congress, was not subject to such dispiriting and discipline 
destroying influences. 

It has been said that God works by curious coincidences. 
The observer of such singularities may note that, as far as the 
career of John Barry has been narrated, we learn that he re- 
signed the first and best employ and the command of the finest 
or first vessel in America to enter the first Continental naval 
service as the first Irish bom and the first Catholic appointed, 
and to the first of the first two vessels purchased; that his 
cruiser was named after the first battle place of the Revolu- 
tion, that it was the first commissioned by the Marine Committee 
of Congress, the first equipped for service, and the first to make 
a capture reported to the Marine Committee of Congress. It 
may also be noted that Barry's merchant ship, the Black Prince^ 
became the Alfred y so named in honor of the first commander 
of the British Navy; that it was the first vessel of the first Con- 
tinental fleet under its first Commodore. 

Arriving with his prize on the nth of April, Captain Barry 
at once proceeded to have the Edward and its cargo legally 
condemned as a lawful prize. Accordingly The Pennsylvania 
Post, April 13th, 1776, had this: Notice is hereby given. That 
the Court for taking cognizance of, and trying the justice of 

34 Sent Doum the Delauxire 

captured vessels made in pursuance of the Resolves of the Hon- 
orable, the Continental Congress, and brought into the Port of 
Philadelphia, will be held at the Court House, in the City of 
Philadelphia, on the 29th day of April, at ten o'clock in the 
forenoon, then and there to try the truth of facts alleged in 
the bill of John Barry, Esquire, Commander of brigantine-of- 
war, called the Lexington, against the armed vessel, sloop or 
tender called the Edward, burthen about fifty tons, mounting 
six carriage guns and lately commanded by Richard Boger, 
Esq., &c. 

On May i, advertisement was made that at noon next day 
"the sloop Edward, condemned by the Court of Admiralty, 
with all her ammunition, furniture, tackle and apparel,** would 
be sold at the Coffee House." 

Captain Barry's prize having been sold he was sent on May 8, 
by the Marine Committee, down the Delaware to act in accor- 
dance with the following order signed by Robert Morris, vice- 
president of the Committee. Two autograph copies of this 
order are known ; one in the collection of the late Mr. Charles 
Roberts, of Philadelphia,the other with Captain John S. Barnes 
of New York. It reads : 

*'You are hereby directed to collect your officers and men 
and repair to the Provincial armed ship. Captain Read, 
and supply him with as many of your people as he may want 
to completely man that ship fit for immediate action. You 
will also spare any of them that may be wanted on board the 
Floating Battery, or on board the ship Reprisal, and in short 
we expect the utmost exertions from you, your officers 
and men in defending the pass at Fort Island, and to prevent 
them coming up to this city ; also that you will assist in taking, 
sinking and destroying the enemy if that is thought advisable to 
pursue them, of which the Committee of this Board now down 
the river will judge. — P. S. You may go down on the sloop 
Hornet, Captain Hallock. Capt. Thomas Read, by special 
commission, is the commander at the Chaveaux de Prize." 
On May 9, Barry reported to Morris: "I think — if the Lex- 
ington was fitted out to come down she might be of service, 
for the more there is the better. We shall keep them in play 

Operations in the Bay 35 

If you tliink I shall be of more service here than up. I think 
she might be fitted by somebody up. Then some of the car- 
penters ought to be up there. — P. S. I think if Mr. Wharton 
was up he would soon get her ready." 

The Lexington was got ready and placed under Barry's 
command in the lower Delaware. 

On May 27, Henry Fisher, of Lewistown, writing to the Com- 
mittee of Safety, reported that the Roebuck and the Liverpool, 
British frigates, were in and about the Bay. He said: "I am 
persuaded that the Liverpool was scared away. Captains Barry 
and Alexander were over in our road, in a few hours after she 
went. They went over to Cape May for the rest of the fleet 
and now they are all over under our Cape in quest of the 
pirates." ('Tenna. Arch.," IV, 763.) 

At this time it may be said a Continental Navy did not exist. 
Congress, not satisfied with Hopkins, rather than dismiss him, 
reorganized the navy on April 17th, leaving Hopkins without 
an appointment. 

Thirteen ships, the real beginning of a Navy, were being built 
at Philadelphia, Boston and Baltimore. On June 6th, the 
Marine Committee appointed Captain John Barry, then in 
command of the Lexington, in the Delaware Bay, to the com- 
mand of " one of the ships building at Philadelphia." Later 
the Effingham was designated. Barry was alert and successful 
in the Delaware Bay and ofif the Capes in affording protection 
to supply vessels coming to Philadelphia. 

Josiah Bartlett, writing to John Langdon, of New Hampshire, 
on June 3d, said: Yesterday one of the Continental vessels 
sent out for necessaries arrived here. She brought 7400 pounds 
of powder and 149 arms, all she could procure. She had like 
to have been taken by the Liverpool in this bay, but two of the 
small Continental vessels took her and a French schooner under 
their protection and the Liverpool did not think it proper to 
engage them. Several French vessels from the West Indies 
have arrived here with molasses, coffee, linen, etc. [Am. Ar. 
4 S. 6 p. 1025]. 

On June nth, Henry Fisher reported to the Committee of 
Safety of Pennsylvania, *Xast evening the Kingfisher [British 

36 Protects the Nancy 

man-of-war] returned into our road with a prize brigantine. 
Captain Walker, of Wilmington ; but luckily for us before the 
pirate boarded her our brave Captain Barry had been on board of 
her and taken out some powder and arms." The Tories of the 
county had cut ofif all horse express communication with Phila- 
delphia, so Fisher was obliged "to send by the whaleboats to 
Newcastle," Delaware, and thence by land; he urged that some 
troops from upwards to quiet them "be sent" as they are 
breaking out in a surprising manner." [Am. Ar. 4 S. Vol. vi, p. 

Another Barry gives us a revelation of the method pursued 
by the British at this time in and off the Delaware Bay. On 
June I ith, William Barry, before Justice Samuel Patterson, of 
New Castle, Delaware, made oath that he was a mariner of 
ship Grace of Philadelphia which on March the 1 3th had passed 
Cape Henlopen bound for York River in Virginia; that on 
March 17th, St. Patrick's day, the Lord Howe, a sloop tender to 
the Roebuck, and commanded by Lieutenant Ord, captured 
the GracCy imprisoned the crew on the Roebuck, induced some 
to enter the British service and obliged all to do ship's duty. 
That after three weeks they came to Cape Henlopen when 
three men came on board from Lewistown with letters; they 
were kindly treated "and informed the people that they had 
or there were cattle, stock, etc., for them at Indian River," 
which the tenders had endeavored to get but were prevented 
by Barry's brig, as they called her, and a small schooner. Wil- 
liam Barry succeeded later in escaping and making his way 
to the American camp, and we hope joined his namesake John 
Barry. [Am. Ar., 4 S. vi p. 109]. 

On June 29th Captain Barry assisted in the protection of 
the "A^ancy," as thus related: 

July 5th, 1776, by a person from the lower counties in Jersey 
we are informed that the brig Nancy, Captain Montgomery, of 
six three pounders and eleven men, from St. Croix and St. 
Thomas for this port, loaded on Congress account with 386 
barrels of gunpowder, 50 firelocks, loi hogsheads of rum, 62 
hogsheads of sugar on board, on the morning of the 29th ulti- 
mo [June], when standing for Cape May, discovered six sail 

Tux> Captures 37 

of men-of-war, tenders, etc., making towards him, as also a row 
boat. The boat and tenders he soon engaged after and beat 
off and stood close along shore and got assistance from Cap- 
tains Wickes and Barry, when it was agreed to run the brig 
ashore, which was done and under favor of a fog, they have 
saved 268 barrels of powder, fifty arms and some dry goods, 
when the fog clearing away. Captain Montgomery discovered 
the enemy's ships very near him, and five boats coming to 
board the brig; on which he stored a quantity of powder in 
the cabin, and fifty pounds in the mainsail, in the folds of which 
he put fire and then quitted her. The men-of-war boats (some 
say two and some three) boarded the brig and took possession of 
her, with three cheers ; soon after which the fire took the desired 
eflfect, and blew the pirates forty or fifty yards into the air 
and much shattered one of their boats imder her stem. Eleven 
dead bodies have since come ashore with two gold-laced hats 
and a leg with a garter. From the great number of limbs float- 
ing and driven ashore, it is supposed thirty or forty of them 
were destroyed by the explosion. [Am. Ar., 5th series, i p. 14]. 

Captain Barry continued to hover about the Bay for the 
purpose of assisting other vessels bringing supplies from the 
West Indies, France or Spain. 

From letters and reports we may but get a glimpse of how oft 
he succeeded. Thus Caesar Rodney, writing to Captain Thom- 
as Rodney at Dover, Del., on August 3, said: "Yesterday came 
to town a ship belonging to the Congress from France with ten 
drums of powder, about forty drums of lead, and 1000 stand of 
arms, &c., and the same day an armed vessel, taken by Captain 
Barry at sea.'* [Am. Ar., 5th Ser. i, p. 741]. 

*'This is the best way of supplying ourselves with necessaries 
since Britain will not sufifer us to procure them by trade", wrote 
Bartlett to Langdon, August 5th, when relating to him that 
''Captain Barry in the Lexington, one of the Continental ves- 
sels, has taken and sent in here a privateer of six gun-carriage 
guns commanded by another of those famous Goodriches of 
Virginia." (Am. Ar. 5-1, p. 759.). 

Extract from a letter from Philadelphia, dated August 3, 1776 : 

Since my last we have arrived a sloop from North Carolina, 

38 The Lady Susan and the Betsy 

with naval stores and a sloop of eight four pounders. She 
belongs to the Goodriches, of Virginia, and was commanded 
by one of them; was out three days from Bermuda, when he 
discovered and gave chase to the brig Lexington, Captain Barry, 
but finding his mistake put back too late; for in about an hour 
and a half, Barr>' run alongside, when she struck. She had 
eight negroes on board. All, or most of the men, to the amount 
of twenty-five, entered on board of Barry. Goodrich is a 
prisoner on board of the brig. [American Archives]. 

The Pennsylvania Pockety of August 5th, 1776, reported: 

"Capt. Goodrich, of Virginia, in a sloop of eight guns, was 
taken at the eastward by a sloop of ten guns belonging to this 
State, after an obstinate engagement and carried to Salem. 
Capt. Goodrich, his lieutenant and seven men were killed. We 
had one man killed.'* 

These prizes were The Lady Susan and the Betsy. The Court 
of Admiralty condemned the vessels on September 26th, as 
appears from the annexed notice, which is dated September 
9th, the day Congress resolved that all in public documents here- 
after to be issued the words "United Colonies" be not used 
but that United States be the title. [Am. Ar. 5S.-3V. p. 1335]. 

The Pennsylvania Evening Post of September 19th, 1776, 
contained the following advertisement : 

To MX whom it may concern : 

Port of Philadelphia, 
Pennsylvania, ss: 

NOTICE is hereby given, that a Court of Admiralty 
will be held at the State House in the City of Philadelphia, on 
Thursday, the twenty-sixth day of September inst., at ten in 
the forenoon of the same day, then and there to try the truth 
of the facts alleged in the bill of John Barry, commander of 
the brigantine-of-war called the Lexington (who as well, &c.,) 
against Thomas Saunders, John Lercy, John Pomp, Samuel 
Sawood, Jack Messon, Charles Mills, Chance and Jeffery, 
Negro Slaves, lately taken aboard the prize-sloop or vessel 
called the Lady Susan, William Goodrich, Master To the end 
and intent that the owner or owners of same slaves or of any 

Certificate of Command 39 

or either of them may appear and show cause, if any, they 
have, why the same should not be condemned according to the 
prayer of the said bill. 

By order of the Judge, 
Sept. 9th, 1776. ANDREW ROBESON, Register. 

A similar notice was given against the sloop or vessel called 
the Betsy, burthen about fifty tons, lately commanded by 
Samuel Kerr, with her tackle, apparel and furniture and cargo 
and against Henry Nicholson, Peter May, James Herbert, 
Flora, Sam and Phyllis, Negro Slaves taken on board the 
said sloop. 

To justify the condemnation of prizes Captain Barry pre- 
sented the Court the annexed certificate given him by the 
President of Congress. 

I do hereby certify that JOHN BARRY was duly 
commissioned and appointed to command the Brigan- 
tine of war called the Lexington fitted out at the Con- 
tinental Charge and employed in the service of the 
United States of America. Witness my hand this 
26th September, 1776. 

JOHN HANCOCK, President. 
[Coll. Capt. John S. Barnes]. 

The vessels were condemned as prizes but the proceedings 
of Congress, November 7th, 1776, show; "An appeal having 
been lodged with the Secretary against the sentence passed 
in the Court of Admiralty for the Port of Philadelphia, in the 
State of Pennsylvania, in the libel of John Barry qui tarn &c., vs. 
U. S. sloop Betsy, ordered that it be referred to a Committee 
of Five and that the said Committee be empowered to hear 
and determine upon the said appeal. Messrs. Wythe, Paine, 
Wilson, Harper and Rutledge were appointed. On November 
loth, Mr. Chase, of Maryland, was added to the Committee. 
[Am. Ar., V. 3, 5th Series, p. 1563]. 

**The famous Goodriches of Virginia" were: John, commis- 
sioned by Lord Dunmore, Colonial Governor, Captain of The 
Lilly, to capture vessels off Occaock Bar. (Records, N. C, 

X p. 549) 

40 A Neu} Appointment 

Captain William Goodrich, of the Lady Susan, was not killed 
as reported by the Packet. He was brought as a prisoner to 
Philadelphia, where on September 17th, 1776, he was re- 
ported as an inmate of the State prison. (Pa. Ar. 2d I p. 423). 
With him was Captain Bridger Goodrich, who, by an odd mis- 
print, is named as Bridget. 

The Goodriches were later exchanged and in 1778 were in 
Bermuda. Information concerning their doings there can be 
found in the Pennsylvania Post, of October 9th, 1778. 

Captain Barry remained in command of the Lexington until 
October 18, when Captain Henry Johnston was given com- 
mand. (Am. State Papers, 5th ser., another account says 
Captain W. HoUock). Barry was appointed to the Effing- 
ham of 28 gims. 

The Effingham 41 



Though on June 6th, 1776, appointed to one of the vessels 
building, it was not until October loth, that the Effingham 
was assigned to Captain Barry. 

On that day Congress established the rank and command of 
oflScers of the Continental Navy as follows: i, James Nichol- 
son, to the Virginia, 28 guns; 2, John Manly, to the Hancock, 
32 guns; 3, Hector McNeil, to the Boston, 24 guns; 4, Dudley 
Saltonstall, to the Trumbull, 28 guns; 5, Nicholas Biddle, to 
the Randolph, 32 guns; 6, Thomas Thompson, to the Raleigh, 
32 guns; 7, John Barry, to the Effingham, 28 guns. There 
were twenty-four appointments, and, as will be seen, Captain 
Barry was the seventh named. The assignments afterwards 
occasioned agitation and discussion. 

Captain Manly, the second on the list, was "uneasy and threat- 
ened to resign,'* while Thompson's friends thought he ought 
to have been placed higher. Captain Barry made no com- 
plaint now discoverable. 

In 1 78 1 Captain John Paul Jones, who was No. 18 on the 
list and had declared that "rank opens the door to glory," 
contested the assignment given to him. Having examined 
his claims the Committee reported that "on October 10, 1776, 
there was an arrangement of Captains, but the Committee 
cannot fully ascertain the rule by which that arrangement was 
made as the relative rank was not comformable to the times 
of appointment or dates of commission, and seems repugnant 
to a resolution of December 22, 1775." Jones said that, when 
the Navy was established in that year, some gentlemen declined 
to embark in the expedition; Captain Whipple had told him 
"they did not choose to be hanged." "It is certain," said 
Jones, "that at first the hazard was very great." 

42 Lord Effingham 

Let us, then, give double honor to Captain John Barry, who 
early, nay, at the beginning and in the first vessel, took the 
hazard "to be hanged," as did Jones also, who, as we have 
seen, was appointed at the same time. 

The Effingham, Barry's new vessel, was named in honor of 
Lord Effingham, who resigned his commission in the British 
army rather than fight against the Americans. His son how- 
ever, did not act so. When during the conflict he was captured by 
the Americans, the regard felt for his father caused the con- 
dition of the captive son to be made as easy as possible. 

It is curious to observe that the vessel thus placed in com- 
mand of an Irish Catholic was named in honor of one whose 
antipathy to hostilities against the Americans was based main- 
ly upon opposition to their coercion because they were upholders 
of the principles of the "Glorious Revolution" of 1688. 

On July J 7th, 1775, the Merchants of Dublin, Ireland, re- 
solved to present their thanks to Lord Effingham "in testimony 
of our approbation of his public conduct, particularly exempli- 
fied in his refusing to draw that sword which had been employed 
to the honor of his country, against the lives and liberties of 
his fellow subjects in America; and honestly and spiritedly 
resigning a commission which he could no longer hold consis- 
tent with the principles of a true Englishman, or a real friend 
to the interests of Britain." 

In the letter of thanks the Committee (among whom was 
James Napper Tandy) said, "We have seen with astonishment 
Popery established by law in one, and encouraged in every 
part of the empire, in the reign of a Protestant Prince; and 
despotism and arbitrary power promoted by every insidious 
machination and open violence, by the servants of the crown, 
in the reign of a monarch who, from the throne, declared he 
glorified in being a Briton bom ; and whose family was called to 
the throne of these kingdoms to protect the Protestant religion 
and preserve that Constitution inviolate for which our ances- 
tors so freely bled, and for the invading of which a tyrant was 
expelled the throne. Permits us to offer your Lordship our 
warmest, our most grateful acknowledgments as Protestants, 
for your steady opposition to the establishment of Popery and 

Address to Congress 43 

Slavery in Canada; as freemen for your manly and spirited 
opposition to the several restraining bills; and your noble 
efforts in the support of American Liberty, and in the cause 
of our suffering and much oppressed brethren and fellow sub- 
jects there.*' 

In his reply, Lord Effingham declared his * 'strict adherence 
to those principles, which at the Revolution established our 
dvil and religious liberties.'* (Niles Principles and Acts of 
the Revolution, p. 500.) 

And yet the success of the American Rebels resulted in 
the establishment of a government founded on Religious Liber- 
ty by which the '*hated Popery" attained growth and influence- 
The Americans, incensed to action by the Quebec Bill * 'estab- 
lishing Popery and Slavery in Canada,** were, even in their 
rage, but " instruments of the Almighty ** in establishing Re- 
ligous Freedom giving the despised "Popery** a foimdation. 

On November 15, 1776, the pay of captains of ships of twen- 
ty guns or more was fixed at sixty dollars a month, which of 
course, was Barry*s compensation. The uniforms for captains 
prescribed by the Marine Committee on September 5, 1776, 
was : Blue cloth with red lapels, slash cuff, stand-up collar, flat 
yellow buttons, blue breeches, red waistcoat with yellow lace. 
(Preble, p. 234). 

On November 25, 1776, a meeting of citizens was held at In- 
dian Queen Hotel, to consider accusations against those "sus- 
pected as Tories and unfriendly to the cause of America,** Cap- 
tain John Barry was present but no record has been discovered 
to show the action of the meeting or his doings thereat. 

On Saturday, November 30, 1776, an address from Captains 
John Barry, Nicholas Biddle, Thomas Read, Charles Alexander 
and John Nicholson was brought before Congress and read. 
It was ordered to be laid before the Marine Committee, who 
were directed to pursue such measures as they might think 
proper in consequence thereof (Am. Ar., IV, 3d, 1594). Noth- 
ing appears to show the contents or character of the letter. 
Perhaps it related to the rank assignment of a month before, 
or the circumstances of the time and the reference to the 
Committee may indicate that the address proposed to place 

44 Serves on Lana 

the naval force as an aid to Washington's sorely pressed sol- 
diery. The main body of his army was then in New Jersey, 
having crossed from New York on the 12th, leaving two 
large detachments to hold Forts Lee and Washington. But 
by the time the address had reached Congress, these two forts, 
the bulwarks of the Hudson, had been lost, and the sad and 
gloomy, but marvelously strategetic retreat across New Jersey 
was being conducted by Washington, pursued by Comwallis. 
The fleet, protecting the approach to Philadelphia and operat- 
ing in the lower Delaware, had been recalled. 

The upper Delaware was now the centre of action and the 
place where God's providence would be so strikingly manifested 
on that cold Christmas night of 1776 

Captain Barry at once recruited a company of volunteers 
for service on land. Doubtless many of his crew stood by him 
in this new line of endeavor for freedom. Those were indeed 
perilous times, "the times that tried men's souls." Barry was 
equal to the emergency, when Washington was forced to ex- 
claim in that almost despairing wail: "In ten days this army 
will have ceased to exist . . . We are at the end of our tether!" 
All seemed lost. The hour of defeat, dismay and destruction 
was about to strike. The timid, the faint-hearted, the treach- 
erous were fast going over to British allegiance. "At last the 
old fox [Washington] is in a trap," said Comwallis. A day's 
freezing of the waters of the Delaware would bring the com- 
plete destruction of the "rebel army." Why not sit down 
and, amid Christmas festivity, wait nature's alliance in the 
waters? Why harass Hessians by building boats and rafts to 
cross to the other side ? There need be no concern nor haste — 
"the fox is in the trap" That Declaration of Independence, 
proclaimed in hot July as a concentrated threat and defiance 
to tyranny, as well as earth's noblest resolve for freedom, would 
in a brief six months be like Nature's garb this chill December 
— cold as in death. 

Philadelphia was in alarm for its safety. The Pennsylvania 
Council of Safety on December 2d, ordered to be distributed 
this broadside: 

Barry and FitzSmons 45 

Resolved, That it is the Opinion of this Board, that all 
THE Shops in this City be shut up, that the Schools be 

VIDING FOR THE Defence of the City, at this time of ex- 
treme Danger. By Order of Council, David Ritten- 
house, Vice-President. 

Out of the gloom came the Victory at Trenton. 

To the Colonial cause had been given the man who was to lead 
the people out of bondage and through the desert to seciuity 
and peace to the land of freedom. Look through all the writ- 
ings of Washington in all the days of the mighty struggle, and 
see how firm and strong was his faith in the justice of the cause 
and his reliance on Divine Providence in "the times that tried 
men's souls," as the crisis of December '76, was described by 
a man of little faith, the pamphleteer of the Revolution, Thomas 
Paine. Brave men who stood by Washington amid the disasters 
in the Jerseys were tried ; and no less so were the noble-hearted 
ones beyond his lines. But in that dark hour, when all 
seemed lost, Thomas FitzSimons, a merchant, and Captain 
Barry, a seaman, one in faith as they were one in country 
of nativity, were now one in endeavor for their adopted land. 
They hastened to the aid of Washington on the banks of the 
Delaware above Trenton. And when Washington crossed the 
ice-blocked river these two Philadelphia Catholics did the duty 
of patriots and heroes in the strife that won the victories at 
Trenton and Princeton. They went "to the front" each with 
a company, to uphold the Declaration of Independence, when 
all who had pledged "their lives, their fortunes and sacred honor, ' * 
excepting alone the Quaker John Dickinson, had fled beyond 
the immediate reach of British power; and, but for the militia 
of Pennsylvania, might, in the general wreck and carnage 
made by that power have felt the full force of its vindictive- 

Though the month began in gloom, if not terror, the year 
1776, closed with victory animating all Patriots. The navy 
had 342 British vessels captured to its credit for the year. Not 
among the laggards or inefficient had been Captain John Barry. 

46 A Million Sterling 

A million sterling in goods had been taken from the ene- 
my by the American cruisers according to the estimate of Ben- 
jamin Franklin, in October, when he wrote: "Nothing will give 
us greater weight and importance in the eyes of the commercial 
States than a conviction that we can annoy, on occasion, their 
trade and carry our prizes into safe harbors". [Am. Ar., 5-2-1 245]. 

Who more active during all of 1776, and thus giving ** weight 
and importance" abroad to the endeavor being made for Free- 
dom, for who so near the rebel capital — Philadelphia, did 
more to annoy British trade and carry prizes to safe harbors 
than Captain John Barry. 

Aide to Washington 47 



Captain John Barry, as we have seen, with a company of 
volunteers in December, 1776, took part in the Trenton Cam- 
paign. In co-operation with the marines under Captain 
William Brown, he lent efficient service in transporting Wash- 
ington's army across the Delaware, when they took part in 
the battles of Trenton and Princeton. [2d Pa. Ar. i p 20, 
234.] The marines remained until the 23d of January. 

On that day Washington wrote from Middlebrook to General 
Joseph Reed: 'The spirited manner in which the militia of 
Pennsylvania turned out upon the late manoeuvre of the 
enemy has, in my opinion, given a greater shock to the enemy 
than any event which has happened in the course of this 
dispute, because it was altogether unexpected and gave the 
decisive stroke to the enterprise on Philadelphia" (Ford's 
''Writings of Washington," vol. V, p. 196). The minutes of 
the Pennsylvania Board of War, under date of March 27, 1777, 
record: "Mr. Moses Young was directed to pay Jesse How 
;£6, 19,9 for the use of the volunteers in Captain Barry's com- 
pany when going to camp in December last ; to be charged to 
Congress" ("Penna. Arch.," 2d series, vol. I, p. 20.) 

Captain Barry, in service in New Jersey, acted as an aide 
to General Cadwallader, and as such became, on one occasion 
of which there is record, an aide to Washington on special 
service, as is shown by the American Commander-in-chief's 
answer to a request made by General Lord Cornwallis. 

48 Strike of the Lieutenants 

Writing from Morristown on January 8, 1777, after giving 
assurance that relief convoy bringing assistance to the Hessians 
taken and wounded at Trenton and Princeton would not be 
molested by his regular soldiers, but that he could not answer 
for the militia, who were "exceedingly exasperated at the 
treatment they have met with from both Hessian and British 
troops," Washington said: "I therefore thought it most 
desirable to direct Captain Barry, the bearer of this, to give a 
safe conduct to the Hessian baggage as far as Philadelphia and 
the surgeon and medicines to Princeton.'* [Spark's Writings 
of Washington, IV. p. 268.] 

On Barry's return to Philadelphia after the Trenton cam- 
paign he engaged in defensive Naval preparations for the 
protection of Philadelphia. In July, 1777, a "strike" or com- 
bination of the Lieutenants of the several vessels under his 
command as Senior Commander of the Port took place. 

From these officers Captain Barry received this notification. 

[Papers of Congress. No. 42, Vol. 11, p. 116, State Dept. 
Mss. Division.] 
To John Barry, Esq. 

Sir : — As we, the Subscribers are determined not to act upon 
any Court Martial, or otherwise on Board any Vessel of War 
until our Grievances are redressed, we beg you will not take 
it amiss at our not attending your summons. 

Robt. French, Robert Martin, Robert Hume, John Fanning 
Mathew Tibbs, George Batson, Luke Matthewman, William 
Gamble, Thos. Vaughn, Joseph Greenway, Rob. Pomroy, 
James Armitage. 

In the proceedings of Congress it is recorded : 

In Congress, Wednesday, July 23d, 1777. 

The Marine Committee having laid before Congress a petition 
from sundry Lieutenants of the Navy, which had been for some 
time under the consideration of the said Committee, and 
represented, that before any determination was had thereon, a 
number of said Lieutenants refused to proceed in the execution 
of their duty until what they call their grievances should be 
redressed, as more fully appears by a paper now produced to 
Congress dated 21st of July, directed to John Barry, esquire, 

Dismissed but Restored 49 

Senior Commander of the Navy in the port of Philadelphia, 
and signed by twelve of said Lieutenants, viz : Robert French, 
Robert Martin, Robert Hume, John Fanning, William Tibbs, 
George Batson, Luke Matthewman, William Gamble, Thomas 
Vaughan, Joseph Greenway, R. Pomoroy, James Armitage; 
and whereas such combinations of officers to extort increase 
of pay and allowances from the public are of the most dangerous 
tendency; it is necessary for the public service to make ex- 
amples of such offenders; therefore: 

Resolved, That the said Lieutenants be dismissed the 
Continental service accordingly and their commissions ren- 
dered void and of none effect. 

Resolved, That the said Lieutenants be and they are hereby, 
rendered incapable of holding any commission or warrant 
under the authority of the United States, and that it be re- 
commended to the several States not to employ any of them 
in any office, civil or military. 

On July 24th, Congress received a petition from Thomas 
Vaughan wherein he declares that he did not sign the paper 
addressed to John Barry, Esquire. 

Petition referred to the Marine Committee. 

Lieutenant Vaughan 's statement was doubtless correct, 
as the letter a was omitted from his name on the signed paper. 

July 24th, a petition from Luke Matthewman and the other 
Lieutenants of the Navy who were yesterday dismissed the 
service, was read and referred to the Marine Committee. 

On July 28th, the Marine Committee, to whom was referred 
the petition of the Lieutenants of the ships of war now in the 
port of Philadelphia, reported : That they have called in before 
them the signers of the said petition, who acknowledge in the 
most exphcit manner that the oflFence for which they were dis- 
missed is highly reprehensible, and could not be justified under 
any circumstances or any pretence whatever, and that they 
were exceedingly sorry for the rashness which betrayed them 
into such behaviour; whereupon: 

Resolvedy That the Lieutenants be restored to their former 
rank and command. 

Having failed in their effort to reach the rebel capital, Phila 

50 British in Philadelphia 

delphia, by way of New Jersey, the British changed their plan 
of campaign for 1777, and formed the design of reaching the 
City from the south by way of the Chesapeake Bay. It is now 
known that the plan was suggested by General Charles Lee, 
second to Washington in command, when a prisoner in New 
York. As the British plan became evident, Washington, keep- 
ing a force in North Jersey to watch the enemy in New York, 
moved his main body southward to intercept the British in 
their northward march to Philadelphia. Brandywine was 
fought and lost, The British march was but feebly stayed. 
Philadelphia became alarmed. Orders were given to remove 
all war material. Refugees hastened to the country. General 
Ducoudray, a French volunteer in the American Army, was 
drowned on September 16, while crossing the Schuylkill, and 
next day Congress resolved to bury him with the honors of war 
at the public expense. Amid all the confusion the funeral 
services were held at St. Mary's. Next day Congress fled from 
Philadelphia to Lancaster and the Capital of the '* Rebels" was 
virtually in the possession of the enemy, though the army did 
not enter until the 26th, and then amid the acclaiming welcome 
of the people who had remained. 

But on September 23d, the Navy Board had ordered all boats 
south of Market St. to move down the river and all north to go 
up the Delaware to escape falling into possession of the British. 
The Effingham, Barry's vessel, went down the Delaware before 
the British occupied Philadelphia. 

Washington manoeuvred on the outskirts of the city. The 
Germantown fight, October 4th, had not been a victory, but it 
proved the spirit of resistance and of attack still predominated. 
The Americans retreated towards Whitemarsh, and later yet 
farther backwards towards Valley Forge. 

Though a non-success at Germantown yet spirit was aroused 
in the Americans. The very audacity of attacking the British 
attracted attention in Europe. Couriers were at once sent to 
Spain to invoke her co-operation. On the 12th of December* 
the French Minister said: "Nothing has struck me so much 
as Washington attacking and giving battle to Howe's army." 
[N. Am. Rev., Oct. 1 881, p. 412.] 

Tf» Battle of Germantoum 51 

As an illustration of the alarms and rumors prevailing at the 
time of the Battle of Germantown the following transcript of 
a letter of President John Hancock from Congress, assembled 
at York, Pa., is presented from a contemporaneous manuscript 
copy. Perhaps it indicates the natiu-e of intelligence sent by i 
couriers to Spain : 

YoRKTowN, 8 Octr, 1777, 4 o'clock P. M. 

Since I wrote you in the morning a Gent 'n of Veracity is ar- 
rived, who has been at Camp, and informs that Genl Howe's 
army has met with a most severe Blow, Genl. Agnew killed 
Colo. Walcott also killed, & a number of oflScers, Genl. Knyp- 
hausen wounded, his son killed, 300 waggons with wounded 
Soldiers went from the field ; that the whole City was abandoned ; 
Quakers & Tories Decamped ; and that Genl. Howe had sent a 
large Detachment to Chester, which must be to preserve a Re- 
treat; The Enemies loss very great, — our loss by the best 
Acct*s, in killed, wounded & missing Does not exceed 
700; I momently expect the partic. from the General ; as soon as 
I receive it, it shall be transmitted — I flatter my self I shall 
soon send you further more agreeable Accts. I cannot add as I 
keep Congress waiting & must attend — I have the honor to be 

Gentn in haste 

Your very humble Serv't, 

JOHN HANCOCK, President. 

Hon. Council of Massachusetts Bay. 

Barry was the Senior Commander of the Navy in the Port 
of Philadelphia. The obstruction of the Lower Delaware to 
prevent British vessels coming up the River was important. 
By letter of Colonel William Bradford, of the Pennsylvania 
State Navy Board, to President Wharton of Pennsylvania, 
October 8th, 1777, the condition of the Chevaux de Prize erected 
at BiHingsport to prevent British vessels passing to the city, 
was made known thus : 

"Yesterday we sent down to examine the Chevaux de Prize 
at Billingsport and find that the two last that were sunk to 
stop up the Gap are removed higher up and put on one side, so 

52 British Attack the Forts 

that a ship may warp thro' — A Ship a Brig are now preparing 
to be sunk in the Gap, which if we can Effect will stop the Chan- 
nel. A large Fleet of Vessels are now as high as New Castle. 
Last Night a large body of the enemy came from Philad. and 
have erected a Battery near the mouth of the Schuylkill. Our 
Galleys fired at them in the Night and this morning but I be- 
lieve with very little damage." [Ms., 12. 98]. 

Col. Bradford in the attack on Fort Mifflin "bore an active 

On October 15th, 1777, Thomas McKean, President of Dela- 
ware, and later of Pennsylvania, a Pennsylvanian, a signer of 
the Declaration of Independence [whose daughter in 1798 be- 
came a Catholic on her marriage to the Marquis d'Yrujo, the 
Spanish Ambassador,] wrote General Rodney that, although 
the British were in Philadelphia "our affairs are in the most 
prosperous way" and mentioning "the Row gallies, Batteues, 
&c., playing their part most nobly indeed." 

Thus we know that Barry and his men were acting *'like men,*' 
like freemen and convincing the world their liberty was deserved 
to use McKean's words. 

On October 22d, 1777, Count Donop attacked the Ameri- 
cans at Fort Mercer, at Red Bank on the lower Delaware. The 
British Fleet, the Augusta, 64 guns, the Roebtick, 44 guns, the 
Merlin, the Liverpool and other British vessels co-operated- 
The State fleet under Commodore Hazlewood, and the Conti- 
nental vessels, under Barry, drove them back and thus prevented 
their immediate passage up the river. 

The Augusta and Merlin ran aground. Attacked by the 
Americans the next day the Augusta blew up. Her hulk re- 
mains at Red Bank to this day. The Merlin was burned by 
her crew. 

November 1 6th, Fort Mifflin, being attacked, was abandoned 
by the Americans, as their fleet could not lie in safety at Red 
Bank. A council of the Captains was held and it was deter- 
mined to pass Philadelphia, then in British control, during the 
night, and take refuge in the Delaware above Burlington. This 
they did early in the morning of November 2 ist, without having 
a shot fired at them. The convoy consisted of thirteen galleys, 

Passing the British 53 

twelve armed boats, province sloop, ammunition sloop, con- 
vention sloop, an accommodation brig, one provision sloop, one 
schooner with two flats, with stores [2d Pa. Ar., i, p. 235,] 
These were State navy vessels. That so large a fleet could pass 
up the Delaware in front of the City shows laxity in watchful- 
ness by the British, or dexterity, skill and vigilance on the part 
of the Americans. 

The State schooner Delaware, Captain Eyre, was driven 
on shore and set on fire. The Continental fleet, under Barry, the 
following night attempted to make the passage. Only "three 
or four'* succeeded. The others were burned to prevent their 
capture by the British. 

It will be observed that the American account of these events 
vary two days in time from that given in the annexed report : 

'*Vice Admiral Lord Viscount Howe, Commander-in Chief of 
his Majesty's ships and vessels in North America," in his report 
dated on board the Eagle in the Delaware, 23d November, 1777, 
gives an account of the attack on Red Bank. 

"The enemy passed several of their galleys unperceived above 
the town of Philadelphia in the night of the 19th, which proved 
very favorable to their purpose and attempted to do the same 
with the rest of the gallies and other water forces the following 
night, but, being seasonably discovered, they were opposed with 
much effect by Lieutenant Watt of the Roebuck, that not more 
than three or four of the former appear to have escaped ; and 
being otherwise unable to capture the rest of their armed craft 
(consisting of two Xebecques, the two floating batteries and 
several ships besides five vessels, amounting to about seventeen 
in numbers) they were quitted and burnt." 

Lieutenant Watt was continued in command in the Delaware 
to remain near the town of Philadelphia, as he had "testified 
great propriety and spirit on this occasion." [Royal Penna. 

During the attack on Fort Mifflin, Lieutenant Ford, of the 
Effingham, and Lieutenant Samuel Lyons, of the Dickinson, de- 
serted. After the British had left Philadelphia they were cap- 
tured, court-martialed and on September 2d, 1778, shot. The 

54 Barry in the Upper Delaware 

execution was upon one of the guard boats in the Delaware oflF 
Market St. (2d Pa. Ar., I, p. 237, or Post of Sept. 2d). 

**The number of spectators was very great, and it is hoped 
the melancholy scene will have the proper effect on the profli- 
gate and thoughtless who do not seriously consider that the 
crime of desertion is attended with the dreadful consequences 
of wilful perjury.*' [Posty Sept. 2d.] 

On September 4th, Patrick McMullen was executed on the 
Commons [now City Hall] for desertion. "He was so hardened 
and insensible of his unhappy situation that when the execu- 
tioner put the rope about his neck, he smiled and said it was 
strong enough to hang any man, and behaved with the same un- 
accountable indifference to the last moment.'* [Post 4th Sept.]. 

In November, 1777, information from Philadelphia caused 
Washington to notify the Continental Navy Board, then 
meeting at Bordentown, N, J., there was danger of a force being 
sent to destroy the fleet in the upper Delaware. He directed 
that the vessels then above Philadelphia should be sunk. 

Captain Barry was then in the upper Delaware. 

In a letter dated Bordentown, November 2d, 1777, from 
Francis Hopkinson and John Wharton, of the Continental Navy 
Board, this instruction was given to Barry : "As we understand 
your ship is now scuttled and ready for sinking, you are hereby 
directed to remove her a little below White Hill, and having 
found a suitable birth [sic] where she may lye on a soft bottom 
and be easily gotten off on a common tide, you are to sink her 
there without delay. We expect this business will be com- 
pleted by sunset this evening and report thereof made to this 
Board." This order was not obeyed until the 30th, as will 
hereafter appear, when the consequences growing out of the 
order and delay will be related. 

On November 25th, 1777, Captain Barry was President of a 
court-martial composed of Thomas Read, James Josiah, Peter 
Brewster, Elisha Warren, William Bolton, Dennis Leary, Robert 
Martin, James Armitage, James Coakley, Alexander, Wilson, 
which was held on board the ship Lyon for the trial of John 
Stewart, master's mate of the Repulse, James Leddie, master- 
at-arms of the same ship, who were charged with deserting 

Barry Confers with Washington 55 

their posts in sight of the enemy, and John Pemberton, armorer, 
John Campbell, quartermaster, and Michael Tamey, a boy, 
charged with deserting in sight of the enemy, and taking a boat 
with four muskets and cartridges, in company with Stewart and 
Leddie. They were found guilty, and all except Tamey, were 
ordered to be hanged off the yard-arm of any Continental vessel. 
Tamey, '*being a boy and called out of his bed, "was sentenced 
to **receive 36 lashes on his bare back with a cat of nine tails." 
Captain Barry approved of the finding, and forwarded the ver- 
dict to the Marine Committee, which, on December 30, reported 
to Congress in favor of the culprits* pardon on condition that 
they enUst as privates during the war. Congress concurred. 
[Washington Papers, No. 78, Vol. 2, p. 307.] 

On December 11, the Navy Board at Bordentown complained 
to Congress, then at York Town, Pa., of the **disrespect and ill 
treatment which one of the said Board received lately from 
John Barry, commander of the frigate Effingham.'' 

Captain Barry at this time went to Washington's Camp at 
Valley Forge to confer with General Washington. While there 
he met Robert Morris, the Vice President of the Marine Com- 
mittee, as appears from this letter: 

Robert Morris to President of Marine Committee : 

Sir: Manheim, Dec. 19th, 1777. 

The enclosed letter came here yesterday and I believe was 
meant not only to obtain my opinion on the subject it relates 
to, but also for me to introduce it to the Marine Committee. 

I saw Captain Barry at Camp and he wanted to relate to me 
the substance of his dispute with the Navy Board, but I had 
neither time nor inclination, neither did I think it proper to 
hear one story without the other, as it was probable 1 might 
some day become judge in the affair. 

I shall therefore only add that Captain Barry thinks him- 
self capable of making a defense against the accusation of the 
Board and submitting the matter entirely to the deliberation 
of the Committee. I remain, respectfully 

Sir your obliging servant, 


Addressed to the Honorable President of the Marine Com- 
mittee. [Letters of Robert Morris, 1776- 1784, No 127, Appen- 
dix, p. 197, State Dept.] 

56 Summoned Before Congress 

On the 30th of December, the Marine Committee, to whom 
the communication had been referred, reported to Congress, 
whereupon it was resolved that Captain John Barry be required 
immediately to attend Congress to answer the complaint made 
against him, and that he be furnished with an extract from the 
letter of the Navy Board as far is it is related to the said com- 
plaint. Congress further resolved that it was *'the duty of 
all officers of the navy to pay obedience to the Navy Board 
and to treat its members with decency and respect. The Board 
was empowered to suspend any officer refusing to obey 
anyone who treated them with disrespect or indecency." 

At this time when Captain John Barry was exerting himself 
for the liberty of the country the British in Philadelphia were 
anxious to destroy the hope in the hearts of Patriots that France 
would make an alliance with the struggling Colonies. 

In this they had the help of another Barry, Captain Patrick 
Barry. On January 3d, 1778, the Pennsylvania Evening Post 
pubHshed the following affidavit : 

This 25th day of December, 1777, before me the Subscriber 
appeared Captain Patrick Barry, who being duly sworn on the 
Holy Evangelist of Almighty God, did depose and say, that, he 
left Bordeaux, in the Kingdom of France, on or about the mid- 
dle of August last, and sailed to St. Martins ; that while there, 
certain account came down, informing him that the schooner 
Liberty y an American vessel, and the sloop Sea flower, from New 
England, having military stores on board, were both seized 
with the said stores, by an order from the Court at Paris to the 
proper officer at Bordeaux and that they were accordingly un- 
laden. And further this deponent saith not. 

Sworn before me the day and year above mentioned. 

JOSEPH GALLOWAY, Superintendent General. 

Captain Mark Cullen, made the same affidavit concerning the 

This Captain Patrick Barry who gave comfort if not aid to 
the British was a relative, it is believed, of Captain John Barry 
the Patriot. Captain Patrick Barry died in May, 1780. By 
public notice dated May 24th, which appeared in the Pennsyl- 

Captain Patrick Barry 57 

vania Packet on the 30th and subsequent issues, Captain John 
Barry gave notice of his administration of the estate. 

On April 4th letters of administration were granted Captain 
John Barry who gave bond to present an inventory of the es- 
tate by May 4th, and to render an account by April 4th, 1781. 
No inventory or other papers are at the Register's ofl&ce, so 
that from that source the possibility of ascertaining the exact 
relationship of the Loyalist and the Patriot has been destroyed. 

The name Patrick was given to Captain John Barry's nephew, 
Patrick Hayes, whose son was named Patrick Barry Hayes. 

The collateral descendants of the Commodore are unable to 
tell the family connection of Patrick with John. 

No search has been made for particulars relating to Captain 
Mark Cullen, who likewise, though of Barry's race and creed, 
undoubtedly, though not of kin as was his fellow oathtaker, 
probably was not averse to strengthening the hands of the 
oppressor of the land of the nativity of the Patriot John Barry 
and themselves. 

These affidavits and like publications were designed to dispel 
the hope of "prospect of a war between Great Britain and 
France." Others related to the distressed condition of the 
American Army at Valley Forge, the many desertions from it 
and the organization of regiments of Roman Catholics in Ire- 
land to suppress the Rebellion, as was attempted in Phila- 
delphia by the formation of the Roman Catholic Regiment. 

Here are samples: 

The Post, January 17th, 1778. 

Extract from a letter from Carlow in Ireland, October 23d: 
"Four regiments of Roman Catholics will be immediately 
raised here for the American service, and it is the general 
opinion that they would be completed in a few weeks, as the 
common people are exceedingly inveterate against the Puritan 
descendants of the Republicans, who under Cromwell, Ireton, 
&c., committed so many barbarities upon their ancestors." 

Yet John Barry, whose ancestors had been robbed of their 
lands by the Cromwellians, stood in an eminently heroic attitude 
by the side of these alleged "Puritanic descendants" of the 
robbers of his forefathers. 

58 Buents of 1 778 





Hie Pennsylvania Evening Post, Saturday, February 7th, 1778, 

The public may be assured it is an undoubted fact that the 
Court of France has positively determined that they will show no 
countenance whatever to the rebellion in America, and have 
accordingly ordered that no American vessels shall be admitted 
to their ports. 

The very day before — February 6th, 1778 — the alUance with 
France was signed. 

The condition of affairs, the hopefulness of the British and the 
appalling destruction which had been wrought in the country 
are graphically set forth in the annexed relation from the Penn- 
sylvania Ledger, February nth, 1778: 

'*The number of deserters from the rebel army — the number 
of persons that have fled from the unmerciful tyranny and oppres- 
sion of the Rebel leaders, and flocked to this town for refuge have 
made it a mere bee hive, and we believe there never was a greater 
number of inhabitants at one time in this city before, nor consid- 
ering the present situation of circumstances, a happier people — 
blessed with plenty of every kind, we have nothing to disturb 
our happiness. But the anxious desire of a well established 
peace to our coimtry, and the concern we feel for our many 
deluded brethren, who surrounded with every distress and difll- 
culty, still persist in their infatuation and blindly follow the 
directions of men who are only gratifying their own ambition and 
leading them by the most delusive arts, to the pit of irrevocable 
destruction. To what a horrid scene of distress is this once happy 
province reduced by these destroyers of mankind! Language 
cannot describe or imagination figure the horrid scene. You 

Desolathn and Joy 59 

may ride miles along the roads without seeing an individual — 
and should you meet any, it is some rebel oflBcer, by whom you 
are either pltmdered or sent to the Provost, perhaps both — every 
house shut up — not a living animal to be seen near it, the inhabi- 
tants, fearing almost everything they see, dare not step out of their 
houses and you pass them as tho* they had been long dead. Yon 
aged farmer, indeed, has just opened his door, and is looking rotmd 
him, lamenting the sad effects of this unnatiu^l war. 'My pas- 
tures and my fields,' says he, *that from this threshhold used 
to deUght my sight — are become a desolate wilderness. My pas- 
tures and my fields that used to supply my table with plenty, 
and my orchards that afforded me wherewithal to quench my 
thirst, are laid waste by the hands of rapine and violence; the 
heavy hand of tyranny and oppression is eating what little re- 
mains, and I must shortly seek an asylum among strangers. My 
son, confined without refreshment, without noimshment, in deadly 
places, and my family reduced to indigence and woe — *^ * * 

Restore again to peace the unhappy land 
Punish and crush Rbbbluon's haughty sway 
O, snatch the sword from out the Oppressor's hand 
Nor let the Murd'rer mark with blood his way. 

All this desolation beyond Philadelphia, while in the city all 
was **joy imconfined,*' as expressed at the opening of the theatre 
in Southwark by a society gentleman of the army and navy in 
the Prologue to a tragedy called " Douglass, "dehvered by a gen- 
tleman of the army. 

Winged with variety our moments fly, 
Each minute tinctured with a different dye ; 
Balls we have plenty, and al Fresco too, 
Such as Soho or King-street never knew. 

Such was the desolation outside Philadelphia, such the pleasure 
of the British during its occupancy, while Barry and compatriots 
on the upper Delaware were devising plans to harass the revelers 
in the chief city of the "unnatural rebellion" Washington, amid 
the snows of Valley Forge, had his heart torn by the sufferings 
of his Patriot soldiers who bore all, suffered all, hoped all, deter- 
mined to brave all, that their coimtry should be free. 

60 The Battle of the Kegs 

The Battle of the Kegs. 

"After the destruction of the Effingham, Captain Barry pro- 
jected the plan intended for the destruction of some of the enemy's 
vessels in the river by floating down machines in form of ship's 
buoys filled with powder and which machines, as they floated 
past the city, were fired at by numerous cannon and occasioned 
the humorous ditty called the Battle of the Kegs. 

So wrote in 1 813 Captain Barry's midshipman, mate and friend, 
John Kessler, who later in the course of our recital will be wit- 
ness to the services of his commander. 

This "Battle OF THE Kegs," on January 5th, 1778, is thus 
described by a letter in the Loyalist Pennsyhania Ledger of Feb- 
ruary nth, 1778: 

THE BATTLE OF THE KEGS.— January 5th, 1778. 

Burlington, January 21st, 

Extract of letter from Philadelphia, January 9th, 1778: 
*'The city lately has been entertained with a most astonishing in- 
stance of the activity, bravery and military skill of the royal navy 
of Great Britain. The affair is somewhat particular and deserves 
your notice. Some time last week two boys observed a keg of 
a singular construction, floating in the river opposite the city, 
they got into a small boat and attempting to take up the keg, it 
burst with a great explosion, and blew up the unfortunate boys. 
On Monday last several kegs of a like construction made their 
apj>earance. An alarm was immediately spread throughout the 
city — various reports prevailed filling the city and the Royal 
Troops with consternation. 

Some reported that the kegs were filled with armed rebels who 
were to issue forth in the dead of night, as the Grecians did of old 
from their wooden horse at the siege of Troy, and take the city 
by surprise ; asserting that they had seen the points of their bayo- 
nets through the bung holes of the kegs. Others said they were 
charged with the most inveterate combustibles to be kindled by 
secret machinery and setting the whole Delaware in flames, were 
to consume all the shipping in the harbour; whilst others asserted 
that they were constructed by art, magic, and would of them- 

The Battle of the Kegs 61 

selves ascend the wharfs in the night time and roll all flaming 
through the city, destroying everything in their way. Be this 
as it may, certain it is that the shipping in the harbour and all 
the wharfs in the city were fully manned. 

The battle began and it was surprising to behold the incessant 
blaze that was kept up against the enemy, the kegs. Both oj0&cers 
and men exhibited the most imparalleled skill and bravery on 
the occasion; while the citizens stood as solemn witnesses of 
their prowess. From the Roebuck and other ships of war, whole 
broadsides were poured into the Delaware. In short, not a wan- 
dering chip, stick or driftlog but felt the vigour of the British 
arms. The action began about simrise and would have been 
completed with great success by noon, had not an old market 
woman coming down the river with provisions imfortunately 
let a small keg of butter fall overboard, which (as it were then 
ebb) floated down to the scene of action. At the sight of this 
imexpected reinforcement of the enemy, the battle was re- 
newed with fresh fury. The firing was incessant till the enemy 
closed the affair. The kegs were either totally demolished or 
obliged to fly, as none of them have shown their heads since. 

It is said His Excellency Lord Howe has dispatched a swift 
sailing packet with an accoimt of this victory to the Court of 

In a word, Monday, the 5th of January, 1778, must ever be 
distinguished in history for the memorable BATTLE OF THE 

The "humorous ditty," referred toby Kessler, was written by 
Francis Hopkinson, Captain John Barry's accuser. 

It is here reprinted from The Pennsylvania Evening Post, July 
1 8th, 1778, p. 244. 

British Valour Displayed, or the Battle of the Kegs 

Gallants attend and hear a friend 
Trill forth harmonious ditty; 
Strange things I'll tell, which late befell 
In Philadelphia City. 

'Twas early day as poets say, 
Just when the sun was rising; 
A soldier stood on a log of wood 
And saw a sight surprising. 

62 The Battle of the Kegs 

As in amaze, he stood to gaze, 
The truth can't be denied sir; 
He spy'd a score of Kegs or more, 
Come floating down the tide, sir. 

A sailor, too, in jerkin blue, 
This strange appearance viewing, 
First damn'd his eyes, in great surprise 
Then said — "Some mischief's brewing. 

These kegs now hold the rebel bold 
Packed up like pickled herring: 
And they're come down to attack the town. 
In this new way of ferrying." 

The soldier flew, the sailor, too, 
And scar'd almost too death, sir ; 
Moved out their shoes to spread the news, 
And ran till out of breath, sir. 

Now up and down, throughout the town, 
Most frantic scenes were acted ; 
And some ran here, and others there, 
Like men almost distracted. 

Some fire cry'd, which some deny'd, 
But said the earth had quaked ; 
And girls and boys, with hideous noise, 
Ran thro' the streets half naked. 

Sir William, he, snug as flea. 

Lay all this time a snoring; 

Nor dreamt of harm, as he lay warm 

Now in a fright, he starts upright, 
Awak'd by such a clatter; 
First rubs his eyes, then boldly cries, 
"For God's sake, what's the matter?" 

At his bedside he then espy'd 
Sir Erskine at command, sir; 
Upon one foot he had one boot. 
And t'other in his hand, sir. 

"Arise, arise!" Sir Erskine cries, 
"The rebel's — more's the pity! 
Without a boat, are all afloat. 
And rang'd before the city. 

The Battle of the Kegs 63 

"The motley crew, in vessels new, 
With Satan for their guide, sir, 
Packed up in bags and wooden kegs. 
Come driving down the tide Sir. 

Therefore prepare for bloody war. 
These Kegs must all be routed. 
Or surely we despised will be 
And British valour doubted." 

The royal band now ready stand, 
All rang'd in dread array, Sir, 
On every slip, in every ship, 
For to begin the fray. Sir. 

The cannons roar from shore to shore. 
The small arms make a rattle ; 
Since war's began, I'm stu-e no man 
E'er saw so strange a battle. 

The rebel dales — the rebel vales. 
With rebel trees surrounded; 
The distant woods, the hills and floods 
With rebel echoes sounded. 

The fish below swam to and fro. 
Attacked from every quarter; 
Why sure, thought they, the De'il to pay 
'Mong folks above the water. 

The Kegs, tis said, tho' strongly made 
Of rebel staves and hoops, Sir, 
Could not opi>ose their powerful foes, 
The conquering British troops, Sir. 

From mom to night these men of might 
Display'd amazing courage; 
And when the sun was fairly down 
Retir'd to eat their porridge. 

One hundred men with each a pen 
Or more, upon my word, Sir; 
It is most true, would be too few 
Their valour to record, Sir. 

Such feats did they perform that day 
Against these wicked Kegs, Sir, 
That years to come, if they get home, 
The3r'll make their boasts and brags. Sir. 

64 Barry's Defence 

Dr. Thatcher's Military Journal of the Revolutionary War, 
published in 1823, relates this affair, and ascribes it to Mr. David 
Bushnell, the inventor of the American Torpedo, a machine for 
submarine use, of which he relates attempts to destroy British 
shipping in New York, October, 1776. Thatcher gives the battle 
of the Kegs as in December, 1777, though it took place on January 
5th, 1778. Captain Barr>% as senior Commander of the navy on 
the Delaware, directed the operations of Bushnell. Kessler, his 
intimate friend, writing ten years before Dr. Thatcher, declares 
Barry projected the endeavor. 

Returning to the charges against Captain Barry, we find that 
he obeyed the summons to go to York for trial. On arriving 
there he presented a statement in his own defence. This is now 
in the Haverford College collection of the late Charles Roberts, 
of Philadelphia. It was contributed to the Historical Magazine 
[Vol. Ill, for 1857, p. 202] by the late Dr. Robert C. Davis who 
wrote to the Magazine: "This is without doubt written by John 
Paul Jones and signed by Barry, which original is in my posses- 
sion and has never before appeared in print. It was foimd 
among the effects of the late Commodore. . . It is to be pre- 
sumed that under the alarming state of the naval affairs of the 
'Rebels', it was advisable to heal all breaches of trouble for the 
good of the general cause.** The letter reads as follows: 

York, January 10, 1778. 

Gentlemen: Having been ordered to attend Congress to 
answer a complaint of the Navy Board, I now beg leave to 
lay before your Honors the following facts, which I can 
prove, and which I hope will set my conduct in a fairer point 
of view in the eyes of your Honors than that in which the 
Navy Board have placed it. On or about the 24th of November 
last (1777) I received an order from the Board, desiring a 
return of the men on board my ship, the Efjingham, which I 
instantly complied with. Two or three days afterward verbal 
orders came to White Hill for Captain Read and myself to 
attend the Board at Bordentown immediately. This we 
complied with, traveling two miles in the midst of a heavy 
rain. Having waited on Mr. Hopkinson, he gave orders, in 
writing, to prepare our ships immediately for sinking or bum- 

Barry's Defence 65 

ing, which he delivered to me as senior officer, and I, on going 
out, communicated to Captain Read. We returned to White 
Hill, where our ships lay, and began clearing them of their 
stores and material; but, as Captain Read was in want of 
hands, he went up the next day to Bordentown to hire some, 
and on his return informed me that Mr. Wharton had told 
him the frigates should be sunk that night or next morn- 
ing. It is necessary for me to inform your Honors that, 
previous to the receipt of orders for sinking, Captain Read 
and mvself had taken everv measure to defend our vessels 
from all attempts of the enemy, and those measures, we are 
morally certain, would have been effectual in repelling any 
force the enemy could have sent up the river to take possession 
of or to destroy our ships. The Washington had on board 
thirteen guns, twelves, sixes, and four-pounders. I had on 
board my ship (the Effingham) ten guns, — part of these guns 
we had collected from the merchant vessels, then up at Borden- 
town, which they readily gave us for our defense. We had 
also enrolled eighty good men on board each of our frigates, 
partly collected from the said merchant vessels, and ready for 
action at the shortest notice. Besides, we had expectations of 
getting men from the shallops that were coming down from 
Trenton. I had one of my boats with a three-pounder in 
her, and Captain Read's barge ready for lookout -boats; added 
to this, a heavy fresh in the river, occasioned by the great 
rain which fell at that time, made it impossible for the enemy's 
boats to come up. Being conscious of the secure situation of 
our ships, we thought it our duty to expostulate with the 
Navy Board before they were rashly destroyed, and for that 
purpose we waited on the said Board, and communicated the 
precautions we had taken; and added that, were General 
Washington fully acquainted with the security of the ships, 
he would not order them sunk, and, further that they might be 
made ready for sinking should the worst happen. I then 
offered to go to his Excellency the General, and give him full 
information of all that had been done. Mr. Hopkinson an- 
swered that the Board had already wrote the General the ships 
should be sunk, and that sooner than they should disobey one 

66 Barry's Defence 

jot of his orders they would rather the whole thirteen frigates 
should be sunk. I think it necessary at this period to exculpate 
myself from a charge which the Navy Board, in the extract of 
their letter furnished me by order of Congress, has laid against 
me, viz.: — "In the presence of several strangers, he, in the 
most indecent terms, refused to execute our orders." Now 
I do aver that the following conversation passed only in the 
presence of Captain Read and the Board. Mr. Hopkinson 
informed us that His Excellency the General had been informed 
by a lad from Philadelphia that the enemy were preparing 
boats, and the frigates might possibly be their object. I 
assured him that boats could not board us. He replied he 
would take General Washington's opinion sooner than mine. 
I told him I did not doubt that, but that nevertheless I knew 
more about a ship than General Washington and the Navy 
Board together, and they that ordered my ship sunk, unless by 
direction of the Marine Committee, I should protest against; 
that I was commissioned by Congress to command her, and 
therefore expected to be consulted before she was destroyed. 
Mr. Hopkinson replied, "You shall obey our orders," upon 
which I left him. (Of course in high dudgeon.) I leave it to 
your Honors to judge wherein are the indecent terms in which 
I refused to execute the orders of the Board. 1 immediately 
repaired to my ship, got all clear, and acquainted the Board of 
it the 30th of November last. A few hours afterward Mr. 
Hopkinson came down to White Hill with an order to haul the 
ships on shore, and sink them by sunset. This was a wrong 
time of the tide, yet the orders were punctually obeyed. 

Not satisfied with giving the orders, Mr. Hopkinson came 
on board my ship himself, and as soon as she struck the ground 
he ordered the plugs out, and the water ran in so fast we could 
not heel the ship to the bank, in consequence of which she lay 
down on her beam ends, and was very near oversetting. 

The next morning I went to Bordentown, and acquainted 
the Board with the situation of the ship. I was told it was 
a misfortune, and that we must do the best to remedy it. 
I informed them that nothing on my part should be want- 
ing. The Board then gave me verbal orders to hire all the 

Barry *s Defence 67 

hands I wanted, which I found to be a very difficult mat- 
ter, being obliged to coax them and pay extravagant wages. 
I made two efforts at different times to raise the ship, but 
without success. Having concluded on making a third trial, 
I had occasion to send to the Board for some things which 
were necessary for that purpose. When I received for answer 
that Mr. Hopkinson would come down and raise her himself. 
This insult I overlooked, having the getting up of the ship 
much at heart. Accordingly I took all the purchases I could 
think of, and got everything ready. About ten o'clock I sent 
up to the Navy Board for as many of Colonel Nichola's invalids 
as they could send, the day having then cleared up (it snowing 
in the morning) pretty moderate. In the interim I collected 
all the seamen I could, and began to heave upon the purchases. 
About one o'clock a sergeant and six or seven of the invalids 
came to my assistance. 

I think it necessary to acquaint your Honors that in the 
two former attempts to raise the ship I had from twenty to* 
twenty-five of these men, and was much disappointed to see so 
few of them on this occasion, and asked the sergeant the reason. 
He told me that Messrs. Hopkinson and Wharton had ordered 
him to bring such of the men as were well-attired. However, 
with this supply I set to work with as much ardor as possible. 
After some time Mr. Hopkinson came running out, saying, — 
"Captain Barry, doth she rise?" 

*'No, sir; how can she rise when you keep the people back?" 
'Toh," says he, "you are always grumbling!" 

"What do you say?" "Go along" says he, "and mind your 
own business, you scoundrel!" "It is a lie!" says Barry. 

"What! do you tell me I lie?" he replied. 

"It was a lie in them that said so." 

I then called the sergeant who brought the men, when 
he repeated that the Board had given him orders to bring 
the well-clothed men down; upon which Mr. Hopkinson told 
me he would bring me to account for this. My answer was, 
"Damn you, I don't value you more than my duty requires." 

"Sir," says he, "you never minded your duty." I im- 
mediately told him he was "a liar," and that the Continental 

68 Barry's Defence 

Congress knew that I had minded my duty, and added that 
had he minded his duty as well, this ship would not be in her 
present condition. Mr. Hopkinson retired, and I pursued my 
business until one of the purchases gave way. This, gentlemen, 
is a true relation, and I submit to your Honors* judgment how 
far my conduct has been blameable. I shall only add that 
it has been a principal study with me to behave with the 
greatest respect to the Navy Board ever since their appoint- 
ment, and I would just suggest to your Honors whether the 
good of the service does not require the Captains of the Navy 
to be treated with complaisance as gentlemen, as long as they 
obser\-e their duty? For my part, I should think myself un- 
worthy of the commission the Honorable Congress has been 
pleased to give me could I tamely put up with different treat- 

I have the honor to be, Gentlemen, 

Your most ob't humble serv^ant, 

^^rU-?^ /3i 

Mr. Hopkinson evidently made reply, as the "Journal of 
Congress" for January 29, 1778, records "a letter from F. 
Hopkinson, one of the Committee of the Navy Board, con- 
cerning the conduct of Captain Barry, was read, when it was 
moved that Captain Barry be not employed on the expedition 
assigned to his conduct by the Marine Committee with the 
approbation of Congress until further order of Congress." 
The question was put, and the States were equally divided, 
whereupon Congress adjourned until ten o'clock next day. 
Had an adverse majority vote been given and Barry *'not 
employed on the expedition assigned to his conduct," perhaps 
Washington might not later have been cheered by results 
equal to those which Captain Barry won in "the expedition,'* 
which were so signal as to win Washington's special thanks 
sent from amid the desolation of Valley Forge. To have 
strengthened the heart of Washington then secured for Barry 
an honor glorious to his fame. 

In the Lower Delaware 69 



But the Patriot Barry was a Resolute for Liberty in other 
directions. If he failed to destroy the British shipping by the 
torpedo kegs he could succeed in harassing or destroying their 
supply vessels coming up the lower Delaware. 

The * 'spirit of enterprise" aroused in him the resolve to 
prove his ability to harass and weaken the enemy, then in 
possession of his city and his home, even though he was amen- 
able to censure for disrespect to authority. His ship, the 
Effingham, lay at the bottom of the Delaware, off White Hill, 
N. J , now Fieldsboro, one mile below Bordentown. Learn- 
ing that British vessels bringing supplies to the enemy in 
Philadelphia were off Port Penn in the lower Delaware, he 
determined to make an attempt to capture or destroy them. 
The * 'spirit of enterprise" enabled him to demonstrate to the 
Supreme Executive Council, then at Lancaster, the feasi- 
bility of harassing the enemy in the lower Delaware. He 
encouraged the Council to endeavor to have the State's Navy 
cooperate and share in the effort. Accordingly, on February 
7, the Council wrote to the Navy Board, then at Burlington, 
N. J., saying: 

*'It has been suggested that it is practicable to annoy the 
enemy in the river below Philadelphia with Barges called 
Guard Boats. A spirit of enterprise in this way has discovered 
itself in Captain Barry and other officers of the Continental 
Navy, and other persons, particularly in the Delaware. This 
State promises considerable advantage to the adventurous 

70 Censured by Congress 

as well as to the public. Application has been made to Council 
by Captain Dougherty, and Mr. John Naghton, requesting to 
be permitted to have two of the boats to fit out for this purpose. 
Their request would have been readily granted but that Council 
waited to find Captain Barr>''s example inducing the officers 
and men of our fleet for a time specified. Their public exer- 
tions we would like to encourage and reward, asking the use 
of those barges, on the same footing that others offer to take 
them — that is to say, to give security for the safe return of the 
boats, find men and victuals and take all they get from the 
enemy, giving security and acting under commission as priva- 
teers. If any benefit can arise from a plan of this kind, it ought 
to be to the officers and men who have signalized themselves 
in the time of danger. Council therefore direct you to permit 
as many of the Boats as may be spared to be fitted out immedi- 
ately on the terms aforesaid by our officers and others.** Then 
follow detailed regulations as to commissions, etc. 

While Captain Barry was destroying the forage of the 
enemy Congress still left the charges against him undeter- 
mined. We have seen how, by a tie vote, the command was 
not taken from him. It would seem, however, that his friends, 
noting how near he had come to being dismissed, agreed to 
accept a vote of censure. Accfordingly, in Congress, on Febru- 
ary 2 1 , the Marine Committee, to whom was referred the com- 
plaint of the Navy Board against him, reported as their 
opinion "that Captain Barr>^ hath treated the said Board, in 
the person of Mr. Hopkinson, one of the Board, with indecency 
and disrespect, and that he ought, within twenty days after 
this resolve shall have been notified to him by the said Board, 
make full acknowledgment as shall be satisfactory to them." 
After the agreement of Congress to this resolve nothing further 
appears in official records concerning the affront given to 
authority. It may be presumed, then, that Captain Barry 
complied with the official desire of Congress. Doubtless he 
resolved to so manifest "the spirit of enterprise" in serving 
his country as to make ample reparation for any "disrespect" 
he had shown. So one night in February, 1778, with twenty- 
seven men in four row boats, he came down from above Burling- 

Captures Three 71 

ton, and, succeeding in passing Philadelphia unmolested by 
its British occupants. He went as far as Port Penn in the 
lower Delaware, and there on February 26th, 1778, captured 
two vessels, the Mermaid and the Kitty, and their convoy of 
10 guns, the Alert, all laden with forage and supplies for the 
British army. After stripping the two ships he burned them, 
and sent their supplies northward through New Jersey. But 
British cruisers, ever alert off the Capes, discovered Barry at 
work and attacked him. He was obliged to run the schooner 
ashore, but held possession of her, however. He was authorized 
by the Marine Committee, on March 12, to make the purchases 
necessary to fit her out for service. 

Spears' History of the Navy [Vol. i. p, 189.] in relating this 
encounter says ''The Mermaid and The Kitty with two other 
vessels were convoyed by the Alert of ten guns. "Barry with 
his gallant band made a dash at the schooner Alert and before 
the British could rally for a defence, clambered over the rail 
cutlass in hand. At that the British dropped ever>'thing and 
fled below, leaving Barry to put on the hatches and keep them 

In view of the many occasions on which British historians 
charge the American sailors with cowardice it must be told 
that this "wild Irishman'* with his twenty-seven men beat 
down under the hatches one major, two captains, three lieuten- 
ants, ten soldiers and one hundred seamen and marines. He 
captured one hundred and sixteen men with just twenty- 

In Abbott's "Blue Jackets of '76" is given the following 
account of Barry's operations in the Delaware. "The Delaware 
along the water front of Philadelphia, was the scene of some 
dashing work by American sailors, under the command of 
Captain John Barry. This officer was in command of the 
'Effingham', one of the vessels which had been trapped in the 
Delaware by the unexpected occupation of Philadelphia by the 
British. The inactivity of the vessels, which had taken refuge 
at White Hill, was a sore disappointment to Barry, who longed 
for the excitement and danger of actual battle. With the 
British in force at Philadelphia it was madness to think of 

72 Battle off Port Pern 

taking the frigates down the stream. But Barr>^ rightly 
thought that what could not be done with a heavy ship might 
be done with a few light boats. 

"Philadelphia was then crowded with British troops. The 
soldiers were well supplied with money, and, finding themselves 
well quartered in the city for the winter, led a life of continual 
gayety. The great accession to the population of the town 
made it necessary to draw upon the country far and near for 
provisions; and boats were continually carrying provisions 
to the city. To intercept some of these, and to give the merry 
British officers a taste of starvation, was Barry's plan. 

"Accordingly four boats were manned with well armed 
crews and with muffled oars set out on a dark night to patrol 
the river. Philadelphia was reached and the expedition was 
almost past the city when the sentries on one of the British 
men-of-war gave the alarm. A few scattering shots were 
fired from the shore ; but the jackies bent to their oars, and the 
boats were soon lost to sight in the darkness. When day broke 
Barrv was far down the river. 

"Opposite the little post held by the American army and 
called Port Penn, Barry spied a large schooner, mounting ten 
guns and flying the British flag. With her were four transport 
ships loaded with forage for the enemy's forces. Though the 
sun had risen, and it was broad day, Barry succeeded in run- 
ning his boats alongside the schooner; and before the British 
suspected the presence of any enemy, the blue-jackets were 
clambering over the rails, cutlass and pistol in hand. There 
was no resistance. The astonished Englishmen threw down 
their arms and rushed below. The victorious Americans 
battered down the hatches, ordered the four transf>orts to 
surrender, and, on pain of being fired into, triumphantly 
carried all five prizes to the piers of Port Penn. There the 
hatches were removed, to permit the prisoners to come on 
deck. When all appeared it was found the Yankees had 
bagged one major, two captains, three lieutenants, ten soldiers, 
and about one hundred sailors and marines — a ver}'^ respectable 
haul for a party of not more than 30 American sailors. 

"The next day a British frigate and sloop-of-war appeared 

Spirited Conduct 73 

down the bay. They were under full sail, and were apparently 
making for Port Penn, with the probable intention of re- 
capturing Barry's prizes. Fearing that he might be robbed of the 
fruits of his victory, Barry put the four transports in charge of 
Capt. Middleton, with instructions to fire them should the enemy 
attempt to cut them out. In the meantime, he took the ten- 
gun schooner, and made for the Christiana River, in the hopes 
of taking her into shallow waters, whither the heavier British 
vessels could not follow. But, unluckily for his plans, the wind 
favored the frigate; and she gained upon him so rapidly that 
only by the greatest expedition could he run his craft ashore 
and escape. Two of the guns were pointed down the main 
hatch, and a few rounds of round-shot were fired through the 
schooner's bottom. She sunk quickly; and the Americans 
pushed off from her side, just as the British frigate swung 
into position, and let fly her broadside at her escaping foes. 

*'The schooners being thus disposed of, the British turned 
their attention to the four captured transports at Port Penn. 
Captain Middleton and Captain McLane, who commanded 
the American militia on shore, had taken advantage of the 
delay to build a battery of bales of hay near the piers. The 
British sloop-ofTwar opened the attack, but the sharpshooters 
in the battery and on the transport gave her so warm a reception 
htat she retired. She soon returned to the attack, but was 
checked by the Americans' fire, and might have been beaten off 
had not Middleton received a mortal wound while standing on 
the battery and cheering on his men. Dismayed by the fall of 
their leader, the Americans set fire to the transport and fled 
to the woods, leaving the British masters of the field. 

''Barry's conduct in his enterprise won for him the ad- 
miration of friends and foes alike. Sir William Howe, then 
commander-in-chief of the British forces in America, offered 
the daring American twenty thousand guineas and the com- 
mand of a British frigate if he would desert the service of the 
United States. 'Not the value and command of the whole 
British fleet,' wrote Barry in reply, 'can seduce me from the 
cause of my country.' 

*' After this adventure Barry and his followers made their 

74 Off Bombay Hook 

way through the woods back to White Hill, where his ship, the 
Effingham, was lying at anchor. At White Hill and near that 
place were nearly a dozen armed ships, frigates, sloops and 
privateers. All had fled thither for safety when the British 
took Philadelpiha, and now found themselves caught in a trap. 
To run the blockade of the British batteries and men-of-war 
at Philadelphia was impossible; and there was nothing to do 
but wait until the enemv should evacuate the city.'* 

"The exploit was considered highly creditable to Captain 
Barry, on account of the enterprise and daring he displayed in 
going down the river, when it was full of the enemy's shipping 
and small craft." [Sparks' Writings Washington, Vol. p, 271.] 

Nine days later, March 7th, 1778, off Bombay Hook, another 
successful enterprise of Captain Barry inflicted marked dam- 
age upon the enemy and added to Barry's heroic record. It 
is thus related : 

William Ellery, of Massachusetts, delegate in the Continental 
Congress writing to William Vernon, senior member of the 
Navy Board for the Eastern Department from York Town, Pa., 
where Congress was then in session, under the date of March 16, 
1778, said: 

"The Marine Committee lately ordered Captain Barr>' of the 
Effingham to take four boats belonging to the frigates which 
are sunk in the Delaware, and proceed on a cruise upon that 
river. On the 7th instant two of them, the other two had not 
then got below the city, joined by five boats, half manned, 
attacked (near Bombay Hook) and took two of the enemy's 
transport ships, one mounting six four pounders, the other two 
swivels; and also a schooner with eight 4 pounders, twelve 4 
pound howitzers and 32 men, properly equipped for an armed 
vessel. They first boarded the ships, and learning from them 
the strength of the schooner. Captain Barry prudently sent a 
flag to the schooner, ordering the Captain of her to submit, and 
promising that he and his ofiicers, on compliance, should be 
allowed their private baggage ; whereupon they thought proper 
to strike. As the ships were loaded only with forage. Captain 
Barry, after stripping, burnt them. The schooner being a suitable 

His Success 75 

vessel for a cruiser, he is ordered to purchase and employ on the 
Delaware so long as he thinks it may be safe. 

*'She had in her a variety of useful and valuable articles. This 
gallant action reflects great honour on Captain Barry, his offi- 
cers and the crews of those boats. 

"The other two boats have since got down and in their way 
took a small sloop, with fresh provisions, bound to the city. I 
expect every day to hear of their further success. These boats 
will annoy and injure the enemy more, in my opinion, than 
both the seventy-fours would, if they were built, equipped and 
manned, at least upon the Delaware." [Pub. R.J . His. S., 
Jan. 1 90 1, in Paper on William Vernon and the Navy Board.] 

Colonel John Laurens, writing to his father on 9th March, 
1778, related: 

"You will be informed of Captain Barry's success with two 
or three armed boats on the Delaware. Two transports loaded 
with forage, one of them mounting six four pounders and four 
howitzers, fell into his hands, by his gallantry and address. The 
schooner had on board a lieutenent of engineers and company 
of artificers, some valuable intrenching tools, officers' baggage 
and wines and delicacies destined for Gen. Howe's table, etc. 
Capt. Barry was obliged to destroy the ship and set out on a 
new cruise with the schooner. A large fleet of the enemy's 
vessels were coming up the river. Barry maintained an obsti- 
nate fight ; his men once leaped into the boat and were preparing 
to desert him ; his presence of mind and singular address recov- 
ered them. He renewed the combat, but, surrounded and over- 
powered, he was obliged to run his schooner on shore, where he 
saved the cannon and ever>'thing valuable, and rendered the 
schooner valueless. 

**You may see I write in great haste, which I am the more 
sorry for, as it would give me pleasure to dwell upon the praises 
due to Capt. Barry. Among other things taken aboard the 
schooner are a number of German letters and papers relative 
to the foreign regiments in British service, from whence we 
hope to gain some useful intelligence. Gen. Knyphausen's 
order of the Lion d'or is likewise taken but will be sent unto 
him.*' [Laurens' Correspondence, p. 140.] 

76 The British Accounts 

The British report of occurrences on the Delaware, upper 
and lower, are herewith presented : 

Royal Penna. Gazette, March loth, 1778: 

"We hear that an armed schooner and two vessels under 
her convov were attacked last Sundav afternoon, at anchor 
off Wilmington, by three Rebel gallies and twenty boats full 
of armed men, and that after a very obstinate engagement, 
the vessels being greatly damaged, were obliged to "strike." 

On the 13th the Gazette announced the arrival of a British 
fleet, the Experiment, the Le Brune, the Dispatch, the Hotham 
and New York with several transports. The fleet of eleven 
sail had come from Rhode Island. 

"On the passage up the river the Alert schooner with the 
Katty and Mermaid transports being far ahead of the fleet 
were attacked by a number of Rebel gallies and floats [as men- 
tioned in our last] but the rest of the fleet coming up the Rebels 
set fire to the two transports, without being able to avail them- 
selves of any part of the cargoes ; the A lert schooner was retaken 
on Monday l^st above Reedy Island." 

Same day abreast of Penn Town the Rebels fired on a fleet 
from a batter>' they had erected, but received in return for 
their industry such a redundancy of shot from the Le Brune, 
Dispatch and New York sloop, as obliged them to abandon their 
cannon and it is thought nearly demolished the town 

Early this morning a Rebel sergeant with eleven men came 
in here, and report that a very heavy fire was heard last night 
at Wilmington, by which it is imagined, that the British 
troops have rewarded the inhabitants of that place for their 
late industry." [Royal Gaz., March 17th, 1778.] 

On Wednesday last a rebel gunboat, with one three pounder 
called the Fame No. 71, was taken by the Pearl and Camilla* s 
boats out of a creek a little above Reedy Point. 

Last Thursday the Pearls boats took two rebel boats out of 
a canal at Reedy Point, one large long boat, fitted out for a 
four pounder and one swivel ; the other a yawl for five swivels 
but neither men nor arms in them. 

It was yesterday reported that a number of the Jersey militia 

British Accounts 77 


and Capt. Barry of the rebel fleet, were taken prisoners near 
Salem." [Gazette, March 24th, 1778.] 

In the Royal Gazette, March 24th, 1778, is this notice : 

•*To do justice to the erudition of the author," it published 
two letters found on board of the rebel gun boats taken in the 
river Delaware." One signed Joseph Wead, was: 

**To the Honabel Navy Board at Trentown 

This is to let you No that we help to take in two ship and 
one sconer one ship having shix Caryage guns, the other ship 
having no guns the Scuner mounting Eight Carriage guns be- 
sides Eaght houghats Capt Beary being in company with his 
two boats and Capt Cullins boat and sevral privet teurs be 
Longing to the State of penselvany and was oblig to burnt 
the — sent the Sconer up to Christen but ther being three men 
waare laing at Nucacal and the Cuner was blig to run Shour 
and cant tell what com of her. 

Sir. Pleas pay Jacob Bird the sum of the Hoole and in so 
doing oblige your friend 


Joseph Wead was commander of the Fame, mounting one 
four f)ounder, four swivels and ten wall pieces, manned by 12 

The report of the capture in Royal Gazette, April 7th, 1778, 
To the Printer of the Roval Penna Gazette. 

**The gun boat mentioned to be taken by the Camilla and 
Pearl boats in your paper of 24th March was taken as follows : 

Lieut Spry, commander of his Majesty's galley the Cornwallis 
Mr. Bradford Master, and twenty two of the crew. Lieut 
Bogue and ten marines belonging to the Camilla and ten men 
belonging to the Pearl; on the i8th of March last, landed in 
two gun boats, a little above Red Lyon Creek about four miles 
above Reedy Point, on the Pennsylvania shore, under cover 
of the gallies guns, marched about three miles up into the coun- 
try to the head of Red Lyon Creek, there surprised and took a 
rebel gun boat called the Fame, Joseph Wade, commander, 
mounting one four pounder, four swivels and two wall pieces 
manned by twelve men, &c. 

78 Was Barry Offered a British CommandP 

If it be true that Captain Barry was offered money and a 
command in the British Navy if he would desert the cause of 
the Colonies and that he replied that the "Value and the com- 
mand of the whole British Navv would not induce him to 
abandon the cause of Liberty," may not the offer have been 
made after Barry's spirited actions in the lower Delaware? If 
not at that time then it may have been soon after the British 
took possession of Philadelphia and by Lord Howe, commander 
of the British fleet, and not by General Howe of the army. 

It is known that Lord Howe sent a flag of truce to Commo- 
dore Hazlewood, commander of the Navv of the State of Penn- 
sylvania, demanding the surrender of the fleet; Hazlewood 
replied, he "Would not surrender but defend it to the last 

This was made known to Congress. On October 17th, 1777, 
tha body "approved of the brave and spirited conduct of Hazle- 
wood and the other officers and men concerned in the defence 
of the river Delaware and of their undaunted perseverance 
and resolution to maintain that pass to the City of Philadelphia.*' 

As the demand on Hazlewood was made, what more likely 
than at the same time a similar flag of truce and offer was made 
to the Senior Commander of the Continental fleet in the River 
Delaware, Capt John Barry, coupled with an offer to give him 
a British command. 

Or, perhaps, by another, either Lord Howe of the Ships or 
General Howe of the Army, may have attempted to win over 
Captain BsLvry. 

It is of record that bribery was resorted to in order to gain 
unobstructed passage for British vessels up the Delaware. 

Molesworth, who for years had been clerk to the Mayors of 
Philadelphia, was given fifty guineas to bribe pilots to bring 
the British fleet past the Cheveaux-de-Frize off Billingsport, 
so as to get the fleet to Philadelphia. 

John Brown, "usually respected and an honest man," on 
November 5th, 1777, left Philadelphia by permission of General 
Howe to go to York Town, Pa., where Congress was in session. 
At Lancaster he was arrested and put in jail. He showed a letter 
which General Howe had written Thomas Willing, a leading 

Harassing the British 79 

merchant of Philadelphia, in which Howe stated that he was 
desirous of stopping the further effusion of blood and to have 
the former state of affairs restored by the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence being rescinded. Then satisfactory terms could be 
agreed upon. Brown was sent to York and then back to 
Lancaster for examination. He had been for ten years in the 
employ of Willing and Morris. Willing remained in Philadel- 
phia during the British occupancy and has been charged with 
doubtful loyalty to the Americans. Captain Barry had been 
in his employ. 

The probability, however, is that if ever such an offer was 
made to Barry it was soon after British occupancy of Philadel- 
phia and at the same time the surrender of the State Navy is 
known to have been demanded. Lord Howe would not have 
been likely to not have sought to secure the Continental fleet 
also. However, there are no records in the case to enable a 
positive statement to be made. 

The above and other accounts of Barry's operations do not 
set forth that, perhaps, for two months Barry remained on 
the Delaware below Philadelphia harrassing the enemy and 
destroying forage and provisions. The annexed letters show 
him at Port Penn on February 26, after having destroyed the 
forage all the way from Mantua Creek to Port Penn, that two 
ships and a schooner were on March 7 captured by him at Port 
Penn, and that as late as April 1 1 he reported to Washington 
from Wilmington. Allowing, then, for time prior to February 
26, during which he was destroying the forage from Mantua 
Creek to Port Penn, from which he reported to Washington, 
it is evident that Barry spent at least two months below Phila- 
delphia annoying and punishing the British. 

On March 12 the Marine Committee, as has been said, laid 
before Congress, among other things, a copy of a proposed 
letter to Captain Barry empowering him to purchase, for the 
use of the Committee, and fit out a vessel which he had lately 
taken in Delaware Bay. Congress resolved to "approve of the 
piu'chase being made and that it be referred to the Marine 
Committee to give such directions as they judge proper respect- 

80 Reports to Washington 

ing the name, officers and manning of the vessel when purchased 
and the manner in which she is to be employed. 

That "the spirit of enterprise" in Captain Barry brought 
gratifying results is shown by the correspondence herewith 
given. On Februarv^ 26, 1778, Barry wrote to Washington at 
Valley Forge a letter which is here given from the original in 
the Washington Papkrs, at Washington (Vol. XXII, p. 52): 

'*Sir: According to the orders of General Wayne I have 
Destroyed the Forage from Mantua Creek to this Place the 
Quantity Destroyed is about four Hundred Tons and should 
have Proceeded farther had not a Number of the Enemies Boats 
appeared in Sight and Lining the Jersey Shore Deprived us of 
the Opportunity of Proceeding Farther on the same purp)ose. 
Shall Remit to Your Excellency the Names of the Persons 
Whose property was Destroyed and Likewise the Quantity of 
Each, have thought Proper to Detain four of Your Men to 
assist in getting the Boats away as some of My Men are Ren- 
dered Incapable of Proceeding thro Fatigue. But shall again 
Remit by the First Order of Your Excellency having no further 
Occasion for the Remaining Part of the Detachment under 
My Command have thought proper to Discharge them & am 
Sir with Due Respect Your Excellency's Most Humble Servant, 


Barry acted under" the order of General Wayne" his fellow 
member in The Sons of vSt. Patrick. Wavnc had been direct- 
ed by Washington to capture cattle, forage and supplies for 
his suffering soldiers at Valley Forge. Wayne, by subordi- 
nate ofiicers, scoured the country round about Philadelphia, 
in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey, and by Barry on 
the lower Delaware River and Bay. Whatever could not be 
carried off was destroyed to prevent its getting into the posses- 
sion of the British. 

On March 9th, 1778, Captain Barry again reported to General 

"Dear General: Tis with the Greatest Satisfaction 
Imaginable I inform You of Capturing two Ships & a schooner 
of the Enemy, the two Ships were Transports from Rhode 

Report to Washington 81 

Island Loaded with forage One Mounting Six four Pounders 
with fourteen hands Each the Schooner is in the Engineering 
Department Mounting Eight Double fortified four Pounder 
& twelve four Pound howitz Properly fitted in Every Particular 
& Manned with thirty-three men Among the Prisoners is a 
Lieutenant in the same Department with the Schooner the 
Lieutenant together with the Captain of the Schooner Being 
verry Solicitous for the Liberty of a Fortnight thought Proper 
By the Advices of Nicholas Vandyke Esq' (a Member of Con- 
gress) to allow them their Parole for a fortnight to Go to Phila- 
delphia with some Officers Lady's that were taken on the 
Schooner. The schooner is a Most Excellent Vessel for our 
Purpose & as there Are a Number of Ships Expected in under 
verry Little Convoy with the farther assistance of about forty 
men should Give a verry Good Account of them, As the Enemy 
are Greatly Necessiated for want of Forage, the Schooner is 
unloaded But had not as Yet the Manifest of the Cargo. But 
are a Number of Engineering Tools on Board. Shall Give 
You a Circumstantial Account of the Whole Cargo as soon 
as Possible by the Bearer Mr. John Chilton have sent you a 
Cheese Together with a Jar of Pickled Oysters which Crave 
Vour Acceptance Should have Remitted the Particulars 
Together with the Letters & Dispatch for General Dehesters 
Before But a fleet of the Enemy's Small Vessels appearing in 
Sight Obliged me to Bum One of the Ships & am afraid the 
Other will share the same fate Discharging her But am Deter- 
mined to hold the Schooner at all Events Inclosed You have 
the Articles of the Schooner Capitulation as we Sent a flag on 
Board her After Boarding the two Ships & am Sir with Due 
Respect," &c. 

The original of the above letter is in Vol. XXII of the Wash- 
ington Papers, at p. 127, and at p. 119 are the "Articles of 
Capitulation agreed upon Between Capt. Morse of the Schooner 
Alert in His Britannick Majesty's Service & Capt. John Barry 
on the Part of the United States," which provided that "Every 
Lady in the Ship is to have their Baggage &c Belonging to 
their own Private Property — The Lady's are to Be Sent to 
Philadelphia By the first Conveyance. The Men to Remain 

82 Thanks of Washington 

Prisoners of War 'till' Exchanged — Dilworth the Pilot to Be 
held as a Prisoner of War On these Conditions 1 Deliver up the 
Schooner Alert.'' 

Washington Thanks Captain Barrv. 

Nor was Washington slow in reporting Barr>''s doings 
to Congress. On March 12th, he wrote from Valley Forge to 
that body, saying : "I have great pleasure to transmit to you an 
extract of a letter from Captain Barry which will inform you 
of his successes. The tw^o ships he burned after stripping 
them ; and he was obliged, it seems, two days after the capture 
to ground and abandon the schooner, after a long and severe 
engagement with some of the frigates and small armed vessels. 
It is said he saved her guns and most of her tackle" ('Letters/ 
vol. XI, p. 197). On the same day he answered the second 
letter from the naval hero himself, thus: "I have received 
your favor of the 9th inst., and congratulate you on the success 
which has crowned your gallantry and address in the late 
attack upon the enemy's ships. Although circumstances have 
prevented you from reaping the full benefit of your conquests, 
yet there is ample consolation in the degree of glory which 
you have acquired. You will be pleased to accept my thanks 
for the good things which you were so polite as to send me, 
with my wishes that a suitable recompense may always attend 
your bravery" (Sparks' * 'Writings of Washington," vol. V, p. 

In Frost's "Naval Biography" it is said of this attack on the 
enemy's ships: "For boldness of design and dexterity of 
execution it was not surpassed, if equalled, during the war." 

On St. Patrick's Day, 1778, Washington is related to have 
said : "I, too, am a lover of St. Patrick," and so issued an order 
for an extra allowance of "grog" so as to restore the good 
feelings between the Irish and those who had erected a "Stuffed 
Paddy." Then — the same day — he issued an order that a 
corps of one hundred men should be annexed to his Personal 
Guard which had been organized in New York in 1776. "They 
must be American bom" and men of "established characters 

Report to Washington 83 

for sobriety and fidelity," was his order. [2 Pa. Ar. Vol, XI. p. 
122. or Stryker*s, N. J., Regts p. 60.] 

But Baron Steuben, a German, was appointed instructor 
to drill this "native" corps as a model for all companies. 

Captain John Barry, a foreign bom, was destroying the 
enemy's shipping and sending supplies to Valley Forge when 
Washington, on February 12th, wrote President Wharton, of 
the Supreme Council of Pennsylvaina, **We find the Conti- 
nental troops (especially those who are not natives) are very 
apt to desert from the pickets." [Ms.] 

On March 20, Barry wrote again to the Commander-in- 
Chief (Washington Papers, vol. XXII, p. 207,) this time from 
Wilmington, Del. : 

"Dear General: Inclosed You have an Invoice of the 
Goods taken from on Board the Schooner Alert & Ships Mer- 
maid and Kitty the Intrenching Tools You mentioned are 
stolen by the Inhabitants together with about one fourth 
Part of the Cargo taken out of the Vessels I should be much 
obliged to Your Excellency to Appoint some Person at Middle- 
town or Order them to purchase what things you may Judge 
necessary for the Army as I wish they may have the Preference 
the Capturers in General Expect the Articles to be sold at 
Public Sale in about ten days from this Date, I likewise send 
You a Rough Draft of New York Island which Probably may 
be of Service to You. 

**The enemy have forty sail of Vessels up Salem Creek 
& about thirty more on the Delaware abreast of the Creek. 
They have from the Best information I Can collect about 
fifteen hundred Men Landed & am Satisfied their Intent is for 
Stock and forage Shall by the Earliest Opportunity Transmit 
to Your Excellency Every movement of the Enemy I Possibly 
Can Collect." 

On April 6 he wrote from Middletown, (Ibid.y p. 301) : "In- 
closed is a bill of sundry Articles purchased at the Sales here for 
your Excellency which tho' bid in high, hope will please 
you; I should have compleated the whole of your Excellency's 
Mem" had it been in my power. Major Burnet purchased all 

84 Report to Washington 

the Knives & Forks to be equally divided between your Excel- 
lency & General Green. You will please to send the Marshall 
the Amot of the Inclosed bill by the same hand that brings the 
Money for the Articles purchased by Major Burnet." 

Again from Wilmington he wrote to Washington on April 
II {Ibid., p. 303): "I send by bearer the things I have Pur- 
chased for Your Excellency. It would have given me great 
pleasure to have had it in my power to have Compleated the 
whole, but some of them selling so high and thees not good was 
the Occasion the memo show him that Your Excellency Ordered 
me Camp wants close [clothes] and they Grumble Very Much 
about it. I fear there is some of them that will not stay 
unless the can be supplied with them — I think in a little 
time our Crusing will be At an end but I want to have one 
sweep more among them before we give up, we have 
been unhappily blocked up here for this few day 
past but if the Men stay will be out in a few days — should be 
glad if your Excellency would let me know the time you wood 
want the Men and the Greatest care shall be taken that they 
join their respective Regiments — Your Excellency will oblige 
me very much if you will desire General Vamum to send the 
men and Close by the Bearer as soon as possible if He dont 
Come soon it will brak up my crusin which I should be very 
sorry for as I think we can be of use for some little time yet." 

Concerning the captured "things" which Captain Barry wrote 
Washington he had purchased for him at sale at Middle town, 
on April ist, one year afterwards, on April 12th, 1779, James 
Booth wrote Edward Roche, aide to Washington, sending a list 
of the prize goods bought by Captain John Barry for General 
Washington and requesting that the bill be presented General 
Washington for payment. 

On May 27th, Roche replied from Camp Middle Brook that 
General Washington had paid the bills to Captain Barry almost 
*'a year ago" and enclosing an attested copy of Captain Barry's 
bill and receipt for the same. 

James Booth from New Castle, on June 15th, 1779, wrote 
Barry informing him of General Washington's surprise at his 
not turning over the money to the proper authorities, and 

British Reports 85 

requesting that he then pay the bearer Mr. Simon Levy. [Papers 
with Capt. Jno. S. Barnes.] 

Unfortunately Captain Barry^s relation of the case has not 
been discovered so "the other side" would appear. 

The following extracts from the British organ in Philadelphia 
at this time are interesting as showing the sentiments prevail- 

Royal Gazette y April loth, 1778. 

France has given the strongest assurances of her pacific 
disposition to the Court of Britain. The Agents of Congress, 
Franklin and Dean, are totally neglected by all in France except 
a few interested merchants who have been amused out of their 
property and think it their interest to countenance those 
heroes till proper assignments from Congress are sent them — 
the former abettors of the American rebellion are now their 
most inveterate enemies and subscribe cheerfully for the en- 
couragement of the new levies — that men for the sea and land 
service are raising with the greatest facility. 

April 14th, Gazette said: — 

•*The old Lyon has been grumbling and shaking his mane 
a Httle for some time. He is now thoroughly aroused and 
America seems destined to feel his rage." 

On April 28th : A Friend to peace and the British Consti- 
tution advised that, "In case the ungrateful Americans dont 
immediately relinquish their Independence and accept the 
honoiu*able terms offered them that positive orders should 
be given to his Majesty's ships and vessels of war to sink every 
privateer and armed vessel in the service of the American rebels 
without saving a man. But alas! the characteristics of Great 
Britain have ever been that of mistaken lenity." 

*'A York Town Rebel Paper" of May 4, 1778, having said: 
"The news of the defeat and capture of General Burgoyne were 
received in France with as much joy as if a victory by their 
own troops had been announced. Our Plenipotentiaries took 
this opportunty again to attract the attention of the Court of 
France to the objects of their negotiations." 

The Royal Gazette, May 1 2th, said : 

This piece of intelligence which has been received with rap- 

86 America's Lamentations 

tures by those who, regardless of the happiness of their fellow- 
creatures, would even, were it in their power, subvert the decrees 
of the Almighty, to support their usurpation power and like 
the first Arch Rebel, ''rather rule in hell than serve in heaven." 
It cannot be imagined that many would be so credulous as to 
think the religious sentiments of the French, and those imbibed 
by the spawn of Cromwell, will ever quadrate so as to promote 
a lasting harmony or that an honest American will relinquish 
his reason so far as to risk eternal concerns on the inverted 
eyes, sour grievances or ecclesiastical thump of a Presby- 
terian fist, were the pious orator even endowed with the eloquence 
of a John Cotton Mather. At any rate before the French could 
give them any aid, the country may at discretion be laid waste, 
and leave them as little sanctuary as the wild beasts in the woods. 
But John Barry, whose religious sentiments quadrated with 
those of the French, co-operated with the Presbyterian "spawn 
of Cromwell," in battling for Liberty una wed by power and 
unseduced by gold or command. 

Royal Gazette, May 22d, 1778. 

"Intelligence being received last Tuesday evening that Mr. 
Washington and his tattered retinue had abandoned their 
mud holes and were on their march to Germantown, a detach- 
ment of British and Hessian troops went out to meet and escort 
them into the city; but the rebels being apprized of their ap- 
proach, flew back with precipitation, to what they term their 
camp, determined to act no further on the defensive than might 
be consistent with their personal safety." 

America's Lamentation: Royal Gaz., May 26th, 1778: 

"Congress, why not relent? There is a place 
Left for repentance — yes — for pardon left ; 
By easy due submission; but that word 
Thy stubborn soul forbids, and dread of shame; 
Among States around, whom thou s't seduce'd. 
With other promises and other vaunts. 
Than to submit; boasting thou coulds't subdue 
Our aged parent. With detestation strong 

Deserters 87 

Indignant Heaven must view the black attempt; 
And Odious make thy name, thro* all the world, 
Unconscionable Men! You little heed 
How dear this Continent pays for your boasts, 
Under what torments its poor people groan 
And now bleed for you at ten thousand veins." 

The Gazette of April 3d, reported the coming in of sixty 
deserters from the rebel army. 

88 Mrs. Barry at Reading 




While Captain Barry was on the Delaware so successfully 
serving his country, Mrs. Barry and other refugees from Phila- 
delphia were at Reading. Her Brother, William Austin, a Tory, 
was then in the English Naval service. When he was captured 
Captain Barry wrote to Washington asking that he be ex- 
changed. On February i6, 1778, Colonel Henry Haller, 
writing from Reading to President W^harton, of the Supreme 
Executive Council of Pennsylvania, reported that Reynold 
Keen had gone over to the enemy, and asked if it would be 
proper to order the family to Philadelphia, where their friends, 
the British, were. "Mrs. Barry, sister to Mr. Keen, desires 
to know whether she could not be permitted to keep for 
Mr. Keen some of the kitchen furniture and bedding for 
the children, and in case she should buy any of the goods at 
the vendue on Saturday next, at which time I propose to sell, 
unless orders come from you to the contrary, will she be allowed 
to send them to Philadelphia to Mr. Keen?" On the i8th. 
President Wharton replied: *'If Mrs. Barry chuses to take care 
of the children, the Council can have no objection to it, or to 
her purchasing anything she may chuse to pay for; but 
as to taking furniture or other things, except decent cloth- 
ing, to Philadelphia, it would be highly improper, as General 
Howe refuses such liberty to our people who are in the city." 
Mrs. Barry was sister-in-law to Reynold Keen, who had married 
Christiana Stills (who died at Reading on December 5, 1777), 
the daughter of his second cousin, Sarah Keen, by her first 
husband John Stills, and half sister to Sarah Austin, daughter 
of the same Sarah Keen by her second husband Samuel Austin, 
who married Captain John Barry. Reynold Keen, however. 

Destruction of the Fleet 89 

took the oath of allegiance to Pennsylvania on October 1 1, 1779. 
The daring and success of Barry's operations in the lower 
Delaware made the British revengeful. 

Though preparing to evacuate the City they were anxious 
to destroy the vessels in the upper Delaware, lest, perhaps, 
they should attack the evacuating army while crossing the 
Delaware or the retreating vessels as they sailed down the 

"In April, in compliance with the orders of General Wash- 
ington, after a rather stubborn resistance on the part of the 
Navy Board, the galleys, shallops, and brigs were dismantled 
^nd sunk, shot buried, officers and seamen for the most part 
^iismissed and stores lodged in safety in New Jersey. The 
officers remained to take part in Courts Martial held at Trenton, 
*^May." {Pa. Ar. 2d Vol. I., p. 236.) Thus we see the Penn- 
sylvania Navy Board as reluctant to sink its vessels as Captain 
^arry had been the November before to lay at the bottom of 
"^he Delaware the Effingham, which Congress had committed 
^0 his care. 

Washington, doubtless, had information concerning the pur- 
Jx)se of the British. 

Barry *s Effingham, the Washington and other vessels had 

l)een raised from" the soft bottom" of the river. On May 7, 

:»778, a force, under Major Maitland, was sent on an expedi* 

tion up the Delaware from Philadelphia. The Washington, 32, 

"toe Effingham, 28 guns, and other vessels, numbering in all 

twenty-one or more were set on fire and destroyed. 

A British report of the expedition is found in The Pennsylva- 
nia Evening Post, May 13, 1778, No 490: 

**Last Thursday night four gallies, an armed brig and a 
schooner with a detachment of light infantry in boats, went 
up the river. On Friday the troops landed near White Hill, 
where a show of resistance was made by about fifty light horse 
and a like number of militia, who were instantly dispersed 
with loss of several men and four pieces of cannon, which were 
demolished. In pursuing the fugitives to Bordentown, one 
Ivins was accidently killed in crossing the street [creek?] A 
quantity of naval stores, and some thousand of tent poles, 

90 Destruction of the Fleet 

pegs, &c., with the storehouses were burnt, by which means 
the dwelling house of Mr. Borden also shared the same fate. 

"In the meantime the people of the Navy set fire to the Wash- 
ington and Efjinghatn frigates, two very fine ships, and to a 
number of vessels in Crosswicks Creek. 

The troops were then re-embarked, passed over the river 
and landed. The next morning two gallies and some boats 
proceeded up to Biles Island, where several vessels were set 
on fire, while the boats went up Watson's Creek, where the 
rebel gallies were found with their masts only above Avater. 
Here the boats were saluted with a number of cannon shot, 
which did no damage. The two gallies were by this time 
aground, and exchanged some shot with the rebels from the 
lower point of the island. 

'*It was some hours before the gallies floated, during which 
time the exasperated seamen from the boats and vessels below, 
set fire to the house of Mr. Kirkbride and to the ferryhouse. 
As soon as the gallies returned from above, the troops marched 
across the countrv' and halted at Bristol until the vessels came 
down, when they re-embarked and proceeded down the river. 
Two ships were burnt at Bristol and several below Burlington. 
The number destroyed, besides the two frigates, are two pri- 
vateers, one of fourteen the other of ten guns, one large ship 
pierced for twenty-four guns, nine other ships, besides fourteen 
or fifteen smaller vessels. The troops and vessels, employed on 
this expedition returned on Sunday to this town, without the 
loss of a man. We are since informed that the rebels lost 
seventeen men killed at Bordentown." 

Captain John Henry commanded the 24 gun ship Fowey 
and in May, 1778, in conjunction with the land force, under 
Major Maitland, destroyed the American magazines then erect- 
ing in the Delaware, and captured the 32 gun frigate Wash- 
ington and the 28 gun frigate Efpnghavi, besides the brig and 
a sloop. [From Narrative of John Blatchford, a soldier of the 
Revolution: N. Y., 1865: Notes page loi.] 

Diary of Mrs. M. M., of Burlington. [lVatson*s Annals, 11, 

p. 315-] 

"One morning very early, we were surprised to see many bun- 

Destruction of the Fleet 9/ 

dreds of boats filled with British soldiers going up to Bordentown 
to bum all the gondolas. While looking at them R. Sutton 
and his son stopped at my door when the former said he was 
going to join a party of soldiers going up to resist them. Poor 
fellow he was killed the next day." 

The Annals, [p. 297] says: "Loss was the Effingham and 
Washington,'' two fine ships, 2 privateers, i large 24 gun ship, 
9 other ships and 14 or 15 smaller vessels. It met with but 
little resistance by 100 men." 

The British Trident or Register of navai^ actions, 
by Archibald Duncan, London, 1805, Vol. 2, page 280, says: 
Lord Howe detached, May 4th, Captain Henry with four 
gallies and other armed vessels, to cooperate with a detach- 
ment of light infantry, under the command of Major Maitland, 
who were embarked in flat boats, for the purpose of destroying 
some American armed ships, and other vessels which were 
lying in the Chesapeak(?) [Delaware] betw^een Philadelphia 
and Trenton; this service they executed with great activity 
and success. The following were the armed vessels with Cap- 
tain Henr>'': Gallies: Hussar, Cornwallis, Ferret, Philadelphia, 
Viper, Pembroke, four gun boats, eighteen flat boats. 

The following is also a list of the American ships and vessels 
destroyed: Washington (pierced) 32 guns: Effingham (ditto) 
28 guns: 3 sloops, each 16 guns, 3 sloops each 10 guns, 9 large 
merchant ships, 23 brigs with a number of schooners and 

This expedition seems to have been the last destructive 
raid of the British while in possession of Philadelphia. It 
was doubtless made to clear the way of escape, now that 
the evacuation of the city had been resolved upon. This 
event took place on June 17, 1778. Washington started at 
once from Vallev Forge and intercepted the runaways at 
Monmouth, N. J., on that hot June Sunday, trounced the 
British and the Hessians, though swearing at Charles Lee 
for his then unaccountable course, now known to have been 

In the "Journal of Congress" for July 22 we read: "A 
copy of a letter from Captain Barry and Captain John Young 

92 Ireland 

was laid before Congress and referred to the delegates of Dela- 
ware and Maryland and that they take order thereon.** The 
purport of this letter and the action of the Committee thereon 
have not been discovered. 

It may be of interest at this period to discover how Barry's 
native land was faring by reason of the struggle in America. 

The Pennsylvania Post, August 6, 1778, in reporting the 
proceedings of the House of Commons, April 7, on *'the Irish 
business" that "all merchandise, wares and manufactures of 
Ireland be permitted to be exported immediately from Ireland, 
said : — 

"Perhaps a question may be properly asked, whether does 
Ireland owe to England or America these important concess- 
sions? If they are the effect, as is probable, of the present 
situation of affairs, what American does not exult in the thought 
that the successful struggle he hath made for his own rights 
has already spread its happy influence to a distant region. 
We need say nothing to the natives of Ireland or their posterity 
now living in America, for they will feel a purer and a higher joy 
than any other can expect." 

The Post, November 27, 1778, had news from London, July 
13, "The devastation which the American war has made in 
trade and public credit cannot longer be denied or disguised.*** 

The trade of Ireland is deeply wounded and the distress 
this occasions in that Kingdom is ever affecting. It is with 
the greatest difficulty the common people, out of employ and 
starving, are kept in a tolerable order. The relaxations relating 
to the trade of that Kingdom go but a little way towards satis- 
fying them; they demand immediate work and bread.** 

Appointed to the Raleigh 93 




Though Barry's Effingham had been destroyed by the enemy 
his services had been too spirited to permit of his inactivity. 
In February the Alfred y Barry's old Black Prince ^ had been 
captured by the British frigates, Ariadne and Ceres, owing to 
the Raleigh, under Captain Thomas Thompson, having deserted 
her. On the arrival of the Raleigh at Boston Thompson was 
relieved of the command and Barry appointed. 

What befell The Raleigh and its new Commander is related 
by the authorities herewith cited ! 

From the Pennsylvania Evening Post, Monday, October 19, 


BOSTON, Oct, 8th, 1778. 

The following particular account of the loss of the Conti- 
nental frigate Raleigh was received yesterday from two gentle- 
men who were officers on board of her, viz : 

"On Friday, the twenty-fifth of Sept., 1778, at six A. M., 
sailed from Boston Harbour, on a cruize in the Continental 
ship of war Raleigh, John Barry Esq., commander; having 
under our convoy one brigantine and a sloop with a fresh gale 
at N. W. steering E. & S. At nine A. M. spoke the brigantine 
and sloop and gave them their instructions, and ordered them 
to make all the sail they could and stand after us. About 
noon saw two sail to leeward, bearing about S. E. b E distant 
five or six leagues. We then spoke the brigantine in company 
and acquainted the captain there were two ships in sight and 
ordered him to make all the sail he could after us, which he 
did ; the sloop being some distance astern, we hove out a signal 
for her to make more sail, and haul her wind with us to the 
northward. We perceived by this time the said ship standing 

94 Loss of the Raleigh 

on different tacks, with a schooner in company. The north- 
ernmost ship gave us chase ; we perceived she gained on us but 
little About three o'clock P. M. we saw the southernmost 
ship had tacked and was standing after us; she then being to 
windward of the northernmost ship, and about two points 
under our lee quarter, night arising on us we lost sight of each 
other. The wind continuing light and variable, at ten P. M. 
tacked ship to the N. W. our ship being cleared for action, barri- 
caded, and men at their quarters all night. On Saturday 
morning at six o'clock, wt could not discern the ships from the 
masthead, it being hazy. We still kept our wind for the land 
and made Agamenticus, bearing about W b N, distant about 
eight or nine leagues, and continued our course for the land, 
until between nine and ten A. M. The haze clearing away 
we perceived said ships bearing about south, distant about 
five leagues, having to appearance all sail set and standing 
after us, we still continuing our course for the land. About 
twelve we heard the noise of a gun astern and perceived the 
ships to alter their course and stand to the eastward. About 
two P. M. the said ships dissappeared. At five P. M. Cape 
Niddock, bore X. W. b W. distant five leagues. 

vSunday at {wo: A. M. handed all sails and lay a hull until six, 
then made all the sail we could, and steered S. E. b E. no ships 
in sight. At half past nine A. M. we discovered two sail from 
the mizzen top mast head and quarter deck, coming down on 
us with all sail set. 

We soon perceived them to be the same ships which chased 
us the day before. We immediately hove ship, with our lar- 
board tacks on board; the chase directly hauled their wind, 
and pursued us ; it blowing a fresh gale at west, our ship going 
at the rate of eleven knots and two fathoms for several hours, 
w^e could perceive that we dropped our chase. At noon, it 
being more moderate, the headmost ship overhauled us fast, 
and the stemmost nearly held way with us. At half past four 
P. M. tacked and stood to the S. w^estward, in order to discover 
the headmost ship's force ; at the same time saw several islands 
but could not tell the name of either. Our ship being cleared 
for action, and men at their quarters, about five P. M. coursed 

Loss of the Raleigh 95 

the headmost ship to windward, athwart her fore foot; on 
which we hoisted our colours, hauled up the mizzen sail, and 
took in the stay sails, and immediately the enemy hoisted 
St. •George's ensign. She appearing to be pierced for twenty- 
eight guns; we gave her a broadside, which she returned; the 
enemy then tacked and came up under our lee quarter and the 
second broadside she gave us, to our unspeakable grief, carried 
away our fore top mast and mizzen top gallant mast; he re- 
newed the action with fresh vigor, and we notwithstanding 
our misfortune, having in a great measure lost command of 
our ship were determined for victory. He then shot ahead of 
us, and bore away to leeward. By this time we had our ship 
cleared of the wreck. The enemy plied his broadsides briskly 
which we returned as brisk; we perceiving that his intentions 
were to thwart us, we bore away to prevent his raking us ; and, 
if possible, to lay him aboard, which he doubtless perceived, 
and having the full command of his ship, prevented us by sheer- 
ing off, and dropping astern, keeping his station on our weather 

Night coming on we perceived the stemmost ship gaining 
on us very fast, and being much disabled in our sails, masts 
and rigging, and having no possible view of escaping, Capt. 
Barry thought it most prudent, with the advice of his officers, 
to w^ear ship and stand for the shore, if possible, to prevent the 
ship's falling into the enemy's hands, by running her on shore ; 
the engagement continuing very warm, about twelve midnight 
saw the land, bearing N. N. E. two points under our bow. 
The enemy, after an engagement of seven hours, thought proper 
to sheer off ; and wait for his consort ; they showing and answer- 
ing false fires to each other. Our mizzen topsail at this time 
being shot away, and the ships out of sight, and hoping they 
iwrould not pursue us between the islands, Capt. Barry ordered 
the mizzen topsails then cut loose from the yard and another 
bent; which we were endeavoring to effect, when both the 
enemy's ships appeared in sight, endeavoring, if possible, to cut 
us oflf from the land; as soon as they heard us, we plied our 
stem chaces below and aloft, until alongside of us. The head- 
most ship proved a two decker, of at least fifty guns. We, being 

96 Loss of the Raleigh 

not in the least daunted, received their fire, which was very 
heavy, and returned ours with redoubled vigor. 

Encouraged by our brave commander, we were determined 
not to strike. After receiving three broadsides from the large 
ship and the fire of the frigate on our lee quarter, our ship 
struck the shore, which the large ship perceiving poured in 
two broadsides, which was returned by us ; she then hove in 
stays, our guns being loaded, gave us a good opportunty of raking 
her, which we did with our whole broadside, and after that she 
bore away and raked us likewise ; and both kept up a heavy 
fire on each quarter, in order to make us strike to them which 
we never did ; after continuing their fire some time they ceased 
and came to anchor about a mile distant. 

The island we run the ship on proved to be uninhabitated 
and rocky, which rendered it incapable of being fortified im- 
mediately for the defence of the ship. Notwithstanding the 
enemy keeping an incessant fire and our men being much 
fatigued with the excess of duty, we nevertheless embraced 
the opportunity of hoisting out our boats to save the men and 
if possible to fire the ship the former of which was accomplished 
to the number of 85 and the latter prevented by the treachery 
of one Jesse Jaycockt, a midshipman, by misinforming the 
master who had given him orders to set fire to the combustibles 
which he had prepared for the purpose. 

The saving of more officers and men was prevented by their 

surrendering themselves prisoners before the boats could 

return to the island to take them off after carrying off the above 



[Pa. Post, October 21st, 1778.] 

Extract of a letter from the Commissioner of the Navy Board 
at Boston to the Marine Committee of Congress, dated Oct. 7th; 
"This will inform you of the loss of the Raleigh frigate com- 
manded by John Barry, esq. She sailed on Friday the 25th 
of September, and in a few hours afterw^ards discovered two 
of the enemy's ship, one of fifty or sixty guns, and the other a 
frigate, which Captain Barry endeavored to avoid, and once 
supposed himself clear of them ; but the next day was pursued 

Loss of the Raleigh 97 

by the same or two other ships. The frigate, after some time, 
being a copper bottom, and going very fast, came up and an 
engagement ensued between the two frigates, which lasted 
several hours, in which the Raleigh, though she had lost her 
fore top-mast, had the advantage and would have raked the 
frigate, had not the larger ship came up, when Captain Barry 
and his crew, after supporting an unequal conflict with the two 
ships, with great gallantry, for half an hour run the Raleigh 
on shore, so that though he has lost his ship, he has gained 
laurels for himself and honour to his country; perhaps no ship 
was ever better defended. Capt. Barry had made prepara- 
tions to bum the ship as soon as the sick and wounded could 
be landed, but by some misfortune that was not executed ; the 
enemy took her off the next day. We shall add no more but 
that Capt. Barry's conduct is highly approved of here, and 
that his officers and men are greatly pleased with him. 
Published by order of the Marine Committee. 


Pa. Post, Oct. 26, 1778. News from Boston, Oct. 12. 

''Since our last, arrived here a number of men belonging to 
the Raleigh, and Capt. Barry himself. His good conduct and 
bravery are universally allowed, being attacked by the British 
frigate and a ship of at least fifty guns ; he was obliged to run 
the Raleigh on shore at an island on our eastern coast and the 
greatest part of the company were captured. It is said his 
vessel might have been saved if any one on board had been 
well acquainted with the harbours on that coast. 

Col. John Laurens, writing to his father, 13th Oct., 1778: 

**Gen. Greene arrived in camp yesterday, gives us an account 
of Capt. Barry having lost his frigate two days after he sailed 
from Boston. He engaged a British 32 gun frigate, and had 
fought her with his usual bravery, and great prospect of success, 
his men and officers being sworn not to surrender; when a 64 
gunship came up and put an end to the contest ; but not before 
he had given two or three such fires as Barry's situation rela- 
tively to the British frigate allowed. 

Oiu" brave captain then avoided violating his oath by run- 

96 Loss of the Raleigh 

ning his ship on shore at Seal Island, and keeping up a fire 
from four guns which he brought to bear in his stem, 'till he 
got out his boats and some luggage. He made his escape with 
80 hands; the rest were to shift for themselves by landing. 
Ten who concealed themselves have escaped since; one an 
Englishman, 'remained on board and extinguished the fire 
which Barry put to the ship in order to destroy her, by which 
means she was saved and the enemy got her oflf. [Corresp. 

p. 233] 

The Post, November 2d, 1778. News from New London: 

"Last Tuesday a flag arrived here from New York with 

22 prisoners, late belonging to the Raleigh Continental frigate. 

carried in there. Tlife flag left ^ew York MOQday ; byji^ we v 

learn that the Raleigh was taken by the Experiment, Capt. *: 

Wallace, of fifty gims and the Unicorn oi 22 guns; the latter 

had ten men killed, was greatly damaged in her hull and rigging 

and was laying at New York in a careen, with both masts taken 

out. The Raleigh is taken into the British service and the 

command of her given to a lad, a relative of Admiral Byron." 

A document on file in the office of the Auditor of the Navy 
says: "The Raleigh, while in command of Captain Barry, after 
an action of 9 hours with H. B. S. Experiment, 50 Wallace and 
Unicom, 22, having lost 25 killed and wounded, run the ship 
ashore and deserted her (year 1778)." In John Calef's 
"Siege of Penobscot by the Rebels'* (London, 1781) is a post- 
script at the close of which is the following: "From 'Glory of 
America,* Commodore John Barry of the Raleigh, 32 guns, 
run on shore by British squadron, on Fox Island in Penobscot 
Bay" (p. 485). 

Abbott thus describes the affair in his "Blue Jackets of '76": 
^*In September [1778], the United States frigate Raleigh, when a 
a few days out from Boston, fell in with two British vessels — 
one a frigate, and the other a ship-of-the-line. Capt. Barry, 
whose daring exploits on the Delaware we have chronicled, was 
in command of the Raleigh, and gallantly gave battle to the 
frigate, which was in the lead. Between these two vessels the 
•conflict raged with great fury for upwards of two hours, when 
when the fore-topmast and mizzen top-gallant-mast of the 

Loss of the Raleigh 99 

American having been shot away Barry attempted to close 
the conflict by boarding. The enemy kept at a safe distance, 
however, and his consort soon coming up, the Americans 
determined to seek safety in flight. The enemy pursued, keep- 
ing up a rapid fire; and the running conflict continued until 
midnight. Finally, Barry set fire to his ship, and with the 
greater part of his crew escaped to the nearest island, an island 
near the mouth of the Penobscot. The British immediately 
boarded the abandoned ship, extinguished the flames, and 
carried their prize away in triumph." 

An English accotmt of this engagement to be found in 
Beaston's "Naval and Military Memoirs of Great Britian," 
says : "The Experiment and Unicom, being on a cruise in Boston 
bay gave chase to a large sail, which after a running fight of an 
hour and a half, they drove aground on an island, the greatest 
part of the crew got ashore. Sir William Wallace ordered the 
boats to board her and endeavor to get her off, in which they 
succeeded. She proved to be the Raleigh frigate, belonging 
to the Congress, mounting 32 guns and having a crew of 250 
men. On examination this prize was found so good a ship that 
she was purchased by the government and added to the Royal 
Navy by the same name** (vol. IV, p. 380). 

In Cooper's "History of the Navy" (ed. of 1853) it is said 
(P- 94) ^at "Captain Barry gained credit for his gallantry on 
this occasion. He escaped to the mainland with a consider- 
able portion of his crew, though not without great suffering. 
The island on which he first landed is called the Wooden Ball 
and lies about twenty miles from the mouth of the Penobscot, 
being the outermost of all the islands and rocks in its immediate 

"It was called a noble and daring defence of Barry's'* [Wat- 
son's Annals, p. 298]. 

This disaster left Captain Barry without a ship. 

The loss of the Raleigh, though regretable, did not lessen his 
reputation as a skillful and sagacious commander nor mar the 
character he had won for bravery. Indeed, he was at once 
selected for a most important command at the Southward in 
an expedition against Florida and though by the turn of events 

100 Expedithn Against Bast Florida 

he did not engage therein, this selection testifies to his standing 
before the Marine Committee of Congress. 

An expedition against East Florida had been projected by 
Congress . Disaffection had been spreading there. The friends 
of American Liberty were active ; energetic measures were being 
operated to overthrow British authority. ' ' Patrick Tonyn, Cap- 
tain General, Governor and Commander-in-Chief in and for his 
Majesty's Province of East Florida, Chancellor and Vice 
Admiral of the same," as he titled himself in his proclamation 
of 25th of May, 1778, from St. Augustine, exhorting "British 
subjects now in a hostile manner threatening to invade this 
Province to recollect their allegiance to His Majesty and repair 
to his standard." 

He offered ten milled dollars to all who came with arms. 

In the projected expedition Congress resolved that Captain 
John Barry should have command of all the vessels. This is 
shown from the annexed copy of an autograph manuscript of 
Charles Thomson, Secretary of Congress, kindly supplied by 
Hon. John D. Crimmins, of New York. 

In Congress November 10, 1778. 

Resolved, That Major General Lincoln be authorized to enlist 
men into the Continental battalions of the states of South 
Carolina and Georgia to serve during the continuance of the 
expedition against East Florida. 

That if Major General Lincoln shall be of the opinion that 
the Continental battalion of the states of South Carolina and 
Georgia and the continental levy and recruits from the states of 
Virginia and North Carolina will not be a sufficient force to 
proceed to the expedition against East Florida, he be author- 
ized to engage a number of volunteers, not exceeding fifteen 
hundred, to serve during the continuance of the expedition, and 
that the volunteers so engaged be organized into such corps and 
commanded by such officers as Major General Lincoln shall 
approve of. 

That Major General Lincoln be authorized to pledge the faith 
of the United States for granting to the officers and men, whether 
continental forces, volunteers or militia, who shall accompany 

Expedition Against Bast Rorida 101 

him to East Florida and continue in the service till the castle 
of St. Augustine is reduced the same proportions of land as is 
allowed by the resolutions of Congress of i6th Septm 1776; 
that this bounty shall be extended to the representatives of 
such officers and soldiers as shall be slain or die during the 
continuance of the expedition. 

The said land to be located in the said province and a pre- 
ference to be given in the location to the officers and soldiers 
who shall be entitled as aforesaid. 

That the Major generals who shall respectively go on the 
expedition against East Florida be entitled to a grant of land 
of three thousand acres and the brigadier generals if any shall go 
on that service to a grant of two thousand acres in case the 
province of East Florida shall be reduced. 

That the commanding officer of the Southern Department 
be authorized, if he shall judge it for the good of the service, to 
supply Col. Marbixry's companies of light horse with a number 
of horses not exceeding two hundred. 

That it be recommended to the government of the states of 
North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia to give every 
assistance in their power to Major General Lincoln to enable 
him to reduce. the province of East Florida that the president 
be directed to inform their excellencies, the governor of the 
states of Maryland and Virginia that Congress deem it of 
high importance to the welfare of the United States that every 
exertion should be made during the course of the winter to 
reduce the province of East Florida — that from the best infor- 
mation they have received this cannot probably be affected 
but by a blockade by water and therefore that it be requested 
of the said governments to direct such of their armed gallies 
as are fit for the service to be fitted out with all possible despatch 
and to proceed either in company or otherwise as the governors 
of Maryland & Virginia shall deem most expedient to Charles- 
town in South Carolina there to follow such orders as they shall 
receive from the commander in chief of the department or 
from the officer appointed by Congress to command the gallies 
of the respective states employed on this expedition. 

That till such time as the gallies shall return to the states 

102 Captain Barry to Command 

to which they respectively belong they shall be at the expense of 
the United States : and that the governors of the States of Mary- 
land and Virginia be desired to have sworn appraisement 
made of the same vessels, their tackle, and apparel to ascertain 
their value in case of loss. 

And, Whereas it is represented that great difficulties have 
occured in manning the said gallies and the success of the 
expedition depends in the most essential manner on their 

Resolved that the government of the states of Maryland 
and Virginia be authorized to assure the officers and men, who 
shall navigate the gallies, that the continental share of all prop- 
erty taken by the said gallies or any of them from the day of 
their sailing to their return to there respective stations shall be 
released to the persons capturing the same & divided among 
the officers and men agreeably to the resolutions of Congress 
relative to capture. 

That the governors of the respective states of Maryland & 
Virginia be authorized if they judge it expedient to grant a 
bounty not exceeding forty dollars to every able bodied mariner 
who shall enter on board any of the said gallies for the space of 
six months. That the marine committee be directed to use 
every possible exertion in co-operating with the governors of 
the states of Maryland and Virginia in the expeditions manning 
of the gallies to be furnished for their service. 

And whereas differences may arise among the officers of the 
respective states, whose gallies are employed, which if not 
guarded against night defeat the end of the enterprise. 

Resolved, That Capt. John Barry be and is hereby directed to 
take command of all armed vessels employed on the intended 
expedition subject to the order of the commander in chief in 
the Southern Department ; apd that this commission continue 
in force till the expiration of the intended invasion of the 
province of East Florida or till the further order of Congress: 
that he proceed with the utmost dispatch to the state of Mary- 
land in order to expedite the equipment of the gallies to be 

Expedition Against Bast Floriaa 103 

furnished by that state and proceed with them to Charlestown 
in South Carolina. 

Resolved that two hundred pounds in specie (ordered 
1 6 Novem. to be one hundred and fifteen Guineas) be granted 
to Major General Lincoln to facilitate his procuring intelli- 
gence of the enemies strength and design in the province of 
East Florida & that the board of war be directed to cause this 
money to be remitted by the first safe opportuntity. 

Resolved that Major general Lincoln be authorized & directed 
on his arrival in the province of East Florida to issue a procla- 
mation in the name of these United States signif3dng to the 
inhabitants of the said province that as he is not come to destroy 
but protect the inhabitants in the enjoyment of their rights 
and property, he will receive under protection of the United 
States aU such persons as shall repair to his Standard, within 
a time to be limited in the said proclamation & take an oath of 
abjuration of the allegiance to the king and crown of Great 
Britian, except such persons as may have been attainted of 
high treason in any of the said states : and that all such as shall 
unite with him in the reduction of the said province and embody 
themselves under such officers as he shall approve of shall be 
entitled to the same pay and emoluments as the forces engaged in 
the same service are entitled to : and further that on the sub- 
version of british tyranny in that province & the establishment 
of a free government, they shall be considered as peculiarly 
entitled to the confidence of the United States. 

That the quarter master general be directed to ship on board 
the armed Gallies ordered from the state of Maryland to Charles 
town in South Carolina a quantity not exceeding ten tons of bar 
iron — 

And whereas Congress are of the opinion that it will tend 
greatly to enure the success of the enterprise if the embargo on 
rice be continued in force till such time as the vessels destined 
to, form the blockade by water shall have arrived in the bason 
of St. Augustine, therefor Resolved that it be recommended 
to the executive authorities of the states of South Carolina and 
Georgia to continue in force the embargo on rice till the above 

104 Barry s Bxtraordinary Demands 

mentioned event shall take place and no longer: provided and 
it is hereby intended that the said embargo shall not be and 
continue in force longer than the 31st day of January next. 

Extract from the minutes 


Captain Barry did not object the appointment as Comman- 
der of the Naval forces of the projected enterprise. He appears, 
however, to have required that which was deemed "extraor- 
dinary" by the President of Congress, who wrote to General 

Philadelphia, 24th Nov'r, 1778 

^p ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ 

Capt. Barry having made some extraordinary demands on 
Congress, for allowance of a Table and a Secretary, which the 
House have not determined upon, is detained here. I believe 
Capt Barry to be a brave and active seaman, but I am told by 
Gentlemen of the Marine Committee that the intended service 
is not pleasing to him, *tis possible therefore he may wish to 
avoid it, and besides, you will find old Commanders in the two 
Southern States who will be much mortified should he actually 
proceed and take the Command of them, consequences vtdll 
arise which will be disagreeable to you and which may prove 
detrimental to the service. I have suggested these sentiments 
to the Marine Committee, the determination of Congress will 
probably be known to morrow. 

^B- ^^^ ^^^ ^H^ ^^^ ^^^ ^^^ ^^^ ^BP ^^^ 

I have the honor to be with great regard. Sir your obedient 
and most hum servt 

(signed) Henry Laurens, 
The Honble President of Congress. 

Major Gen. Lincoln 
So. Carolina 
Whether it was that his demands were not acceded to or "the 
intended service was not pleasing to him" or the mortification 
of Southern Commanders was prevented by the Marine Com- 
mittee nothing has been heard to enlighten us further than 
that the expedition did not sail. 

Expedition Abandoned 105 

The British became aware of the intended invasion of East 
Florida and so organized a counter movement against General 
Lincoln. This debarred his proceeding southward and obliged 
him to defend his occupancy of Charlestown. South Carolina. 

On December 26th, Sir Henry Clinton sailed from New York. 
It was a month later, owing to storms, before he reached Savan- 
nah, the base of his operations against General Lincoln. 

Thus, the expedition against East Florida, which Congress 
was forwarding, had to be abandoned and all efforts concen- 
trated upon strengthening the position of General Lincoln. 

Thus Captain Barry's * 'extraordinary demands" or his lack 
of satisfaction concerning the project or the sensitiveness of 
the commanders of the Southern naval gallies to have a north- 
em commander assigned to the conduct of the expedition are 
not historically further involved. Sir Henry Clinton's offensive 
movement closed all minor consideration for Captain Barry 
and all others that whether pleasing or not their exer- 
tions would not in that direction be required. The President of 
Congress had, however, informed General Lincoln of the reluc- 
tance of Captain Barry to engage in the expedition. 

106 Barry Commands a Prh/ateer 



The loss of the Raleigh and the abandonment of the Southern 
expedition left our brave and active seaman without Conti- 
nental employ. But he could not be listless nor idle while a 
opportunity could be found or made for service for the country. 
He became "a bold privateer" by becoming commander of the 
letter of marque brig the Delaware , owned by Irwin & Co., of 
Philadelphia. It had been built to replace the schooner of the 
same name which had been driven on the Jersey shore and set 
on fire to prevent capture by the British early in the morning 
November 21st, 1777, when the State's Navy had successfully 
passed up the Delaware river after the attack on Fort Mifiiin. 

The Delaware, Barry's new command, carried ten guns and 
forty-five men when commissioned, but later counted twelve 
guns and sixty men (2d Pa. Ar. i p. 366.) 

Captain Barry's commission as Commander of the Delaware 
is at the Lenox Branch of the New York Public Library (Em. 
1328). It reads: — 


The Delegates of the United States of New Ham^pskire, 
Massachusetts-Bay, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, 
Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, 
South Carolina and Georgia, To All unto whom these Presents 
shall come. Send Greeting 

Barry s Commission J 07 

Know Ye, 

That we have granted, and by these Presents do grant license 
and Authority to John Barry Mariner, Commander of the Bng^- 
antine called the Delaware of the Burthen of two hundred Tons, 
or thereabouts, belonging to Matthew Irwin Thomas Irwin and 

Company mounting ten Carriage gtms and navigated 

by forty-five Men, to fit out and set forth the said Brigantine 
in a warlike manner, and by and with the said Brigantine and 
the Crew thereof, by Force of Arms, to attack, subdue and 
take all Ships and other Vessels whatsoever carrying Soldiers, 
Arms, Gunpowder, Ammunition, Provisions, or any other 
contraband of Goods to any of the British Armies or Ships of 
War employed against these United States: And also to 
attack, seize and take all Ships or other Vessels belonging to 
the Inhabitants of Great-Britain, or to any Subject or Subjects 
thereof, with their Tackle, Apparel, Furniture and Ladings, 
on the High Seas, or between high and low-water marks, the 
Ships or Vessels, together with their Cargoes, belonging to any 
Inhabitant or Inhabitants of Bermuda, Providence and the 
Bahama Islands, and such other ships and Vessels bringing 
Persons with Intent to settle and reside within any of the United 
States, or bringing Arms, Ammunition, or Warlike Stores to 
the said States for the Use thereof, which said Ships or Vessels 
you shall suffer to pass unmolested, the Commanders thereof 
permitting a peaceable Search, and giving satisfactory Inform- 
ation of the Contents of the Ladings and Destination of the 
Voyages, only accepted). And the said Ships or Vessels so 
apprehended as aforesaid, and as Prize taken, to carry into 
any Port or Harbour within the Dominions of any neutral 
State willing to admit the same, or into any Port within the 
said United States, in Order that the Courts there instituted 
to hear and determine Causes, Civil and Maritime, may proceed 
in due Form to condemn the said Captures, if they be adjudged 
lawful Prize, or otherwise, according to the usage in such Cases 
at the Port or in the State where the same shall be carried. 
The said Matthew Irwin & Thos. Irwin having given bond, 
with sufficient Sureties, that Nothing be done by the said John 
Barry or any of his Officers, Marines or Company thereof, con- 

108 A Sponsor 

trary to or inconsistent with the Usage and Customs of Nations, 
and that he shall not exceed or transgress the Powers and Au- 
thorities contained in this Commission. And we will and require 
all our Officers whatsoever in the Service of the United States 
to give Succour and Assistance to the said John Barry in the 
Premises. This Commission shall continue in Force until the 
Congress shall issue Orders to the contrary. Dated at Phila- 
delphia the fifteenth Day of February, 1779, and in the third 
year of the Independence of the United States of America. 

By Congress, 

JOHN JAY— President. 
Attest Chas. Thomson, Secy. 
T. Matlack 
Secy, of the Council of Pennsylvania. 

The Register of Baptisms of St. Mary's Church, now at Old 
St. Joseph's, for the year 1 779, show that the day his commission 
was issued, February 15th, Captain John Barry was sponsor 
and his wife Sarah, not then being a Catholic, was a witness 
to the baptism by Father Farmer, of Anna, daughter of Thomas 
and Anna Barry, who was bom the morning of her baptism. 
On the following, July 21st, Mrs. Barry was baptised. Anna 
Barry was the sole sponsor. At this time Captain Barry was 
probably off the coast of Virginia on cruise to the West Indies. 
On August 19th "Judith, slave of Captain John Barry," an 
adult, was baptised. "Sponsor Anna, the priest's servant." 

In the Delaware Barry made two cruises to Port-au Prince. 
Of his first trip there is no known account; but of his second 
and of his further career in charge of this vessel and of the 
Alliance we are fortunate in having the account given by John 
Kessler, clerk to Captain Barry while in command of the Dela- 
ware and his mate on the Alliance. This statement was written 
for Mrs. Barry to supply information to Mr. Dennie so that he 
might compile the "Sketch of Commodore Barry" given in the 
Portfolio for July, 18 13. Kessler says the Delaware sailed from 
Philadelphia on its second voyage to Port-au-Prince **in the 
fall of 1779 in company with three other letters-of -marque brigs 
and one schooner, of which fleet Barry was made Commodore 

Gestures the Harlem 109 

and for which he arranged signals to be used/ 'and, Kessleradds, 
* * I had to furnish each commander with a copy. ' ' He continues 
"When abreast of Cape Henlopen a sail was discovered, chase 
was made, and on coming up found to be a British sloop-of- 
war called the Harlem^ which was taken with about ninety 
men without resistance. The officers during the chase (after 
heaving over all her guns) made their escape in boats. The 
vessel was sent to Philadelphia, but the crew were landed near 
Chincoteague and delivered to a military party." 

Of this event Captain Barry wrote from Cape May on July i6 
to Matthew Irwin, merchant at Philadelphia, one of the owners 
of the. Delaware: "The pilot who hands this to you leaves me in 
a few moments. He can give you every information with the 
respect to the sailing of the fleet. The commanders in our 
httle squadron are very complaisant and obliging with each 
other, which you must think is a great satisfaction to me. 
The old brig behaved as well as usual, but I fear she is too deep, 
although I send you up in a shallop 64 boards, 30 staves and 
40 barrels, which I expect will be delivered to you. I have 
drawn an order on you for the pilotage, which please accept, 
and oblige, &c." [From collection of the late Charles Roberts.] 

Writing to Matthew and Thomas Irwin from Sinipaxan on 
July 18, 1779, Barry thus describes his capture of the Harlem: 
"I have the pleasure to inform you that the day we left Cape 
May we took the sloop of war Harlem of 14 four-pounders and 
85 men belonging to his Britannic Majesty. The guns and 
sundry other things they threw overboard without firing a shot. 
The Captain with about ten men went off in a whale boat, but 
we have reason to think is since overset carrying sail from us 
as she disappeared all at once. After taking the prisoners 
out and putting some of our own people on board we made 
the best of our way for Cape Henlopen, but the next day the 
wind being ahead, a fresh breeze and 40 miles southward of 
the Cape, I thought it more prudent with the advice of the other 
captains to land the prisoners at Sinipaxan, they being too 
many in number to be kept on board our little fleet with safety 
as we have all the reason in the world to think we shall catch 
more before long. 

110 Resists Impressment of Crew 

"After taking up 24 hours of our time in landing them and 
applying to sundry people to take them into custody, and take 
them to Philadelphia or some other goal with an offer of an 
order on you for the payment of the charges, which no doubt 
will be high, they all refused us and we were under the dis- 
agreeable necessity to leave them on shore with the command- 
ing officer of the place, being present when my officers came 
from the shore. 

"The sloop is a fine vessel and has been a cruiser since the 
enemy took New York, but at present she is much out of tune. 
Great care ought to be taken of the articles on board as the 
vessel arrives. I hired two men and gave them orders for 
which you will please accept and charge the sloop Harlem with 
it. The vessel was in company with the Rainbow when our ship 
was off the Capes*' [Roberts' Collection]. 

"On the remainder of the passage out," Kessler continues, 
"nothing worthy of our notice occurred. On the passage home 
a merchant vessel of Liverpool was taken, which was, nowever, 
retaken by the noted Guttridge [Goodrich?] and carried into 

During the war there often was agitation, if not contest, 
between the Continental and the State naval forces. The 
Continental vessels impressed into the service men belong- 
ing to the State navy or those bearing letters-of-marque of the 
Congress. How Captain Barry, once of the Continental, but 
now a privateer or letter-of -marque force, met the designs of 
Continental press gangs is thus told by Kessler : ' 'At our arrival 
in the Delaware the pilot who came on board informed us that 
the Continental frigate Confederacy lay at Chester, and im- 
pressed the crews of the merchant vessels going up the river. 
This information very much alarmed the brig's crew, and many 
desired to be put ashore. Captain Barry addressed them thus: 
'My lads, if you have the spirit of freemen you will not desire to 
go ashore nor tamely submit against your wills to be taken 
away, although all the force of all the frigate's boats' crews 
were to attempt to exercise such a species of tyranny." ' 

"This address satisfied them, and as it implied his consent 
to their defending themselves, they resolved to do it at all hazard 

**My Name is John Barry'* 11! 

and for that purpose put themselves under the command and 
direction of the boatswain and armed themselves with muskets, 
pistols and boarding pikes, and thus we arrived within hailing 
distance of the Confederacy, when her commanding oflScer 
ordered the brig's main topsail to be hove to the mast. Capt. 
Barry answered that he could not without getting his vessel 
ashore. The commander of the frigate then ordered that the 
brig should come to anchor. Capt. Barry gave no answer, but 
continued on his way beating up with tide and flood and wind 
ahead when a gun was fired from the frigate and a boat manned 
left her and came towards us. 

"Captain Barry directed that the oflScers of the boat should 
be admitted on board, but as to the men with them we might 
do as we pleased. The boat soon arrived and two officers 
(armed) jumped on board and on the quarter-deck, ordering 
the main topsail halyards to be cast off, which was not, however, 
done. Captain Barry asked whether they were sent to take 
command of his vessel. The boat's crew were then about enter- 
ing when we presented ourselves and threatened instant death 
to all that entered. Their officers thereon, after trying to intimi- 
date our boatswain by presenting their pistols at him, finding 
it, however, of no avail, they hastily sprang into their boats 
and left us. 

"Another gun was then fired from the frigate, when Captain 
Barry ordered the guns to be cleared and declared that if but 
a rope yard was injured by their firing he should give them the 
whole broadside. The third gun being fired from the frigate. 
Captain Barry hailed and asked the name of her commander. 
The answer was: Xieut. Gregory.' Captain Barry immediately 
thereon addressed him thus: 'Lieutenant Gregory, I advise you 
to desist from firing. This is the brig Delaware, belonging to 
Philadelphia, and my name is John Barry.' 

"Nothing fiulher was said or done by Lieutenant Gregory. 
It was said that Mr. Gregory had once been under the command 
of Captain Barry and could not but know that he would not be 
trifled with. 

"Thus our whole crew arrived at Philadelphia, but the other 
vessels of our fleet were obliged to anchor, for by the pressing 

11 2 The Ship America 

of those who did not get on shore they were obliged to remain 
until assistance was sent to them from Philadelphia. After 
our arrival Captain Barry left the command of the brig, he 
having been ordered to take charge of a Continental 74 gun 
ship then building in the State of New Hampshire. Congress, 
however, having determined to make a present of said ship to the 
French nation, Capt. Barry was appointed to command the 
frigate Alliance^ then November, 1780, lying at Boston." 

The ship presented to the French was the "America.*' 

The attempt by the commander of the Confederacy to impress 
Barry's men was prevented by his resoluteness. But others 
were not so successful. So irritating was the frequency of the 
impressments by the Confederacy, Captain Harding command- 
ing, that the Executive Council of Pennsylvania were obliged 
to take cognizance of his course. On October 2 ist, 1 779, Secre- 
tary Matlack notified him that the Council had information of 
his having impressed a number of men belonging to Pennsyl- 
vania and among them many married men and landsmen.'* 
The same day President Reed of Pennsylvania sent complaint 
to Congress. [Pa. Ar. vii, p. 761.] 

The Confederacy was captured by the British, April 14, 1780. 

Kessler further relates in his "Brief Autobiography" [Ms.] 
"In the passages to Port-au-Prince and back two vessels were 
captured and I received my prize money by the special orders 
of Captain Barry in the threefold capacity of clerk, steward 
and captain of marines. On our return Captain Barry left the 
brig and James Collins, the first lieutenant, obtained command 
and with whom I remained and went a voyage to St. Eustatia 
and from thence to Port-au-Prince and back to Philadelphia 
after which we again sailed for Port-au-Prince but on the pas- 
sage we were captured by three British frigates, the Phcenix, 
Pomona and Lowstoff and on the 15th of July, 1780, we 
were landed and put in prison at Kingston, in Jamaica. 

Our captain having a brother living at Kingston and owning 
a small vessel, a plan for escaping was projected and which the 
Captain, myself and about fifteen of our crew effected on the 
2d of September, and after meeting with many disasters on 27th 
September arrived at Port-au-Prince when every one had to 

Captains Lawler and Kean 1 13 

shift for himself, I got on board a letter-of-marque ship of 
20 guns bound for Salem in Massachusetts and worked for my 
passage. On November 11, we arrived at Salem, where I was 
landed an utter stranger, pennyless and wretchedly clad, having 
left most of my clothing in the prison. Fortunately hearing 
that Captain Barry was at Boston in command of the frigate 
Alliance of 36 guns, I proceeded there and presented myself 
to him. My shabby appearance did not hinder his instantly 
knowing me. He was glad at seeing me and invited me to go 
with him in the frigate as midshipman, which I finally agreed to 
do, although I was anxious to see my friends. On the 28th of No- 
vember I was entered an acting midshipman and liberally 
furnished by Captain Barry to enable me to appear in my 
station on board." 

Not all of the biographical material supplied by John Kessler 
to Mrs. Barrywas used in the PorZ/o/io sketch. His "Rough State- 

Enable the Editor of the Port-Folio to the better 
Sketch OUT THE Life of Commodore Barry," contains much 
more information than appears there, and is now drawn freely 
from his original manuscript, of which he tells the Commodore's 
widow: *'The foregoing contains all the occurrences on board 
the Alliance which my memory, assisted by my journal, enabled 
me to recollect. It will be found very minute and containing 
much that will not perhaps form part of the contemplated 
publication respecting Captain Barry." He guessed aright. 
Accordingly, it has remained until now to give the full record as 
he made it. The original is in possession of Brig. Gen. Harry 
C. Kessler, of Butte, Montana, a grandson of John Kessler. Its 
existence was first made known in our time at a meeting of the 
Sons of the Revolution in Minnesota by W. H. Grant, Esq., 
Registrar and Historian of the Order. 

It is not uninteresting to note that while Barry cruised in 
command of the Delaware his fellow Philadelphia Catholics, 
Capt. Michael Lawler, of The Holker, and his successor, Capt. 
Roger Kean, as well as also Capt. John Rossiter, were doing 
good service in capturing British supply vessels and bringing 

114 Captain Thonpson 

them to Philadelphia. An examination of The Pennsylvania 
Packet and other papers will show this. 

Capt. Kean died November 17th, 1801, aged 45 years and 
9 months. His widow Jane lived until March 14th, 1844* 
aged 81. Both are buried within a few feet of the tomb of 
Captain Barry in St. Mary's Cemetery. 

Captain Barry was in Philadelphia in the latter part of 
December, 1779, when Captain Thomas Thompson, at Ports- 
mouth, N. H., wrote to him on December 12th, as follows: 

*'I had formerly flattered myself that my poor abilities 
would one day or other be found useful in assisting to form and 
guide the gradual rising naval machine of these United States; 
but that thought must now perish, being blasted in the bud 
by the contaminating breath of public scandal and ignorant 
judges. But I will still hope and expect justice from the Grand 
Council of the United States ; but there, alas my Friend !, judg- 
ment is wanting in such intricate cases as these, where points 
of seamanship and naval discipline is the facts to be disputed. 
A want of such knowledge in my opinion evidently ap|}ears in 
some late proceedings of the Marine Committee. They have 
sanctified an illegal Court martial, held contrary to the Resolves 
of Congress. They have destroyed in that instance every prin- 
ciple of discipline and command, and justified a man that acted 

in every respect contrary to the established rules of war 

I have only to say that Congress have it in their power to do 
me present justice and command my future services in any 
way they may think me most useful to promote the public good. 
But would have it understood that nothing could be so much 
to my wish as an appointment to command a ship, and to be 
ordered where I might have an opportunity to vindicate my 
reputation in some severe action. But as there is no ship at 
present I will lay that thing aside and would if called upon ac- 
cept any other duty (reserving my commission and rank) that 
I might be qualified to command a ship when opportunity 
should offer. On these and no other terms would I accept 
in any appointment on shore. 

These things I consider mere chimerical : I have very little 
hope of seeing the naval department conducted in a right 

Needs of the Nauy 1 15 

channel until it is governed by men well acquainted in all its 
various branches, viz : order, system, method, rules of discipline 
of officers in every department, in short they ought to be men 
capable of judging at a single view of any defects in the whole 
naval machine, from the lay of the keel to the top mast head 
and from the rowing of a boat to the management of a fleet in 
an engagement at sea. Men of this description endowed with 
firmness of mind and unshaken integrity would soon establish 
a very respectable navy in these States, if they were properly 
supported with funds to carry it on, &c." [Ms.] 

116 Captain Patrick Barry 







Captain Patrick Barry, a relative, it is believed, of 
John Barry, died, prior to April 4th, 1780. On that day letter^^ 
of administration were granted to Captain John Barry. Isaac" ^ 

Austin, his brother-in-law and Gustavus Risberg were sureties 

An inventory was required to be made by May 4th, and a full 
account before the fourth of April, 1781. [Adm. Book, i, p. 28 
No. 17.] In the Pennsylvania Packet May 30th, 1780, this noti 
appears : 

"All persons indebted to the estate of Capt. Patrick Barry 

deceased, are requested to make immediate payment and 
those that have any demands upon said Estate are desired ti 
bring in their accounts properly attested." 
May 24th. JOHN BARRY, Administrator. 

No inventory or other record of administration a] 
Nor is there evidence that Captain Patrick Barry had a wife 
child though on October loth, 1772, a marriage license 
issued to Patrick [not John as stated on page 21.] Barry an. 
Mary Farrell. The baptismal register of St. Mary's shows 
on July 2d. 1775, Eleanor daughter of Patrick and Mary 
bom June 30th, was baptised. John and Elizabeth 
[Carrell] being sponsors. The great probability of this 
the daughter of Captain Patrick Barry is supported by 
names of the sponsors who were Catholics in a social positic^^' 
justifying association with Captain John Barry. 

Congress placed all the frigates under the command 0/ 
General Washington, as appears from his Letter to the Admir- 
alty Board herewith given from the original now among tb^ 
Papers of Congress at State Department at Washington. 


Washington and the Frigates 117 


6th Aug 1780 
Gentlemen : 

By a late resolution of Congress the Continental Frigates 
are put under my orders, but this seems not to be till after they 
have joined the Chevalier Du Femay. This at present seems 
improbable, and I therefore request to be informed whether I 
am expected to take any direction in the matter previous to the 
juncture before proposed or not — that I may govern myself 
accordingly. The Minister of France has proposed to me the 
employing one or more of the Frigates in cruising off to fall in 
with the second division, by which at the same time they would 
be of service to our Trade. I should think it would be very 
useful way of employing them at this juncture, but as I do not 
conceive the Frigates to be yet under my direction I have re- 
ferred him to Congress or your Board. 

I have the honor 

To the 

Honbe , |^ 

The Board of Admiralty f 

At this period of the revolutionary struggle the condition 
of affairs was truly distressing and indeed, alarming. The 
people were tired of the War. The Continental money was really 
valueless. The credit of Congress was gone. Patriotic citizens 
were concerned lest, after all their sacrifices, Uberty would be 
lost and Independence destroyed. Citizens of PhUadelphia 
met early in Jime and subscribed handsomely to stimulate 
recruiting for Washington's army then at Morristown, New 
Jersey. Charleston had surrendered to the British. The spirit 
of the 'Patriots were aroused, not depressed. Enlarged contri- 
butions were made to establish a Bank to ftunish suppUes to 
the army. This institution sustained the army until Inde- 
pendence was acknowledged by Great Britain and thus its 
purposes secured. 

While records have not been secured showing the whereabouts 
or actions of Captain John Barry during the Summer of 1780 

118 The America 

one may be sure that his activity and zeal were in that most 
trying crisis being given in some form to his comitry. 

Kessler says Barry was ordered to take charge of a vessel 
building in New Hampshire which was later presented to the 

The ship America, built at Portsmouth, N. H., was so present- 
ed, but no verification nor disproof of Kessler 's statement has 
been discovered, although diligent sought for. No records of the 
Navy Department nor of the Portsmouth Navy Yard or other 
possible sources show anything relative to the America during 
the Summer of 1780. It is probable, however, that the ship 
was not under way at that time, for on July 28th, 1781, John 
Paul Jones wrote Thomas McKean, President of the United 
States in Congress, assembled, asking that certain accounts 
be paid him to enable him "to proceed to New Hampshire to 
testify by my conduct the very grateful sense I have of 
the high honour Congress have conferred on me by my late 

He had been unanimously appointed to the command of the 
America. He went to superintend the building of that ship. 
After attending to it for fourteen months and out of his own 
pocket paying a guard to protect her for part of that time and 
seeing her completed and hearing her pronounced one of the 
finest ships that ever was built she was taken from him and 
given to the King of France to replace the Magnifique, lost at 
Boston. [His. Record, vol. i, p. 327]. 

The America was presented September 2d, 1782, almost two 
years after Captain Barry had been given the Alliance. 

Barry may have been ''ordered" there, as Kessler says, but it 
is probable, however, the order was revoked and Barry's friend 
Captain John Paul Jones sent later, as circumstances had 
changed in the meantime by the arrival of the Alliance at 
Boston, under the command of Captain Pierre Landais, in June, 
1780. Landais was dismissed the service. Capt. John Barry 
in November was given command. 

The Alliance was so named in honor of the treaty of alliance 
concluded with France in February, 1778. She was launched 
in the spring of that year. As a compliment to the French it 

Appointed to the Alliance 1 19 

was deemed proper to appoint a Frenchman as her Captain. 
Pierre Landais was chosen. She sailed from Boston for France 
in January, 1779. 

John Adams, writing in 1813, to J. B. Vamum, [Works,Yol. 2 
25] says: That in June, 1779, he dined with Monsieur Theve- 
nard, intendant of the navy at L'Orient, one of the most 
experienced, best read and most scientific commanders in 
Europe. That esteemed officer said to me 

"The frigate in which you came here," said Mr. Thevenard 
(the Alliance, Captain Landais), **is equal to any in Europe. 
I have examined her, and I assure you there is not in the 
King's Service, nor in the English navy a frigate more perfect 
and complete in materials or workmanship.'* 

**It gives me great pleasure Sir, to hear your opinion. I 
know we had or might have had materials but I had not flat- 
tered myself that we had artists, equal to those in Eiu'ope. 

Mr. Thevenard repeated with emphasis, **you may depend 
upon it there is not in Europe a more perfect piece of naval 
architecture than your Alliance, and indeed several other of 
your frigates, that have already arrived here and in other parts 
of France." 

Such was the vessel, none '*more perfect and complete" in 
the navies of America, France or England, that Captain John 
Barry was now given command of. 

It may here, not improperly be remarked, that, when, in 
November, 1780, Captain Barry was assigned to the Alliance 
and thus under the direction of General Washington, that 
Arnold's treason agitated the country and made even Wash- 
ington so distrustful as to exclaim "Whom can we trust now?" 

Barry's appointment came to him — an Irish Catholic — after 
Arnold, in his address to the soldiers of the American army,, 
had on October 7th, 1 780, declared : 

"I preferred the proposals of peace from Great Britain,, 
thinking it infinitely wiser and safer to cast my confidence, 
upon her justice and generosity, than to trust a Monarchy 
too feeble to establish your Independence, so perilous to her 
distant dominions; the enemy of the Protestant faith, and 
fraudulently avowing an affection for the liberties of mankind 

120 Catholics and the Reuolutm 

while holding her native sons in vassalage and chains." [Pa. 
Packet, Oct. 17th, 1780.] 

Washington and the Congress of the Continent could trust 
the Irish Catholic John Barry. 

France, *'the enemy of the Protestant Faith!" 

The best ship of the Congress — The Alliance — by her name 
carrying the proof of the unity of America and France and 
Captain John Barry an Irish Catholic in Command! That 
was America's answer to the Traitor, the Native bom Arnold, 
who but a year before had, in Barry's own city, Philadelphia — 
to appeal to Congress and then to the Executive of Pennsylva- 
nia for protection from the populace. Even then he had in- 
curred public odium [Shippen Papers]. France, "the Country 
in which the Roman Catholic faith is professed, "gave "impor- 
tant assistance to establish the Independence of the Country" 
declared President Washington, in his reply to the Address of 
the Roman Catholics." 

Could he have had in mind John Barry as the representative 
of the Roman Catholics whose "fellow citizens will not forget 
the patriotic part they took in the accomplishment of their Revo- 
lution and the Establishment of their Government." 

The American Revolution began with a fierce anti-Catholic 
spirit evoked by the Quebec Bill. 

The Establishment of the Independence of the country was 
owing to the "important assistance received from a Nation in 
which the Roman Catholic faith is professed," declared Wash- 
ington, the Commander of the armed forces of the Colonies. In 
its earliest power it had been moved with an almost 
demoniac spirit against "Popery." All feared its imposition 
on the British Colonies by the armed Catholic Canadians be- 
coming "fit instruments," as the Declaration of Independence 
states it, for imposing Slavery on the Protestant Colonies. 

Captain Landais, whom Captain Barry succeeded in com- 
mand, was a Catholic, but became a pervert during the Revo- 
lution. Later in life he returned to the Church and died on 
Long Island, New York, in 18 18. In the old cemetery of St 
Patrick's Church, in that city a monument was erected with 
this inscription in French: "To the memory of Pierre deLan- 

The Alliance 121 

dais, formerly rear Admiral in the service of the United States, 
who disappeared in June, 1818, aged 87." 

In The Talisman for 1829, it is related that one who served 
under Landais declared that it 'Vas not through any defect 
of bravery, but merely from his desire to approach the enemy 
scientifically by bearing down upon the hypothenuse of the 
precise right-angled triangle prescribed in the thirty-seventh 
manceuvre of his old text-book." 

The Alliance was the favorite ship of the Navy and Nation 
during the Revolution. She was a beautiful and exceedingly 
fast ship. 

The pride of the Americans in this vessel is expressed in 



As Neptune traced the azure main, 
That own'd so late proud Britain's reign, 
A floating pile approached his car, — 
The scene of terror and of war. 
As nearer still the monarch drew 
(Her starry flag display 'd to view). 
He ask'd a Triton of his train, 
"What flag was this that rode the main? 
"A ship of such a gallant mien 
This many a day I have not seen : 
To no mean power can she belong, 
So swift, so warlike, stout and strong. 
"See how she mounts the foaming wave. 
Where other ships would find a grave: 
Majestic, awful, and serene. 
She walks the ocean like its queen." 
"Great monarch of the hoary deep, 
Whose trident awes the waves to sleep," 
Replied a Triton of his train, 
"This ship that stems the Western main 
"To those new, rising States belongs, 
Who, in resentment of their wrongs. 
Oppose proud Britian's tyrant sway, 
And combat her by land and sea. 
"This pile, of such superior fame, 
From their strict union takes her name; 
For them she cleaves the briny tide, 
While terror marches by her side. 

122 The Alliance 

"When she unfurb her flowing sails, 

Undaunted by the fiercest gales, 

In dreadful pomp she ploughs the main. 

While adverse tempests rage in vain. 

"When she displays her gloomy tier. 

The boldest Britons freeze with fear, 

And, owning her superior might. 

Seek their best safety in their flight. 

"But when she pours the dreadful blaze. 

And thunder from her cannon plays. 

The bursting flash that wings the ball 

Compels those foes to strike or fall. 

"Though she, with her triumphant train 

Might fill with awe the British main, 

Yet, filial to the land that bore, 

She stays to guard her native shore. 

"Though she might make their cruisers groan 

That sail beneath the torrid zone, 

She kindly lends a nearer aid. 

Annoys them here, and guards the trade. 

"Now traversing the Eastern main. 

She greets the shores of France and Spain : 

Her gallant flag display'd to view, 

Invites the Old World to the New. 

"This task achieved, behold her go 

To seas congeal' d with ice and snow, 

To either tropic, and the line, 

Where suns with endless fervor shine. 

"Not, Argo, in thy womb was found 

Such hearts of brass as here abound : 

They for their golden fleece did fly. 

These sail to vanquish tyranny." 

Watson's annals of Philadelphia (i i, p. 383) says of this ship: 

"She was the only one of our first navy, of the class of frigates 
which was so successful as to escape capture or destruction 
during the war. In the year 1781, she and the Dean frigate 
were the only two of our former frigates then left to our service. 
She was in many engagements and always victorious — ^she 
was a fortunate ship — was a remarkably fast sailer— could 
always chose her combat — she could either fight or run away — 
always beating her adversary by fight or flight. 

Twice she bore the fortunes of Lafayette acrossjthejocean. 

The Alliance 123 

Once when she was at the West Indies, she was pursued all day 
by one of the fastest 74's in the British navy and from which 
she escaped by changing her trim. The widow of Com- 
modore Barry remembering with what esteem her husband 
regarded this ship had a tea-caddy made out of her wood as a 
memento. Such a vessel deserves some commemoration and 
some memorial to revive her fame. She led those naval heroes 
of the infant navy." 

Such was The Alliance under Captain John Barry. 

124 Mission of Col. Laurens 




The selection of Captain John Barry as Commander of The 
Alliance, foremost ship of the new Republic, is a most conspicu- 
ous and honorable testimonial to his merit, abilities and services. 

The Alliance was most fittingly selected to convey Colonel 
John Laurens to France as a special commissioner at that 
"infinitely critical posture of our affairs,'* as Washington wrote 
Franklin. Colonel Laurens had had an interview with 
Washington on the subject of his mission. On the result of 
their conference "on the present state of affairs" the comman- 
der-in-chief wrote from New London on February 15, 1781, 
to prepare him for the course he was to pursue in France. 
The letter was given to the Comte de Vergennes, and is now 
in the French archives. Washington stated the object of 
Lauren's mission to be: first, "the absolute necessity of an 
immediate, ample and efficacious succor in money, large enough 
to be a foundation for substantial arrangement of finance, to 
revive public credit and give vigor to future operations." As 
our concern is with the chief officer of the Revolutionary 
force on sea, Washington's words concerning the navy may 
appropriately be introduced in relating the career of the com- 
mander of the ship which carried his message to France. 

On the importance of the Navy, Washington wrote that 
"next to a loan of money a constant naval superiority on these 
coasts is the object most interesting. This would instantly 
reduce the enemy to a difficult defensive and, by removing all 
prospect of extending their acquisitions, would take away the 
motives for prosecuting the war. Indeed, it is not to be con- 

Need of a Naval Force 125 

ceived that they could subsist a large force in this country, if 
we had the command of the sea, to interrupt the regular trans- 
mission of supplies from Europe. This superiority (with an 
aid in money) would enable us to convert the war into a vigorous 

. . . With respect to us it seems to be one of two deciding 
points; and it appears, too, to be the interest of our allies, 
abstracted from the immediate benefits to this country, to 
transfer the naval war to America. The number of ports 
friendly to them, hostile to the British, the materials for repair- 
ing their disabled ships, the extensive supplies towards the 
subsistence of their fleet, are circumstances which would give 
them a palpable advantage in the contest of the seas"(Ford's 
''Writings of Washington," Vol. IX, p. 107). That the impor- 
tance which Washington attached to a large fleet was not over- 
estimated, we may judge by observing the force in men of the 
British Navy during the contest: In 1776, 28,000; 1777, 
45,000; 1778, 60,000; 1779, 70,000 1780, 85,000; 1 78 1, 90,000; 
1782, 100,000; 1783, 110,000 (Robinson's British Fleet, 

P- 432). 

While the Alliance was waiting at Boston a memorandum, 
signed by William Vernon and J, Warren on behalf of the 
Government, was given to Barry, which reads: "Received of 
Captain John Barry ;6i438, 9, 4 in bills of credit of the old 
emission, the balance of his old account with the Navy Board 
as per settlement 9th February, 1781, appears." (collection of 
the late Charles Roberts.) 

The Alliance was delayed from sailing on account of the short- 
ness of the crew and the inability to procure a number justifying 
departure. The Massachusetts State authorities had to be 
called on to aid in the filling up. So Colonel Laurens wrote 
General Benjamin Lincoln. 

Boston, 2d Feby, 1781. 

The absolute failure of all other resources for completing 
the deficiency of the Alliance crew, reduces me to the necessity 
of applying to you for authority to engage such of the recruits 
of this State as may be qualified for the marine service. The 
inclosed return from Capt Barry will shew you that the number 

126 Patrick Sheridan 

wanting is but small — I am persuaded that you will think 
that the men cannot anywhere be so advantageously imployed, 
when I inform you that Congress ground their hopes of a vigor- 
our continuance or an honorable termination of the War, upon 
the success of my mission and that there is no other obstacle 
to the instant dispatch which the exigency demands than the 
want of the men above mentioned. 

The eagerness with which you always pursue the general 
interests leaves me no doubt of your ready concurrence in the 
measure proposed and gives me confidence in soliciting your 
counsels and influence with respect to any auxiliary mode that 
may be used on this important occasion. 

I have the honor to be with the greatest respect. 
(So. Car. His. Mag v. ii, No. I p. 29). 
Among those "qualified for the marine service*' who engaged 
to join the crew of The Alliance and so aid in her early depart- 
ure on her important mission was one whose name by the an- 
nexed certificate, indicates that he was of Captain Barry's 
race and creed. 

Boston, 20th Dec, 1781. Received on the Alliance 
Patrick Sheridan an enlisted Soldier for the Town of Bos- 
ton who had General Lincoln's leave to go to France last 


In behalf of Major Pettingill, 

Dennis Parker, 

Ensign for 8th Mass. Reg't. 
[Col. Captain Barnes.] 

James Jarvis, of Boston, writing imder date of February 5th, 
1 78 1, to his friends, said: *'By this conveyance, namely, the 
Alliance frigate, Capt. John Barry, goes Col. Lawrence, son of 
Mr. H. Lawrence, who is in a public character and sent expressly, 
it is said, with necessary powers for negotiating a loan and to 
demand of France, in the most .peremptory manner, their be- 
coming guarantee. [De Neuville Papers.] 

Concerning the incidents of this voyage, Kessler's Narraivve 
relates : 

"On the nth of February, 1 781, we sailed from Boston with 
despatches from Congress and to convey the younger Col. 

Captures the Alert 127 

[John] Laurens to France. We had also other passengers, 
among whom was Thomas Paine. On the passage we captiured 
a British privateer schooner." 

Conway's Life of Paine, Vol. i, says, that Paine accompanied 
Lam'ens intending to go to England "midercoverof an English- 
man who had made a tour of America incog, and would there so 
manage his knowledge as to produce a more general disposition 
for peace." Paine, however, did not go to England. In his 
Claim, presented to Congress in 1809, ^^ declared that Laiwens 
did not wish the commission to go to France but had told Paine 
that he would go if Paine would accompany him so as to be of 
assistance to him in the consideration of political questions in 
which Latu-ens acknowledged he was not versed. Paine acceded. 
He claimed he had received no compensation for these services. 
[State Papers, Claims, p. 357.] The committee reported 
adversely on his claim. 

The other passengers on the Alliance were Major Jackson 
and the Comte de Noailles, brother-in-law of Lafayette. 

The schooner captured was The Alert, of 12 guns, which was 
taken to L'Orient. 

The Alert, probably, was the British cruiser which, under 
Capt. John Beazley, had captured Captain Barry's first com- 
mand — the Lexington — when under command of Captain Henry 
Johnson, on September loth, 1777, which Barry captured in 
the Delaware Bay, in March, 1778, which the British recaptured 
a few days later, and which, on September 17th, 1778, captured 
the American cruiser Lafayette. If so. Captain Barry's gratifi- 
cation must have been great. 

Col. Lauren's father was at this time a prisoner in England. 
He had been taken while on the way to France where he had 
been sent by Congress. It was important, therefore, that the 
son should not join his father in captivity. Thus, the responsi- 
bility of Captain Barry was the greater and his skill and acute- 
ness more essential. He was, however, equal to this emer- 
gency, as in all others which had come to him. 

Kessler does not mention that the Alert, when captured on 
March 4th, had possession of a Venetian ship which Barry 
released out of * 'respect for the laws of nations and the rights 

128 Releases a Venetian Ship 

of neutrality." The account of this action of Captain Barry 
is given by Col. Laurens, who reporting to Congress from 
L'Orient, nth March, 1781, notified that the Alliance had 
arrived there on the 9th. He reported : 

"In our voyage we captured a British privateer in company 
with a Venetian ship, of which he had made a prize contrary 
to the Laws of nations — this appeared to meahappyopportimity 
of manifesting the determination of Congress to maintain 
the rights of neutral powers as far as depended on them — After 
a short consultation Captain Barry and his officers very readily 
acceded to the Liberation of the Venetian and the complete 
Restoration of the cargo and property, which were very val- 
uable. The Captain was accordingly left at Liberty to pursue 
his voyage and the privateer was brought into port." 

Copies of Certificates given the Captain of the Venetian ship 
were: "The Underwritten Special Minister from the United 
States of North America in Congress assembled to the Court 
of Versailles certifies that the bearer Capt Tomaso Lombardo, 
Commander of the Venetian ship called ye Buono Compagnia 
had been, contrary to the rights of Nations, seized and detained 
by Francis Russell a British privateer of Glasgow, when 
the said frigate by capturing the privateer had an oppor- 
tunity of liberating Capt Tomaso Lombardo with his ship and 
Crew, and asserting the rights of neutral powers which the 
Congress from a sense of justice and respect to the rights of 
Humanity are ever anxious to maintain." 
On hoard the American frigate Alliance, at sea, March 4, 1781. 

This will certfy All those whom it may concern that John 
Barry, Esq., Commander of the American frigate Alliance^ has 
released, from captivity, Capitano Tomaso Lombardo, Com- 
mander of a Venetian Ship called La Buonia Compagnia, who, 
contrary to the Laws of Nations and every principle of justice, 
had been seized by a British Corsair called the Alert from Glas- 
gow in North Britain Francis Russell Commander, by whom 
the Venetian crew were put in irons and otherwise cruelly 

Captain Barry restores Captain Tomaso Lombardo to the 
command of his ship and the Venetians their freedom from a 

Congress Approues Barry 129 

wish to preserve inviolate the laws of Nations and Neutrality 
as acceded to by the Congress of the United States of North 
America. (So Car His Gen Mag VI, p. 25-6.) 

This action of Barry's was brought to the attention of Con- 
gress. On June 26, 1781, that body "resolved that the Board 
of Admiralty inform John Barry, Esq., commander of the frigate 
Alliance, that Congress approve his conduct in releasing the 
ship belonging to the subjects of the Republic of Venice retaken 
by him from a British privateer on 4th of March last, it being 
the determination always to pay the utmost respect to the 
rights of neutral commerce.'* 

Franklin, writing to Thomas McKean, President of Congress, 
from Paris, November 5th, 1781, said: **The Ambassador of 
Venice told me that he was charged by the Senate to express 
to me their grateful sense of the friendly behaviour of Capt. 
Barry, Commander of the Alliance ^ in rescuing one of the Ships 
of their state from an English privateer and setting her at 
Liberty and he requested me to commtmicate this acknowledg- 
ment to Congress." 

130 Barry at L Orient 



"On March loth, 1781, we arrived at L'Orient," says Kess- 
ler, "without anything worth noting except Paine's duel with 
the French officer," Comte de Noailles, " and the taking of a 
privateer schooner of twelve guns belonging to Bristol, in Eng- 
land, and which schooner accompanied us to L'Orient where 
the crew were put in prison." 

The Alliance had carried Col, Laurens to France to hasten 
on the aid now greatly needed by Washington. Franklin had 
on February 13th, 1781, written Comte Vergennes: 

"The Marquis de Lafayette writes to me, that it is impossible 
to conceive, without seeing it, the distress which the troops 
have suffered for want of clothing, and the following is a 
paragraph of a letter from General Washington, which I ought 
not to keep back from your Excellency, viz. "I doubt not 
that you are so fully informed by Congress of our political and 
military State, that it would be superfluous to trouble you 
with anything relative to either. If I were to speak on topics 
of the kind, it would be to show that our present position 
makes one of two things essential to us; a peace, or the most 
vigorous aid of our allies, particularly in the article of money. 
Of their disposition to serve us, we cannot doubt ; their generos- 
ity will do everything which their means will permit." 

For effectual friendship, and for the aid so necessary in 
the present conjuncture, we can rely on France alone, and in 
the continuance of the King's goodness towards us." 

Return Trip to America 131 

Latirens succeeded in getting a gift of six millions from the 
King. Paine, in the Resolve sailed for Brest, June ist, with 
2,500,000 livres in silver and in a convoy ship laden with clothing 
and military stores. They arrived at Boston, August 25th, 

It was this money that moved Washington's army from 
near New York to Yorktown, Virginia, as the army refused to 
move unless paid one month's pay in specie. Supplies were 
not available unless paid for, so low was the credit of Congress 
until Robert Morris took charge of the finances. 

The money otained by Laurens and brought over by the 
Resolute amounted to half a million "hard money.'* Part of 
this French money was used to pay France overdue loans. 
That was our Country's method of paying debts due to France. 

The remainder was brought to Philadelphia by Tenth Francis, 
who had been sent to Boston by Robert Morris, Superinten- 
dent of Finance, for that purpose. He obtained the money 
from John Hancock, who had it in control. 

To bring it to Philadelphia and to pass New York, then in 
British possession, sixteen ox-carts were required. The bodies 
of the carts were taken off and great oak chests containing 
smaller ones were strapped with iron and welded to the axles, 
so that it was "impossible to open or take them off" until they 
arrived in Philadelphia as Morris directed. 

Part of this money started the Bank of North America, 
which opened early in 1782, to furnish supplies to the army. 
[Morris Papers]. 

Let us return to Captain :Barry 

On March 23, Captain Barry, preparing to return to America, 
issued the following order to Captain Gallatheau, the comman- 
der of the letters-of marque vessel. Marquis de Lafayette : 

"Sir: I am inform'd by Messrs. Goulade & Moylan that 
your ship is loaded with Stores for the Hon'bles the Conti- 
nental Congress. In Consequence of which I do hereby give 
you a Paragraph of my Orders from the Hon'ble the Admiralty 
of the United States whose particular Orders I am under. 
Viz.t. 'We would not have you lay Longer in France than a 
Month or Six Weeks, in which time we Conceive the Articles 

132 Disbursements of the Alliance 

we have Generally Mentioned may be Procured & Ship'd in that 
time in other Bottoms — You in that case take such Vessels 
under your Convoy to this place,' meaning the Delaware. In 
Consequence of which I do hereby order you to get Your Ship 
ready for Sea Immediately & to proceed under my Convoy to 
the before mentioned place." 

On March 28th, 1781 Gourlade & Moylan, Agents of the 
United States, wrote Col. John Laurens respecting the dis- 
bursements of the Alliance while at L'Orient. 

honored Sir 

We beg leave to enclose you copy of the frigate Alliance 
disbursements here, amtg to ;639,o8o.7s Qd toumoir, exclusive 
of some articles furnished the Kings officer here, wch you will see 
their Cost is not yet ascertained and wich are hereafter to be 
accompted for, as well as the amount of fresh Beef wch Cap: 
Barry ordered to be taken up at port Louis where, the vessel 
has lain for some time past, we request you will point out to 
us the manner in wch we are to procure our reimbursement 
the wind has blown exindingly hard since yesterday, on wch 
account the Polote would not undertake to carry either the 
alliance or ship marquis de La Fayette to Sea. if it continues 
favourable & that it shoud be more moderate to morrow, they 
will cast sail, you will find two letters from cap: Barry in- 
closed to wich we beg leave to refer for further particulars and 
that you will believe With the utmost respect 

Honord Sir 
Your most obedient & 
Most humble Servtts 

The honorable 


[So Car His Mag VI 34.] 

Estimet of quantity of Clothing & Other Public stores shipped 
on board the Marquis de la Fayetter Capt Galatheau & dis^ 
patched from L'Orient 2d March, 1 781 is given on page 35 of the 

*' On March 29th the Alliance left L'Orient for America in 
company with the French letter-of-marque ship Marquis ie 

Mutiny on the Alliance 133 

Lafayette a large ship loaded with clothing for and on account 
of the United States," records Kessler: 

**On March 30th," relates Kessler, **An Indian one of the 
forecastle men gave Captain Barry information of a combination 
among the crew for the purpose of taking the ship, and point- 
ing out three who had strove to prevail on him to be concerned 
therein. The three men were immediately put in irons, and all 
the oflficers, with such of the crew as could be confided in, were 
armed and required to remain all night on deck. On the next 
morning all hands were called and placed on the forecastle, 
booms and gangways, excepting the officers and such part of 
the crew in whom Captain Barry confided, who, armed, strongly 
guarded the quarter-deck, the steerage and the main deck to 
keep the remainder of the crew together on the forecastle and 
boom. The three designated men were brought out of their 
irons on the quarter-deck, and being stripped and hoisted by 
the thumbs to the mizzen stay, underwent a very severe whip- 
ping before either would make any confession. The names of 25 
of their accomplices were obtained from them before the whip- 
ping was discontinued. As their accomplices were disclosed, 
they were called to the quarter-deck, stripped and tied to the 
ridge-rope of the netting and the whipping continued until it 
was thought all were disclosed that could possibly be obtained, 
which proved to be. That it was intended to take the ship 
on her passage out by killing all the officers in the middle of 
watch of the night except the second Lieutenant, P.Fletcher, 
who was to navigate her to some port in Ireland, or on failure 
to be destroyed. A quartermaster, one of the mutineers, was to 
have command. They had all been bound by an oath on the 
Bible, administered by the Captain's assistant cabin steward, 
and had also signed their names in a round robin so-called but 
that they found no good opportunity on the outward passage 
and intended to accomplish the taking of the ship as aforesaid 
immediately on leaving France. But on coming out of 
L'Orient we lost a man overboard who was one of the chief ring- 
leaders, and they considering that as a bad omen threw the 
round robin overboard and relinquished their designs. The 
three principals were placed sectu'ely in irons and the remain- 

134 Captures Two 

der, after being admonished by Captain Barry, and on their 
solemn decalartion to conduct themselves well, were permitted 
to return to ship's duty." 

On April i6th, 1781, at L'Orient, Samuel Cooper, Purser of 
the Alliance, signed acknowledgement of having received from 
Gourlade and Myland [Moylan] stores to the amont of £^6^% 
and from October 4th to February 3d, 1781, to have received 
^50, 160.13. [Barnes 943]. 

Respecting the mutiny the log of the Alliance, now in pos- 
session of Mrs. W. Horace Hepburn, of Philadelphia, a grand 
niece of Captain Barry, records : 

•'Sunday, March 31, 178 1. At 5 P. M. put Cullen in irons 
for mutiny. At 11 found out a number more that was con- 
cerned in the mutiny. The names of those that were punished: 
Thos. Stokes, P. Shelden, Hugh Mallady, George Green. John 
Chalford (?), John McDaniel, Wm. McElhaney, John Downey, 
Jas. Martin, Walter Crooker, William Vanderpole. Latitude 


Kessler relates that "on April 2nd. 1781, two brigs gave us 
chase and were permitted to come up. One ran close on 
board of us and without any hail fired the whole broadside 
at us and immediately every one run off her deck. We had 
commenced firing, but on discovering their retreat, the firing 
ceased and we boarded them. She proved to be a brig with 
flush deck and 20 twelve pounders, two six pounders and 14 
cannonades with 1 1 2 men, called the Mars and belonging to 
the Guernsey. The crew were taken aboard the Alliance and 
all put in irons without distinction. Captain Barry considering 
them as not meriting other treatment in consequence of their 
firing on us with no intention of bravely fighting. The other 
brig was a Jersey, called the Minerva, of 10 guns and 55 men. 
She was taken possession of and manned by the Marquis de 
Lafayette, our consort. Soon after in a gale of wind we parted 
with our consort and the prizes." 

The Mars had on February 3 of this year been captured 
from the Americans at St. Eustatia and added to the British 
Navy (Beaston's "Memoirs," Vol. V, p. 166). 

The Mars and the Minerva 135 

These two captures are thus recorded in the log of the^y4//t- 
ance under date of April 2, 1781 : 

At 7 A. M. saw two sail bearing N. W. Made all the sails we 

could and gave chase. They stood for us. At 10 passed us to 

the leeward and gave us a broadside each and we returned 

double fold. One brig struck and hove to. She proved to be 

the Mars of twenty twelves and two sixes and twelve four 
pounders and 1 1 1 men. The other run to the eastward. We 

fired a number of bow chasers at her. She hove to at 1 1 o'clock 
and proved to be the Minerva, John Lecoster, commander, 
mounting eight four-pounders and 55 men. John Privo com- 
manded the first brig. Their shot did us considerable damage. 
Cut away one of our M shrouds and all M T M back stay, two 
fore shrouds, M T M stay and together with several other ropes 
shot through our fore sail in several other places. M T M S S 
Mizen S sail, F T sail, F T sail M T sail M T. Sent Mr. Fletcher 
and 14 men on board the largest brig including Mr. Brown 
master mate. A twelve pound shot went through our F T M 
steering sail, boom and lodged in our fore yard, which damaged 
it very much." 

May 2, 1781, Captured a brig," continues Kessler, "and snow 
loaded with sugar from Jamaica for London which was manned 
and ordered to Boston. Soon after made a fleet of about 65 
sail convoyed by 10 sail of line." 

The Alliance's log of the same day reads: "May 2d. Gave 
the brig two bow guns at M. [Meridian]. Came up with the 
chase. She proved to be the brig from Jamaica, Captain 
Savage, bound to Bristol. Sent our boat on board and took 
the prisoners out." 

"May 3d. At 2 P. M. came up with the chase which proved 
to be a 7 four pounder from Jamaica bound to Bristol. Cap. 
sent the boat on board and brought the prisoners on board. 
Lat. 41. 33." 

Kessler's narrative continues: "May 7th. The maintop- 
mast was split from the cap to the keel by lightning and a 
ntunber of men knocked down and much burnt." 

"May 28th. Towards evening discovered two sail on the 
weather bow standing for us and which after coming near 

136 Battle with the Atalanta and Trepassy 

enough to be kept in sight hauled to wind and stood on our 
course. Towards day it became quite calm. After it became 
light it appeared that they were an armed ship and brig — about 
a league distant. At sunrise they hoisted the English colors 
and beat drums. At the same time the American colors were 
displayed by the Alliance, By little puffs of wind we were 
enabled to get within short hailing distance. At eleven o'clock 
Captain Barry hailed the ship, and was answered that she was 
the Atalanta ship of war belonging to His Britannic Majesty, 
commanded by Captain [Sampson] Edwards. Captain Barry 
then told Captain Edwards that we were the Continental frigate 
Alliance and commanded by John Barry and advised him to 
haul down his colors. Captain Edwards answered :* Thank 
you sir. Perhaps I may after a trial.' The firing then began, 
but unfortunately there was not wind enough for our steerage 
way, and they being lighter vessels by using sweeps got and 
kept athwart our stem and on our quarters so that we could 
not bring one-half our guns nay, oft time, only one gun, out 
astern to bear on them, and thus laying like a log the greatest 
part of the time." 

"About two o'clock Captain Barry received a wound by a 
grape shot in the shoulder. He remained, however, on the 
quarter deck until by the much loss of blood he was obliged to 
be helped to the cock-pit. Some time after our colors were 
shot away and it so happened that at the same time such guns 
as would bear on them had been fired and were then loading 
and which led the enemy to think we had struck the colors 
and manned their shrouds and gave three cheers by that time 
the colors were hoisted by a mizen brail and our firing again 
began. A quartermaster went to the wheel in place of one 
just killed there. At the moment a small breeze of wind happen- 
ing a broadside was brought to bear and fired on the ship and 
then one on the brig, when they struck their colors at tliree 

"I was ordered to fetch the Captain on board. Finding 
the Captain of the brig killed, the Captain of the ship was 
brought. On his entrance on board the First Lieutenant 
received him and to whom he offered his sword but which was 

Barry Wounded 137 

not received and he was informed that he was not the Cap- 
tain; that Captain Barry was wounded and in the cabin, to 
whom he was conducted. On his entrance into the cabin 
(Captain Barry then there seated in an easy chair, his wounds 
dressed) he advanced to Captain Barry and presented his 
sword and which Captain Barry received, then returned to 
Captain Edwards, saying: I return it to you, sir. You have 
merited it and your King ought to give you a better ship. 
Here is my cabin at your service. Use it as if your own. He 
then ordered the Lieutenant of the brig to be brought , after 
which it was agreed that the crew of the ship, together with 
the prisoners on board the Alliance y should be all put on board 
of the brig (called the Trespasa also a King's vessel of 1 6 guns) 
and sent as cartel to Halifax, but Captain Edwards and the 
Lieutenant of the Trespasa he kept as hostages for the return 
of the brig with Americans in return for the about 250 British 
sent. It being* however, too late in the day to effect the removal 
a prize master and crew was sent on board each and ordered 
to keep close by us all night. Captain Edwards and the Lieu- 
tenant [were] requested to address their people and excite them 
to orderly behavior during the night and which they did from 
the quarter-deck of the Alliance and had the desired effect. 
The next morning the cannon of the brig were hove overboard, 
and after the arms and ammunition was taken from her, the 
prisoners were put on board and she departed for Halifax 
and the Alliance made all sail for Boston, leaving the prize 
ship to follow on account of Captain Barry's wound. 
It was said that some time after Captain Barry had received his 
wound and left the deck, Lieut. H went into the cock- 
pit to Captain Barry and represented that as the rigging of 
the ship was very much cut and the ship otherwise much 
damaged and many men killed and wounded and consider- 
ing also the disadvantages we labored under for want of wind : 
'Whether the colors should be struck.' Captain Barry passion- 
ately answered: *No, sir; and if the ship cannot be fought 
without me I will be brought on deck.' The officer immedi- 
ately returned to deck and Captain Barry, after being dressed 
in haste, was on his way to the deck when the enemy struck. 

138 Captures Two 

* 'Captain Edwards said they were very confident that they 
would subdue the Alliance. This might appear to be claiming 
to themselves a superior share of courage and a want on the 
part of the Alliance, if nothing but disproportion of number of 
guns and weight of metal were taken in view; but when the 
disadvantages under which the A lliance labored are considered, 
it will appear they had much reason to flatter themselves 
with success, and the more so had they known all those disad- 
vantages: ist, of the Alliance's usual complement of crew, 
say 280 — three prizes had been manned — and of 50 on the 
Doctor's list, there could not be procured sufficiently able 
to sit between decks to hand powder from the magazine, and 
those who had a mutinous disposition formed part of the 
remainder; besides, more than 100 prisoners to take care of 
and who felt themselves under the lash for their cowardly 
conduct, and above all the total calm which prevailed until the 
close of the action. The loss on board was 11 killed and 
24 wounded." "I was slightly wounded in the leg," says 
Kessler in a later record. 

The Commission of Captain Edwards surrendered to Captain 
Barry is now in possession of Captain John S. Barnes, of New 
York. It is dated St. John's, October 13th, 1780. 

Kessler continues: "June 6th, 1781. The Alliance arrived 
at Boston and Cap'n Barry was immediatelv landed, and as his 
wound was c onsidered in a dangerous state he despatched me 
express to Philadelphia for Mrs. Barry." 

**The Alliance was so much shattered in her masts, sails and 
rigging that a new fore and main mast and a thorough over- 
hauling and repair was necessary, which required much time. 

*' The three chief mutineers were tried and condemned to be 
hanged, but the sentence became changed to that of *to serve 
during the war;' but Captain Barry refused their admission on 
board the Alliance, and they were delivered to a recruiting 
party as soldiers." 

The following lines, by William Collins, refer to this action, 
though not with historical accuracy: 

The Atalanta and Trepassey 139 

In the brave old ship "Alliance" 

We sailed from sea to sea, 
Our proud flag in defiance 

Still floating fair and free, 
We met the foe and beat him, 

As we often did before, 
And ne'er afraid to meet him 

Was our brave old Commodore. 

Upon the ocean sailing 

In pride and great renown, 
Our Yankee vessel hailing 

A British brig bore down 
Says the Commodore, "we've got 'em. 

Boys up! and blaze away," 
And we sunk her to the bottom. 

And her consort "Trepassey." 

Next, right against us steering 

Came a saucy "seventy-four," 
In all her pride careering 

To thrash the Commodore; 
But each gunner plied his rammer 

And a ringing broadside poured 
And we brought the British banner 

And the main mast to the board. 

Thus o'er the ocean sailing. 

We roamed from day to day. 
In battle never failing 

To make the foe a prey. 
In storm or sunshine never slack 

Our Commodore was he 
To trample down the Union Jack 

And sink it in the sea. 

Cooper's "History of the Navy" gives this account of the 

"The sea was perfectly smooth, and there was no wind, 
the two light cruisers of the enemy were enabled to sweep up, 
and to select their positions, while the Alliance lay almost a 
log on the water without steerage way. Owing to these cir- 
cumstances it was noon before the vessels were near enough 
to hail, when the action commenced. For more than an hour 
the Alliance fought to great disadvantage, the enemy having 

140 Descrq>Hon of the Fight 

got on her quarters where only a few aftermost guns would 
bear on them. The advantage possessed by the English ves- 
sels, in consequence of the calm, at one time, indeed, gave 
their people the greatest hopes of success, for they had the 
fight principally to themselves. 

'* While things were in this unfortunate state, Captain Barry 
received a grape shot through his shoulder, and was carried 
below, This additional and disheartening calamity added to 
the disadvantages of the Americans, who were suffering under 
the dire fire of the two spirited and persevering antagonists. 
Indeed, so confident of success did the enemy now appear to 
be, that when the ensign of the Alliance was shot away, this 
fact coupled with the necessary slackness of her fire, induced 
their people to quit their guns and to give three cheers for 
victory. This occurred at a moment when a light breeic 
struck the Alliance's sails and she came faiily under way. 
A single broadside from a manageable ship changed the entire 
state of the combat and sent the enemy to their guns again 
with the conviction that their work remained to be done. 
After a manly resistance, both the English vessels, in the 
end, were compelled to haui down their colors.'* 

Referring to this fight Frost's "Naval Biography" says: 
*'It was considered a most brilliant exploit and an unequivocal 
evidence of the unconquerable firmness atid intrepidity of the 

Beatson, "Naval and Military Memoirs of Great Britain," 
Vol. V, p. 308, gives the following narrative of this battle : 

"His Majesty's sloops, Aialanta and Trepassey, commanded 
by Captains Edwards and Smith, got in sight of a sail on May 
27th, on which they hove up and came within one league of her. 
They hauled their wind and failed to sight her all night. At 
noon on the 28th, it being almost a calm, the strange sail, about 
half a mile leward, soon convinced them she was an enemy 
by hoisting the Congress colors and firing a broadside at the 
two sloops which were near each other. Then they hove up 
close alongside the enemy, the A talanta on starboard, Trepassey 
on larboard, and began to engage. About an hour after Cap- 
tain Smith of the Trepassey was killed, and Lieut. King took 

The Atalanta Retaken 141 

command and continued the combat two hours and a half 
longer, when the sloop, quite disabled, was obliged to strike. 
She had 5 killed and 10 wounded. The Atalanta continued 
the action longer, but was likewise obliged to submit after 
having a good many killed and wounded. Lieut. Samuel 
Arden lost his right arm. His bravery was very conspicuous 
during the battle. The instant his wound was dressed he 
resumed his station on deck, where he remained tmtil the sloop 
struck. There was no proportion between the enemy's force 
and the British." 

The Atalanta, however, did not succeed in getting to Halifax 
to exchange prisoners. 

The Journal of Captain Henry Duncan, in Naval Miscel- 
lany , [London, 1902, Vol. i, p. 194] relates that his ship the 
Eagle, on June 14th, 1781, **at 6 A. M. spoke with the Charles- 
town and Vulture with a French prize and the Atalanta which 
they had retaken. She and the Trepassey had been taken by 
the Alliance, rebel frigate, after an obstinate engagement, in 
which the Atalanta lost all her masts; the Captain (Smith) of 
the Trepassey, was killed." 

William Ellery in writing from Philadelphia, June 5th, 1781, 
to William Vernon said: 

"We hope you have heard some good tidings by the post of 
Capt. Barry ; but it seems that the Post-riders are so influenced 
by British Gold that they had rather go to New York than 
ptu^ue an honorable route. In plain English, the last eastern 
mail is gone thither; all the secrets it contained along with it. 

Pray was it a violent storm that separated Barry's prize 
from him? I suspect he is gone to Britain. [Publications of 
R. I. Hist. Society, Jan. 1901, p. 271]. 

Before Captain Barry returned to Boston Congress had had 
report of his success on the way to France. On June 3, 1781, 
a resolution was adopted "that Robert Morris be authorized 
to take measures to speedily launch and equip for sea the 
ship America, now on the stocks at Portsmouth, N. H., that 
the board of Admiralty be directed to assign Mr. Morris the 
produce of the shares of the United States in the prizes taken 

142 Loss of the Lafayette 

by Captain Barry, to enable Mr. Morris to carry into execution 
the preceding resolution." 

Kessler makes no mention of the loss of the Lafayette, which 
the Alliance was convoying from France; but in Beatson's 
Memoirs," Vol. V. p. 207, it is recorded that she was captured 
by the Endymion, Capt. Fanshaw, and that she was bound for 
Philadelphia laden withe arms and clothing. Her loss was 
referred by Congress to Messrs. Lee, Ramsay and Lowell, for 
investigation. On July 12, 1782, this committee reported the 
result of their examination, whereupon Congress "ordered that 
the Secretary transmit a copy of the report to Captain Barry 
to be compared with log book of the Alliance^ corrected, if there 
should be any mistakes, and signed and sworn to by him and 
returned to Congress, together with Captain Robinson's letter, 
referred to in his information" ("Journal of Congress," Vol, VII 
p. 312). 

Barry s Report of His Cruise J 43 







Here is Captain Barry's report of his voyage to France and 
return to Boston. The documents have been obtained from 
the Government archives at Washington. 

To the Board of Admiralty he wrote: 

"Alliance Frigate, Boston Harbor, 

"6th June, 1781. 

"Gentlemen: I have the pleasure to inform you of my 
arrival in Boston after a passage of Sixty-nine days from Port 
L'Orient, at which place I arrived at after Capturing a Small 
Privateer of ten guns and thirty Men and retaking her prize a 
Venician ; the latter I relieved but the former I took to L 'Orient 
with me where I sold her and distributed the money amongst 
my Officers and Crew which pleased them very much as it was 
more than they ever received from the Alliance before. 

"On my arrival at L'Orient I was left destitute of any person 
to consult with, as Colo. Laurens soon left me, however I soon 
found there was a Ship called the Marquis de la Lafayette load- 
ing with Continental Stores mounting twenty-six Eighteen 
pounders and fourteen Six pounders whom I was informed 
was ordered to join the Fleet at Brest to go with them to America. 
In that case I was determined to Clear the Ship and to Comply 
with my orders to Cruize, but finding the Captain dilatory and 
loosing his Convoy from L'Orient to Brest and from thence to 
America I tho't it my duty to Convoy her safe to Philadelphia 
if possible, I then gave him orders to get himself in readiness 
while I with my officers did everything in our power to get the 

144 Barry's Report of His Cruise 

Alliance in the best order possible, as soon as he was ready we 
Sailed on the 30th day of March from L'Orient with a fair wind. 

**0n the next day we discovered a Conspiracy on board, 
the Ring leaders we Confined and have brought them in here 
in irons. Unhappily for us we had no Seaman on board but 
disaffected ones, and but few of them, I believe a Ship never 
put to sea in a worse Condition as to Seamen. 

"On the 2d April we fell in with the Privateer Mars of twenty 
twelve pounders, two sixes and One hundred and twelve Men, 
and the Privateer Minerva of ten guns and fifty-five men (after 
taking out her Prisoners) we put a prize Master and a Number 
of men on board ; the latter the Marquis mann'd both of which 
I ordered for Philadelphia One of which has since arrived here, 
the other I suppose went to France. 

"We had Continual Gales of Wind on our Passage. One 
in particular in the Latitude of 40-3 and Longitude of 36. We 
first split our Fore Topsail and then handed it. About 7 
o'clock in the Morning on the 25th April (the Marquis close by 
us we split our Foresail and soon after our Fore stay sail 
which deprived us of any head Sail, the Marquis being then 
tmder her Fore sail she soon shott ahead of us out of sight, 
and to our great Mortification we could never see her after- 
wards altho' we did all our endeavors, standing backwards 
and forewards looking after her. 

"On the 2d May in Lattitude 4id 37m N and Longitude 45 
We fell in with a Brig and Snow loaded with Sugars from 
Jamaica which we Captured, and in Case of Separation weie 
ordered for Philadelphia, which was the Case a Short time 
afterwards in a hard Gale of Wind. 

"On the i6th May in Lattde 38m 57 N and Longd. 53 — ^in 
a Severe Gale of Wind attended with thunder and lightning^ 
One of which Claps cut our Main Top Mast in two and knocked 
down twelve or fifteen men on deck some of which it burnt 
some of their Skin off but I thank God all of them have done 
well since. 

"I forgot to mention that in one of the Gales we discovered 
the Fore Mast very badly Sprung we immediately fixed it in 

Captures the Atalanta and Trepassey 145 

the best maner possible which rendered us incapable of Carrying 
much Sail. 

On the 19th May in Lattd. 38d. N and 55 of Longitude we 
fell in with two Ships, we took them to be homeward bound 
Merchantmen, but being so poorly Manned we were not in a 
Condition to take them, therefore did not speak them. 

"On the 28th May in Ltt'd 4od — 34m N and Longitude 63.1 
— we fell in with two of his Britannic Majesty's Sloops of War 
the AUalanta & Trepassey^ the former commanded by Captain 
Edwards, the latter by Captain Smith that was killed in the 
Engagement who bore down upon us and after a Smart Action 
we had five Men killed and twenty-two wounded, three of 
which has died of their wounds since, I am amongst the wounded 
the Occasion of my wound was a large Grape Shott which 
lodged in my left Shoulder, which was soon after cut out by 
the Surgeon, I am flattered by him that I shall be fit for duty 
before the Ship will be ready to Sail and I am of the same 
opinion as the Ship is shattered in a most shocking manner 
and wants new Masts, Yards, Sail and Rigging, — Soon after 
the Sloops of War struck I tho't it most prudent to throw all 
the Trepasseys Guns overboard and take away all her military 
stores and to fit her out as a Cartel and to send all the Prisoners 
I had on board with them I had that day taken, for Newfound- 
land, which the Captain of the Attalanta, assured me should 
be regularly exchanged, only keeping on board the Captain of 
the Aiialanta, the Purser, Doctor and Wounded ; and the Senior 
OflScer of the Trepassey with a few others. — As the AUalanta 
was the lagest Vessel and Copper bottomed I got Jury Masts 
upon her (she being dismasted in the action) and ordered her to 
Boston which I tho't the Nearest and safest Port, we being at 
that time in a Shattered Condition very foul 'and hardly Men 
enough to work our Ship I tho't most prudent to mak the near- 
est Port we could, hoping it will meet with Your Honors' 
approbation; I cannot help mentioning One particular circum- 
stance respecting a Quantity of Copper and Nails fitt for 
Sheathing Ships which has laid in the hands of the Continental 
Agents and Navy Board for these three Years. — Whether It 
was sent for any other ptupose or not I cannot tell, but I am 

146 A Snow 

sure it is fit for nothing else, It will not cost so much to put it on the 
Ship as it will to Clean her, if you would order the Alliance to 
be sheathed with it you may keep her the whole War, if not 
you may be assured that whenever she is Catched at sea foul 
that you will lose her. — 

"I have given you a Short Sketch of my Operations from 
the time I sailed from Boston until the present time which I 
hope will meet with your approbation, Your Attention par- 
ticular to Sheathing the Ship with Copper will render an 
Assential Service to the Country and much oblige 
**Your Most obedient and very 

••humble Serv't 

c^V^C^?^ /^i 

"P. S. I hear the Snow with Sugars is in a Safe Port to the 
Eastward & expect the Attalanta in every hour. 

(Endorsed) ''Captain Barry's Letter of 6 June, 1781, to the 
Board of Admiralty — i Enclosure." 

A SNOW was "a vessel with two masts resembling the 
main and foremast of a ship, and a third small mast just abaft 
the mainmast carrying a sail similar to a ship's mizzen." 

[From Narrative of John Blatchford, A Soldier of the Revo- 
lution: N. Y. 1865, page 40.] 

Captain Barry's report to the Naval Board relates events 
of the voyage to France and return to America. It reads: 

"To the Honorable Naval Board Eastern Department, 
June — th (1781). 

"Gentlemen: For Sufficient reasons as per Log we were 
obliged to cut our Cable to get under way from Nantasket road 
on the nth of Februar^^ Nothing remarkable to the i6th 
instant when we fell in within the Night Large fields of ice and 
Blowing very hard, we continued in the ice about 1 2 hours the 
Ship Laboring very much we reed Considerable damage in 
Latitude 42° 03' N ; Longd 55° 03' west on the 4th day of March 
47° 31' D. R. Longd 4° 27' we Fell in with and took a Privateer 
Schooner from Glasgow Moimting 10 Carriage Guns, called the 

Captures the Mars and Minerva 147 

Alert Francis Russel Commander, sent Mr. Nichs Garden 
Prize Master, who arrived safe in L'Orient, Friday the 9th of 

'^Saturday we come to Anchor at Port Louis Friday the 30th 
of March we slipt our Moorings and got under way in Company 
with the ship Marquis de La Fayette 31st of Do. We found 
out a number of men who had conspired to take the ship from 
us to Carry her into England and punished them in such a 
manner as made them Confess the Crime laid to their Charge 
Monday 2nd of April we fell in with and took 2 Privateer Brigs 
from Guernsey one was the Mars of 20-12 lb. and 2-6 lb. and 
12 4 pound Cohoms Jno. Prero Commander, the other was the 
Minerva of 8-4 pound cannon and 55 men John Lecost Com- 
mander the first Brig Manned by us Lieut. Fletcher Prize Mas- 
ter the Minerva manned by the Marquis 19th Instant Lost 
Sight of both Brigs 26th Instant Lost Sight of the Marquis in 
a Gale of Wind and May the 2nd & 3d took a Brig and a Snow 
from Jamaica bound to Bristol in the Lattd. of 41° 30' Longd. 
41° 30' West Laden with Sugar. 

**Thursday the 12th of May Lost Sight of the Brig and Snow 
in the Lattd. of 39° 81' Longd. 55° 81' West, heavy Gales of 
Wind Thunder and Lightning. 17th of May Lightning Struck 
our Main Top Mast and Shivered him from Cross trees to Cap 
sprung our Foremast very badly the Lightning burnt one man 
and knocked down several, in the Lattd. 38° 57' Longd. 52° 46' 

**29th of May fell in with two English Sloops of War one a 
Ship mounting 16 Carriage Guns and 120 men Capt. Edwards 
the other a Brig of 14 Carriage Guns and 60 or 70 men Capt. 
Smith, the Ship Called Atalania the Brig called the Trepassey, 
they engaged us within Pistol Shott 3 hours when they 
struck to us, we were very much Shattered in our Rigin, Spars, 
and Sails no part of our ship escaped the Fury of their Shott 
we had 5 men killed and 1 8 or 20 wounded Among the dangerous 
wounded was Mr. Prichard, who was shot with a 6 pound shot, 
him with some more has since died of their wounds, the Ship 
and Brig in a very shattered Condition the Ships Main Mast 
went over the side the Next Morning, the Ship had 5 men killed 

146 Report to the Admiralty 

and 15 wounded, by their account, the Brig had 6 men killed 
the Capt. Included, and 12 or 15 wounded, fitted out the Brig 
as a Cartel as soon as possible and hove her gtms overboard 
sent between 2 or 300 men on board and Dispatched her the 
31st of May, 1781, Latt. 41*^ 10' Long. 62*^ 13' June ist parted 
Company with the Atalanta Bound for Boston, Lieut. Welsh on 
board of her. 

'^Gentlemen for more particulars you will please to have 
Recourse to the Log Book. *N. B. Lattd 45^ 06' Longd 1 2*^ 43' 
West when we took the 2 Privateer Brigs." 

More than a month later Captain Barry reported to the 
Board of Admiralty: 

"Boston July 25, 1781. 

* 'Gents: It is with pleasure that I acquaint your honors 
that I am allmost recovered of my wound and I hope in 3 or 4 
days to be able to attend my duty for I find my presence very 
requisite there being only one Liet. and the Master on board 
both of them good officers. Captn. Hacker and several [torn] 
officers left the Ship by permission from the Hon'ble Navy 
Board during my Illness. However I am satisfied, as I am 
Confident these places can be well filled. The Master John 
Buckley have being in the Ship ever since she was launched he 
acted as second Liet. from the 11 of July 1779 ^^^ ^^ arrived 
in Boston last year. He having an attachment to the service 
and his views different from many others he resumed the office 
of Master When I took the Comd and in that Station Behaved 
as a good and faithful officer. 

**The Ship having but one Liet. on board and none here at 
present but one. Who is a very young man and in my opinion 
not fit to Com*d Men like Buckley but he may make a tolerable 
3 Liet. Mr. Buckley has made application to me as his friend 
to use my interest to get him appointed a Lieutenant on board 
the Ship. If my assuring the Hon'ble the Admiralty that he 
was the best Officer I had in the last Ship Cruize will be of any 
service to him I can on my honor declare it. Should your 
Honors think proper to grant him a Commission your dating it 
from his being appointed an Acting Liet. will much oblige. 

"Gents. Your Most Obedient 

•^and Very Hum'le Ser't 

[Addressed 'The Hon'le The Admiralty 


[Endorsed] "Boston July 25th, 1781." 

John Paul Jones 149 

Captain James Nicholson, writing to Captain Barry from 
Philadelphia, June 24th, 1781, congratulated him upon his safe 
arrival and his success. He related in detail the endeavor of 
Chevalier John Paul Jones by personal application among the 
members of Congress to secure for himself recognition as head 
of the Navy. 

Nicholson related the measure of success Jones was securing 
and how he thwarted the consummation of the project. 

"Your arrival and success came opportunely and I did not 
fail to make use of it. I mean out doors in presence of Cap. 
Jones ^nd some of his advocate members by observing that 
you had acquitted yourself well, which they acknowledged. I 
then told them they could not do less than make you an Admiral 
also. I had not a sentence of reply. It irritated the Chevalier 
so much that he was obliged to decamp." [Barnes 855] 

Whatever methods or persuasion Captain John Paul Jones 
was using to have himself ranked as "head of the Navy" it 
seems probably that while Capt Nicholson was thwarting the 
endeavor of Jones and expressing admiration of and to Capt. 
Barry, that he was also looking to his own recognition. The 
List of Officers of the Navy at this time reads : 

1 James Nicholson, Commission loth October, 1776, Com- 
mander of Trumbull. 

2 John Barry loth October, 1776, Alliance. 

Yet Captain Barry was in active service as commander of 
the Alliance, the finest ship of the Navy, and the only frigate 
that escaped capture or destruction during the war. 

On August 8th, 1781, Robert Morris wrote Capt. Barry send- 
ing copy of a letter from Benjamin Harrison, recommending a 
young man. "I am of the opinion the frigate should take every 
young man that offers in order to bring up and breed both sea- 
men and officers. You will please to give or send an answer to 
me by Mr. Cottinger. [Private Letter Book, p. 475, Library 
of Congress.] 

On August 24, 1 78 1, on a report of the Board of Admiralty, 
Congress, Resolved, That Joshua Johnson, esquire, be, and he 
is hereby authorized to examine, audit and settle the accounts 
of T. D. Schweighhauser, against the frigate Alliance ; that the 

150 Cocade of Triple Alliance 

minister plenipotentiary of these United States at the Court of 
Versailles be, and he is hereby empowered and directed to pay 
the balance that may be found due to the said T. D. Schweigh- 
hauser, upon the liquidation and settlement of the said J. 

On Sept. 7th, 1781, Captain John Paul Jones, then at Ports- 
mouth, N. H., superintending the building of the America^ 
wrote to **The Honbl John Barry, Capt." saying: 

"Enclosed, dear Barry I have the honor to send you the 
Cocade I promised, as I forgot to deliver it when I breakfasted 
with you at Boston. — The Blue in it may, with propriety be 
adopted as the national Cocade of America, leaving the Black 
to England which is a true emblem of the character of that 
Dark minded Nation. — The white is intended to represent the 
spotless purity of intention and the sincere Friendship of our 
illustrious Ally towards these Sovereign independent States — 
as the Red may represent the glowing Friendship of Spain. — 
I wish to see this Cocade worn by the Officers of the Navy— at least 
till a better can be devised — It is known in France as our Co- 
cade of Tripple Alliance, and I have on particular desire pre- 
sented many of them to the first characters in Europe. — '* 

This letter of three pages was sold at auction, Philadelphia, 
on February nth, 1897, for $145. 

The Board of Admiralty complied with Barry's request tocop- 
perbottom the Alliance else she would be lost by fouling. So 
thus being better conditioned a cruize of the Alliance and 
Deane, now the whole Navy of the Colonies, was projected. 
The Admiralty and Navy Boards were abolished by Congress 
early in September, 1 78 1 . The charge of all Naval matters was 
given to the Finance Department, supervised by Robert 


Morris. His instructions to Captain Barry, relative to the 
intended enterprise, read: 

Office of Finance, 21 September, 1781. 

John Brown, Esq., who is the Bearer of this Letter is charged 
by me in consequence of three several acts of Congress of which 
copies are enclosed with the Care of sending to sea the Frigates 

A Projected Cruise 151 

Alliance and Deane. You will therefore exert yourself to assist 
liim to the utmost of your Power. When these Ships are ready 
you will proceed to sea. The Ships are both under your com- 
mand the Captain of the Deane being instructed to obey your 
orders wherefore you had best to furnish him a copy of these 
Instructions giving such in addition as you shall judge neces- 
sary for Keeping Company respecting Signals, Places of Rende- 
vous in case of Separation and all other things that tend to 
promote Success and Glory or secure Safety against superior 
force. It is my intention that you should go upon a cruize 
and therefore you will be ready to sail from the Harbour of 
Boston and use your best Efforts to disturb the Enemy. Such 
prizes as you may make you will send into the Port which you 
will find endorsed a list of Persons in several P orts to whom 
to apply in Case you go yourselves or send your Prizes thither. 
Mr. Brown will show you the instructions I have given him 
as to the manning of the ship, which I hope you will approve 
and endeavor to execute, but if exact compliance is not likely 
to succeed, you will deviate no more than absolute necessity 
requires. I do not fix your cruizing ground, nor limit the 
length of your cruize because I expect you will know the 
most likely course, and wiil be anxious to meet such events 
as will do honor to the American flag, and promote the gen- 
eral interest. When you want provisions, I think it will be 
best that you should enter the Delaware and send up as far 
as New Castle to which place they can best be sent in shallops. 
The latitude I have given precludes both the necessity and 
propriety of more particular instructions. Let me hear from 
you by every convenient opportunity, and don't fail to trans- 
mit to His Excellency the Commander-in-Chief of our Army, 
as well as to me, any intelligence that you may obtain which 
you think may in any wise affect his operations. 

* 'Believe me to be, 

*'with great respect, etc. 

"RoBT. Morris" 
[Morris Papers, Book A p 407-8] 

The next record shows Captain Barry at home in Philadelphia. 

i52 Three Await Punishnwit 

"Philadelphia, Oct 13, 1781. 

"Sir : I have to inform your Excellency that there are three 

Men in Boston goal that have been tried by a Court Martial 

the proceedings of which I understand was sent to the Hon'le 

the Congress as they are to receive there punishment on Board 

the Alliance and she ordered to sea I would be much oblige to 

your Excellency to lay it before the Hon'le the Congress in 

order that they may be punished or acquitted I am 

"Sir Your Excellency Most 

"Obedient Humie Ser't 

"His Excellency Thomas McKean, Esq., 

"President of Congress.*' 

[Endorsed] "Letter Oct. 13, 1781. 

Capt. John Barry 
Mr. Sherman 
Mr. Randolph 
pass'd. Mr. Boudinot.*' 

[Note on the back of letter] "The Committee to whom the 
within letter of Captain John Barry was referred, concerning 
three men, sentenced to receive punishment on board frigate 
Alliance, report: *That the proceedings of the Court Martial 
cannot be found in the archives of Congress or of any of its 

" 'Resolved, that the Superintendent of finance take meas- 
ures for obtaining a copy of the proceedings of the Court Martial 
at Boston, in the case of three men belonging to the frigate 


Office of Finance, 17 October, 1781. 

In my letter by Mr. Brown of the 21st of September last, 
I mentioned to you that when the ships, Alliance and Deane, 
are ready you will proceed to sea. But as you have by your 
conversation given me reason to believe that the Deane will 
probably not get manned so soon as the Alliance, you will in 
that case proceed to sea as soon as your ship be ready. 

I have the honor, etc., 

RoBT. Morris. 

To John Barry, Esq., [Morris Papers, B. p. 52,] 

Lafayette to France 153 

Now came the victory at Yorktown to gladden and strengthen 
^th the faith of certainty in Independence the heart of Capt 
' Jolm Barry and other Patriots. 

It had been intended by Robert Morris to send Capt. Barry 
on a cruise but the Yorktown surrender caused a change to 
be made whereby Lafayette could go to France not only to 
visit his family but to have further support from the French 
government added. 

Lafayette, writing on October 26th, 1781, from Yorktown, 
to Dr. Samuel Cooper, of Boston, said : 

"Should Congress think I may serve them in Europe I shall 
be happy to cross and recross the Atlantic in the space of a 
few months provided I see my going there may be materially 
serviceable." [Am. His. Review, Vol. viii. No. i, p. 91.) 

Office of Finance, 9th November, 1781. 

I hope by the time this Letter reaches you the Alliance will 
be ready for Sea. Perhaps men may be wanting but should that 
be the case a Letter from the Minister of France which will be 
delivered you with this will I trust enable you to get a consider- 
able number of good seamen. When you are ready to Sail 
which I hope maybe the case by the Time this reaches you. 
You are to wait my further orders which shall be soon dis- 

I am &c., 

Captain John Barry. [Morris Papers, B 109.] 

We will now return to Kessler's "Narrative," in which 
we read: "Before the Alliance was again ready for sea, the 
year for which the crew had been shipped expired. A new 
shipment was necessary. Such was the attachment of the 
crew to Captain Barry that, on their being paid off and the 
question put whether they would ship again, they cheerfully 
agreed to enter. 

"I know of no instance of one declining. Captain Barry, 
however, refused to admit such as had conducted themselves 
grossly amiss, and the vacancy thereby or otherwise occasioned 
was supplied without any difficulty. As to impressment, it 

i54 Sailing Instructions 

was never practised but in one solitary instance, and that as a 
just punishment for knowingly assisting and harboring a 
deserter from the ship. As to desertion, it was so rare that I 
cannot recollect more than two or three instances during the 
whole time of Captain Barry's command, though it was usual 
in every port (one only excepted, and in that only while Cap- 
tain Barry was absent) to permit the crew, by eight or ten at a 
time, by turns to go on shore for twenty-four hours.'* 

Kessler's name is on the list of officers and men dated Decem- 
ber 8, 1782 as entering, November ist 1781 and as Master 
Mate from December. [Lib. Cong.] 

While the ship was undergoing repairs, Captain Barry 
came to Philadelphia and had interviews with the Marine 
Committee of Congress, planning measures for not only **de- 
stroying the trade of the enemy, but also in producing funds 
to be applied to the support of the naval service." In the 
meantime, however, the victory at Yorktown had been won 
and Comwallis' army captured. That was the "circumstance 
which required the Alliance to be employed in another way" 
than had been arranged for at the conferences. Accordingly 
the following "sailing instructions," the original of which is in 
the possession of Mr. Samuel Castner, Jr., of Philadelphia, 
were sent to Captain Barry, at Boston, directing him to take 
General Lafayette to France "on business of the utmost im- 
portance to America." 

"Navy Office, 
"Philad'a, Nov. 27th, 1781. 

"Sir: In my first instruction, bearing date the 21st Sept. 
last, I mentioned that it was my intention that you should 
proceed with the Alliance and Deane Frigates on a Cruise, as 
soon as they were ready for sea, and afterwards I repeated 
this in conversation when you was here, as my fixed resolution, 
and I now declare that it was my desire you should have done 
so, in hopes that you might not only assist in destroying the 
trade of our Enemy, but also in procuring some Funds, to bfc 
applied in support of our Naval Service — Circumstances hav^:= 
however turned up, which require that for the present, t^^= 
Alliance should be employed another way, which was intimate 

Sailing Instructions 155 

to you in my letter of the 9th Inst, whereby you are required 
not to leave Boston without my fiuther Instructions, this was 
occasioned by the application of the Hon'ble Major General 
Marquis De La Fayette, for a passage to France, whither 
he is to go in pursuance of the orders he has received from his 
Excellency the Commander in Chief, on business of the utmost 
importance to America. — 

*'I hope by this time the Alliance is manned and in every 
respect ready for Sea, but should she still want men, and part 
of a crew are engaged for the Deane, they had best be turned 
over to the Alliance, so as to complete her Complement — 
You will also have it in your power to take on board such 
French seamen as the Consul can procure, in consequence of 
his instructions from the Minister of France on that subject; 
and if after every other effort is made, you still fall short, 
application must be made to the Governor of Massachusetts, 
for permission to impress; in this case the Marquiss will join 
in such application, which will give it great weight — You are 
to receive on board the A lliance Frigate, under your command ; 
the following Officers and Gentlemen with their Servants and 
Baggage. — The Hon'ble Major General De La Fayette, The 
Viscomte De Noailles, the Hon 'able General Du Portail, 
Colonel Gouvion, Major La Colombe, Major Capitain, Mons'r 
Poiry secretary to the Marquis and their Attendants or ser- 
vants about fifteen in Number. You must not admit any 
other Passengers, as these will be sufficient, & I am directed 
by Congress to provide the Marquis with a Passage; therefore 
should any other persons apply for passage, you' must answer 
that you are full & the number limited; but I must make an 
exception, that is, to admit any other person or persons, that 
the Marquis may desire, but upon no other terms than at 
his request. — With these Gentlemen on board, you are to 
depart from Boston as soon as you can, and proceed with all 
possible expedition for the Coast of France, pushing into the 
first safe Port that you can make, the safe and speedy arrival 
of the Marquis, is of such importance, that I think it most 
consistent with my duty to the United States, to restrain you 
from cruizing on the passage thither. You are therefore to 

Sailing Instructions 

avoid all Vessels, and keep in mind, as your sole object, to 
make a quiet and safe passage to some port in France; immedi- 
ately after your arrival there, these Gentlemen will land with 
their Servants and baggage, in doing which, you will give 
them all necessary assistance; and I have too good an opinion 
of your Politeness as a Gentlemen, to think it necessary to say 
any thing of that attention & civility, they are entitled to 
receive, and which I am sure you will show to them. — But 
in order to facilitate your doing so, I have directed Mr. Brown, 
to lay in the necessary Stores for their accommodation, re- 
specting which, he will consult you, let it be done with dis- 
cretion, remember that we are not rich enough to be extravagant 
nor so poor as to act meanly. — 

**As the Alliance is copper bottomed, I hope she will not 
want anything done to her, and as she will be well fitted and 
supplied in Boston, it is to be presumed, that nothing will be 
wanted on her arrival in France. — You may therefore, after 
landing your Passengers &c. immediately proceed on a Cruise, 
where you can promise yoiu*self of the best chance of Success. — 
I calculate your Arrival to happen about the Middle of January 
and I am content that your stay in the European Seas, should 
continue until the first of March, therefore write to Doctor 
Franklin Minister Plenipotentiary at the Court of Versailles, 
and to Thomas Barclay Esqr. Consul from these States that 
you will come into the Port of L'Orient, on, or before the first 
day of March next, in order to receive their Dispatches for 
America, I desire that they may be lodged with some Person 
at that Port ready, and be delivered to you on that day. — 

''Should it so happen, that after your arrival in France, 
you cannot proceed on a cruise without supplies or repairs, 
that may by accidents of the Sea, have become necessary; 
you must in that case prevail with the Marquis, to give you 
credit, and I shall desire Doctor Franklin to discharge the= 
Amount, but Sir, you must remember that all the Money 
have or can get in France, will be wanted for other mo 
important purposes, wherefore I charge you, not to expen 
one Livre more than is absolutely necessary, at any tim^ 
during this Voyage. — 

Sailing Instructions 157 

''Shotild you be fortunate enough to make some valuable 
prizes, you will exercise your own Judgment and Discretion 
as to the Ports or Places best to send them to, for Condem- 
nation, and Sale; all that you send to France, you will address 
to Thomas Barclay Esqr. Consul of America in France, or to 
his order, I shall trust to him to have them sold to the best 
Advantage, and to hold the share which appertains to the 
United States, at my Disposal; the share which may belong 
to the Officers & Crew, he may hold subject to your orders, 
and therefore you had best get an Agent appointed by the 
Officers and Crew to act for them. — ^You know Mr. Barclay is an 
honest man & a merchant, so that I think there is no doubt 
of strict Justice being done by him. — Any Prizes you send for 
America, had best be addressed to me, or my order, and I 
will put them under proper management — but for your better 
Government, I will enclose herein a List of Gentlemen at diflFer- 
ent places in Europe, and America, that I think may be en- 
trusted with the Management of Prizes. — 

**You will remember that public Intelligence is always 
useful, if any thing in that line comes to your Knowledge, 
write to Doctr. Franklin at Paris, John Adams Esqr, at Am- 
sterdam, or to me here — to me you will constantly write of 
your Proceedings and the Events that occur. — 

"You will take care to be in the Port of L'Orient, on the 
first day of March if possible, inquire for the Dispatches of 
Doctr. Franklin, Mr. Barclay &c. receive them on board to- 
gether with any other Letters for America, and such Passengers, 
as our Minister may desire, or you approve, take under your 
Convoy such French or American Vessels, as may be ready 
and desire your Protection; and sail for this Coast, as soon 
^ter the said first day of March as you conveniently can, on 
the Passage hither use your Discretion as to chasing Ships at 
Sea, and finally make such Port, as you, from Circumstances 
shall find most convenient, altho I would rather prefer this 
place; but wherever you arrive keep your Men together, until 
you receive fresh Instructions. — Our service requires that 
your Officers and Crew should be well used, and it is an honour 
to Humanity to treat Prisoners so — I know your Sense of 

158 Men From the Deane 

Duty & Patriotism, will lead you into all proper Measures and 
Exertions for the safety of your Ship, for the Success of her 
Voyage & Cruise; and for the Promotion of your Country's 
Interest. With the best Wishes 

"I am 


"Yours &c 


Mrs. John Adams, writing to her husband 9th December, 
1781, said: 

"I hear the Alliance is again going to France with the 
Marquis De La Fayette and the Com*t De Noailles, I will not 
envy the Marquis the pleasure of annually visiting his family 
considering the risk he runs in doing it, besides he deserves the 
good wishes of every American and a large portion of the honors 
and applause his own country." 

The active and determined efforts of Captain Barry to 
secure a crew for this voyage are shown by a letter written to 
him from Boston on December 21, 1781, by Captain Samuel 
Nicholson, commander of the Deane, in which the writer said: 

"Yours of the 20th ordering forty men from the Deane to be 
immediately got ready with an account of the term of inlist- 
ment &c. to be delivered to one of your officers, whom you 
will send for that purpose I received this day at noon. 

"If Captain Barry has any power or authority to Order my 
men from the ship they were positively enlisted for, I beg 
to be made acquainted with it, at present such a proceeding is 
quite new to me and I believe unprecedented in any service 
whatever. — 

"Those men that offered to go with you yesterday or an] 
others that are willing or can be prevailed on to go on board. 
Xhit Alliance are ready to be delivered your officer when eve 
you please to send for them.'* [Robert's Coll.] 

From the Alliance, off Boston, Lafayette wrote to Washington 
on December 21,1781, saying : "There still remains some doubt 
of our going to-morrow. The moment I am in France I wil^ J* 
write you minutely how things stand and give you the 

Lafayette's Mission 159 

account in my power. I have received every mark of affection 
in Boston and am much attached to this town, to which I am 
under so many obligations; but from public considerations I 
have been impatient to leave it and go on board the frigate, 
where I receive all possible civilities, but where I had rather 
be under sail than at anchor.'* 

The importance of Lafayette's mission to France at that 
juncture may be estimated by the earnestness with which 
Washington represented the state of affairs to him, in a letter 
dated from Mt. Vernon on November 15, in which we read: 
'*Not till the 5th was I able to leave York, Respecting the 
operations of the next campaign I declare in one word that 
the advantages of it to America and the honor and glory of it 
to the allied arms in these States must depend absolutely 
upon the naval force, which is employed in these seas and 
time of its appearance next year. No land force can act 
decisively, unless it is accompanied by a marine superiority; 
nor can more than negative advantages be expected without 
it. It follows, then, as certain as that night succeeds the 
day that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing 
definite, and with it everything honorable and glorious. A 
constant naval superiority would terminate the war speedily; 
without it I do not know that it will ever be terminated hon- 

Other letters went to France by the Alliance urging the 
necessity of aid, especially of a naval force, being sent to aid 
Washington. Robert R. Livingston, writing to Franklin, 
from Philadelphia, Nov. 20th or 8, said: "You will have a 
difficult card to play to induce France to do what not only our 
but her interest essentially require. Never was there a time 
in which money was more necessary to us than at present. 
The enemy, tired of running across the Country, have taken 
to their burrows and the whole business that remain to us, is 
to take measures for unearthing them next Spring. In order 
to do this ships are absolutely necessary. The advantage to 
France in keeping a great naval force on this continent is obvious. 

Kessler thus refers to this voyage to France: "Orders hav- 
ing been issued to repair the ship for the reception of and con- 

160 Lafayette in France 

ducting the Marquis de la Fayette to France, on the 23d of 
December, 1 78 1 , we left Boston with the Marquis and a number of 
French sailors, passengers; nothing of note passed on the passage 
except an oft-time expressed wish of the crew 'that the Marquis 
was in France.' 

*'As Captain Barry's orders appeared to be not to speak any 
vessel, but to make the best of his passage with the Marquis, 
on one occasion (a ship being in sight which appeared, as the 
crew expressed it, as if she could give them sport), the dis- 
content was so apparent that the Captain could not but be 
sensible of it, and which appeared to increase the conflict 
in his mind between the call of duty and his inclination. In- 
stead of reprobating and promptly punishing, what on other 
occasions would have been the case, he was governed by a 
sullen silence which, if propriety would have permitted him 
to break, would have pronounced: 'I also wish the Marquis 
was in France.' " 

Captain Barry carried out his instructions, and ere long 
"the Marquis was in France"; for the Alliance arrived at 
L'Orient on January 18, 1782. 

Thomas Balch, in his "French in America during the Revo- 
lutionary War," says: "Lafayette left Boston for France on 
December 23, 1781. He reached his country in twenty three 
days, where he again devoted himself to the cause of the 
Americans, employing for that purpose the favor which he 
enjoyed at court and the sympathies which his conduct had 
gained for him in public opinion." 

Lafayette bore to the King of France a letter from Congress 
embodying the views thus expressed by Livingston who 
handed it to the returning hero who was, "received by all 
ranks with all possible distinction ; and daily gained in general 
esteem and affection, and was really ever serviceable to me in 
my application for additional assistance," wrote Frankliui 
March 4th, 1782. 

The Navy of the United States at the close of this year — 
1 78 1— consisted of but two vessels — The A //iance and the Deane. 
Writing from Boston 26th, April, 1782, to John Adams, William 
Vernon said : You have long since known that the American 

A Nauy of Two Ships 161 

Navy is reduced to Two Ships only, viz. The Alliance^ 
John Barry, Commander now in France, and the Deane, 
Samuel Nicholson, Commander that sailed on a Cruise about 
Seven Weeks past to the Southward, no intelligence from her 
since her departure. This low state of our Navy has caused 
the dissolution of the Admiralty and Navy Boards, by resolve 
of Congress on the 7th, Sept. last devolving the whole business 
of the Marine department upon the Hble Robert Morris Esq. 
until Agents shall be appointed for that purpose. All those 
Boards was immediately closed, except ours, which was con- 
tinued until the above ships (then in this harbor) were com- 
pleated for Sea, then to terminate and finally end with the 
delivery of all the remaining stores. Papers, Books &c. &c. 
in the possession of the Navy Board Eastern Dept. to the 
Order of the Supt. of Finances ; this requisition has been made 
by Mr. John Brown late Clerk to the Admiralty Board ap- 
pointed by Mr. M. to receive the same &c. [Pub. R. I. His. 
See. Jan. 1901. p. 273.] 

In the British Annual Register for 1781 is found this state- 
ment: "The total number of men raised for the navy — 1776 
to 1780 — was 170,928. Of these 1,243 were killed by the 
enemy, while 18,544 "died,** and 42,069 had deserted.*' %, 

Yet the American Navy reduced to two ships was at the 
time of the surrender of Comwallis under the command of 
Captain John Barry a County Wexford Catholic. The army 
of the United States was commanded by the illustrious 
Oeneral George Washington. 

162 At VOrient 



On January, i8th, 1782, the Alliance arrived at L'Orient. 

"Dispatches for Congress not being ready," says Kessler. 
*'we sailed on a cruise and returned in seventeen days with- 
out making any captures. On February 10, 1782, we left 
L' Orient on a short cruise, during which we chased inan> — ^ 
vessels and spoke with sixteen, which, however, appeared tocz^o 
be neutral vessels. On 27 February we returned to L'Orient,'"' '^ " 
making the seventeen days fruitless search. 

On Barry's return to L'Orient among the letters froii ^^ n 
America was this from Robert Morris : 

Philada., January 5, 1782. 
Dear Sir: 

I have written to Messr Le Content© & Co., Bankers iwtr n 
Paris for some Articles which are wanted for my famil y ^. 
Should any of them be Ready for Embarcation, whilst yoi — — u 
are at L'Orient and their Bulk such as to permit you ftakin ^^ag j 

them on board, without incommoding the Ship or yourself 

I should be glad of such a good Conveyance for them, but I 

do^not wish this on any other terms than its not incommodin^BBg 
the Ship in any degree whatever — I most sincerely wish yo^^u 
every success you can desire and am 

Your most obed & hble servt. 
(Copy) Robert Morris . 

John Barry Esqr 

Commanding the Frigate Alliance -—^-f 

in the Service of the United States. 
[Barry's Letter Book] 

Fifteen Knots 163 

While Barry was on the cruise Franklin, then at **Passy, 
iar [now in] Paris" sent orders to him to **go to Brest, where 
le goods were assembled and take what he could" ; but Barry 
id **gone on a cruise before my letter reached him," Franklin 
rote to Robert Morris on March 4, 1782. In this missive 
-anklin further said: "Relying on Captain Barry complying 
ith my orders to go to Brest, to take in what he could of our 
ods and sail with the convoy, which does not go till towards 
e end of the month, I delayed answering. I have just 
ceived a letter from him acquainting me with his return 
Din an unsuccessful cruise and his resolution to return to 
tnerica immediately after the return of the post. It seems 
; had not, when he wrote, received my letter directing him 
call at Brest." [Wharton's "Dip. Cor.," vol. V, p. 219.] 
To Robert Livingston Franklin, on March 9th, 1782, wrote 
at "having notice from Captain Barry last night, that he 
ill not go to Brest, as I expected, to take on some of our 
K>ds, but will sail immediately at the return of the post, 
[lich sets out to-day I am obliged to be short." [Spark's 
jrres. Rev. iii, p. 314.] 

We must again rely on Kessler, who says: "On March 
»th, 1782, we again left Le Orient for America. On the 
Lssage spoke several vessels, but none of the enemy. 
"May 10. Made Cape Henlopen, wind northward, but 
•uld not get into Delaware Bay. A very large ship [Chatham, 
.] with her tender being there, which gave us chase out again 
id appeared to gain on us, when by our running into the 
oal water (the tender keeping between us and the enemy 
id oft sounding) they gave over the chase, after which the 
ind coming from the southward, we run for and, on May 13, 
rived at New London." "When chased by the Chatham, 
le Alliance sailed fifteen knots an hour and run down the 
peedweUy the British sloop of war, which attempted to prevent 
IT escape." (Goldsborough's "Mil. and Nav. Chronicle," 

a. I.) 

This was then considered a remarkable speed and made 
lis incident one of traditionary interest among the veterans 
\ the old time wooden Navy. 

164 At Neiv London 

President Joseph Reed, of the Pennsylvania Supreme Coun- 
cil on May 23rd, 1782, wrote George Bryan; "The frigate Alli- 
ance is arrived at New London after an ineffectual attempt to 
get into our Capes; the Marquis [Lafayette] is not arrived in 

From New London Barry wrote two letters to his friend 
in Philadelphia, John Brown, Secretary of the Board of Admi- 
ralty. In the second occurs the declaration, '7 serve the 
country for nothing.** These letters are in the possession of 
Mr. Brown's descendants, residing at Carlisle, Pa., by whose 
permission Rev. Henry G. Ganss, Rector of St. Patrick's 
Church, in that town, supplied copies for this History. They 
are as follows: 

"New London, May 16: 1782. 
"Dear Sir: I have the pleasure to inform you of my safe 
arrival here after a tajous passage of 59 days I made an attempt 
to get to Phila. but the 10 Inst, was chased out of the cape - 
by a two decker and tender my Provisions being short I put^: 
away for this place and off New York was Chased by two^ 
frigats — I have some goods on board for you I wish you wouldM 
write me word what is to be done with them time will notiiJ 
premit me to write a long letter at present in short it is un — 
sartin whether this will find you in Phila. for I am told yoi^ 
was in Boston 10 days ago not aprize this trip hard luck indee<Er 
pray make my Compliments to all friends & believe me 

"Dear Brown to be your sincer^^ 
"friend & very humble servt 
"John Brown Esqr. "JOHN BARRY." 

"[Addressed] John Brown Esqr. 


New London, June 4: 1782 
"My Dear Brown: Your Waggon and Letter came t^ 
hand about fotu* hours ago immediately on its arrival I load 
it According to your instructions the wagon woidd not sto 
all your goods therefore their is a large Bale left behind an 
I took the Liberty to put a small trunk of mine in sooner tha 
not fill up the vacancy which you will please to deliver t 

> I 



/ Seive the Country for NotMng'' 165 

Mrs. Barry and will pay you [her portion?] of Waggon hire 
that may bee I think from the bulk of the Bale it cannot be 
Summer goods their fore it is not of so much conquen but I 
shall lave it in the hands of Mr. Mumford and take his receipt, 
who by the by I wood not trust him farther than I could see 
him. In short I never was in such a damb country in my life — 
Mr. Morris sent me orders by the express that your letter came 
by to Join the French Frigats at Road Island and be under 
his command Mr. Morris must be unacquainted with his rank 
or he must think me a drol kind of a fellow to be commanded 
by a Midshipman I can assure you I dont feel myself so low a 
Comm. as to brook to such orders however I dont see it will 
be in my power to sail this year of our lord as I have not one 
hundred men on board to do duty and since my arrival here I 
have not got but one man all tho I have had a rondevous open 
this fortnight I shall write Mr. M To morrow on the subjt I 
soppose he will be much offended I assure you all tho I serve 
the country for nothing I am determined that no Midshipman 
in anv service shall command me let him be a Chev. or what 
he will — You talk of seeing me in New London I should be 
be very glad to see you here but you may be assured you never 
was in so miserable a place in your life all the people here 
lives five miles from home not [a house have] I been in since 
my arrival but the Tavern & one Irishmans one of the wagon 
Horsus gave out on the road and I am oblige to advance Money 
to Michael Waldrom the amount is sixty dollars which you 
will please to pay Mrs. Barry & oblje your 

"Dear Brown 

"Your Humble sert 

c>V^^W /^i 

"John Brown Esqr." 

"P. S. the top of the wagon being but very indifferent I 
put a carpet in for Mrs. Barry " 

166 Timo, Geagan, Chaplain 

At this time the principal tavern or coffee house in New 
London was kept by Thomas Allen, an Irishman from the 
Island of Antigua, an Episcopalian. "His antipathy to the 
British was abnormal and he is remembered as one of those who 
took the Episcopalian Minister from his pulpit and thrust 
him out of doors for attempting to pray for King George. 
When the feast of the Apostle came around he marks [in his 
ship registry] against the date March 17th, St. Patrick's Day, 
[U. S. C. Hist. Mag. No. 7, p. 290.] 

The list of officers of the Alliance when at New London, 
Connecticut, read: 

John Barry, Captain; Hezekiah Welsh, Lieut.; Patrick 
Fletcher, Lieut.; Nicholas Gardner, Lieut.; Mathew Park, 
Captain of Marines; Thos. Elwood, Lieut. ; Wm. Morris, Lieut.; 
Jos. Buckley, Master; TIMO. GEAGAN, CHAPLAIN; John 
Lynn, Surgeon; Samuel Cooper, Purser; Philip McDevit, 
Masters Mate; Rich Cooper, Masters Mate; Josia Owens, 
Masters Mate; Geo. Gouday, Midshipman; John Karr, Mid- 
shipman; Rufus Hopkins, Midshipman; John Kessler, Mid- 
shipman; Joseph Eayres, Midshipman. 


This is the first instance of the record of a Chaplain on any 
of Barry's vessels. 

The name of this Chaplain is suggestive of an Irish Catholic 
priest but no clergyman of that name, either Catholic or non- 
Catholic, has been discovered. 

It is to be remarked that a Chaplain in those days, whether 
it was part of his official duties or not, was also a Schoolmaster, 
and gave instructions in the elementary branches of education. 
It is presumed on the strength of the title of the office and 
known examples during the Revolution, that Moral, if not 
positive. Religious instruction was given. Doubtless "Timo. 
Geagan's'* duties in the latter instance may have been limited 
to the reading on Sundays of moral discourses — a 
service a layman could discharge. Laymen are known to 
have been Chaplains on other vessels. 

Captain WUUam Austin 167 

The annexed letter from Robert Morris to Captain Hodge 
indicates another expedition under the command of Captain 

Marinb Office, 25 May, 1782. 

This Letter may probably be handed to you by Captain 
Barry of the Alliance. If so put yourself under his Orders, 
and obey them in all Respects. Communicate to him your 
Instructions nevertheless that he may judge how far Altera- 
tions in your Destination may become necessary. 

I am Sir 

Your most obedient Servt 

•RoBT. Morris" 
Captain Hodge of the Brig Active. 

On May 30 Captain Barry applied to Washington for the 
exchange of his Tory brother-in-law, William Austin, who 
ranked as a Captain and had been captured on board a mer- 
chant vessel from Trutollo bound for New York. This is the 
letter copied from the "Washington Papers," vol. 57, p. 12.: 

"New London May 30th, 1782. 

"Sir I have the pleasure to inform your Excellency that 
from the account brought in here, the French Fleet from 
France is by this time Arrived in Virginia, they having sailed 
upwards of two Months, & was Seen six Days ago off New 
York standing to the S. W. the Wind at N. E. — the above 
acct. we have by some Men landed on Block Island from on 
board an English Frigate that was Chac'd by them & escaped 
under Cover of the Night. — 

"The Commissary in this place, Mr. Shaw informs Me that 
no prisoners is Exchanged without your Excellency's orders 
I have one favor to ask of Your Excellency that is that you 
will Suffer a Captain by the Name of William Austin taken in a 
Mercht. Vessel from Trutollo bound to New York, to be Ex- 
changed or go in on Parole to send a Captain of Equal Rank 
out for him — he is an Old acquaintance of Mine, and a parti- 

168 Coming to PhilaMphia 

cular Friend — if your Excellency will pleas'd to grant the above 
favor I shall ever esteem it as a Mark of your Friendship for 

*'Sir Your Excellencys Most Obedt. 
'*& very humble Servant 

"John Barry/* 

All this time at New London the Alliance was being over- 
hauled and prepared for another cruise. 

Prize Agent Thomas Russell, writing to Capt. Barry from 
Bpston in relation to the payroll of the A //ia»c<?, expressed his 
happiness "to hear your ship is so well manned and ready for 
Sea. I wish you a successful cruise and think with you that 
this is the safest port to send your prizes." [Ms.] 

That day — May 30th — Dr. John Linn "on board the Alliance 
made return to Captain Barry of "the sick on the island and 
the complaints they labour under: He added: 

"It was your orders for me to pay more attention to the 
sick which implies I have neglected my duty towards the 
sick, the first time I was ever accused of the like and am con- 
scious within myself. If I have not done my duty it is not in 
my power to do more therefore I shall be happy to retire 
(and perhaps you may find a person that will suit you better) 
and leave my orders for the Navy Board with you. I will 
forward them to His Excellency Robert Morris Esq. by the 
first opportunity." 

Barry was evidently desirous of bringing the Alliance to 
Philadelphia if a pilot could be obtained but this was impossible, 
as this letter shows: 

Marine Office 6th June 1782. 

I have endeavored to get you a pilot for the Delaware but 
cannot. You must therefore do as well as you can without 
one. Congress has not yet decided on my appUcation with 
respect to the Mutineers and therefore as I cannot think of 
detaining your Officer any longer I must transmit the Resolu- 
tion whenever it shall be completed to Mr. Russell. 

I am Sir Your Most Obedt. Servant 
Captain Barry of the Alliance, RoBT Morris. 

Pnze Agents 169 

William Morris, Lieutenant of Marines on th^ Alliance, then 
at New London, on June 29th, 1782, wrote Barry that he 
intended to resign the service, as his private affairs at Phila- 
delphia required his attention, He added "I believe your 
friendship for the service of your country to be as great as that 
of any of its subjects/' [Barnes* Col.] 

On July 12 John Brown, the Secretary of the Board of Admi- 
ralty, sent to Captain Barry this list of agents to whom he was 
to address his prizes: Boston, Thomas Russell; Portsmouth, 
John Langdon; Rhode Island, George Olney; Connecticut, 
Thomas Mtunford; New York, New Jersey, Maryland and 
Virginia, To order of Agent of Marine ; North Carolina, Nathan 
Allen, Edenton; South Carolina, George Abbott Hale; Georgia, 
John Wereak; France, To order of Thomas Barclay, Consul 
General; Holland, To order of His Excellency John Adams; 
Martinico, Mons. Diant Munti ; Cape Francois, Step, and Ange 
Ceronio; Curacao, Governor Hill; Havannah, Robert Smith; 
New Orleans, Oliver Pollock. (Original of list in collection 
of the late Charles Roberts.) 

James Nicholson wrote from Middletown, Conn., to Barry, 
in New London, saying: "Your large boat will be finished by 
the last of this week. The other will be immediately set up 
and forwarded with all expedition. I wish you would send 
me before I go to Philadelphia ^80 or £go to discharge your 
debts. It would enable me to continue the men at present 
employed on the ship until I return." (Collection of the 
late Charles Roberts.) 

Congress having appointed a committee, consisting of 
Messrs. Lee, Ramsay and I^well, to "examine Captain Barry 
touching the loss of the ship La Fayette,'' he came to Phila- 
delphia and gave his testimony. 

On July 1 5th, the Committee submitted a report, which may 
be found in The Papers of Congress No. 19, Vol. i, p. 225, in 
the State Department at Washington. The Committee say 
^'having called Captain Barry before us he gave the Committee 
the following imformation. "Then follows an exact relation 
as given in the Attested Copy of Captain Barry, sent from 
New London August ist, in response to the vote of Congress on 

170 The Loss of the Lafayette 

July 15th, "that the Secretary transmit a copy of the report to 
Captain Barry to be compared with the log-book of the Alliance 
corrected, if there should be any mistakes, and signed and 
sworn to by him, and returned to Congress together with Cap- 
tain Robinson's Letter referred to in his information." 
The papers which Captain Barry, in response to the orders of 
Congress, sent to the Committee in answer to its request, are 
as follows, as preserved in the ** Washington Papers," vol. 
IV, pp. 321 ei seq.: 

"N' London Augt. i. 1782 
"Sir: Inclos'd is an attested Copy of the Circumstances 
Relative to the Marquis La Fayette taken from the Logg 
Book of the Frigate Alliance togather with a Copy of what 
I related to a Committee of Congress when in Phila. last. You 
have here with a Copy of Capt. Robesons Letter to Me, the 
Original I have Sent on to His Excellency the President of 
Congress As well As a Copy of the Inclos'd Minutes taken from 
the Alliance Logg Book — I cannot find that I have erred in 
My Relation to the Committee of Congress in any one Cir- 
cumstance. The Word old Gun Barrels Must have been added, 
as I never heard whither they were Old or New. therefore 
Could Not tell, & Topmast Stay sail in Stead of Topsail, the 
Latter must have been a Mistake in Copying — I shall send a 
Duplicate of those papers by the Next post after this, which I 

hope will Come Safe to hand, & give Satisfaction 

"I Remain 
"Sir — 

"Your Most Obedt. [Endowed] No. IM 

letter from Capt. John Bany 
' 'humble Servt. to the secretary of Congirss 

"John Barry" ^ugu^t m. i782 

-L ^ rec'd Aug. 27 

"Charles Thompson Esqr. 
"Secret. y of Congress" 

"An Attested Copy of what I related to the 
Committee of Congress in Philadelphia 

"That on My Arrival at L'Orient in France about the 71 
of March 1781, having orders, to take in Any publick Stof*^ 
or Convoy Any Ships Containing Such Stores for the Unite<^ 

The Loss of the Lafayette 171 

states, I enquired of Mr. Moylan the Agent there whither 
:here were any public Goods for Me to Carry & was answered 
:here was not, for that a Ship was chartered by Mr. Williams 
or that purpose Col. Laurens & Myself examined some bales 
>f the Clothing. & thought the Cloth Good,— but did not un- 
>ack Any of them, so as to Judge of the Size of the uniforms I 
idvised the Captain of the La Fayette to go Immediately to 
Brest. & sail with the Convoy then going from that Port, but 
nstead of doing this, he Sent his Seaman to other Ships, & 
'emained in Port. I thought the Capt. shewed Constantly 
I Reluctance in preparing to Sail & when I got him under 
ny Convoy which was towards the last of March 1781 he 
ippeared very unwilling to Make Sail. — After having been 
ibout three weeks at Sea — in a Gale of Wind, & during a 
quawl which Split the Fore Sail & Fore Top mast Stay sail 
)f the Alliance so that she could not put before the Wind, 
he La Fayette Disappear'd. — When the Squawl Commenced 
he was within hailing Distance of the Alliance. 

**Capt. Robeson of South Carolina, who was then on board 
he La Fayette has informed Me by Letter, that in the thickest 
>f the Squawl the Capt. of the La Fayette put his Ship before 
he Wind and Sailed Away — tho he Capt. Robeson remon- 
trated with him that the Alliance Could not Steer that Course, 
fe that he Must inevitably loose his Convoy — this was directly 
Contrary to his proper Course. I gave the Capt. of the La 
^ayette Signals both of Colours & Guns, but he went off without 
taking Any Signal — so that tho I cruised tor him two Days 
[ could not fall in with him — 

"The La Fayette was an Indiaman exceedingly old, but 
►ailed very Well; she Carried Twenty-six Eighteen pounders 
>B one Deck, & Twelve or Fourteen Six pounders on her 
^ore Castle & quarter Deck — with about two hundred Men. 

"Mr. Williams Inform'd me that he Charterd this Ship 
^ Mr. de Chaumont at Doctr. Franklins Table for Ten Guineas 
^- Ton Measurement, that there was no Charter party but a 
^rbal agreement that she should be ready by Octo. 1 780. The 
^^ght for about Eleven hundred Tons measurement, was 
^id by Mr. Williams in Bills on Doctr. Franklin before the 

172 The Log of the Alliance 

Capt. Sign'd the Bills of Loading which were to Land the 
Cargo in any part of America — From a Calculation Made by 
Mr. Williams and Myself, the public Stores shipped in the 
La Fayette, amounted to about Four hundred & fifty Tons— 
I was Inform'd by Mr. Williams & Mr. Moylan that what was 
shipped on the public Account was. One hundred Tons of 
Salt petre, Twenty-six Iron Eighteen pounders — Fifteen 
Thousand Gun barrels, some soal & harness Leather, Uniforms 
for Ten Thousand Men, & Cloth for five or Six Thousand, yet 
the Ship Appeared to be very Deeply Laden. 

t>V^X7^ /^i 

"New London Augt. 2. 1782 

''State of Connecticut Ss County of New London 2d. Augt. 

"Then personally appeared John Barr>' Esquire Comr. 

of the Contl. Frigate Alliance & made solemn Oath to the 

truth of the above deposition by him Subscribed. 

"Before me 

"Joshua Coit Justice of Peace." 

"New London 24 July 1782. 

"Sir: I have the honor to transmit to your Excellency 
the proceedings taken from the Logg Book of the Frigate 
Alliance relative to the Marquis La Fayette, a Ship Loaded 
with Continental Stores and under the Convoy of the Frigate 

"Port Louis 28th March 1781, hoisted a Red & White Pendant 
at the Mizen Peek, as a Signal for the Marquis La Fayette to 
get under sail — the Marquis did not Comply with the Signal, 
but remained at her Moorings — the 29th made a Signal for the 
Marquis to get under way. She still Continued at her Moorings 
— the 30th hoisted a Red & White Pendant at the Mizen Peek 
as a Signal for the Marquis to get under way — Capt. Barry & 
the Pilot went on board the Marquis in the Alliance* s pinnace 
to know the Reason the Capt. did not Comply with the Signal — 
Soon after Capt. Barry & his Pilot got on board the Marquis, 

The Loss of th$ Lafay^e 173 

She got under Sail.— Shortly after Capt. Barry & the Pilot 
Came on board the Alliance, we Slipped our Moorings & 
proceeded to Sea in Company with the Marquis — April 3d 
Fell in with two Privateers, gave each of them a Broad Side, 
one of them Struck, the other Run, the Marquis at that time 
some Distance to Leeward — hove out a Signal for her to take 
Charge of the Privateer that had struck, for while we went in 
Chace of the other, which we shortly after took — April 25th. 
Blowing Very hard Gale — at half past 6 A. M. Came on a 
Very hard Squall, Split our Foresail, & Fore Top Mast Stay- 
sail the Marquis then in Sight. — At half past 8. lost sight of 
the Marquis. — Soon afterwards bent a New Fore Sail, & Fore 
Topmast Staysail — the 26th the Marquis not in sight, as soon 
as night Came on, shew'd false fires every hour — the 26 & 27th 
Cruiz'd about in order to find the Marquis, but all to no pur- 
pose. — 

**Your Excellency will have here Inclos'd a Copy of a Letter 
from Capt. Wm. Robeson, the original being already forwarded. 
**I have the honor to be 
**with Proper Respect 
"Your Excellency's 
"Most obed't 

"Hum'l Servt. 
"His Excellency "John Barry." 

the President of Congress" Public service. 

[Addressed] His Excellency The President of Congress 

[Endorsed] Letter No. 153 July 1782. Philadelphia. 

Capt. John Barry relative to conduct of Capt. Gallathieu of 

Marquis La Fayette, Read Aug 5. 1782. 

"State of Connecticut Ss 

•*New London Coimty 

"2d August 1782. There personally appeared John Barry 

Esqr. Com'r of the Cont'l Frigate Alliance and made solemn 

oath to the truth of the Relation contained in the above. 

Letter by him subscribed Before me 

"Joshua Coit 

''Justice of Peace'' 

174 The Loss of the Lafayette 

In "The Papers of Congress,'* No. 78, (vol. IV, p. 307), 
we find a duplicate of this report, with the addition: "Capt. 
William Robeson, late of the State of South Carolina, who 
was a passenger on board the Marquis^ and which convinces 
me that the Captain of the Marquis left the Alliance on purpose.' 
A copy of Capt. Robeson's letter is appended : 

"Nantes 22nd Jany. 1782 
**Dr. Sir: I very sincerely Congratulate you on the Re- 
covery of your Wound, & your Safe Arrival again at L*Orient 
— I have been fated & decree'd otherways — I thought my 
Prospect in getting home pointed in the Marquis in Company 
with you very soon, until the fatal morning of our Seperation — 
that was the fault of Capt. Gallatheau by bearing away Con- 
trary to ever>' argument I could use. Nevertheless a Good & 
a brave Man — Five Days after our parting we fell in with a 
Jamaica fleet, & after three hours Close & hard fighting, we 
were oblig'd to Surrender to Ver>' Superior force — The Marquis 
Reduc'd to a perfect hulk & afterwards tow'd thirteen Days 
by the Suffolk of 74. — I shall give you further particulars of 
this unfortunate event, when I have the pleasure of Seeing you. 
"I am now about to make the other essay — pray when do 
you Sail and whether on a Cruize, or Return immediately, 
if the Question is fair, be pleas'd to Inform me, & at the same 
time pray tell me what you did with my Trunk, it was directed 
to my then Brother Andrew Robeson at Philadelphia, who 
I have been unfortunate to loose — I will not trouble you with a 
Long Letter, as I do Suppose according to Custome, you have 
more Important Concerns to Occupy your mind — I will thank 
yeu to be so friendly as to drop a Line to the Care of Mr. 
Williams here, & you will Confer an Obligation on one who 
is truly & sincerely 

"Dr Sir— 
"Your Most Obed't Servt. 
(Copy) (Signed) "Wm. Robeson" 

"Attested — John Barry. 

"State of Connecticut Ss New London County. 

"New London 2d August 1782 — Then personally appeared 

Contribution to St Mary's 175 

John Barry Esqr. Commander of the Continental frigate 
Alliance and made solemn oath to the truth of the Relation 
contained in the above Letter by him subscribed. 
** Before me Joshua Coit Justice of Peace'' 

On July 24th, 1782, Commodore Barry wrote to Mrs. Barry 
from New London that he had sent in the wagon "a wash 
kettle full of claret." He advised her "not to stay so much 
.at home" that "it was clever to visit ones friends now and 
then; besides it was helpful to good health." [Ms.] 

While Captain Barry was home in July is probably the 
time he contributed ^£37.10 to the fund for the improvement 
of St. Mary's Church, in which he held pew no. 34 north aisle. 
At that time the Church had but four rows of pews and no 
middle aisle as of recent years. His subscription was the 
third highest. 

176 Cruise of the AlUanee 



Again let Mate Kessler tell of the Alliance under Captain 

"August 4, 1782. Left New London on a cruise at 4 A. M. 
and at 7 o'clock A. M. retook and sent into New London a 
brig (loaded with lumber and fish) which had been cut out of 
Rhode Island by the enemy. 

In his Ms. Autobiography Kessler mentions this cruise as 
"first to the island of Bermudas, afterward Eastward to the 
Banks of Newfoundland." 

"August 9th. Took a schooner bound from Bermudas for 
Halifax with a cargo of molasses, sugar and lime, and sent her 
to Boston. 

"August 19th. Made the Bermudas islands, and after 
decoying a pilot on board and chasing several vessels, among 
which was the Experiment, privateer of 18 guns, which, how- 
ever, got into St. George's harbor. 

"August 23. Captain Barry sent the boat on shore with the 
captain and owner of the Bermudas schooner (taken on the 
9th of August), and for them to inform the Governor that 
unless all the Americans which they had prisoners were sent 
on board the Alliance, he would remain three weeks to hinder 
any vessel from going in or coming out, and which he could 
now effectually do, as their whole force was not sufficient to 
cope with the Alliance.*' 

This schooner was the Polly commanded by Samuel Tufts 
who that day, August 23d, signed a parole as a prisoner of 
war promising on his honor to effect an exchange of American 
prisoners immediately on landing. This parole is in possession 
of Capt. John S. Barnes, of New York. 

Cmiss of the AlUance 177 

Kcsslcr's narrative continues. 

**August 25. A small sloop was coming out of St. George's 
lia.Tbor, which was supposed to be coming with the prisoners, 
l>ixt unfortunately for them we were then in chase of and 
coining up with the Hawk privateer and her prize. The prize 
? took, but the privateer escaped, and other vessels heaving 
sight, we continued chasing daily until 30th August, when 
? spoke a brig from Guadeloupe bound for Rhode Island, 
i^lio gave information of the sailing of a large fleet from Ja- 
maica, which we might overhaul and which Captain Barry 
immediately concluded to attempt by running Northeastward 
^Bv^thout again making Bermudas (we then being in Lat. 35.35)." 
This prize was the sloop Fortune in command of Periont 
Trott as prize master On August 26th, he signed a parole 
promising on landing at Bermudas to effect not only an ex- 
cliange for himself but "an equal number of Americans for 
the English prisoners now on the Alliance.*' 

There were seven English prisoners. Kesseler's recital 
further informs us: 

**Sept. 8. Spoke a Nantucket brig from a whaling cruise, 
which we took on account of their having Admiral Digby's 
protection and permission to bring their oil to New York. 

"Sept. 10. Sounded in 40 fathoms water on Newfoundland 

**Sept. 18. Took a brig, one of the Jamaica fleet, and sent 
^"^r Boston; from her we learned that the Ramtlie, 74, one of 
^he convoy, foundered in a gale, and that the fleet was scattered. 

ICessler relates: 

**Sept. 24, took two ships; Sept. 27, took a large snow, and 
^^^l>t. 28, took a dismasted ship and all of said fleet and ordered 
th^m to Le Orient, where with our prizes we arrived on October 
^7tJi and the prisoners sent on shore except such as had entered. 
Th^y went with much reluctance. They having families at 
G^lasgow, where they chiefly belonged, was the only reason 
to^ not all the privates remaining with us. The separation 
^^ more like the separation of old friends than that of indivi- 

178 Captures Eight Prizts 

duals of nations at war. That their treatment on board was 
good, a statement of the manner will show. 

**As usual with Captain Barry, such part of the Captains as 
could be conveniently accommodated were with him in the 
cabin, the remainder found themselves welcome in the ward- 
robe. The mates were received by the petty officers and the 
privates between decks amongst those of the Alliance, enjoying 
fare alike. No confinement, no abridgment of food nor any 
labor required of them. Amongst the prisoners were several 
officers of the 74 (which had foundered). The difference 
between the usual treatment given by British commanders 
to American officers (although of public vessels) and the 
treatment which they and the officers and crew of private 
vessels received from Captain Barry made them blush for 
their countrv. 

"We captured three ships, one snow, two brigs, one schooner, 
and one sloop, all merchant vessels, variously loaded, with 
four of which we arrived at Le Orient. I was prize master 
of one of the four (I must here observe that through the friend- 
ship of Captain Barry I had been some time preferred to the 
station of a rated midshipman, and now commenced acting 
as a master's mate). 

"Our prizes were put into the hands of an agent.*' 

On Sept. 2oth, Capt. Barry issued to his prize convoys 
these Private Signals. : 

In case of seperating & meet again, I will hoiste a Chequered 
Flagg at Main Top Gallt. Masthead & a French Flagg at 
Mizen Peek. You will hoiste an English Ensign at Main 
Top Gallt. Masthead — if I am to windward, I will haul up 
Courses & haul down the Flagg at Mizen peek, but if to Leeward, 
will Clue the Main Topsail up & haul down the Flagg at Main 
Top Gallt. Masthead. You will then haul your Flagg down. 

(Signed) John Barry. 

(Endorsed:) John Barry, Esq., 

Septr. 20, 1782. 

[Ms. Pension office, Washington.] 

In France with Four Prizes 179 

On Sept. 28, Capt. Barry issued this order to the Masters 
of the prize vessels. 

At Sea On Board the Alliance, 28 Sept. 1782. 

You will take Care to keep in Sight of the Alliance & at all 
times make all the sail you Can. Should you be separated 
from us, or I should heave out a Signal for you to make the 
best of your way, in that Case you will make the best of your 
Way for L'Orient, & on your arrival you will deliver Vessel & 
Cargo to Mr. Thomas Barclay, Consul Genl., as I shall send the 
papers on board your Vessel. 

In Case of falling in with any of ye fleet. Personate the 

Captn. & go by your Papers, taking Care to keep these Orders 

& my Signals private. 

Yrs. &c. 

(Signed) John Barry. 
Mr. John Kessler. 

(Endorsed:) Prize Masters Orders 

from Captn. Barry 

Septr. 1782. 

Ms. Pension office, Washington.] 

The United States Agent. Thomas Barclay to Mr. Dumas : 

L'Orient, 17th Oct. 1782. 

Capt. Barry in the Frigate Alliance is arrived at Groy about 

? miles from here with four Prize Vessels form Jamaica 

*.ded with Rum and Sugar, his American letters are not yet 

ue up but I hope by next post to write Mr. Adams some 

^s from America, notwithstanding my calling twice at Paris, 

^eable to the directions he gave me. [Papers of Congress. 

loi, p. 278, State Dept.] 
he next day, October i8th, Capt. Barry wrote home an 
unt of his voyage. It was published in The Pennsylvania 
et of December 17th, 1782, as 

xtract of a letter from John Barry, esquire, commander 
United States Frigate Alliance, dated L'Orient, October 

180 Berry's Account of His Cruise 

'*A few hours after I sailed from New London, I retook a 
brigantine and set her in there; proceeded as fast as possible 
off Bermudas; on my way I took a schooner from that place 
for Halifax ; after cruising off there for twelve or fifteen days, 
I retook a sloop from New London and sent her for Cape Francois, 
finding the prizes I had taken of little value either to myself or 
country, and in all likelihood should be obliged to return into 
port soon for want of men, was determined to alter my cruising 
ground. I therefore thought it best to run off the banks of 
Newfoundland. On my way thither I fell in with a whaling 
brigantine with a pass from Admiral Digby; I man'd her and 
sent her for Boston. A few days after off the banks of New- 
foundland, I took a brigantine from Jamaica botmd to London, 
loaded with sugar and rum, and sent her for Boston; by this 
vessel I found the Jamaica fleet were to the eastward of us; 
I then carried a press of sail for four days, the fifth day I 
took two ships that had parted from the fleet, after manning 
them, and fresh gale westwardly, I thought best to order them 
for France ; a day or two after I took a snow and a ship belong- 
ing to the same fleet. Being short of water, and a number of 
prisoners on board, the westwardly winds, still blowing fresh 
and in expectation of falling in with some more of them, I 
thought it best to proceed to France, with a determined view 
to get those (I had already taken) in safe, and after landing 
the prisoners, to put out immediately ; but meeting with blow- 
ing weather and a high Sea, I lost the sails of the head and 
was in great danger of losing the head, which accident obliged 
me to put in here, where I arrived yesterday with the above 
four prizes, after repairing the damages and getting what the 
ship may want, I shall put to Sea on a cruise. I have likewise 
to inform you that the Ramilies, Admiral Graves's ship, found- 
ered, but all the crew saved, several of which were on the 
prizes I took. We have likewise an account that another 
ship of the line was lost and the crew saved, the merchants 
ships suffered verymuch, there are a few vessels of the same 
fleet in here, taking American Cruisers belonging to Salem, There 
are about 1200 hogshead of sugar and 400 hogshead of rum 
in the four prizes besides some coffee and logwood. 

Value of Four Prizes 181 

The prizes taken on this cruise were the Anna, Britannia* 
Kingston and Commerce. They were sold at public auction 
in the presence of the Judges of the Admiralty and King's 
Attorney in virtue of the condemnation of Benjamin Franklin. 
Plenipotentary of the United States at Paris, April 15th, 1783. 
The account, signed by Thomas Barclay, Naval Agent, shows : 

The Kingston brought £144 446 15 . 1 1 

The Commerce brought £198 597 7 . 7 

The Brittania brought £^:^ 087 9 . i 

The Anna brought ^136 488 


The account of prize money advanced to the officers and 
men of the Alliance for the Britannia, Anna, Kingston and 
Commerce amounted to ; [Ms.\ 

So the Rum and Sugar and Coffee and Logwood were pro- 
fitable if not enjoyable combinations to the officers and crew 
of the Alliance. One half of all prizes was the share of the 
Government. The other half was the portion of officers and 
crew of the captor. A Captain was entitled to six shares. 

On the snow Commerce a mutiny was contemplated, if not 
attempted. This appears from the signed testimony given "Oc- 
tober 3d, 1782, on board the Alliance'' that *' voluntarily ap- 
peared before me and made oath on the Evangelists of Almighty 
God, that Robert Cane, Denis Dohorty, Francis Courteal and 
Manuel Jack, seamen belonging to the Alliance purposed to 
the subscribers to take the snow Commerce, prize to the said 
Alliance and carry her into Ireland and that we have been on 
^eck for several hours together without any of the people 
longing to the Alliafice. 

•t^itness, Matthew W. Aron, 

(three) his 

"^^mnes illegible. William X Tees, 


John Barry, 

Com. of Frigate Alliance, 
^"^mes 943.] 

182 Dr, James Geagan 

On October 3d. Dr. James Geagan, Surgeon of the Alliance, 
addressed the following Communcation to Capt. Barry. 

On board the Alliance Oct. 3rd, 1782. 
Capt. "Jno" Barry:— 


As a Surgeon in the Navy & appointed through your means 

to this Ship I shall punctually perform whatever orders may 

come to me from you, or by your directions. But as I totally 

disaprouve of administering medicines to any set of men deprived 

of the most essential means of their taken effect, I beg you 

would take into your consideration if it would be advisable 

in me, or to your credit as {appointing me) to send you in a 

list, or even to inquire about a sett of distressed men whose 

only remedy can be, by numbering them on a sick List. Your 

orders shall be obey'd with as much punctuallity as is possible. 

Jas. Geagan. 
Superscribed on the back as follows: — 

Capt. Jn. Barry 
Also, below this and written in the opposite direction: 

DocTR. Jas. Geagan 
3 Octo 1782 
[Collection of Mr. Charles Roberts.] 

Was Dr. James Geagan, a brother of Chaplain Timo. Geagan 
of The Alliance} 
. He was given furlough to visit relatives at Bordeaux and, 
as we shall see, applied to Captain Barry for an extension. 

Captain Henry Johnson, at Bordeaux, on October 26, 1782, 
wrote to Captain Barry, addressing him as "my dear friend*': 
**With pleasure I hear of your arrival and the success you 
have met with. May you continue to be fortunate. I am 
caulking my ship, fitting her rigging, but for what or who 
I cannot say, as I imagine she will be hauled up and every- 
one discharged. We have not capital enough to fit her. If 
so I shall be along to the North and Nantes or L'Orient. If 
nothing offers that I like, I shall make the best of my way Xm 
America, perhaps beg a passage of you — I hope you left yoor 
agreeable little woman well.** (Collection of the late Charles 

Captain Barry's Letter Book 183 








The documents to follow are copied from Captain Barry's 
LrCtter Book from October 9th, 1782 to April 19th, 1783, 
60 pages. It was purchased by the Library of Congress at 
the sale of Commodore Barry's papers, June 14th, 15th, 1901, 
by Davis & Harvey, Philadelphia. These letters greatly 
aid in the telling of the career of Capt. Barry : 

Bordeaux Oct 9. 1782 
Dr vSir 

Notwithstanding ev'ry endeavour to gain this place in 

due Season, I only arrived here yesterday. You will not be 

Surprised at the Occasion of the Delay when I assure you 

that neither pay nor prayers could procure horses between 

this and Rochelle on acct of the Count de Artois return to 

Paris, they having been all (except a few decrepate ones) 

been ordered to meet him. The pleasure and satisfaction I've 

rec'd since my arrival in this place, can only be Conceiv'd 

by those that have been a long time absent from their Dearest 

friends You that have got such, and whose absence from 

them is longer than mine can easily conceive how difficult 

it is to part in a few Hours. I beg I may be indulged a few 

Days from the Limited time if possible. I do not expect to 

exceed it by more than four. My sisters and Brothers join 

me in wishing you ev'ry prosperity. 

I remain 

Capt. Barry Your very sincere friend 

L'Orient (Signed) Jas. Geagan. 

184 Barry to Lafayette 

L'Orient 31 Oct. 1782 

I had the Honor to write you a few Days past, wherein was a 
request that I fear will be of too much trouble to you, however 
as it is of material Consequence to me to know if it is likely 
we shall soon have peace or not, I therefore flatter myself 
from a former Desire to serve me you will indulge me in this 
and Believe me I shall ever hold it one of the greatest favors 
confer'd on 


Your Most Obedt 
Hum* Servt 

(Signed) John Barry. 
His Excelly Marquis La Fayette 

a Paris 

L'Orient 31 Octr 1782 

Having nothing to Communicate to your Excellency of any 
Consequence but my arrival here and that Mr. Barclay promised 
me he would announce, I therefore thought it would be only 
troubling your Excelly to write, as I was at that time in Ex- 
pectations of being to Sea before an Answer Could Come from 
Paris, some Necessaries being wanting to the Ship has detained 
her longer than I expected, Lieut. Barney of the Continental 
Ship Genl Washington being just arrived. & who informs me 
he is immediately under your Excellency's Particular Orders 
as She was built on purpose for a Cruizer, and of course will 
Carry but Little Goods, She will be of Little or no Service on 
that Head. If you mean her to go on a Cruize, I think you 
would render great Service to the United States to order her 
out with the Alliance who will sail in about Ten Days. 

I have the Honor to be 
Your Excellencys 
most obt 

hum^ Sert '. 

(Signed) John Barry. 
His Excellency 

Benjn Franklin Esqr. 

Coftam Henry Johnson 185 

Bordeaux i Nov. 1782 
Dear Friend 

With pleasure I broke your seal of 21 Inst. I assure you no 
Man feels for your success more than I do. It was with heart- 
felt pleasure I heard the news. I have heard from Boston 
since you left it. Am still under Obligations to you for the 
pains you have taken to commtmicate to me the Situation 
of our Family in Boston. I am as you say in some Difficulty 
respecting my Ship. I have been waiting an answer from Mr. 
Barclay to a letter wrote him by Messrs. Paul Narie (?) & Son, 
as also an answer to a letter I wrote Mr. Moylan on another 
subject which he has not answered as I expected. Without 
doubt he has his reasons for it. I am sorry, as I could have 
brought with me 50 or 60 Men and good ones. I shall next 
Monday begin to Discharge the Ship, we shall all be paid off 
and sent about our business. I shall endeavor to buy a part 
of some small vessel to get me home. I cannot get my affairs 
done time enough to get to L'Orient to go with you. Am 
sorry, as I could bring you I fancy two or three Volunteers 
with me who would please you for Officers. It will take me 
ten days or more to take a proper Acct of everything belonging 
to the Ship, pay my men off and settle evry' account. The 
Ships Rigging is all compleatly fitted except her lower shrouds, 
her Gun Tackle, &c,. all overhauled that will answer for some 
one else. I was in hopes to have procured a freight for her to 
Baltimore or Philadelphia, as I imagine if She arrived there 
Mr. Morris would have bo't her for Gouverment, as She is a 
stout firm Ship and will last a long time. I Imagine She 

would cost for Sea Copper Sheathed about Thirteen Thousand 
pounds Sterling from the price the owners sett upon her which 
was 200,000 livres. 

Monsieur Beaumarchais is here now. He has bought the 
Tantarque 64 Gim Ship which lays in Providence River. If 
I do not hear from Mr. Moylan in-«-f€w Days, I shall talk with 
him on the subject of going to America and Repairing her 
for him and get her for Sea by August next to go to Virginia 
to take a Load of Tobacco. 

I am Dear Barry 
J NO Barry esqr Yours Sincerely 

L'Orient (Signed) Henry Johnson. 

186 Barry to Lafayette 

L'Orient Octr 26 1782 

I had the Honor to receive yours of Yesterday dated re- 
specting a German who enter'd with me. He speaks French 
and may attempt to pass for a Frenchman. You may be 
assured if so, he deceives you. When in this place last, I 
delivered the Frenchman I had on board to the Commandant, 
even at that time he protested he was a German. Therefore 
for leaving my Ship without orders, he has broke his contract, 
and I do not think I am bound to pay him either wages or 
prize money. 

I have the Honor to be 
Sir, your most Obedt 
Capt Pluviner (?) hum* Servt 

of the Ship (Signed) John Barry. 

L'Orient 28 Octr 1782. 

Permit me to acquaint your Lordship of my arrival in France 

after a successful Cruize wherein I took prizes, four of which 

I brought in here, the other four I sent to America. A few 

Days before I sailed I had the pleasure of seeing his Excellency 

General Washington, who inquired very particular about 

your health. I am sorry to give you Trouble, but it would 

lay me under particular obligations if you have any thing new 

at Court, or any Expectations of Peace soon, you would lett 

me know it as I sail in Ten Days on a Cruize, and perhaps may 

soon go to America. Be pleased to make my best Respects 

to Count de Noailles & believe me Sir 

To be your most Obedt 

and Very hum* Servt 

Marquis de la Fayette (Signed) John Barry. 

L'Orient Nov. 17th. 1782 

When I had the pleasure to receive your obliging Letter^ 

I was very much Indisposed with a fever which has confined 

me to my chamber this Ten Days. I am now Sir jest able 

Barry to Lafayette 178 

to write you a few Lines to thank you for the Information 
you was pleased to give me. As for my Going to Paris this 
time it is out of my power, as the Ship is ready to sail, only 
waiting for my Recovery, which I hope a few days to be able 
to go on board. You say you are going to America. I envy 
the Captn who is to take you. I wish I was in his place, but 
altho I am deprived of that Happiness at present, I hope to 
have the pleasure to command the Ship that conveys you to 
your Native Country — and then Sir I will certainly pay a 
Visit to Paris — and I hope to have the Honor of seeing Lady 
Fayette, who I have not the pleasure to have ever seen. It 
was my Brother that had that Honor in Bordeaux, who is 
since lost at Sea. Be pleased Sir to make my best Respects 
to Lady Fayette & Count de Noailles & belieye me to be Sir 

Your Obed. & Very hum* Servt 
Marquis de la Fayette (Signed) John Barry. 

On Board the Alliance 17 Nov. 1782 

We do by these presents appoint you as agent for us with 

full power to take into your possession our parts of prizes, 

property taken by the Alliance and brot to this port and to 

appear for us & in our behalf in any cause or causes for the 

Recovery of the same, the money arising from the sale thereof 

to be disposed of as each of us will direct. We would wish you 

to signify to us if it is agreeable to you to expect it. 

We are Sir with Respect & friend^ 

JNO Barry Esqr John Buckley P. Fletcher 

Hugh Smith N. Gardner 

Saml Cooper M. Parke 

Jas Geagan Thos Elwood 

L'Orient Nov. 18. 1782 
Gentlemen — 

I received yours this morning & note the Contents, as for 

being your Agent I except of it, but at the same time should 

be glad to know how much money each of you may want here, 

188 Officers Demand Wages 

and what you intend to do with the other part. Should be 
^d to know Immediately, as I am Determined to sail this 
Week if Wind and Weather Permitt 
To THE OFFICERS ON BOARD I remain Yoiu^ &c 

THE Alliance (Signed) J. Barry 

P. S. Mr. Gardner 

You will send all the OfBcers 

on shore to get the Remainder of their 

Stores and Sign their Indents — 

On board the Frigate Alliance, 

L'Orient Novemr i8 1782 

We address you on a subject that we look upon Just and 
equitable and we have no Reason to believe but that you 
look upon it the same. You are sensible that we have served 
a long while in the Ship and have rec'd but very little pay, 
while we have been informed that Officers serving at the same 
time in a Different Ship have rec'd considerable Compensation. 
Be that as it may we look upon it that we have a very Great 
Right to expect our wages from the Assurances of Mr. Morris 
that it was only a Want of Money which prevented him from 
paying us, and his further assurances that we should be paid 
when there was money to do it, and that property taken by 
Continental Ships should be appropriated to that use, added 
to your word that if we went into any port where there was 
money to be had, we should be paid, we are Emboldened to 
ask for it as we have brought in so considerable a property for 
the Continent. We are very sensible it is very difficult to 
raise money here, we will therefore be satisfied to receive 
notes on the Consul! — them being excepted by him to be 
paid to our order in three, four or five months. We make no 
doubt that we can get credit here on them and would be very 
happy to have an answer from you 

We are with Respect & Friendship, 

John Barry Esqr. Saml Cooper P. Fletcher 

Jas Geagan M. Parke 

Thos Elwood 
NicHS Gardner 
John Buckley 

lUmss of Captain Barry 189 

L'Orient Nov. i8 1782 
Dbar Frisnd 

When I had the pleasure to receive your favor of ist 
Inst. I was confined to my Bed with a Billions fever which 
lasted without Intermission for Five Days — I have been in a 
great measure confined to my chamber for Fifteen Days, 
but I am now thank God jist able to scrawl over a few lines 
to you to thank you for your kind wishes for my success. The 
Ship is now ready for Sea, only waiting for my getting strength 
to go on board and proceed on a Cruize. I am very sorry 
Mr. Roberts did not come, if your ship is to be laid up I think 
it would have been better for him. Old Welsh is quite superan- 
nuated in short has no more command on board than one of the 
smallest Boys on the Ship. I intend to leave him here to 
take charge of the prizes, & then lett him get a Passage to 
Boston — in short I always pittied him, having a large Family 
and nothing to support them, was determined to put up with 
him until he could get something handsome here. Now he 
will receive something handsome here, he may carry it home 
with him & do as well for himself as he can — for he is not fit 
for a Ship of War. 

With respect to your Ship, I think you had better take Mr. 
Barclay's offer, and on your arrival in America She may be 
bought for the public and then you will be in your proper 
Line — as for going home with me, I can only say if it had 
happened so, you should be as welcome to everything I had 
on board as myself — My compliments to J. Jones and all 
friends, and believe me Dr Friend to be 

Your affectionate Friend 
Capv. Johnston & Very hum* Servt 

Bordeaux (Signed) J. Barry. 

L'Orient Nov. 18. 1782. 
Dear Sir. — 

When yours of 30 Ultimo came to hand, I was flat on my 

back with a billions fever, which lasted without intermission 

for five Days, and in a Great Measure confined [me] to my 

Bed for Ten Days More. I am now jest able to scrawl a few 

190 The Alliance Ready for Sea 

Lines to you to thank you for the pleasure you take in my 
Success, believe me it gives me pleasure to hear you are 
settled to your satisfaction, & no one knows better how freely 
you will share with your friends then your hum* servt. You 
know I suppose, that Capt Nicholson is out of the Dean, and 
Capt Manley has the command of that Ship, but that is not 
all. A court of Inquiry has set on him, and bro* in their 
Verdict that he ought to be Try'd by a Court Martial— enough 
on that subject. 

The Alliance is ready for Sea only waiting for her Com. to 
gain a little strength to step on board and proceed on a cruize. 
which I hope will be in all this week. I expect in two or three 
Months to have the pleasure of being in that part of the World 
where you and I have spent many happy hours together, and 
where I hope we will again, till then I remain 

Dr Sir, 
Your sincere friend & Very hi Servt 
Mr. Saml White (Signed) J. Barry. 

Bordeaux i8 Nov. 1782 
Dr Friend 

I am sorry to hear of your having been Indisposed, am 

happy to hear of your being in the mending hand. The affair 

of the Flora is at an end and she is to be hauled up without 

ceremony. I shall if Mr. Barclay has no occasion for me, buy 

me a part of some little Vessel and go anywhere its all the 

same to me where if I can get money. I should have wrote 

you a longer Letter, but I hardly know what I am about, as I 

am almost crazy at the Loss of my dear Friend James Jones 

who Departed this life Sunday Morning, i o'clock, the severest 

shock I have experienced, it will take me a long while to find 

such another Bosom Companion. However we must submit 

to fate he had been unwell for two or three Weeks past, the 

fourth Day after he was confined to his bed he was a corpse. 

Adieu D*" Friend, believe me to be 
Capt Jno Barry Sincerely Yours 

Henry Johnston 

Reply to the Demand for Wages 191 

L'Orient Nov. 19. 1782 
Gentlemen — 

Yours of yesterdays date I have before me, am a good deal 
surprised at the contents. I am confident that you have 
serv'd on board the Alliance the Greatest part of you as long 
as I have been on board & some of you longer, as to what 
happened to the Ship before I took the command of her, I 
have nothing to do with, but since I have been on board the 
Alliance, I have taken upon me without orders to advance 
sundry months pay to each of you, and that in a place where 
you could lay it out to advantage. You say Mr. Morris has 
given you assurances that your wages should be paid as soon 
as he could get Money especially if that Money was procured 
by Contl Vessels — tis True we have taken prizes and shall 
lodge Money here, but Mr Morris did not tell you that Mr 
Barclay or myself was to pay you. On our return to America 
you have an undoubted right to make a Demand for your 
Wages, and I have no doubt that Mr Morris will not only 
order your Wages paid but the Wages of every officer & Man 
on board ye Ship who is entitled to it. You say I told you if 
we went into any place where there was money you should 
be paid. I deny ever saying you should be paid, if I recollect 
the words that I said it was if we went into the West Indias 
and there was public money in the place you should not want 
money, but at the same time did not expect that if you had 
prize money due and Reed as much as satisfyd your wants 
that you would make so unreasonable a demand. You must 
be very certain that Money is not to be got here, and as for 
giving Notes on the Consul, that I am not entitled to do, nor 
would he except of them. In short I must think that you 
have but a poor oppinion of your Country or Mr Morris' Word 
to receiving your Wages in America where that Money will 
be of more Value to you, as you might buy Bills at 15 or 20 p c 
Discount & have the money here in that time. I certainly 
have as much Reason to complain as any of you, but I know 
it is but a folly to Grumble. I can only say this, that if your 
Wages are not paid every farthing on our arrival in America, 
I will Join you in any petition or Remonstrance you may 

192 Officgn Abcffkkm ih$ AlHame 

think proper — in short there can be no excuse to pay you 

evry farthing that is owing to you and you may Depend I 

will do evry thing you can require from me 

I have the pleasure to be, Gentlemen 

To P. Fletcher Your Most Obt 

M. Parke Huml Sert 

Th Elwood Officers of the (Signed) 

N. Gardner Alliance ^ /j j 

J AS Geagan 

L'Orient Harbour Nov. 29 1782 


I beg leave to acquaint you that the carpenter has requested 
Tarpolians for all the Hatches fore and aft, and would beg 
your Direction what sort of canvas to make them with, whether 
new or old? I would likewise give it as my oppinion that we 
have not any old Canvas fit for the purpose. I beg your 
answer on the matter & am with due respect 

Sir Your Most Obedt 
Huml Servt 
Capt Barry Joseph Lewis 


L'Orient, 24 Nov. 1782 

Your Visit to me a few moments ago, conveyed threats that 
I am not acquainted with — and you may be assured shall not 
pass over so light as you may expect. 

You say you was sent by the Officers to lett me know they 
would not go on board without 2 thirds of their Wages you 
have been already informed by me that I have no power to 
pay your Wages and was I ever so willing it is impossible 
for me to do it here, however, as I have it only Verbally from 
you that the Officers will not go on board, I have reason to 

Officers Umkr Arrest 193 

suppose that you are the only one of that way of thinking. 

I do hereby order you on board the Alliance by four o'clock 

this afternoon & there do your duty as becomes your Station 

till my further orders. 

Mathew Parke Esqr Capt M^ (Signed) J. Barry 

OF THE Alliance 

L'Orient 25 Nov. 1782 

I wrote to you yesterday ordering you on board to your 

Duty, but from information, I find you are still on shore & 

have not comply'd with my orders. In consequence of Which 

I order you under an Arest, and as you have refused to go on 

board the Alliance you must look on yourself as having nothing 

to do with that Ship till you are try'd by a Court Martial in 

your own country — 

Mathew Parke Esqr Capt M^ (Signed) J. Barry 

OF THE Alliance 

L'Orient 25 Novem. 1782 

I find all thejLieuts & Master is out of the Alliance the 

consequence of which is that I do not chuse to leave the Ship 

Longer Destitute of a Commissioned Ofiicer. I therefore 

order you on board by two o'clock this afternoon & then do 

your Duty till further orders — 

Lieut Patrick Fletcher (Signed) J. Barry 

OF THE Frigate Alliance 

L*Orient 25 November 1782 

You wrote to me a few days ago requesting me to be your 

agent. The time is too short for me to get what money you 

want. I therefore decline having anything to do with that 

Business, and you must get somebody else to do it. 

Patrick Fletcher 

Mathew Parke 1 remain 

Nathl Gardner Gentlemen 

John Buckley , , Yours &c 

Saml Cooper (Signed) J. Barry 

Jas. Geagan 

194 Orders to Officers 

L'Orient 26 Novemr 1782 

I wrote you yesterday acquainting you that all the Lieuts 
was on shore, and at the same time ordered you on board to do 
your Duty — You have not comply'd with my orders, nor 
neither do I find you intend it, in consequence of which I do 
hereby order you under an Arest, and as you have disobeyed 
my orders in not going on board the Alliance you have no 
more to do with that Ship till you are try'd by a coiut Martial 
in your country. 

I remain Yours 
Capt Patrick Fletcher (Signed) J. Barry 

L'Orient 26 November 1782 

I am well informed that all the Lieuts and Master is out of 

the Alliance. The consequence of which is that I do not 

think proper to leave the Ship without a Commissioned Officer, 

I therefore order you on board by four O'Clock this afternoon 

& there do your Duty till my further orders. 

Lieut Nichs Gardner (Signed) J. Barry 

L'Orient Nov. 26 1782 

The safety of the Alliance obliges me to take you from the 
Prize Commerce where you are at present so usefull & order 
you on board to your Duty. The consequence of which is 
that the Good of the Service obliges me contrary to my In- 
clination to put evry officer who refuses to do their Duty 
under an arrest. You will order Mr Kessler on board the 
Commerce to take care of that Prize. When you go on board 
you will send the Kegg on Board the Prize Commerce that 
was taken out of that Vessell & get a Receipt for it. 

I am 
Lieut Hezek= Welsh Yours &c 

(Signed) J. Barry 

Dr. James Geagan 195 

L'Orient Nov. 26. 1782 

I expect you will get the stores you have indented for for 
the Alliance as soon as possible as the Ship is already to proceed 
to Sea but for want of them. If you find any Difficulty in 
procuring them you will lett me know. You will likewise 
Deliver Mr Eayres [?] the amount of the Slops of the men he 
may want — 

I remain 

Mr Saml Cooper. Purser Sir Yours 

OF THE Frigate Alliance (Signed) J. Barry 

L'Orient Novem. 25. 1782. 

The Situation of a few Persons on board the Alliance obliges 

me from motives of Duty and Humanity to my fellow creatures 

to pay them Regular Attention as a Surgeon. I request Sir 

You'd look on my punctuality of Attendance in that Light 

as no Consideration in Life lett the Consequences be as they 

may, or my feelings on such an Occasion be ever so disagreeable 

induce me to follow any other fate than that of my Brother 

Officers & Messmates 

I am with Respect & Esteem, 

Your well-wisher 

(Signed) James Geagan 

L'Orient Nov. 26. 1782 

I last night Receid yours of the 25th Inst, wherein you say 
the Situation of a few Persons on board the Alliance obliges 
you from Motives of Duty and humanity to your fellow Crea- 
tures to Pay them Regular Attendance as a Surgeon. 

I never had any Reason to Suppose that Doctr Geagan was 
wanting in his Duty as Surgeon of the Alliance. As to humanity 
I leave that in your own breast, & you must be the best Judge 
whether you have Done Justice to your patients or not. But 
withjRespect to your Sharing the fate of your Brother Officers 
I do not understand what vou mean. If vou are entered into 

196 Combinafhn of Offk§rs 

a Combination against the Ship Alliance, or me, or that of 
doing your Duty as officers bearing Commissions and Warrants 
in the Service of America, I understand you. However I 
expect you will continue doing your Duty as Surgeon of the 
Alliance, and that you will tomorrow get what Stores may be 
wanting for the Cruize in your Department. If you have any 
difficulty in procuring them you will acquaint me. In Short 
I can hardly believe myself whither the Words in your Letter 
was Dictated by you or not but to Convince me they were, I 
Expect an answer to this. 

DocTR Jas Geagan I am Sir Your Huml Servt 

Frigate Alliance Signed J. Barry 

L'Orient 26 Nov. 17&2. 5 O'Qock Aft 

I wrote you this morning acquainting you that all the 
Lieuts were on Shore, and at the same time ordered you on 
board to do your duty. You having not Comply'd with my 
orders nor neither do I find you intend to it, in Consequence 
of which I do hereby order you under an arest and as you have 
Disobeyed my orders in not going on board the Alliance, you 
have no more to do with that Ship till you are try'd by Court 
Martial in your own Country 

Yours &c 
Lieut Nathl Gardner (Signed J. Barry 

L'Orient 27 Nov. 1782 

The Ship Alliance being near ready for Sea, & as Master of 
that Ship I think it your Duty to be on board & assist in 
getting evry thing ready. I do therefore order you on board 
by four o'clock this afternoon. Should you want an3rthing 
from the Shore before the Ship sails, you will acquaint me, 
& I will give you permission to do your Business 

I remain yours &c 
Mr John Buckley J. Barry 


Reply to Dr. Geogan 197 

L'Orient 27 Novem. 1782 

I do hereby order you on board the Alliance & prepair the 
Ship for Sea. You are to lett no one on Shore tmless on Ship's 
Duty. I wish you to Quarter the Men, & lett me know how 
many are on board. 

For disobedience of orders I arrested Capt Parke Mr Fletcher 
and Mr Gardner, therefore they have nothing to do with the 
Ship, and as I have had hints from Mr Buckley that Somebody 
got Plunder to the Amot of Three Hundred Pounds I order 
you not to lett anything be taken out of the Ship but what 
Properly Belongs to them, take care you pay strict attention 
to these orders — & oblige yours &c 
Hbzh Welsh Lieut (Signed) John Barry 

OF THE Alliance 

L'Orient 27 Nov. 1782 

Not Receiving an answer to mine of Yesterday, requires 

me to insist on an Explanation to a Paragraph in yours of the 

25 Inst. "I request Sir you'd look on my punctuality of 

attendance in that Light as no Consideration in life lett the 

Consequences be as they may, or my feelings on such an 

Occasion be ever so disagreeable induce me to follow any other 

fate than that of my Brother Officers and Messmates" Those 

words must Certainly sUpped from you without yoiu* thinking 

of the Consequences attending them. Doctr Geagan has 

certainly too much Sense to follow bad Examples, that is, 

if your Brother Officers & Messmates Refuse to do their duty, 

or in Short to Kill themselves, is that a Reason you should do 

so? I now tell you I have, and will, put evry officer who 

Refuses to do his Duty (belonging to the Alliance) under an 

arrest, and put it out of their or my Power to be the Judge 

who is right or Wrong. However I think I am only doing my 

Duty in so doing. 

I remain 

Doctr James Geagan Sir yours &c 

Surgeon op the Alliance (Signed) John Barry 

198 Th$ Disobedimit Offkgrs 

L'Orient 27 Nov. 1782 

I Received yours last night, too late to send you an answer, 
and now sett down to acquaint you, you may Come on Shore 
as soon as Mr Welsh goes on board. You will lett me know 
when you Come on Shore, as I want to talk to you Respecting 
the Money you want. I remain, yours &c 
Lieut Thos Elwood (Signed) J. Barry 

L'Orient 27 Novem. 1782 

A Number of Officers belonging to the Alliance having 
Refused to obey my orders VIZ. To Go on board and do 
their Duty, for such Disobedience & in order to Supply their 
Places and get the Ship to Sea, I have put them under Arest, 
Copys of which you have Inclosed & for which I wish to have 
your Approbation. 

The Alliance being near Ready for Sea & I hope will sail 
the first fair Wind to enable me to Comply with my orders, I 
wish for your Approbation to appoint two Lieutenants for 
the Ship for the Time being as for a Capt of Marines, I can well 
do without, as they are but of Little Service on board Frigates. 
Thos Barclay Esqr Consul I have the Honor to be 

Genl of the United States of Sir 

America in France, & Commissioner Your Most Obedt 
OF the Navy of the Same & Most humble Servt 

(Signed) John Barry 

L'Orient 27 November 1782 

I am favoured with the Letter which you wrote to me this 
Day. You have, in my oppinion, acted very properly in 
putting such of your Officers under arrest as have Refused to 
do their Duty. You may depend on my assistance in Supply- 
ing you with Such other persons as you shall have Occasion for, 
in place of Those who have refused to obey you as their Superior 

Dr. Geagtm's Rgpfy 199 

Officer; and that I will Concur with you in the appointment 
of two Lieutenants, or what other Officers may be wanting 
to navigate the Ship to America. 

I am with Great Esteem, 
John Barry Esqr Dr Sir, Your Very Obt Servt 

Capt of the Alliance (Signed) Thos Barclay 

[Original is in Library of Congress, Ms. Div.] 

L'Orient 27 Novemr. 1782 

At the Instant your Clerk arrived I was preparing to send 

an answer to your last but one. I assure you Sir I did not 

mean to be deficient. You allowed me to give you an answer 

in the course of the day, and you are sensible it is not even 

now too late. I shall explain in few words the Meaning of 

that Paragraph that appears so very ambiguous. I cannot 

with Justice to myself, lett my inclination be ever so great 

to serve the Country remain in a service that I cannot be 

supported by, and as there is a Continental Surgeon in the 

town ready to take my place, I request you'll look on this as 

xny resignation. With Respect to my-joining in any Com- 

bination against you or the Ship Alliance, I know of none* 

^%vhatever person asserts it; or supposes it is a Villian by God. 

1 find no Difficulty in procuring Stores for the Ship except 

^%vhat you are already acquainted, with namely, the Brown 

Sugar and Wine. I Despise as much as Capt Barry can 

possibly do the Idea of Suffering any person to dictate my 

Xetters, and assure him that this as well as my last is and was 

X>ictated by me. Capt Barry may criticise as he pleases on 

^hem, perhaps they may one day or other appear before men 

^who can judge between sophistry and sincerity. As to me 

fiaving too much Sense to follow bad examples, I beg leave 

to differ from you, for to my Discredit I acknowledge it, I 

liave been doing so all my life. However I hope that some 

Idnd providence that has heretofore protected me, will still, 

particularly in this critical period lend me a hand. I shall 

200 Biickky Uwkr Arrtst 

Return the Gentleman who takes my place such an audit of 
the State of my Department as I flatter myself will give satis- 
faction & secure me Justice. 

I am Sir with Respect 
Your huml Sevrt 
John Barry Esqr (Signed) Jas. Geagan. 

L'Orient Nov. 28. 1782 

I wrote you Yesterday ordering you on board the Alliance 
to do your Duty, but finding you did not receive my orders in 
time to go on board, the reason I suppose was that the bearer 
could not find you, but from that time to this you had it in 
your power to have Comply 'd with my orders or have lett 
me know you did not Intend to Comply with them. 

In Consequence of which I do hereby order you under an 
Arest, and as you have Disobey'd my orders in not going on 
board the Alliance, you have no more to do with that Ship 
till you are Try'd by a Court Martial in your own Country. 
Mr. John Buckley Master (Signed) J. Barry 

OF THE Alliance 

L'Orient Novr. 28. 1782 

Yours of Yesterdays date I received late last Night with 
Respect to your Resignation. It is not in my power to except 
of it was I ever so willing. To the contrary I expect you will 
go on board the Alliance this Day and do your Duty there 
till you have leave from me to come on Shore, as for a Conti- 
nantal Surgeon's taking your place, you must leave that to 
me. I do not wish to part with Dr Geagan nor any officer 
belonging to the Ship, but should you Refuse to do your Duty 
as many of them has done, I shall not ask you who I shall 

get in your place. 

I remain Yours &c 

Dr Jas Geagan (Signed) J. Barry 

OF the Alliance 

Barry to Johnston 201 

L'Orient Novt. 29. 1782 
Dr Frieni>-- 

- 1 Received your favor of the 18th Instant and Condole 
with you most Sincerely on the loss of poor Jemmy, however 
it is but a folly to frett as we must all go that way sooner dr 
later. I find you have laid up the flora. I am heartily sorry 
on your & the owners acct. however it is an ill wind that blows 
nobody Good luck for I hope it will blow me you and Mr 

Dear Harry, the Undermentioned Officers of the Alliance 

have behaved in the Drolest Manner you ever heard of. when 

they found the Ship was near Ready for Sea they Came on 

Shore and wrote a Letter to me Demand'g two thirds of their 

Wages due to them since I commanded the Ship. I wrote 

them for answer that I was not envested with any power to 

Pay Wages, and I thought their Demands very Unreasonable, 

as they had as much prize Money as they knew what to do 

with. The Matter re^.ed four or five Days at last the Capt 

of Marines was sent t j me to lett me know they were evry one 

Determined not to go in the Ship if their Wages were not paid- 

The Consequence was, the Ship was many Days without a 

Lieut on board in this time I talked to them, letting them 

know the Consequences, but all to no piupose. Necessity 

at last oblidge me to put evry one of them under an Arest, 

and as they have Refused to go on board to do their Duty, 

they have no more to do with the Ship till Try'd by a Court 

Martial in America. Now my Dr Sir, if you can Stoop so 

low as to go next in Command to me & live as I do you will 

not only serve your country, but lay me under obligations you 

will make my best compliments to Mr Roberts and assure he 

shall have a Lieutenancy, & on our arrival in America he may 

Command my Interest to have it Established to him. The 

Ship is well man'd and already to go on a Cruize, but I have 

^ot as Yet Determined where. I think the West-Indias will 

l>e the place as it is entirely left to myself where to go, however 

When the Cruize is out I shall return to America. In Short I 

think as you are situated, it is much better for you & Mr Roberts 

than to go in a Clump of a Merchantman. The bearer of this 

202 Resigrutthn of Purser Cooper 

Mr Barclay sends Express, & I beg of you to Despatch him as 
soon as possible. Should you and Mr Roberts Conclude to 
Come, you will lett me know by the Express, and I wish you 
to Ride Post yourselves — as I shall keep the Ship seven or 
Eight Days for you. I shall wait with Impatience to have 
your Answer, In the mean time I remain. 

Dear Friend, 
Henry Johnston Esqr Your Obedient humble Servt 

Bordeaux (Signed) 

P. Fletcher — 2nd Lt /f ^ yfo 

N. Gardner— 3d do ^o/^ /3 i 

M. Parke — Capt ma 
J. Buckley — Master 
J. Geagan — Surgn 
S. Cooper — Purser 


L'Orient 28 Novr 1782 

I received yours of 26, and have to inform you that evry 
thing that I indented for, is on board the Alliance some time 
since, except the Jacketts which went on board a Day or two 
ago, and I flatter myself nothing has been Wanting in my 
Department to expedite the Departure of the Ship. 

My Station is so peculiar on board, that I dont conceive 
myself obligated to continue in it, and that I have an un- 
doubted right to resign it. Whether I am right in my Oppinion 
or not, will be Determined in America. I therefore beg you to 
look on this Letter as my Resignation, many are my reasons 
for so doing, and one of them on which I mean to Support the 
Measures I have taken, is that I do not conceive myself obligated 
to continue in a Service where I am not Supported. I am 
therefore ready to give an account of Stores in my possession 
to you or any person you may appoint. As my amounts of 
Expenditures of provision must be Sign'd by you & you having 
Compleated them except the last two Months, I am ready to 
Settle whenever you think proper to desire Mr Eayres to do it 
& as I am going Immediately to America, I shall take such 
precautions with the Remainder of my Accounts as to ensure 

Dr. Geagtm Under Arrest 203 

a safe Arrival of them there, & will without Delay settle them 
with, persons authorized to adjust them. Any accounts you 
may want for particular persons while in this port will be 
furnished by your order. 

I am Sir 
JoMN Barry Esqr With evry sentiment of respect 

Your Obedt Servt 

(Signed) Saml Cooper 

L'Orient 30 Novr 1782 


I wrote you the 28 Inst ordering you on board the Alliance 
to do your Duty. I find you have not Comply'd with my 
orders. In Consequence of which I do hereby order you under 
an Arest, and as you have refused to go on board the Alliance 
you have no more to do with that Ship till you are try'd by a 
Court Martial in America 
DocT Jas. Geagan (Signed) J. Barry 

Nantes Novr 30. 1782 

My Dr Frieni>-- 

Your Letter have received, and Grattitude shall mark my 

Conduct for your Expressions of Joy on my Situation at 

Nantes — where friendship follows the pen, how sweet to be 

Communicated, but be assured it's not lost on me that I wait 

^ opportunity of convincing you of my friendship. Business 

prevents my writing you a Long funny Letter to amuse you 

^ter your Sickness, the Joy I feel at your Recovery is better 

felt than Described, that you have my sincere wishes for 

your health and happiness is as true as there is a God. that 

you may return to your Country and the Enjoyment of Mrs 

Barry with Wealth and Honors is the ardent prayer of your 

Sincere Friend 

& Very huml Servt 

Capt John Barry (Signed) Saml Whit 

204 Johnston to Barry 

L'Orient Deer i. 1782 

Yours of the 28 Ultimo I have before me wherein you oflFer 
me your Resignation. I must inform you that it is not in 
my power to except of any Commissioned or Warrant OflScers 
Resignation. I therefore order you on board the Alliance to 
do your Duty and prepair your monthly Accotmts of Ex- 
penditures for Signing 

I am yours &c 
Mr Saml Cooper (Signed) J. Barry 

Purser of the Alliance 

Bordeaux 2nd December 1782 
Mr Dear Friend 

I am very unhappy to think of your Situation, and assure 
you was it in my power I would go with you and not think it 
stooping Low, as it would be obliging my Friend and Serving 
my Country. I have already engaged a Prize Brig* Packet 
and have bought a part of her at Nantes — to go to America, 
dare say I could get Clear of that, but my People I have En- 
gaged also I could not Independant of that get ready under 
Twelve Days, as I have all my Accounts to settle which will 
take me sometime as I have no person to assist me, and I 
shall settle all here with Mr P. Naire before I come away. 
The time is Consequently short as you see matters are circum- 
stanced that it is impossible even for me to think of it, but I 
would have gone any Length to Serve you to lett them OflScers 
of Yours know they are wrong. I hope they will be Rewarded 
as I suppose they would have some Regard for you if they 
had not for the Publick. Mr. Roberts has engaged likewise 
to Command a Brig out of Nantes, that he finds it impossible. 
Its in Mr. Williams employ. I have Engag'd a number of 
Men for him. Notwithstanding my Engagem* could I get ready 
I would strain a point, but you know the number of Accounts I 
must have to Settle. Thirty Men yet to pay oflf. Did I 
know of any person here I would send them on, but we have 
none here. I little Wonder you had not sent for Gregory. He 

Purser Cooper Umkr Arrest 205 

really expected he had a Ship to Command. My Respects 
to Attend Mr Barclay & Lady 

Yours Sincerely 
Capt Barry (Signed) Henry Johnson 

Two evenings ago I buried Nat Crafts 

Mr Roberts as well as myself are 

unhappy to think of your Situation 

at present. 

I have Supply'd the Post with Twelve Guineas to Return to 

L'Orient. I have enclosed his Receipt. 

L'Orient 6 December 1782 

The Ship Alliance being ready for Sea some time past, but you 
as well as the other Officers who have refused to go on board 
and do their Duty have been the Means of Detention in this 
place. In Consequence of which I do hereby order you under 
an Arest, and as you have Refused to go on board the Alliance, 
you have no more Business with that Ship till you are Try'd 
by a Court Martial in your own Country. . 
Mr Saml Cooper (Signed) J. Barry 


I send Mr Eayres to you for an Attested Copy of the Ship 
Alliances Books kept by you while Purser of Said Ship. 

J. B. 

L'Orient Decem' 7. 1782 

I have been at Work arranging my Books & Shall be able 
tomorrow to give you the Sum due to me from each person — 
as purser attested. I shall not be able to do more, as the 
time is so short. My Books I cannot deliver up, as they are 
my only Security, not only for the Charges against the people 
but my own Commissions, hope that will be satisfactory* 
I am Determined to go in a short time to America & will 
Settle my Accts 

I am Sir your huml Sert 
John Barry Esqr (Signed) Saml Cooper 

206 Barry to Braum 

L'Oribnt 7 December 1782 
Dbar Brown 

I have to Inform you that I sail on a Cruize tomorrow. I 
believe I shall run down the Coast of Guinea, when my Provision 
& Water is out I shall Return to America via Martinico^ however 
I hope by that time there shall be peace, for I have great 
Reason to think it is almost Concluded. 

The Crew of the Alliance having made me their Agent for 
the Prizes brought in here, I have advanced each of them a Sum 
of Money here on Acct of it with the Names of the Officers 
and Men who are Intitl'd to said prize Money you have here 
Inclos'd and in case if anything should happen me more than 
Common you will take Care the Said Officers and Men are paid 
their just dues. Mr Thomas Barclay my attorney here has 
orders from me to Ship the Amount of said prizes to you after 
you have Charged your Commission for Sale of said Goods 
the Remainder you will pay the said Officers and Men according 
to their Shares, but you will take care to keep the Money 
in your hands till you are certain I am not in the Land of the 

This will be handed to you by Capt Barney who I hope 
will carry over a Confirmation of peace. I have sent a Trunk 
of Goods by him to Mrs Barry, you will please to assist her 
in selling them. I have left here Lt Fletcher Lieut Gardner. 
Mr Parke Capt of Ma, J. Buckley Master, S. Cooper purser & 
J. Geagan Surgn. all under an Arest for refusing to go on board 
and do their Duty, their Demands was they must be paid 
their Wages however Capt Barney can tell you the whole 
particulars. I think they will forfeit their Wages and prize 
Money. In my absence you are to act for me as for yourself. 
if Mr Barclay does not Ship the Goods you are to draw the 
Money out of his hands to the best advantage. 

I remain Dr Brown 
Your most obt 
John Brown Esqr Huml Sert 

Phii,a (Signed) J. Barry 

Tf» Alliance Ready to Cruise 207 

L'Orient Decemr 7 1782 

The Alliance Frigate that I have the Honor to Command 
being Ready for Sea for some time past, but a Number of my 
Officers refusing to go on board and do their duty, has prevented 
me from Sailing, you Sir are well acquainted that the public 
have been at an Expence to procure Officers in their places, but 
all to no purpose. I now think it my Duty to Proceed to Sea 
with such Officers as I have on board as I have no Expectations 
of getting any others, altho I am well satisfied they are not 
adequate to the Duty of the Stations I shall be obliged to 
put them in, however Necessity knows no Law. In consequence 
of the Conduct of these Officers, I hereby Expect you will 
keep the prize Money of said officers in your hands till they are 
Try'd by a Court Martial in their Country — and the proceedings 
of said Court Martial approved by the Hon. the Congress. 

Sir, the Officers and Privates of the Alliance that are entitled 
to prize Money having made me their Agent, in order to do 
everything in my power for said Officers & Men I have drawn 
a Sum of Money from you and gave many orders on you for 
the payment of more which I hope that you will pay & Charge 
to my Acct. In Consequence of which I do hereby Impower 
you to take the four prizes belonging to the Alliance in your 
charge. The part belonging to me & the Crew of the Ship 
Alliance you will Sell according to Law & as soon as you receive 
the Money for said prizes you will repay yourself, the Re- 
mainder you will Ship to Philadelphia in Good Vessels at 
the same time taking care to cover the whole of the property 
you ship that in case of capture or loss of any kind, there may 
be no loss to me or the Officers & Men who have appointed me 
their Agent. You will observe at the same time that as there 
is a likeleyhood of peace that you do not ship any Goods on 
said acct but such as are already ordered & you will if possible 
put a stop to them. On my arrival in America I shall write 
to you, how and in what Manner you are to dispose of said 
Money, however should anything happen to me more than 
common you will in that case be directed by John Browns 
orders of Philadelphia who I have appointed in that case to 

208 Leaves the Officers 

act for me, but at all events should you ship Goods, you are, 
in my absence to send them to Jno Brown with a Copy of the 
Accts. Should a peace come & the Goods you have ordered 
not be ship'd before a Confirmation thereof, I expect they 
will be ship'd at a peace price. My Good Oppinion of your 
Abilities and honesty persuades me that you will do justice 
to the poor fellows under my command. Should peace come 
& you can buy a Vessel or two Cheap, I should have no objection 
to be concerned a Quarter in each of them to go from hence 
to Liverpool & from there to Phila at the same time you will 
take care to cover my property in them. 

I have the honor to be Sir 
Thos Barclay Esqr Your most Obt huml Servt 

L'Orient (Signed) J. Barry 

L'Oribnt Dec. 7. 1782 

I am Sorry to Inform you that I have been much longer 

here than Expected about Twenty Days after my arrival I 

was ready to Sail. I was then taken 111 of a Fever which 

confined me to my Bed for fourteen or fifteen Days, as soon 

as I was able to walk about and put things in Motion to go to 

Sea, I received a Letter from several of my Officers demanding 

their Wages, but said as Money was scarce they would put up 

with Bills on Mr Barclay, payable in five months. I acquainted 

them that I was not authorized to pay them their Wages and 

if I was ever so willing, it was not in my power, as money was 

not to be got here & Mr Barclay would not except of any orders 

on him. In short I thought it a Very unreasonable Demand, 

as they all could have had as much prize money as they wanted 

here. The consequences was, that in a few Days after they 

sent the Capt of Marines to me to lett me know they would 

not go on board the Alliance unless they could be paid two 

Thirds of their Wages as soon as circumstances would permit. 

I put them under an Arest, and as they have refused to go on 

board the Alliance to do their Duty, I shall leave them here 

to get to America as well as they can, when I hope they will 

be Try 'd by a Court Martial and meet their deserts, however 

Offkmrs Undmr Arr$st 209 

I have Recommended to Mr Barclay to stop their prize money 
till they are try'd, as I have great Reason to suppose they are 
liable for the Expences the Ship has Incur'd since their refusal. 
I have nothing material to say, as this goes by Capt Barney 
who I hope will carry the Jo3^ul news of peace — as we have 
great Reason to suppose it is almost concluded. I sail tomorrow 
I believe I shall run down the Coast of Guinea, should peace 
be made, I suppose there will be a certain time given for 
Vessels to make prizes in certain Lattitudes. as soon as my 
provisions and Water is out I shall return to America Via 

I have the Honor to be 
The Hon. Robt Mgrris Phila Your Most Obedt 

Huml Servt 
P. S. The Undermentioned are the Names (Signed) J. Barry 
of the Officers and their Stations which 
I have left under an Arest 
P. Fletcher 2 L 
N. Gardner 3 do 
Jno Buckley Master 
M. Parke C. Marines 
J. Geagan Surgn 
S. Cooper Purser ,^ 

L'Orient December 8. 1782. 

There is a Number of Men Run away from the Ship. You 
will take care not to pay any Prize Money or Wages but to 
those who have their Discharges from me. Thomas Ham> 
bleton & Jas. Marshall are Intitled to Prize Money. I am 
Distressed the Doctr is not Yet come on board. 

I am Sir 

Your huml Servt 
Thos Barclay Esqr (Signed) J. Barry 

[The original of this letter is in the Dreer Collection in the 
Penna His Soc. It is however, dated, "Outside of Port Louis.**] 

210 Rumors of P§ace 

On board the Frigate Alliance at Sea Dec. 12. 1782 

Latt. 41.41. Lond 13.20. 
Dbar Fribnd 

I have to inform you I am in Good Health, and Sail'd four 

Days ago from a certain port where I was Informed that the 

preliminaries of peace was signed, this you may rely on & I 

should have you govern yourself accordingly 

I remain Dear friend yours &c 

t^V^TT^ ^i 

Mr Wm West 

Cruise of the Alliance 21 1 




On the Eflfective Supply Tax List for 1782 appears: Captain 
John Barry for Isaac Austin's Estate, Valuation 1000, tax 

^5- 6. 5. 

The year before Mr. Austin's name appears with a valuation 
of ;£ 1 100 and tax of ;^ii 16. 6d. He was a brother-in-law of 
Captain Barry. 

On November 30, 1782, preliminary terms of peace had been 
signed. On December 5 George III made his speech from 
^he throne in a feeble, hesitating, trembling manner, saying he 
liad given the ** necessary orders to prohibit the further prosecu- 
tion of offensive war upon the continent of North America. 
X have pointed all my views and measures to an entire and 
cx>rdial reconciliation with those colonies. I did not hesitate 
X,o go to the full length of the powers vested in me and offer 
Xo declare them free and independent States. Religion, lan- 
guage, interest, affections may, and I hope will, yet prove a 
iDond of permanent union between the two countries." 

Kessler's narrative is here resumed for the more particular 
recital of the events of Barrv's cruise : 

"Dec. 9, 1782. Alliance left L'Orient on a cruise. 
"Dec. II. Chased and at 10 P. M. came up with the chase 
and found her to be of two tiers of guns. Captain Barry 
hailed. They gave no answer, but hailed in return, to which 
Captain Barry gave no answer. She not having altered her 
course or made any more sail from our first discovery of her led 
Captain Barry to think her either a neutral or that she was 
confident of her superior force, and therefore thought it prudent 
to refrain from firing or making further inquiry. The Alliance 
thereon hauled on the wind and left her steering on her course. 

212 Twke Escqms from British Fl^ 

After chasing several we on December i6 made Porto Sancto 
and on December 17 made the island of Madeira. 

"January 8, 1783. Made Martinico. Went to St. Perc 
Harbor intending to get a fresh supply of water and rig a 
fresh main top mast. After getting in Captain Barry found 
orders there for him to proceed to the Havana to take in 
specie for Congress, and on January 1 1 we sailed for the Havana 
where, after a stop of twelve hoiu^ at St. Eustatia and as 
much at Cape Francois, we arrived on January 17th." 

On the 2 2d Barry wrote Robert Morris: 

On board the Alliance off Hispaniola. Jany 22nd. 1783 

I have the pleasure to Inform you that I arrived at Martinico 

the 8 Instant where I had the honor to receive your orders oi 

14 October. I am sorry it was not in my power to get to that 

Island sooner to put your orders in execution, however I hope 

it is not too late. I sailed the 12th from Martinico, since I 

left that Island I fell in with two different Fleets Vizt one of 

Portorico which gave me Chase they were in number 11 sail. 

I since found them to be either Vodiel from Boston or the 

Spanish Fleet from the Havana. The day following off 

Hispaniola I fell in with the English fleet in number 17 sail 

who gave me chase. I got clear of them, and the Day following 

at 7 A. M. saw 2 Sail which proved to be English 74 and a Frigate 

bearing N W. Cape Francois bearing S E distance about 

20 Leagues we were lying at that time with little or no Wind, 

the Enemy took a Breeze at N N W. which brot them within 2 

or 3 Miles of us, when we got the Breeze but it had not so much 

Force with us as with them till about Noon, in a few hours 

after, we left the 74 several Miles a Stem but the frigate held 

us a close chace for some time, however the Latter part of it, 

we gained upon the frigate, they chac'd us close under the 

Guns of the Cape where I put in the Day before Yesterday. 
I am now on my way to execute your orders, which I hope 
will meet with your Aprobation 

I have the;, Honor to be Sir 
Your Most Obedt 
Honl Robert Morris huml Servt 

Phila (Signed) J. Barry 

Barry to the Goummor of Havana 213 

On February 13th, 1783, Captain Barry sent the annexed 
'^^tter to the Governor of Havana 

"Sir : I have the honor to acquaint your Excellency that 
le frigate Alliance of which I am commander belonging to 
le Congress of America and the Due de Lauzun another 
igate which belongs to Congress are ready to sail from this 
>rt. It is of much consequence to my country and to the allied 
that those frigates should immediately depart particularly 
I am charged with important despatches from the Court 
France which I have every reason to suppose are very 
iportant. — 

I beg that your Excellency will please to order permission 
►T those frigates to leave this port and also that the American 
^^^^•^^Tchant vessels mav be suffered to take the benefit of their 

"Your Humble Servant &c 

"John Barry' 

.tt . 

"His Excellency 
the Governor 
of Havana'' 

A duplicate of the above is in the Roberts Collection and 
^ copy is in Barry's Letter Book. 

The Governor of Havana replied : 

Ha VAN AH 14 Feby 1783. 

In answer to your official Letter of Yesterday, I have Ma- 
turely weighed the Motives you express for the sudden Depar- 
ture of the Frigate you command, likewise the Duke de Luzerne, 
& Merchant Men that should avail themselves of your Convoy. 

The port being Shutt which you are not Ignorant of, for 
the sole object of Complying with secret Instructions from 
the King my Master, it is entirely out of my power to grant 
at present your Solicitation for Sailing, but you can assure 
yourself it shall be the soonest possible. 

I have the honor to remain. 
Capt Barry, Commanding [This letter is not signed] 

The Continental Frigate Alliance. 

214 The GotMmor's Reply 

To this Captain Barry replied : 

Havana 15 Feby 1783 

I have had the honor to receive your Excellency's Letter 
of Yesterdays date. 

I am sorry to Transgress you Excellencys time by resuming 
the subject of my former Letter, but it is of so much Importance 
that I cannot be silent. I am sensible of the port being Shut, 
but your Excellency will permit me to observe that it is some- 
what Singular for Ships of War which are Employed on National 
objects to be restricted in the same Manner as Merchant Ves- 
sels. In that View I must again take ye Liberty of asking in 
the name of my Sovereign for permission for the sailing of 
the Two American Ships of War. The Trading Vessels are 
fully under the Influence of the Embargo, and therefore I 
shall relinquish my application for their sailing. 

I have the honor to be with all possible respect, 
Your Excellencys Most Obedt 
His Excellency the Huml Sevt 

Governor of Havana (Signed) J. Barry 

Havana 20 Feby 1783 

Your letter of 1 5 Currt on sight of your Answer to Mine o\ 
13 requesting permission for the two American Frigates of^ 
War and Mercht Men belonging to the United States of America-/^ 
to sail, & now your request is only for the two Frigates oC 
War, notwithstanding the port being Shut, according Xx9 
the King my Master orders which I have already had the 
pleasure of Communicating to you. Being Desirous to com- 
bine each service if possible I have proposed the affair to the 
Admiral of the Squadron who is chief in this particular, & 
is answerable for the Good or bad event of the Expeditions 
on footing and ready to sail, whos opinion as equally mine is 
that you should reflect on the emense prejudice that might 
occur to the common cause of the Allied powers & commerce 
of Spain if any unlucky accident should happen by the Enemys 
taking one of the Frigates, so we hope your prudence will 

For Peace or War 215 

terminate in remaining here untill such time as the Expedition 
should have sailed with assurance that no time after shall 
be lost to expedite your sailing: 

I have the honor &c 


Captain Barry had been sent for specie for Congress' use. 
So he was eager to have guns and men in good working order^ 
in case necessity arose on the passage to the United States to 
test the condition of one or the eflSciency of the other. So 
this order was issued on Washington's birthday to his first 

Havana 22 Feby 1783 

You will take care to exercise the Great Guns and small 

Arms evry Day, the people to be lett go on shore 6 at a time 

taking care not to lett too many go together, if any one breaks 

his leave you are not to lett any one go on shore after till I 

am acquainted with the reasons. I would have you, as often 

as possible loose the Topsails and lett the people Reef them in 

order to learn to do it well. Keep the Wood and Water 

Compleat ready for going to Sea. I expect that Good order 

will be kept on board, if any of the people behave Amiss you 

will put them in Irons till I am acquainted with it. Any 

assistance the Duke de Luzerne may Want you will give them, 

in short I expect a Strict Attendance will be paid to these 

orders, & you will oblige yours &c 

Mr Robt Caulfield— (Signed) J. Barry 

John Barry Esq Commander Frigate Alliance 

At that time rumors of peace and hopes for the cessation 
of hostilities were cheering the hearts of the patriots. We 
even get a glimpse of Captain Barry as a messenger of peace, 
though ready for war, but, as we shall see, making war after 
peace had been agreed upon and the Independence of his 
country acknowledged. On February 12, 1783, the Penn- 
sylvania Gazette published this "extract of a letter from Balti- 
more dated February' 7th, 1783": 

•'You see by the enclosed (the accounts from St. Kitts) 

« i 

216 Barry *s Account of His Cruise 

what the opinion of peace is grounded on, which seems generally 
believed here: Added to this account we have a ship from 
St. Croix, in a short passage, that spoke a neutral schooner, 
the Captain of which assured that he had spoke Captain Barry, 
in the Alliance on his way to the Cape [Francois] to prevent 
any futher operations in that quarter and that hostilities 
had absolutely ceased in Europe." On February 26 the 
same newspaper and also the Pennsylvania Journal said: 
"'Captain Barry in the Alliance frigate sailed from Cape Fran- 
cois in January, for the Havana, in order to take under his 
convoy the vessels that might be at that place bound to America. " 

The Journal of February 26 published the annexed extract 
from the Martinique Gazette of January 1 5 : 

**The interesting news, which the American frigate Alliance - 
brought us, being inserted at the end of our last publication, ^ 
just upon the arrival of the vessels, it is with pleasure that-=J 
we now, for our readers' satisfaction, embrace the opportunity^ 
of giving that intelligence more particularly, from the accounts* 
of Capt. Barry, who commands her. 

"The Alliance having in her cruise taken several of th^^ 
unfortunate Jamaica convoy, and sent them into diflFeren#". 
ports of France, the Captain intended to continue his crui 
on the coast of England, to pick up some of the remains on 
that scattered fleet ; in which he would undoubtedly have me 
with the desired success, had he not been forced by the blowin 
weather, which had done his ship a good deal of damage, ic^ 
put into Port TOrient; the time which was necessarily taken 
up in refitting, rendered it too late for him to ptusue that 
design. — When the Marquis de la Fayette (who had been 
once a passenger in this vessel, and particularly knew and 
esteemed Capt. Barry) heard of his arrival, he went to see 
him at TOrient, and there informed him that there was a grand 
expedition preparing at Cadiz, and asked him the favor to 
carry there, in case he should not be in time to overtake the 
fleet at Brest. 

"Capt. Barre was afterwards informed, that that young 
nobleman had arrived in time at Brest, and that he had em- 
barked for Cadiz. 

Pmice Probabli 217 

**An American packet boat which the Congress 

had seat from Philadelphia to Prance, was lying at TOrient 

when the Alliance was there; the Capt. of the packet received 

a letter from Dr. Pranklin, on the 6th of December, in which 

this Minister ordered him to hold himself in readiness to set 

out at a moment's warning saying he was going to send by 

him his dispatches to the Congress, announcing the signing 

the preliminaries of peace, on the 2d of December; and adding 

that he would al3o forward him at the same time an English 

passport. Capt. Barry the 2d Commodore of the continental 

marine, and an officer worthy of credit, saw this letter in the 

Captain of the packet's possession, they read it over and over 

several times. — He further gives an account that before his 

leaving TOrient, they had got intelligence of the fast arrival 

in the di£Ferent ports of France, of the fleet which sailed from 

St. Domingo the 2d of October last, under convoy of the Pal- 

^mier of 74 guns. — The letters from London look upon the 

Ville de Paris, Centaur, and Gloriex as lost, and they had certain 

information of the Ramilies of 74 and the Jason of 64 guns, 

having been abandoned and afterwards gone to the bottom, 

by the damage they received in the gale of wind on the 17th 

of September. 

"Some days befoi:e the sailing of the Alliance, there was a 
general talk of peace, and they were informed there were two 
new Commissioners arrived from London at Paris, and that 
the King of Great Britain had, contrary to custom, prorogued 
the Parliament to some time in December, no doubt with a 
view to give sufficient time for signing the preliminaries before 
the opening of the session. 

**The Brest squadron sailed the 4th of December, it con- 
sisted of 10 ships of the line, and a considerable number of 
merchant and transport vessels, having on board 7000 regular 
troops; it was supposed they would reach Cadiz about the i ith 
or 12th of December, the combined fleet would then consist 
of about 50 sail of the line, under the Command of the Vice 
Admiral Comte d'Estaing, the Comte de Barras, and the 
Comte de Basset. 

"It was the general opinion that the fleet would be ready 

216 Arrives with the Specie 

to leave Cadiz by the 20th of December, having on board 
30,000 regular troops; and that they would nevertheless put 
to sea without regarding^the negociations for peace; for which 
they assigned this reason, that the expences of fitting out 
this expedition being already incurred, it was a matter of 
indifference whether the provisions should be made use of at 
anchor or at sea ; and that this fleet becoming more formidable 
the instant they put to sea, would contribute to render the 
terms of peace more advantageous to us, and would also 
accelerate the same." 

The Alliance was obliged to remain at Havana until March 
6th when Captain Barry put to sea intending to proceed to 
Philadelphia with the specie. He however was obliged to go 
to Rhode Island Harbor where he arrived on March 20th. 
On the way hither he encountered the British Frigate, The 
Sybille on March loth. An account of this THE LAST BATTLE 
OF THE REVOLUTION— is herewith presented in Captain 
Barry's Official Report thereof, as it is recorded in his Letter 

On the day of the arrival of the Alliance off Newport Harbour 
he wrote to George Olney Esq of Providence: 

On board the Alliance Rhode Island Harbour 

March 20 1783 

I have to inform you that the Honl Robert Morris gave me 

Instructions last July in case I should put into this State to 

call on you for what I may want, at present I want your advise 

much, as I have public money onboard and wish to get Clear 

of it as soon as possible, perhaps you may have some orders 

from Mr. Morris Respecting it, if so be pleased to bring them 

here, with or without I should be glad to see you as soon as 

convenient you can. Your complyance will oblige 

Sir, your mt Obt Sert 

Geo Olney Esqr J. Barry 

The following is Capt. Barry's report of the Last Battle of 
the Revolution. 

Tf» Last Battle of the Reuohithn 219 

On board the Alliance, Rhode Island Harbour, March 20, 1783 

I have the pleasure to Inform you that on the 6th of March, 
1783 I sailed from the Havana in company with Capt Greene 
wdth the Duke de Luzerne after being Embargoed for 20 Days, 
Bve at last got permission to sail with 9 sail of the line of Spanish 
Ships, it being jist night when the last of the Men of War got 
3ut of the harbour and the Remainder of Fleet a Great way 
to Leeward and heavy sailers & not knowing where they were 
bound, I thought it best to Quit them and make the best of 
my way. I therefore Spoke Capt Greene and told him what 
I Intended, at the same time ordered him to make the best of 
his way and follow me. The next morning we saw part of the 
fleet a Stem and at 10 O 'Clock lost Sight of them, at 3 P M 
saw the Mintanzeys under our Lee bow, at same time saw 
Two Large Sail to Windward. Capt Greene and myself agreed 
they were British Cruizers. I then wore ship and Stood for 
the Spanish fleet, as knowing it to be the only way to save the 
Duke de Luzerne. The Enemy making a small angle on us 
if we kept our course, and Especially as we might be obliged 
to haul up a Little to Clear Cape Florida and the Duke de 
Luzerne sailing much heavier than us, at 10 O'Clock at night we 
made the Light of part of the Spanish fleet. The Enemy 
then within Gun Shott, but as soon as they saw the Lights they 
left off chace, we kept in company with the fleet all night. 
In the morning we found they were only 8 or 10 Sloops and 
Schooners, however they answered our Ends — after speaking 
them and could find no account of the Men of War, we made 
the best of our Way, but finding the Luzerne sailing much 
heavier than the Alliance, it was agreed between Capt Greene, 
Mr Brown and myself to have all the public money on board 
the Alliance, as you will find by Capt Greenes Letters. In the 
morning of the 20 we saw 3 Large Sail of Ships standing directly 
for us, the course they were steering and the place they were 
in was a convincing proof to me they were Enemys Ships espec- 
ially as they wore the same kind of Vanes the Ships that 
chac'd us before had. I then made' a Signal for Capt Greene 
to make all the sail he could & follow me, a short time after 

220 The Last Battle qf the Reuoiytkm 

Capt Greene made a Signal of superior force. I then made all 
the sail I could as not having an idea of being any service to 
him, however some time after about an hour, Capt Greene 
made a Signal to speak with me, as I found I sailed faster 
than the Enemy, I shortened sail and spoke Capt Grieene, one of 
Enemy s 32 Gun Frigates then in Gun Shott of us, the other 
two but little way a Stem & coming up fast with Capt Greene. 
I asked him what he wanted, he said they were Privateers, I 
told him he was mistaken & I knew better — at my Droping 
astern the Enemys headmost Frigate shortened sail & would 
not come near us, finding the two Ships astern coming up 
fast and confident within myself I must have fell a sacrifice 
if I stayed with Capt Greene, I told him I could not stay by 
him, and the only chance he had to Get Clear was to heave his 
guns over board to lighten his ship & try them before the 
wind, the former he did but still kept his course, at that time 
the second headmost Ship of the Enemy was within Gun Shott 
of the Luzerne. I must not omit observing that in the morning 
we saw a Ship to the Southwd of us who made sail and stood 
from us, altho Capt Greene & the headmost Ship fired several 
Shott at one another, but at too Great Distance to do Execution, 
it being the fault of the Enemy after telling Capt Greene that 
I must leave him, and in short at that time was determined 
as being of no service to him. Shortly after I saw the Strange 
Sail tack and stand for us as having all the Reason in the 
World to suppose she was a Stranger to the Enemy, likewise 
at that time Capt Greene firing stem chasers at one of the 
Enemys Ships, & she firing bow chaces at him, the headmost 
and windmost of the Enemy then bore away acrost Capt 
Greenes Stem. I then ordered the courses haul'd up and 
hard a weather the helm & Run Down between Capt Greene 
and the Ship next to him in order to Give him a chance to get 
off by bringing the Enemy to Action which I did in a few, 
moments Close on board for 45 Minutes, when the Enemy 
sheer'd off, Capt Greene and myself hauld our wind for the 
strange sail who proved to be a French 60 Gun Ship that 
sailed from the Havana two Days before us, and had on board 
half Million of Dollars and bound to some of the French Islands. 

Seumty-two Thousand Dollars 221 

During the Action my Officers and Men behaved well and altho 
but short I had ten wounded, one of which is since dead. My 
sails spars and Riging hurt a Little, but not so much but 
they would all do again. On the i8 at lo P. M. struck sound- 
ings off Cape Hatterass. I then spoke Capt Greene and acquain- 
ted him with my having soundings, and at the same time 
ordered him to make all the sail he could and follow me. At 
I A M saw Capt Greene and in a Very little time lost sight of 
him, the Reason must be best known to him, as I am con- 
fident he might have kept company with us if he had a mind 
to and I not being off the Deck the whole night and did not 
carry more sail than he might have kept up with us. On 
the 19 at 6 P M off the Capes of Delaware after a thick Fogg, 
I fell in with two British Cruizers close on board them, one 
of them appeared to be a two Decker, the other a Twenty 
Gun Ship American Built, it blowing very hard and Got thick 
of fogg soon after, and we Got clear, about 2 hours after we 
saw them ag^n in a clear — having great Reason to suppose 
the coast was lined with the Enemys Ships, and no prospect 
of getting in till the Weather cleared up, I thought it best to 
bear away for this port where we anchored at three oclock 
this afternoon with 72 Thousand Dollars belonging to the 
public which I shall take care of till I have your orders what 
to do with it — however I do not think it very safe on board, 
and I have wrote to Mr Geo Olney at Provedence for him to 
come down here that I may consult with him Respecting the 
Safety of it. 

The Alliance being arriv'd in America, and a number of 
her petty officers and mens time being out, they expect to be 
paid. In short if the Ship is not paid off as soon as possible. 
The Officers who is to stay by the Ship have been a Long 
time without Wages, they likewise expect to be paid off. In 
short if the Ship is not paid off and evry man satisfyed she will 
lye a long time without men, to the contrary if they are Im- 
mediately paid I think we can be manned before the Ship is 
Repaired and I hope you will be pleased to give orders on 
that head. 

The purser leaving his Ship in France and his Books bein^*~ 

222 Riqtmts Nmu Officers 

on Shore I could not get his accounts before I sailed, nor had 
I got the Ships accounts from Mr Barclay, but he promised to 
get the pursers accounts and send them with his own Respecting 
the Ship. In order to settle with the people it is required 
for me to have them both if they are come to hand as I suppose 
they are by Capt Barney you will please to send them by the 
first opportunity. I shall keep the Ship in Readiness as she 
came from the Sea till I have the pleasure to hear from you. 

I must not omit to lett you know that I want three Lieuts 
and a Master as soon as possible for I am almost wore out for 
want of assistance especially as I am obliged to lett Capt 
Robt Caulfield who I appointed first Lieut in the Havana, and 
who has been of Great assistance to me on all occasions, should 
he incline to continue in the Navy, by Giving him a Commission 
you would make a good Officer and one that would be a credit 
to the service. If Capt Deal and Murry, two Lieuts in the 
service & Mr Tanner late master of the Confederacy be in 
Phila and can be got, you would oblige me to appoint them to 
the Ship & send one or all of them here as soon as possible. If 
Capt Caulfield does not incline to come back, Capt Douglass 
of Trenton who came passenger with me and who I have a 
Great Oppinion of will come if you will be pleased to appoint 
him a Lieut. The Ship Alliance will want a Great Deal of 
Repairs, the sooner she Gets them the better you will please to 
give orders to somebody on that head. I was obliged to lett 
Capt Greene have two of my Nine pounders, I want two in 
their place. 

I have the honor to be with proper respect Sir &c 

c>v^f^ /3i 

Hon Robt Morris 

Mate John Kessler's account of the Battle is: 
**March 7th, 1783. Sailed after taking on board a large 
quanity of Dollars and in company with the Continental ship 
Luzerne of 20 guns. Captain Green, who also had a quantity 

Dollars on board for Congress. We left the Havana for 

The Battle with the Sybille 223 

the United States, after having taken on board between one 
and two hundred thousand dollars (specie) for Congress. On 
the passage one morning when it became light we discovered 
three Frigates right ahead within two leagues of us. The 
Alliance and Luzerne hove about and the three frigates gave 
us chase. The Alliance left them and the Luzerne fast, and 
Captain Barry seeing that they were gaining on the Luzerne, 
we lay by for her to come up. The enemy also immediately 
lay by. When the Luzerne came up Captain Barry told 
Captain Greene to heave his guns overboard and put before 
the wind, while the Alliance would be kept by the wind that 
the Luzerne might escape. It was not probable that the 
enemy would attend most to the Alliance, and the Alliance 
was out of danger in consequence of her superior sailing. Capt 
Green threw overboard all his guns but two or three, but 
instead of bearing away he got on our weather bow. A sail 
being observed on our weather bow standing towards us, Captain 
Barry hoisted a signal which was answered, and thereby 
Captain Barry knew her to be a French 50 gun ship from the 
Havana, and he concluded to permit the enemy to come up 
under the assurance that the French ship would arrive and 

"Two of the enemy's ships kept at a distance on our weather 
quarter as if waiting to ascertain about the French ship, while 
the other was in our wake with topsails only and courses 
hauled, as was also the case with the Alliance. The French 
ship approaching fast. Captain Barry went from gun to gun 
on the main deck, cautioning against too much haste and not 
to fire until the enemy was right abreast. He ordered the 
main topsail hove to the mast that the enemy (who had already 
fired a Bow gun, the shot of which struck into the cabin of 
the Alliance) might come up as soon as he was abrest, when 
the action began, and before an half hour her guns were silenced 
and nothing but Musketry was fired from her. She appeared 
very much injtu^ in her hull. She was of 32 guns and appeared 
very full of men, and after an action of 45 minutes She sheered 
off. OtU' injured was, I think 3 killed and 1 1 wounded (three 
of whom died of their wounds) and one sails and rigging cut. 

224 The Alliance and the SybiOe 

During all the action the French lay to as well as the enemy's 

As soon as the ship which we had engaged hove from us, 
her consorts joined her and all made sail, after which the 
French ship came down to us, and Captain Barry asked them 
why they did not come down during the action. They answered 
that they thought we might have been taken and the signal 
known and the action only a sham to decoy him. His foolish 
idea thus perhaps lost us the three frigates, for Captain Barry's 
commencing the action was with the full expectation of the 
French ship joining and thereby not only be able to cope, 
but in fact subdue part, if not the whole, of them. The French 
Captain proposed, however, giving chase, which was done; 
but it soon appeared that his ship would not keep up with 
us, and the chase was given over. 

"On the next morning it was proposed that, as the Luzerne 
was now unarmed, the public cash should be taken on board 
the Alliance, which was accordingly done, together with BIr. 
John Brown, Secretary of the Board of Admiralty." 

"On the remainder of the passage nothing worth noting 
occurred, except that we became separated from the Lu- 
zerne. On the 2oth of March we arrived at Newport, and 
on the 25th arrived at Providence in Rhode Island, when 
the crew were paid off and discharged." 

The Due de Lauzun succeeded in getting into Philadelphia 
Off the Capes of the Delaware two British vessels barred the 
Alliance's way to entrance. 

Mate Kessler erred in recording that John Brown was 
transferred from the Due de Luzerne to the Alliance with 
the cash. 

On April 5th, Brown wrote Barry from Philadelphia, "I 
had the good luck to get in here the very day you got to 

Barry replied from Providence River, April 19th, 1783: 
"Happy for you, you had parted company with me. By 
that means you got in safe. I was standing in for the Capes 
and had got seven fathoms of water on the five fathom bank 
when it cleared up and close on board of us was a two decker 

The Lauzan Arrwes at Phila, 225 

and a frigate. They immediately gave us chase and we run 
them into twenty fathoms water. In a short time it grew 
thick and we lost sight of them. I then wore and stood in 
shore again. 

When we got in twelve fathoms they were the second time 
close on board of us and a little to the windward. I then 
bore away and they gave chase which left an opening for you 
to get in. It blew very hard and night coming on we soon 
lost sight of them. I hove the log myself and was going 
fourteen knotts with a great deal of care.** [Ms J. Brown 
Parke, Carlisle. Pa.] 

The arrival of the De Latizun is thus recorded in the Phila- 
delphia Independent Gazette of March 22, 1783: 

"Yesterday arrived here the ship Duke de Luzan, Capt. 
Green, who left the Havana on the 7th inst. in company with 
the Alliance, Capt. Barry, and the Spanish squadron of ten 
sail of the line, gun boats, &c., destined for Porto Cabaldo 
in the Caraccas, where M. Vauderuil had arrived with his 
squadron and was in hourly expectation of the arrival of the 
combined fleet from Europe. Advice of their sailing for the 
place of rendezvous is without doubt the object of this grand 

**A few days after the Alliance and the Duke de Luzan parted 
from the fleet they fell in with three British frigates, two of 
which they engaged and beat off; the other did not come to 
action, the Triton, a French, 64, and a frigate appearing to 
windward, the enemy prudently retired.*' The same paper 
reported just one week later: "Last Thursday a gentleman 
arrived from Rhode Island with advice that the Alliance 
frigate, Capt. Barry, was arrived at Newport. She has had 
two severe actions on her passage from the Havana with 
frigates of equal force. It is said she has brought a large sum 
of money on Government account." 

The Alliance frigate, Capt Barry is arrived at Newport in 

Rhode Island which she left in company with the ship Duke 

fie Lauzun lately arrived here. On the loth inst (three days 

after they left Havana) I hey fell in with three British frigates, 

with whom they had an action in which the Alliance lost 11 

226 Th$ Sybttle 

men killed &c but we have no particulars of this affair. Capt 
Barry was chased on our coast by two frigates. Penna Packet 
March 29th 1783. 

The name of the English frigate with which the Alliance 
had had the "severe action" and the final Naval encounter 
of the War does not appear in any of the above or other con- 
temporary reports. Nor does Mate Kessler mention it while 
Cooper's History of the Navy [ed. 1839] says '*Even the name 
of the English ship appears to be lost" though in the later 
edition [1847] Cooper says James' History of the English 
Navy, "a very inaccurate authority" names **the Sibyl rating 
20 gun but mounting 28 commanded by Captain Vashon." 

That is correct. It was the Sybille, commanded by Captain 
Vashon. The Syhille, a French ship of 38 guns and 350 men, 
had, on January 22 of this year, been captured, in Lat. 36° 30', 
by the Hussar, 20 guns and 160 men, commanded by Thomas 
Macnamara Russell, and sent into New York, arriving there 
on February 8. Captain Russell treated the captain of the 
Syhille somewhat harshly, claiming that he had shown false 
colors and a flag of distress in order to decoy the Hussar, 
and had then fired upon her. Newspaper controversy con- 
cerning this allegation may be found in the Pennsylvania 
Journal of March i, 1783, and reply thereto in the Royal 
Gazette of New York, March 8. The Syhille was added to the 
British Navy and departed to the southward, where she came 
in contact with the Alliance and Barry on March loth 1783. 

In Gouldsborough's Military and Naval Magazine (vol. II, 
p. 185) it is related: "In 1802 an officer attached to Com- 
modore Dale's squadron met with Captain Vashon, of the 
British Navy, at Gibraltar, and was informed by him that 
he commanded the English sloop of war [Sybil\. Captain 
Vashon made the most respectful inquiries after Commodore 
Barry, and stated the facts, as they had been frequently 
related before by the Commodore himself; and in the most 
magnanimous terms accorded that gallant officer a full and 
generous portion of his approbation, for the masterly man- 
ecu vring of the Alliance on that occasion. 

"Captain Vashon stood high in the British navy as a dis- 

Captain Vashon 227 

tinguished seaman, and observed that the commander of the 
74, who was then an admiral, spoke often to him on the subject 
of their pursuit of the frigate Alliance; always giving her 
commander great credit for his conduct. 

* 'Commodore Barry, on this as on all other occasions, evinced 
his love of justice and spoke of Captain Vashon's conduct, 
bravery and ability in terms of the highest commendation." 

In the Portfolio for July i, 1813, it is stated that Captain 
Vashon ''confessed he had never seen a ship so ably fought 
as the Alliance;** that he had never before "received such a 
drubbing and that he was indebted to the assistance of his 

"The coolness and intrepidity, no less than the skill and 
fertility in expedients, which Captain Barry displayed on 
this occasion, are described in naval annals as truly wonderful : 
every quality of a great naval commander was brought out 
with extrs^ordinary brilliancy." {Metropolitan Magazine, vol. 
IV, No. 7.) 

**It was when hailed on this occasion that Barry answered: 
"The United States ship Alliance, saucy Jack Barry — ^half 
Irishman, half Yankee — who are you?" ["Irish Celts, a 
Cyclopedia of Race History," Detroit, 1884] and many similar 
publications. No authority for the statement is given. Barry 
is not likely to have indulged in such bombast. 

The story of "The Last Battle of the Revolution" which all 
publications have assigned to March, 1782, is thus related in 
Abbot's" Blue Jackets of ^76": 

"Once more, before the cessation of hostilities between Great 

Britain and the United States threw her out of commission, 

did the Alliance exchange shots with a hostile man-of-war. 

It was in 1 782 [ought to be March, 1 783] when the noble frigate 

was engaged in bringing specie from the West Indies. She 

Iiad under convoy a vessel loaded with supples, and the two 

liad hardly left Havana when some of the enemy's ships caught 

sight of them and gave chase. While the chase was in progress 

sk, 50 gun ship hove in sight, and was soon made out to be a 

^i^ienchjfrigate. Feeling that he had an ally at hand, Barry 

rmow wore ship, and attacked the leading vessel, and a spirited 


228 ''This is the Ship Alliance'* 

action followed, until the enemy, finding himself hard pressed, 
signalled, for his consorts, and Barr>% seeing that the French 
ship made no sign of coming to his aid, drew off. 

"Irritated by the failure of the French frigate to come to 
his assistance, Barry bore down upon her and hailed. The 
French captain declared that the manoeuvres of the Alliance 
and her antagonist had made him suspect that the engagement 
was only a trick to draw him into the power of the British 
fleet. He had feared that the Alliance had been captured, 
and was being used as a decoy; but now that the matter was 
made clear to him, he would join the Alliance in pursuit of 
the enemy. This he did; but Barry soon found that the 
fifty was so slow a sailer that the Alliance might catch up 
with the British fleet, and be knocked to pieces by their guns 
before the Frenchman could get within range. Accordingly 
he abandoned the chase in disgust, and renewed his homeward 

"This engagement was the last fought by the Alliance during 
the Revolution, and with it we practically complete our 
narrative of the work of the regular navy during that war" 

William Collins, the Irish- American poet, has also sung of 
this battle, though not with absolute historical accuracy. 
Poets nor rhymsters are not Historians. 

"One eve as day was dpng 

And sinking into night. 
With the British ensign flying 

THE SIBYL came in sight. 

The English Captain hailed us 

As he down upK)n us bore. 
And proudly answered BARRY 

Our brave old Commodore : 

"This is the ship ALLIANCE 

From Philadelphia town 
And proudly bids defiance 

To England's King and crown. 

As Captain of the deck I stand 

To guard her banner true, 
Half Yankee and half Irishman 

What tyrant's slave are you?" 

Battle after Peace 229 

Then with a voice of thunder 

Our guns began the fight, 
Though battling against numbers 

And the foeman's fleet in sight : 

For the Hudson and the Shannon 

'Gainst the minions of the crown 
We fought them *till our cannon 

Brought the British ensign down. 

Says the Commodore, "We'll take her 

From before their very eyes, 
With another broadside rake her, 

And we'll bear her off a prize." 

Then our round shot went careering 

Through their rigging and their spars 
And our crew began a cheering 

For the Yankee stripes and stars. 

And streaming on the breeze aloft 

It waved in all its pride 
And on the foeman's captured crafts 

Now sailing side by side. 

Oh' How our gallant seamen cheered 

Just as the sun went down 
And our good vessel homeward steered 

For Philadelphia town." 

e Alliance had fought the last battle of the Revolution 
' encounter with the Syhille — and had saved the money 
ved from the Lauzun. Several historical recitals says that 
noney was the foundation capital of the Bank of North 
ica Philadelphia. That institution was chartered in 
It has no records covering this money. In a prior 
;er we have shown where the specie came from on which 
bunded the credit of that Bank. 

mav be remarked that this battle of the Allia^ice vf'xXh 
yhillc occurred after, not only the signing of the Provisional 
les of Peace on November 30th, 1782, at Paris, after the 
tninary Articles for restoring peace signed at Versaille 
inuary 20th, 1783, but also after the Ratification of the 
tninary Articles on the 3d of February, 1783, by the 
iters of the United States, France and Great Britain, by 

230 News of Peace Arrhjes 

which a cesastion of hostilities was agreed upon and also thirteen 
days after Congress had ordered the recall of all vessels. Con- 
gress on the Eleventh of April 1783, issued a Proclamation 
"Declaring the cessation of Arras as well by Sea as by land" 
but one month prior — March loth, 1783 — Captain John Barry 
had had the final encounter on the ocean in defense of the 
Liberty and Independence of America. 

The Alliance arrived at Newport, Rhode Island, on March 
2oth. On March 23d, Elias Boudinot, of Philadelphia, wrote 
Lewis Pintard, at New York: 

"I do not loose a moment to have the pleasure of informing 
you that an Express has just arrived from on board a Sloop 
of War in the River which left Cadiz on the 14th of February. 
She announces the definite Treaty having been signed on the 
2 1 St of January — that all hostilities had ceased in Europe, 
and that the same happy event was to take place in this Coun- 
try on the 20th of March inst. 

"The Count D Estaing, who was ready to sail with 60 Ships 
of the Line and a very formidable armament had given up the 
attempt and was despersing his fleet to the different ports. . . . 

"This Ship does not bring us the ofiicial despatches, having 
been sent to the Count De Estaing and Marquis de la Fayette, 
in hopes that she might (as she has done) be the fortunate 
medium of the earliest communication." [Ms.'\ 

The next day this French "sloop of War*' the Le Triomphe, 
commanded by Chevalier du Quesne, arrived at Philadelphia 
with the preliminary Treaty of Peace. She had been despatched 
by D' Estaing from Cadiz on February 11 "Great and joyful 
was the sensation which spread itself over the city in the 
course of the day." 

On the next day, the 25th, Congress ordered the immediate 
recall of all vessels cruising under commission from the United 

The surrender at Yorktown (October, 1 781), virtually closed 
hostilities on land. Their cessation was arranged, preliminary 
Articles of Peace were signed, and, finally, on April 19, 1783, 
Washington announced the close of the war and the dis- 
bandment of the army. 

• 'May the Protestant Religion Preuail " 231 

Barry had commanded the Lexington, the first vessel com- 
missioned by authority of the Continental Congress. He 
closed his endeavors in the contest for Freedom and Inde- 
pendence by being commander of the last vessel in Conti- 
nental commission. Under the Stars and Stripes he had 
fought the last Naval battle of the Revolution. 

On April 1 6, at the Court House, Second and Market streets, 
Philadelphia, the cessation of hostilities was proclaimed to 
**a vast concourse of people, who expressed their satisfaction 
on the happy occasion by repeated shouts. The State flag 
was hoisted on Market street warf, the bells were rung and a 
general joy diffused itself throughout the city." 

What a contrast at New York, the seat of Royal author- 
ity in America for the subjugation of the Colonies : 

**When the proclamation was read nothing but groans 
and hisses prevailed, attended by bitter reproaches and curses 
on their King for having deserted them in the midst of their 

Philadelphia, the seat of the "Rebellion." was now open 
to the commerce of the world. On May 2 the ship Hibemia, 
Roger Scallan, master, arrived from Dublin, and soon at the 
store of Clement Biddle her cargo of "gold and silver silks, 
rich and slight Brocades, flowered Mantuas and Fabrics, 
coloured and sky coloured Tissues and Florentines, tam- 
boured silk and Sattin Shapes for Gentlemen's Vests and 
black Norwich Capes," were on sale. 

The land bounded with the joy of the people. The men 
of Northampton, having met on May 23, amid festivities 
and with "toasts" proclaimed their sentiments; the women, 
not being participants, met the next day and proclaimed 
with glad acclaim their patriotic sentiments and the hopes 
with which new won freedom animated them. 

"May the Protestant religion prevail and flourish through 
all nations," was the twelfth toast of the "Ladies of Northamp- 

"They wish'd religion might prevail, 
To make it sure drank a jull pail.** 

{Independent Gazette, May 31 and June 14, 1783.) 

232 Barry, the Rrst and the Last 

Yet an Irish bom Roman Catholic American had battled 
all the eight years — the first and the last — to win Freedom 
and Independence for the land in which the Protestant Religion 
*'might" prevail. 

On July 28th, 1783, the Citizens of Philadelphia addressed 
Congress congratulating that body on the Declaration of Peace. 
The Addresses was referred to Messrs. Williamson, Duane, Lee 
and Izard, who reported a resolution which was adopted 
that Congress have great satisfaction in reviewing the spirited 
and patriotic exertions which have been made by the govern- 
ment and citizens of Philadelphia in the course of the late 
glorious war and they are highly pleased with the Resolution 
of the Citizens of Philadelphia to aid in all measiures whkh 
have a tendency to support the National honor and dignity. 
[Papers Congress No. 20, Vol. 11, p. 159.] 

Correspondence 233 



Oi^board the Alliance, Rhode Island Harbour, March 22nd, 1 78;;, 

Since writing you by Mr Caulfield, there is opportunity wch 
may come to hand before him, therefore I thought it my duty 
to Inform you that it is the Opinion of the People here that 
my Ship is not Safe from the Enemy. I therefore have come 
to a Determination to Run up the River within 5 Miles of 
Providence, where the Ship can be well Repaired and fitted 
out, as she must have these Repairs before she can possibly 
go to Sea, in order to Despatch that Business as soon as possible 
I shall Imediately Get people to Work. Carpenters* work 
will be the most thing that will be wanting. I must not forget 
to put you in mind of paying the Ship off as soon as possible 
and please to send the Books I wrote for or it will be Im- 
possible to settle without them properly. The Officers I 
stand in Great Need of likewise. 

I am Sir 

Your Most Obedt 
huml Sert 
HoNL RoBT Morris (Signed) J. Barry 

Boston March 24. 1783 — 
Dear Sir — 

By mr N. Barret the last Evening I had the pleasure to 

hear of your safe arrival in the frigate Alliance at N Port, on 

which I most sincerely Congratulate you. I have a Letter 

from the Honl Robt Morris Esquire under ye 17. February, an 

Extract of which I now Give you "as to the Frigates Alliance 

and Hague, if either or both of them arrive it is my desire that 

they be Imediately fitted for Sea; if the War continues we 

shall find Employment for them, but if not they can take the 

234 Correspondence 

Greater part of their Guns in their Hold, & with as many 

hands as are Necessary to Navigate them proceed to the 

Chesapeak there to take in a Cargo of Tobacco for Europe." 

I have only further to observe that in case you proceed to 

this port after leaving your Money with Geo Olney Esqr at 

Providence, I have no doubt you will be able for the most 

Expeditious Manner to Man your Frigate on the punctual 

Payment of your pay list, which I shall endeavour Immediately 

to Discharge, that the Credit of the American Navy may 

Revive and be kapt up. 

I am Sir 

with much Esteem 

Your Sincere huml Servt 
John Barry Esquire ( Signed) Thos Russbll 

On board the Alliance Petuxet March 26 1783 

I have the honor to Receive your favour of 24 Inst. I am 
much oblig'd to you for your Good Wishes towards me. With 
Respect to my Going to Boston with the Ship, I must Inform 
you it would be much more Satisfactory to me to be there 
than where the Ship is but I have no orders to leave this place, 
and some time before I can Get any I have began to fitt the 
Ship. vShe wanting a Good Deal of Repairs, some of which 
she must have before she can go to Sea. 

I have wrote Mr Morris Respecting the paying the people 
who have serv'd their time out, and if they are not paid, I do 
not Expect any man will go in the Ship. To the contrary 
if they are paid, two thirds of them will go again. Should be 
much obliged to you to send me an acct of what Money you 
have paid for the Alliance & to whom paid. My purser leaving 
me in France & his books being on shore, I had not time to 
procure a copy of them before I can settle with the people I 
must have his accts. 

I Should be much obliged to you to make an Enquiry of 
his Father Mr William Cooper if he has Reed any copy oi 
them & send them as soon as possible to me. 

I have the Honor to be 
Sir Your Most Obedt 
huml Servt 
Thos Russell Esquire (Signed) J. Barry 

Correspondence 235 

On board the Alliance Petuxet March 26. 1 783. 
Dear Sir. 

Jl Multiplicity of Business and the want of Officers to execute 
it is the only apology I can make for not writing to you sooner. 
I have still on board what public money I brought with me, 
having no orders about it and the people here think it is as 
safe on board as ashore. I must confess it would be more to 
my satisfaction to have got clear of it as I am obliged to keep 
close on board and my mind not all at ease. I have wrote 
to Mrs Barry, and I expect to see her in 10 or 12 days, as soon 
as I can get Officers I intend to pay a visit to my friends in 
Boston, be pleased to make my best Respects to Mrs Jones & 
Excuse me to her for not writing to her. I assure you at my 
Leisure Moments I am very Lazy in that Respect & many of 
my friends scold me for it. I sent to your address, several 
Vessels, one of which, and the only one of any consequence I 
fear is Retaken, as I understand some of the people are Got 
home. I suppose you are acquainted long ere this that 6 of 
my officers left me in france, because I would not pay them 
their Wages, the consequences is I dont believe they will 
either get prize money or wages. 

I have the pleasure to be 
Sir Your Most Obedt 
huml Servt 
Jno Coffin Jones Esqr. (Signed) J. Barry 

On board the Alliance Petuxet March 27. 1783 

It is with pleasure I acquaint you of my safe arrival here 
after being so long absent from my country. I have no doubt 
long ere Uiis you have heard of six of my principal^officers 
leaving me in france, the Reason is because I would not pay 
them their wages. Since that I have had a Great Deal of 
Trouble for want of them — be pleased to inform me if Mr 
Mulford has Got any of his Good wine & how he sells it. in- 
quire as for yourself, I want some for my own use & what I 
had from him before was very Good — 

I am Gentlemen 

Your Most Obedt Servt 
Messr Howland & CoiT (Signed) J. Barry 

236 Correspondence 

Providence 27 March 1783 
Capt Barry 

This serves to Inform you Doct Kendal has Recovered 

against you one hundred and eighty pounds which I thought 

Mr Russell, Mr Jones, or Mr Brown would have Discharged 

the same, but it fell to me to do it which was a Great Damage 

to me to pay so much, which I was obliged to do or add more 

cost to it. I am now here and should have been glad to have 

seen you, which Disapointed me much, but my Business would 

not admit of my tarrying, but should be Glad you would 

Deschg the same as I am in want of the same. I give you Joy 

upon the Success attending you on this Voyage 

I am with Due Respect 

Your Most obt 

(Signed) Jos. Henderson 

On board the Alliance Petuxet March 28. 1783 

You will please send down in the Boat Two Coils of Nine 
Thread Ratline & 2 Coils of 12 thd Ratline, likewise 100 lbs 
of Waming [^] & five Quarters of Beef. 

I am sorry we had not the pleasure of your company Yesterday 

I wish you had thought of them three Gentlemen sooner. My 

not being acquainted with them was the only Reason I did 

not ask them. 

I Remain Sir 

your obed. 

hum Servt 

Geo Olnev Esquire (Signed J. Barry 

On board the Alliance Petuxet March 28 1783 

Your favor of Yesterdavs date I have received, & must 

confess it surprizes me very much when you tell me that Dr 

Kendal recovered one hundred & eighty pounds against me. 

I would not wish to Doubt Mr Hendersons word on that subject 

but I can hardly think that there is a sett of Laws that will 

Condemn a Man who is fighting for them without being heard. 

Correspondence 237 

If Doct. Kendal has sued me it must be for vService Done 

the public & the public must pay him. I am sorry you should 

be out of pockett but be assured before I pay it I must know 

what for 

I am Sir 

Your most Obedt 

huml Servt 

Joseph Henderson Esqr (Signed) J. Barry 

Marine Office 29th March 1 78.; 

I have received your favor of 22nd Instant & Copy of the 
20th, I write by this opportunity to Mr Olney to cause the 
Necessary Repairs to be done to your Ship, also to Ship the 
Necessary Stores &ca. You will Ship about fifty men, and 
no more provision than may be Necessary for a Short Run as 
far for Instance as the Chesapeak. I will take care and send 
on the proper officers. The Peace being about to take place 
you will not want any addition to your Gunners Stores or 
anything of that kind. 

I am very Desirous that the Ship should be paid off & I 
write to Mr Olney on the subject. You will Recollect that 
at any Rate no more is to be paid than what has become due 
since the Commencement of my Administration. The pursers 
accounts have not been Transmitted by Mr Barclay, and 
therefore the final adjustment which I wish for cannot take 
place, howevera payment may be made in part and the Ballances 
may be paid here as soon as the account can be settled. In 
order therefore to do Justice to the Public, & as much Justice 
as Possible to the Individuals consem'd I have determined on 
this Course. You must make the best Estimate you can of 
what is due to each Individual and Give an order on Mr Olney 
for the amount, taking care to leave so much behind as may 
cover the Demands against them in the pursers Books &ca. 
Mr Olney will pay these orders and they will be Transmitted 
to the Office here where the paymaster will liquidate all the 
accounts and pay the Ballences when appli'd for. But to 
avoid Mistakes it will be best for vou to Give to each Man 2 

238 Barry to Morris 

Certificate that he belong'd to the Ship, with his Name and 
Rank, so that when he applies here he may be known by the 
paymaster and settled wth accordingly. This you wiD see 
is the best mode I can adopt for adjustment until the accounts 
arrive, perhaps they may come Soon, and if so we may do 
better, but I wish that the officers and Seamen may have evry 
Convenience which is possible under present circumstances. 
You will be pleased to transmitt your charges against those 
officers who staid in France and be prepared to Support them 
before a Court Martial. 
[NO Barry Esqr Robt. Morris. 

On board the Alliance March 30. 1 783. 

I have to Inform you that we are doing all in our power to 

fit the Ship out, there are many things she stands in need off 

if the War Continues, but should there be a peace we might do 

without several light sails, water-casks and a small number of 

men added to what is on board might do to navigate her in 

peaceable times, likewise a small proportion of Spare Riging, 

an article which is ver>' dear here. I have the Money Still 

on board which makes me very uneasy as I dont think it is 

at all safe. I wrote you some time ago about officers. I wish 

you would be pleased to send them as soon as possible, for I 

stand in great need of them. A Purser is likewise Very much 

Wanting. Should the War Continue I have a plan to lay 

before you which I am pretty sure you will adopt, and I am 

certain will be of great Service to the public. I forgot to 

mention to you that Capt Harding came on board the Alliance 

at Cape Francois, and was of Great Service to me on all Occasion. 

As soon as the Ship is fitt to be left I should be much oblig'd 

to you for permission to go to Philadelphia, as my affairs in 

that place are lying in a Bad way, and my presents is requested 

to put them to rights, a few Days would Compleat the Business. 

I have the honor to be Sir 

Your Most Obedt 

& Most Humbl Servt 

Hon Robt Morris (Signed) J. Barry 

Barry to Morris 239 

On board the Alliance Pautuxet March 31. 1783 

I am jest favoured with an. opportunity by Mr Barret who 
came passenger in the Alliance from the Havana to acquaint 
you that the news of peace is very agreeably arrived. On 
account of which I am to inform you that if our ships are to 
Carry Cargoes, the Number of Officers ought to be reduced 
and on which I beg leave to lay before you the number that I 
think both necessary, and at ye Same time to keep up the 
appearance of a public Ship. 

Two Lieutenants, a Master, Two Masters Mates, foer Mid- 
shipmen, one Lieut, of Marines, one Boatswain, one Gunner, 
one Carpenter, one Cooper, one Capt°* Clerk to answer for a 
Purser, one Ships Steward, one Surgeon, one Surgeons Mate, 
a Boatswains Mate, a Gunners Mate, a Carpenters Mate, one 
Cook. The Ship at present is very Leaky. If we cannot find 
it out, we shall be obliged to heave her Down, if so & oblige to 
take the Copper off to find out the Leak. I think if we are to 
go a Mercht Voyage we had best not put it on again. Should 
that be the case Should be much obliged to you to lett me putt a 
small Round House on the Ship. The Expence I will be at my- 
self and it can be of no Damage to yr Ship in peaceable times, 
this is a poor place we have Got to, but I hope to do Evry thing 

to your Satisfaction. 

I have the honor to be Sir 
Your obedt 

& Very Huml Servt 
Hon. Robt. Morris, J. Barry 

Boston April ist. 1783 
Dear Sir 

Yesterday I Received your favour of 27th March & agreable 
to your Desire I enclose you a List of the Men to whom I have 
advanced Money, that it may be Deducted from their Wages 
in Case Mr Morris should direct the payment of Wages at 
Rhode Island, & conclude to have the Alhance Remain there. 
Mr William Cooper has heard nothing from his Son, nor 
was there any accounts left for him. 

I Remain Sir with Esteem 

Your Most Humble Servt 
J NO. Barry Esquire (Signed) Thomas Russbll 

240 '^Semng the Country FaifhfuUy'' 

On board the Alliance Patuxet April 3. 1783. 

I was Informed the other Day by a Letter from Joseph 
Henderson Esquire, vSherifT of Boston, that Doctr Kendal had 
Recov'd one hundred and Eighty pounds against me in one 
of your Courts. I must confess that its a mistery to me how 
any people can Give Sentence in favour of a Deserter, that is, 
one who Quits the public service without leave, while the 
man he sues is doing his Duty in serving his Country, however 
Sir, I should be much obliged to you to lett me know whether 
that Money is not to be paid by the public, and if so to send 
me a Certificate, if not I am in a fine Box after serving the 
Country faithfully the whole War to be obliged to leave it at 
last, as evry' Man, even Deserters that has been under me 
can sue me for what the public nor me have no right to pay 
them according to resolves of Congress. 

I have the honor to be Sir 
Your most obedt 
huml Ser\'t 
Jno Lowell Esquire (Signed) J. Barry 

On board the Alliance Pautuxet April 3. 1783. 
Dr Sir 

I have the pleasure to Inform you of my safe arrival here a 
few Days ago from the Havana, where I left a Brig* belonging 
to you, Capt Johnston from Bordeaux, I think you need be 
under no apprehensions of his being taken for its my opinion 
he will not sail in all this Month, in a Great Measure owing to 
his not having permission to Land his Cargo, those things 
take time for the officers there will not be hurried. In short 
they are a Lazy, indolent people alltogether. I wrote you 
when I was in America last that I had Given Mr Samuel Broom 
the Money I owed you and he promised he woud pay you in 
Boston Be pleased to lett me know if you have Got it,i and 
if you have advanced any more in the same way in order that 
I may pay, however if you have not it is well, as I have Got 
Money there through another Channell. My best Respects to 
all your Good Family, and believe me to be, 

Dr Sir, 

Your most obedt 
Humble Servt 
N. Tracy Esquire — (Signed) J. Barry 

Barry to Blery 241 

On board the Alliance Pautuxet April 4. 1783. 

I have jest had the pleasure of receiving yours of 28 Ultimo. 

I am very sorry I did not [know] Ceasar had a Master or a 

Mistress before or Rather that I had not a power from them 

to take care of his Wages & prize money the Cruize before 

Last. I think, but am not sure, a Mr Elliot of Boston had a 

power & Reed both. This cruize he Received from me in 

France 15 Guineas or thereabouts, the Remainder of his P. 

Money for the Ships sent in there, I will pay when the Property 

arrives in America, which I hope will be soon, when I am Inabled 

to Discharge that Trust the Alliance Crew put in me. I shall 

advertise it in the public Papers, when & where it is to be 

paid, & by whom, as for his wages for the Cruize, he will have 

Something Considerable coming. I expect Mr Morris will 

soon order it paid, when that is the case anybody with a power 

will Receive it. A few Days ago I Gave him Liberty to go to 

N. Port, and I dare say he is there now, he can Give a particular 

account of what he has Reed. The Chief of the Money I 

Gave him in france he laid out in Cloaths, and I am told he 

sent them ashore to his Mother. I am sorry to inform you 

that I do not like my Situation at all not so much that it is 

disagreable to myself, but it is a Very Bad place to fitt out the 

Ship at & I fear when we come to make an overhaul, we shall 

find She wants more than we expected. 

I have the honor to be Sir 

Your Most Obedt 

& Most Huml Servt 

HoNL Will** Ellerev (Signed) J. Barry 

N. Port — 

On board the Alliance Pautuxet April 4. 1783. 

I should be Glad to know if there is any Carpenters coming 

to Work, if not shall write to Mr Morris to have the Ship sent 

some where, where she can be Repaired, for I dont see how 

it will be possible to heave her Down here if what is to come 

is so Dainty as what you sent ye other Day. Should be much 

242 "The Mosf Agreeable of all Messengers** 

obliged to you to send down more. Six Quire Letter Paper & 
a Carcan of Beef, if possible I will come to Town in the Afternoon 
tomorrow. I caught a severe cold or I should have had the 
pleasure of seeing you ere this pray lett me know how much 
we are to pay for the flatt, as we shall send her to Town to- 
morrow, having not much use for her at present. 

I am Sir 

Your Huml Scrvt 
Geo Olney Esqr (Signed) J. Barry 

Philadelphia April 5. 1783 
I need not tell you, My Dr Barry, how much I was pleased 
to hear of your arrival. I had the Good Luck to Get here the 
Very Day that you Got to N. Port, so that a point of Delicacy 
which prevented me from being from you has evenitably 
[eventually?] turned out for the best. This will be handed 
you by the most agreeable of all messengers and to her I beg 
leave to refer you for whatever you may think proper to Enquire 
after hoping that She may have an agreable Journey and meet 
you in health and contentment. I found here some letters 
from Mr Thomas Barclay which relates to your concerns. 
In one of the 7th January he informs me that he has shipped 
to my adress to your account sundry Goods by the Ship St. 
James amo^ 11 758. 19 — by the Ship Washington Capt Jonah 
2244.8, and that he intends to ship by the America Capt Cald- 
well to the amo* of 20,000 livres. The Invoice of the two first 
are sent, and the Goods appear to be well assorted but it is 
unlucky that those Goods were order'd — you will certainly 
lose by them, especially as Mr Barclay writes that he has 
made Insurance, however you may Depend that I will do my 
best for your advantage. I have had Mrs Barrys consent to 
send what Remained with her to the Havana, and If I cannot 
sell them in a Day or two, I shall ship such parcels as may be 
suitable to our friend Sea Groves by Capt Deal — with orders 
to sell and Remit in Specie, and when the Goods from francc 
may Arrive If they cannot be sold to some advantage I should 
like to have your Instructions to ship them likewise the same 
way which I apprehend will be best. Mrs Barry can inform 

Barry to go to Holland 243 

you of the unfortunate turn which Dry Goods have taken. 
It is almost Impossible to sell a single piece of anything, and 
Indeed there is a Total Stop put to all kinds of Trade. I have 
reed the accounts of Advances which you made to your officers 
in France, and in your Letter with that account you desire me 
in case Mr Barclay does not ship the Goods, to draw the Money 
accruing to yourself and officers for the sale of prizes out of 
his hands. Suppose Mr Barclay does not ship those Goods, 
pray Give me your Directions what is to be done. Have you 
Directed him to forward me the sales, and to answer my Bills 
if they should be Drawn. Exchange has Got up to 6|9 for 
5 Livres, at which I suppose it will Remain for some time. 
Should any of your Money come into my hands, how am I to 
dispose of it. Give your Sentiments on that head. It appears 
to me at present that every Course of Trade will be Extremely 
uncertain for some time, an emence Glut of Goods will certainly 
be sent in here, which will make ye Importation of them 
extremely precarious. Pray consider every matter and write 
to me fully. I shall attend and take up all your Letters here 
and will constantly advise you of evrything which may turn up. 

Mr Morris Informs me that you are to come Round to 
Virginia to take in Tobacco for Holland. I suppose the 
summer will be pretty well advanc'd before you can sail from 
thence, and by that time I hope that yours & my affairs will be 
clos'd so as to enable me to Embarke with you to Negociate 
in Europe some plan that will turn to our Mutual Advantage, 
this is my Idea at present, and I shall use my Endeavours to 
fulfill it. Mr Morris talks of Leaving his office in May but I 
am Doubtful whether he will or not. 

I shall now Trouble you in Regard to the Money which 
you bro^ from Havana for my private account which was 
4950 Dollars — 

I shall draw upon you in favour of John Donald- 
son & Co which please to pay for .... 2500 Dolls. 

You will please pay to Mr Natl Barret who 
came your Passenger and take his Rect upon 
bill Lading which he has from Capt J no 
Greene 1500 

244 John Broum to John Barry 

You will please pay to Capt Samuel Stillman 
who also came your passenger and take up 
from him Capt Greenes Bill of Lading with a 
Rect upon it the sum of 1500 


If Capt Stillman is not present and you can find Capt Jon* 
Alden who also came with you, in that case take up from him 
Capt Greene's Bill of Lading for 1400 Dollars with a Receipt, 
and you need not mind Capt Stillman, but let him forward 
his bill here. Capt Greene Informs me that he has Requested 
you to pay to me orders 600 Dollars which you Brought for 
him. I have counted upon that Sum which will enable you to 
Pay what I have now mentioned, and will leave a ballance in 
my favour which you can send me. Gold or in any other way 
when convenient, your Rect given to Capt Greene and those 
Given for me I will forward to you with Receipts upon them 
when this Matter is clos'd I must beg of you to find out if Capt. 
Stillman or Capt Alden and settle with either of them, as it 
will save the Expence of bringing the Money here. When 
you take up their Bills of Lading, please to forward them to 
me by some safe hand. I shall thank you to send the inclosed 
Letter to Mr Barret per Post. I have said everything I can 
think of at present. I shall refer you to Mrs Barry for News 
both public and private, we are hourly expecting some accounts 
from Europe, It can hardly be doubted but we are on Peace, 
and yet it is Extrordinary why the confirmation of it is so long 
a coming. I shall be constantly on the Spot here, and I begg 
you to write me as often as possible. You may rely on my 
attention to Evry thing which Regards you — being with Great 
Truth my Dr Barry 

Your Affectionate friend 
John Barry Esqr John Brown 

Philadelphia April 5. 1783 
Dr Sir 

Be assured it Gives me Infinite pleasure to hear of your 

safe arrival and to have this opportunity of testifying it by 

"i4 Most Rascally Wnt*' 245 

your worthy companion Mrs Barry. I hope you may both 
live long to enjoy the fruits of your Labor acquired with so 
much honor, Bravery & Danger, and I think you may count 
yourself almost singularly fortunate after the uncommon 
Risks you have Run, never to be taken during this Long & 
Disagreable War which I hope is at last happily terminated, 
and believe me to be with sincerest wishes for your happiness 

Dr Sir 

Your affect Huml Servt 

Jno Barry Esqr Wm French 

On board the Alliance Providence River April 8. 1783 
Gentlemen — 

I have the pleasure to acquaint you that I Reed your favr 
of the 31 Ulto together with a copy of the most rascally writ 
couch 'd with the most dirty Language I ever beheld. You 
may be assured if ever I catch either Majestrate or any of the 
Hallams out of their own State I will Dress them very Genteely 
for their Dirty Treatment, as for their sueing me I care not 
a figg for them. I comply'd with my orders and I out them, 
or any Dirty Scoundrels like them to Defyance. I think you 
had best fee a Lawyer and for your better Government I send 
you acct of the Recapture of the Sloop Fortune, and a copy of 
my orders from the Honl Robt Morris as those low fellows 
have taken such unwarrantable Steps I care not a farthing 
what Expence they run themselves to, I observe in the warrant 
they have not spelt my name right, therefore it cannot be me 
they have summon 'd, and you can pay the money before they 
bring a right Summons. Inclos'd you have the papers for the 
distribution of the money in your hands belonging to the crew 
of the Alliance. I have had the pleasure of seeing Mr Mumford 
at providence, he will lett you have a quarter Cask of his best 
Madeira at 2 Dollars & | of a Dollar pr Gall, please to send it 
to me as soon as you can and pay him for it. 

With Respect to your two Negroes there on board & their 
prize Money is still unpaid but what I gave them in france to 
get Cloaths for them which is about 120 Livres each. The 
people made me their Agent and the Ballance of their prize 

246 "Nouj We Have Peace'' 

money I order'd ship*d to Phila as soon as it arrives I shall 
advertise in order that they may be paid — you will Give me 
Directions with Respect to what is coming to you, it will not 
be near as much as people imagine, for the Sugars & Rum 
must have sold low% there being a Great Quantity in f ranee. 

I do not Expect to come your way nor neither do I want to 
see the acct but trust Intirely to yourselves. I am very son)' 
for your misfortunes & I hope now that we have peace you 
will soon make up your losses. Parker, Cooper, Geagan, 
Bucklev, Gardner & Fletcher left me in France because I 
would not pay them their wages, a thing that was entirely out 
of my power having no orders about it, as for any Dislike 
they could have to me, I believe it was very small, for I assure 
you we always liv'd in that sociable way you saw in New London 
No doubt ere this, you have heard of the Luzemes arrival. 
I do not want any money myself in Phila but there is some 
private money on board the Alliance, and I dare say is the 
Merchts knew of your having that sum they would Give the 
money here, be pleased to make my best complimants to 
Capt Harding, and tell him I sett ofT in two or three Days for 
Philadelphia, if he has anything there to do he may command 
me. I wish you would lett me know what I am to do with 
your two Negros. I expect in a few Days to have orders to pay 
the people off, when that is the case shall acquaint you of it 
till then I remain 


Your most obedt 

& Most Humble Servt 
Messrs Howland & Coit (Signed) J. Barry 

Weathersfield April i8. 1783 

We have had the pleasure to see your Letter to Capt Sand 
Stillman in which you Inform'd him that you would take up 
Capt John Greenes Bill of Ladg for 1500 Spanish Milled Dollai^ 
provided he would send to Providence for ye cash. Agreeable 

Why Barry Did Not Come to Philadelphia 247 

thereto we have sent by Capt Tryon the bearer said Bill Lading, 

which you will please pay to him agreable to the endorsemt 


We are Sir 

Your Mo Obt 

hum Servts 

Jno Barry Esqr Jno Wright & Co 

In the following letter to John Brown, Captain Barry 
relates why he was unable to enter the Delaware, and was 
obliged to run northward to New London : 

On board the Axliance, Providence River April 19. 1783 
Dr Brown 

I have Received your favour of the fifth Ulto but before that 
came to hand I had the pleasure to hear of your safe arrival 
happy for you you had parted company with me, by that means 
you Got Safe in. I was standing in for the Capes and had 
Got in 7 fathms Water on the 5fm Bank, when it clear'd up and 
close on board of us was a 2 Decker & a frigate they immediately 
gave us Chase & we run them into 20 fm Water, in a short 
time it grew thick and we lost sight of them. I then wore and 
stood in shore again, when I got in 1 2 fm they were the second 
time close on board of us and a Little to Windwd. I then 
bore away & they Gave Chase which left an opning for you to 
Get in it blew very hard and night coming on we soon lost sight 
of them I hove the Logg myself & was going 14 Knotts with a 
Great Deal of care. With Respect to the Goods and Letters 
from Mr Thomas Barclay The Goods belonging to the officers 
& men of the Alliance who made me their Agent, a List of 
them I will send you as soon as possible with the stations they 
were in on board the Alliance as soon as Mr Barclay sends you 
the acct of the sales of the prizes I left in france, and the whole 
amount of them, you will sell the Goods in Philadelphia and 
when you have Got evrything in Readiness you will advertise 
to the jfeople to come and you will pay them the prize money 
for sd ships in a few Days I shall write you more fully on that 
head. My orders to Mr Barclay were to make Insurance, 

248 Barry Condemns Greene 

but I suppose as it must be peace before he ship'd the Goods he 
had them Insured at a peace priming, if not I shall think ver>' 
odd of it, however at all events as fast as the Goods come into 
your hands sell them to the best advantage & inform me from 
time to time Respecting them, as for what Mrs Barry left 
in Philadelphia you will dispose of them as well as you can and 
if you can lay the Money out to advantage for me i should be 
much obliged to you. I have paid 1400 Dollars to Capt Jon* 
Alden and I expect Capt Stillman here in a Day or two to 
Receive his, in short I shall do evrything in my power for you. 
I shall not have money enough to pay Barret but shall leave 
that for you to do, as he has Gone your Way. Mrs Barry 
desires her compliments to you. She tells me you expect to 
Go to Europe if so, I don't suppose it will be Requisite to tell 
you I shall be Glad of your company. I Reed a Letter from 
Capt Greene but you may be assured I will never answer it or 
write him a Line 'till he makes me an apology for his cool 
behavior on his coming on board the Alliance the Day after the 
Engagement. I have heard a Great Deal of his conduct that 
Day. I am very sertain if what has been told me be true, he 
knows nothing about fighting, or the proper Methods to be 
Taken relative to it. His Doctr I am told was 
[This is the end of the MSS\ 

At Home 249 




John Brown, Secretary of the Board of Admiralty, now 
Board of Finance under Robert Morris, on loth May, 1783, 
wrote Captain Barry, at Providence. **As soon as you send 
me a list of the people who has money on board of your ship I 
shall give them due notice. Mr. Seagrove writes me that the 
vessel you engaged was a British frigate called the Sybill, of 
32 gtms. She arrived at Jamaica a mere wreck having 37 men 
killed and upwards of 50 wounded. The other two frigates 
were one of 36 and one of 28 guns." 

The letter was sent by hand of Capt. Read. 

Capt John Manley, in the frigate Hague, May 13th, 1783, 
wrote Capt. Barry, congratulating him on his safe arrival in the 
Alliance, then off Providence. He asked what number of offi- 
cers would be continued on board for their present voyages. 

Providence, June 20th, 1783, Lieut. Thos. Elwood made 
return of small arms on the Alliance when at L'Orient, last No- 
vember, which he received for Mathew Parke, late Capt. of 
Marines on board the Alliance, [Barnes]. 

Captain Barry returned to Philadelphia by way of New York. 
The Sybille was there. He visited her and * * was politely treated, ' ' 
says Kessler. The vessel yet bore the marks of the injury 
Captain Barry inflicted on her hull, and "they said they had 
not been treated so roughly before." 

She had been by the British captured from the French. On 
the Declaration of Peace the Hessians were, in May, 1783, em- 
barked on her for transportation home. They had to pump 
her night and day to keep the water from filling her from five 
to eight feet because of her condition owing to having received 

250 Starts for Holland 

"eighteen cannon shot," relates one of the Hessian officers. 
[Pa. Mag. July 1902, p. 253.] 

"Captain Barry went with the Alliance to Virginia, took on 
board a load of tobacco on public account, and went to Am- 
sterdam and retured to Philadelphia," are the words with 
which Kessler closes his account. 

Captain Barry being ordered to Virginia to freight the Alli- 
ance with tobacco for Holland for the public account, proceeded 
to perform that duty. On August 20th, 1783, he reported to 
Robert Morris: 

On Board Alliance. 

Rappa River, Aug. 20th 

I have the honor to inform you that this day we have taken 
on board the last of Tobacco and shall Sail to-morrow 
morning. I have put more tobacco in the two decks than I 
intended the Ship stowing so little in her hold we have on 
board 500 hhds for the public and I assure y ou the privilege 
you was pleased to allow is chiefly put in the places that the 
officers sleep in (unfortunate the Cabbin and Ward rooms full.) 

I flatter myself that my conduct will give satsfaction and 
shall always think myself happy in doing every thing in my 
power to merit your esteem. Am of opinion that unless ver>' 
great prospects in Holland of freight our stay there ought to be 
short. I shall always pay strict attention to your orders." 


On board the Alliance in the Delaware. 

Aug. 26, 1783. 

I have to inform you that we sailed from the Capes of Vir- 
ginia on the 24th inst. with a very good prospect before us and 
was in hopes to have made a short voyage, but as it is often the 
Case when Peoples Expectations are buoyed up with great 
Prospects they frequently find themselves Disappointed. 

We had not been long out with a Moderate breeze wind and 
smooth Sea, when we discovered all of a sudden the Ship to 
make nineteen Inches per hour which occasioned my officers 
to send me the Inclosed — the wind in a short time after increase 

The Alliance Leaks 251 

and of course made the Sea a little rougher and She then made 
one Inch and a half pr Minute — finding as the Wind and Sea 
increased that the Leake did also in proportion until there is 
three feet of water in her hold, of course the lower teare of 
Tobacco must be damaged. I thought it most prudent to bear 
away for the Delaware, we being at that Time about mid way 
between the Capes of Virginia and the Delaware. Another 
circumstance operated very much against our prosecuting 
the voyage, which is this when we were coming down Provi- 
dence river the Ship going four or five miles per hour the Pilot 
run her against a sunken Rock which stop'd her way as quick 
as thought we lay on said Rock about two hours, finding the 
Ship made no more water in consequence there of I was in 
good hopes she received no Damage but I have now great 
Reason to Suppose it is the occasion of her leaky condition as 
her Bottom was perfectly sound when hove down in Providence. 

I am Sir 
With the greatest Respect 
Your obedient humbl Servt 

John Barry. 
To THE HoNBE Robert Morris Esq. 

[Letters & Reports of the Sup't, of Finance, 1782-83, Vol. Ill 
No. 137, p. 49. in Library of Congress.] 

The damage to the Alliance was serious enough to warrant 
Congress in appointing a Committee to examine into the 
condition of the ship. On September 5th, 1783, the records of 
Congress show : 

**On the report of a Committee, consisting of Mr. EUery, Mr. 
A. Lee and Mr. Gerry, to whom was referred a letter of the ist 
from the agent of Marine. 

Resolved: That the Agent of Marine be and he is hereby 
directed to cause the Ship Alliance to be unladen and her cargo 
freighted to Europe on the best terms.. 

That the Agent of Marine discharge the officers and crew of 
the ship Alliance, cause her to be surveyed and report to 
Congress the State she is in, with an estimate of the expense 
necessary to give her a good repair. [Journal of Congress.] 

252 To Estimate Damages 

So reads the printed Journal of Congress but in the Papers 
of Congress, No. 28, p. 229, in the State Department the origi- 
nal report shows that after the words "best terms" the Com- 
mittee's report continues: 

[That the nett proceeds thereof be applied to the Super In- 
tendence of Finance towards the payment of the Interest on 
the loans in Holland.] 

These words are crossed out of the manuscript. Congress, 
probably, on vote having ordered that disposition of the pro- 
ceeds to be stricken out or not adopted. 

Robert Morris, the Agent of Marine, selected those to whom 
the following letter was addressed to make the survey and 
estimate required by Congress. 

Marine Office, 6th October, 1783. 

I do myself the Honor to enclose you the Copy of an act of 

Congress of the fifth of last month in Pursuance thereof am to 

request that you will make the survey and Estimate mentioned 

in it. I pray you Gentlemen you will excuse this Trouble which 

arises from my Confidence in your Abilities and Integrity. 

With Esteem and Respect 

I have the Honor to be 

your most obedient 


humble Servant 

Robert Morris. 
John Barry & Thomas Read, Esqr. 

Messrs Thomas Penrose, Joshua Humphreys Junr 

and Benjamin G. Eyre. [Barry's Letter Book.] 

Office of Finance 22d Octor 1783 
To all whom it may Concern I certify that when the Accounts 
of the American Officers and Soldiers shall have been duly 
liquidated by the proper Officer appointed for the Purpose 
under the Authority of the United States in Congress, and 
Certificates given to such Officers and Soldiers. Those Cer 
tificates being taken up by any State or Individual will 

Prize Money 253 

such State or Individual in the Situation of a Creditor to the 
United States and entitle them to the amount of said Certifi- 
cates with the Interest falling due thereon. 

RoBT Morris. 
[Barr>''s Letter Book.] 

On November 17th, 1782, John Barclay, Hugh Smith, Sam- 
uel Cooper, James Geagan, Patrick Fletcher, Nicholas E. Gard- 
ner, Thomas Ell wood, A. Barker and at other times other offi- 
cers and seamen of the Alliance, signed powers of Attorney 
authorizing Captain Barry to collect prize money due each 
from Thomas Barclay, Naval Agent at L^Orient. [Lib. Con- 

A year later, the money not having been forwarded, Captain 
Barry on November 5th, and later November 28th, 1783, wrote 
Barclay relative to the money, saying on the latter date that a 
"French packet had arrived at New York but without a letter 
from you relative to the money in your hands** He repeats 
his statements sent on November 5th, of "the great embarrass- 
ment for want of the monney which remains with you. I am 
incessantly called upon and threatened with suits by the offi- 
cers and crew of the Alliance for the balance of their Prize 
money and have in several instances been obliged to advance 
my own money to satisfy them which is very hard. Let me 
now intreat you to settle my account and provide full payment 

To this Barclay replied : 


25, Dec. 1783. 

I am favd with your letter of 5 th and should have written 
you sometime ago had I not Expected you at Amsterdam in 
the Alliance. 

In letters from L'Orient we have told you that the amount of 
the outstanding debt due by Messrs. Canning & Maccarty was 
settled by them and the amount remitted you at Philadelphia. 

I think you are certainly Mistaken in your Conjecture con- 
cerning the house having paid any money to the seamen of the 
AUiance without your orders. If they have they must abide 

254 Prize Money 

the consequences. The amount of the balance of your account 
in your favor is ;^3 119. 2. 7 from which are to be deducted 400 
livres premium of Insurance to Capt. Barney, not yet brought 
to the debit of your account or the credit of his. I believe you 
have been furnished with a copy of this account current but 
lest you have not I will send you by Truxtun and all from 
London, tho' particular the sum which I have mentioned I take 
from information from the house. I am really vexd that you 
should have been under any difficulties for want of money. 
Be as sparing as you can with convenience to yourself and draw 
at as long sight as possible whatever you drew will be punct- 
ually honored. The money of the seamen was involved in the 
attachments but the idea was absurd. Inclosed is a copy of 
my answer to the late Master of the Alliance who applied to 
me for his prize money. Mr. Doignet of L'Orient was so much 
pressed on account of the advance which he made the officers 
that I paid him Ten thousand livres under his guarantee. 
The officers assigned over to Doignet their property in the prize 
money. Doignet assigned it over to Mr. Geoghan of Bordeaux 

who attached and a suit still pending. 

Thos. Barclay. 

[Library- of Congress.] 

But Barclay, during this time, had been giving some attention 
to the payment for on November i6th, he sent draft on Eph- 
raim Blaine, at Philadelphia, for four hundred and Eighty Span- 
ish Milled dollars in favor of Captain Barry. [Library Congress. 

I hereby Certify that Robert Hill serv'd on board the Alli- 
ance Frigate under my Command from November i, 1781, to 
24|Oct. 1783, & is Intitled to prize Money in part for Prizes 
taken by Sd Frigate During that time — 

Given under my hand on board 
Sd Frigate this 5 November, 1783. 

John Barry. 
To whom it may Concern. 

[Ford Co. N. Y. P. 2, Lib. Lenox.] 

That the Alliance did not take the cargo of tobacco to Am- 
sterdam is probable from Congress having ordered her to be 

Did Barry Go to Ireland P 255 

unloaded and a survey of cost of repairs made as well as from 
the report among the Papers of Congress ; Reports Com- 
mittees, No. 28, p. 225, at the State Department, Washington. 
The report reads: 

The Committee to whom were referred a letter from the 
Agent of Marine of 19th inst., a report on one of the 4th Nov., 
last from the Super, of Finance and a letter from him of the 1 3th 
inst. report: 

That by a survey of the Frigate Alliance on November last 
the necessary repairs were estimated at 5866^ dollars. That 
repairs to the Washington consume more money than she will 
be worth when repaired. That under present circumstances 
it is not necessary to keep the Alliance for the Protection of 
Commerce, nor the Washington for a Packet but that it will 
be for the interest of the Union to dispose of both for Conti- 
nental securities. Whereupon 

Resolved, That the Agent of Marine be directed to make Sale 
at public Auction of the frigate Alliance & Ship Washington 
for loan office certificates. 


Report of Mr. Lee, Mr. Gerry, Mr. Read, respecting sale of the 
frigate Alliance & packet Washington. Delivered March 30th, 
1784. Entered. Read. 

Thursday, Apr. 8th assigned for consideration. 

Acted on April 8th, 1 784. 

On letter of March 4th, 1 784, from Agent of Marine. 

On the original report the words "of the frigate Alliance" are 
crossed out. This shows the action of Congress refusing then, as 
we know, to order the sale of the Alliance. So she could not have 
been on trip to Holland. If Barry went to Holland what ship 
did he command ? Nothing appears. 

A memoir in the Metropolitan Magazine, Baltimore, August* 
1856, says: — "After the Peace Barry visited the land of his 

Mr. Michael Browne, of Bridgetown, Wexford, writes: After 
the war of Independence was over Commodore Barry landed 
from his frigate in Ballyteague Bay, about six miles west of 

256 Did Barry go to Ireland? 

Tacumhane. He visited his father's house which he found 
burned and finding no relatives or friends alive in the neigh- 
borhood returned sadly to his ship." 

Thus the tradition at his birthplace seems to sustain the 
statement of the Metropolitan of almost half a century ago. 
But when this visit to Ireland occurred has not been discovered. 
By Barclay's letter of December 23d, 1783, it is evident Captain 
Barry was not then across the sea. He is known from docu- 
ments cited later to have been in Philadelphia in February, in 
March, in May, July, September, October and November, 1784. 
In April and in December, 1785. From January to November. 
1786, no records show his presence in Philadelphia, or else- 
where in the United States. 

If Captain Barry visited Ireland after the Revolutionar>* 
War and anchored his vessel in Ballyteague Bay off the Baroney 
of Bargy, as is traditionally related 'round about his birth-place 
and explicitly stated by the writer in the Metropolitan Maga- 
zine of Baltimore, in 1856, it may have been during 1786 or 
perhaps in 1 79 1 he did so. There is, during these years, a dearth 
of information concerning him. There was no government 
vessel to command. No mention has been discovered of his 
engaging in the merchant service. He may have gone to Ireland 
as a passenger on a vessel bound there. 

The story of his visit to his boyhood home, which yet lingers, 
naturally carried along the notion that it was in *'his frigate." 
The absence of all mention of him during these years in ofSdal 
records at Washington or among his personal papers seems to 
sustain the tradition that he visited Ireland. 

"An Account of Monies paid to the Officers and Crew of the 
Frigate ** Alliance,' and also of the net profits on sundry shares 
purchased for account of Captain John Barry and John Brown." 
dated January 1 2th, 1 785, giving names where paid and amount 
to each, shows the total aggregated ;^2469.2.6. 

On 22d April, 1 785, John Shannon, of Ross, Ireland, wrote Cap- 
tain Barry, saying that Barry's letters to his friends in Wexford 
had been brought to him and had given him much pleasure. 

Shannon mentioned that he had a distillerv and salt mines. 

Sak 0/ the AUicmee 257 



The Committee of Congress — King, Howell and Pinckeny — 
"to whom was referred a motion for the sale of the Alliance** 
reported on May 25th, 1785: 

**That the Board of Treasury be and hereby are authorized 
and directed to sell for specie or public securities at public or 
private sale, the frigate Alliance with her tackle and appurten- 
ances (excepting her guns and other appointments which the 
Sercetary at War is hereby directed to receive into his custody), 
the Board of Treasury giving previous notice of the sale in the 
newspapers of such States as they may judge proper." 

The report was laid over until June 3d, when the Resolution 
was adopted by Congress. Papers of Congress, No. 28, p. 213.] 

So Congress parted with its last and best vessel. The new 
Nation was without a ship or flag on the ocean. "Every ship 
that remained — even the Alliance that had demonstrated her 
eflSdency — was sold.*' [Spears' His Navy, i, p. 211.] 

The Pennsylvania Gazette of June 2 2d and later dates cou- 
tains the following advertisement : 

258 Sale of th§ Alliance 

"Board of Treasury, New York, June 13, 1785. 

Sale of the alliance. 
On the first Tuesday of August next. 



now lying in the river Delaware with all her tackle and appur- 
tenances (excepting her warlike appurtenances). 

A description of the ship and inventory of her tackle and 
appurtenances will be published on the day of sale. 

The payment for the convenience of the purchaser may be 
made in good negotiable paper payable in four equal monthly 

N. B. The sale will commence at twelve o'clock precisely." 

Preparatory to the anounced sale, the following order was 
issued on July 9th: 

**Sir: You will please to deliver the military appointments 
of the ship Alliance to the bearer agreeable to the order of Cap- 
tain Barry. 


"James Hogdon, 

"Com. Mil. Stores. ' 
•'Captain Cobum or Person 

in charge of the 

Continental Ship 


The ship was sold in pursuance of this announcement. The 
itemized statement of accounts in connection with the transac- 
tion, now in possession of General Kessler, of Butte, Montana, 
bears this endorsement : 

"By these papers it appears that the Frigate Alliance was 
sold by the United States in 1785, that John Cobum and White- 
head were the purchasers at the sum of £2%^^, say $7700, that 
they paid the U. S. in certificates of the public debt, which they 
purchased at about 2 shillings and three pence in the pound, and 
that they afterward sold the Frigate at a great profit to Robert 

The Alliance Goes to China 259 

No records have been discovered showing the whereabouts of 
the Alliance from her sale, June, 1785 to June, 1787, when she 
went on a voyage to China under command of Capt. Thomas 
Read. Where was Captain John Barry? Was he in Ireland, 
or resting at Strawberry Hill in the Northern Liberties of 

But his ship, the staunch and swift Alliance^ the chief ship of 
all the naval forces of the battling Colonies with which he must 
have parted with almost keen regret, had become a merchant 
ship like unto those she had so valiantly protected as moving 
agents of commerce. Her career is told by the Freeman's 
Journal, of Philadelphia, for September 24th, 1788: 

"Captain Thomas Read in the ship Alliance bound to China, 
sailed from Philadelphia in June, 1787, and arrived at Canton 
2 2d of December in the same year, having navigated on a route 
as yet tmpractised by any other ship. Taking soundings of 
the Cape of Good Hope, he steered to the south-east, encircling 
all the eastern and south-eastern islands of the Indian Ocean, 
passing the south Cape of New Holland; and on the passage 
northward again towards Canton between latitude 7 and 4 
degrees south and between longitude 156 and 162 east they dis- 
covered a number of islands the inhabitants of which were 
black with curled or woolly hair. Among these islands they 
had no soundings. About latitude 8 north and longitude 160 
east they discovered two other islands inhabited by a brown 
people with straight black hair. These islands appear to be 
very fertile and much cultivated, and by the behavior of the 
inhabitants the ship*s company were induced to believe they 
were the first discoverers. One of them was named the Morris 
Island, the other the Alliance. They did not land on any of 
them. These discoveries were made in November. 

**The officers of the European ships in China were astonished 
to find a vessel arriving at that season of the year and with 
eagerness and pleasure examined the track of the voyage. 
They finished their voyage by arriving again at Philadelphia on 
September 17th, 1788, having returned by the usual route of 
the European ships until they were in the Atlantic Ocean.*' 

On April 20th, 1789, Washington, on his way to New York 

260 The Bid of the Alliance 

to be inaugurated first President of the United States, arrived 
in Philadelphia. In reporting the reception accorded to Wash- 
ington the Pennsylvania Gazette related: *'The ship Alliance 
and a Spanish merchant ship were handsomely decorated with 
the colors of diflFerent nations." 

The Alliance was of 724 tons — a large ship for those days. 
*' After all her wonderful escapes from the enemy and long 
perilous voyages, she at length died a natural death and laid 
her bones on Petty*s Island," in the Delaware, opposite Port 

'*One might believe that the good old ship had tried to lay 
her timbers as near as she could to the gallant sailor who had 
done such deeds of glory on her deck," says W. Seton, in U. S. 
Catholic Historical Magazine. 

At low tide her timbers were visible and portions were re- 
moved until, in 1 90 1 , the American Dredging Company, in widen- 
ing the channel, destroyed the remains of her hulk. A piece is 
exhibited in the eastern Museum of Independence Hall with a 
descriptive label stating that it is a piece of the Alliance com- 
manded by Captain John Paul Jones. This is an 'error. The 
ship had but two direct commanders — Landais and Barry. 
Under the former she was part of Jones* fleet at the time of the 
battle between the Bon Homme Richard and the Serapis. 

Another piece of the Alliance is in the cabinet of the American 
Catholic Historical Society of Philadelphia, presented by the 
compiler, Thomas Buchanan Read presented President 
Lincoln with "a piece of the Alliance, -whost log-book record* 
triumphs and incidents as glorious as the achievements of any 
vessel in the navies of the world." 

The annexed poem, by Mr. Read, is extracted from "Patriot- 
ism in Poetry and Prose," by James E. Murdock, Philadelphia, 


Hbrb is an oaken relic from a bark 

That speaks of olden scenes and ocean mystery, — 
An anchor form the Revolution ark, 
Dropt to the present through the twilight dark, 
Linking the troubled periods of our history. 

Tribute to the Alliance 261 

It may be that the sapling of this wood, 

Crown'd on the coast with vines inviting inland 

Was swaying to the sea-wind's fitful mood, 

Learning the rocking motion of the flood, 
When roving Norsemen stood agaze at Vinland. 

Or did it feel the westward-sweeping gale — 
The wind that still of God and freedom hymneth — 

Wliich landward drove the saintly hero's sail, 

Until the sea-toss' d pilgrims, worn and pale. 
Were landed on the icy rock of Plymouth? 

Wliere'er it grew, the woodman found the oak. 
It knew the teamster and the hewer's trestle. 

It felt the hammers, sntifif'd the pitchy smoke, 

Then seaward, like a steed from stall, it broke, 

While Salisbury hail'd her favourite warrior vessel. 

Those were the days wherein we flung defiance 

Unto a tyrant monarch and his henchmen. 
We ask'd for friendship, France gave her compliance; 
And hence we call'd otir vessel the Alliance, 

In honor of the noble-hearted Frenchmen. 

Then France was generous France: her well-earned fame 

Shed round the world a lustre of pure glory. 
No Italy breathed curses on her name. 
No Mexico stood pointing at her shame 

With feeble fingers, desperate and gory. 

The royal vessel sought her future realm, — 

Royal, because her parent oak was regal; 
And sceptred Science shaped her prow and helm. 
And crowned Courage, naught could overwhelm, 

Breathed in the bosom of that fierce sea-eagle. 

The ocean cormorants fled before her path. 

Her wing, descried afar, was fearful omen; 
Full oft her desolating vengeance hath. 
In the great tempest of her iron wrath. 

Sent a wild shudder through the hearts of foemen. 

Hers was the enviable pride to bear 

The unselfish hero's well-beloved exemplar, 
A Paladin whose heart was full of prayer 
For freedom's Palestine — his soul was there. 

Forever honor'd be the good knight-templar. 

262 History of the Alliance 

O Gratitude, forget not the ovations 

Due to a noble country's nobler scion. 
Let Lafayette, before the gaze of nations, 
Stand canonized amidst our constellations, 
Belted with starry fame, like brave Orion. 

Old Europe's waters bore her graceful keel. 

And heard the rolling of her threatening thunder; 
She taught the insolent buccaneer to kneel 
And sue for quarter, — taught their homes to feel 
A mingled sense of due respect and wonder. 

Though she a while the doubtful Landais bore, 

It was her glorious privilege to carry 
The pennant of Paul Jones, the Commodore, 
The pride and terror of the sea and shore. 
And his, the hardy and intrepid Barry. 

And when the war was o'er, she laid aside 

The latest vestige of the past commotion. 
And to the winds of Commerce, far and wide. 
Shook out her sails for other realms untried, 
And brought home treasure from the farthest ocean. 


The Alliance was built at Salisbury, Massachusetts,— a 
place that figured as a building-station even in the seventeenth 
century. She was launched about the time the treaty was 
made with France, and named after that event. Cooper 
says, *'She was the favorite ship of the American navy; and 
it may be said of the American people, during the War of 
the Revolution, filled some such place in the public mind 
as has since been occupied by her more celebrated successor 
the Constitution. She was a beautiful and an exceedingly 
fast ship, but was rendered less efficient than she might have 
proved, by the mistake of placing her under the command 
of a Frenchman, who had entered our service. This was 
evidently done to pay a compliment to the new allies of the 
Republic. This unfortunate selection produced mutinies, 
much discontent among the officers, and, in the end, grave 
irregularities. Landais was at last supposed to be insane, 
and was dismissed the navy.'* 

History of the Alliance 263 

The first prominent service this ship was employed in was 
to carry that gallant and devoted friend of the nation, Lafayette, 
to France. Then, under the command of Commodore Barry, 
one of the most brave and distinguished officers of the navy, 
she made another trip to France, carrying out Colonel Laurens 
as a commissioner to the French court. During the voyage 
back, Commodore Barry engaged two British ships of war, 
and in the midst of the fight, under every disadvantage, the 
Commodore was struck in the shoulder by a grape-shot, and 
carried below. One of his officers, following, stated to him 
the shattered condition of the ship, loss of men, &c., and 
asked if the orders should be struck. 

"No," said the sufiFering Barry: **if you cannot fight the 
enemy, carry me on deck, and I will." 

When the sailors heard the heroic answer of their com- 
mander, they rent the air with their shouts, crying that they 
would stick to the Commodore to the last. The fight was 
renewed, and the enemy's two ships struck to the Stars and 

Without enumerating further conflicts in which the Alliance 
maintained the honor of the flag of the young Republic, we 
will quote again from Cooper: — 

"The peace of 1783 found the finances of the Government 
altogether unequal to the support of a navy. Most of the 
public cruisers had fallen into the hands of the enemy, or 
had been destroyed, and the few that remained were sold. 

"The Alliance, which appears to have been a favorite ship 
of the service to the very last, was reluctantly parted with; 
but, a survey being held on her, she was disposed of, in pre- 
ference to encountering the expense of repairs." 

The last mention I find of the venerable pioneer of the 
sea is the following: — 

In 1787, as an Indiaman, the Alliance frigate made a 
voyage to Canton, under the command of Captain Read, 
formerly of the navy. She still maintained her reputation 
for fast sailing, and was a pioneer to the last; for it will be 
remembered this was only two years after the opening of 
the China trade, she being perhaps the second or third ship 

264 Recommends Staff ora 

of any size engaged in the traffic. My father used to speak 
of her in connection with the coflFee-trade to Java, and with 
many other facts not to be found in print. 

There are few instances in the navies of the world of a ship 
of war achieving so many battle triumphs, and accomplishing 
so many peaceable missions, as this our old-time warrior. 
But ships, like men, must yield to the wear and tear of time 
and action. 

Towards the close of her career she was frequently re- 
paired, and, being found at last unseaworthy, was condenmed 
and broken up for her copper and iron, old junk, &c. The 
hulk was run up on Petty's Island, where for many 3^ears 
it basked in the sunshine or braved the storm; and many 
a brave fellow, looking at the wreck, wiped away, perchance, 
a tear, with the sleeve of his coat, muttering to himself, "Per- 
haps that will be Jack's fate one of these days," and turning 
the quid in his mouth, with '*Well, she was pluck to the last, 
and here goes for another cruise." So saying, it may be, he 
lowered his tarpaulon to the Stars and Stripes, and became 
once more one of Uncle Sam's men. [ibid.'\ 

The annexed recommendation was given the father of the 
Miss Stafford and her brother mentioned in Chapter I. 

Phila, Thursday Feby 19th, 1784 


The Bearer of this, is my friend James B Stafford. — I have 
known him from his youth, he served under me, as Midshipman 
and acting Lieut in the continental Frigate Alliance, and 
previously served in the Letter of Marque the Kitty and 
another armed vessel during the whole war — he was honour- 
ably discharged from the service by me, by the order of the 
Agent of Marine as per resolution of congress for the discharge 
of the Officers and crew of the Ship Alliance. — At the request 
of the Secret Committee of Congress I sent him with a message 
from them to Henry Laurens Esqr then a prisoner of war, in 
he tower of London England — this duty he performed with 

Personal Bills 265 

great fidelity and success and no better man can be found for 
a Super cargo of a Ship or other commercial business and 
therefore recommend him to you 

Messrs Burling & Guyon Mbrcht Yr Most Obt Servt 
New York John Barry 

[From Original Mss,] 

Barry's mother is said, after the death of Mr Barry, to have 
married John Howard Stafford. If that be so the gentleman 
recommended was probably of kin to Captain Barry, not now 
to be ascertained very readily. 

The certificate, however, reveals a service which Barry was 
called to seciu-e some trustworthy and discreet one to execute 
and of which there is no other known record of — to convey 
a secret message to Col Laureus, who had been taken while 
on the way to Prance as special commissioner. 

This secret service was performed with fidelity and success. 

In Lauren's accotmt of his imprisonment as given in the 
Collection of the South Carolina Historical Society, Vol. i, no 
mention of this message or of Stafford appears, though it is 
shown that Laurens had information conveyed to and fro. 

On March loth, 1784, Captain Barry applied to General 
Anthony Wayne for the loan of $200 "to meet a demand the 
Bank has on me." This was the second request, **as first 
may not have been received." [Barnes.] 

On May 24th, 1 784 , Schoolmaster George Fitz Gerald sent 
Captain Barry a bill for three months tuition of '*Mr. [master] 
Howling ;£ I. 2. 6 and for Paper and books during six months 
7. 6d. The bill is marked "Paid." 

This master Howling was no doubt, the son of his step- 
sister Margaret [StaflFord] Howlin. Nothing further appears 
relating to his subsequent career. 

On July ist, 1784, Captain Barry's bill against the United 
States, in addition to a claim of $354.39 for "Balance due,' 
reads "To my wages from October 24th 1783 to 24th June 

1784, 8 months at $60 $480 00 

To my subsistence 35 weeks is 186 60 

To Alexander Miuray's wages at $30 per mo 240 00 

266 Cdi. Thomas Robinson 

To Patrick Howley, seaman $8 per mo 64 oo 

To John Lesley's wages at $8 per mo 64 00 

To Andrew Davis's wages at $8 per mo 64 00 

To James Bryan's seaman $8 per mo 64 00 

John Sullivan per mo $5 40 00 

To 59 3-16 Gals. Rum supplied the ship from 23rd 

October 1783 to March 31st 1784 at 3-9 per Gal .... 29 54 

To 26 9-16 Gals, from March 31st to June 24 @3 10 50 

To 6 9-16 Gals. Supplied sailors at work 2 56 

[Library Congress.] 

The same day, July ist, 1784, Captain Barry gave a letter of 
introduction of Col. Thomas Robinson, "a particular friend 
of mine, a brave and deserving officer in the service of his 
country. He is an entire stranger in Ireland — any civilities 
shown him will be grateful." The letter was addressed to 
Mr Henry Mitchall, Merchant, London Deny." 

Lieut Stephen Gregory, who will be remembered as com- 
mander of the Confederacy in 1779, seeking to impress Barry's 
men of the Delaware, wrote from Port au Prince, 29th of Septem- 
ber, 1 784, to Barry at Philadelphia, saying : **I never could learn 
what become of you until I got to Port au Prince, where I 
learned after inquiry by several masters of Philadelphia ships 
that you was resting at home after tedious war." He requested 
Barry to aid him in obtaining leave from Congress to enter 
the merchants service and "if anything heaves in my way to 
serve Captain Barry depend upon my doing it with gladfol 
heart at any time or place I might be in he pleases to command 
me." (Barnes.) 

The pay roll of the Alhance for October ist, 1784, shows 
Captain Barry's wages from 24th of June to 30th September at 
$60 per month for three months and six days, $192, and his 
subsistence for fourteen weeks and one day at 5 30-90 per 
month, $74.60. [Barnes No. 814.] 

The annexed letter tells of a part of the money brought 
by the Alliance from Havana: 

The Money from Hauana 267 

To John M'Auster Phit,a Oct i8th 1784. 

I am much surprized at receiving a letter from you re- 
specting the money I brought in the Alliance from Havana. 
I will give you a full state of the whole Matter. Mr Plunket 
shipt with me one thousand Dollars for Messrs Smith and Wood 
of Baltimore on my arrival at Providence I sent the letter on 
by Post many weeks passed without my hearing from those 
Gentlemen in the course of two months the money was arrested 
in my hands by a Mr. Guillio a Frenchman that had some 
concern with them. Been ordered to Sea I left the Money 
in the hands of Messrs Clark & Nightengale of Providence 
with particular orders to pay it as the court directed they 
taking up my bill of lading, however I heard no more of the 
matter till January following when I received a letter from 
Mr Wood from Genl Vamon Attorney for Smith & Wood in- 
forming that the court had determined in favour Smith & Wood. 
I then drew Bills on Messrs Clark & Nightengale in favour 
of Smith & Wood and delivered them to Wood — Just as my 
friends was going to pay Wood the money it was arrested a 
second time on their hands. The money is still in the hands 
of Clark & Nightengale I assure you it is a hard thing for me 
to be the judge of who it belongs to as I think Smith & Wood 

two shuffling fellars." [Barnes] 

John Barry 

From Annapolis on November i6th, 1784, Captain Alex. 
Murray wrote to Barry that the officers of the navy of Mary- 
land had presented a memorial to be placed on the footing 
of officers of the land department. "I know not whether 
I am connected with Maryland or Pennsylvania ; but it makes 
little odds by which I am paid, so I get my due. I have 
advised with friends. They desire me to write you to know 
what steps you have taken with your State; what hopes you 
have of their proceeding in the matter." [Collection of the 
late Charles Roberts.] 

Captains Barry and Read took up the endeavor for equal 
justice. The papers of Congress now at the State Depart- 
ment in Washington, contain the following documents, the 

266 Manorial to Congress 

first of which is entitied A Memorial of Navy OflScers. It is 
addressed to His Excellency Richard H. Lee, President of 
Congress/' and endorsed *'No. 152 Letter — Sept. 24, 1785, 
John Barry, Thomas Read," 

Philadelphia September 24, 1785. 

'*Sir: We have the honor to enclose to your Excellency 

Memorial to the Honble the Continental Congress. — 

*'From your early wish to establish a Navy for the United 

States we are led to hope your Excellency will give us your 

Interest in forwarding the prayer of our Memorial. We have 

the honor to be. — 

"Sir Your Excellency Most Obedient Humb Servts 

*7oHN Barry 
*'Thomas Read." 
''His Excellency 
The President of Congress." 

"To the Honble the Delegates of the United States in Congress 
Assembled, — 

"The Memorial of Captains John Barry and Thomas Reac 
in behalf of themselves and the other oificers of the Conti — ■ 
nental Navy most respectfully Sheweth — 

"That your memorialists have with the utmost fidelit^^ 
served their Country by Sea since the commencement of th^^ 
late war and where opportunity presented itself have renderec3 
some services by land also — That they conceive their toils 
and labors to have been as great as those experienced by theix* 
brother officers in the Land Service, and that some of them 
have received as Honorable wounds in the execution of their 
Duty; — wounds which tho. from their nature may not at the 
present moment claim a pension, yet are sensibly felt and at 
some future day may incapacitate the unfortunate persons 
from earning even a common livelihood. 

"Thus circumstanced, your memorialists cannot but feel 
themselves most sensibly hurt, when they reflect that they 
are the only Class of Officers in the United States who remain 
neglected and totally unprovided for. — The multiplicity of 
important business however, daily occupying the attention of 
Congress, no doubt, is the only cause of this neglect, and your 

Memorial to Congress 269 

memorialists are conwinced that your Honble Body never 
designed to make any distinction between your Land and 
Navy OflScers, as such a distinction wou'd not only be opposed 
to justice ; but has never heretofore been made by any Nation 
in the World.— 

"It may be urged as an argument against the present memorial 
that the Navy Oflficers having had it in their power to take 
prizes had therefore a greater opportunity of making money 
than their Brother Oflficers in the Land Service, yet when 
your Honble Body will consider that your memorialists have 
had not only their own Oflficers but Prisoners and many others 
to entertain and that too out of the trifling pittance of five 
Dollars and one-third of a Dollar per week when in port and 
only half that sum ot sea, and even that sum paid in depreciated 
money sometimes at the rate of seventy-five for one — and 
that in general they have been subject to more expenses than 
the Oflficers in the Land Service, they are led to hope, that 
such an argument will have no weight against them — To 
this your memorialists beg leave to add, that few of the Ships 
t>elonging to the United States were ever suffered to cruise, 
but were sent on private service and ordered not to go out 
of their way but to keep clear of all Vessels whatever, and 
that such as were permitted had particular Cruising Grounds 
pointed out to them which frequently ensured them severe 
blows and but few prizes. — 

"Your memorialists therefore humbly pray that they may 
be placed on a footing similar to that of their Brother Oflficers 
in the Land Services as to Half-pay or Commutation and 
Lands according to their Ranks respectively and your mem- 
orialists as in Duty bound will ever pray, &c. 

"John Barry 
"Thomas Read" 

Endorsed **No. 53; Mem Capt J. Barry Th. Read, 

"Read, 28 Sept., 1785, referred to Mr. King, Mr. Pettit, Mr. 


The annexed memorial to congress shows how Captain 
Barry's services in taking a captured vessel from the British 
brought upon him legal proceedings 

270 Memorial to Congress 

To the Honorable Congress of the United States of America— 
the memorial of Jedidiah Lees and Company of the County 
of New London in the State of Connecticut Merchants humbly 

That they were owners of a certain sloop called Fortune 
about forty tons Burthen which sailed from New London 
about the 12th Day of August 1782 with a cargo bound to 
Martinico in the West Indies. That on or about the i6th of 
the same month said sloop was Captured by a British Cruiser 
and soon after recaptured by Capt Barre, Americans of the 
continental frigate the Alliance and sent toMrCirenio Agent in 
Hispanola for the United States who sold said vessel and 
cargo but without any legal condemnation and paid into the 
Treasury of the United States one-half of the net pro- 
ceeds of the sales. Your memorialists being ignorant 
of the Resolves of Congress generously offering to the 
original owners of recaptured vessels the half which belongs 
to the United States commenced an action against Capt Barre 
and have recorded a judgement for a much larger sum and taken 
out Execution thereon which remains unsatisfied, but being 
lately informed of the aforesaid Resolve they applied to the 
late Super Intendant of Finance and found the sum of about. 
5000 Livres Hispanola currency paid into the public Treasury^ 
which by the Papers herewith laid before your Honor may appear^ 
which money they would willingly receive and discharge Cap 
Barre but Mr Morris being out of office considers himself no 
authorized to pay the same without a special Resolve of Congress ^ 
Whereupon they humbly pray your Honors to grant them 
special Resolve for that purpose or in some other way enabl 
them to receive their money. 

Jedidiah Leeds & Co. 
Trenton Dec loth 1784. 
[Papers of Congress, No. 41, Vol. V. p. 341.] 

The * 'Journal of Congress'' (vol. X, p. 46), under date of 
February 24, 1785, records that, relative to the memorial 0/ 
Jedediah Leeds & Co., it was ''resolved that the Treasurer 
of the United States pay to Jedediah Leeds & Co., or their order 

Barry Released 


the amount of 5063 livres, 6 fols. and 1 1 deniers, Hispanola 
currency, upon their givmg to Captain Barry a full discharge 
from the judgement obtained against him by the said Jedediah 
Leeds & Co. at the Superior Court held at New London in the 
State of Connecticut, on the 4th Tuesday of September, 1784, 
and that the President issue his warrant accordingly." 

272 Another John Barry 


Barry's spirited action against the opponents op the 
new federal constitution — he goes to china 
— returns — reports to washington 
— barry at home. 

On December 19th, 1785, from Edenton, S. C, a John Barry 
wrote to Captain John Barry, thanking him for his civilities 
while in Philadelphia. He had since been to Jamaica — "saw 
our namesake there — a worthy fellow — will be in Philadelphia- 
then I go to the old Sod." 

What relative, if any, this John Barry was, has not been 

The following note of Captain James Read is in the collection 
of the late Charles Roberts : — 

Dear Sir 

I this moment rece'd your Note. — the address below is that 

which I would make to Mr. Pennell, as it is uncertain whether 

he be at N. York or Boston, he was at the former about ten days 

Ago, and the Post Master there will know whether he be gone 

on to Boston or Not. 

I am Dr Sir 

Yours James Read 

Tuesday Morning 

John Barry, Esqr 17 Jany 86 

Address Joseph Pennell Esqr Commissioner of Accounts for 

Marine Department of the United States 


New York or Boston 

On November 2d, 1786, Colonel Benjamin Walker wrote 
Barry from New York: 

Captain John Rosseter 273 


None of the books or papers of the Alliance in this oflfice ex- 
tend beyond 1781. I will be obliged to you to inform me what 
became of her Roll after that time and if you have them or any 
of her books which will enable me to settle with her crew to for- 
ward them to this office. 

Bbnjamin Walker. 

Office of Accounts, Marine Dept., Nov. 2d, 1786. 
[Lib of Congress.] 

Captain James Nicholson on November 6th, 1786, wrote 
from New York to Captain Barry that he was disappointed in 
getting the diploma of the Cincinnati Society in this place for 
Captain Step. Gregory. He requested Barry to make applica- 
tion at Philadelphia. [Roberts.] 

On June nth, 1 787, Captain John Rosseter, then in the West 
Indies, wrote Captain Barry from Kingston that he was on 
a voyage in government service and desired to make known to 
him the disposition to make of certain money in his hands in 
case of accident. He said to Barry, **You being my only friend 
that I could make known the nature of my situation and place 
my confidence in, I have taken the liberty of troubling you with 
a detail of the expedition and voyage that I am to proceed in 
trusting your goodness that you will make known to my friends 
in case of accident happening to me by writing a few lines to 
Capt. Roger Scallan. I send one htmdred dollars by Capt. Geo. 
Irwin of the Live Oak to Belfast in your hands which please 
remit to Capt. Scallan for my mother. [Barnes 878.] 

Captain Barry was "resting" after the War, yet his restless 
spirit on one occasion demonstrated that he was a resolute and 
determined advocate of the New Federal Constitution, formu- 
lated by Washington and compatriots. 

We find him engaged in a bold endeavor to secure the ratifi- 
cation of the Constitution formulated by the Federal Conven- 
tion, which closed its deliberations on September 17, 1787. 

We will now see him still resolute, active and, perhaps, too 
zealous in securing *'the more perfect union" of the States 
whose Independence he had been so helpful in achieving. 

274 Barry Forces Representatfuts 

The Confederation had proven unsuited to the needs of the 
country. By successive steps there came on the Convention 
of May 25, 1787, to reconsider the Articles of Confederation 
and to adopt a new plan of govemmment, if necessary. It 
met and did its work, closing its sessions on September 17th 
following. That day the Pennsylvania members of the body 
notified the Assembly of their State that they were ready "to 
report at such time and place as they [the Assembly] may direct 
Next morning '*the honorable delegates representing this State 
in the late Federal Convention," led by Benjamin Franklin, 
**were ushered into the hall of the Assembly, made their report 
and presented the Constitution*' just formulated by the Con- 
vention. No action was taken until September 29th, the last 
day but one of the session, when George Clymer proposed to 
refer the Act of Ratification to a Convention of the State. 
Pleas for delay were made. Thomas Fitz Simons, a Catholic, 
one of the Representatives at the Constitutional Convention 
and also a member of the Assembly, opposed delay. After 
further debate it was resolved to call a State Convention, but 
the day was not set. Nineteen had voted against calling a 
convention, when Robert Whitehall, on behalf of the minority 
asked for postponement until the afternoon of the question 
fixing the time for the convention. This was granted. When 
the House met, the nineteen were absent and a quorum lacking. 
The absentees were sent for, found, but refused to appear. 
Then Mr. Wynkoop said : **If there is no way of compelling those 
who deserted from duty to perform it, then God be merciful to 
us.'* There was a way of "compelling" and Captain John 
Barry led the compellers. 

"The next morning, a number of citizens, whose leader is 
said to have been Commodore John Barry, forcibly entered the 
lodgings of James McCalmont, a member from Franklin County 
and Jacob Miley, a member from Dauphin County, who were 
among the seceders, dragged them to the State House and thrust 
them into the chamber, where the Assembly was in session 
without a quorum." 

There were then 46 members present. 

Mr. McCalmont informed "the house that he had been 

** Barry Drags Out MacCalmont" 275 

forcibly brought into the Assembly room contrary to his wishes 
by a number of citizens whom he did not know, and begged he 
might be dismissed/' Mr. FitzSimons said that if any mem- 
ber of the House had forced the gentleman from the determin- 
ation of absenting himself, of course such member's conduct met 
the disapprobation of the House. *'But Mr. McCalmont is now 
here, and the business of the State cannot be accomplished if 
any one is suffered to withdraw.*' 

Though Mr. McCalmont attempted to leave the Assembly, he 
was restrained by citizens. As Captain Barry had "dragged" 
him to the place, it is likely he remained to see the result of his 
course, and so to have been chief among those preventing 
McCalmont's exit. 

So the minutes of the Assembly read: "Mr. McCalmont and 
Mr. Miley appeared in the Assembly Chamber, and, there being 
a quorum, the House resumed the consideration of the matter 
postponed yesterday." 

The date of the Convention was fixed — the people cheered, 
Christ Church bells rang, and Capt. Barry, no doubt, was happy. 
For within twenty-three hotu^ after the Constitutional Conven- 
tion had adjourned the Assembly of Pennsylvania had called a 
Convention to act on it — thanks to the ardent zeal of Captain 

The Pittsburg Gazette, of November 3d, and the Pennsylvania 
Gazette (of Philadelphia), November 19, 1 787, had verses entitled 
"On the Running Away of the Nineteen members of the 
Assembly." These lines appeared: 

"It seems to me I yet see Barry 

Drag out Mac Calmont. (By the Lord Harry 

The wight was right ; and also Miley 

Was taken from an outhouse slily 

To constitute with him a quorum) 

For it seems he was unus horum.'* 

But Mr. McCalmont was not done with the * 'dragging." On 
October 13, 1787, he presented a memorial to the Supreme 
Executive Council, and * 'several depositions in support there- 

276 Prosecution of Barry Ordered 

The Council '^resolved that the Attorney-General be directed 
forthwith to commence a prosecution against Captain John 
Barry, and such other persons as shall be found to have been 
principally active in seizing the said James McCalmont or other- 
wise concerned in the riotous proceedings as set forth in th& 
said memorial, and that the said memorial and depositions orr 
copies thereof be transmitted with this resolution to the 
Attorney-General . ' ' 

The yeas and nays were called on this resolution. The Yeas 
were Benjamin Franklin (President), Charles Biddle, (Vice 
President), Messrs. McLene, Redick, Hoge, Smilie, Whitehill, 
Baird. The Nays were Messrs. Hill, Dean and Muhlenberg. 
So the resolution was adopted. 

The Attorney-General began suit. In the meantime the Con- 
vention to act on the Constitution had met and deliberated 
from November 21st to December 12th, when the Federal Con- 
stitution was ratified by a vote of 46 to 23. 

This may have made it necessary for the Attorney-General 
to have advice. There evidently was a disposition to let the suit 
be "dropped." Accordingly at the meeting of the Supreme Exe- 
cutive Council, on February i6th, 1788, "the Attorney-General 
requested the advice of the Council, relative to the suit now 
carrying on by their order against Captain John Barry. The 
Coimcil resolved that the Attorney-General be informed that 
Council do not wish to interfere, but that they leave the matter 
entirely with him to do as he shall judge best." 

Nothing further appears relating to the prosecution of the 
case. Captain Barry had, by the time of the Council meeting, 
gone "beyond seas" to far ofif China. 

After loading the Alliance with tobacco for Amsterdam and 
bringing her from Rappahanock, Virginia, in an unsea worthy con- 
dition, to Philadelphia where she was unladen and ordered to 
be sold, there is no mention of Captain Barry engaging in sea 
service until January, 1788, when he started on a yoyage to 

He had become commander of the merchant ship Asia, 
bound for China. On December 4th, 1787, he had obtained 
from the Consul of Sweden, at New York a letter to all Swedish 

Barry Goes to China 


vessels requiring them to respect the Asi4i and to give aid when 
necessary. Jonathan Mifflin and John Frazier were named as 
Supercargoes of the vessel. 

On December 12th, 1787, clearance papers signed by Arch- 
ibald Engle were issued at the Philadelphia Custom House to 
the Asia. ;> 

On January 7, 1778, the Asi4i, sailed for China, in company 
with the Canton, commanded by Captain Truxtun. The Asia 
returned to Philadelphia on June 4, 1789. The Canton arrived 
home the next day. 

By the annexed document we learn the names of officers and 
seamen to whom advance payments were made for this voyage. 

Advanced the people belonging to the Asia the Sums & 
Articles : 

Names Stations Dolls Receipts 

John Barry Esq Captain 

James Josiah Chief Mate 53-i James Josiah 

John E. Sword Second Mate 42-? John E. Sword 

Nathan Dorsey Doctor 48 Nathan Dorsey 

PeauWadman Boatswain 22 PeauWadman 

JohnGatt Carpenter 24 John "^^ Gait 

John Allen Sail Maker 20 John Allen 

William Johnson Cooper 24 William Johnson 

Joseph Mouldn Boatswains Mate 18 Joseph Mohler 

William Barry Steward 18 WilUam Barry 

Dclf Craig Cook 18 Philadelphia ™ Craig 

Dennis McGloghlin Seaman 16 Dennis ^* McGloghlin 

Thomas McGra 18 Thomas McGra 

James Hains 18 James X Hain 


James McMichin 18 James ™ McMukin 

Isacc Davis 18 Isaac Davis 

Wilm Burnet 18 William Burnett 

John Vainman 18 Jno Vaneman 

Isaac Luke 16 Isaac Luke 

JohnTarris 18 John Tarris 

W.James Welsh 18 James Welsh 

William Cannon Boy 10 Wm. Cannon 

Willm Bryan 10 Wm. Brian 

Willm Vicary 10 Wm. Vuary 

Patrick Hay 10 Patrick Hays 

Jacob Robinson Capts Cook 20 Jacob Robinson 

278 Barry at Canton 

Captain Richard Dale on May 20th, 17S8, just arrived at 
Canton, addressed Captain Barry, giving an account of the pas- 
sage to China from Maco, saying: '*On the twenty-second of 
December we came round New Holland to secure our passage 
for which we was much applauded by all commanders of India- 
men here being the first time that passage was ever attempted. 
Thirty men down with the scurvy — the old ship behaves very 
well as yet.'* [Barnes' CoL] 

The letter was addressed "John Barry, Esq., A American, 

Our countrymen were then so few in China as to be conspicu- 
ous. Lately they have been so by their large numbers. 

The following correspondence of the Chief Mate with Captain 
Barry, while at Canton, is from the autograph collection of the 
late Charles Roberts, of Philadelphia: 

**Ship Asia August 25 1788 
** Dear Sir: 

"We have brought all the Casks out of the hole and stowed 
them in the *twen decks, as far as the Bulkhead of the Steerage, 
there yet remains all the Gensing and Provisions, unstowd 
in the hole. In Breaking out the Liquors found one Puncheon 
of Rum Marked Stores and 5 Kegs Cargo intirely out a number 
of others that sounded hollow which took 5 Kegs more to fill 
them up which makes 10 Kegs in all that is out; all the other 
Liquors in good order ; I am in hopes the Tanks will be finished 
to-night if so shall begin to land early to-morrow, 

"Dear Sir 
'Your Humble Servant 

" James Josiah." 

"P. S. Have sent 3idozen beer in the boat. 

"[Endorsed] John Barry Esq 


September 25, 1788, from the ship Asia, Mate Josiah wrote 
to Barry, still on shore in Canton, reporting the freight on board 
and stating "the sick are something better than when you left us, 
but no one able to do duty. Mr. Gash I discharged and paid 
$30 to." 

Barry Returns from China 279 

The Asia remained at Canton, until January 7, 1789, just one 
year from her starting from Philadelphia loading with merchan- 
dize. The bills of lading in quaint old form recognizing, even 
in commercial dealings, the presence and Grace of God are now- 
a-days worthy of presentation. So one is herewith given. 

Shipped by the Grace of God in good order and Condition 
by John Barry in and upon the Good Ship Asia whereof is 
master under God for this present voyage John Barry and 
now riding at anchor in Canton River and by God's Grace 
bound for Phiadelphia to say, Ten bales Nankeens Containing 
in all nine hundred and fifty-two pieces being marked and num- 
bered as in the Margin [I. B. N.] and are to be delivered in like 
good order and Condition at the aforesaid port of Philadelphia 
(the dangers of the seas only excepted) unto John Brown or to 
his Assigns they paying freight for the same Goods one third 
of the Net Profit of said Goods. 

In witness whereof the Master or Purser of the said Ship hath 
affirmed to ten bills of lading all of his tenor & date the one of 
which ten Bills being accomplished the other one to stand void 
and so God send the Good Ship to her desired Port in Safety. 
Amen. Dated in Canton, this 26th day of December, 1788. 
[Barnes.] John Barry. 

The Philadelphia papers thus reported the arrival of the 
i4 Jia and the Can/on from China: 

The Independent Gazette, June 5, 1789, said: "Yesterday 
arrived in our river the ship Asia, Captain John Barry, of this, 
port, from Canton in China and brings very pleasing and agree- 
able accounts from all the American vessels in that distant quar- 
ter of the globe. He sailed in company on January 7th last, 
with the ship Canton, Captain Truxton, and parted with her 
two days after leaving the Cape of Good Hope, so that she may 
be momentarily expected." 

The Pennsylvania Mercury and Universal Advertiser of June 
6th ,said : "Thursday last arrived here the ship Asia, Captain 
John Barry, in four months and twenty days from Canton, in 
China. With her departed the ships Canton, Capt. Truxtun, 
and Jenny, Capt. Thompson. The Washington, of Providence, 

260 Washington Thanks Barry 

R. I., was to follow in a few days. The Eleanor was then fittmj 
for a further voyage. Captain Barry, we learn, parted witl^ 
the Canton and Jenny off the Cape of Good Hope. All well th^ 
23d March." 

The Freeman's Journal, June 10, 1789, said: *'The ship Asia.^ 
Capt. Barry, and the ship Canton, Capt. Truxton, sailed fr o u , ^ 
Canton China, on the same day, and, what is extraordinary^ . 
after a voyage of four months and twenty days they arrivec3 
here on Friday last. With them departed the ship Jenny ^ 
Capt. Thompson. The Washington of Providence R. I. was to 
follow in a few days. The Eleanor was there fitting for a further 

The Pennsylvania Packet, June 6th, said: ** Yesterday 
arrived here from Canton in China the ship Canton, Capt. Trux- 
ton. She took her departure from the East Indies in company 
with the Asia, Capt. Barry who arrived here on Thursday." 

The New York Daily Advertiser, June 8th, said:'*The Asia, 
Barry, from Canton, arrived at Philadelphia in four months 
and twenty days from Canton. The Washington, of Providence, 
was to sail from Canton a few days after the Asia, The Elea- 
nora of this port was fitting for a country voyage. The Canton, 
Truxton, is arrived at Philadelphia." 

On his arrival Captain Barry wrote to President Washington, 
sending a list of ships at Canton when he left there. On July 
6, 1789, Washington replied, acknowledging the list and thank- 
ing Barry *'for this polite mark of his attention." [Washington 
Papers, vol. X.] 

Senator Maclay, in his ^'Jo^^rnal," thus makes record: "J"°^ 
8. Heard on coming to my lodgings of the arrival of two India- 
men under the command of Barry and Truxtun who report all 
the rest to be on their way. And now, perhaps, we shall get 
the Impost and Collection Bills passed." 

**A letter from a gentleman in New York to his friend in 
Philadelphia" written that day said: "The impost bill still 
hangs in the Senate, where many of the proposed duties are 
much reduced and the impolitic system of discrimination 
between States in alliance, or otherwise, done away." 

Eight years afterwards the Asia was, on July 7, 1797, when 

Mrs. Barry 281 

under command of Captain Yard, returning from Bengal, 
captured in sight of Cape May by the Jidia, a Spanish privateer 
commanded by Don Baptista Mahon. The second mate, two 
passengers and a seaman were put in a pilot boat and sent to 
Philadelphia. The Asia belonged to Harrison & Sterrit and 
was valued at $800,000. 

Porcupine's Gazette said of this that the frigate [United States 
under Barry] was lying not thirty miles from the spot where 
this unbearable insult was offered the country. She ought to 
be towed down to the mouth of the river to shelter us from 
such tmheard of disgrace.*' 

The next month the vessel was recaptured by an American 
privateer from Providence off Havana. [Porcupine Gazette 
Sept. 5] 

On August 6th, 1789, Captain Barry wrote John Heard at 
Woodbridge, New Jersey, that he would not think of paying 
jt8o for a pair of horses without trying them, as Mrs. Barry 
was so timid. [Barnes.] 

282 A Captain Barry 



On February i8th, 1790, Captain Barry paid $6.00 for a copy 
of the Doway Bible, published by Carey, Stewart & Co. The 
receipt is in the collection of Capt. John S. Barnes, New York. 
Who has the Bible? 

From New York, March 5th, 1790, Captain John Barry 
wrote Commodore John Barry, that he had just arrived from 
the Island of Granada and desires a berth on a ship bound for 
the East Indies, where he had a first cousin also named Barry. 

Another cousin, David Barry, had married the daughter of 
Mr. Pursell, of Chester Co. David lived at Mount William on 
the Island of Granada. The young Captain Barry desired 
Commodore John Barry to address him at Dennis McCready's, 
Front St. near Fly Market, New York. The relationship has 
not been discovered. 

Commodore John Barry, on April 15th, 1790, gave his name- 
sake a letter to Joseph Sims, introducing **to you Captain John 
Barry, who I mentioned to you last Sunday, when you were so 
polite as to promise me the command of your sloop to him. 
I think you will find him a very sober and industrious man and 
one that will answer your Purpose any service confided to him 

will be gratefully acknowledged by &c. 

John Barry. 
[Barnes Col., No. 805.] 

It is not in evidence whether employment was secured. 
Nearly three years later we will learn that this Captain John 
Barry recommended as very sober, had become Rum's victim. 
From Captain he had degraded to Second Mate and had 

Memorial Rejected ^83 

proven unworthy of even that position secured him by his dis- 
tinguished namesake. 

Senator Maclay's Journal, records, under date of March 26th, 
1790. "A petition read from Captain Barry and others for 

The Proceedings of the Senate shows: 

"Memorial of the officers of the late Navy of the United 
States," praying that the same emoluments that were granted 
to the officers of the late Continental Navy may be extended to 
them, was read: 

Ordered that this Memorial lie on the table. 

In the House of Representatives action was not reached 
until June 24th, when the Committee on Memorial of the offi- 
cers of the Navy reported : 

The Committee report that they do not find any reason 
sufficient to justify the difference that has been made in the 
compensation of the officers of the army and of the navy of the 
United States, and are, therefore, of the opinion, that a law 
ought to pass for granting five years pay, equal to the commu- 
tation of half-pay, and also a bounty of land to the officers of the 
Navy, upon the same principles, and in the same manner, as 
has been granted to the officers of the army of the United States. 

After debate Mr. Thomas FitzSimons, of Philadelphia, moved 
the report be recommitted. 

The result was unfavorable to the petitioners. Captain 
Thomas Hartley, (who had been commander of the expedition 
against the Indians concerned in the Wyoming Massacre,) wrote 
to "Captain Barry near Philadelphia, in care of Major Samuel 
Nicholson, Conestoga Wagon, Philadelphia," saying under date 
of New York, June 25h, 1790: 

"Yesterday we tried the Question concerning the officers of 
the Navy — and we lost it — tho' we had many reasons to sup- 
pose we might succeed Luke warm Friends, and some remark- 
able Changes were unfavorable Circumstances. I believe had 
the Question been tried elsewhere it is more than probable we 
might have met with better Fortune." 

Senator Maclay's ** Journal" also records May 10, 1790: 
"This was a day of company at our mess. The strangers were 

284 Aduice to an Immigrant 

Captain Barry, Col. Moylan, Mr. Tench Coxe, now succeeding 
to the assistancy of the Treasury.*' 

This year, 1 790, Captain Barry was elected a member of the 
** Hibernian Society for the Relief of Emigrants from Ireland." 
He was also enrolled in * 'The Cincinnati." He had on June 
17th, 1779, been elected a member of the Friendly Sons of 
St. Patrick. The Hibernian Society of Philadelphia, has of 
late years taken the name of the Friendly Sons op St. Pat- 
rick, claiming that, by merger, the Sons became the Hiber- 
nians. So the Hibernians became the Sons again. 

Captain Barry's views on the course emigrants from Ireland 
to America should pursue are worthy of reproduction and con- 
sideration even to-day. 

Writing on January 2d, 1792, to James Corish, at New York, 
he said: 

Dear Sir: 

I received your favor of the 29th ult., which gave me great 
pleasure to hear from an old school-fellow and one who had 
much of my esteem in our juvenile days. It would have given 
me an infinite satisfaction to have had a few lines from you 
on your arrival in this country and to have given you my 
opinion and advice on any Subject that might have been of 
service to you as it may be supposed I am better acquainted 
with the Country and the ways and manner of the people, at 
least I may presume so if thirty odd years residence will give 
me a title to it. I am much at a loss to know whether you have 
a Family or not and what your Views can be to buy land on the 
Mohawk river for a man of years to bury yourself in the woods 
unacquainted I presume with cutting down trees or buildinglog 
houses far removed from any place to educate your children 
(if you have any) which you well Know must be the best for- 
tune you can leave them, in short I wish very much to see you 
& if you can make it convenient to spend a few weeks with 
me at Strawberry Hill within three miles of Philadelphia where 
I have retired too on a handsome competency you will make 
me very happy. Mrs. Barry requests me to give her compli- 
ments to Mrs. Corish, if she be in New York and begs her to 

Letter from Hon, James Jackson 265 

accompany you. I think it the more necessary for you to 
come here and let me advise with you as I find the People of 
N. Y. have already deceived you by telling you that State is 
the most temperate in the Union the weather in the Summer in 
the Country parts of all Middle States is more equal but in the 
Winter the further Northward the long and more severe the 
cold but at all events you ought not to buy a foot of land until 
the snow is oflf the ground. With much esteem, 

John Barry. 

On April 2d, 1792, was proved the will of Henry Gumey, of 
the Northern Liberties, of Philadelphia, near Captain Barry's 
Strawberry Hill estate. The will was signed February 22,1 790. 
It was witnessed by John Barry and Sarah his wife and by John 
Sellayeswz. [Wills W., p. 236.] 

The annexed letter is from Hon. James Jackson, Represen- 
tative in Congress from Georgia: 

Savannah, September ist, 1792. 
Dear Sir: 

I had intended doing myself the pleasure of writing you by 
Captain Collings, and of sending you, by the Same Conveyance, 
the young trees I promised you whilst under your hospitable 
roof last Spring; but I found, on drawing them, that the season 
had too much eflfect, and that they would not bear the voyage. 
I have therefore declined sending them until the Spring. 

I had the pleasure of seeing your Nephew a few days since. 
He was well, and says he has a full share of practice where he 
has settled. He had been a little feverish ; but it had gone oflf. 
I tell him that the Doctor's Harvest cannot be reaped without 
his tasting of the grain. There is one thing in Doctor's sick- 
nesses, however, contrary to their general run of practice; 
which is, that while they are lavish, in the extreme, of their 
medicine to common patients, they are very niggardly of it 
to themselves. I never knew a Doctor fond of taking Physick, 
and your Nephew Confesses to me that he does not like it. 
Doctor Henderson has removed from this to Charleston, but I 
advise Dr. Keen to persevere in Georgia. 

I came oflf without seeing you, and of course did not receive 

286 DcoMd Barry 

any instruction relative to your business in this State which you 
had mentioned to me. Should you honor me with any com- 
mands, I shall attentively regard them. 

I beg my respects to Mrs. Barry and Miss Keene, as well as 
to Mr. Keene in the City, with whom I had hoped to have pro- 
cured an acquaintance. Illness on one side, and business and 
hurry on the other, prevented that pleasure. Mrs. Jackson, 
altho unacquainted with the ladies, requests her compliments. 
I am, dear Sir, with real regard, 

Yr. Most obedt Servt. 

Jas. Jackson. 
Captain Barry. 

[Coll. Simon Gratz, Esq.,] 

To David Barry at Mount William in the Island of Granada, 
Commodore Barry wrote: 

Strawberry Hill, Dec. 6th, 1792. 

Since my last by way of Barbadoes no opportunity has oflfered 
untill the present one via North Carolina. Such is the diffi- 
culty we lay under here in respect to your Island, after returning 
you my thanks for all favors I must beg leave to inform you of 
your cousin John Barry. I got him second mate of an India- 
man out of this place. She is since arrived and left him in 
Bengal, from what I can learn from the Captain and the other 
officers, he is too fond of drink and little or no stability, he 
married here a few days before he sailed and has at this time 
a wife and young child with nothing to support them but the 
hard work of the mother who I understand goes out nursing. 

I suppose you are determined to spend the remainder of 
your days in Ireland ; but if your are not fixed in that, I think 
this the best country for a man to live in under the sun. There 
is every thing that the heart can wish for here. 

Should you incline to come here and settle I would recom- 
mend it to you to make a small trip to view the country and see 
how you like it. I have ventured to send you a half barrel of 
prime pieces of beef which I hope you will except [sic\ it would 
have been much better when you receive it had it gone immedi- 
ately from this to you. 

Maiheu) Carey 287 

Mrs. Barry joins me in best respects to Mrs. Barry you and 
family and believe me to be your 

Esteemed friend and very obedient servant, 

John Barry. 

P. S. Mrs. B. begs me to make an apology for her not being 
able to send something by this opportunity. 
Mr. David Barry. 
[Sold at Davis and Harvey's, Philadelphia, April 27th, 1900.] 
The next record shows Captain Barry writing to Mathew Carey 

"Strawberry Hill, Oct 20th, 1793. 

"Dear Sir:" 

"From an advertisement in Brown's Paper of the i8th inst. 
I have taken the Liberty to acquaint you that there is a young 
Gentleman a friend of mine who has lived with me these three 
months. He is lately from Ireland and wishes to be employed 
as a Clerk. I can recommend him for his integrity and sobriety. 
If you have not already engaged one, you will oblige me by 
letting me know the place and terms. 

**I hope you and Family have kept clear of the disorder pre- 
vailing in town and I pray God you may continue so. 
"Mrs Barry's compliments to Mrs Carey and believe me 

"Dear Sir 

"Your obedient 

"Humble Servant 

"John Barry." 
"Mr. Mathew Carey" 

[From collection of F. Dreer, Esq.] 

The advertisement called for "a person who writes a legible 
and correct hand and who has been accustomed to give regular 

"The disorder prevailing" was the yellow fever. From 
August ist to November 9th, 4,041 victims of it were buried. 
Of the number 335 were Catholics. Fathers Fleming and 
Graessl were of the number. They died in October. 

Strawberry Hill, Captain Barry's summer residence, was on 

288 Correspondence with Carey 

Gunner's Run, above Rose Hill, in the neighborhood of Frank- 
ford, opposite Peter Keen's plantation on Poor Island. 

In Mathew Carey's correspondence. Book No. 3, letter No. 
573 is Barry's reply, saying: 

Dear Sir: 

Inclosed you have your bill accepted by Mr. Leamy and I 
must beg leave to inform you that the place will not do for my 
Friend the term is too short and the wages too low but should 
you hear of any place that you think worth a young man's 
acceptance you will oblige me very much to inform me of it 
I am with &c. 

Letter No, 574, is from Mrs. Barry, saying: 


I am extremely sorry that Cap. Barry's being from home puts 

it entirely out of his power to comply with your request. 

With much respect, 

Sarah Barry. 

The letter following from Carey's correspondence, are those 
just given, and all without date. 

I wish to know what has become of the other notes I have 
endorsed. I am Yours &c. John Barry. 

[No. 576.] 

Dear Sir : You will oblige me to let the bearer have one 
Quire of your common writing paper and the Lessons in Elocu- 
tion or a Selection of Pieces in prose and Verse charge them to 
me and I will call and pay, if you have not the book be pleased 
to get it for him. I am with esteem 

Dear Sir Your Humble Servt 

John Barry. 
PS If you have any notes let me have one. 

J. B. 
Mr. Mathew Carey 
No. 1 18 Market St 

a few doors below fourth 
Street south 
[No. 577.] 

Correspondence 289 

Mr Barry's compts to Mr. Carey would be much obliged to 
let Bearer have the Plays of the Carmelite, Isabella and Peeping 
Tom of Coventry. Cap B. will call and pay you the first time 
he is in Philad. 

Strawberry Hill Jan 24TH [no year.] 

[No 578] 

On December 14th, 1793, Thomas Barry of Albany, N. Y., 
wrote Captain Barry that his **New elegant house was destroyed 
by fire. " He asked assistance of friends to rebuild. This Thomas 
Barry was one of the founders of the Church in Albany. On 
September 13th, 1797, he laid the comer stone of the first 
Catholic Church in that City, one of the rare instances of a lay- 
man performing such a ceremony. He had been to Canada 
to collect funds, Bishop Hubert by a circular letter of March 
4th, 1797, commending him to the parish priests. [Shea. 11, 

P- 432-4] 

290 France and England 






In 1793 France and England engaged in War. President 
Washington declared our government would "use every means 
in its power to prevent citizens from embroiling us with either 
power. '* Later, he issued a proclamation of neutrality. PubKc 
sentiments in Philadelphia, if not elsewhere, was, however, 
on the side of the French, as this item illustrates : 

On April 25th, 1793, ^^^ British ship Grange while at anchor 
in Delaware Bay was taken by the Embuscade, a French frigate 
and brought to Philadelphia a prize, *'Upon her coming in sight, 
thousands and thousands of the yeomanry of the city crowded 
and covered the wharves. Never before was such a crowd 
seen there, and when the British colors were seen reversed and 
the French flag flying above them they burst into peals of 
exulatation." [Jefferson's Works iii p. 348.] 

Like captures on the part of the British and the repetition. 
of such seizures by the French, coupled with the depredations 
of the Algerines upon American vessels in the Mediteranea 
and the impressment of our seamen by the British strengthen 
the declarations of Thomas Jefferson in 1785, and others a 
subsequent periods, that **Some naval force is necessary 
we mean to be Commercial." [Forman's Jefferson p. 316.^ 

Accordingly when Congress assembled in December, 1793 .=* 
the building of frigates early engaged attention. In addition:^ 
to the ravages of the corsairs of Algeria there was ^ 
possibility of War with France as well as England. Washingtorr:^ 
sought the opinion of Governor Clinton, of New York, as tc^ 
"how the Canadians" stand affected to their government anc^ 
what part they would be disposed to act if a rupture betwee^^ 

^ 4^m '^•«-.. /i ^J^^ ^---v ^^f<^ /*• ^*»».«5^^« m^»*M^0^-^ r*»»««,v^ 

.^ ^ - 

</, £./^^.v . >i?^. ..^.,.P-^^/>^-^'^>-^^- 

Captain Harry's Offer to Servh Against the Algkrines. 

Barry Offers His Services 291 

this country and Great Britain should take place." [Writings 
X 395.] Later information from London that **a war with the 
United States will not be hazarded;** though measures had 
**been taken to provoke England to strike the first blow, it 
was found the nation would not acquiesce in such a war.** 

All this caused public and official attention to be given to 
the formation of a Navy. The United States was a country with- 
out a Ship of War. When the public policy became determined 
by the course of Congress Captain John Barry, always prompt 
and foremost when public endeavor for the general good and 
defence of his Country demanded the services of its citizens, 
as early as March 19th, 1794, addressed to President Wash- 
ington an offer of his services. 

captain john barry offers his services to washington. 


Finding that the Government have partly determined to 
fit out some Ships of War for the protection of our trade against 
the Algerines I beg leave to offer myself for the Comd of the 
Squadron conceiving myself competent thereto assuring yoiu" 
Excellency that should I be honored with your approbation^ 
my utmost abilities and the most unremitting attention should 
be exerted for the good of my Country and also to approve 
myself worthy of the high honor shown by your Excellency. 

To your Obedient Humbl Ser 

o^v^Jt^ /yi 

March 19th, 1784. 
His Excellency 


[No 804 Barnes Coll.] 

Captain Nicholson on 29th January- 1794 wrote to Captain 
Barry relative to the arrangements of Congress regarding 
rank of officers of the Navy, saying his old commissionjjwas 

292 Barry Appointed No. I 

issued loth December, 1776, and signed by John Hancock, 
President of Congress and was given him by FrankUn and 
Deane at Paris. He feared his name and rank might not have 
been put in the Marine list. He requested Barry to have it 
placed in proper place and "after establishing yourself on 
such command as may be pleasing to you to help an old friend 
and brother officer.*' [Barnes.] 

"The depredation of the Algerine corsairs on the commerce 
of the United States rendered it necessary that a naval force 
should be provided for its protection," reads the Act of Mardi 
27th, 1794, signed by Washington. This Act is the beginning 
of the present American Navy. 

Congress ordered the construction and equipment of three 
frigates of 44 guns and three of lesser weight and tonnage. 

On June 6th, 1 794, announcement was made of the appoint- 
ment of six Captains to superintend the construction and to 
take command of the vessels. 

The following documents are transcripts from the original 
records at Washington : 

War Department, June 5, 1794. 

Sir : The President of the United States by and with the 
advice and consent of the Senate has appointed you to be a 
Captain of one of the ships to be provided in pursuance of the 
act to provide a naval armament herein enclosed. 

It is to be imderstood that the relative rank of the Captains 
is to be in the following order : 

John Barry. 

Samuel Nicholson. 

Silas Talbot. 

Joshua Barney. 

Richard Dale. 

Thomas Truxtun. 

You will please to inform me as soon as convenient whether 

you accept or decline the appointment. 

I am, sir, etc., 

Henry Knox, 

Captain Barry. Secretary of War. 

He Accepts 293 

Captain Barry's acceptance, now in the Ford Collection in 
Lenox Branch of the New York Public Library, reads: 

Strawberry Hill June 6, 1794. 

The honor done me in appointing me a Commander in the 
Navy of the United States is gratefully Acknowledged and 

Accepted by — 


Your, most Obedient, 

The Honle. Humbl. Serv't 

Henry Knox John Barry. 

Secretary of War. 

Captain Barney declined the appointment because of the 
rank — fourth — assigned him. Captain James Sever was ap- 
pointed in his place, but his rank was assigned next below 
Captain Truxtun — the sixth. 

Captain Samuel Nicholson — the second in rank — sent con- 
gratulations to his senior ranking officer. — 

Boston, June 14th, 1794. 

Give me leave to congratulate you on your Honourable 
appointment to the Command of our Navy. I make no doubt 
but it is to your satisfaction and to all who wish well to this 
country. I can asstu'e you there is none in this quarter that 
is not well pleased with the President's appointment [a few 
only excepted who wished themselves or friends in it.] Pray 
inform me by a line when and where our Ships are to be built 
and who are to build them, what is to be our uniform, and 
who are likely to be oiu" officers. Any information you shall 
give me I shall be very thankful for. 

Pray, my dear friend, tell me if you think I can possibly get 

my two sons in as Midshipmen — they are twelve and eleven 

years old and very stout grown lads. 

• I owe my thanks to my friends and am much pleased with 

my appointment. Mrs. Nicholson joins in compliments to 

Mrs. Barry and believe me. 

Your Very Humble Servant, 
To Commodore Barry, Sam. Nicholson. 

294 Captain Barry's Oath 

Captain Barry replied on June 24th, congratulating Captain 
Nicholson on his ^'appointment as second in command of the 
Navy of the United States," informing him that the shipi 
are to be built in different States; Captain Dale's in Norfolk; 
Truxtun's at Baltimore; Barry's at Philadelphia; Talbot's at 
New York; Nicholson's at Boston; Portsmouth N. H., the 
Captain not yet appointed ; there are over one hundred appli- 
cations ; the uniform is not yet fixed ; I think it will be blue and 
buff. [Barnes' Col. 807.] 

Washington at this time — ^June 25 — had written Governor 
Morris that his purpose was *'to preserve the coimtry in peace, 
if I can and to be prepared for war if I cannot," Events 
recorded and many others not within the scope of our History 
show that in the Navy line preparations for war were being 

On July I St Captain Barry signed this oath of fidelity: 

Captain Barry's Oath. 

I John Barry do solemnly swear to bear true allegriance to 

the United States of America and to serve them honestly 

and faithfully against all their enemies or opposers whomsoever 

and to observe and obey the orders of the President of Ae 

United States of America and the orders of the officers appomtfll 

over me, according to the articles of war, and that I will support 

the Constitution of the United States. 

So help me God. 

John Bakrv. 

Sworn before me this ist day of July 1794. 

Richard Peters. 

Captain Barry's commission is in possession of Mis. W; 
Horace Hepburn, granddaughter of Barry's nephew, CM0t 
Patrick Hayes; it is "No. i," and was signed by WiashiiigtiiBfe 
on his birthday, February 22, 1797, when the frigate C/friM 
States was nearly ready for launching. 

"Captain Barry," says Cooper's History of the Navy, "•Sifc 
the only one of the six surviving Captains of the Revolutidoittjr 
war who was not bom in America, but he had passed xmulj 
all his life in it. and was thoroughly identified with his adoptitf 

Barry's Sister 295 

countrymen in interest and feeling. He had often distinguished 
himself during the Revolution, and perhaps of all the naval 
Captains that remained he was the one who possessed a greater 
reputation for experience, conduct and skill. His appoint- 
ment met with general approbation, nor did anything ever 
occur to give the Government reason to regret its selection.'* 

On April 17th, 1794, Will Kearney, Jr., of Wexford, Ireland, 
wrote Capt. Barry for assistance "for your Sister Margaret 
Howlin who has not heard from you since your last letter of 
November 20th, 1792." '*I am a near neighbor of yours but 
so long ago that probably you do not recollect one of the name." 
He inquired if "malt liquors were in esteem in your country." 

Captain Barry did not reply to this, as is evident from this 
letter in the possession of Mrs Hepburn. 

Wexford, August 6th 1794. 
My Dear Brother : — Your letter of the 20th of November 
1 792 was the only one I ever had the favor of receiving from you. 
I wrote two letters to you but as I received no answer nor 
account of you since that letter I am doubtful of your receiving 
mine. I now embrace this opportunity of writing to you by 
Capt. Rossiter and trust in God your family are in good health. 
Paddy sends his love to you. He is now feeble and old and 
does everything in his power for me. I can't account for 
anything that might have given you displeasure formerly and 
never shall forget my prayers and love to you as a sister. I 
thank you for your kind expression of promising to send me 
some token of your affection and I am my dear Brother 

Your most affectionate sister 

Margaret Howlin. 

According to information derived from Miss Sarah Smith 
Stafford, of Trenton, N. J., after the death of Commodore 
Barry's father, Mrs. Barry married John Howard Stafford. 
They had issue Patrick and Margaret. Margaret became 
Mrs. Howlin. 

Who was "Paddy," "old and feeble"? 

Capt Barry's intention to send a "token of his affection," 


Barry's Sister 

may have referred to a legacy mentioned in a will he had this 
year had drawn, but which he did not execute. 

By his will of 1803 ^^ would appear that Mrs. Howlin was 
then dead, as a bequest is made to her daughter Ellen. 

Capt. John Rossiter was a Philadelphian, and, in 1809, a 
trustee of St. Mary's Church. He was commander of the 
ship China. He died in 18 10. 




111 ft A ^11 . 

. M^:i 11 J-^ 


1 i ; 

Building the Frigate 297 



Conceming the building of the frigates, the beginning of the 
Navy of the United States under the Constitution, the docu- 
ments to follow are of interest : 

(JWB) War Office, April 12, 1794. 

"To Mr. Joshua Humphreys: — Sir: — I request that you 
will please immediately prepare the models for the frame of 
the frigates, proposed by you in your letter of this date, and also, 
that you would please prepare an accurate draft and models of 
the same ; the latter to have the frames accurately described. 

(Signed) H. Knox." 

War Department, June 28, 1794. 
**To Mr. Joshua Humphreys: You are appointed the con- 
structor, or master builder, of a 44-gun ship, to be built in the 
port of Philadelphia, at the rate of $2000.00 per annum. This 
compensation to be considered commencing on the ist May last, 
in consideration of your incessant application to the public 
interest in adjusting the principles of the ships, drawing the 
drafts and making the moulds, etc. 

(Signed) H. Knox 

War Department, 24th July, 1794. 
To Mr. Joshua Humphreys : — I request that you would have 
the moulds for the frigates prepared with all possible despatch, 
for the purpose of being transported to the following places, viz: 
To Norfolk, 44-gun ship addressed to Mr. Pennock, agent 
(The Chesapeake) the dimensions and form of this ship were 
entirely changed by her constructor, Mr. Fox. To Baltimore, 
36-gun ship (The Constellation) Samuel and Joseph Sterritt. 

298 Building the Frigate 

To New York 44-gun ship (The President) John Blagge. To 
Boston 44-gun ship (The Constitution) Henry Jackson. To 
Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 36-gun ship (The Congress) 
Jacob Sheafe. Mr. Fox who is imder your direction to apply 
himself closely to this business. 

(Signed) H. Knox 

The Secretary of War on August 7th, 1794, issued the an- 
nexed order to Captain Barry: 

War Department, August 7, 1794. 

Sir : — ^You are to consider yourself as the superintendent of 
the frigate to be built at the port of Philadelphia, and which is 
to mount 44 guns. 

Your constant attendance will be necessary for the purpose 
of observing that all parts of the business harmonize and are 
conformed to the public interests. 

The frigate will be built and equipped under the following 
general regulations. 

The Treasury of the United States will make special contracts 
for the principal materials which will be used in the construction 
and equipment of the ship. 

The agents, Messrs. Gumey and Smith, will provide all the 
materials not otherwise provided by the Treasury. They will 
also excepting the constructor, procure and pay all the work- 
men and laborers of all sorts necessary for the building and 
equipment of the ship. 

The numbers and qualities of workmen and laborers are to 
be furnished by the agents in pursuance of requisitions in writ- 
ing by the constructor for the hull or master mechanic on each 
branchjof equipment, but in both cases to be countersigned by 
the superintendent. 

All the materials for the hull not provided by the Treasury, 
are to be provided by the agents in pursuance of estimates in 
writingjby the constructor, countersigned by the superintendent 
\ The materials for the equipment not provided by the Treas- 
urer are to be obtained by the agents in pursuance of the esti- 
mates of the master mechanic in each branch, countersigned by 
the superintendent. 

Barry Ordered to the South 299 

The constructor will have the immediate direction of all the 
workmen employed upon the hull of the ship. The rolls of the 
workmen and of the laborers must be called every working day 
at the commencement and termination of their labor, and after 
returning from dinner. This must be done in the presence of 
the constructor and clerk of the yard, whose certificates will be 
an indispensable condition of payment. 

The clerk of the yard will receive, issue and account for all 
the public property. The orders for the issue of articles for the 
hull must be signed by the constructor and countersigned by 

The articles for the equipment to be issued on the estimate 
of the principal mechanic in each branch with your order 

You will, as well as the constructor, be particularly careful 
that none but the best materials be used in the construction of 
the hull, and you will observe the same precautions with respect 
to the equipments of all sorts. 

You will also carefully observe that there be no deviations 
from the directions which shall be issued with respect to the 
proportions of the hull and equipments of all sorts. 

You will report to me weekly the number of workmen em- 
ployed and the progress made in the execution either of the hull 
or equipment. 

Captain Barry. 

The place chosen for the building of the frigate under the 
superintendency of Captain Barry was the Delaware River 
front where the American Steamship Company's wharves are 
now located at the foot of Washington Avenue near Old Swede's 

The materials for the construction of the frigates must be 
obtained in Georgia and Captain John Barry was ordered 
Southward under the orders of Tench Coxe, Commissioner of 
the Treasury. 

300 Goes to Georgia 

Treasury Department. 

Revenue Office, October 3rd, 1794. 

The Brig Schuylkill is nearly ready to depart for Frederica in 
Georgia. On board of her you will be pleased to proceed to that 
place and on your safe arrival you will apply to Christopher Hil- 
lary Esq. Collector of the Customs at that place for such informa- 
tion as may have been forwarded to him for your use by John 
Habersham & Joseph Clay Esqrs of Savannah. You will apply 
also to Mr. John T. Morgan Superintendent of the business of 
procuring the timber for the Naval Armaments or such other 
person as you may learn there is entrusted with the manage- 
ment of any part of that business, for such timber as may be in 
readiness for the Frigate to be built in Philadelphia and with 
all possible dispatch have the vessel your proceed with laden 
Therewith. It is highly probable that Mr. Hillary can direct 
you to the spot where Mr. Morgan and his people are employed 
It will be necessary to use precaution, that only the proper 
timber for one Frigate, be laden in this brig for the port of Phila- 
delphia. If it should be found that there is more of the timber 
in readiness for that Frigate than the vessel in which you pro- 
ceed will carry, you are hereby authorized to procure one or 
more other vessels (if to be had on terms that are reasonable) 
to carry whatever of the timber for the said Frigate can be got 
ready during your stay in Georgia. In pursuance of this or 
any Material objects that may arise which cannot be foreseen 
here you will be pleased to consult with Mr. Habersham and 
Mr. Clay at Savannah & with Mr. Morgan and with Hillary, 
the Collector of the District of Brunswick. Whatever you do 
that is material to the service you will communicate to Mr. 
Habersham, particularly as to the quantity and description 
of the wood shipt, and the vessels which may be either ladened 
or engaged. 

The public property on board the Brig is recommended to 
your particular Care, especially the oxen and horses, which are 
of the utmost importance to the expediting of the timber for 
several frigates. 

Should you have occasion to go to Charlestown in pursuit 

His Instructions 301 

of Vessels you will apply there for information and advice 
to Daniel Stevens, Esq. Supervisor of the Revenue and Isaac 
Holmes, Esqr. Collector of the Customs. The Gentlemen in 
South Carolina, and the above named Gentlemen at Savannah 
will be able to make the necessary advances of money should 
there be occasion for any. Here you will permit me to recom- 
mend the utmost care and moderation in all expenditures, 
whether for great or small objects, which shall consist with the 
effectual and propmt execution of the public Service. 

It is difficult to give in greater detail Instructions depending 
upon contingencies in places remote from the seat of Govern- 
ment. I shall therefore content myself with requesting that 
you will use all possible exertion to effect yoiu* departure from 
hence to the cutting and transportation of the timber for yoiu* 
own and every other Frigate, to the order and industry of all 
persons whatever employed in procuring the wood, and to 
the preservation of the valuable property, which is the object 
of the voyage, in whatever situation it may be. 

I am Sir with great esteem 
Your most obedt Servant 

Tench Coxe 
Commissioner of the Revenues 

John Barry Esq 
OF THE Navy of the United States. 

Enclosed you will receive notes of the Articles of Public 
property on board the Brig Schuylkill. Also copy of the Ar- 
ticles of agreement between Genl Huntington & William Shef- 
field who is at the head of the Carpenters and axemen gone to 
Georgia, but on arrival to be under Mr. Morgan to whom you 
will be pleased to show them. 

John Barry, Esq 
OF THE Navy of the 
United States. 

302 Senator Butler 

Senator Pierce Butler, of Georgia, October 3d, 1799, wrote to 
Captain Barry 

Dear Sir : 

Inclosed You have a letter for my Overseer it is open and 
written in such a hurry that I doubt if he, who is a poor Schollar, 
can read the writing : If not You must read it to him I regret 
exceedingly my good sir, that the accommodations will not be 
such as I wish them ; but such as they are You will command 
them as Your own. The settlement is in its infancy I have 
not had leisure yet to do more than Lodge my Negroes. If you 
put in here in a year or two with Your Frigate you will find 
things better. Wishing you a pleasant Passage 

I am very sincerely Dear Sir Yr Friend 

P Butler 

friday mom. 
I send some Garden seeds which 

I 'request you will give into the hands 

of the man Santee to whom they are directed. 

Addressed : Capt Barry 

[From original.] 

The Naval Constructor, Joshua Humphreys, on October 15, 
1794, wrote Captain Barry: 

"Agreeably to you and Capt. Truxtun's request I send you 
draft of floor of each frigate, the height of deadwood for each 
timber is marked & the height of Each thwat, so that any 
person Knowing anything of the draft may get all the timber." 

[Barnes, 843.] 

The following letter probably never reached Captain Barry 
in Georgia, but was remailed to him from Baltimore on January 
6th, following: 

Philadelphia, October 30, 1794. 
Dear Sir : 

I have the pleasure to inform you the plank is now a cutting 

I think if the sawyer cut the plank as it should be, they will be 

the finest I ever saw. I have ordered some of the best trees to 

be cut for the Oak work of the Masts, the Keel is cut & sawed 

but not yet in the yard, but I am informed it is a most beautiful 

Humphreys and Jackson 303 

stick. Mr Sheafe wrights from Portsmouth N. H. that they 

camiot procure their keel in less than five pieces. The General 

has been induced to order Oak beams for all ships but ours. 

I believe through the incessant interference of our friend Trux- 

tun, however from the confidence he expressed he had in me 

& your wish to have pine beams he has granted that indulgence, 

and I trust you will give such directions before you leave that 

place, that the pine may be of the best quality, taking care that 

that no sap should be left on any & the long comings (?) be also 

of the best pine. I believe there is not one floor or rainny (?) 

timber contracted for & I am very confident those forward & 

aft will be very difficult to be prociu'ed here. 

I am with much esteem & Respect your Friend & Fellow 


Joshua Humphreys 
P. S. I will thank you not to 
forget the live oak plants 
& acorns 

Superscribed on the back as follows : — 
(Stamped) BALT. JAN 6 

John Barry Esquire 

The following letter of Representative and later Governor 
Jackson, of Georgia, being without date or location cannot be 
accurately placed historically. It seems, however, to have 
been sent to Captain Barry while on this trip to that State, 
probably at Savannah. 

Dear Sir : 

I have just received a notice by the pilot that we must sleep 

aboard to-night. He says the wind is fair, and that he can carry 

the Brig over the bar by two o'clock to-morrow morning. 

Affection Strives to detain me, but Duty, as Congress meets 

next Monday, added to the wish of being but a short period at 

Sea, makes me wish to go. It is, I assure you, as I am however 

certain you must know by experience, a disagreeable business 

to leave a family. With esteem, 

Yoiu's very sincerely 

Jas. Jackson. 

304 Repels Operations in Geor^'a 

Where shall I find you? I would beg you to come and sup 
on Oysters; but Mrs. Jackson, as I took leave this morning, is 
wretched at the Second parting on the same day. Tuesday 
Commodore Barry 

Navy of the United States. 
(Collec. Simon Gratz, Esq.) 

Captain Barry fulfilled the purpose of his journey to Georgia 
live oak timber lands and returned to Philadelphia His report 
to Tench Coxe, Commissioner of the Revenue, reads : 

Philadelphia, 1794, Nov. 10th. 

I have the pleasure to inform you of safe arrival here from 
the Southward after compleating the business I was sent on as 
well as I could. On the 14th of Oct. I arrived at Gashayes 
Bluff on the Island of St. Simon, where I found Mr. Morgan 
the shipwright who has the superintending of Cuting the tim- 
ber for the Frigates with his two Boys Sick and not a man with 
him nor a stick of wood cut; the 15th th Revenue cutter 
arrived from Savannah with part of the utensils for Cutting 
timber part of the Moulds and part of the provisins the next 
Day I sent Mr Morgan into the Country to try and get hands 
he got six from Mr. Spalden. Mr. Spalden being gone to the 
Assembly Mr. Cooper paid me a visit with whom I had influ- 
ence enough to let me have ten of his best hands which he sent 
on Monday the 20th as soon as Morgan got the above sixteen 
then he set them to work making open the oxen and Horses 
was all landed in good order and making a road to the Wood. 

On the 2 2d Eighty one men arrived from New London, via 
Savannah as soon as they Land'd they was set to Work to 
make a place to cover them from the Weather the next day 
they was set to cut Wood Mr. Morgan arrived by the Sloop that 
brought the men. Sundry other articles for carrying on the 
business. I asked Mr. Morgan what was the terms between 
him and Mr. Leake whose land he was going to Cut on. His 
answer was that Mr Leake told him he might cut what timber 
he wanted off his place upon as good terms as he could get from 
any other man in the State. I have told Morgan it was 

Report of Operathns m Georgia 305 

very bad contract that the timber was not contracted for, his 
answer was that there was but one contract made and that for 
fifty thousand foot and he believed no time limited for the 
baleing of it. Mr Morgaa received orders from the Agent at 
Savannah to send half of the men in twenty days after they 
was at St.Simons to the Island where they have contracted for the 
fifty thousand foot, Distance seventy miles to the Northward 
as soon as the men get to Work Morgan informed me that he 
could take it in provided he could keep the men together, 
having done everything in my power at St. Simons I thought it 
best to go to Savannah to try if I could Charter any vessels there 
but on my arrival I found there was not a Vessel in the place 
fit for the business the 28th the Revenue Cutter arrived from 
St. Simons and brought me a letter from Mr. Morgan informing 
me that he could load Capt Knox in six days on which I de- 
clined. Returning to St. Simons while I was in Savannah I 
asked Mr. Habersham the reason why there was not more tim- 
ber contracted for, his reply was that they could have as much 
as they pleased. I did not think that a proper answer but as 
I had no order to call him to acct I thought it best to leave that 
to the gentleman that Employ him. Upon the whole I am of 
opinion that Morgan would have done the business much better 
himself. I am with much esteem 

Your Obt Huml Ser't 

John Barry. 
Tench Cox, Esq. 
[Barnes, No. 818.] 

On December 6th, 1794, Captain Barry presented a bill for 
his services from June 6th. To my pay as a Commander in the 
Navy, from the 6th of June to the present date, at 75 dollars 
per month, 450 dollars. To my rations, 6 per day, at 20 cents 
per ration, 219 dollars. Total, 669 dollars. 

On December 12th, Captain Barry rendered his account for 
"Voyage to Georgia on Public Account." 

306 Report on the Frigates 

Paid for Men & Sea Stores $ 32 60 

John Kelly, Sundry Sea Stores 55 64 

My Expenses at Savanna . 16 00 

My Passage from Sav to P. . 20 00 

$124 24 
By Cash from Tench Francis $200 00 

On Public Ac $124 00 

Due the Public $ 75 76 

His bill of December seems to have been paid, as on January 
6th, 1 795, his bill for services from June 6th, 1 794, to January 
ist, 1795, was presented to the Government, $512.50 for pay 
and $250 for subsistence. 

The annexed is "Copy of a letter from Captains Barry, Dale, 
and Truxtun, to the Secretary of War, dated Philadelphia, De- 
cember 18, 1794.'' 


As soon as the appropriation act was passed, for furnishing 
money to build the six frigates, in consequence of the act of 
Congress, passed the 27th of March last, we observed a navy 
constructor was immediately employed, who has been steadily 
at work, drawing the draughts, and making the necessary 
moulds for building the ships on the most eligible construction; 
all of which are now completed, and sent on to the different 
yards where the ships are to be built. And we appeal to all 
those who have any knowledge of the science of naval archi- 
tecture, of the great precaution that was absolutely necessary, 
in laying the foundation of our infant navy, and the time it 
would consequently take to digest a good plan, avoid errors, 
and fix dimensions, founded on the experience of all maritime 
Europe, as well as that of this country, so as to have the ships 
the best adapted for the service of any that was ever built 
of the kind, which we are of an opinion has been happily effected 
and that the arrangements to commence the building of frigates 
has been judiciously made, and every pains taken to procure 
the most durable wood in the world (the live oak of Georgia), 

Report on the Frigates 307 

but the summer season having commenced before the appro- 
priation act was passed, at which time it is so very sickly in 
and about the islands of Georgia, that it is impossible to pro- 
cure, and would have been both expensive and useless to have 
sent men thither to cut wood, if they could have been 
procured during the summer months. Early in October, 
however, a number of wood cutters, that had previously been 
engaged in Connecticut, arrived in Georgia, commenced their 
operations, and have made such progress that one vessel has 
already arrived here with a full cargo; the master of which 
reports favorably as to the despatch of others, that have been 
sent on by the Treasury Department, for to take timber to the 
different yards. The building the frigates of live oak will 
certainly be a great saving to the United States, as we are well 
satisfied (accidents excepted) that their frames will be perfectly 
sound half a century hence, and it is very probable they may 
continue so for a much longer period. On the contrary, we 
are as fully convinced, from experience, that if they were to be 
built of the best white oak of America, their durability at the 
utmost would not exceed one-fourth of that time, and the ex- 
pense of building and equipment is the same, whether the ships 
are of the best or worst wood of this country ; but had it been 
determined, in the first instance, to have built the ships of 
common oak, no greater progress could have been made, 
as there was no timber cut in any of the States, large enough 
for the purpose; and to have cut it in the summer season, when 
the sap was up, and built the ships of wood in that green state, 
they would have proved rotten, and totally unfit for the public 
service in less than five years from the la3ring of their keels. 

The undersigned, John Barry, has made a visit to Georgia, 
at the request of the Secretary of the Treasury, and is so well 
satisfied with the exertions of Mr. Morgan, who superintends the 
cutting and shipping the timber, that he has not a doubt but 
the whole quantity will be cut, between this and the month of 
February, and if so, we are all of the opinion that the ships may 
be built, and completely, equipped in the course of the next 
year; as every preparation is made in the different yards, and 
for procuring all the materials in the various branches, for going 

308 Report on the Friioies 

on with spirit and despatch. It must be remembered that, in 
the first maritime countries in Europe, where they have regular 
establishments for building ships of war, with dock jrards and 
large stocks of timber thereon, they seldom complete a frigate 
of the magnitude of any of ours, in less than twelve months 
after she is raised ; contract ships, built in time of war, to an> 
swer the purpose of the moment, only excepted. 

It would be highly gratifying to us, sir, who have thrown 
aside our former occupation, and the prospects that were fair 
for increasing our fortunes, with a view of serving our country, 
and who have no desire of beingmere sinecure ofiicers,if wecould 
at this moment embark, and obey the commands of our coun- 
try, in going in pursuit of a barbarous enemy, who now holds 
in chains and slavery so many of our unfortimate fellow citizens; 
the relieving and restoring of which to the bosom of their fami- 
lies and friends, are, with that of having an opportuntiy to 
chastise their cruel oppressors, objects of our greatest ambition, 
and which we anticipate with all the ardor of oflScers, of seamen, 
and of citizens. We therefore assure you, sir, that every exer- 
tion shall be made by us, in our department, to facilitate the 
building and equipment of the ships, to which we have the 
honor to be commanders and superintendents. 

We have the honor to be, &c. 

John Barry, 
RicHD. Dale, 
Thomas Truxtun. 

[Am. State Papers, Naval Affairs, Vol. i.] 

Captain Richard Dale at this time was superintending the 
building of a frigate at Norfolk, Va., his old home. He wrote 
Captain Barry that could he procure a suitable person to superin- 
tend the building of the frigate he could obtain the permission of 
the Secretary of War, Pickering, to make a voyage to China. 

Captain Barry, on February 9th, wrote the Secretary that 
Captain Dale had so informed him. He oflFered to give all 
assistance and advice to the person so appointed in case the 
permission desired was given Captain Dale. Captain Barry At- 
dared Captain Dale was, **most certainly a brave and deserving 
officer and I shotdd be extremely sorry that any exertions of 

The Work Ceased 309 

mine shotild be wanting to retain him in the service." [Barnes 
Coll. 806.] 

The frigates were being built. As yet '*the American Navy 
cannot dispute the ocean, but American rights have not been 
relinquished. Of the time, mode and style of enforcing them 
the United States is the sole judge,*' so wrote in May, 1795, 
Edmund Randolph to Fauchet, the French Minister. [State 
Papers, p. 185.] 

And yet no haste was made in the building of the frigates. 
Temporary diplomatic arrangements with France quieted or 
averted action. Our country paid tribute to the Barbary 
State and sent barrels of silver to purchase tolerance on the 
sea from these pirates as a cheaper method of peace than the 
cost and maintenance of armed vessels of war would be. So 
the work on the frigates was delayed. 

By the Act of March 27th, 1794, creating the Navy, work was 
to cease in the event of peace being signed with Algiers. So 
when, on December 21st, 1795, Washington informed the Senate 
that the Emperor of Morroco had signed a treaty of Peace and 
friendship with the United States, work on the frigates was 

When Washington called the attention of Congress to the 
loss that would come if the work was not continued. Congress, 
onJApril 20th, 1 796, ordered the unexpended balance of the 
$688,888,82, which had been appropriated by the Act of June 
9th, 1794, to be used, and appropriated $80,000 for equipment, 
but ordered the work on these frigates to be discontinued. 

310 State of the Frigate 



This is a *' Statement of the progress made in building a 
frigate at Philadelphia to carry forty-four guns, under the 
direction of Mr. Joshua Humphreys, Naval Constructor, and 
Captain John Barry, Superintendent." 

The keel is completed and laid on the blocks. The pieces 
are scarfed and bolted to each other in the best manner. The 
Stem frame is complete and ready for raising. About two- 
thirds of the live oak for the frame is received, nearly all of 
which is worked agreeable to the moulds; and many of the 
frames are together and bolted and ready to put into the 
ship ; two thirds of the plank for outside and ceiling are received, 
and about one- third for the wales; the remainder is nearly 
ready. The beams for the orlop deck are all procured and 
worked, and many of the upper deck beams are likewise worked, 
and the remainder are expected to arrive daily. A large quan- 
tity of live oak knees are arrived for the security of the decks, 
and pieces for coamings for the hatchways, partners for the 
masts, and several other purposes are ready. The masts, bow- 
sprit, yards, and the other spars are procured, several of which 
are received. The copper necessary for securing the various 
parts of the ship, and for sheating the bottom, is in the public 
stores. The iron work is now preparing and ready for delivery, 
as fast as it is wanted. The boiler for boiling the white oak plank 
in salt water, to render it durable in the greatest possible pro- 
portion to live oak, is completed. All the anchors are procured, 
and the hemp for the cables and materials is now spinning and 
preparing; all the canvas necessary for one suit of sails is in 
the public stores. The blocks for the rigging are manufacturing 

state of the Frigate 311 

and a great part are ready for delivery. Kentledge for the 
ballast is all cast and delivered; a contract for the treenails 
has been made, and next month appointed for delivery. Bunt- 
ing for the colors is on hand, and a g reat number of smaller 
articles for the hull, rigging and equipping the ships, are stored 
in the public stores." [Am. State Paper. Naval Affairs, Vol. I.] 

No date is given to this report : 

The frigate United States, was shaping, forming and erecting 
into a visible creation, typifying the strength and power of the 
New Nation. She so far towards completion had progressed 
that on September 19th, 1796, Captain Barry made estimate 
of the cost of fitting out for officers and men would be $7285.00. 

The annexed document, unsigned, is probably Capt. Barry's 
report late in 1 796 : 


**The hull is all planked inside and out, and all the principal 
decks are laid and calked excepting a part of the gun deck. 

The upper deck beams are in and part of them kneed. About 
half of the bottom is dubbed off and a considerable part calked. 
The braces and pintles for the rudder are all cast. The knee 
of the head together with the figure are nearly ready. All 
other part of the hull are in such forwardness that it is expected 
she may be launched by the beginning of April next, provided 
the winter does not prove severe. 

The rigging is all made and nearly fitted, The yams for the 
cables are spun. The anchors and iron ballast on hand, and 
the blocks, deadeyes, water casks, boats, lanterns and all the 
tinwork are provided. The other materials are in part pro- 
cured and the work in general progresses rapidly towards 

The annexed documents, copied from the records of the War 
Department, is a transcript of one sent Captain Barry. 

War Office, May 16, 1796. 

Sir : Several of the cannon destined for the frigates cast at 

Cecil furnace having been proved, and Mr. Hughes wishing to 

have them examined and received by the United States, it 

312 State of the Frigate 

may be proper that you should see them and examine whether 
they are suitable or fit for service. 

I have to request you will visit Cecil furnace, and if possible 
set oflF to-morrow morning in company with Mr. Da Costa who 
is now in town, and in conjunction w th him and Captain 
Truxtun if there, examine and pass receipts to Mr. Hughes 
for such cannon as have stood proof and are suitable for service. 

The contract (which no doubt Mr. Hughes will show you) 
stipulates for the delivery of suitable cannon of certain descrip- 
tions, that is, as I construe it, such as are efficient and in every 
respect fit for service. 

I enclose you my instructions to Mr. Da Costa for your 

On September 20th, 1 796, Captain Barry, wrote the Secretary 
of War Stoddert, relative to "the proof of the cannon you did 
me the honour to show me the other day. I was clear in my 
own mind it was much too small but before I would contend 
with you on the subject I have thought it best to inform my- 
self of the proof of cannon of some of the Nations of Europe." 

He cited these and gave his opinion of the right method of 
proof and of the methods of the English, French and Dutch. 


* * On the frigate the work in general progresses rapidly towards 
completion,*' is the official report, yet Callender in his American 
Annual Register, for this year, declared: '*At what time anyone 
of these frigates will be ready for service cannot be determined 
(p. 46). The public would be glad to learn for what reason 
Captains were appointed and entered into pay for the com- 
mand of these vessels before they were built, [p. 47]. If the 
persons who pay these Captains were to have defrayed even the 
one-tenth of the money out of their own finances they would 
have looked more sharply after the concern, [p. 48] 

In his speech to Congress December 7th, 1796, President 
Washington, in directing the attention of the Congress to the 
protection of our commerce, said : 

*'To an active external commerce the protection of a naval 
force is indispensable. This is manifest with regard to wars in 
which a State is itself a party. But besides this, it is our own 

Washington Urges Increase of Navy 313 

experience, that the most sincere neutrality is not a sufficient 
guard against the depredations of nations at war. To secure 
respect to a neutral flag, requires a naval force organized and 
ready to vindicate it from insult or aggression. This may 
even prevent the necessity of going to war,by discouraging bellige- 
rent Powers from committing such violations of the rights 
of the neutral party, as may first or last, leave no other option. 
From the best information I have been able to obtain, it would 
seem as if our trade to the Mediterranean, without a protecting 
force, will always be insecure, and our citizens exposed to the 
calamities from which numbers of them have just been relieved. 

Will it not, then, be advisable to begin without delay to pro- 
vide and lay up the materials for building and equipping of ships 
of war and to proceed in the work by degrees, in proportion, 
as our resources shall render it practicable, without inconveni- 
ence so that a future war of Europe may not find our commerce 
in the unprotected state in which it was found by the present." 

This year Rev. Matthew Carr began the erection of St. Augus- 
tine's Church. Commodore John Barry contributed $150 
and his namesake Captain John Barry gave $20. Stephen 
Girard gave but $40. Earlier in the year, on January 28th, 
1796, Commodore Barry was appointed administrator of the 
estate of Jane, widow of James Byrne. [Book H. p. 229.] 

On December 12th, 1796, an exhibition of Theobald Bourke's 
patent copper pump was made at Vine street wharf. It deliv- 
ered 154 gallons in thirty-five seconds. Among the examiners 
testing the operations of the pump were Captain John Barry 
and Contractor Joshua Humphreys; but their names are not 
appended to the certificate of approbation published in The 
Auroraoi December 26th, though that of Captain John Rosseter, 
a fellow in the faith with Barry, appears. 

An engraving of this pump; "Dedicated to John Barry, Esq., 
Commander of the frigate United States, by his humble servant, 
T. Bourke," is among the Barry Papers owned by Captain 
John S. Barnes, of New York. 

314 Preparing for War 




Our relations with the French Republic were not bettering. 
Indeed, the situation at the opening of 1 797 was aptly expressed 
by John Quincy Adams from the Hague, January 23d, "That 
every hostility in the power of the French government may be 
expected against us." 

Yet strangely the hostility between France and England by the 
whirling of events brought the United States into the position 
of having her Revolutionary War friend, France, now her enemy, 
and the object of her detestation while her old-time enemy be- 
came the untreaty ally. The situation is presented in Robert 
Goodloe Harper's Observation on the Dispute Between Untied 
States and France,'' issued May, 1797. "If driven to war we 
can buy at a price cheap to ourselves the full cooperation of the 
British Navy; that by withholding supplies from France and 
her allies in the West Indies, we can most eflfectually aid the 
operations of her enemies that Britain being thus enabled to 
call home a great part of her present force in the West Indies, 
will increase still more her internal safety and the superiority of 
her Navy in Europe." 

At this time it was computed the British Navy numbered 
590 vessels and 153,400 men. 

Our frigates were still building. Begun in 1 794, "to sail 1400 
leagues to encounter Algiers," in 1796, it was said: *'At what 
time any one of these frigates will be ready for service cannot 
be determined." Aroused to earnest action by the atrocities 
of the Algerines and the recital of the cruel slavery of our sea- 
men, the country had, with enthusiasm, determined to build a 
navy to avenge the assault upon our trade and seamen. But 
the English policy of tribute paying was deemed **the best 

Jackson to Barry 315 

policy" until results demonstrated otherwise. The added 
ravages of the French upon our Merchant vessels and the forced 
conscription of our seamen by the British, angered our country. 
Then the completion of the frigates — the pioneers of our Coun- 
try's Navy — was hastened and yet not with the swiftness 
borne of Revenge. 

Hon. James Jackson, Representative in Congress from 
Georgia on February, 26th, 1797, wrote Captain Barry: 

Dear Sir : 

When you were first nominated to the appointment of Com- 
mander of one of the frigates, I took the liberty of mentioning 
to you the name of a young Gentleman, the Son of a Friend of 
mine, and a Gentleman whom you must have been acquainted 
with whilst here, the loan officer of Georgia for the Union, Col. 
Wylley. His Son, Alexander I, at that period proposed to you 
for a Lieutenant's Command ; but the reduction of the number 
of Frigates, and the many applications, induces him to drop 
any idea of a commission, and he begs me to Solicit for him a 
Midshipman's birth on board the vessel you may command. 
He is sober and active, and is just returned from a voyage 
round the World. He says he is hopeful his conduct, if he meets 
your favor, shall merit a continuance of it. His Father, seeing 
him so bent on the Navy, will be highly gratified and obliged 
by the appointment of him to the birth he Solicits. I will only 
add, that it will please the Friends of the Union here, to see one, 
at least, of their Young lads in the way of rising in the line of 
that Force which, at a future day, must become the protection 
of their commerce. 

We have had as you have heard a most dreadful calamity. 
The Fire Scarcely left a House in the Old Town, 375 Dwellings 
were burnt. I lost Four of them, valued at 12,000 dollars, be- 
sides furniture. 

I am now retired to my plantation below Savannah, where I 
enjoy more satisfaction in farming than I ever did in the busy 
Scenes of Political or Forensic life. Mrs. Jackson is full as 
well satisfied, the more so, as she says she has the prospect of 
keeping me at home — the reverse she tells me of the prospect 

3J6 Recommended by Barry 

Mrs. Barry has, whom she pities. At the idea of parting for a 
few months she Shudders; but how much more would she fed 
she says, when the Elements, the risk and the probable danger 
are contemplated. 

God Send, my dear Commodore, that you may meet no insults 
to our Flag which may Command resentment — but should that 
happen, may your old good Fortune not forsake you, nor the 
American Eagle be struck to any foe on Earth, is the prayer of 

Yours with sincere esteem 

Jas. Jackson. 
Cedar Hill, Feb'y 26th, 1797. 
Commodore Barry. 

In July Captain Barry recommended to the Secretary of War 
the appointment of those named below as officers of the United 
States : 

Richard O'Brien, of Massachusetts, i Lieutenant; John Mul- 
lowney, of Philadelp, 2 Lieutenant ; William, Billings, of Boston, 
3 Lieutenant ; Samuel Newell, of Savanna, 4 Lieutenant ; John 
Lockwood, of Philadelphia, Sailing Master. 

William Markea, of Virginia, i st Lieutenant of Marines ; Zinas 
Meigs Bradley, of Vermont, 2d Lieutenant of Marines ; George 
Gillaspy, of New York, Surgeon; John Scott, of Boston, Piu"ser. 

Alexander Wylly, of Georgia, Midshipman ; Michael D. Walsh, 
Midshipman; Hempdin Mcintosh, of Georgia, Midshipman; 
Stephen Decatur, Jr., Midshipman. 

John Buller, of Phila., Surgeon's mate; John Leyboum, of 
Savannah, Geo., Mate; Robt. Wilson, of Phila., Boatswain; 
Henry Robertson, of Phila., Carpenter. [Barnes, 803.] 

The anticipations of Captain Barry that the frigate he was to 
command would be ready for the water about April were 
realized. She was so far in readiness that the date of launching 
was fixed for Wednesday, May loth, 1797. 

Of the three 44-gun frigates ordered to be constructed in 
1 794 she was the first ready for the water. Her sister ships— 
The Constitution was not launched at Boston until Oct. 21st, 
1797 — and The Constellation, built at Baltimore, yet later. 

The first vessel of *'The Infant Navy" of the new Constitu- 

The Frigate United States 317 

tional Government had, appropriately, the name The United 
States given to it. 

The building of the United States fitly, also began during the 
administration of Washington. It was completed and sent to 
sea during the administration of John Adams. Our second 
President took office on the 4th of March, 1797. He avowed 
an intention **to pursue by amicable negotiations a reparation 
for injuries that have been committed on the commerce of our 
fellow citizens by whatever nature and if success cannot be 
obtained, to lay the facts before the legislature that they may 
consider what further measures the honor and interest of the 
Government demand." 

The launch of The United States was thus reported in The 
Philadelphia Gazette, Thursday, May nth, 1797. 


"Yesterday at 5 minutes past one o'clock, the United States 
frigate was launched, from the dockyard of Mr. Joshua Hum- 
phreys, in a manner which does great honor to the conductors. 
The descent from her ways was gradual and uniform and her 
appearance in the water truly elegant. It may naturally be 
supposed, that a scene so novel and so interesting would draw 
together an immense concourse of spectators, and the pleasant- 
ness of the day seemed to give a zest to the flattering prospect 
of an American Navy. On this occasion the artillery and other 
uniform companies together with the regular troops, were 
paraded. The adjacent parts of the river were crowded with 
vessels of different descriptions and the stages and house tops 
surrounding the dockyard, were covered with citizens of every 
age and sex. The entrance of The United States into her des- 
tined element was announced by a federal discharge from the 
artillery and the united felicitations of near twenty thousand 

*'This is, perhaps, the largest and completest frigate built, 
and though intended to carry only 44 guns is as large as a 64 
gun ship. 

** After the launch the ship carpenters and citizens sat down 
in the ship yard to a collation and the remaining part of the day 

318 The Launch 

was spent in the utmost festivity. We had flattered ourseWes 
that the day would have passed without any calamitous acci- 
dent, we have however the painful task of annotmdng the 
melancholy exit, of a youth whose amiable qualities promised 
a valuable acquisition to society, — a lad about i6 years of age 
apprenticed to a silversmith in stepping from the deck of the 
frigate to the wharf fell into the river and was unfortunately 

The diary of Jacob Hiltzheimer (p. 242) records May loth, 
(i797)» '*Dined with Mr. Barge, after which we went down in 
my chair to the old fort in Southwark, where was launched 
the frigate Untied States to carry 44 guns. The launch was 
conducted by Commodore Barry in view of possibly 20,000 
spectators who crowded the shore and the river." 

Miss Sarah Smith Stafford, on April i6th, 1877, wrote to 
Capt. John S. Barnes, "I heard my father state how gaily the 
Commodore dressed the frigate the day they were about launch- 
ing her and the enthusiasm he enjoyed with so many flags as 
could be gathered in Philadelphia.'* 

As directly appropriate may be cited Miss Eleanor Donnelly's 
spirited lines : 


A May-day sun — a noon-day tide — 

And a warm west wind for the ladies fair ! 

A hundred craft at anchor ride, 

Their bright flags gemming the Delaware. 

Ten thousand freemen crowd the quay, 

The housetops other thousands hold; 
All Philadelphia throngs to see 

The launch of Barry's frigate bold. 

The gallant ship. United States, 

First of our navy's valiant fleet — 
A nation's fame on her future waits, 

A nation's hopes in her present meet. 

She is built of the sturdy Georgia oak. 

White, and solid, and seasoned long; 
Her hull was fashioned with many a stroke, 

Her masts are high and her cables strong. 

The Launch 319 

All copper-sheath'd and iron-bound. 

Assured in peace, alert for war, 
The flag she bears shall be world renown'd, 

And great the name of her Commodore. 

The anchors strain, like living things, 

And ev'ry rope is taut and tarr'd ; 
'Tis time the sea-bird spread her wings 

To flee from Master Humphrey's yard! 

Behold ! the launching-plank is oiled — 
Knock back the blocks from keel and sidet 

Cut loose the ropes round th' capstans coiled. 
And let the Frigate waveward slide! 

Over the throng a mighty hush 

Hath fallen. All the dock grows still; 
And white lips whisper in the crush, 

"The ship! — how goes she — well or ill?" 

Hurrah ! hurrah ! a thing of pride. 

She rushes down her glorious ways! 
The bridegroom, water, greets his bride. 

The sunbeams on their tmion blaze! 

Now, thunder, cannon! — left and right, 

A shout goes up from myriad throats! 
The ladies wave their kerchiefs white. 

The men make merry in the boats. 

While, gaily past the water-gates. 

And gaily past each dock and quay. 
Our gallant ship, Unitbd Statbs, 

Sails forth to — Immortality ! 

Launch 'd in the month belov'd of Mary, 

Her captain — Catholic Erin's son — 
Three cheers for the frigate of brave Jack Barry! 

Three cheers for our Navy, this day begun! 

(Rec. Am. Cath. His. Soc., June, 1897.) 

'She was fitly named the United States. She was the first 
r-ship buUt by the nation after the adoption of the Constitu- 
a. With her begins the history of the national navy as a 
tnanent force. She was built in Philadelphia, then the seat 
Government, at a cost of $299,336. Never before or since 
; the launching of an American vessel been attended by such 

320 The Launch 

a^multitude, or celebrated with such enthusiasm, as the launch- 
ing of the forty-foiu-'gun frigate United States, on May lo, 
1797. French sympathizers, however, among the RepubUcans, 
made a mock of it: What were the Federals expecting to 
accomplish with their fleet of one?" [Whiton.] 

McMaster's History of the American People^ Vol. II, pp. 323-4, 
says: "In the long list of splendid vessels, which in a hundred 
combats, have maintained the honor of our National flag the 
United States stands at the head. After three years of un- 
avoidable detention the first naval vessel built by the United 
States under the Constitution was to be committed to the 
waves. The day chosen for so great an event was the loth of 
May. The hour was one in the afternoon and the whole dXj- 

of Philadelphia it was said, came out to Southwark to behold 

such a rare show. One estimate puts the number present 
thirty thousand souls. Another authority declares that 
hour after the launch took place Front street and Second street 
as far north as Chestnut were still chocked with people goin 
home. It was feared that a strong northwest wind which had 
for several days kept back the tides, in the Delaware woulcf 
make the water much too shallow to permit the launch. Yet 
at sunrise on the morning of the loth, the best points of obser- 
vation began to be occupied by an eager throng By noon 
every hill-top and every house-top commanding a view on each 
side of the river, and every inch of space on the stands put up 
about the vessel and before the houses on Swanson street was 
covered with human beings. In the river a hundred craft 
rode at anchor, gay with bunting and richly dressed dames. 

"At one precisely, the blocks were knocked from under her, 
the lashings of the cable cut, and amidst the shouts of the great 
multitude, the United States slid gracefully down her ways. 

"Scarcely was the frigate in the water when the RepubUcan 
journals began to scoflF and to jeer. What would the Executive 
do with his navy of one forty-four gun ship? Send her to hunt 
up the Africa and demand satisfaction for the insults heaped 
upon the town of Newport and the French Minister Fauchet? 
Send her to avenge the flogging given by an Englishman to the 
captain of an American ship? Would he use her to stop the 

The Launching 321 

impressment of our seamen and the pltmdering of our merchant- 
men? Or would he use her against the French? If he did, it 
wotdd be well to remember that the Directory stood in no 
dread of 'the most enlightened of nations.' Talleyrand him- 
self had been heard to say that France had nothing to fear 
from a nation of debaters that had been three years tr3ring 
to build three frigates. To this it was answered that if France 
held the United States in low esteem, Thomas Jefferson and 
James Monroe had done quite as much as any two men could 
to encourage her. The allusion was to a letter of Mr. Jefferson's 
which, early in May, had appeared in print." 

This, the first vessel of **the infant navy," was a staunchly 
built craft of 175 feet in length and 44 feet beam. She was 
rated at 1,576 tons; had a battery of 44 guns, and cost $299,- 
336.56, as was reported to Congress in February, 1806, [State 
Papers, Naval Affairs, p. 149.] The pay and rations of her 400 
men cost $75,000 a year. 

The Philadelphia Gazette, 13 th May, 1797, contains the report 
by the builder of the United States of the operations attending the 
launching. It is given in this 

"Copy of a letter from Joshua Humphreys, naval construc- 
tor, to the Secretary of war." 

Naval Yard, May 12th, 1797. 

The frigate United States being finished, ready for launching 
the launching plank, bilgeways, blocking wedges, crosspieces, 
and shores fore an aft, all prepared and fitted ; two of her largest 
anchors stmk in the yard in front of the ship, and two large 
cables lashed through the hauseholes at the other end a large 
treble block as well as one to each anchor a large careening fall 
was reeved through each pair and hove tight by a capstan. 
Being thus prepared, on Wednesday the loth day of the present 
month, at day break, I proceeded to launch down the bilgeways, 
in order to retallow the launching plank. At 7 o'clock I began 
to haul them up; this being done, I replaced the wedges, cross 
pieces and shores, removed the second tire of the standing 
shores from aloft at the same time leaving a temporary tier 

322 Th§ Launching 

fitted to a plank, put on the copper a little above the blocking— 
I then began to take away a part of each block from under the 
keel, in order to facilitate that business when it would be proper 
to remove, the whole of them away, at the same time taking two 
of the after blocks out of the ride's way. The capstans were 
then manned and the cables at the bow hove as taught as 
possible, and the sptu* shores fixed. At nine o'clock every 
preparation being made and only awaiting for the tide at 12, 1 
gave orders to harden in the wedges, in order to take a part of 
the burden of the ship off the whale shores, which with the ked 
would have borne the whole weight of the ship. 

After the temporary shores were taken away, which was 
necessary to be done immediately, to give sufficient room 
for setting up the ship. This operation was performed by 
driving the wedges between the blocking fitted to the bottome 
and bilgeways by 55 carpenters on each side and to give the 
ship a solid fixed situation in her ways and to take as much 
weight as possible off the blocks under the keel, that they could 
the more easily be taken out. I then gave orders to take the 
blocks from under the keel but before they could all be got out 
the ship began to move, which strained the spur shores, so 
much as to induce me to believe some accident might possibly 
happen. Under this idea, I thought most prudent to order 
the spur shores to be taken away, and before I could give the 
word to cut the lashings of the cables the ship gaining consider- 
able way. Captain Dale (who commanded on board) very 
prudently ordered them cut. This being the finishing part of 
the act of launching, the ship was left to herself only to be 
conducted by her latmching ways to her own element (with at 
least thirty of her workmen under her bottom, who rose up as 
she passed over them) where she safely arrived without strain- 
ing or hogging more than i^ inch as you will see the enclosed 
certificate to my great and unspeakable satisfaction. The 
firmness of the ship is a convincing proof to me of the utility 
of the diagonal riders in long ships. 

In Europe where they are not known, it is said large ships 
hog in launching, nearly two feet, but what confidence is to be 
placed in the assertion I cannot pretend to say. 

Moral Reflections 323 

I cannot conclude without expressing the obligations I am 

under to the ship wrights of this port for their good advice and 


I am sir, 

Very respectfully, 

Your obedient servant 

Joshua Humphreys, 

Naval Constructor 
The Hon. James M'Henry. 

We take the following ''Reflections" from the Philadelphia 
Gazette, May nth, 1797: 

"Moral Reflections occasioned by the latmch of the frigate 
United States, in the Port of Philadelphia the loth of May, 1 797. 

"As all interesting public events present improvement to 
contemplative minds I communicate these thoughts in the 
hope of doing some good. 

"Excellent productions of human skill elevate our souls 
to the Architect of the Universe. 

"If some person had told the thousand of spectators yester- 
day that the frigate had made itself or been fabricated by the 
accidental concourse of innumerable atoms of iron, wood, 
hemp, tar, &c., would not the very children have laughed at 

"Yet some pretenders of superior tmderstanding try to per- 
suade mankind that the whole universe is nothing else than a 
vast mass put in motion by some unthinking and unfeeling 

"Such profane madmen are now more numerous than ever 
in a part of Europe. Few as yet appear in this coimtry, but 
let us guard against this contagion, as worse than the yellow 
fever, and any other bodily plague. 

"This frigate is a fine vessel; that is, not only handsome, 
but firm and stout, because she must cleave the boisterous 
waves for months and perhaps combat a strong foe — in the 
same manner a fine person, external graces and splendid for- 
tunes will not bear us up in the perilous voyage of life without 
internal fidelity of wisdom and virtue. And as the upper 

324 Moral RtflmMcms 

works, though ever so good, avail not, if the bottom is not sound 
so may we never depend on some good qualities if the ground 
of our heart is false. Reflect also that although this vessd is 
framed with the greatest accuracy from the best materials, she 
cannot keep her course through the waters in the waste without 
a careful observation of the heavenly luminaries ; neither can 
we pass with safety through the world without the light of 
religion ; but that sacred guide will conduct us through all the 
rocky straights and all the furious tempests of morality into 
the haven of eternal felicity. 

**The solidity of this vessel depends principally on a well con- 
trived union of many different materials. Behold the sturdy 
oak-planks meeting in friendly sweeps! See how that iron 
which can shatter rocks, is plied into all kinds of shape to dasp 
the wooden parts. Those cables that stay the ponderous masts 
and hold the massive anchors, are composed of threads, which 
singly can be torn by the hands of a child ! Thus is every bless- 
ing of human life the result of a friendly union. Male strength 
and female gentleness form the solid yet soft bands of wedlock. 
Paternal authority and filial respect produce happy family 

* 'A political state must be formed by the tmion of many talents 
which by their very diversity make one excellent whole. 
Federal people, this frigate is an emblem of our United States. 
Taken assunder an hundred bateaux might be made from her, 
but a sloop of pirates could sink them all ; so would you by dis- 
cord, become a prey to foreign or domestic tyranny ! Respect 
then your National Union as the pledge of general security 
and happiness ! Regard this frigate and every effort for national 
defence as a link of this Union. Her materials are the products 
of several states, as these have come from North and South, 
East and West, of your extensive country, to compose a Federal 
frigate — so collect all the talents and virtues of your citizens 
into a center of national affection. Cultivate peace with all 
the world, but scorn dependence on any nation. Debate with 
candid ardotu- on the great interests of your country, but 
remember that heroic spirits bend to reason. The sordid 
wretch who would sell his country, and the madman who would 

Th$ Frigate UmM States 325 

ruin it by his obstinate whims, are objects of indignation and 
contempt. Generous citizens in every state of the Union, 
detest ofiFensive war but defend your country with the faithful 
breasts and valiant arms of true sons. 

"May he that rules over sea and land, who is the Arbiter 
of the Universe, ever keep the United States under His holy 
protection. ' * A Swedish Missionary 

The writer, we doubt not, was the minister of Old Swedes' 
Church, in front of which the scene which gave rise to the 
Moral Reflections took place. 

Porcupine* s Gazette, May i2th, 1797, said: "The frigate Untied 
States which was launched here the day before yesterday is 
bored for 44 guns, but is said to be in size equal to a 64 gun ship. 
She is at any rate a fine looking vessel and there is no doubt 
of her soon being a match for any two French frigates that ever 
swam the Sea, tmless friend Gallatin and his economical com- 
rades should refuse to put limbs to her. I think, if they had 
been at the launch and had proposed "Selling the frigate," the 
motion would have not met a very favorable reception." 

But Noah Webster, the lexicographer, writing three days 
later, said: 

**P. Porcupine is evidently attempting to create or rally 
an English party in otu- cotmtry, as violent and as devoted to 
foreign government as the French party. I judged it prudent 
to apprize my cotmtrymen of these intentions. But if he is 
not attempting this, his prejudices, his birth and his violent 
principles will do great injury to the true American interests. 
Besides, he is a mere bully I'* 

The female figure on the prow of the frigate, emblematic of 
the United States, is thus described : 

Nowhere was there to be found a rival to the Philadelphian 
whose fame as a ship carver was one of the prides of the Ameri- 
can sailor. The genius of William Rush in the chiselling of 
these naval emblems was indeed the wonder of his countrymen. 
He had the faculty of imparting the semblance of motion itself, 
so that it seemed that the figure was not joined to the bow, but 

326 The Frigate United States 

that is was a thing of power and animation that drew the vessel 
behind it through the waves. 

When the frigate United States was looked upon as the crack 
ship of the American navy, she carried on her prow one of the 
most noted pieces of Rush's handicraft. It represented a 
majestic woman, with waving hair; in one hand she held the 
spear of war, and the wampum belt of peace ; from the other 
was a scroll, the constitution of the Union, while from her neck 
was suspended a portrait of Washington. On a tablet above 
her rested three books that denoted the three great branches of 
the government ; on its base were carved the eagle and emblems 
of agriculture, commerce and science, and as the beautiful 
frigate sped her way through the water she seemed to give notice 
that she was led and guided and guarded by the Genius of 
America. [Pbnn in Evening Bulletin, Philadelphia, July 26ih, 

''As Philadelphians we are entitled to the peculiar distinction 
of forming the fastest sailing vessel in the world, viz., the 
frigate United States, built by Col. Humphreys. With such 
a model we might have gone on to perfection in the art of 
ship-building; but our many rulers have retrograded until 
now we have scarcely a good sailer to boast of. 

The United States frigate has outrun the fastest Baltimore 
clippers two miles an hour, when running nine and ten knots, 
but the frigate wanted ten feet more of beam to be perfect." 
[Watson's Annals, II, p. 340.] 

All the time of the building of the United States a most vio- 
lent political agitation had been going on with respect to 
France and England. Jay's treaty with England, the neu- 
trality declared by Washington between England and France, 
as well as the French Revolution, made our city a centre of 
political excitement such as, without doubt, has not since so 
violently moved our country. The people were divided 
into Federalists and Democratic Republicans. The latter 
were the upholders of the French; and, says McMaster, 
"through all the vicissitudes of four years, were the apologists 
and admirers of a succession of men whose shameful deeds 
make everything else that is monstrous and inhuman in the 

Encounter at the Frigate 327 

whole history of the world seem tame." The Aurora, edited 
by Benj. Franklin Bache, was the advocate of the French 
party and the vehement denunciator of Washington. To 
give an idea of the intensity of party feeling, the Aurora's 
censures of Washington may be taken as examples. On 
December 23d, 1796, it said : '*If ever a nation was debauched 
by a man, the American nation has been debauched by 
Washington. If ever a nation was deceived by a man, the 
American nation has been deceived by Washington. Let his 
conduct, then, be an example to future ages ; let it serve to be 
a warning that no man bean idol; let the history of the Federal 
Government instruct mankind that the mask of patriotism 
may be worn to conceal the foulest designs against the liber- 
ties of the people." A few days after Washington had retired 
from the Presidency the Aurora said: "The man who is the 
source of all the misfortunes of our country is this day reduced 
to a level with his fellow citizens, and is no longer possessed of 
power to multiply evils upon the United States. If ever 
there was a period of rejoicing, this is the moment. Every 
heart in unison with the freedom and happiness of the people 
ought to beat high with exultation that the name of Wash- 
ington ceases from this day to give currency to political 
iniquity and to legalize corruption. * * * The day 
ought to be a jubilee in the United States." 

These extracts enable us to understand the cause of the 
encotmter at the frigate United States a short time before 
the latmching of this first-bom of the Nation's Navy. It 
is related by McMaster, (II, p. 323): '*The bitterness of the 
editor of the Aurora had been increased not a little by an 
event in which he bore a conspicuous part. The frigate 
United States was then fast approaching completion on the 
Southwark stocks. Benjamin Franklin Bache, with a few 
friends, went down one day in April to see the ship. But 
party spirit ran high, and, before he came away, Bache was 
well beaten by Clement Humphreys, son of Joshua Hum- 
phreys, the builder. The punishment, he was given to 
understand, was for the abuse his newspaper had so shame- 
lessly heaped upon Washington, the Federalists and the 

328 Anger of WaskmgUm 

Government at large. The outrage was a gross one. Yet 
the unanimous verdict of every Federal CofiFee-house and 
newspaper in Philadelphia was, *It served him right.' 
Peter Porcupine was especially delighted, and was still 
making merry over the incident when the frigate was 

Four years before this Washington had pronounced 
''the publications in Freneau's and Bache's papers outrages 
on common decency." In June, 1793, he had written to 
Henry Lee: **The arrows of malevolence, however barbed 
and well pointed, can never reach the most vulnerable part 
of me, though, while I am up as a mark, they will be continu- 
ally aimed." 

In August, at a cabinet meeting, says Jefferson, "he got 
into one of those passions when he cannot command himself. 
He had never repented but once having slipped the moment 
of resigning his office, and that was every moment since; 
and by God he had rather be in his grave than in his present 
situation. He had rather be on his farm than be an emperor 
of the world ; and yet he was charged with wanting to be a 
king." What must have been the intensity of his feelings 
and his passions at times for four years more. 

In his first message to Congress May i6th, 1797, a few 
days after the launching of the United States, President 
Adams informed Congress as follows, 

**The naval establishment must occur to every man who 
considers the injuries committed on our commerce and the 
insults offered to our citizens, and the description of the 
vessel by which these abuses have been practised. As the 
sufferings of our mercantile and sea-faring citizens cannot 
be ascribed to the omission of duties demandable con- 
sidering the neutral situation of our country, they are to be 
attributed to the hope of immunity arising from a supposed 
inability on our part to afford protection. To resist the 
consequence of such impressions on the minds of foreign 
nations and to guard against the degradation and servility 
which they must finally stamp on the American character, 
is an important duty of government." 

Message of President Adams 329 

"These considerations invite the United States to look 
to the means, and to set about the gradual creation of a 
navy. The increasing progress of their navigation promises 
them at no distant period, the requisite supply of seamen; 
Emd their means, in other respects, favor the undertaking. 
It is an encouragement, likewise, that their particular situ- 
ation will give weight and influence to a moderate naval 
force in their hands. Will it not then be advisable to begin, 
without delay, to provide and lay up the materials for the 
building and equipping of ships of war, and to proceed in 
the work, by degrees, in proportion as our resources shall 
render it practicable without inconvenience ; so that a future 
war with Europe may not find our commerce in the same 
unprotected state in which it was found by the present?" 

The measures taken from that time forward enabled 
President Adams to say in his second annual message to 
Congress December 8th, 1798, "Perhaps no country ever 
experienced more sudden and remarkable advantages from 
any measure of policy than we derived from the arming 
for our maritime protection and defence." 

In his last message Nov. 2 2d, 1800, after Captain Barry 
and his fellow officers had shown valor and ability in the 
service of the country, the retiring President could justly 
declare "the present navy of the United States, called 
suddenly into existence by a great national exigency, has 
raised us in our own esteem, and by the protection afforded 
our commerce, has effected, to the extent of our expecta- 
tions, the object for which it was created," 

Statb of the Frigate United States, of 44 Guns, June 

1 6, 1797. 

The hull of this ship was launched on the loth of May 
last. The bottom is completely coppered and the carpen- 
ter's work is nearly finished, and she will be soon in a sit- 
uation to receive her masts and stores. 

Several of the masts, yards and caps are finished, and 
the remainder are under way. The boats are in hand; all 
the rigging, blocks, deadeyes and one suit of sails are pre- 

330 Lieutenant John Muiioumey 

pared, all the principal and most of the small stores are 
provided, and the captain reports that the ship may be 
rigged and completed for sea in one month after the guns 
and lower masts are on board.'* 

On July 24th, 1797, John MuUowney was appointed 
Lieutenant, and George Atkinson, Sailing Master on the 
Untied States. Later Stephen Decatur, who commanded 
the Delaware, the companion ship on its first cruise to the 
north east of the United States under Barry, was in 1799 
appointed an officer of the United States under his old 
Commander. Afterwards Decatur, in the war with Tripoli 
and with great Britain, became famous. He was the son 
of Captain Stephen Decatur, who in the Revolution 
commanded the Royal Louis and the Fair American 

On March 9th, 1798, Charles Stewart was appointed 4tli 
Lieutenant under Barry. He afterwards became Commo- 
dore in our Navy. He was the grandfather of Charles 
Stewart Pamell. 

The frigate United States built by Joshua Humphreys 
was frequently visited during the progress of her building 
by President Washington, who expressed deep interest in 
all that related to her and to the intended navy. Wash- 
ington was determined, by his adoption of the principles 
on which the ships were constructed, that the navy of the 
United States should be a Hercules even in its cradle." 
[Army & Navy Chron., 8 p., 46-7.] 

On August 28th, 1797, Captain Barry reported to Secre- 
tary of War, James McHenry, that on Saturday preceding 
had been finished the repairs needed by the damages at the 
launching. "We are now taking on board the iron ballast 
we were obliged to land and next week will be ready for men, 
guns and all articles to complete her. There is too great 
risk to employ men from all parts of the town, as the fever 
is spreading.'* 

In consequence of the yellow fever in Philadelphia in 
the summer of 1797, the officers of the Government were 

Fitting for Sea 331 

quartered elsewhere. The Secretary of War sent the fol- 
lowing order to Capt. Barry. 

Near Downingstown, August 30, 97. 

Sir— I have your letter of the 28th instant and am 
very happy to learn that the careening business is finished 
and the damage which the frigate has received in launching 
completely repaired. As soon as you get your ballast, etc., 
replaced, I think it will be proper to moor the ship in the 
stream, at a safe distance from the wharves. You will then 
take on board your guns and such articles to fit her for sea, 
as the purveyor has had orders to provide, and should there 
be any yet to be procured you will address Mr. Francis on 
the subject. 

Lieutenant McRea with the men he has enlisted ought 
to go on board as soon as possible, and the present guard 
sent to their company at Fort Mifilin. With respect to 
seamen to assist in fitting the ship for sea, I have no objec- 
tion to your engaging for a month at such wages as will 
obtain good seamen, as many as may be wanted. If pos- 
sible you will not give more than $14 but I leave the wages 
to be determined by circumstances and your own judgment. 

You may order Dr. Gillaspy on board whenever you may 
think proper. 
Captain John Barry. 

[O. 47: 4 p. 262.] 

The Constitution, building at Boston, under superintendency 
of Captain Samuel Nicholson was so near completion that 
Nicholson wrote Barry, August 28th, 1797, for officers to 
assist in the launching of the ship which would be ready 
for the water at **next moon." Barry's advice was desired 
concerning the entertainment proper to be given on the occa- 
sion. Captain Barry replied on September 4th, expressing 

332 Yellow Fmxr on the Frigate 

pleasure that the ship was so near launching and makiiig 
suggestions concerning her: 

"You may inform Gen. Jackson that the workmen that 
assisted in launching the frigate here had a dinner and some- 
thing to drink — a few master carpenters that assisted the 
Master Builder, they had a cut of a roimd of beef and 
drank a punch. Perhaps, if Gen. Jackson was to consult the 
President I might have a cold collation for himself and friends, 
which was the case here, altho he went to meet Mrs. Adams 
the morning the ship was launched." 

The frigate United States is repaired of the damages she 
received in launching. No Ship could tum(?) better. She 
hove still to the last. She now lies moored in the stream 
and may be sent to sea in four weeks. Guns, we have none 
of any description, our 24 pounders is just arrived here but 
the smaller ones is not yet cast that I can learn. [Barnes.] 

On September 6th, Lieut. John MuUowney, from Point 
Pleasant, Kensington, reported to Captain Barry in the 
City, that he had been on board *' since yesterday." He 
reported the situation of officers on the ship. [Barnes, 850]. 

On 13th September Tench Francis wrote to Captain 
Barry relative to the yellow fever prevailing — that the Secre- 
tary of War had written him: "You would not do wrong to 
advise Captain Barry to get his sick taken care of on Shore 
as more conducive to Recovery — that Dr. Stevens says, 
**your ship lays in an improper Situation, between the Cohock- 
sink Creek and Petty Island and that she ought to change 
her birth — and advising that the men be taken, say on our 
Commons or on the Jersey shore. Do not expose yourself." 

A month later we get to know that care and attention 
was given the fever sick sailors of the United States as the 
annexed testimonial proves : 

We the Seamen and Landsmen who have been employed 
during the last month on board the frigate United States, and 
whose names are hereunto annexed, do hereby return our 
sincere and most grateful thanks to Doctor George Gillaspy, 
for his humane, generous and kind treatment to us during 
our late sickness on board the said vessel. And, that through 

state of the Frigate 333 

his medical assistance and unremitting attention, it is to 
him, (under God) we owe our lives from under that severe 
and malignant contagion which for some time prevailed on 

In Witness Whereof, we have hereunto set our hands this 
3d day of October, Anno Domini, 1797. 
Ham. Lowrey John Patterson 

Edward King John Dempsey 

Pat Mahoney Peter Bryan 

Wm. Jeflferson Jeremiah Woods 

Michael Kennedy Wm. O'Connor 

James Rea John Miu-phy 

John W. Green 
[Porcupine Gaz., Oct. 3d.] 

The physician himself was stricken. 

**It is with great pleasure we assure the public that Dr. 
George Gillaspy, Surgeon on board the frigate United States, is in 
a fair way of recovery from a violent attack of the fever. " Por- 
cupine Gaz,, Oct. 12, 1797. 

State of the Frigate United States at the Close of i 797, 

AS Reported to Congress. 

The progress made in fitting the United States for sea during 
the summer led me to hope that she would have been complete 
for service some time in autumn; measures were therefore taken 
to equip her in the most expeditious manner that the nature of 
the service would admit. Several of the officers were appointed 
and some part of the crew actually enlisted. The ballast and 
water casks were got on board and stowed, and the riggers had 
nearly completed the rigging, when unfortunately all further 
progress was impeded by the contagious fever attacking several 
of the officers and crew that were on board ; several of the trades- 
men employed in the equipment were, also, from the same cause 
prevented from attending to their respective occupations, untd 
the latter end of October, when it was found to be too late in 
the season to get the ship in complete order to meet a winter at sea. 

334 Hostaity of the Frmch 



The first vessel of our "infant navy," founded to resist Alger- 
ian outrages, was, when ready for duty, to be used against our 
ally in the Revolution. 

The French Republic claimed as its heritage the treaty of 
alliance of Louis XVI, with our battling colonies. It demanded 
the support of the United States in its war with England. 
Washington's policy of no foreign alliances or entanglements, 
though condemned by ''Democratic Republicans" and 
''Democratic Societies," was adhered to so tenaciously as to 
incur the hostility of the French Republic. Thus it came about 
that the first armed vessels of our country, under the Constitu- 
tion made possible by French support during our Revolution, 
were sent out with orders to attack and conquer French armed 
vessels preying upon our commerce. 

In this endeavor Captain John Barry was as resolute and as 
active against his former associates as they had unitedly co- 
operated against the enemy of both. The official letters to 
Captain Barry show his early operations: 

These orders were issued by Secretary of War M'Henry, 
concerning whose selection by President Adams Washington 
wrote to Alexander Hamilton from Mt. Vernon on August 9tli, 
1798, saying: "Your opinion respecting the unfitness of a 
certain gentleman for the office he holds accords with mine, 
and it is to be regretted sorely at this time that the opinioos 
are so well founded. I early discovered, after he entered upon 
the duties of his office, that his talents were unequal to great 
exertions or deep resources. In truth they were not to be ex- 
pected ; for the fact is, it was a Hobson's choice. But such is the 

Preparing for Active Duty 335 

case and what is to be done." [Ford's ** Washington's Writings, 
Vol. 14, p. 66.] 

We will see that Washington's judgment coincided with the 
opinion of Captain John Barry as far as the management of 
the naval section of the War Department was concerned — that 
it had been **indiflferently managed." Captain Barry had a 
plan of betterment, however. 

From the War oflSce came to Captain Barry this order: 

War Office, January 4, 1798. 

Sir : Till such time as permanent regulation can be matured 
and adopted by the President respecting the Government of 
the Navy, you will be pleased to have the marines and seamen 
mustered monthly while in port and regular muster rolls made 
out alphabetically and signed by the persons appointed to mus- 
ter them, as well as by the lieutenant of marines for the marines, 
and the acting lieutenant and yourself for the seamen. 

Colonel Mintges is to muster the marines and an experienced 
sea captain the seamen. 

You are requested to direct the first muster to be made as 
soon as possible, and mention to me a proper person to muster 
the seamen that orders may be taken accordingly. 

All requisitions for provisions while in port are to be founded 
on these musters, certified by the lieutenant of marines, the 
acting lieutenant and your own signature. 

The contractor is to furnish rations conformably to the 7th sec- 
tion of the Act providing a naval armament. He will also 
when an equivalent in beef or any other articles for the rations 
of any day is required, grant the same, Regulations of this 
nature are to be signed by the Captain, who is to certify that 
the equivalent is agreeable to the parties. 

Captain John Barry. 
[O. 47, 4, p. 281.] 

The * 'government of the Navy" was under the control of the 
Department of War. There existed no Navy Department. 
The letter here given shows Captain Barry to have been the 
proposer of the plan by which such a Department was estab- 
Usfaed to have the exclusive control and direction of naval 

336 Advises the Creation of a Nauy Department 

affairs and also that Navy Yards should be located for ships 

and supplies. 

PhijuadbLtPHIA, Jan. 8th, 1798. 

Sir : Agreeable to your request I have taken the liberty of 
giving you my sentiments respecting the Navy of the United 

I believe sir, you will agree with me that it has been but 
indifferently managed hitherto but there ought to be some allow- 
ance made for yoimg beginners. The present opportunity 
offers much in our favor as a Committee of Congress is sitting 
to revise and amend any little error that may have crept in 
formerly. The first thing that ought to be done should be to 
place the department by itself and put it into the hands of three 
able Men, they ought to be well acquainted with the fiting of 
Ships of War and have full power to purchase every Article for 
Building and equiping Ships for Sea, it should be their business 
to examine all oflScers before they receive their Commission or 
Warrants. They ought to have power to give instructions to 
the Commanders imder the direction of the President, these 
Persons should be called Commissioners of the Navy. One 
of them should be an able Sea Commander, a merchant, the 
other a Ship builder. 

There ought to be three places belonging to the Public where 
the Ships of War should rendezvous at those places ought to 
be in a fresh water river if possible whete they would be safe 
from the Worms and from an enemy if a War should brake out 
they should be as near as convenient to a large seaport town 
that less difficulty may arise in manning them, those places 
ought to belong to the public and have convenient places or 
magazines and all kinds of stores that may be wanted for public 
service, the Salary of those may appear high to Congress, 
but if they will take into consideration the Commission of Agents 
and those employed by the public in that line they will find at 
the end of the year that money will be saved. I think in time 
of Peace one may answer the purpose as there will not be much 
to do. I have the honor to be 


Your Obedient 

Humb Ser 

James Imlay, Esq. 
[Barnes, No. 811.] 

c>v^>^ Ayt 

Navy Departimni Established 337 

The Navy Department was established April, 1798, when 
on the 26th, the House of Representatives, by a vote of 42 to 27, 
passed such a Bill, The vote the day before was 47 to 41, every 
Republican [now a days called Democrats,] voted against the 

The first book or records at the Navy Department is still 
preserved and from it was copied the first entry in this first 
book. It reads: 

'*Jime 3d, 1798. Delivered to Captain Barry his authority 
to Capture French armed vessels, on the Act of March 28th, 

Below this in a later hand is this : 

"Returned 11 Jime, 1801, and informed that after June 30, 
1 801 , he was to be put on half pay. " 

On January 9th, 1798, the Secretary of War directed Captain 
Barry to have Jonathan Shattuck borne on the Ships books as 
a Marine "till further orders for provisions only." 

The concern of Captain Barry for the good order and disci- 
pline of his ship is manifested in the annexed order to Lieut. 


I was in hopes that I should have been spar'd the trouble of 
pointing out the duty or at least that part of it that is requisite 
at present of the five ofiicers now belonging to the Frigate 
United States untill the Ship had been properly Commissioned 
but for the good of the Public service and my own satisfaction 
I think it best to inform you that it is my orders that you or 
Mr. Meade the Acting Master should be at all times on board 
and as much as convenient on the quarter deck. You as Com- 
manding Ofiicer in my absence will order the Men on board to 
do such duty as is most proper for them Such as seamen to make 
rounding for the Cables, Shroud backstay, &c. Landsmen 
and marines of duty, to keep the Ship clean and do the ordinary 
work on board, the Lieut, of Marines will take care to have a 
Sentinel kept at the gangwav night and day to keep the people 
belonging to the Ship from going on Shore or People from 
Shore coming on board with out leave from the Ofiicer on the 

338 Barry's Dlsc^ine Orders 

Quarterdeck, you will please toobserve that decent citizens is 
not to be refused admittance provided it be before Sun sett but 
you are not to allow any such people below the Gun deck with- 
out the Sergeant of Marines or some other Oflficer with them, 
if one sentinel is not sufficient you will order the proper oflScer 
to place a second in such place as you may think the most proper 
to prevent the People from going on Shore without leave. The 
Lieut, of Marines will cause the Marines to be exercise at least 
every other day between the hours of ten and twelve in the 
forenoon the Weather permitting and as much of tener as he 
may think necessary, the Officer will order a Sergeant to see 
that the Fire is put out in the Gallies every night at Eight 
o'clock and the candles put out fore and aft at nine,itis expected 
that you or Mr. Meade or Mr, McCray will go fore and aft every 
Night before you go to see that the light are all out and every 
thing safe from fire. 

For the good government of the ship it is my orders that no 
officer on any pretense what ever beat or abuse any of the men 
on board or on Shore when on the Ships duty more than one 
or two slight strokes to make him gump quick to their woA 
if he deserves more he is to be put in irons and complaint made 
to me of the offence he commited he is not to have any of 
his ration stoped without an order from me. It is my wish that 
at all times a good understanding should subsist between my 
Officers and myself and nothing can contribute more to it than 
a prompetude of the duty required. I am with esteem 

Your Very Humb Sert 

c>V^>^ ^i 

On Board the Frigate United States 

Febr. 12: 1798. 
Mr. Mollowny, Lieut, of the F. U. States. 
[N. Y. Pub. Lib., Lenox, Em. 7080.] 

To this, perhaps, the following from Lieutenant Mullowney 
may be a reply, on the 14th: 

Orders to Barry 339 

Rbspbctbd Sir : 

Your orders is obeyed, & McCue & Fordice the two marines 
is out of Irons, but since I have had the pleasure to see you, we 
have had reason to confine the following, Barry, Jeflferson, Han- 
field & Hannagan, the two latter marines, all for absenting 
themselves for a whole night at least, some more — Connor (poor 
fellow) has had a fall down the main hatch but no bones broke 
nor any appearance at present of danger every thing else as you 
left us — [Roberts.] 

OnMarch 31st, i798,Captain ThomasTruxtun sent toCaptain 
Barry a pair of naval buttons "that I have had cut by an en- 
graver. They are somewhat different to the pattern exhibited 
by Mr. Cutting. If you approve them the Secretary may per- 
haps order them instead of the contemplated." 

On March 31st, 1798, the Secretary of War ordered the frigate 
United States to the ** Bight opposite the rope walks where the 
Channel is wider" and ''occasions less risk and embarrassment" 
to merchant vessels. 

On April 2d, 1798, Captain Barry wrote the Secretary of War 
in relation to the examination of the 44 twelve pounders he 
had been sent to test at Cecil Furnace. Of the number but 12 
were approved while nine others were doubtful. One day 
six biu^t out of eight tried; the next day five out of six 
also biu^t. Even those approved he would be unwilling to 
have on board ship he commanded. 

On April i8th. Captain Barry was ordered to New York, con- 
veying a letter from the Secretary of War to the Governor of 
New York in relation to the cannon which Barry was to examine 
and * 'ascertain their effectiveness and fitness for the service." 
He was to "put things in a train" to have them shipped to 
Philadelphia when the assurances required by the resolution of 
the Legislattu^ of New York could be given." 

The famous Paul Revere, whose ride from Boston aroused 
the Minute men to action, is herewith shown in a less active 
but as essential a work as drafting and casting cannon for the 
new Navy. 

340 Paul Reuere to Barry 

Boston April 29, 1798. 

I take the liberty to mention to you that when Genl Knox 
was Secretary of War, when he was in Boston, He imployed 
me to go, on board the French Frigate Concord, to make a 
drawing of the brass Carronades with their Beds, which were 
on her quarter deck, which I did, and transmitted to him one 
of the draughts, which is now in the War office at Phila- 
delphia ; they carry a Ball of the size of a 42 pr but are chiefly 
imployed for Grape Shot & tangridge; He was so much 
pleased with them that he directed Tench Coxe to have 12 
of them cast for the Frigate, Tench Coxe wrote me on the 
matter, but I afterward received a letter from him acquaint- 
ing me, that Tench Francis was to provide for all Naval matters, 
& that I must write to him, which I did, but he never answered 
my letters. 

Some time since Capt Nicholson wrote to the Secretary 
to know how his Tops were to be armed. He replied that he 
should send him some brass Howitzers, which carried a six- 
pound ball; about that time Capt. Nicholson applyed to me 
for a drawing of a Carronade of the same size, which he sent 
to the Secretary of War, desiring to have them, in preference 
to Howitzers, & I have now orders to cast them. 

If you will give yourself the trouble to examine these draughts 
& compare them to the Howitzers, you will see how preferable 
they are, & how much better for real Service. The Howitzers 
have their Trunions in the Centre of the Bore, which makes 
them dificult to Elevate or Depress, by reason that the Base, 
& Muzzel Rings are nearly of the same diameter; The Carronade 
has its Trunion, or Rather Trunion hole, directly under the 
Gun, by which means the Carronade is easily elevated or depress 
the centre of motion being so much lower — ^You will observe 
that there are Iron Cheeks to be Bolted to the upper, or Sliding 
bed, thro which an Iron pin is put, which secures the Carronade to 
the Bed ; this bed is fastened to the lower one, by an Iron Kvot, 
which slides in a Grove made in the Under bed; which makes 
it quite easy to Point, either forward, or aft & very handy 
to load in board. Its other advantages are, it has an elevating 

The Secretary of the Navy 341 

screw thro' the Caskable, & a Ring above, to serve (?) the 
britching thro. Capt Nicholson was likewise directed to 
make use (?) 4 eight Inch brass Howitzers for his quarter 
deck, but upon consulting Col Claghom, & the Carrige maker, 
he found his quarter deck ports were not wide enough by 
six or eight Inches He has now applyed to the Secretary 
of War, to have four brass Carronades cast for his quarter 
deck, of the largest size. — Should these Gtms be more agreeable 
to you than the Howitzers I should be happy to furnish you 
with them, as soon as it is possible after appUcation is made. — 
my patterns are made from the small ones, & shall begin 
casting them to-morrow. I shall then prepare for the large 
ones — ^The Concord had a bed fitted in the Bow of the Long- 
Boat, which shipt & unshipt at pleasure in fifteen minutes 
they could mount one of these Carronades in her Bows. 

Six of the 8 Inch Howitzers are sent to Philadelphia, as I 
suppose for your ship, but as these pieces of Ordinance were 
never intended for the Sea, but for the land Service, I think 
you will not approve of them. — ^They are of my casting, by which 
you will judge of the Workmanship. 

John Barry Esq I am Sir with every sentiment 

Commander of the of Esteem your humb Sevt 

United States Frigate Paul Revere. 


[From Collection of Charles Roberts Esq.] 

On May 3d, 1798, George Cabot, of Massachusetts, was ap- 
pointed by President Adams the first Secretary of the new Navy 
Department. He declined the office. On May 21st, Ben- 
jamin Stoddert, of Georgetown, D. C, was appointed. He 
accepted and served until January 26th, 1802, when President 
Jefferson appointed Robert Smith. These, then, were the 
two Secretaries with whom Captain John Barry had official 

The estabUshment of the new Department was timely. 
Out on the ocean our commerce was being disturbed and 
our seamen molested when not impressed. President Adams 

342 WarWoi Prqnrathns 

was preparing for a vigorous cotirse according to the means 
supplied by Congressional action. 

On May 4th, 1798, Captain Barry was directed to asagn 
First Lieut. Ross to make inventories of "tackle, guns, stores 
and all articles of equipment of the ships Ganges and Ham- 
burg Packet,'* which the Secretary of the Treasury had latdy 
purchased. The next day — 5th — the Secretary of War notified 
Captain Barry: **I have it in command from President of 
the U. S. to direct you to repair with all due speed on board the 
frigate U. S, laying at Philadelphia. It is requested that no 
time be lost in completing what work is yet to done and pre- 
paring her for sea." On May 8th, Barry was ordered to 
send a Lieutenant to New York to recruit "the complement 
of seamen for your ship." Captain Barry, the same day, 
directed Lieut, Mullowney to proceed to New York," select 
the best house, to open a rendezvous and enlist seamen for 
frigate United States, ' ' and giving rate of wages to be allowed all 
recruits. [Barnes 808.] 

On the ioth,Lieut. Charles Stewart was ordered to attend "the 
house of rendezvous (in Philadelphia) morning, noon and 
night and to engage as many able bodied seamen and lands- 
men as you can." [Barnes 818.] 

At this time, Barry notified Tench Francis, General Agent, 
that he had been ordered to have the United States ready for 
sea as soon as possible and as "you are the main spring of that 
business, I call on you to have the different articles ready as 
soon as you can." 

On May 15th, Lieut JohnMollowney reported from New York: 

"Sir : — Yesterday I wrote you dated a day ahead, that please 
to excuse as I was much in a bustle, to-day I can inclose 3rou a 
list of men's names who all entered and signed articles yester- 
day, inclosed is a riband which I think has had a good effect in 
each man's wearing it, round his hat, also is inclosed a copy of 
the instrument that I have drawn for the ptupose of obtaining 
security from each man, as a copy was necessary for each I tho't 
it would be best to have them printed, if you approve them I 
I have more than I want and can send you some. I would wish 

Limitmicmi Mulhwney 343 

suggest an idea in regard to sending the sailors round to Philada. 
if you approve, I think in the end it will be much the cheapest 
and more safe as well as expedite the business. I would send 
two or three midshipmen or other officers in the mail stage to 
take charge of the men and go by way of Amboy, the whole of 
the expence of sending them that way is two dollars, their ex- 
pences on the road would be about one dollar which would be in 
all three dollars and then we could send them off by 6 or 8 and 
more will always follow— each officer could take 8 or lo at a time 
as we could get them. On the other hand, if I put them on board 
the cutter till I should get 30 or 40 or any other number they 
will be dissatisfied and be running away. I should be much 
troubled to get them, the expence on board in provisions will be 
great, the time they will be on board very valuable so if you cal- 
culate the time and expence you'll find it amount to more than 
three dollars, another thing I wish to direct to your notice, if you 
should appoint Mr. Connell [or Collins?] as Boatswain you will do 
well in sending him back to assist here as the sailors seem to me 
to look up to him very much as a Boatswain. Many have en- 
tered on his accotmt, those Ideas I submit to your consideration 

and judgement. 

John Mullowney. 
Capt John Barry, 

[Collection Charles Roberts.] 

The Boatswain had come over to Philadelphia on the 12th, 
with recruits, as Lieut Mullowney reported, ''Seamen seem toler- 
ably plenty." The riband mentioned was a black Cocade. 

On May 21st, Captain Barry notified Secretary of War that 
frigate United States is in every respect fitted and ready for sea. 

On May 22nd Barry was ordered "to visit the person em- 
ployed to construct your gun carriages" and ascertain when 
they could **be taken on board the United States.** and also to re- 
port* *on what day you will be ready to receive your provisions." 

On the same day Lieut. Mullowney sent on another body of 
recruits by way of Amboy, thence to Burlington to Philadelphia. 
On the 22nd he wrote Barry: 

I reed yoiu^ dated May the 20th and observe the contents 
thro' the htury I might omitted dating a letter but shall not be 

344 Stops Recndting 

so careless for the future you have a list of men sent on by Mr. 
Thomas Mewit who has gone on to obtain a Master Mates birth 
he is .well recommended, I have stoped the rendezvous I could 
get more sailors were they wanted particularly, some fine Black 
boys Col. Stephens says there is 5 Twenty four pounders arrived 
they will be landed to-day on Governor's Island to-morrow 
proved the next day reshipped and you may expect them on 
Monday next or thereabout. I have 8 or 10 to bring on or send 
with the Boatswain, I wish you to give me orders when to return 
and to give me a list of men who have been on board according 
to the security. 

I am with much 
^ respect your very 

Humbl Sert— 
John Barry Esqr Jno. Mullownby 


On the 23d Captain Barry directed him to stop recruiting 
when he had enlisted one hundred," as that number with what 
we have and can get here is enough". At all events you must 
come here with what you have got. [Barnes 812.] 

That day Captain Thomas Truxtun, from Baltimore, impa- 
tient at the delay in the construction of his Constellation, wrote 
Captain Barry, "the government should never build a 
ship at this place'* — woodmen are not to be had. He 
requested Captain Barry to "endorse Porter for a command." 

That day also^23d — the Secretary of War directed Captaia 
Barry "to have one of your boats and a crew in readiness to- 
morrow morning at ten o'clock to go on board the Ganges.'' 

Louisville in Georgla 24th May 1 798 
My Dear Friend 

Observing that in all probability our Country cannot avoid a 
War with France ; and seeing that a number of Vessels are ordered 
by Congress to be built or purchased, and also observed that 
a Secretary of the Navel Department is appointed, I have thro' 
the introduction of my friend Gen'l Gunn, wrote Mr. George 
Cabbot this day, offering him my services as his Deputy or Agent 
in this State. I am an entire stranger to Mr. Cabbot & there- 

The Frigate Ready 345 

fore was under the necessity of referring him for information to 
some of my friends in Philadelphia, among whom I have taken 
the freedom of including you. You will oblige me my friend 
by mentioning me to the Secretary. I have a very large supply 
of timber for building on hand at St. Mary's and no man in 
Georgia can so effectually serve the United States as I can. 
Patterson is building for me a very fine ship (on the War con- 
struction) capable of mounting 20 Sixes or Nines — she will be 
near One hundred feet on Deck & 29 Beam— entire live Oak & 
Cedar — I have offered her to the Secretary — I can build a num- 
ber of Gallies & furnish any timber wanted. I wish you would 
Interest some of your Friends in my behalf with the Secretary — 
Mr. Crawford or Mr. Fitzsimmons if acquainted would be good 

I hope you will excuse me giving you this trouble, but I know 
your goodness — I hope this will meet you & our friend Mrs. 
Barry well. I left Mrs. Seagrove well at St. Mary's three weeks 
since — I am now at the seat of Government as a member of 
Convention for revising the Constitution of this State. I expect 
to go home in a few days — 

You will much oblige me by a line. 

Wishing you every happiness I remain 

Yours Devoted Humble S' 

Js Seagrove 
Commodore John Barry 

Frigate United States 

The United States, by the middle of June, was so far 
ready for sea as to leave Philadelphia and proceed down the 
Delaware River, stopping off New Castle, Delaware, on her way 
to the sea. There the final preparations and provisioning of 
the first war ship of our country took place. 

From there Lieut. James Barron, who was appointed on 19th 
April, wrote Capt Barry 

the united states, new castle, [del.] June i8th, J798. 
By Mr.Wadsworth this will be handed you who will give you a 
particular account of everything that has happened since my re- 

346 The Mklsh^pnm 

ttim to the ship. He brings you a roll of the people agreeable to 

muster and am in hopes all things are going to your satisfaction 

and as far as my exertions and authority will extend you may 

rely on them. The carriages for the guns that came from the 

island will be much wanting none on board will answer for them. 

Mr Bost has the measures up at town with him I wish to 

mention some things to you about the stationary, the men and 

hammocks and have the honor to refer you to Mr Mullowney 

who has a plan with him. But as you will be down so soon it 

may be dropped until you are on board. 

I Am &c Jambs Barron. 

[Barnes 800.] 

Lieutenant Barron afterwards became Commodore. In a duel 
he killed Captain Stephen Decatur who at the date of 
Barron's letter to Barry, above presented was a Midshipman 
on the frigate United States, and had taken the oath of Allegiance 
and fideUty to duty as such as follows : 

"We, Freeborn Banning, Richard Sommers, StbphBN 
Decatur, James Caldwell,and Edward Dyer, being duly ap- 
pointed Midshipmen on board the frigate * 'United States," 
John Barry, Esq., Commander, do solemnly swear to bear true 
allegiance to the United States of America, and to serve them 
honestly and faithfully against all their enemies or opposers, 
whosoever, " etc,, etc. Sworn before Joseph Tatlow, Justice 
of the Peace. 4to. Newcastle Coimty, in the District of 
Delaware, July, 1798. 

The same day the seamen and plenty oflScers took the same 
oath before the same official — 

The United States was ready for action. 

The depredations of French cruisers upon American com- 
merce were becoming unbearable. It was computed that 
during 1 796-7 our merchants had lost thirteen million dollars by 
unjust captures by the French. 

On June 13th, the merchants of Philadelphia met at the City 
Tavern and subcribed $70,000 to build and equip two ships, not 
exceeding 500 tons and to loan them to the government. 

The merchants of Baltimore, Boston, New York and other 
ports took similar patriotic steps. 

r/w First Capture 347 

On July 6th an Act to suspend all Commercial intercourse 
with France and her dependence was passed. 

On July 7th, Congress passed an "Act to Declare all Treaties 
heretofore Concluded with France no longer Obligatory on the 
United States." 

This, though not a declaration of war, demanded armed de- 
fence of our commerce. The spirit of the Federalist beat high. 
The act was considered a grand declaration of National spirit. 

That evening Capt. Decatur, in the Delaware, off Egg Harbor, 
captured a French privateer of 12 gtms and 70 men. She was 
brought to Philadelphia. A few days later the Delaware cap- 
tured the Le Croyable, **an old offender again st our commerce.** 
She was also brought to Philadelphia. Congress ptu'chased 
her for $7,000. 

Washington was appointed Lieutenant-General and Com- 
mander-in-Chief of the Forces of the United States. In his 
letter of acceptance he said : 

"The conduct of the Directory of France towards oiu* country ; 
their insidious hostility to its Government; their various prac- 
tices to withdraw the affections of the people from it ; the evident 
tending of their acts and those of their agents to countenance 
and irritate opposition ; their disregard of solemn treaties and 
the laws of nations; their war upon otu* defenceless commerce; 
their treatment of our ministers of peace and their demand 
amounting to tribute could not fail to excite in me correspond- 
ing sentiments with those of my countrymen." 

The creation of a navy and its entry into active service gave 
great animation to the hearts of the Federalists. The Repub- 
licans, agreeing with Representative Nichols, of Virginia, that 
**a navy would never do any real good to this country but would 
increase the unhappiness of it." [Benton's Debates, i, p. 66.} 
The following toasts at Foxulh of July celebrations and on 
other occasions testify the sentiments of the Federalists: 

At Reading, Pa. : **Captain John Barry and his brother oflS- 
cers of the infant Navy of the United States. May their colors 
fly triumphant on the American seas." 

This celebration was by the Federalists, who gave Uttle toler- 
ance to Democracy, for they drank with right good heart to 

346 Toasts to the Neta Navy 

the toast: "May the foul fiend Democracy be exterminated 
from every part of the land we live in." 

New Mills, N. J. : "The Navy of the United States, tho' in 
its minority, still may it be the terror to pirates and protection 
to trade, increasing in strength and, at length, like Hercules, 
be invincible." 

At Palatine, Montgomery Co., Pa. : "The Rising Navy of 
the United States: May its first essays be glorious to our 
country and honorable to the American tars." 

At Baltimore: "Barry, Truxtun, Nicholson and the other 
Commanders of the American Navy. May their skill and 
valor compel the French pirates to strike or flee from the Ameri- 
can coasts." 

At Frederickstown, Md. : "Our Infant Navy: May its 
thunders hurl destruction on the despoilers of otu* commerce." 

At Portsmouth, N. H. : "Our Rising Navy: May she pro- 
tect our insulted commerce and thunder destruction on our 

At Charleston: "The Navy of the United States: May it 
protect the commerce of the country and the honor of its 
flag in every quarter of the globe." 

At Boston: "The floating batteries and wooden walls of 
America." May the tide of public opinion set strong in their 

The Sons of St. Andrew, on St. Andrew's Day, 30th Novem- 
ber, 1798: "Our Rising Wooden Walls: May they become 
impregnable and, in defence of our commercial and civil rights, 
may every naval commander and tar of the United States 
emulate the glory of a Nelson and his brave British tars." 

The Act of May 28th, 1798, under which Captain Barry was 
commissioned to seize armed French vessels, declared : "Armed 
vessels sailing under the authority or pretence of authority 
from the Republic of France, have committed depredations on 
the commerce of the United States, and have recently captured 
the vessels and property of citizens thereof, on or near the coasts 
in violation of the laws of nations and the treaties between 
the United States and the French nations: Therefore That it 
shall be lawful for the President and he is hereby authorized to 

The Frigate Goes to Sea 349 

instruct and direct the commanders of the armed vessels be- 
longing to the United States to seize, take and bring into any 
port of the United States, to be proceeded against according to 
the laws of nations, any such armed vessel which shall have 
committed or which shall be found hovering on the coast of the 
United States, for the purpose of committing depredations on 
the vessels belonging to the citizens thereof and also to retake 
any ship or vessel, of any citizen or citizens which may have 
been captured by any such armed vessel." 

On July 3rd, 1798, the following order was sent to Captain 
Barry by the new Secretary of the Navy Benjamin Stoddert: 

Navy Department, 3rd July, 1798. 

Sir: The frigate United States, under your command being 
equipped, manned and armed, you will proceed to sea with 
the first fair wind. 

Enclosed you will receive your instructions, founded on the 
existing acts of Congress, and by which you are to be governed 
until fiulher orders. These instructions confine you within 
narrow limits and you can do little more under them than 
.rxercise your men along the coast. It is scarcely to be expected 
that the French cruisers will have the temerity to throw them- 
selves in your way. But it is not improbable that in a very few 
days and before your men are suflftciently disciplined, you may 
be ordered on more important service with greater latitude; 
under this idea I am directed by the President to call your at- 
tention to the necessity of losing no time in putting your ship 
and men into a state to be prepared for any enterprise — and 
to express our entire conviction that nothing on your part will 
be wanting to justify the high confidence reposed by him and 
your country in yoiu* activity, skill and bravery. 

After stretching on and off the capes of Delaware for four 
days, if in that time you should receive nothing from me, you 
will consider your cruising grotmd to extend from Cape Henry 
to Nantucket, and will use all the means in your power to de- 
fend this extent of coast against the depredations of the vessels 
sailing under authority or pretence of authority of the French 
Republic — ^and it is particularly enjoined by the President 

350 The Cndse 

that you will in conjunction with the force of Captain Dale, 
whose cruising grotmd has heretofore been between Cape Henry 
and Long Island and with whom you will doubtless fall in, afford 
all possible protection to the vessels of the United States 
coming on or going off the coast. 

It will be proper for you as you pass the Capes of the Delaware 
from time to time, to stand in, hoisting a Danish flag on the 
main-top mast-head, that you may be known to any express 
boat that may be dispatched after you. 

Captain Decatur had orders to cruise with Captain Dale tmtil 
the loth instant. If you should fall in with Captain Decatur 
sooner than the loth, you will direct him to proceed to join 
Captain Truxtun on the Southern Station. 

Captain Barry was by President Adams directed thus . * 'You arc 
hereby authorized, instructed and directed to subdue, seize, and 
take any armed French vessel, or vessel sailing under authority 
or pretence of authority from the French Republic, which shall 
be found within the jurisdictional limits of the United States, 
or elsewhere on the high seas, and such captured vessel, with 
her apparel, guns, and appurtenances, and the goods and ef- 
fects which shall be found on board the same, together with all 
French persons and others who shall be found acting on 
board, to bring within some port of the United States, and also to 
retake any vessel, goods and effects of the citizens of the United 
States or persons resident therein which may have been cap- 
tured by any French vessel — in order that proceedings maybe 
had concerning such capture or recaptiu-e in due form of law 
as to right shall appertain.'' 

On July 7th an order was sent to Barry **to keep on and off 
the Capes of Delaware and always in reach of a pilot boat." . ♦ ♦ 
**Some Acts of Congress make a variation in yoiu* in- 
structions necessary." 

The character of the Acts is made manifest by the letter of 
Secretary Stoddert of July i ith, 1798, as follows: 

nth, July, 1798. 

Sir: The Congress have lately passed an Act, which you 
will find enclosed, as well as your instructions founded upon 

Barry s * Orders 351 

that Act, authorizing the capture of French armed vessels wher- 
ever found on the high seas. 

From the best information to be obtained here it does not 
appear that the French have any considerable force in the 
West Indies; three Ught frigates, blocked up by the EngUsh, 
at Cape Francois, comprise, as I understand, the whole of their 
public force, and these, it isbeUeved, only wait a safe opportunity 
to leave the island and return to France. Their cruisers of 
smaller size are numerous and find shelter in the Spanish, Danish 
and Dutch Islands, as well as their own. 

Under such circumstances it is thought probable that a 
small squadron, under the command of an officer of your intelli- 
gence, experience and bravery might render essential service 
and animate yoiu* country to enterprise, by picking up a number 
of prizes in the short cruise to these islands. 

I am therefore instructed by the President to direct that 
taking the Delaware, Captain Decatur, under your command, 
you proceed without delay to Cape Cod (and not findingCap- 
tain Sever there, to Nantucket Road) where you will be joined 
by the Herald, Captain Sever, of 20 guns, and a revenue cutter 
of 14 guns from Boston. With this force you will proceed 
with all practicable expedition to the West Indies, endeavoring 
to fall in with the Islands three or four degrees to the windward 
of Barbadoes, and thence keeping to the windward of Martinico, 
Guadaloupe and Antigua and so disposing of the vessels under 
your command as to afford the greatest chance of falling in with 
the French armed vessels and yet keeping each within protect- 
ing distance of the whole. You will look into St. Johns, the 
principal harbor of Porto Rico, and after two or three days 
cruising on the south side of that island, you will rettun again 
to the continent, making for the Delaware, New York and 
Rhode Island, according to circumstances. 

Although I have pointed out your course, but yet it is to be 
imderstood that you are not to rigidly adhere to it if circumstan- 
ces should intervene to render, in your judgment, a departure 
therefrom expedient or necessary. The object of the enter- 
prise is to do as much injury to the armed vessels sailing under 
the authority of France and to make as many capttu'es as 

352 Barry s Ordmrs 

possible, consistently with a due regard (and no more than a 
due regard you will not suffer to be paid) to the security of our 
own, and you will use your best means to accomplish this ob- 

The ship New Jersey, Captain Clay, from the East Indies, the 
property of Messrs. Nicklin and Griffith, has been captured by the 
French and carried into St. Johns in Porto Rico. These gentle- 
men expect the ship and cargo will soon be in the power of our 
Agent, Dr. Bdward Stevens, at St. Johns. The duties this 
vessel will pay to the Government, if she arrives safe, makes 
her an object meriting public protection, to say nothing of the 
duty of government to protect the property of all its citizens. 

You will therefore give every aid in your power, and if she 
can be got out of the harbor of St. Johns take her under your 
convoy. When you arrive in the neighborhood of the Island 
you will judge whether you can prudently detach Captain 
Decatur to hover rotmd the harbor and to communicate with 
the Agent or Captain of the ship before yoiu* own arrival. 

Porto Rico is the place, it seems, where the greater part of 
our captured seamen collect to return to their own country. It 
is said they are exposed to great suffering there — ^to relieve 
their distress and to restore such a valuable body of men to 
their own country, ought to be objects with government and its 
officers. When you get off the harbor of St. John's there will 
be no impropriety in your writing a civil letter to the Governor 
requesting that the American seamen in that port may be re- 
stored to you. I have drafted a letter which it appears to me 
proper that you should address to the Governor. Being at peace 
with Spain, you must take no hostile measure to obtain them 
if the civil demand containing in the letter should not produce 

This letter may be sent into the harbotu* by one of the 
ships under your command or the Cutter, and the vessel so sent 
may immediately take the New Jersey under her protection if 
she be permitted to sail for America. The Act of Congress en- 
closed will direct the measures to be pursued with respect to 
your prizes. I need not add on that subject. 

In your treatment of the vessels, citizens and subjects, of all 

Barry "A Brcm Man*' 353 

nations, except the French armed vesseb and the pexsons found 
on board of them, yoti will bear in mind that we are at peace 
with all Nations that will suffer us to be at peace with them, 
and that the commander of an American squadron ought to be 
as much distinguished for his attention and adherence to aU 
the rights of humanity and hospitaUty as by his firmness in the 
support of the honor of his country. 

Should you ever see an American vessel captured by the 
armed ship of any nation at War with whom we are at peace, 
you cannot lawfully interfere to prevent such capture. 

It must be presumed, imtil the contrary is proven, that 
courts of that Nation will render justice ; nor must you recapture 
any American vessel taken by any such nation. The law of 
nations forbids it and we must respect that law. 

To the dishonor of the American name some oflBcers of the 
United States, I wish I could not with truth add many, in the 
civil line as well at home as abroad, oflftcers whose conduct 
proved them unworthy of the distinction they had received, 
too frequently have indulged themselves in the disagreeable 
licentiousness of vilUfying our government and those charac- 
ters in it best entitled to the esteem and gratitude of the country. 

If we do not respect ourselves how can it be expected that 
we are to command respect from others. It is scarcely neces- 
sary, for me, in writing to a brave man who values his own 
country, its government and its laws, to suggest the usefulness 
of inculcating upon those under his command the propriety 
of preserving in their language and conduct the same respect 
which he himself feels for those constitutions and those char- 
acters which deserves the respect of all. It is time we should 
establish an American character. 

Let that character be a love of country and a jealousy of its 
honor. This idea comprehends everything that ought to be 
impressed upon the minds of all our citizens, but more especially 
of those citizens who are seamen and soldiers. 

The length of time to be consumed in your expedition will 
depend upon such a variety of circumstances that no accturate 
judgment can be formed of ^the time jof yoiur retum.||Yet|it{iB 

354 Barry to the Goutmor of Porto Rico 

hoped that you may be on otur coast in two months from the 
time you depart from Boston Bay. 

Wishing you all possible success and honor in this enterprise, 
and adding the assurance of the President's confidence that 
nothing will be left undone on your part to insure both honor 
and success/' 

While obeying these instructions on the way to Cape Cod 
with the Delaware, Captain Decatur, a heavy ship with 
French colors was discovered by Captain Barry. His own ship 
displayed the same colors. He ordered the Captain of the Dela- 
ware to "stand off" and not approach the supposed French 
sail. Barry prepared for action. Both manoeuvred to gain the 
weather gauge. Barry succeeded on gaining such a position 
that the supposed enemy was completely in his power. Then the 
United States displayed the American flag and its opponent 
hoisted the British ensign. It was the Thetis of the English 
Navy. Bach had mistaken the other. No system of signals 
existed between the two Navies. Admiral Vanderport soon 
after proposed a set which was adopted by the Americans and 
found mutually advantageous. [Naval Chr. i p 93.] 

The draft of a letter proposed to be written by Captain Barry 
to the Governor of Porto Rico, is as follows: 

At Sea off Porto Rico, 1798. 

The Government of the United States have received repeated 
information that many American Seamen belonging to vessels 
which have been captured by French cruisers and carried into 
Porto Rico have sometimes been confined as prisoners, and if 
not so confined have been exposed to much inconvenience and 
real suffering for want of adequate suppUes of provisions and 
the means of returning to their country. The President of 
the United States has therefore directed me, when on this 
station, to address your Excellency on this subject: and par- 
ticularly to request that any American citizen under confine- 
ment in the Island of Porto Rico (if such there be) may be re- 
leased, and with others of their countrymen permitted to come 

At Boston 355 

on board the ships.under my command, that they may return 
to the United States. 

This request I make to your Excellency in the confidence 
due from one friendly nation to another and especially in the 
case of two nations like ours reciprocally entitled by a treaty of 
friendship to all the offices of humanity and to favor protec- 
tion and assistance. 

Captain will have the honor to deliver to your Ex- 
cellency this letter and if convenient to receive your answer. 

I have the honor to be Sir, your Excellency's most obedient 
and most humble servant, 

y^r^^ /3, 

His Excellency, 

the Governor of Porto Rico. 

Barry and Decatur sailed to *'the eastward.'* On July 21st 
they arrived off Boston. While there they were entertained 
by the Spanish Consul, General Knox and others. 

"Commodore Barry and Capt. Decatur visited the town on 
Saturday last ; they were received on 'Change with every mark 
of attention, and welcomed as the brave and patriotic defend- 
ers of our country's rights." (RusseWs Gazette, Boston, Mon- 
day, July 23, 1798.) 

"On Monday, the Hon. Messrs. Thatcher, Bartlett, Wads- 
worth, and Parker, members of Congress : — Commodore Barry 
and Capt. Decatiur of the Navy of the United States, waited on 
his Excellency the Governor, at his seat in Roxbury, to pay 
him their respects." (Columbia Sentinel, Boston, Wed., July 

25, 1798.) 

On July 26th the United States and Delaware sailed from 

Boston for the West Indies. Barry had received orders, dated 

I2thf that the revenue cutter under Capt. Chapman might not 

be ready to join him "and so you will proceed on the expedition 

without her." 

That expedition was to defend American commerce from 

the French. 

336 The Secntarys Man 



Secretary Stoddert reported to President Adams the progress 
of events, thus: 

Navy Department, 30th. July, 1798. 
John Adams, Esq., 

President of the United States. 

Sir: — By letters previously received from Stephen Higgin- 
son, Esq., of Boston, I had been taught to expect that both the 
Herald of 20 guns and the Boston cutterof 14 guns, would have 
been prepared to join Captain Barry at Cape Cod or Nantucket 
road about the 20th instant. 

Barry arrived at the place of destination about the time ap- 
pointed, but found the Boston vessels in an unprepared state, 
and I have reason to conclude from his letters to me that he 
has proceeded with Decatur only , on his expedition to the Islands. 

This I believe is a circumstance not to be regretted for from 
all the information I can get there is no probabihty that Barry 
will meet in the West Indies a force superior to his own. 

At this season of the year, and during the months of 
August and September and a part of October the British armed 
ships are less alert in the West Indies than at other times, in 
consequence of apprehension of danger from the hurricanes. 

Some of their frigates are now in our ports as being more secure 
from the elements than the Islands. Our own force, on otir own 
coasts, it is not to be doubted is well known to the French, and 
having no force in the Islands equal to ours (except three U^ 
frigates blocked up by the British at Cape Francois) it is not to 
to be apprehended that our coasts will be much molested by 
their cruisers, at least for some months to come, tmless indeed, 

The Secretary's Plan 357 

they could send a force from Europe, which is far from being 

The French Islands having no authorized intercourse with 
the United States must depend in a great degree on captures 
for supplies of bread and salt meat. Not having much to fear 
from the British about the Islands, during the hurricane season, 
and not daring to send their cruisers on our coasts, it is likely 
that a greater number of them than usual will be employed 
during the season in the neighborhood of the Islands. 

The hurricanes, I understand, are not so very dangerous as 
they are generally believed to be. It is not oftener than once 
in four or five years that much injury is done by them, and at 
such times the danger is partial and extends not beyond one or 
two Islands. 

Under such circumstance and impressed with the opinion that 
the American Navy should be taught to disregard problematic 
dangers and that our force should be employed while the French 
Jiave but little force, in destroying what little they have and in 
producing a scarcity of provisions and the consequent discontent 
flowing from such a source, in their Islands, I have the honor, 
sir, to submit for your consideration the following proposed 
arrangement : 

To leave the coast from the east end of George's Bank to 
Long Island to be guarded by the Herald, Captain Sever, of 20 
guns, and the Boston Cutter of 14 guns. From Long Island to 
Cape Henry the Baltimore of 20 guns, and two cutters, one of 
which of 10 guns, is now out and another of 14 guns will be 
ready by the end of this week to sail from New York. 
From Cape Henry to our Southern extremity, by one of the 
frigates and two cutters, which will proceed from hence to the 
southward in a short time. This distribution will leave one 
frigate and the ship Montezuma, of 20 guns, as soon as she can 
be prepared for sea, which I hope will be by the 20th or 25th of 
August, to be employed in any enterprise, and these, if you, 
sir, approve, I would propose to send on a cruise among the 
Islands as soon as the latter can be prepared. 

It is likely that Barry and Dectaur will leave the Island on 
their return about the time this second expedition would leave 

356 Captures the Le Jaloux and Scmspareil 

our coasts and by the time Barry returns it is to be presumed 
that the Ganges, Captain Dale, who must shortly return iato 
port, to refit, may be prepared to join the other frigate which 
till then will be kept on the southern station, in a third ex- 
pedition to the Islands. 

By keeping up incessant attacks on the French cruisers on 
their own ground they will in a degree at least be prevented 
from coming on ours. In about three months our force will be 
so increased as to admit of more frequent attacks, or attacb 
with stronger force." 

Claypool's Advertiser ^ September 12th, 1798, said: "The 
Floating Castles of the United States have by this time made their 
appearance in the West Indies, not for the purpose of taking 
vengeance on our foes, but to convoy in secimty the earnings of 
our hardy navigators to our shores. The United States, Cap- 
tain Barry, and The Delaware, Captain Decatur, are now sup- 
posed to be there." 

That there was a necessity for their presence we may well 
judge when The Advertiser, on August 2d, reported that a 
schooner had arrived at Baltimore on the 29th July from the 
Havana, where an embargo existed. The American captains 
and supercargoes had had a meeting and agreed upon amung 
their vessels, each to contribute 2^ per cent, ad valorem for the 
purchase of cannon. The property on board all bound for the 
United States, was estimated at two millions of dollars. Several 
French privateers were waiting to go out with them. 

The suggestion of Captain Barry that Navy yards were neces- 
sary was sustained in a few months by the new Secretary of the 
Navy, Benjamin Stoddert, so recommending to President 
Adams, who at Quincy, Massachusetts, was convalescent from a 
recent illness Secretary Stoddert was at Trenton, New Jersey, 
to escape the yearly visitation of yellow fever at Philadelphia, 
the temporary Capital of the Nation. 

On the 2 1 St of September, 1798, the United States and the 
Delaware rettuned to Philadelphia. Captain Barry had taken 
the French Schooner Le Jaloux, of 14 gims and 70 men and a 
sloop of 10 guns and 67 men both belonging to Guadaloupe. 
The result of this cruise, nevertheless, was disappointiiig 

The French Prisoners 359 

to the government. We may be sure it was also to Captain 
Barry, and just as sure that it was from no remissness on his 

The Porcupine Gazette [Cobbett's] that day said : 

MoRB Sans-Culottbb Prizes. 

The master of a shollop lying at Market St wharf reports 
that in coming up the river yesterday, he fell in with the frigate 
United States off Reedy Island whose people informed him 
that being in company with the Delaware off the Havanah 
that they had captiu'ed two French privateers, a ship and a 
schooner, one which is reported to be the fastest sailing vessel 
the French pirates were possessed of, that the arrival of the 
Delaware with the prizes is hourly expected. 

Two days later the same paper reported ''on Thursday last, 
2oth inst, arrived at New Castle, the frigate United States in ten 
days from Porto Rico. She has captured in the West Indies 
a schooner of 12 guns and 87 men and a sloop of 10 guns and 
67 men both belonging to Guadaloupe. The Delaware sloop of 
war is below with the prize. 

Commodore Barry has proceeded to Trenton. "The Sec- 
retary of the Navy was there*' 

Concerning the treatment of the French prisoners these 
allegations were made : 

The cruelty of Jacobinism has been compared to the horrors 
of the Jersey prison ship; but the barbarity of either will hardly 
bear a comparison with the federal tortures that were practised 
under the name of economy, upon the crew of two French 
vessels, the Sanspareil and the Jaloux. These ships had 
been captured by some of Mr. Adam's armed cruisers and the 
men confined from the 20th of September until the 6th of No- 
vember, 1798, in the small prison of New Castle. The following 
extract from a letter inserted in the Aurora, decribes their 
treatment and their situation: **They have not been allowed 
a basket to contain the provisions which private humanity 
bestowed upon them; a single pot serves for every species of 
vessel for sixty men; locked up at night, they are under the 

360 The French Prisoners 

necessity of making use of their hats, their shoes, their handker- 
chiefs and their shirts, to contain those excretions from which 
nature has not exempted an individual of the animal creation. 
They have been without a separate apartment for the sick, nor 
have they been granted the most trifling utensil to prepare or 
administer to the sick, the few medicines which they have left. 
They are totally destitute of warm clothing and the naked floor 
of the room, often wet, is the place where they must repose 
during the night, men not long from a tropical climate, men 
long estranged from the rigors of a northern winter, may, with- 
out being deemed unreasonable, call this treatment cruel. 

"Two of their number have literally perished since their con- 
finement in the prison. One died through want, it not being 
in the power of his companions to administer medicines; and 
the other fell a victim to the severity of the cold. Two others 
must have paid the last debt to nature had it not been for the 
humane attention of the inhabitants of New Castle, to whom 
they owe their protracted existence. These acts of humanity 
were attributed by a prettifogger for the same place, to some 
lurking remains of friendship for the French; but his wicked- 
ness was of no avail.*' The latter adds, that the people of New 
Castle supplied them with clothes, without which they say, 
that many of them must have perished. On the day the letter 
was wrote, they were for the first time, visited by Mr. Robert 
Hamilton, Commissary of Prisoners. They complained to him, 
but were answered, "that government allowed nothing, and 
if they had no friends they might perish." 

[Wood's His Adm. John Adams p 167.] 

But by letter of Secretary Stoddert it will be seen that he 
sent blankets to the prisoners but the French Consul had neither 
funds nor orders to give his countrymen relief. 

Benjamin Stoddert, the Secretary of the Navy, wrote to 
President Adams, then sojourning at Quincy, Mass., because of 
the yellow fever in Philadelphia, in 1798, the following letter, 
Stoddert being located at Trenton, N. J.,to escape the contagion . 

Barry Rehtms 36 J 

(Letters to President, p. 9.) 

Navy Department, September 21, 1798. 
John Adams, Esq., President of the U. States: 

Sir : I have a letter dated the 13th from Pennock, the naval 
agent at Norfolk, saying that Nicholson had brought into 
Hampton Roads, of a ship 20 or 24 guns, full of men, who refused 
to give any account of themselves, and who are supposed to be 
pirates. I hope by the mail of this evening to receive more 
certain intelligence. 

Captain Barry, to my surprise, made his appearance here at 
I o'clock. His ship with about 100 Frenchmen and negroes 
al>oard he left at Chester. Decatur with 30 or 40 more was fol- 
lowing him in, with two prizes, a sloop and a schooner taken in 
the West Indies. 

Barry returned too soon. His reason, apprehensions from 
the hurricanes in the West Indies at this season. Upon the 
whole it is better than to have kept the ships sleeping on our 
own shore, though the result of the enterprise falls very far 
short of my hopes. 

Murry, to whom I am sending orders this day, to proceed to the 
West Indies with The Montezuma, the brig Norfolk, the cutter 
Eagle, and the Retaliation, will return with more brilliancy. 

I have no time to add more, than I have the honor to be, etc.. 

Yet, the Secretary, had written the President in July that 
the British were less alert during August, September and even 
in October *4n consequence of apprehensions of danger of 
hurricanes." Barry, sharing the same apprehensions as the Sec- 
retary, is thought by him to have got out of the way of the hurri- 
canes **too soon," though he took two prizes when the French 
had "but Uttle force." 

The President replied on Oct ist, 1798, to Stoddert's letter 
of Sept 2 1 St: "I am sorry that Capt. Barry had not fully an- 
swered your expectations; but I hope you will soon send him 
out again. The hurricanes are now passed, and there is no 
danger longer from them. We must sweep the West Indies 
seas and get as many French seamen as they are called, whether 
they are Italians, Spaniards, Germans or negroes, we can. 

362 Barry s Cruise to thi Eastward 

Seamen are so scarce that they cannot send out large privateers. 

The orders of the Navy Department to Capt Barry subsequent 

to the report of Secretary Stoddert to President Adams, were: 

Navy Department, Sept. 27, 1798. 
Captain John Barry, 

of the Frigate United States. 

Dear Sir : — I wrote to Mr. Francis respecting the quality of 
the bread furnished you, and he wishes, if you can with con- 
venience send it, to receive a barrel of it carefidly headed up 
and sealed, also a barrel of beef and one of pork, as he wishes to 
examine into the afifair and ascertain where the deception or 
damage has originated. This is highly proper and you will 
please to desire the purser to comply with Mr. Francis' request 
if practicable. 

P. S. ; Have you sent an indent to Mr. Francis of the rigging 
you want? He seems to rquire it. He had not received it on 
the 25th instant. Send it to him immediately. 

Secretary Stoddert, in a letter to President Adams of Sept 
27 makes known the intended operations of Barry and his sub- 
ordinates. He writes: 

** Decatur is ordered to cruise from Delaware to Cape Henry, 
till the 15th November when he is to retiun into port. I shall 
to-morrow send orders to Barry to cruise for the same time 
from Delaware eastward. Truxton with Philips may be ex- 
pected before the 15th November from the Havanna, and I 
shall before I leave Trenton make arrangements to have as much 
force as possible in readiness in the month of December to pro- 
ceed to the West Indies, or wherever ordered. I should suppose 
that the three frigates and six or seven 20 to 24 guns ships, and 
some vessels of smaller size, which will be prepared by that time, 
might be employed to advantage in the West Indies during the 
winter months, when there will be little danger of enemy vessels 
on our coasts and when, of course, our own vessels can not be 
employed on our coasts to much advantage." 

The annexed note of Thomas FitzSimons, Pennsylvania's 
Catholic Signer of the Constitution of the United States, re- 
lates to a personal matter: 

^ ^»Ja!l 

Barry's Cruise to the Eastu/ard 363 

Dear sir : In Your conversation with Mr Yard this morn- 
ing you mentioned that Mr Mullowney had a written Memor- 
andum respecting the business that was the occasion of the re- 
port and that you would send up a copy of it Reflecting on 
that circumstance since I think it would be well for the sake of 
all parties be proper that the paper should not only be sent but 
that Mr Mullowney should detail all the circumstances that 
attended the conversation when it took place-if the Impression 
upon his mind at the time was the same that You expressed 
it to be on Yours when the things was told you ; it may be well 
for him to state the fact as well as the character of the person 
from whom the report came. 

If you will take the trouble to inclose the papers to 
me I will have them handed Mr Yard and as I am sure it must 
be your wish to have this disagreeable business cleared up 
as soon as possible I shall require no apology for giving you 
this trouble.-hearing you must set out early in the morning 
I send this by a messenger 

On September 28th, Secretary Stoddert sent to Capt. Barry 
orders to cruise to the **eastward" of Delaware Bay and to re- 
turn about November 15th. 

Subsequent orders to Barry from Secretary Stoddert were : 

October i 1798. 

Sir: — I have received your letter of the 26th ultimo. I have 
written to Lieut. Ross (who requested to be removed to another 
vessel) to sail with you this cruise, and that if on your return 
should continue his present wishes measures would be taken for 
complying with them. 

The two marines you mentioned as unfit for duty, you will 
discharge, and let the piu"ser pay them up to the time their ser- 
vices are discontinued. 

The bread you will send up to Mr. Tench Francis the pur- 
veyor if you can. If not, have it landed and stored at New 
Castle, with directions to send it to Mr. Francis when oppor- 
tunity offers. 

364 Barry s Chdss to the Eastward 

October i, 1798. 

Sir : — I presume you are by this time supplied with your re- 
quisition of cordage, cheese and bread. 

As this is the season when our vessels may be expected from 
Europe, and as it is probable that attempts may be made by 
the French cruisers to interrupt them on or near our own coasts, 
it becomes necessary that you proceed to sea as soon as your 
ship is watered. The bread, cordage and cheese I hope you 
have received. 

Your object must be to protect the trade from Delaware to 
New Hampshire, and doubting neither your discretion, bravery 
nor enterprise, I leave it to yourself to judge in what manner 
you can best effect this object. Captain Decatur will cruise 
from New York to the Chesapeake. 

There will be, I imagine, but little danger of enemy vessels on 
our coasts by the 15th of November. You will, therefore, no 
circumstances arising which, in your judgment, shall make a 
longer cruise necessary, go to Newport, Rhode Island, about 
that time. 

Before you sail be pleased to write me what your ship will 
want on her return, for another cruise of four months. 

If there should be an occasion to communicate with you, it 
will be most conveniently done from Rhode Island. You will 
please therefore every twelve or fifteen days appear off the har- 
bor of Newport, with the French flag hoisted on your maintop 
mast-head, and hover off and on long enough to be seen from 
Newport and to receive a boat, should it be necessary to send 
one to you. 

Oct. 6, '98. 
Navy Department, 
Captain John Barry. 

Sir : — I am honored with your letter of the 3rd instant, at 
which time I preceive you had not received my instructions of 
the ist instant. I now send a copy of them. 

I cannot account for your not having received the bread and 
iron. The latter was sent by L. HolUngsworth, and I presume 
has been received since. The bread was ordered from Phila- 
delphia. It was ready more than a week ago, and if Ftands 

Insfructkms of the Ncaj Department 365 

lias not been seized with the fever, I suppose it must have reached 
you, as wen as rope, if Francis received in time your indent. 
As to the other articles, the requisition was made for them too 
late and the difl&culty of getting anything done in Philadelphia 
in these times too great to admit of a reasonable hope of getting 
them. I am glad they were not essential for the present short 

You never left a Kst of men whose wives were to be paid in 
their absence, nor was I furnished with any documents to show 
to what time payment had been made to the men. If there has 
been any error on this point it has not been here. 

I have received a letter from Mr. Edwards, which I am a little 
surprised at. It contains the following paragraph : 

"The appointments alluded to in my note of the 23d I find 
from indisputable authority (as well as another, Mr. McKnight), 
have taken place. This, sir, has excited the surprise of Captain 
Barry, who has done me the honor of declaring that he thought 
my merit alone, independent of the priority of my commission 
or other consideration, fully justified my promotion." I 
thought I had informed you that this young gentleman was to 
be a Captain (which by the bye he had no right to expert, not 
having been in the ship to which he was appointed from his own 
fault, and acting on yours of a supernumerary). I hope from 
your good sense, great experience and attachment to the Gov- 
ernment of your country that no uneasiness, causelessly ex- 
cited, will be suffered to exist among your officers. I have also 
a letter signed by your second and third lieutenants, almost de- 
manding to be Captains. Such claims are inadmissible and 
ought not to be encouraged. It will afiford me the highest plea- 
sure at all times to promote the proper views of brave and meri- 
torious men. Such I have no doubt are these two gentlemen, 
and fun justice no doubt will be done them, but they must not 
expect to carve for themselves. 

**The purser applied to me too late for money. I desired him 
to draw on me, as I could not send it to him in time. If the 
bread has not reached you from Philadelphia let the purser buy 
a sufficiency for six weeks, if he can, and draw on me." 

1798 Oct 8th off New Castle, Captain Barry wrote Mrs. Barry, 

366 Returns to PMlade^Ma 

"this will be the last from the Delaware in two hours will be under 
sail-our cruise will be short, I hope with the blessing of God to 
see you and my friends at Strawberry Hill by the 20th of next 
month altho I am to come into Rhode Island. — I have not a 
single article for the ship but ballast and my reasons for going 
to sea without these is the European ships is expected any day 
and should any of them be taken and I lying in a harbor the 
merchants may blame me an no other although it would not be 
my fault." [Barnes 489] 

Barry performed the service required of him, returning to 
Delaware Bay early in November, being tmable by an acci- 
dent from getting to Newport. 

First Lieutenant David Ross, in charge of the United States, 
on November 9th, 1798, when "off Chester," at i P. M., reported 
to Barry: 

"This day we have arrived at Chester with the ship without 
touching ground. Wind W. N. W. We passed over the flats 
a quarter less four. The bowsprit with the pinnance cutter 
towing it up to Chester. I expect it here by 3 o'clock this after- 
noon. All hands in good health." — [Roberts' Collection.] 

The orders of the Navy Department to Capt. Barry are here 

November 9, 1798. 

Sir : I have received your favor of the 8th instant, your ar- 
rival in Delaware being totally unexpected ; no steps were taken 
to procure the articles included in your several indents, it hav- 
ing been intended to provide them at Newport, to which place 
you know you were directed to repair at the end of your cruise, 
and I am sorry for the accident which has prevented you from 
accomplishing it. 

What, under present circumstances, is to be done, is to re- 
pair your damage as expeditiously as possible, to which effect 
Col. Pickering has written by this post to Mr. Joshua Humph- 
reys, and your several indents will be transmitted to Mr. Fran- 
cis who will provide the articles therein contained. 

Captain Barron has not received the appointment you men- 
tion. Mr. Stoddert will be at Philadelphia by the middle of 
next week* 

To Prepare Rules for Nauy 367 

November 9, 1 798. 

Sir : — I have received your letter dated yesterday, and have 
written to Mr. Hiunphreys to attend immediately to the neces- 
sary repairs to your frigate. 

The Marshall of Delaware had early orders to furnish blankets 
to the prisoners at New Castle, and as soon as I heard from them 
I wrote (Oct. 9th) to Mr. Tetombe, late French consul, but he 
refused to given them any relief , (saying he had neither orders 
nor funds. 

November 29, 1798. 

Sir: — ^As Captains Truxtun, Dale, Decatur and Tingley are 
now in this dty, and as the regulations or articles of war for the 
government of the Navy are extremely defective it would be 
useful and important if you would, with the aid of these gentle- 
men, consider and report a proper system on this subject. 

A room, pen, ink and paper shall be provided for you at the 
Navy OflSce, should you find it convenient to meet here. 

Decembers, 1798. 

Sir: I fear this cold weather may produce ice, and be in- 
jurious to your frigate if she remains at Chester to be prepared 
for sea. Would it not be proper to move the frigate down to 
Reedy Island as quickly as possible? 

There she will be out of danger and the Carpenters being paid 
for the greater distance from Philadelphia, which is but a tri- 
fling consideration, can fit her at that place.'' 

368 Increase of the Navy 




At the opening of the Fffth Congress President Adams an- 
nounced the "ultimate failure of the measures which have been 
taked by the Government towards an amicable adjustment of 
differences with France. " The law of France that neutral ves- 
sels with British fabrics or produce, although the entire property 
belonged to neutrals, were liable to seizure President Adams de- 
clared ** an unequivocal act of war on the commerce of the na- 
tion it attacks,'* and so, "whether we negotiate with her or 
not vigorous preparations for war will be alike indispensable." 
He urged an increase of our navy to a size sufficient to guard our 
coast and protect our trade. 

This was sanctioned by Congress in February by an Act to add 
six 74's and six i8's to the naval force at an estimated cost of 
$2,400,000. The appropriation for the navy in 1799 amounted 
to $4,594,677.93. Recruiting went on vigorously after Congress 
met in December, 1798. 

The day before his Speech to Congress President Adams di- 
rected the Secretary of the Navy to send the following order 
to Captain Barry. Subsequent orders are given in succession: 

Dec. 7, 1798. 

Sir: — It is conceived that by employing the principal part of 
our naval force in the West Indies this winter a state little short 
of perfect security may be given to our commerce in those seas, 
and that the inhabitants of the hostile islands maybe taught to 
respect and to fear the power of the United States. 

Captain Truxtun with two or three vessels of 14 and 18 guns, 
will have assigned him for his cruising grounds from St. Christo- 
phers leeward as far as Porto-Rico. Captain Decatur with one 

President Adams to Barry 369 

brig of 1 6 guns, will be stationed in the vicinity of Havanna, to 
protect that trade, and Captain Tingley in the Ganges between 
Cuba and Hispaniola, to give security to the trade of Jamaica. 

All our other forces consisting at present of the Frigates United 
States and Constitution, the George Washington, Fletcher, of 
32 guns, the Merrimac, Brown, of 24 guns, and soon to be increased 
with four or five more vessels of nearly the same force as the 
latter, will, by order of the President, be under your immediate 
command, and to be employed as your knowledge of those seas 
and your judgment shall suggest in active operations for the 
protection of our commerce, and for the capture or destruction 
of French armed vessels, from St. Christophers as far as Bar- 
badoes and Tobago, and it is presumed your force will permit 
you to pay considerable attention to Cayenne and Curricoa, and 
even to the passage from the United States to Laguayra on the 
Spanish Main ; to which place our citizens carry on considerable 
trade, but above all your efforts must be directed to relieve our 
commerce from the piccaroons and pirates continually issuing 
from the Island of Guadaloupe. 

You will determine in what manner to divide and employ your 
force so as to best gratify the hopes of the President and your 

A spirit of enterprise and adventure cannot be too much en- 
couraged in the ofi&cers under your command, nor can too many 
opportunities be afforded the enterprising to distinguish them- 
selves. We have nothing to dread but inactivity. 

The French can have no force in the West Indies this winter 
equal to ours, which is thought to be sufficient to rid those seas 
as well of French commissioned armed vessels as of the pirates 
which infest them ; and it is with you to lay your country under 
obligations by rendering this important service and by excit- 
ing among the officers and men a high degree of zeal for the 
honor of the American Navy. 

It is the President's order that you proceed as early as possi- 
ble to Prince Rupert's Bay, in the Island of Dominica, at which 
place the other vessels under your command are ordered to 
rendezvous and whence you will commence your operations, 
which it is presumed may be continued until the month of April, 

370 President Adams to Barry 

and perhaps May. I shall take care to have your squadron 
supplied with provisious by the time it will become necessary. 

I have stated to you so particularly where the vessels not 
under your immediate command will be employed, that you 
may apprise any of the divisions of danger beyond their strength 
to resist, reinforce them, or if occasion should require it, 
order them to join you or proceed to the United States ; but it 
is hoped and expected that no such occasion may occur. 

Should you be encumbered with prisoners, your first effort 
must be to exchange them for our own citizens in the hands of 
the French ; you cannot take too much pains to effect this very 
desirable object. It will be better to give more than one man 
for man, than suffer our meritorious seamen to remain in their 
hands — and no bargain will be thought a bad one which shall 
relieve them from captivity. 

If however you cannot accomplish this you must send the 
prisoners to any of our ports, preferring those from Boston to 
Cape Henry, on account of the greater expence of maintaining 
them to the southward — providing you can do it without los- 
ing the service of our armed vessels when their service may 
be important, rather than which it will be better to let loose the 
men of color and the greatest vagabonds, keeping only the sea- 
men and those capable of doing us the most injury; and by 
so reducing the numbers you will be able to send those worth 
keeping in the vessels in which they were captured. 

The President desires that it may be recollected by any officer 
under your command that America is only at war with French 
armed vessels and the people found on board of them ; that 
we are at peace and wish to remain at peace with all other na- 
tions, must be treated with civility and friendship, that it will 
be the highest honor to the American seamen, to be as much 
distinguished by courtly and good offices to their friends as by 
industry and activity in seeking, and bravery in subduing an 
enemy. You are not allowed by our laws to recapture an Amer- 
ican vessel taken by the vessels of any of the powers at war, 
except those of the French. You must be governed by the laws, 
and it must be presumed that the courts of such nations, whexe 
such captures are illegal, will render justice. 

The Frigate United States 371 

You will omit no opportunity of writing to me and keeping 
me well informed of your proceedings ; giving the proper caution 
to those by whom you write to destroy your letters when there 
is danger of their falling into the hands of the French. 

I have it in command from the President to express to you 
and to the officers and the seamen under your command his 
high confidence that you will merit and his best wishes that you 
may meet with distinguished success and honor — ^in which I 
most cordially join." 

On the same day on which the Secretary of the Navy issued 
the above order Lieut. David Ross, of the frigate, sent these re- 
ports to Captain Barry, yet in Philadelphia: 

Frigate United States oflF 

Chester Dec 7th 1798. 
Dr. Sir 

This day we have completed staying & seting up the rigging 
allready for sea, the boat has gone to Marcus Hook for your 
Sheep, to-morrow morning if the wind will permit we will pro- 
ceed for Bombay Hook, if not. for Marcus Hook for fear the Ice 
should make, ready to hall in, to the piers the jolly boat is not yet 
arived nor the pilot boat, when she comes I shall send her up. 

Sir you may depend no exercions of mine shall be wanting 
towards the ship or you. The carpenters are willing to stay. 

I have discharged Mr. Hanfield By your order I send up a 
return of oflScers not on board by this opportunity the sloop is 
arrived with the stores She came too anchor 2 miles a stem 
the flood tide being against her but this evening she will be 
alongside and we shall discharge her. I have sent John Ames 
the pilot to sound between the peers at Marcus Hook for fear of 
advers wind and the Ice setting in I shall inform what watter 
when I write again we have all the wood on board purchased at 
Chester 8 chord and J, I shall get the remaining part as soon 
as a shallop comes past'' 

Later he wrote : 

I now inform you we have got 12 of the twelve pounders on 
board. This morning we received a sloop loaded with cordage 
which we discharged with a vessel loaded with Provisions The 

372 Starts on Second Cruise 

same sloop, Capt. Currie took to get our guns on board. You 
will arrange the price with him when he arrives there. 

The people is all quartered and we have exercised them once 
and find them to be alert. We should have done it of tener but 
our time would not admit as we have been stationing them to 
to their births with their hammocks. You may depend Sir I 
shall lose no time in exercising the Great guns both by day and 
night untiU we have them well knowledge of their quarters." 

[Roberts' Collection.] 

When Congress met on December 8th, 1798, President Adams' 
Message said : "The beneficial effects of the small naval arma- 
ment provided under the Acts of the last session are known and 
acknowledged. Perhaps no country ever experienced more sud- 
den and remarkable advantages from any measure of policy 
than we derive from the arming for our maritime protection and 
defence. We ought without loss of time to lay the foundation 
for an increase of our navy to a size sufficient to guard our coast 
and protect our trade," 

The United States being now " down the Bay," Capt. Barry 
proceeded to take command, the following letter of the Secre- 
tary of the Navy being forwarded to him : 

December 12th. 

Sir : — I have a letter from Mr. Yellott, saying that he is in- 
formed by Captain James Stewart that Victor Hughes is fitting 
out Frigates at Guadaloupe. I hope this is true that you may 
have an opportunity of sending them into our ports. 

I hope that you have got down safe and that all your material 
stores will be on board. I shall take the earliest opportunity of 
forwarding provisions to Dominica." 

The United States, under Capt. John Barry, was now starting 
on her second cruise. She had as Lieutenant Charles Stewart, 
who, "having the skill of a chief and the courage of a true Yan- 
kee seaman," afterwards became so famous. In July, 1800, he 
was promoted to the captaincy of the Experiment) in 181 2 to 
the Constellation, and in 1813 to the Constitution, In this last 
he fought and captured, in February, 181 5, the Cyane and the 

The Squadron Sent 373 

Levant, For this heroic exploit he was presented by Congress 
with a gold medal. 

Another gallant officer of the United States was Midshipman 
Stephen Decatur. In 1801 he was promoted to be Lieutenant 
of the Essex. In 1804 he destroyed the Philadelphia, in the har- 
bor of Tripoli, and for this a gold medal was given to him by 
Congress. In the War of 1 8 1 2 he commanded Barry's vessel the 
United States, On Oct. 25, 181 2, he captured the Macedonian, 
of 49 gtms and 300 men. 

Another midshipman of the United States imder Barry was 
Jacob Jones. In the war of 1 8 1 2, as commander of the Wasp, he 
captured, on Oct. 18, 181 2, the Frolic, and for this received a 
gold medal from Congress. 

The training and discipline of Captain Barry had developed 
heroes after death had claimed him. 

Maclay's ** History of the United States Navy," page 174, 
thus details this expedition designed for a vigorous naval war 
against France: 

"French privateers by this time (1799) had become so numer- 
ous and daring in the West Indies that the Government foimd it 
necessary to direct all its naval force against them. Accord- 
ingly a squadron, commanded by Captain John Barry, was 
ordered to rendezvous at Prince Rupert's Bay, and to cruise to 
windward of St, Kitts and as far south as Barbadoesand Tobago. 

It consisted of the following vessels: The United States, 
Captain John Barry ; the Constitution, Captain Samuel Nichol- 
son; the George Washington, Captain Patrick Fletcher; the Mer- 
rimac. Captain Moses Brown; the Portsmouth, Captain Daniel 
McNeill; the Pickering, Master-commandant Edward Preble; 
the Eagle, Lieutenant Hugh George Campbell ; the Herald, Lieu- 
tenant Charles C. Russell; the Scammel, Lieut. J. Adams; and 
the Diligence, I/ieu tenant J. Brown.. 

The Merrimac took le Bonapart le-Phenix, of fourteen guns 
and one hundred and twenty-eight men, and la-Magiciene, of 
fourteen guns and sixty- three men ; the Portsmouth took le Bona- 
part (No. 2), le Bullante, and le Tripon, and le Bon Pere, of six 
guns and fifty-two men. Seven other captures were made by 
this squadron." 

374 The Squadron Sent 

In addition to the vessels named by Maday as comprising 
this expedition Elijah Shaw's Narrative of Twenty-one Years' 
Service in the American Navy names as sailing from Norfolk, in 
company with the frigate United States** the Constellation, of 36 
guns; the John Adams, the Congress, the Little Adams, the Little 
York, all 32 guns; the Connecticut, Boston, General Green, all of 
36 guns; the Siren, Argus, of 16 each, and the Enterprise of 14 

The Constellation cruised " off different islands for about three 
months without finding any game" when the Insurgente ,oi 50 
guns, was captured with 700 men, of whom 350 were killed or 

Later the Constellation met a French 74 and exchanged a few 
shots with her, but her "force being superior" the Constellation 
"got out of reach." 

"The next day she fell in with the United States and a few 
shots were exchanged with her but the United States considered 
it advisable to make her escape." 

The next day the United States and the Constellation met. 
Shaw remarks "It was unfortunate we did not keep in sight of 
the enemy as we could undoubtedly have captured her with the 
assistance of the United States.** 

Later, Shaw relates," We put into a port on the island of 
Bermuda to repair and while there the frigate United States 
came in dismasted." 

On December 29th Secretary Stoddert notified all command- 
ers of the Navy "on no pretence whatever to permit public 
vessels under their command to be detained or searched." This 
circular letter is among Captain Barry's papers with Captain 
John S. Barnes, of New York. 

Orders to Barry 375 



The annexed orders were sent to Captain Barry while in 
the West Indies. 

In their examination we will learn the success the United 
States had on her cruise. 

15th December, 1798. 
Captain John Barry, 

The officer commanding the American ships at 
Prince Rupert's Bay. 

Sir: — Mr. EUery of Rhode Island, accompanied by Mr. 
Crocker, having important business to transact in Antigua, 
these gentlemen will take passage in the Portsmouth, Captain 
McNeill, as far as Dominica. 

I have the honor to request your attention to them at Domi- 
nica, and any services conveniently in your power in aiding 
their passage to Antigua. 

16 January, 1799. 
Captain John Barry. 

Sir: — Enclosed are letters for Captain Nicholson and Lieu- 
tenant Hamilton, which you will please to have delivered — 
and also that Lieutenant Hamilton be received on board the 
Constitution as 3rd Lieutenant. 

I am sorry to observe that Captain Nicholson has excited 
great clamor against him, by his arbitrary conduct towards 
some oflScers he left behind. I hope however that he will 
not justify, by his conduct under your command the prediction 
of his enemies, but that he will conduct himself with prudence 
and propriety, and pay strict attention to your orders. 

Should he act in a different manner you will know what 
to do with him. That ship and all others under your com- 
mand must claim your attention as well as your own ship. 

376 Orders to Barry 

I have written to Mr. Higginson to send under convoy of 
Captain McNeill of the Pickering a quantity of provisions, 
per list enclosed addressed to Messrs. Frazer, Urquhart and 
Co., for the vessels under your command. Should any circum- 
stance make it necessary for you to leave your station with 
your fleet it will be well for you to take the provisions on board. 

Enclosed you will find additional instructions to our armed 
ships, of the 29th of December and the i6th of January— 
which please to have distributed among your fleet to the 
Commanding Officers. 

It is very much the wish of the President that you should 
take some occasion, before your return, to show yourself with 
the greater part of your fleet at Cape Francois to Genl. Tous- 
saint, who has a great desire to see some ships of war belonging 
to America, but it is not intended that you should sacrifice 
any important object to gratify this General; with whom, 
however, if it should fall in your way, it may be well for you 
to cultivate a good understanding. 

Congress have as yet passed no Act respecting the Navy. 
They will probably direct the building of some ships of the 
line and I expect will put the service on a respectable footing. 
Write me by all opportunities — and be particular as to the 
merits of your Lieutenants, as promotions will take place 
before your return. 

I have heard of the French Frigates at Guadaloupe — you 
must judge whether Truxtun ought to join you and must act 
accordingly. If these Frigates should not render it too danger- 
ous it will be best that our vessels be dispersed as much as 
possible and I should imagine the British force in those seas 
would confine the French Frigates in port. It would however 
be glorious to the American Navy if you could devise a plan 
for capturing them. 

It is possible that the regulations of the British government 
in their Islands may occasion a difficulty as to landing the 
provisions at Dominica, in which case it will be necessary to 
take them at once on board your fleet and I have written to 

Orders to Barry 377 

Messrs. Frazer, Urquhart and Co. that you would do so in 
case of need. 

72000 lbs bread. 

155 Barrels beef. 

155 Barrels pork. 
88 ct of fish. 

120 bushels beans or peas. 

February i, 1799. 
Sir: — In my letter of the i6th ultimo, I informed you that 
Mr. Higginson had orders to ship a quantity of provisions for 
the use of the vessels under your command and by his last 
advices I find that he has introduced into the agreement for 
the vessel he has chartered a clause which will leave it in your 
power to retain her as a store ship if you should find it for 
the good of the service to do so and render the landing and 
storing the provisions at Dominica useless; but as the vessel 
is chartered by the month you will be careful not to keep 
her an hour longer than may be necessary and when dis- 
charged give a certificate of the time of discharge, writing to 
me also particularly on this point in order that an exact settle- 
ment of the charter party may be made. 

Navy Department, 

February 2, 1799. 
Commodore John Barry. West Indies. 

Sir: — The Congress have a bill before them which will pass 
for adding six 74 gun ships to the Navy, and for augmenting 
the pay of Commanders of Frigates to 100 dollars per month, 
and an allowance of double rations when commanding a 

They are disposed to do more for the advantage of the Navy 
but are afraid of going too fast, wishing public opinion to go 
along with them. It is very certain however that public 
opinion is getting more and more in favor of the Navy. 

I pray you to give me as early as possible your opinion of 
the officers, including midshipmen, deserving promotion. 

The ship Baltimore being ordered to join Truxtun having 
no Captain, will be commanded by Triixtun's first Lieutenant 

378 Operations in the West Indies 

Rogers, as Lieutenant. It is meant to promote some of your 
Lieutenants at the same time that Rogers is promoted; they 
need not therefore be uneasy. 

When I speak of officers, including midshipmen, I mean 
all under your command in the different vessels. I am ex- 
tremely anxiously to get a letter from you dated in the West 
Indies. You will receive herewith letter from Mrs. Barry. 

On January 21st, 1799, ^^^ Navy Agent at Boston, Stephen 
Higginson, wrote Captain Barry at Dominica by the Ship 
Polly, which carried provisions for the use of the ships under 
Barry in the West Indies. 

On the 24th Captain Samuel Nicholson reported to Captain 
Barry, "Commandant of the American Navy, " at Prince Rupert's 
Bay that "the Constitution is much disabled in her mast and 
spars." He requested "a survey of Captain and such other 
officers as you think proper." 

At another date Captain Nicholson reported to Barry that 
he had taken the Carteret, packet, and meant "to carry her 
to St. Pierres, then to return to his former situation by the 
time appointed to meet at Prince Rupert's Bay according to 
Commodore Barry's orders in case the Commodore should 
not be at Prince Rupert's to leave word with the Fort officers." 

Captain Thomas Truxtun, commanding the ship Constellation 
while at Bassetere Road, St. Christopher, February 3d, 1799, 
wrote Captain Barry giving an account of his chase of a French 
privateer into a harbor near Englishman's Head (Saint Peire) 
which was covered on each side by a fort and battery ; he was 
fired on although having the United States colors flying; 
returned it with a double row of guns shotted with round 
and grape and afterward bore down and spoke three English 
armed ships bound for Liverpool from Martinico; yesterday 
he spoke Capt Murray in the Constitution] he desired to meet 
Barry to arrange a cruise. 

"On the 3d of February, 1799, while the United States was 
cruising to windward of Martinique, chase was given to a 
suspicious sail. As there was a fresh breeze at the time the 
American frigate soon had the stranger, which proved to be a 
French privateer, under her guns. Finding that he was out- 


Captures the Amour de la Patrie and Tartufe 379 

sailed at this point the Frenchman as a last hope went about 
and boldly endeavored to turn to windward by short tacks, 
under the guns of the frigate. A single well aimed 24 pound 
shot from the United States cut the career of the Privateer 
short for the ball went through her hull between wind and 
water, so that she quickly began to fill and settle. The sudden 
lowering of her sails, the confusion aboard of her and the 
cries of her people for aid, told plainly enough that one shot 
was sufiicient. The United States promptly hove to and 
lowered her boats to the rescue. Midshipman Stephen Decatur 
was in the boat that first reached the wreck, and he found 
her crew collected on her sails, stripped of their plunder and 
clothes ready to swim to the boats. *They were plaintively 
imploring for help' wrote an eye witness *with earnest gesti- 
culations, not only from men, but from God and although 
it is true they had abolished all religion they had not it seemed 
forgot the old way of invoking the protection of the Omnipo- 

''Seeing that the boats would be swamped if they came within 
reach of the privateersmen, the American officers in charge 
ordered the Frenchmen to put their helm up and run down 
to the frigate. This was done at once and the privateer which 
was the Amour de la Patrie of six guns and eighty men, sank 
near the United States; her men jumped clear of her, other 
boats were lowered and all were saved. The United States also 
took the privateer Tartufe of eight guns and sixty men. 

Desiring to relieve himself of his prisoners and hoping to 
liberate an equal number of Americans who were confined 
in the loathsome dungeons at Guadeloupe Captain Barry 
put into the roads of Basse Terre with the white flag of truce 
at his fore, but when within effective range, the French batteries 
opened on. Quickly hauling down the white flag Captain 
Barry sailed around the harbor and returned the fire so effec- 
tively that the walls of the batteries bore the mark of American 
shot for many years afterward." [Maclay's History.] 

The Amour de la Patrie was commanded by Captain Pierre 
Solimniac, age 36. The 2d Captain was Joseph Rodrigneau, 

380 Constellation Captures Insurgente 

age 24, Lieut Raimond DuCourdieu of Bordeaux, age 32. 
The muster roll shows a total of fifty eight prisoners. [Mss,\ 

On February 16, Capt. M. Brown of U. S. Ship of War Mer- 
rimack off St. Kitts, wrote to Barry, *'You would have me with 
you at Prince Rupert's Bay had not my Convoy got so far 
to leeward as coming from Martinico that they could not 
beat up notwithstanding my particular orders to keep close 
in with land; at 9 o'clock in ye morning I thought best to 
beat in myself and fill my water and leave letters for your 
Honor and join them again at sea but at 11 when I had 
almost gained the Bay 2 strange ships appeared bearing down 
into the rear of my convoy I would bore away and cleared 
ship for action not doubting the British ship in the road would 
slip to my assistance if they were enemies, by that means 
to save my Convoy but when within 2 gun shots I hoisted ye 
signal for the day which was answered by the headmost ship 
the other a transport pierced for 22 guns on one deck but 
mounting only 14 in her upper deck full of troop for Antigua. 
After speaking them and collecting my Convoy found it im- 
possible to get into the Road. I made the best of my way 
according to your instructions Our Countrymen want Con- 
voy but pay no attention to keep with it and such tubs as 
some of them are under my convoy I never saw and they 
are sure to spread each night as far as possible to see them. 
I have now the pleasure to be in sight of the American flag 
flying over that of the national on board the Insurgente Frigate, 
prize to the Constellation in Bassater Road as soon as I have 
got my Convoy to anchor and given them instructions shall 
proceed to old Road to fill my water and be ready to proceed as 
soon as joined by the Montezuma.** 

On February 19th and 21st, from St. Christopher, Captain 
Thomas Truxtun of the Constellation forwarded to Commodore 
Barry instructions sent by Secretary Stoddert concerning 
their procedure with the French, and on March 12th wrote 
Barry enclosing a broadside Act of Congress, * * Further to suspend 
the Commerical Intercourse between the United States and 
France and the dependencies thereof." 

This was official notice to commanders of vessels in the 

Barry's *' Vexation" 381 

Service of the United States to further suspend commercial 
intercourse with France 

Captain Daniel McNeill, of the "Ship Portsmouth, wrote Barry, 
February 2 2d, 1799, that the schooner Jeannette had been 
injured : that he had ordered her back to Prince Rupert's Bay 
and had taken 20 men out of her. 

While so much creditable to our naval forces had been 
done, yet heroic spirits could only be satisfied with brilliant 
exploits. These are not possible when the enemy is not met — 
and this caused **vexation*' to the Commodore commanding 
the fleet to whose communication of that import the Secretary 
thus replied : 

15 March, 1799. 
Captain John Barry, West Indies. 

Sir: — I have no letters from you later than ist February. 
I am sorry that your health was not quite restored, which 
however I attribute more to your vexation for not being able 
to fall in with the Monsieur than to the effects of the climate. 

I hope that you have since that time been more fortunate 
and that you have mastered your indisposition as well as 
I have no doubt you have all the Frenchmen you have seen. 

I have information of your having been joined by the Con- 
stitution, the George Washington and the Merrimac. I make 
no doubt you have since been joined by the Portsmouth, the 
Herald, the Pickering and the Diligence, the Scammel and 
the Eagle, and I possess the most entire confidence that you 
will have so employed the force as to afford the greatest possible 
protection to our commerce and the greatest chance of punish- 
ing the depredators upon it. 

The season is now approaching when it will be necessary 
to have more than the force we have at present on our coasts. 
You will therefore be pleased to order to Boston without 
delay the Constitution, and to Newport the George Washington. 
If these vessels should have more provisions than will be neces- 
sary for their return it will be proper for you to direct what 
can be spared to be distributed to the other vessels under 
your command, which will enable them to continue longer in 
the West Indies without more supplies from the continent. 

382 Orders to Barry 

The Pursers of the vessels delivering will take care to take the 
proper receipts for the provisions delivered. 

I am sorry that Captain Nicholson could not discover that 
the British ship recaptured by him was suflSdently an armed 
vessel to come within the meaning of our laws. The instruc- 
tions of the 1 2th instant contain explanatory observations 
on the subject. As I do not send enough of these instructions 
to distribute to all the vessels under your command you must 
supply the defect by your orders. 

I have written to Fletcher to call at St. Thomas* and wait 
a day for any specie that Mr. Hilton or other person wish to 
send to the owners of it in the United States. You will judge 
of the propriety of ordering Nicholson to touch there also. 
This will be in their course. 

Captain Tingley will place himself under your command. 
Should your health or other circumstances make it necessary 
for you to return to the continent you will in that case com- 
municate in time your intentions to Captain Truxtun upon 
whom the command will then devolve. I mention this as a 
possible case from the indispostion you complained of. I hope 
it is not a probable one. 

It is expected that in six or seven weeks the Island of St. 
Domingo may be opened to our trade; in which case it will 
be proper to employ a part of the force under your command — 
perhaps a considerable part — to protect om- commerce to 
that Island. Should this event take place before you hear 
from me again on the subject, you must act as you shall judge 
best for the interest of our country in the protection of its 
commerce. It may be proper in the event alluded to, that 
you should move with nearly the whole of your force to that 
station, sending to Captain Truxtun two or three of your 
vessels, say a ship of 20 guns and a cutter, to enable him the 
better to occupy the ground you both occupy at present. 
In the meantime I pray you let none of our officers and crews 
grow sick of being in harbour. The British die, and what is 
as bad, get languid by the climate in the West Indies. We 
shall experience the same misfortune if om* vessels remain too 
long in the West Indies and if they are not continually em- 

5L Patricks Day, 1799 383 

ployed while in those seas. Nothing is so destructive as 

I long to hear that you have sent cruisers to Curacoa and 
also toward Laguayra. Three degrees to the eastward of the 
longitude of Porto Rico and two degrees to the eastward of 
the longitude of Barbadoes I understand to be cruising grounds 
for Indiamen. You will no doubt pay the proper attention 
to this subject. Any vessels besides those I have mentioned 
which you may at any time suffer to return you will order 
to Norfolk, New York, Philadelphia or Rhode Island. These 
are places where they can get supplies of provisions readily; 
the cutter from the southward must return to one of these 
places. Philadelphia is best for the cutters only. Captain 
McNeill will be the oldest officer under your command after 
Nicholson leaves you. Captain Tingley next. I hope you 
will give these gentlemen, indeed all the commanders, oppor- 
tunities of distinguishing themselves and inspire by all the 
means in your power a spirit of enterprise and bravery among 
officers and men. 

You will receive a letter from Mrs. Barry whom I under- 
stand is very well. 

P. S. Your letter written after the arrival of the Pickering 
and the Herald with provisions will determine as to sending 
any more. 

On St. Patrick's Day, 1799, the United States was at Prince 
Rupert's Island. So Capt. Dyer, who arrived at Portland, 
Me., on April 17th, reported. We may be sure that Captain 
John Barry and his men celebrated the Day with memories 
"of home'' in Ireland and in the United States, thus in spirit 
uniting with his fellow members of the Hibernian Society of 
Philadelphia, who, at the dinner at Shane's Tavern, drank 
to the toast of "Commodore Barry and the New Navy." 

On March 28th the United States, under Capt. Barry, and 
the Constitution, under Capt. Nicholson, and the brigs Herald, 
Capt. Russell; Eagle, Capt. Campbell; Merrimack, Capt. 
Brown, Scammel; Capt. Adams, were at Dominica, according 
to report of Capt. Wallace, whose arrival in Charleston, S. C, 
on April i8th, is noted in the Aurora of May ist, 1799. 

384 1766^ Barry at Bridgetown— 1799 

OnTApril 8th, 1799, Capt. Barry was at Bridgetown in the 
Barbadoes Island. For that place young Barry, as Captain of 
the schooner Barbadoes, had, on Oct. 2d, 1766, sailed from 
Philadelphia for the first time. 

Since then Barry had made effective war on England's 
ships and commerce. In 1799, he was, as Commodore of the 
whole Navy of the United States, again at the Barbadoes, 
not only as the protector of American commerce from the 
depredations of the privateers and war vessels of France, 
his country's powerful ally in the war for the Independence of 
America, but he was now the protector also of British com- 
merce from the assaults of his old ally, as is evidenced from 
the esteem in which he was held as expressed by the Bridgetown 
[Barbadoes] paper's avowal as it was reprinted in the Aurora 
of May 22d, 1799: 

Bridgetown, Barbadoes, April 9th, 1799. 

The frigate United States came into Carlisle bay yesterday 
evening. Since our last accounts of this vessel she has cap- 
tured a French privateer and recaptured an American vessel 
and an English schooner of 16 guns supposed to be worth at 
about 20,000/. sterling. 

Whatever good fortune attends Commondore Barry will 
but increase the public esteem which he already possesses, as 
to see merit rewarded is the generous wish of every British 

The reason for this "generous wish" is explained by the 
news in the Aurora of April ist, 1799. It contained this 
"extract of a letter from an officer on board the United States,'' 
dated ofF St. Pierre, 27th February: "Yesterday we saw two 
sail to windward, which proved to be the French privateer 
Democrat and her prize Cicero, British Letter of Marque, cap- 
tured after a severe action, in which seven-eighths of her 
crew were killed or wounded. This ship we retook, but 
night coming on we lost sight of the privateer, which one more 
hour of day-light would have secured to us. The Cicero carries 
twenty 9 pounders and 50 men." 

Concerning the recapture of the Cicero it appears that she 

Secures Release of Americans 385 

was of 450 tons and 50 men. Her Captain and three of her 
crew were killed and 26 wounded. She had been in possession 
of the French 36 hours prior to the United States releasing her. 
During that time no aid had been given to the wounded. The 
thirty Frenchmen in charge of the Cicero were taken on board 
the United States. 

Commodore Barry sent a flag of truce to Guadaloupe to 
exchange prisoners. There were no American prisoners 
there. But Barry "tho*t it better to leave the Frenchmen 
there and take a receipt for them than to keep the men on 
board long enough to eat more than they were worth.*' Des- 
foumeaux the Governor of Guadaloupe, a General of a Division 
of the Army of the French Republic, sent his secretary on board 
the United States and assured the Commodore that Americans 
were not made prisoners — that the trade was open to them 
and advised the returning the Insurgente, as he feared it might 
be the cause of a war between the two nations than which 
nothing could be more disagreeble to him." (Letter from 
"a gentlemen of the frigate United States'' in Aurora and 
Philadelphia Gazette, April i8th, 1799.) 

Deschamps, Agent of Desfoumeaux, addressed Captain 
Barry saying that Captain Gabriel Elster, Commander of the 
Navy, intended to release twenty-one American sailors. He 
had authorized their embarcation. Only those who desired to 
remain would do so. By the European papers he had learned 
with satisfaction that a treaty had been arranged between 
"Your Country and our France, " "and that both countries 
would enjoy the advantage of peace. * ' 

Captain Elster sent Captain Barry a list of the twenty-one 
Americans belonging to the ship Barber who had been given 
permission to depart. They were James Laer, Joseph Parkins, 
Thomas Vitkins , William Terey, John Levis Stocon, Richard 
Henry, Letterbum, Isaac Bleek, John David, Samuel Tarloo, 
Joseph Becker, Emery Manwke, Thomas Guelson, James Retar- 
son, Hebenis Wamene, John Adams, John Lay Cosk, Edward 
Ryan, John Welsh, John Cooper, James Meedanen, DenGowdein. 
The names are given as best can be deciphered from the original 

386 Letter of Deschamps 

manuscript list. Those released were embarked on a Danish 
vessel for Santa Cruz. 

Commodore Barry seems to have claimed that other Ameri- 
cans than those released were held captives. To this Deschamps 
replied in a letter written in English quaintly expressed. 
It is herewith given from the original manuscript. 

Basseterre 28th Germinal 7th year of the French Republic. 
To his Excellency Commander Barry commander of the 
frigate the United States. 

Sir: — I am wonder that you doubt he who got the con- 
fidence of the agent the Executive Directory in absence would 
tell you a thing for another to the name of the agent. There 
is no american left here Except those who mind to stay. 

The said is true and if your Excellency was on the Spot he 
will convince himself of that truth. We dont consider us in a 
state of war with your government therefore we do not look 
upon the crews of your vessels carried here by our privateers 
as prisoners of war and they give them liberty to go away 
when they please, particularly since the last accounts which 
are came from Europe as you might have seen by the letter I 
wrote you by your Lieutenant we have thought that manner 
easy of treating them should have suit your government as 
well as the citizens of the United States. If your vessels 
carried here by our privateers are as judged truly Americans 
condemned it is only provisionly and to be restored to the 
owners or their value when the arrangement between the 
two government will be determined therefore we do not detain 
the men. The man who had order to receive the french 
prisoners you offer to put ashore has told me that you have 
told him it was you they ought (?) to send the Americans 
taken by our privateers but you have let it known they must 
act so severely with I tell you again we do not look upon 
ourselves in a Real State of war with you and we do not think 
they must have Cartels of exchange between your Seamen 
and ours — 

The last Americans who are really gone from here have 
asked me premission to do it as an act of humanity by doing 

did not expect that a Superior officer such you of the same 

A Retaliation Bill 387 

nation would blame such a conduct it is a conduct if it was 
proceeded from you we would be very grateful to you if I 
could have imagined that any such conduct would not have 
pleased I would not have ventured me to do it — you are 
master to finish or not the conduct you have begun — by your 
ofifers to deliver the French prisoners you have got on board 
as for me all can promise you in the future I should be so 
easy to send the Americans away and they should wait untill 
you send a Cartel for them if our privateers carried them 
here. I repeat again and again there is no Americans here 
only those who wish to stay and to prove you what I tell 
you above the Capt John Davis of the Schooner the Monkey 
would not wish till now to depart from this place came to me 
three days ago to ask me a Congee to depart from this island 
I have gave him immediately. 

I have the honor to be very respectfully of your Excellency 
most humble & obedient Servant DESCHAMPS. 

N. B. Herewith inclosed I send you a new paper by which 
you will see the desposition of the agent the Executive Directory 
respecting your vessels." 

The Insurgente was a French vessel captured by Captain 
Truxtun of the Constellation. She was brought to Phila- 
delphia — refitted and given to the command of Captain Murray. 
Being sent southward, she was wrecked on the Florida Shoals. 
[Shaw's Narrative^ p. 9]. 

Desfoumeaux had, early in February, released the Reta- 
liation, although it had formerly been a French vessel captured, 
refitted, armed and sent to cruise against the French; but 
being recaptured was taken into Guadaloupe. He released 
the Captain and crew. The Retaliation arrived at Philadel- 
phia February 12th, 1799. "Within an hour after its arrival," 
wrote Jefferson to Edmund Pendleton, '*the Senate passed 
a retaliation bill," as the release was considered not **as 
evidence of the sincerity of the French towards a reconcilia- 
tion," but as an exchange of prisoners. [Writings of Jefferson, 
vol. vii.] 

The Aurora, of April 19th, announced that despatches had 

388 The Squadron Sent 

been received at the Naval Office from Commodores Barry, 
Truxtun and Nicholson, but they contained nothing of an 
interesting nature. 

Perhaps an anti-Federalist paper like the Aurora did not 
deem the publication of the record of the national vessels 
as "interesting.** These vessels were making war on their 
dear friends, the Republicans of France, instead of on England, 
to whose welfare it was charged our government authorities 
were too attentive. But even the Democratic- Republicans 
of the United States had to concede that the national vessels 
were nobly sustaining American authority, though at times 
protecting that of Great Britain and not punishing her acts 
of depredation on our commerce. 

The following ''dialogue," from the Norfolk Herald, was 
republished by the Aurora of April 24th, 1799: 

Q. — "What think you of our infant navy^ 
A. — Most highly, Sir, I think, God save ye. 
Q. — You read the papers hke your betters, 

What think you of our naval letters? 
A. — Sir, I'd evade reply most gladly 

We fight' d d well and write d d badly. 

Q. — Your remedy? (the fact's confest) 

A. — Print your log books — bum the rest." 

It would have been well had the log-books been printed 
so as to trace more accurately the operating of the fleet while 
in active service prior to the issuing of orders for its recall 
as given in the following order of April 15, 1799, to Captain 
Barry, by the Navy Department : 

Sir: — Presuming from the contents of your letter of the 
1 6th of March that this will not find you in the West Indies, 
I shall only observe in the event of your receiving it there 
that I approve of your returning to the River Delaware with 
the United States, with all possible expedition, sacrificing, 
however, no opportunity which may ofifer to protect our 
trade or to annoy the French armed vessels on your passage, 
and that all the vessels under your command, the ConsiHuium 
and the George Washington excepted, which are to return 

••7/w Gailant Barry*' 389 

agreeably to my letter of the 15th of March, are to remain 
in the West Indies under the command of Captain Truxtmi. 

The Untied States returned to Philadelphia, arriving at 
night at Reedy Island on Thursday May 9th, 1799, and 
"was to proceed up to New Castle." 

The Aurora, of nth, reported that "but one death had oc- 
curred during the three months." 

On May 5th, 1799 Miss Craig sent with "Love to Mrs Barry" 
a song entitled: "I am Here or There a Jolly Dog." It was 
sung by Miss Arnold in the opera *'The Rival Soldiers,** This 
verse related to Barry. 

"When gallant barry comes aboard 
By all Columbia's sons adored 
From him I sometimes pass the word 
Tho' I'm a humble Midshipman." 

390 Orders to Barry 



These are the orders to Captain Barry while at Philadelphia. 

On May 13th: — I think it would be best for you to discharge 
as many of your men as can be spared from the necessary services 
on board, whose times expire in this month or next. The sooner 
they are discharged and have an opportunity of spending their 
money the sooner they will enter for another year. 

Every arrangement ought to be made as quietly as possible for 
getting the ship in order for service and for getting a new crew. 
As soon as I know what will be wanted I will take effectual steps 
to prevent any delay on my part. [Barnes] 

On May 1 5th : — I beg that you will examine the returns made 
by the different officers of your ship ; and strike out those articles 
not necessary and sign the returns of what are necessary. 

No return ought ever to be made by an officer of articles wanted 
for the ship without the approbation and the signature of the 
Commander. The Public have no other check but the knowl- 
edge and attention of the Captain, and he should therefore be 
as particular and as attentive to things of this kind as if the 
articles were to be furnished from his own funds. 

Two anchors I observe are required of 51 cwt each. Surely 
these can not be necessary. If they are, from what casuality 
does it arise? 

On May 20th : — It is indispensable that every oflScer on board 
of your ship to whom stores are entrusted should keep a regular 
account of the quality he receives, when and how issued or ex- 
pended, and previous to apply for new supplies, he must furnish 

Orders to Barry 391 

copies of the statements to be lodged in this oflSce, together with 
lists of the quantity of each article remaining unexpended. You 
will be pleased therefore to direct the Purser, Gunner, Boatswain* 
Carpenter, and other officers having the care of stores to make 
these returns accordingly. 

You will without delay instruct such of your officers as may 
appear best calculated for the purpose to open rendezvous for 
recruiting a crew for the United States. 

You are allowed, besides officers of Marines and 44 privates 
which will be supplied you by the Major of the Marine Corps, 
and your commissioned and petty officers, the latter of which 
you will appoint, not exceeding 300 men and boys exclusive of 
marines. Of this number you will recruit not exceeding 175 
able seamen. It is our best policy to create seamen ; therefore 
you will take as large a proportion of boys as can be found useful 
on board. If you increase the number of ordinary seamen and 
boys you will consequently lessen the number of able seamen 
and I think it will be found for the good of the service if you do 
so. You will allow able seamen 17 dollars per month, ordinary 
seamen and boys from 5 to 14 dollars, according to merit, all to 
be entered to serve one year, to commence from the ships first 
weighing anchor on a cruise. You will be careful not to enlist 
any but sound and healthy persons and that no indirect or forci- 
ble means be used to induce them to enter into the service. No 
negroes or mulattoes are to be admitted and as far as you can 
judge you will exclude all of a suspicious character. Avoid any 
advance of money if possible until the men are got on board but 
should you find it impracticable to secure them on these terms 
you may gratify them. In this case you will take care to obtain 
sufficient security to resort to in the event of desertion and you 
will allow two months advance only. 

You will have a regular account kept of the names and station 
of each recruit, together with a description of his person and his 
usual place of residence, so that he may be identified at any 
future period. Everyman entered must take an oath agreeably 
to the form you will receive herewith. 

Enclosed is the form of the shipping paper wherein the name 
and station and pay of each person on board must be entered. 

392 Captain James Barron 

It will be necessary to avoid confusion that this business be 
executed with the utmost exactness. 

A form of the bond to be signed by the securities for the sea- 
men, etc., you will also receive and particular care must be taken 
that the sureties are persons of good and responsible characters 
before they are accepted. 

Mr. Wadsworth to supply the monies for recruiting to the re- 
cruiting officers who must settle their accounts with you. They 
will be allowed besides their pay and rations two dollars for each 
recruit, in full for ever>' expense for attesting, ribbon, ptmch, 
etc., in short every expense but that of provisioning the men 
enlisted at a distant port, and in such cases the unavoidable ex- 
pence for their conveyance to the ship ; but they must observe 
the utmost economy ; for extravagant charges for those expen- 
ditures will not be allowed, and no charge will be allowed with- 
out a proper voucher to support it." 

John Espy, Philadelphia, May 21st, 1799, wrote Barry for a 
situation: **I have been in Dublin a waiter first and secondly a 
barkeeper in some of the best taverns Such a capacity you can 
infer that I can fill any situation tendered. ' ' 

Captain James Barron at Norfolk, Va., thus addressed Conmio- 
dore Barry, on May 27th, 1799: 

"I shall leave this on Sunday for Philadelphia and shall (barr- 
ing accident) be with you on Thursday following. 

Commodore Truxton has been received in this place with every 
mark of Respect and attention, for Particulars let me refer you 
to the news papers of this town, all your old friends here wish 
much to see you. Pleased at the Prospect of seeing the United 
States in Hampton Roads in all July ; the bowsprit will be at- 
tended to but the ammunition are wanted. ' ' 

Barron had not arrived on Sunday as he had hoped. So that 
day Captain Barry wrote to him, in care of Wm. Pinnock, Esq., 
at Norfolk, Va., as follows: 

Philadelphia June 2d 1799. 

Dear Sir : — Necessity obliges me to request your return to 

Philadelphia as soon as you can with convenience to yourself. 

Lieutenant Charles Stewart 393 

I am sure you will excuse this early call when I inform you that 
the President wrote to Mr. Stoddert and urged him to send us 
as soon as possible to protect our defenceless coast. 

Midlowney has got the command of the Montezuma Banner. 
He is in Maryland settling his father's estate who is dead and 
left his affairs in a deranged state. I leave it to yourself how 
much I stand in need of you. The merchants here are giving 
$35 per month to seamen. They pick up some of ours and I am 
very apprehensive I shall be obliged to send an officer to New 
York for men. I had thought of trying to get a few men in 
Norfolk. When I mentioned it to the Secretary he objected to 
it as there was so many vessels to be fitted out there. 

However, don't forget a sailing master. Give my compli- 
ments to Messrs. Pinnock & Myers and tell them the want of 
time is the sole reason I have not wrote them but I hope to 
have the pleasure of seeing them in eight or nine weeks. The 
order for the bowsprit will be sent in a few days. Be pleased 
to make my best compliments to Mrs. Barron and tell her it will 
not be long before you see [her] again. I expect your commis- 
sion will be here from the President, which you will [receive?] 
on your arrival here, [Roberts] 

Lieutenant Charles Stewart, in charge of the frigate while the 
Commodore was in Philadelphia, thus reported to him on June 
8th, 1799: 

"As you directed I send you an account of the state of the 
Ship, and men, I mustered them this morning and find all to be 
on board in as good health as might be expected — I have 
sent you regularly every two or three days a list of the men as 
they were on board, but I suppose they have been miscarried 
and if you choose I will send you a list of the whole on board 
next Monday — The Caulker'd and lumber'd situation of 
the ship's decks keeps her rather dirtyer than I could wish but 
it is impossible for it to be much better until they are done with 
us which will be about the middle of next week. The water 
is all filled and we are waiting for wood to stow the hold — I re- 
ceived the iron ballast and are now stowing it away about the 

394 A Thief, Couxird and Liar 

the midships — all the riggin has been overhauled and put in 
good order except the lower riggin which you sent word we might 
let stand and not take it off the mast heads but we will over- 
haul it and sarve (?) it anew in the wake of the futtock-staff's 
which is the only place it wants much done to it — Edward Ter- 
ril I send up who you said might come. 

The number of men and boys on board is about one hundred 
& sixty exclusive of the marines — I have the Honor to remain 

with sentiments of great Respect & Esteem'* [Roberts.] 


Hon. Jonathan Dayton, of New Jersey, who on May i6th, 1 797. 
was elected Speaker of the U. S. House of Representatives, wrote 
Barry from Elizabethtown, June 14th, 1799: 

"When I wrote to enquire whether you could admit two young 
gentlemen of this town as Midshipmen on board of your frigate, 
I had particular reference to Mr. Smith & Mr. Crane, one of whom 
has already joined you, & the other will repair to Philadelphia 
for the purpose on Monday. 

Mr. George Williamson son of Lawyer Matth's Williamson 
of this place, & my nephew, lately appointed Midshipman, has 
expressed a strong desire to serve under you, & requested me 
to interest myself in obtaining from you permission to enter on 
board your ship. Under the hope that you will receive him, 
he goes to Philadelphia, & I take the liberty of introducing him 
to your acquaintance, & of recommending him to yotu* particu- 
lar attention & civilities. ' ' [Roberts.] 

On October 19th the Midshipmen on the United States off 
Newport, R. I., sent a memorial to Commodore Barry charging 
Samuel O. Smith, whom the Mr. Dayton had recommended, 
with being a Thief, Coward and Liar. The memorial was signed 
by James R. Caldwell, Charles Ludlow, Jacob Jones, John Trippe 
Jr. and six others. 

Commodore Barry's letter to Mr. Dayton tells the result : 

Newport Harbor, Oct. 20th, "99. 
I am sorry to inform you, that Mr. Samuel Owen Smith whom 
you recommended as a Midshipman on Board the Frigate Untied 

Depredations of the French 395 

States, has, since he joined that Frigate behaved himself in many 
instances, in a manner very unbecoming a Gentlemen — Some 
of the charges you have herewith inclosed, and as I conceive it 
an indispensible duty to prevent every person of bad conduct 
from getting in the infant Navy of the United States, I have 
taken the liberty, at his own request, of discharging him from 
said Frigate — Your nephew Mr. Williamson is a very good 
young man, but has been too tenderly brought up to fol- 
low a sea-life; I think his father had better seek some other 
mode of life for him. 

On July 8th, 1 798, an Act was passed by Congress dissolving the 
Treaty made with France twenty years before during the dark 
days of the Revolution, when Washington's army at Valley 
Forge was in deep distress. 

The French privateers, renewing their activity along our South 
em Atlantic coast. Captain Barry was ordered thence to give 
needed protection ; for the French were audacious in their as- 
saults on our merchantmen, even entering our harbors — like at 
Charleston — and capturing our unprotected vessels, making 
a foundation for the French Spoliation Claims, allowed to our 
Government by France, but as yet, paid to the but a few of the 
descendants of the sufferers by our own government. 

However, the authorities were vigilant and active with the 
naval force at their command, even designing incursions along 
the coast of France and Spain to intercept French vessels. 

The annexed orders to Commodore Barry testify to the deter- 
mination of our government to afford that protection our country 
was capable of. 

On June 17th, 1799: The French privateers have renewed 
their depredations on our commerce and the public mind 
has become very uneasy that the Frigate United States is not 
now in a condition to afford it protection. Let me therefore 
urge you to hasten your departure. If anything on my part is 
necessary to accelerate it, inform me, and it shall instantly be 
done. I hope you will be able to sail in the course of this week. 

On June 20th : I have the honor to enclose commissions for 
Edward Meade, Richard Somers, Stephen Decatur Jr., to be Lieu- 
tenants in the Navy ; and warrants for James Dick, William In- 

396 Ordered on a Cruise 

gram, William Neilson, Joseph B. Hennery, William Brow, 
James P. Hunt, to be Midshipmen in the Navy their pay to com- 
mence from this date. 

Oaths are enclosed for the above midshipmen which they will 
take and return to this office. 

On June 27th the Navy Department wrote Commodore Barry : 

I must entreat that you be prepared to sail on Sunday next. 
I shall have your instructions ready by that day. 

On the 29th : The Frigate United States under your command 
now being ready for sea you will proceed, cruising at a convenient 
distance along the coast, to Charleston, where you will remain 
just long enough to let the citizens of that place know that you 
are in their vicinity and to discharge the artillery company you 
take on board, and thence proceed further south, indeed as far 
as the river St Mary's if you find you have time to get back to 
Hampton Roads about the 15th or at least the i8th of July. If 
you should find yourself pressed for time you will in that case 
so direct your cruise as to admit of your being at Hampton Roads 
about the time mentioned, when I expect Captain Talbot in the 
Constitution will join you there. There will be a bowsprit 
prepared for you at Norfolk and immediately upon your arrival 
at Hampton it will be necessary for you to order William Pen- 
nock, Esq., Naval Agent, to send it down to you, together with 
anything else you may find yourself in need of for a cruise of 
four months. You shall receive at Hampton Roads your further 
destination ; these instructions shall get to your hands between 
the 15th and 20th of July, and it will be necessary that you have 
everything in order to proceed to sea as soon after you receive 
them as possible. ' ' 

On July 27th : It was intended that during the Hurricane 
season in the West Indies the United States and the Constitution 
should be employed on the coast of France and Spain, but the 
season is so much advanced that this idea must be given up, 
it being indispensable that those vessels should be in the West 
Indies as soon as they can operate there with less danger from 
the elements than from the enemy, which I presume will be about 
the middle of October. 

Hurricanes have been known in the West Indies later than 

Orders to Barry 397 

the middle of October, but rarely, and we must disregard proble- 
matic dangers. 

Captain Truxtun, in the CansteHaiionyWith one or two smaller 
vessels being thought quite sufficient to guard our own coast 
for the present, it is the President's command that, taking the 
Constitution, Captain Talbot with you, you proceed on a cruise 
to the Western Isles, to Madeira and Teneriffe and thence 
returning by Cayenne, Surinam and the Windward Islands, that 
you endeavor to fall in with the Commanding Officer of our 
vessels on the Guadaloupe Station about the middle of Octo- 
ber, with whom it is probable that I shall by that time have 
lodged letters for your future government! 

If this should not be the case both Frigates will then proceed 
to Saint Domingo and enter the port of Cape Francois that they 
may be seen by General Touissant, with whom and the peo- 
ple of the Island it is desirable that you endeavor to cultivate 
a good understanding. 

Should you find no letters from me lodged with Doctor Heyery, J""?/ 1^-< vex- ^ 
the American Consul or Nathan Levy, Esq., the Navy Agent at 
that place, you will, after remaining two or three days in port, 
return with the United States to New York, leaving Captain 
Talbot in the Constitution at Saint Domingo to take the com- 
mand of that station. 

If you find you cannot accomplish the cruise to Madeira 
and TenerifFe, as well as the Western Isles so as to admit 
of your returning by Cayenne and Surinam to the vicinity of 
Guadaloupe by the 15th of October, you will in that case pro- 
ceed no further than the Western Isles, it being of importance 
that you should come by Cayenne and Surinam and that you 
should reach the vicinity of Guadaloupe by the middle of Octo- 
ber and Saint Domingo in the week afterwards, if no unforeseen 
circumstances should render it necessary for you to remain at 

That our merchant vessels are entitled to the utmost protec- 
tion our public ships can give them is a thing so well known that 
it cannot be necessary for me to point your attention on this 
cruise particularly to that subject. 

You will at all times render all the service in your power to 

398 Orders to Barry 

our commerce the protection of which is the great object of our 
Naval Armament. 

On the same day July 27th : The season has so far advanced 
that the projected enterprise to Europe must be given up. 

Captain Talbot has orders to proceed to Cayenne and after 
operating there a little while out of danger from the hurricanes 
he is to take his station about the loth of October at Saint 
Domingo and I can devise no better employment for the Untied 
States for the present than to remain on our coast for our pro- 
tection at home. The Constellation wiVL be employed the same 
way and the brig Richmond is now on a cruise to the south- 
ward ; but there is no necessity for any two of these vessels to 
operate together ; indeed it is best that they should not as by 
being dispersed there will be a better chance of meeting with 
anything that they may venture on our coast. 

You will please therefore proceed from Hampton with the 
United States southward as far as Saint Mary's river and thence 
back along the coast standing off and on to give yourself the 
best chance of falling in with enemy vessels until about the loth 
of September, when you will put into New York giving me in- 
stant notice of your arrival and the state of your ship, provided 
you can safely pass the bar which I believe you can do. 

If you cannot you must put into the harbor of Newport. 

While you are on the southern coast it will be proper to shew 
yourself to the citizens as often as convenient that they may 
know they have protection. 

Captain Truxtun will in a day or two bend his course east- 
ward from whence he will also proceed to the south. ' ' 

Captain Barry made a six weeks' cruise, but nothing has been 
found recording any encounter with the French. 

On his arrival at Newport he designed going to Philadelphia, 
but would not do so owing to the perilousness of the times with- 
out permission. 

President Adams, on August 9th, 1799, wrote from Quincy, 
Mass., to Secretary of the Navy Stoddert: "I now request of 
you that Barry and Talbot may be separated. I have reasons 
for this which it is not necessary to detail. Not from any mis- 
understanding or dislike between them that I know of or suspect 

*'Be Ready in a Moment'' 399 

but it is best the frigates should have separate stations/' 
{Works, ix, p. 12). 

The President had the highest opinion of Captain Talbot, de- 
claring in a letter to Secretary of the Navy Stoddert, 23d July, 
1799, thaf'Talbot will not suffer by comparison with any naval 
officer in the service. * ' 

Doubtless it was this that caused him to order that Talbot 
should have a "separate station, ' ' so that he might be freer in 
command than when subject to the orders of the Commodore 
of the fleet, Captain Barry. 

The Navy Department, on 20th September, 1799, informed 
Captain John Barry: 

**I am honored with your letter of the 12th and should have 
been very glad if you had come on at once to the seat of govern- 
ment without waiting to hear from me. 

It would be a fortnight from your arrival before you could 
leave Newport waiting for this letter; it would take you another 
fortnight to travel to and from Philadelphia and I suppose you 
would wish to be at home at least a week. 

This would cause the ship to be delayed nearly or quite six 
weeks in the harbour of Newport, a circumstance which 
would reflect on you, on me, and would justly excite great 
clamor in the country. 

You must therefore, I believe, content yourself without seeing 
Mrs. Barry for the present, but I expect to hear from the Presi- 
dent in a day or two on the subject of your destination and it 
may turn out that you can be permitted to come on without de- 
la3dng the ship and if it should so turn out you shall have the 
earliest possible notice thereof. But in the meantime it will be 
proper that you take in without delay such provisions, stores, 
etc., etc., as you stand in need of that you may be ready in a 
moment to proceed to sea, for if your destination be the West 
Indies you ought to sail early in October. ' ' 

That Mrs. Barry was "in eager expectation" of a visit is 
shown by this letter now in the New York Public Library. 
Lenox Branch. Ford Coll: It is dated October ist, 1799. 

"The hope, fear and anxiety that have alternately taken place 
in my mind for this some days is past recital sufl&ce it to say I 

400 ** Prepare to Go to France'* 

am unhappy since yours of the 1 2th and which by the by I did 
not receive until the 21st have not had a line from you, my ex- 
pectations flattered me further I did not doubt of seeing you be- 
fore I could even open the letter — to what my sweet life must 
I attribute it, I have been lead into an error in not writing 
you from these circumstances, the only consolation left me is 
that perhaps Mr. Stoddert has ordered you out upon a short 
cruise and next that your letters have miscarried. If you 
are prevented by sickness do my sweet life let me know as quick 
as possible. I am ready to fly I am upon the rake — Oh 
so my life relieve me as quick as possible. We are all well the 
family best respects and love to my beloved husband time will 
not at present admit of further but believe in the meantime to 
be your truly affectionate and most distressed wife S. Barry. 

On October ist the Secretary of the Navy Department, wrote: 

*'I am honored with your letter of the 24th ultimo, by which 
I perceive that mine of the 20th had not then reached you. The 
reasons then assigned for desiring you to continue at Newport 
and not subject the ship to the delay which must unavoidedly 
attend a journey to Philadelphia will I am sure be satisfactory 
to yourself. I will however observe in addition that your dis- 
tinguished station at the head of our Navy attracts the atten- 
tion of all our officers who observe your proceedings and will in 
some measure form themselves by your example. Should your 
ship continue in port waiting for nothing but her commander 
the other officers would expect and ever consider themselves to 
similar privileges. It is for these reasons that I am so anxious 
that you should set them an example of activity and enterprise. 

In my last letter I informed you that it might still so happen 
that you might come on without any detention to the ship. I 
then had in view the par ticular desire of the President that you 
should carry our ministers to France if they go. 

He has not however yet determined whether you are to be 
thus employed or not — from present appearances I think that 
you will not — you will however wait and hold yourself in readi- 
ness to proceed, either to Europe or the West Indies, at the 
shortest notice. I expect you may hear your destination in the 
course of the present week." 

Takes Envoys to France 401 

Anchors were ordered from New York and Boston on the 27th 
September. The names of the officers of the Navy with their 
relative rank will be sent you with my next communication. ' ' 

On October i6th, 1799, this important order came from the 
Navy Department: 

**The President has decided that the United States shall carry 
our envoys to Europe. You will be pleased to hold yourself in 
readiness to perform that service by the ist of November at 

Everything must be ready to sail on the arrival of the Ministers. 
On the 1 8th he was notified: 

"I have written to Messrs. Gibbs and Channing to lay in sea 
stores for the Ministers and their suite, which will consist of two 
secretaries and two servants. I have to request that you will 
be pleased to consult with Messrs. Gibbs and Channing and de- 
termine the quantity of stores necessary. 

It is intended that they should be liberally but not profusely 
supplied with the best provisions for the voyage. 

It is the wish of Messrs. Gibbs and Channing that the son of 
Mr. Gibbs should take passage with the Ministers, to which I 
have no objections if agreeable to you and the Ministers, but 
do in this as you please. The Ministers will be with you on or 
before the ist of November. ' ' 

President Adams at Trenton, N. J., on account of the yellow 
fever at Philadelphia, on October 19th, 1799, wrote to Timothy 
Pickering, Secretary of State, directing him to send instruc- 
tions to O. Ellsworth, Chief Justice U. vS., W. R. Davis, ExGov- 
emor of N. C, and W. Vans. Murray, U. S. Minister at the Hague, 
"as envoys extraordinary to the French Republic, expressing 
with the affectionate respects to the President, his desire that 
they would take their passage for France on board the frigate 
the United States, Capt, Barr>', now lying at Rhode Island, by 
November ist or sooner, if consistent with their conveniences. 
Capt,. Barry will have orders to land them in any part of France 
which they may prefer, and to touch at any other ports they 
may desire, ' ' 

Their visit to France he declared to be **at one of the most 

402 ''Do Noi Capture Anything** 

critical, important and interesting movements that ever 
occurred. ' * 

The same day he wrote to the Secretary of the Navy Stoddert 
**to transmit orders to Capt. Barry to receive on board his frigate 
and convey to France and such other port of France as they 
may desire, our envoys to the French Republic, with directions 
to touch at any other ports of France as they may point out 
and to sail by the ist of November, or sooner if consistent with 
their convenience. I need say nothing of the respect to be paid, 
or the honors to be done, to these great characters. ' ' 

On October 21st: It is the command of the President that 
you receive on board the Frigate United States, Messrs. Ells- 
worth aud Davis, our envoys to the French Republic and their 
suite and sail by the first of November, or sooner if consistent 
with their convenience for any port of France which they may 
point out, touching on the voyage wherever they shall express 
an inclination to land. 

Your ship drawing too much water for Havre de Grace, L'- 
Orient will, I presume, be the most eligible port for the Ministers 
to disembark at. 

After landing them you will wait in port for their dispatches 
from Paris and then depart for the United States and as it will 
probably be February before you return you had perhaps better 
proceed to Newport. You will however be governed on this 
subject by circumstances, but as there will be great anxiety to 
know the reception and prospects of our Ministers in Prance you 
will immediately on your arrival at any port in the United States 
either come on yourself to Philadelphia with their dispatches 
or send them by a careful officer. 

The President is too well assured of the high sense you enter- 
tain of the high respect and attention due to the distinguished 
characters who take passage with you, to enjoin the observance 
of them on the passage. As you will sail to France and return 
as a Flag, it will not be in your power to capture anything on the 
voyage. This is a mortification to which it is necessary that 
you should submit. I hope to salute you an Admiral on your 
arrival at Philadelphia. 

On October 2 2d: This will be deUvered by General Davis, 

Treaty with France 403 

one of our Ministers to the French Republic, who is to take his 
passage in the United States. 

Having already communicated to you the President's wishes 
as to the respect to be paid to these distinguished characters, 
and knowing your own politeness and urbanity, I will not now 
add on the subject. ** 

Commodore Barry performed the duty assigned to him and 
landed the Envoys in France. Then he returned to the United 

The Commissioners were instructed **to inform the French 
Ministers that the United States expected from France 
as an indispensable condition of the treaty, a stipulation to make 
the citizens of the United States a just compensation for all 
losses and damages which they shall have sustained by reason 
of irregular or illegal captiu'es or condemnation of their vessels 
or other property under color of authority or orders from the 
French Republic or Agents. 

The Instructions to these Commissioners also were to bring 
about the abrogation of the privileges of our ports se- 
cured France by the Treaty of February, 1778. For this a sub- 
sidy of five miUions of francs or an annual payment of fotu* hun- 
dred thousand francs was offered or to extinguish the guarantee 
for ten million francs, payment to be deducted from the claims 
of Americans against France. 

These claims were computed to be the loss of over one thou- 
sand vessels and cargoes valued at over fifteen millions of dollars 

After long negotiations, which enter not into this history to 
narrate, a Treaty of Peace, Commerce and Navigation 
was agreed to on September 30th, 1800, with First Consul Bona- 
parte. It was ratified by the U. S. Senate on February 3d, 1 801 , 
by the French on July 31st, 180 1, and proclaimed December 31st, 
1801. On December 14th, 1799, Washington died,. On the 
20th was issued to Commodore Barry this: 

General Order to the Officers of the Navy and Ma- 
rine Corps. 

The President with deep affliction announces to the Navy 
and the Marines the death of our beloved fellow citizen George 

404 The Death of Washington 

Washington, Commander of our Armies and the late Presi- 
dent of the United States, but rendered more illustrious by his 
eminent virtues and a long series of the most important services 
than by the honors which his grateful country delighted to con- 
fer upon him. 

Desirous that the Navy and Marines should express in common 
with every other description of American Citizens the high sense 
which all feel of the loss our country has sustained in the death 
of this good and great man, the President directs that the vessels 
of the Navy in our own and foreign ports be put in mourning 
for one week by wearing their colors at half mast high and that 
the officers of the Navy and Marines wear crape on the left ann 
below the elbow for six months. 

Navy Department, 20th December, 1799. 
Signed, Ben Stoddert. 

Chaplain or Teacher 405 








Samuel Chandler, Philadelphia, April 21st, 1800, applied to 
Captain Barry for a situation as Chaplain and Teacher. He 
wrote : — Brought up in the Church of England I often visit the 
Catholic Church and am always pleased with the devout and be- 
coming attention observed in them. I consider the different 
forms of religion only so many different roads to the same final 
happy home. ' ' He added that if he could not be Chaplain he 
would accept of Teacher. 

No trace of an Episcopalian minister of that name appears in 
the records of that Church at this time. The applicant was, 
no doubt, a layman willing to be prayerful. 

On April 21st, 1800, Secretary Stoddert directed Captain 
Barry to order a Court Martial for the trial of James Voung 
and Staty Parcely, of the Norfolk, for "desertion and entering 
on board a French privateer. * ' 

Lieutenant Mullowney was promoted the commander Ganges 
about this time and thirty-five of the seamen of the United 
States transferred. The number on Roll of Barry's vessel on May 
20th 1798, reported 92 officers and seamen present. [Pa 
His Soc] 

On July 16 Lieut. Charles Stewart was given command of 
the Schooner Experiment. Secretary Stoddert hoped this 
would be satisfactory to Captain Barry who replied; " I hope 
he will be more active than he was. ' ' 

History shows Stewart filled every hope Barry could have 
had for his career. At this time the United States was in such 

406 Captures from the French 

a bad condition that Barry wrote the Secretary **she will not 
be out of the carpenter's hands until October. ' * 

On December 6th ,1800, the Secretary of Navy directed Barry 
to proceed to St. Kitts and assume the command of your squad- 
ron on the Guadaloupe station, taking under yoiu* convoy any 
merchant vessels ready to proceed for the Windward Islands, 
you have to protect our commerce to all the Islands and to 
guard our merchant vessels against depredations from Porto 
Rico as well as from Guadalope and other dependencies of 
France. ' ' 

On 30th December Barry was notified: A treaty has been 
negotiated between the United States and the French Re- 
public which is now before the Senate. 

**Treat the armed vessels of France, public or private, exactly 
as you find they treat our trading vessels. * * 

The Secretary of the Navy by report to Congress January 
12th, 1 80 1, informed that body that if an honorable treaty could 
be formed with France it would be good economy to sell the 
public vessels except the thirteen frigates — which included the 
United States. He reported that groimd for Navy yards 
had been bought at Portsmouth, N. H., Charlestown, Philadel- 
phia and Norfolk. 

This was an acceptance of the proposition of Commodore 
Barry in 1 798. 

The Columbian Sentinel, of Boston, January 21st, 1 801, gave a 
list of the French vessels captured since *'the establishment of 
the Navy. ' * The captures were 74 in number and the vessels 
recaptured exceeded 80. '*Jaco[bines] what think ye of the 
Navy now?" it added, to the recital. 

Captain Barry had served under Washington and Adams with 
honor to himself and to the advantage of his country. 

The power of the Federalists was destroyed by the election 
of Thomas Jefferson to the Presidency who, "hitching his horse 
to the palisades ' ' of the Capitol, was inaugurated on March 4th, 
1 80 1. Reform and retrenchment were the main policies of his 
administration, though those of his predecessor history 
has stamped as honest. With the measures against France, 
Jefferson's Republicans had had no sympathy. Their antip- 

Closing of Barry s Sea Service 407 

athy to Great Britain and their fury against Jay's Treaty were 

Jefiferson's retrenchment plans required a reduction of $200,- 
000 in the Navy expenditures, but the Barbary depredations 
interfered with the success of this endeavor to save. Congress 
stopped the building of 74-gun ships, ordered by the Fed- 
eralistic Congress, although the timber had been collected. The 
appropriations for the improvement and increase of the Navy 
were reduced to a quarter million dollars. All unnecessary 
ships were ordered to be sold. The Navy was reduced to 
thirteen vessels. The expenditures of the government did not 
exceed five millions of dollars annually. 

At the time of President Jefferson's inauguration Capt. Barry 
and his squadron were at sea. The new administration had 
scarcely entered into possession of governmental control before 
the recall of the fleet was determined upon and on March 23d, 
1 801, Barry was notified to give instructions to the squadron 
under his command to ''call home all the ships in the West 
Indies. You are to make the best of your way to Philadelphia " 

Barry obeyed, and at the end of April was in the Delaware 
River. On May ist he was directed by the new Secretary of 
the Navy Dearborn to bring the United States to Washington, 
"where it is intended she shall be laid up. ' ' 

Barry did so and on May 23d reported his arrival in the 

This day. May 23d, Mrs. Barry wrote the Captain, address- 
ing him as *'My Dear Life:" 

**If you did but know, my dear life, how much I have suf- 
fered since you left me you would indeed pity me. The general 
opinion of oiu* friends is that His excellency was not aware 
of the difi5culties of getting the United States to Washington. 

On June 6th, 1801, Commodore Barry received notice : "You 
have permission to retire to yoiu* place of residence and there 
remain until the government again requires yoiu* services." 

Commodore Barry's command of the frigate United States 
was at an end. This first of our Navy, tmder the Constitution, 
was "laid up" at Washington. 

With the United States our present Navy began. We have 

408 Destruction of the United States 

seen how her building was of political import and how 
contending Parties battled over her purpose. 

She served our country well in the war with France under 
Barry, in the War of 1812, and in subsequent duties, warlike 
or peaceful. At the beginning of the Civil war she was laid up 
"in ordinary*' at Norfolk Navy Yard. 

The Confederates sunk her to obstruct the channel to Norfolk. 
After the war she was raised. 

Commodore Hitchcock, commanding at Norfolk, on December 
15th, 1865, ^^^ reported to the Bureau of Construction that 
the United States could be docked and broken up in two weeks. 
On 1 8th the Chief of the Bureau, John Lenthall, ordered that 
to be done as expeditiously as possible. "You will have pre- 
served as many sound floor timbers as you can and a piece of 
the keel, so that in building a new vessel, they may be 
incorporated therein. These pieces you will have marked and 
placed in a secure place. ' * 

All that can be seen of her now are two old guns on exhibi- 
tion at the Naval Park at Portsmouth, Virginia. Commodore 
Hitchcock desired to preserve her saying: 

'* Vattel has a chapter on *The glory of a nation. ' This senti- 
ment is one of the strongest incitements to patriotism and Vattel 
inculcates the duty of rulers to foster it. It is therefore more 
than a sickly fancy to rebuild her. I know that it may be said, 
probably with truth, that this old frigate is not worth the cost 
of her repairs, It may, if her value were only measured by dol- 
lars, be unwise to attempt her preservation, but ideas and sen- 
timents cannot be judged by such a standard. 

What is the use of being rich and great and powerful if we 
cannot afford to indulge becoming sentiments, and cherish the 
memory of the bright deeds of our history. ' ' 

But she was broken up. The Commodore's * sea service 
ended with this Notice : — 

Navy Department, June 11, xSoi. 

Commodore Barry, Philadelphia. 

The law providing for the peace establishment of the Navy, a 
copy of which I now enclose, directs the President to select from 

Barry Retained in the Service • 409 

the Captains nine gentlemen, from the Lieutenants 36, and from 
the midshipmen 150, to be retained in service. The duty is un- 
pleasant where gentlemen are not retained. On the present 
occasion it is particularly pleasing to me to have the gratifica- 
cation of informing you that the President has been pleased to 
select you as one of those who are retained. 

Your usual pay and rations will be allowed until the 30th day 
of Jime, including that day, from which time the law allows you 
half pay until called into actual service. ' ' 

The Algerines were yet unruly and preying upon American 
commerce levying tribute upon the Nation. Even the Jefifer- 
son Administration, averse to naval increase and power, would 
yet not supinely bear the ravages which the Corsairs of the 
Mediterranean were committing. 

Captain Thomas Tingley on nth August, 1 801, informed Com- 
modore Barry that it was the intention to send a squadron to 
the Mediterranean of more force than the present — that he 
would add the frigate United States to the expedition. So 
he was getting the frigate in order. He desires to know 
"whether you determine to command her yourself or to sur- 
render your old favorite to be enjoyed and commanded by 
another. ' * 

The expedition was not, however, considered "absolutely re- 
quisite. ' * So Barry, in failing health, remained at Philadelphia. 

He was engaged in November, 1801, in proving guns cast by 
Mr. Lane in the vicinity of Philadelphia, and in June, 1802, was 
directed to prove cannon- at Colonel Hughes* works near Havre 
de Grace, Maryland, if his health permitted. It did not, as he 
informed the Secretary, on August 8th. 

Captains Barry, Dale and Bainbridge were on August 19th 
constituted a Board to examine applicants for commissions in 
the Navy. This was the first examination system adopted and 
Ben Smith, a Midshipman, was examined for a Lieutenancy. 

On Sunday, October 17th, Rev. Matthew Carr, O. S. A.„ 
baptised at St. Mary's, Isaac Austin Hayes, son of Patrick and 
Elizabeth Keen Hayes bom August 21st. Commodore Barry 
was Sponsor. Isaac Austin Hayes died May nth, 1840. 

On November 24th the Secretary of the Navy presented 

410 Senhr Officer of the Nauy 

Commodore Barry with an impression of the golden medal pre- 
sented to Captain Truxtun "by Congress for his gallantry and 
good conduct in the engagement with the French ship-of war" 
**La Vengeance" on March ist, 1800" — "Considering you as 
the Senior officer of the Navy and entitled to the most respect- 
ful consideration I cannot resist the inclination I feel of present- 
ing one to you/' said the Secretary. 

On December 2 2d, 1802, he wrote Commodore Barry: We 
shall have occasion to keep a small force in the Mediterranean, 
and upon the return of Commodore Morris we shall expect your 
services on that station. This information I consider it proper 
to give you at this time in order that when called upon you may 
be prepared to perform this duty without injury to your private 

The Commodore was at this time in such a condition of health 
that his near possible death led to his making his will on the 
27th of Febuary, 1803. 

Death 411 




The ill health of Commodore Barry, as indicated by the ofl5- 
dal notices, incapacitated him from giving further attention to 
duties. During the Summer he occupied his country seat, 
Strawberry Hill. Most likely he died there, his body being 
brought to his city home, i86 Chestnut Street, below Tenth, 
south side, directly opposite the present Pennsylvania Mutual 
Instuance Company's building. 

He died on September 13th, 1803. 

The Gazette of that date announced: 

"Barry. — The friends of the late Commodore Barry are re- 
quested to attend his funeral, to-morrow morning at 10 o'clock, 
from his late dwelling, 186 Chestnut Street, between 9th and 

**The members of the Cincinnati are particularly requested 
to attend the funeral of their deceased member. Commodore 
John Barry, from his late dwelling, 186 Chestnut Street." 

According to the custom of the time Commodore Barry was 
buried the day after death. There is no account in the news- 
papers of the funeral. But the hour at which it was called 
indicates to Catholics that the interment took place after the 
celebration of Requiem Mass and, of course, at St. Mary's where 
the burial took place. His interment testifies to his death in 
the faith he had in life professed. 

The American Daily Advertiser had the following notice: 

"Commodore John Barry. — When the death of this gallant 
officer was announced, the numerous ornaments of his naval 
and domestic characters freshened in our recollection, and a 
blameless impulse was felt to pay his memory the homage of 

412 WUl 

our gratitude and sincere respect ; a tribute which the generous 
will be proud to echo, and which the ingenious cannot disprove. 

"It may be needless to observe that Captain Barry espoused 
with ardour the cause of Liberty in the year 1 775, or to say with 
what constancy and attachment and boldness of enterprise he 
supported her interests during the war. All who have read 
the details of that glorious struggle, must be familiar with the 
name of Captain Barry, and view him a patriot of true integrity 
and undoubted bravery. 

"His naval achievements would of themselves have reflected 
much honor on his memory, but those could not have endeared 
it to his fellow citizens had he wanted those gentle and amiable 
virtues which embellish the gentleman and ennoble the soldier. 
Nature, not less kind than fortune, gave him a heart which the 
carnage and devastation of war could not harden into cruelty; 
and the tenor of his naval career exhibits a proof that the art 
of commanding does not consist of supercilious haughtiness, 
tyrannous insult and wanton severity. In the pleasing view 
which his life presents, we contemplate a trait highly worthy of 
admiration as well for its intrinsic excellence as for its rare 
emergence in the bustle and distraction of war — a punctilious 
observance of the duties of his religion. 

"In the scope of his character, then, we survey with pleasure 
a warm and steady friend, a firm patriot, a mild and humane 
commander, a valiant soldier and a good Christian beloved by 
numerous friends, honored by his co- patriots and respected by 
all who knew him." 

Will of Commodore John Barry. 

This is the testament and last will of me, John Barry Esq. of 
the Northern Liberties of the City of Philadelphia, in the State 
of Pennsylvania. 

In the first place, I will and do order, that all my just debts 
and funeral expenses be paid as soon as conveniently may be 
after my decease. 

Item, I give and bequeath to my Nephew Patrick Hayes, 
Mariner, and to his wife Elizabeth, the niece of my dear wife, 
one thousand Spanish milled dollars to be paid to them, or the 

mi 413 

survivor of them, within six months after my decease, and to 
my said Nephew, I also give and bequeath all my wearing ap- 
parel together with my books and instruments of navigation 
or relating thereto. 

Item, I give and bequeath to each of the children of the said 
Patrick Hayes and Elizabeth his wife, who shall be alive at the 
time of my death, a legacy of one hundred dollars, except their 
son John Barry Hayes, to whom I give and bequeath the sum 
of two hundred dollars, and I direct all said legacies to be paid 
within six months after my decease. 

Item, I give to my brother-in-law William Austin, my silver 
hilted sword, as a token of my esteem for him. 

Item, I give to my good friend Capt. Richard Dale, my gold 
hilted sword, as a token of my esteem for him. 

Item, I give and bequeath my negro man James and my 
mulatto woman Jude to my beloved wife Sarah during her 
widowhood, or natural life, and at her marriage or death which 
ever may first happen, the said negro man and mulatto woman 
shall be free and my executors shall pay to each of them from 
the time of their becoming respectively free as aforesaid, for their 
support during life an annuity of twenty pounds lawful money 
of Pennsylvania in four equal quarterly payments in each year, 
during their respective lives. 

Item, at or immediately after the death of my said negro man 
(if my said wife shall be then dead, but if she shall not then, 
when my said wife shall afterwards die,) I give the principal 
sum hereinafter mentioned from which annuity hereby be- 
queathed to my said negro man is to be raised to the Trustees 
of the Roman Catholic Society worshiping at the church of St. 
Mary in the City of Philadelphia for the use and benefit of the 
Poor School of said church. 

Item, From and immediately after the death of my said mu- 
latto woman whether she shall become free or not, I give and 
bequeath the principal sum from which the annuity hereby 
given to her is directed to be raised to Eleanor Howlin the 
daughter of my late sister Margaret, who lived in the County of 
Wexford in Ireland. 

Item, For the punctual payment of the annuities aforesaid, 

414 wai 

I order and direct my executors to provide a fund or funds in 
such manner as they may think proper, out of my estate real 
and personal sufficient to raise an income, interest and profit, 
adequate to pay and discharge the said annuities in manner 
aforesaid, and when the same shall cease and determine by the 
death or deaths of the said James and Jude or either of them, 
then to pay and apply the principal sum or sums in manner 

Item, all the residue and remainder of my estate, real and 
personal, I give and bequeath to my dearly beloved wife Sarah 
Barry for and during the term of her natural life, and from and 
after her decease I give, devise and bequeath one moiety or 
equal half part thereof to my said nephew Patrick Hayes and 
to Elizabeth his wife, share and share alike as tenants in com- 
mon and their several and respected heirs, executors, adminis- 
trators and assigns forever and the other moiety or equal half 
part thereof, I give devise and bequeath from and after the 
death of my wife, to such person and persons and for such estate 
and estates and in such shares and proportions as she may think 
proper, direct and appoint, and for want of such direction and 
appointment then to the right heirs of my said wife, provided 
nevertheless that if my said wife shall marry again and leave 
any child or children, grand child or grand children, alive at the 
time of her death that then in such case the whole residue and 
remainder of my estate real and personal shall go to such child 
or children, grand child or grand children as aforesaid, as my 
said wife shall by her testament in writing or by any written 
instrument or instruments in nature thereof or otherwise, order 
or direct limit or approve. But it is nevertheless to be under- 
stood and I declare it to be my intent and meaning that my 
executors and the survivor or survivors of them shaU as soon 
as conveniently can be done after my decease, dispose of and 
sell and convey absolutely and in fee simple as my said wife, 
shall by any instrument or instruments in writing or otherwise, 
order or direct and apply the monies arisen therefrom, in the 
order directed, in the first instant in the payment and securing 
the payment of my said debts and enumerated legacies. And 
in the next place that all the residue of the monies arising as 

mi 415 

aforesaid shall be applied by my executors and the survivor or 
survivors of them in such way and manner as will in their judg- 
ment bring the most and best interest, income, and profit and 
pay and apply the same to and for the use and benefit of my 
said wife for and during her natural life and from and after her 
decease I do order and direct that the capital or principal residue 
and remainder thereof shall go and vest in the manner hereto- 
fore directed in case no such disposition sale or conveyance had 
been ordered or directed. Of this my testament and last will 
I constitute and appoint my wife Sarah my executrix and my 
nephew Patrick Hayes and my friend John Leamy, joint ex- 
ecutors with her my wife, of this last will, and the survivor or 
survivors of them executors or excutor hereby revoking and 
annulling all other wills heretofore by me made and declaring 
this only to be my testament and last will. 

Witness my hand and seal this 27 th day of February in the 
year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and three. 


Signed, sealed, published and declared by the testator John 
Barry as and for his testament and last will in the presence of 
John Brown, Reynold Keen, Richard Somers. 

The witness John Brown was Commodore Barry's longtime 
friend and the secretary of the Board of Admiralty; Mr. Keen 
was a brother-in-law; Richard Somers was Lieutenant of the 
United States frigate. In September, 1805, ^ ^^ Ketch Intre- 
pid he and ten men were blown up in the harbor of Tripoli. 

The personal estate, as mentioned, amounted to $15,191, of 
which $5000 was cash received on September 9, four days before 
his death, for his three story dwelling, 126 Spruce St., south 
side, below Fotuth. Strawberry Hill was sold March 19, 1805, to 
John Towers, for $12,500. So Commodore Barry's whole estate 
amounted to but $27,691. 

In the personal inventory a picture of The Pious Mother was 
valued at $8. It was the only picture mentioned and undoubt- 

416 Barry's Faith 

edly was that of the Blessed Virgin. His portrait by Gilbert 
Stuart and other personal possessions not being mentioned, 
most probably were presented to his nephew Captain Patrick 
Hayes before death. 

The contingent bequest to St. Mary 's Free School became 
operative on the death of his widow in 1831. The trustees of 
St. Mary's, on December 18, 1833, received $900 from her estate. 
This was invested in Pennsylvania Rail Road Stock, which was 
sold in 1853 ^or $1028.35, and used in the purchase of St. Mary's 
Academy, Sixth, below Spruce, which cost $10,500. 

Barry's Faith. 

The Memoir of Commodore John Barry in the Aietropoliian 
of Baltimore, August, 1856, says: "Commodore Barry was 
through life a sincere Catholic and a devout and pious Christian ; 
not contenting himself with the name of Catholic, he lived a life 
of practical obedience and strict observance of the duties of 
religion. Many noble and generous qualities combined to 
render his character one of singular symmetry and beauty. All 
who knew him loved and honored him." 

The Editor of the Metropolitan in commending the Memoir, 
said: *'It contains more than a moral — it contains lessons of 
practical instruction. From his example we learn the impor- 
tant lesson that the practice of our Christian duties is not in- 
compatible with any station in life. But how little is the life of 
this great man known ?" How few in those days of hostility to 
Catholics and foreigners are aware of the fact, that Commodore 
John Barry, the "father" of the American Navy, the man that 
first unfurled the American flag on the high seas, and contended 
successfully and triumphantly against the veteran tars of Eng- 
land, was himself an Irishman and a Catholic \ 

We have seen that at his death the Advertiser declared that 
even amid the "bustle and distraction of war" his "observ- 
ance of the duties of his religion" was observable as a "pleas- 
ing view of his life." 


A^e^^Ud^^ ^/^^ in-^ ^'♦***- ^^^ **-^' 

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From Rush MSS.. Rid^way Library 

Original Epitaph 417 

Epitaph on Tomb of Commodore Barry in St. Mary's 

Cemetary, Philadelphia. 

The first draft of an epitaph for the tomb of Commodore 
Barr\' was written by Dr. Benjamin Rush, a Signer of the 
Declaration of Independence. The original is among the 
Rush Papers in the Ridgway Branch of the Philadelphia 
Library Company. It reads: 

Let the Patriot, the Soldier, and the Christian 
who visits these mansions of the dead 

view this monument with respect 

Beneath it are interred the remains of 


He was bom in the County of Wexford, in Ireland 

But America was the object of his patriotism 

and the theatre of his usefulness 

In the Revolutionary War, which established the 

Independence of the United States 

he took an early and active part as a Captain in their 

Navy, and afterwards became Commander-in-Chief 

He fought often, and once bled in the Cause of Freedom 

His habits of war did not lessen his 

Virtues as a Man, nor his piety as a Christian 

He was gentle, kind and just in private life, and was not less 

beloved by his family and friends than by his 

Grateful Country 

The number and objects of his charities will be 

known only at that time when his dust 

shall be reanimated, and when He who sees in secret 

shall reward openly 

In the full belief of the doctrines of the Gospel 

he peacefully resigned his soul into the arms of his Redeemer 

on the 13th of September, 1803 

in the 59th year of his age 

His affectionate widow hath caused this marble to be 

erected to perpetuate his name after the hearts of his 

fellow citizens have ceased to be the 

living Record of his Public and Private Virtues 

418 Tomb Epitaph 

Changes from the original draft were however made so that 
when cut on the tomb it read : 

**Let the Patriot, the Soldier and the Christian, who visits 
these mansions of the dead view this monument with respect. 
Beneath it are deposited the remains of John Barry. He was 
bom in County Wexford, in Ireland, but America was the ob- 
ject of his patriotism and the aim of his usefulness and honor. 
In the Revolutionary War which established the independence 
of the United States he bore the commission of a Captain in 
their navy and was afterwards its Commander-in-chief. He 
fought often and once bled in the cause of freedom; but his 
habits of war did not lessen in him the power of the virtues 
which adorn private life. He was gentle, kind, just and chari- 
table, and not less beloved by his family and friends than by 
his grateful country. In the full belief in the doctrines of the 
Gospel he calmly resigned his soul in the arms of his Redeemer 
on the 13th of September, 1803. His affectionate widow hath 
caused this marble to be erected to perpetuate his name when 
the hearts of his fellow-citizens have ceased to be the li\'ing 
record of his public and private virtues." 

In 1865 I copied the above transcript from the tomb. When 
in 1876, the present tomb was built, the inscription on the old 
stone had become illegible. I furnished a copy of the epitaph 
as taken eleven years before 

It was changed by the Rev. Michael F. Martin, Rector of St. 
Marv's, so as to read : 


Present Epitaph 419 














In the Centennial year — 1876 — the Catholic Total Abstin- 
ence Union of America erected the Fountain in Fairmount Park 
at the foot of George's Hill. 

420 Centennial Monument 

One of its five statues of heroic size is that of CommodorB 
John Rarry. 

It has this inscription: 





BORN IN 1745 




On the west : 


On the north: 







On the south : 




JULY 4, 1876. 






The Barry 421 

On March i8th, 1895, T^^^ Hibernian Society of Philadelphia, 
now called The Friendly Sons of St, Patrick y celebrated its one 
hundred and twenty-fourth anniversary by a banquet at the 
Continental Hotel. Hon. Edwin S. Stuart, President of the 
Society and Mayor of Philadelphia, presided. The chief guest 
of honor was Hon. Hilary H. Herbert, Secretary of the Navy. 

During the evening a portrait of Commodore John Barr>^ 
a member of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick in Revolution- 
ary days, was, by the Hibernian Society, presented to the City 
of Philadelphia to be placed in the Hall of Independence. 
The portrait is a copy by Colon Campbell Cooper of Gilbert 
Stuart's portrait of the Commodore, in the possession of Mrs. 
W. Horace Hepburn, a grandniece. It was presented by 
General St. Clair Mulholland, who said: 

*'The Hibernian Society wishes to present to the city the 
portrait of one of its early members, John Barry of Wexford, 
one of the most illustrious of Ireland's sons, a brilliant child 
of the wind and waves, a heroic warrior of the sea, who never 
knew defeat. Father and founder of the Navy of the United 
States, the Navy that from the very beginning has been the 
admiration and model of all the nations of the earth." 

Mayor Stuart accepted the gift on behalf of the City. 

On March 22d, 1902, at The Neafie & Levy's shipyard, 
Philadelphia, the torpedo-boat destroyer Barry was launched. 
The "christening" was performed by Miss Charlotte Adams 
Barnes, great-great-grandnieceof Commodore Barr^*^ and daugh- 
ter of Captain John S. Barnes, U. S N. of New York City. 

A great crowd of people were present who were demonstra- 
tive of the enthusiasm all felt. A Company of the Hibernian 
Rifles fired a salute as the Barry entered the still waters of 
the Delaware near to where the gallant Commodore had, in 
his Effingham and United States frigates oft passed to and fro 
and where his Lexington and Delaware were built. 

The Barry Council of the Knights of Columbus, Mr. Daniel 
Wade, Chief Knight, attended in goodly numbers, and dis- 
tributed a booklet containing a brief review of the career of 
the great American whose name they had chosen for an 
Association composed mainly of Barry's Race and wholly of 

422 Monument to Barry 

his Faith. At a luncheon after the launching, a very distin- 
guished company of celebrities in Nation and State attended. 
Addresses were made in glorification of the Country's Navy 
and of Commodore John Barry. President Roosevelt sent a 
letter of regret at being unable to be present. 

In July, 1902, Hon. M. E. Driscoll, of Syracuse, New York, 
in the National House of Representives offered a Bill appro- 
priating twenty-five thousand dollars, to erect, in Washington 
City, a monument inscribed 

THE Father of the American Navy." 

This Bill was endorsed by the Ancient Order of Hibernians, 
in National Convention at Denver, Colorado, in August, and 
subsequently by State Conventions and Local Divisions. 
Action may be taken on the Bill in the present session. 

On June 14th and 15th, 1901, at Davis & Harvey's, 
auctioners, Philadelphia, was sold by Mr. Stanislaus V. 
Henckles a collection of the official and personal papers of 
Commodore Barry contained in the collection of autographs 
and documents made by E. H. Gayley, Esq., of Wilmington, 
Delaware. The Barry papers numbered, probably, over five 
hundred pieces. At the sale very spirited bidding prevailed. 
The Librarian of Congress obtained for $170 Barry's Letter 
Book of sixty pages, covering the time from October 9th, 1782, 
to April 19th, 1783. The bulk of the collection was pur- 
chased for Captain John S. Barnes of New York, at a cost of 
upwards of fourteen hundred dollars. 

All the letters and documents were examined in the prepa- 
ration of this work. 

reat-(lrMl-r.r»nanlete o( O.mmo 
DiF Birry" Turp>-Ji> Boat Druii 

Barry in Poems 423 

Lines on the Death of Commodore Barry. 

By Michabl Poktunb. 

Columbia's Friend! freed from this worldly coil, 
Now rests (so Heav'n ordains) from human toil; 
A Patriot Firm, thro' chequer' d life unblam'd 
A gallant Vet'ran, for his powers fam'd. 
Beneath his guidance, lo! a Navy springs. 
An Infant Navy spreads its canvass wings, 
A Rising Nation's weal, to shield, to save, 
And guard her Commerce on the dang'rous wave. 

Whoe'er the Sage, his character shall scan, 
Must trace those Virtues that exalt the man, 
The Bold achievement and heroic deed 
To Honor's fame thelaurel'd Brave that lead! 
Long for his merits and unsully'd name 
(Dear to his friends aud sanctify'd by fame). 
His CLAY COLD RSLiCKS shall his country mourn. 
And with her tears bedew his hallow'd urn. 

Come, cheering Hope — celestial cherub come — 
Say, that his virtues soar beyond the Tomb, 
Say that with Mercy in ethereal Guize, 
His white robed spirit climbs yon op'ning skies. 

Columbia claims her soldier love and Ireland joys to own 

The boy who sailed from his Wexford home, undaunted if unknown. 

Columbia guards his latest sleep^her's was his manhood's noon. 

Ireland's the vigorous cradling arms and tender cradle croon; 

For Ireland paints the dreaming boy on the lonely Wexford shore ! 

In 'customed clasp may meet the hands of mother and foster-mother 

Above his grave, who was loyal to each, as each imto the other. 

Margaret M. Halvby. 

There are gallant hearts whose glory 

Columbia loves to name. 
Whose deeds shall live in story 

And everlasting fame. 
But never yet one braver 

Our starry banner bore 
Than saucy old Jack Barry 

The Irish Commodore. 

William Collins. 

424 Close of the Record 

This closes The Record of the Services for our Country 
of Commodore John Bany, the Wexford County Irish Catholic, 
but among the truest and noblest of our Country 'scitizens. 

May it accomplish the purpose of its compiler. 

To make this gallant man known, first to those of his own 
Race and Creed, that by the knowledge they would honor him 
the more, ever ready as they are to emulate his endeavors for 
our Country. Then that Americans of whatsoever race or faith 
might know how well and nobly he served the country that it 
might, in freedom and independence, be established for the 
betterment of mankind and the uplifting of humanity. In 
these, our days of mightiness, it is well to remember, if not to 
praise, the men of renown who braved all and bore much that 
our Country should be free. 

The Record is presented as an historical compilation that 
all the ascertainable facts concerning the first Commodore of 
our Navy should be gathered. Thus, the dearth of information 
concerning him which has debarred the proper recognition of 
his merits no longer exist. His career can now be very fully told 
in orations, poems, dramas, stories or lectures in a manner of 
more artistic literary excellence than is possible in the presen- 
tation of documentary recitals 

"Which if I have done well and as becometh the history' is 
what I have desired ; but if not so perfectly it must be pardoned 
me." (Machabees xv. 39.) 

December, 8th, 1902. MARTIN I. J. GRIFFIN. 

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