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John Paul Jones 1799 Naval Battle on His Ship The “Bonhomme Richard” An Imprint with Eyewitness Account

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c. 1812, Historic Imprint Pamphlet titled, “The Life, Travels, Voyages and Daring Engagements of Paul Jones: Containing Numerous Anecdotes of Undaunted Courage.” Printed at Boston by N. Coverly Jr., Complete, Very Fine.

This important, undated, bound pamphlet is an account of John Paul Jones’ historic Revolutionary War Naval battle on the “Bonhomme Richard” against the British ship “Serapis” in September 1779. It is based on an eyewitness account by an officer on board Jones’ ship. In this account, Jones is referred to as Paul Jones, and his ship as the “Good Man Richard.” This work contains 48 pages in 7” x 4.25” hard bound format, having some mild expert minor repairs to the paper, text is complete.

According to the title page, it was “Printed for the Benefit of William Earl, who lost a limb in the Engagement on board the ‘Good Man Richard’ John Paul Jones, Commander.” This pamphlet was later hard bound, probably in the mid 1840’s, in green half leather by P. Low, of Devonshire Street, Boston, whose binder’s tag appears inside the front cover. Originally published in London in 1802, this valuable early account went through several editions in the early 1800’s. The edition currently offered was likely published during the War of 1812, as the introduction refers to “another distressing war.”

A former owner has inscribed his name and the year, “Drake - 1845,” on the inside cover, which also carries his Bookplate - a Woodcut of a Griffin. Pages 45-47 are missing part of three or four lines of text at the bottom, and have been repaired. The cover edges are well worn and there is a small split at the bottom of the spine, though the covers are intact and well bound. The pages are complete and appropriately evenly age toned, with a damp stain in the upper corner of some pages. One of the earliest and rarest printed accounts of the exploits of this celebrated naval legend, who carried on a gallant sea resistance to the British.

We could not find any other copy of this edition currently offered for sale, nor could we find a record of any sales of this edition in American Book Prices Current. This work, though very hard to locate, was heavily relied upon by a succession of John Paul Jones' biographers.
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Estimate Range: $800 - $1,200
Early American
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