What Did Jones Really Say?
WHAT DID JOHN PAUL JONES REALLY SAY?
Okay, so we’re pretty sure John Paul Jones never said, “I have not yet begun to fight.” Seriously, if he had, then what had he been doing during the first three hours of the Battle of Flamborough Head?
What did Jones really say? According to his report to Benjamin Franklin, just weeks after the battle, when Captain Pearson of the British ship asked him if he was ready to surrender, Jones quotes himself as responding, “I may sink, but I shall not strike!”
Whatever he said, what happens next is the truly amazing part of the story. Shortly after their exchange, the British captain surrenders and Jones transfers his men to the British ship, H.M.S. Serapis. From there, Jones and his men watch their ship, the Bonhomme Richard, sink.