George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Barry, 19 March 1794

From John Barry

March 19: 1794


Finding that Government have partly determined to fit out Some Ships of War for the protection of our Trade against the Algerines,1 I beg leave to offer my self for the Comd of the Squadron conceiving my self competent thereto assuring your Excellency that should I be honored with your approbation, my utmost abilities and the most unremitting attention shall be exerted for the good of my Country, and also to approve my self Worthy of the high honor shown by your Excellency.2 Im your Obedient Humbl. Sert



Copy (in John Barry’s handwriting), Nhi: Barnes Collection.

Ireland native John Barry (1745–1803) was settled in Philadelphia by 1760, where he became a prosperous captain and merchant ship owner. During the Revolutionary War he had a successful career as a captain in the Continental navy (see n.1 of Lt. Col. Anthony Walton White to GW, 20 Sept. 1777). During the Quasi-War with France, 1798–99, he commanded U.S. naval forces in the West Indies and remained in the Navy until his death.

1For the creation of an American navy, starting with four ships of forty-four guns and two ships of thirty-six guns, see “An Act to provide a Naval Armament,” 27 March 1794 (Stat description begins Richard Peters, ed. The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America, from the Organization of the Government in 1789, to March 3, 1845 . . .. 8 vols. Boston, 1845-67. description ends . 1:350).

2GW nominated Barry to be a captain in the new navy in his letter to the U.S. Senate of 3 June.

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