jpj-masthead.jpg“I HAVE NOT YET BEGUN TO FIGHT!”

The Pennsylvania Packet, Philadelphia
Thursday, January 20, 1780

Two letters sent from France (where the captured “Serapis” anchored) describe Captain Jones’s now legendary sea fight – the first major naval victory of the United States over the vaunted British Navy. The first report states in part, “…they (the “Poor Richard” and the “Serapis”) fought for three hours and a half with inconceivable rage; two hours of which time they were fast to each other, and almost all the time one or the other was on fire.” The second letter says, “I cannot give you a very particular account of the engagement; only that the conflict between the two ships exceed description; upwards of 230 men killed and wounded in both, and so shattered that it was a matter of doubt which of the vessels would sink first.”

Four pp., excellent condition, totally uncut and with the original deckled edges. Yes, this issue has the highly sought-after intricately hand-drawn masthead of a sailing ship (see scan). For the finest collection, and the only such issue on the market today (and probably ever). This newspaper was published by John Dunlap who printed the famous July 4, 1776 broadside of the Declaration of Independence (25 known); the last one sold for $8.14 million! This issue is many times scarcer than the Declaration broadside!