USS Bonhomme Richard (1765)

USS Bonhomme Richard (1765)

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USS Bonhomme Richard (1765)

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The first USS Bonhomme Richard, formerly Duc de Duras, was a warship in the Continental Navy. She was originally an East Indiaman, a merchant ship built in France for the French East India Company in 1765, for service between France and the Orient. She was placed at the disposal of John Paul Jones on 4 February 1779, by King Louis XVI of France as a result of a loan to the United States by French shipping magnate, Jacques-Donatien Le Ray.


Little is known about the early career of Bonhomme Richard other than she was originally an East Indiaman named Duc de Duras; a merchant ship built in France for the French East India Company in 1765. In that capacity she sailed between France and the Orient until purchased by King Louis XVI of France in early 1779 and placed under the command John Paul Jones on 4 February.

Jones renamed her Bon Homme Richard - usually rendered in more correct French as Bonhomme Richard, to honor Benjamin Franklin, the American Commissioner at Paris whose Poor Richard's Almanac had been published in France under the title Les Maximes du Bonhomme Richard.

First patrols

On 19 June 1779, Bonhomme Richard sailed from Lorient accompanied by , , , and Cerf with troop transports and merchant vessels under convoy to Bordeaux and to cruise against the British in the Bay of Biscay. Forced to return to port for repair,...
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