26 John Paul Jones Quotes from the Father of the American Navy

John Paul Jones, born 6 July 1747 in Scotland, began his maritime career at 12 in the British merchant marine.

Initially a first mate on a slaver brigantine, he quickly distanced himself from the trade.

After killing a mutineer in self-defense in 1773, he fled to Virginia and adopted “Jones” to hide his identity.

During the American Revolution, Jones joined the Continental Navy, rapidly rising to captain.

John Paul Jones

He led audacious raids on British territories, notably defeating the Royal Navy frigate Serapis in a fierce battle in 1779, famously declaring, “I have not yet begun to fight.”

Historically portrayed as a pirate, he was nevertheless recognized for his honor and courage. He later served in the Russian navy before settling in Paris.

Jones died in 1792 but was reinterred at Annapolis in 1913 after a rediscovery of his remains.

I have curated the top quotes by John Paul Jones in this article.

Best John Paul Jones Quotes

You understand why some animals eat their young. ~ John Paul Jones.

It seems to be a law of nature, inflexible and inexorable, that those who will not risk cannot win. ~ John Paul Jones.

It is true that I must run a great risk; no gallant action was ever accomplished without danger. ~ John Paul Jones.


He who will not risk cannot win. ~ John Paul Jones.

Whoever can surprise well must conquer. ~ John Paul Jones.

Since human wisdom cannot secure us from accidents, it is the greatest effort of reason to bear them well. ~ John Paul Jones.

I would lay down my life for America but I cannot trifle with my Honor. ~ John Paul Jones.

The common class of mankind are actuated by no nobler principle than that of self-interest; this, and this only, determines all adventurers in privateers, the owners as well as those they employ. ~ John Paul Jones.

Much wisdom, and more knowledge than we possess, is in my humble opinion necessary to the formation of such a naval constitution as is absolutely wanting. ~ John Paul Jones.

Nothing exciting ever happens to me. ~ John Paul Jones.

The situation of America is new in the annals of mankind; her affairs cry haste, and speed must answer them. ~ John Paul Jones.

My desire for fame is infinite. ~ John Paul Jones.

Inspirational John Paul Jones Quotes

Where men of fine feeling are concerned there is seldom misunderstanding. ~ John Paul Jones.


I may sink, but I’ll be damned if I strike! ~ John Paul Jones.

One slightly naughty thing I was thinking as I was watching the MTV thing, is how many people it took to replace me, and how few people it’s taken me to replace them. ~ John Paul Jones.

If fear is cultivated it will become stronger, if faith is cultivated it will achieve mastery. ~ John Paul Jones.

I have not as yet thought of it, but am determined to make you strike. ~ John Paul Jones.

I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast; for I intend to go in harm’s way. ~ John Paul Jones.

A captain of the Navy ought to be a man of strong and well connected sense, with a tolerable good education, a gentleman, as well as a seaman both in theory and practice. ~ John Paul Jones.

An honorable Peace is and always was my first wish! I can take no delight in the effusion of human Blood; but, if this War should continue, I wish to have the most active part in it. ~ John Paul Jones.

Motivational John Paul Jones Quotes

It was my intention to lay the Bon homme Richard athwart the Enemies Bow but as that Operation required great dexterity in the Management of both Sails and Helm And some of our Braces being Shot away it did not exactly succeed to my wish. ~ John Paul Jones.

My plan for forming a proper corps of sea officers is by teaching them the naval tactics in a fleet of evolution. ~ John Paul Jones.

People ask, ‘What was it like when you wrote Stairway to Heaven?’ As if three wisemen had come knocking on the door, ‘Excuse me, are you writing Stairway to Heaven here?’ ~ John Paul Jones.

I’ve never actually seen a tribute band. I can’t really get a hold of the concept. To me, it’s old material. I have no interest in it. I want to see what’s coming now. ~ John Paul Jones.


I have not yet begun to fight! ~ John Paul Jones.

My fortune is liberal enough, having no wife nor family, and having lived long enough to know that riches cannot ensure happiness. ~ John Paul Jones.

So these were the 26 top John Paul Jones quotes and sayings.

If you like these quotes and sayings, then you can also read my other posts on Harriet Beecher Stowe quotes and Jim Morrison quotes.

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Chandan Negi
Chandan Negi

I’m the Founder of Internet Pillar - I love sharing quotes and motivational content to inspire and motivate people - #quotes #motivation #internetpillar