Commodore John Barry

Barry, John, Commodore, was born near Tacumshin, County of Wexford, in 1745. He went to sea at fourteen; the colony of Pennsylvania became his adopted country, and when twenty-five he had risen to be the commander of the Black Prince, one of the finest traders between Philadelphia and London. Early in the War of Independence, he was given a naval command by Congress, and was one of the first to fly the United States flag at sea. In 1777, he was publicly thanked by Washington for his naval services. It is stated that Lord Howe vainly endeavoured to tempt him from his allegiance by the offer of the command of a British ship-of-the-line. In 1778 and '79, he commanded the Relief, and was accorded the rank of Commodore. In 1781, he carried the United States' agent to France in his new vessel, the Alliance, and on his way back captured two British cruisers — the Atalanta and Trespasa, in an engagement in which he was badly wounded. Later on the same year, he had the honour of conveying Lafayette and Count Noailles to France. From the conclusion of the war until his death, he was constantly occupied in superintending the progress of the United States navy; indeed he has been called by some naval writers the father of the American navy. He died in September 1803, and was buried in Philadelphia.


192a. lrish Settlers in America: Thomas D'Arcy McGee. Boston, 1855.