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Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1989.

AUTHOR: Oliver Hazard Perry (1785–1819)
QUOTATION: Don’t give up the ship.
ATTRIBUTION: Although this quotation has been attributed to several historical figures, the only documented source is the blue battle-flag inscribed with these words ordered and used by Oliver Hazard Perry as a signal during the battle of Lake Erie, September 10, 1813.

Although popularly attributed to Captain James Lawrence as his dying words during a battle with a British frigate off the coast of Boston on June 1, 1813, there remains the possibility these words were not his, but those of someone reporting the battle.

For other attributed sources and theories, see: Macmillan Book of Proverbs, Maxims, and Famous Phrases, ed. Burton Stevenson, p. 2091 (1965); Charles C. Bombaugh, Facts and Fancies for the Curious, pp. 388–89 (1905); William S. Walsh, Hand-Book of Literary Curiosities, pp. 1004–5 (1929); Dictionary of American History, rev. ed., vol. 2, p. 364 (1976); and Motor Boating, October 1965, p. 72.
SUBJECTS: Last words