Jay, John (1745-1829)Instructions to the commanders of private ships or vessels of war, which shall have commissions or letters of marque and reprisal, authorizing them to make captures of British vessels and cargoes.
Summary of Content: Broadside with printed date of 3 April 1776. Signed by Jay as President of the Continental Congress (indicating that the signature and printed date do not coincide). Contains eleven articles created by Congress authorizing private American ships to capture British vessels. Instructs American captains to bring captured goods, ships, and persons to court in the colonies following capture. Forbids torture of captured persons, demanding civilized conduct. Requires captains to transmit a written account of capture to Congress. Demands that one third, ”at the least, of your whole Company shall be Land-Men.” Forbids the ransom of prisoners.