Instructions Given with a Commission for seizing the Ships, &c. belonging to the Inhabitants of the Rebellious Colonies, &c. ... [Bound with:] Instructions for the Commanders of such Merchant Ships or Vessels who shall have Letters of Marque and Reprizals
London: 1777-1778. Two volumes in one, folio. 8; 7, pp. Signed in print by George Germain and Weymouth. Each signed in manuscript by Godfrey Lee Farrant, Registrar of the Court of Admiralty.
Later pebbled cloth
Provenance: Marinens Bibliotek (old inked stamps); deaccessioned by the Garnisions Biblioteket in 2017
Very rare Royal Navy instructions to British privateers during the American Revolution.
Dated 27 March 1777, the Instructions not only authorize the "seizing and taking all ships and vessells, goods, wares, and merchandizes, chattels and effects whatsoever, belonging to the inhabitants of the Colonies now in Rebellion", but also authorize the same for any British ship trading to or from the colonies. There are XVI Articles, followed by a form of Affidavit to be executed by the owner of the pirate vessel. The instructions explicitly state that no prisoners shall be ransomed; There is also a penalty for not taking any vessel or goods of the Colonies, through consent or by collusion. ESTC records four different variants from different settings of text, but only six extant of all four combined (British Library, Library of Congress, New York Historical Society, New York Public Library, Newberry Library and Massachusetts Historical Society). We find no record of this ephemeral document in commerce in the modern era. The similar 1778 Instructions bound with relate to seizures by British privateers against the French.
Sabin 34859; ESTC N69948.