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Instructions to Captain Meston, of the Snow Dickenson



Philadelphia, January 13, 1776.

SIR: Our snow Dickenson, being now loaded and ready for sea, we hereby direct you to proceed in her with all possible despatch from this port to the port of Nantes, in France. On your passage, you are to improve wind and weather, to the best advantage, constantly endeavouring to make your passage in as short a time as possible, and carefully avoiding to speak to any vessel. On your arrival at Nantes, you are to apply to Messrs˙ Montandouin and Frere, merchants there, and to whom you are consigned; they will receive your cargo, which you are to lose no time in delivering, and there take on board such goods as they have orders to ship in return; with which you are to proceed immediately for this port, observing the directions given you as above. On your arrival off our Capes, you are to stand off, and on making a signal, by hoisting your jack to your foretopmast-head, when you will be answered, either from the Light-House or Cape-May, by a sheet hung out. Upon seeing this, you are to conclude there is no danger in your way, and immediately proceed up the bay; but if, after making your signal for six or eight hours, you should see no signal, from either the Light-House or Cape-May, you are then to proceed along the coast towards the Capes of Virginia, and endeavour to land your cargo in the best manner you can, putting it in the care of the Committee of the place where it is landed, or some persons of property, for the use of the Congress, and immediately despatch an express with an account of your proceedings to us. We have the greatest dependance in your vigilance and activity in prosecuting this voyage. Should you succeed, as we pray God you may, you will not only recommend yourself strongly to our further notice, but you will be considered as rendering an essential service to your country. You must be sensible the success of this voyage in a great measure depends upon conduct; we doubt not you will endeavour to acquit yourself in a suitable manner.

Wishing you a safe and pleasant voyage, and a quick and prosperous return, we are, sir, your very humble servants,


To Captain William Meston.


P˙ S. Beside the goods that may be shipped on board you, by Messrs˙ Montandouin and Frere, in return for your cargo, you are to receive on board any quantity of arms and ammunition you may have room for, that may be offered for account of the Congress by any person whatever.