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Colonel Joseph Reed to William Watson



[Instructions as Agent for Prizes.]

Head-Quarters, October 17, 1775.

SIR: You, being recommended to his Excellency as a proper person to transact the business of the several armed vessels fitted out of Plymouth, at the Continental expense, will be pleased to consider the following as your instructions:

1st. That you immediately lay in pro vision, on the best terms, for the vessels now fitting or to be hereafter fitted, of such articles only as are allowed in the Continental Army, and in the same proportion as per enclosed paper, or as near as possible.

2d. When no special order to the contrary, you are never to put more than one month' s provision in each vessel, for fifty men, officers included.

3d. In making up your accounts, you are to remember that the original bills or invoices are to be sent as vouchers. That your own account is to be general, and at the bottom an affidavit of the justice of your account. This is not done from any jealousy or suspicion, but that the utmost satisfaction may be given the Country, and that all agents may be on the same fooling.

4th. That in case any prizes are taken and sent into Plymouth, you are immediately to inform yourself of the quality and value of the cargo, vessel, &c˙, as well as you can, from papers, and send it up to the General. You are then to wait for further directions. If the officers and men appoint an agent for their one-third, you are to permit him also to have a copy of all papers necessary to ascertain the cargo, and, when the vessel is discharged, give him a true copy of the cargo.

5th. All military stores belonging to the Continent, and the hulls of all vessels so deemed, that they may be applied to the Continental service if necessary.

6th. Whatever advice you at any time have of the vessels, that is material, you will send up here by suitable opportunities.

7th. As there are other vessels cruising besides those fitted out at Plymouth, you are to consider yourself as agent for all vessels, fitted out at theContinental expense, who


shall have occasion for necessaries at Plymouth, or may send any prizes into that port.

8th. You will endeavour to lay in every thing on the best terms, and send your opinion as to the disposal of cargoes at your place or elsewhere, in which it is hoped you will not be influenced by interest, as it is intended so to regulate the sale of cargoes as to make them most advantageous to the publick, and suitable compensation, in all cases, made to the agents.

9th. Your commissions will be regulated by the agreements made at Marblehead and Salem for the same services.

10th. In case of any irregularity, misconduct, or negligence, in the officers of any vessel, you are desired to give immediate information to the General.

11th. You are now, and at all times, to use all possible despatch, and not permit the vessels, when equipped, to remain in port.

By order of his Excellency General Washington.

J˙ REED, Secretary

To William Watson, Esquire.