Wednesday, June 27, 2012

July 5, 1777: Treat Prisoners with Humanity

The Marine Committee of the Continental Congress closed their 5 July 1777 letter to John Young, commander of the Continental sloop Independence, with these admonitions:

You must duely observe the Instructions of the Navy Board, preserve strict discipline but use your Officers & men well that they may be fond of the service--treat Prisoners with humanity and in All things act the part becoming an active good Officer which will recommend you to, Sir, your hble servants

Marine Committee to John Young, 5 July 1777, in Paul H. Smith, editor, Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774-1789: Volume 7: May 1, 1777-September 18, 1777 (Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1981), pages 300-301. The Marine Committee and, earlier, the Naval Committee issued officers similar orders in JanuaryNovember and December 1776.
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