Doc. 192.-instructions to privateers.
1. The tenor of your commission, under the act of Congress entitled “An act recognizing the existence of war between the United States and the Confederate States, and concerning letters of marque, prizes, and prize goods,” a copy of which is hereto annexed, will be kept constantly in your view. The high seas referred to in your commission, you will understand generally to refer to the low-water mark, but with the exception of the space within one league, or three miles, from the shore of countries at peace with the United States and the Confederate States. You nevertheless execute your commission within the distance of the shore of the nation at war with the United States, and even on the waters within the jurisdiction of such nation, if permitted to do so. 2. You are to pay the strictest regard to the rights of neutral Powers and the usages of civilized nations, and in all your proceedings towards neutral vessels you are to give them as little molestation or interruption as will consist with the right of ascertaining their neutral character, and of detaining and bringing them in for regular adjudication in the proper cases. You are particularly to avoid even the appearance of using force or seduction with the view to deprive such vessels of their crews or the passengers, other than persons in the military service of the enemy. 3. Towards enemy vessels and their crews you are to proceed, in exercising the rights of war, with all the justice and humanity which characterize this Government and its citizens. 4. The master, and one or more of the principal persons belonging to the captured vessels, are to be sent, as soon after the capture as may be, to the Judge or Judges of the proper court in the Confederate States, to be examined upon oath touching the interest or property of the captured vessel and her lading, and at the same time are to be delivered to the Judge or Judges all papers, charter parties, bills of lading, letters, and other documents and writings found on board; and the said papers to be proved by the affidavit of the commander of the captured vessel, or some other person present at the capture, to be produced as they were received, without fraud, addition, subtraction, or embezzlement. 5. Property, even of the enemy, is exempt from seizure on neutral vessels, unless it be contraband of war. If goods contraband of war are found on any neutral vessel, and the commander thereof shall offer to deliver them up, the offer shall be accepted, and the vessel left at liberty to pursue its voyage, unless the quantity of contraband goods shall be greater than can be conveniently received on board your vessel, in which case the neutral vessel may be carried into port, for the delivery of the contraband goods. The following articles are declared by this Government contraband of war, as well as all others that are so declared by the laws of nations, viz.: All arms and implements serving for the purpose of war by land or sea, such as cannons, mortars, guns, muskets, rifles, pistols, petards, bombs, grenades, balls, shot, shell, pikes, swords, bayonets, javelins, lances, horse furniture, holsters, belts, and generally all other implements of war. Also, timber for shipbuilding, pitch, tar, rosin, copper in sheets, sails, hemp, cordage, and generally whatever may serve directly to the equipment of vessels, wrought-iron and planks only excepted. Neutral vessels conveying enemies' despatches or military persons in the service of the enemy forfeit their neutral character, and are liable to capture and condemnation. But this rule does not apply to neutral vessels bearing despatches from the public ministers or ambassadors of the enemy residing in neutral countries. By the command of the President of the Confederate States.
Robert Toombs, Secretary of State.
National Intelligencer, May 27.