The measure proved instantly popular as merchants, whalers and fishermen converted their vessels into makeshift warships. By May 1776, at least 100 New England privateers were plying the waters of the Caribbean. Hippie girl why hello sweet cheeks have a seat poster Thousands of schemes for privateering are afloat in American imaginations,” wrote John Adams. According to the National Park Service, the Continental Congress issued approximately 1,700 letters of marque over the course of the war, and various American states issued hundreds more. Privateering proved so popular that the Continental Congress distributed preprinted, preauthorized commission forms with blank spaces for the entry of the names of ships, captains and owners.