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October 30, 1858



Whereas information has reached me from sources which I can not disregard that certain persons, in violation of the neutrality laws of the United States, are making a third attempt to set on foot a military expedition within their territory against Nicaragua, a foreign State with which they are at peace. In order to raise money for equipping and maintaining this expedition, persons connected therewith, as I have reason to believe, have issued and sold bonds and other contracts pledging the public lands of Nicaragua and the transit route through its territory as a security for their redemption and fulfillment.

The hostile design of this expedition is rendered manifest by the fact that these bonds and contracts can be of no possible value to their holders unless the present Government of Nicaragua shall be overthrown by force. Besides, the envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary of that Government in the United States has issued a notice, in pursuance of his instructions, dated on the 27th instant, forbidding the citizens or subjects of any nation, except passengers intending to proceed through Nicaragua over the transit route from ocean to ocean, to enter its territory without a regular passport, signed by the proper minister or consul-general of the Republic resident in the country from whence they shall have departed. Such persons, with this exception, "will be stopped and compelled to return by the same conveyance that took them to the country." From these circumstances the inference is irresistible that persons engaged in this expedition will leave the United States with hostile purposes against Nicaragua. They can not, under the guise which they have assumed that they are peaceful emigrants, conceal their real intentions, and especially when they know in advance that their landing will be resisted and can only be accomplished by an overpowering force. This expedient was successfully resorted to previous to the last expedition, and the vessel in which those composing it were conveyed to Nicaragua obtained a clearance from the collector of the port of Mobile. Although, after a careful examination, no arms or munitions of war were discovered on board, yet when they arrived in Nicaragua they were found to be armed and equipped and immediately commenced hostilities.

The leaders of former illegal expeditions of the same character have openly expressed their intention to renew hostilities against Nicaragua. One of them, who has already been twice expelled from Nicaragua, has invited through the public newspapers American citizens to emigrate to that Republic, and has designated Mobile as the place of rendezvous and departure and San Juan del Norte as the port to which they are bound. This person, who has renounced his allegiance to the United States and claims to be President of Nicaragua, has given notice to the collector of the port of Mobile that two or three hundred of these emigrants will be prepared to embark from that port about the middle of November.

For these and other good reasons, and for the purpose of saving American citizens who may have been honestly deluded into the belief that they are about to proceed to Nicaragua as peaceful emigrants, if any such there be, from the disastrous consequences to which they will be exposed, I, James Buchanan, President of the United States, have thought it fit to issue this my proclamation, enjoining upon all officers of the Government, civil and military, in their respective spheres, to be vigilant, active, and faithful in suppressing these illegal enterprises and in carrying out their standing instructions to that effect; exhorting all good citizens, by their respect for the laws and their regard for the peace and welfare of the country, to aid the efforts of the public authorities in the discharge of their duties.

In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed to these presents. Done at the city of Washington the 30th day of October, 1858, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-third.


By the President:

LEWIS CASS, Secretary of State.

James Buchanan, Proclamation Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/202804

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