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Proclamation 57—Warning to United States Citizens Against Participating in an Unlawful Invasion of Cuba

April 25, 1851

By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation

Whereas there is reason to believe that a military expedition is about to be fitted out in the United States with intention to invade the island of Cuba, a colony of Spain, with which this country is at peace; and

Whereas it is believed that this expedition is instigated and set on foot chiefly by foreigners who dare to make our shores the scene of their guilty and hostile preparations against a friendly power and seek by falsehood and misrepresentation to seduce our own citizens, especially the young and inconsiderate, into their wicked schemes--an ungrateful return for the benefits conferred upon them by this people in permitting them to make our country an asylum from oppression and in flagrant abuse of the hospitality thus extended to them; and

Whereas such expeditions can only be regarded as adventures for plunder and robbery, and must meet the condemnation of the civilized world, whilst they are derogatory to the character of our country, in violation of the laws of nations, and expressly prohibited by our own. Our statutes declare "that if any person shall, within the territory or jurisdiction of the United States, begin or set on foot or provide or prepare the means for any military expedition or enterprise to be carried on from thence against the territory or dominions of any foreign prince or state or of any colony, district, or people with whom the United States are at peace, every person so offending shall be deemed guilty of a high misdemeanor and shall be fined not exceeding $3,000 and imprisoned not more than three years:"

Now, therefore, I have issued this my proclamation, warning all persons who shall connect themselves with any such enterprise or expedition in violation of our laws and national obligations that they will thereby subject themselves to the heavy penalties denounced against such offenses and will forfeit their claim to the protection of this Government or any interference on their behalf, no matter to what extremities they may be reduced in consequence of their illegal conduct. And therefore I exhort all good citizens, as they regard our national reputation, as they respect their own laws and the laws of nations, as they value the blessings of peace and the welfare of their country, to discountenance and by all lawful means prevent any such enterprise; and I call upon every officer of this Government, civil or military, to use all efforts in his power to arrest for trial and punishment every such offender against the laws of the country.

Given under my hand the 25th day of April, A. D. 1851, and the seventy-fifth of the Independence of the United States.


By the President:


Acting Secretary of State.

Millard Fillmore, Proclamation 57—Warning to United States Citizens Against Participating in an Unlawful Invasion of Cuba Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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