James Madison

Proclamation—Directing the British Blockade of the Coast of the United States to be Disregarded

June 29, 1814

By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation

Whereas it is manifest that the blockade which has been proclaimed by the enemy of the whole Atlantic coast of the United States, nearly 2,000 miles in extent, and abounding in ports, harbors, and navigable inlets, can not be carried into effect by any adequate force actually stationed for the purpose, and it is rendered a matter of certainty and notoriety by the multiplied and daily arrivals and departures of the public and private armed vessels of the United States and of other vessels that no such adequate force has been so stationed; and

Whereas a blockade thus destitute of the character of a regular and legal blockade as defined and recognized by the established law of nations, whatever other purposes it may be made to answer, forms no lawful prohibition or obstacle to such neutral and friendly vessels as may choose to visit and trade with the United States; and

Whereas it accords with the interest and the amicable views of the United States to favor and promote as far as may be the free and mutually beneficial commercial intercourse of all friendly nations disposed to engage therein, and with that view to afford to their vessels destined to the United States a more positive and satisfactory security against all interruptions, molestations, or vexations whatever from the cruisers of the United States:

Now be it known that I, James Madison, President of the United States of America, do by this my proclamation strictly order and instruct all the public armed vessels of the United States and all private armed vessels commissioned as privateers or with letters of marque and reprisal not to interrupt, detain, or otherwise molest or vex any vessels whatever belonging to neutral powers or the subjects or citizens thereof, which vessels shall be actually bound and proceeding to any port or place within the jurisdiction of the United States, but, on the contrary, to render to all such vessels all the aid and kind offices which they may need or require.

Given under my hand and the seal of the United States at the city of Washington, the 29th day of June, A. D. 1814, and of the Independence of the United States the thirty-eighth.


By the President:


Secretary of State,

James Madison, Proclamation—Directing the British Blockade of the Coast of the United States to be Disregarded Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/205859

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