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Proclamation—Neutrality With Respect to Canadian Affairs

November 21, 1838

By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation

Whereas there is too much reason to believe that citizens of the United States, in disregard to the solemn warning heretofore given to them by the proclamations issued by the Executive of the General Government and by some of the governors of the States, have combined to disturb the peace of the dominions of a neighboring and friendly nation; and

Whereas information has been given to me, derived from official and other sources, that many citizens in different parts of the United States are associated or associating for the same purpose; and

Whereas disturbances have actually broken out anew in different parts of the two Canadas; and

Whereas a hostile invasion has been made by citizens of the United States, in conjunction with Canadians and others, who, after forcibly seizing upon the property of their peaceful neighbor for the purpose of effecting their unlawful designs, are now in arms against the authorities of Canada, in perfect disregard of their obligations as American citizens and of the obligations of the Government of their country to foreign nations:

Now, therefore, I have thought it necessary and proper to issue this proclamation, calling upon every citizen of the United States neither to give countenance nor encouragement of any kind to those who have thus forfeited their claim to the protection of their country; upon those misguided or deluded persons who are engaged in them to abandon projects dangerous to their own country, fatal to those whom they profess a desire to relieve, impracticable of execution without foreign aid, which they can not rationally expect to obtain, and giving rise to imputations (however unfounded) upon the honor and good faith of their own Government; upon every officer, civil or military, and upon every citizen, by the veneration due by all freemen to the laws which they have assisted to enact for their own government, by his regard for the honor and reputation of his country, by his love of order and respect for the sacred code of laws by which national intercourse is regulated, to use every effort in his power to arrest for trial and punishment every offender against the laws providing for the performance of our obligations to the other powers of the world. And I hereby warn all those who have engaged in these criminal enterprises, if persisted in, that, whatever may be the condition to which they may be reduced, they must not expect the interference of this Government in any form on their behalf, but will be left, reproached by every virtuous fellow-citizen, to be dealt with according to the policy and justice of that Government whose dominions they have, in defiance of the known wishes of their own Government and without the shadow of justification or excuse, nefariously invaded.

Given under my hand, at the city of Washington, the 21st day of November, A. D. 1838, and the sixty-third of the Independence of the United States.


By the President:


Secretary of State .

Martin van Buren, Proclamation—Neutrality With Respect to Canadian Affairs Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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