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Special Message

March 28, 1794

Gentlemen of the Senate and of the House of Representatives:

In the execution of the resolution of Congress bearing date the 26th of March, 1794, and imposing an embargo, I have requested the governors of the several States to call forth the force of their militia, if it should be necessary, for the detention of vessels. This power is conceived to be incidental to an embargo.

It also deserves the attention of Congress how far the clearances from one district to another, under the law as it now stands, may give rise to evasions of the embargo. As one security the collectors have been instructed to refuse to receive the surrender of coasting licenses for the purpose of taking out registers, and to require bond from registered vessels bound from one district to another, for the delivery of the cargo within the United States.

It is not understood that the resolution applies to fishing vessels, although their occupations lie generally in parts beyond the United States. But without further restrictions there is an opportunity of their privileges being used as means of eluding the embargo.

All armed vessels possessing public commissions from any foreign power (letter of marque excepted) are considered as not liable to the embargo.

These circumstances are transmitted to Congress for their consideration.


George Washington, Special Message Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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