James Monroe

Special Message

January 13, 1825

To the Senate of the United States:

In compliance with two resolutions of the Senate, the first of the 21st and the second of the 23d December last, requesting information respecting the injuries which have been sustained by our citizens by piratical depredations, and other details connected therewith, and requesting also information of the measures which have been adopted for the suppression of piracy, and whether in the opinion of the Executive it will not be necessary to adopt other means for the accomplishment of the object, and, in that event, what other means it will be most advisable to recur to, I herewith transmit a report from the Secretary of State, and likewise a report from the Secretary of the Navy, with the documents referred to in each.

On the very important question submitted to the Executive as to the necessity of recurring to other more effectual means for the suppression of a practice so destructive of the lives and property of our citizens, I have to observe that three expedients occur--one by the pursuit of the offenders to the settled as well as the unsettled parts of the island from whence they issue, another by reprisal on the property of the inhabitants, and a third by the blockade of the ports of those islands. It will be obvious that neither of these measures can be resorted to in a spirit of amity with Spain otherwise than in a firm belief that neither the Government of Spain nor the government of either of the islands has the power to suppress that atrocious practice, and that the United States interposed their aid for the accomplishment of an object which is of equal importance to them as well as to us. Acting on this principle, the facts which justify the proceeding being universally known and felt by all engaged in commerce in that sea, it may fairly be presumed that neither will the Government of Spain nor the government of either of those islands complain of a resort to either of those measures, or to all of them, should such resort be necessary. It is therefore suggested that a power commensurate with either resource be granted to the Executive, to be exercised according to his discretion and as circumstances may imperiously require. It is hoped that the manifestation of a policy so decisive will produce the happiest result; that it will rid these seas and this hemisphere of this practice. This hope is strengthened by the belief that the Government of Spain and the governments of the islands, particularly of Cuba, whose chief is known here, will faithfully cooperate in such measures as may be necessary for the accomplishment of this very important object. To secure such cooperation will be the earnest desire and, of course, the zealous and persevering effort of the Executive.


James Monroe, Special Message Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/207029

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