James Madison

Special Message

February 25, 1815

To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States:

Peace having happily taken place between the United States and Great Britain, it is desirable to guard against incidents which during periods of war in Europe might tend to interrupt it, and it is believed in particular that the navigation of American vessels exclusively by American seamen, either natives or such as are already naturalized, would not only conduce to the attainment of that object, but also to increase the number of our seamen, and consequently to render our commerce and navigation independent of the service of foreigners who might be recalled by their governments under circumstances the most inconvenient to the United States. I recommend the subject, therefore, to the consideration of Congress, and in deciding upon it I am persuaded that they will sufficiently estimate the policy of manifesting to the world a desire on all occasions to cultivate harmony with other nations by any reasonable accommodations which do not impair the enjoyment of any of the essential rights of a free and independent people. The example on the part of the American Government will merit and may be expected to receive a reciprocal attention from all the friendly powers of Europe.


James Madison, Special Message Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/205086

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