George Washington Papers
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From George Washington to the United States Senate and House of Representatives, 28 March 1794

To the United States Senate and House of Representatives

United States 28. March 1794.

Gentlemen of the Senate, and of the House of Representatives.

In the execution of the resolution of Congress, bearing date the 26. 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.1

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 licences 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.2

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 priviledges being used as means of eluding the embargo.

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

These circumstances are transmitted to Congress for their consideration.3

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LS, DNA: RG 46, Third Congress, 1793–95, Senate Records of Legislative Proceedings, President’s Messages; LB, DNA: RG 233, Third Congress, 1793–95, House Records of Legislative Proceedings, Journals; LB, DLC:GW.

1For the resolve of Congress, see Stat description begins Richard Peters, ed. The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America, from the Organization of the Government in 1789, to March 3, 1845 . . .. 8 vols. Boston, 1845-67. description ends . 1:400. For the administration’s decision to call upon state governors to assist in enforcing the embargo, see Cabinet Opinion, 26 March. For the circular letter of 26 March that Knox sent to the governors of the maritime states, see n.1 of Thomas Mifflin to GW, 27 March.

2For these instructions, see Alexander Hamilton’s circular letter to the collectors of customs of 26 March (Hamilton Papers description begins Harold C. Syrett et al., eds. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. 27 vols. New York, 1961–87. description ends , 16:199–200).

3For clarification of the restrictions imposed by the embargo, see the congressional resolution that was approved on 2 April (Stat description begins Richard Peters, ed. The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America, from the Organization of the Government in 1789, to March 3, 1845 . . .. 8 vols. Boston, 1845-67. description ends . 1:400–401).

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