Cabinet Meeting. Opinion on the Best Mode
of Executing the Embargo1
[Philadelphia, March 26, 1794]
At a meeting of the heads of departments, and the Attorney general of the U. S. at the President’s, on the twenty sixth day of march 1794.
The resolution of congress, of this date being submitted to them by the President for their opinion as to the best Mode of executing the same;
It is advised unanimously, that the governors of the several States ought to be called upon to enforce the said embargo by the militia, wheresoever it may be necessary to appeal to force.2
DS, in the handwriting of Edmund Randolph, signed by William Bradford, H, Henry Knox, and Randolph, George Washington Papers, Library of Congress.
The joint resolution of Congress imposing a thirty-day embargo, which Washington approved on March 26, 1794, reads as follows: “That an embargo be laid on all ships and vessels in the ports of the United States, whether already cleared out, or not, bound to any foreign port or place, for the term of thirty days; and that no clearances be furnished, during that time, to any ship or vessel bound to such foreign port or place, except ships or vessels, under the immediate directions of the President of the United States: And that the President of the United States be authorized to give such instructions to the revenue officers of the United States, as shall appear best adapted for carrying the said resolution into full effect” (1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America (Boston, 1845). description ends 400).
2. On March 28, 1794, Washington informed the Senate and the House of Representatives that he had “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” (LC, George Washington Papers, Library of Congress). At Washington’s request Henry Knox wrote the letter to the governors of the states (Knox to Richard Dobbs Spaight, March 26, 1794 [LC, North Carolina Department of Archives and History, Raleigh]).