George Washington Papers

Cabinet Opinion on Enforcing the Embargo, 26 March 1794

Cabinet Opinion on Enforcing the Embargo

[Philadelphia, 26 March 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 1794.1

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;2

It is advised unanimously, that the governors of the several States ought to be called upon, to enforce the said embargo by the militia, whensoever it may be necessary to appeal to force.3

Edm: Randolph

A. Hamilton

H. Knox

Wm Bradford.

LS (in Edmund Randolph’s handwriting), DLC:GW. GW’s docket reads, “Opinion 26th–March–1794 On the proper mode for carrying the Embargo into effect.”

1Randolph wrote GW earlier this day that he had “the honor of informing the President, when the gentlemen are assembled. E. Randolph took the liberty of mentioning his office, on the supposition, that it might be more agreeable to the President, that the meeting should be there. But, as the President wishes to be present, it is submitted, whether it may not be more convenient to him, that they should wait upon him at his house” (DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters).

2The joint resolution of Congress, approved on this date, imposed a thirty-day embargo “on all ships and vessels in the ports of the United States” (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).

3On GW’s acceptance of the cabinet’s advice, see his letter to the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, 28 March.

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