United States Embargo Act- December 22, 1807

 

The Embargo Act of 1807 was an American law prohibiting all export of cargo from American ports. It was designed to force Britain to rescind its restrictions on American trade, but failed, and was repealed in early 1809. Specifically, the act prohibited American goods from being shipped to foreign ports and all foreign vessels from taking cargo at American ports. Cargo for the coastal trade had to be bonded at double value. Foreign imports were not banned, but they mostly ceased because ships would have to return empty. It represented President Thomas Jefferson's response to the United Kingdom's Orders in Council (1807) and France's Continental System, which were severely hurting America's merchant marines. Although it was designed to force the British and French to change their commercial systems, neither country did, and the Act was repealed in 1809.

 

Embargo Act- December 22, 1807

Be it enacted . . ., That an embargo be, and hereby is laid on all ships and vessels in the ports and places within the limits or jurisdiction of the United States, cleared or not cleared, bound to any foreign port or place; and that no clearance be furnished to any ship or vessel bound to such foreign port or place, except vessels under the immediate direction of the President of the United States: and that the President be authorized to give such instructions to the officers of the revenue, and of the navy and revenue cutters of the United States, as shall appear best adapted for carrying the same into full effect: Provided, that nothing herein contained shall be construed to prevent the departure of any foreign ship or vessel, either in ballast, or with the goods, wares and merchandise on board of such foreign ship or vessel, when notified of this act.

SEC. 2. And be it further enacted, That during the continuance of this act, no registered, or sea letter vessel, having on board goods, wares and merchandise, shall be allowed to depart from one port of the United States to any other within the same, unless the master, owner, consignee or factor of such vessel shall first give bond, with one or more sureties to the collector of the district from which she is bound to depart, in a sum of double the value of the vessel and cargo, that the said goods, wares, or merchandise shall be relanded in some port of the United States, dangers of the seas excepted, which bond, and also a certificate from the collector where the same may be relanded, shall by the collector respectively be transmitted to the Secretary of the Treasury. All armed vessels possessing public commissions from any foreign power, are not to be considered as liable to the embargo laid by this act.

 


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