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President Lincoln's Proclamation on
Commerce in the States in Insurrection
August 16, 1861
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
A PROCLAMATION
Whereas on the 15th day of April, 1861, the President of the United States, in
view of an insurrection against the laws, Constitution, and Government of the
United States which had broken out within the States of South Carolina,
Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas, and in
pursuance of the provisions of the act entitled "An act to provide for calling
forth the militia to execute the laws of the Union, suppress insurrections, and
repel invasions, and to repeal the act now in force for that purpose," approved
February 28, 1795, did call forth the militia to suppress said insurrection and to
cause the laws of the Union to be duly executed, and the insurgents have
failed to disperse by the time directed by the President; and

Whereas such insurrection has since broken out, and yet exists, within the
States of Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas; and

Whereas the insurgents in all the said States claim to act under the authority
thereof, and such claim is not disclaimed or repudiated by the persons
exercising the functions of government in such State or States or in the part or
parts thereof in which such combinations exist, nor has such insurrection been
suppressed by said States:

Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, in
pursuance of an act of Congress approved July 13, 1861, do hereby declare
that the inhabitants of the said States of Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia,
North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas,
Mississippi, and Florida (except the inhabitants of that part of the State of
Virginia lying west of the Alleghany Mountains and of such other parts of that
State and the other States hereinbefore named as may maintain a loyal
adhesion to the Union and the Constitution or may be from time to time
occupied and controlled by forces of the United States engaged in the
dispersion of said insurgents) are in a state of insurrection against the United
States, and that all commercial intercourse between the same and the
inhabitants thereof, with the exceptions aforesaid, and the citizens of other
States and other parts of the United States is unlawful, and will remain
unlawful until such insurrection shall cease or has been suppressed; that all
goods and chattels, wares and merchandise, coming from any of said States,
with the exceptions aforesaid, into other parts of the United States without the
special license and permission of the President, through the Secretary of the
Treasury (Ed:
Salmon P Chase), or proceeding to any of said States, with the
exceptions aforesaid, by land or water, together with the vessel or vehicle
conveying the same or conveying persons to or from said States, with said
exceptions, will be forfeited to the United States; and that from and after fifteen
days from the issuing of this proclamation all ships and vessels belonging in
whole or in part to any citizen or inhabitant of any of said States, with said
exceptions, found at sea or in any port of the United States will be forfeited to
the United States; and I hereby enjoin upon all district attorneys, marshals,
and officers of the revenue and of the military and naval forces of the United
States to be vigilant in the execution of said act and in the enforcement of the
penalties and forfeitures imposed or declared by it, leaving any party who may
think himself aggrieved thereby to his application to the Secretary of the
Treasury for the remission of any penalty or forfeiture, which the said
Secretary is authorized by law to grant if in his judgment the special
circumstances of any case shall require such remission.

In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the
United States to be affixed.

Done at the city of Washington, this 16th day of August, A.D. 1861, and of the
Independence of the United States the eighty-sixth.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN.
By the President:

WILLIAM H. SEWARD
Secretary of State
Salmon P Chase - Secretary of Treasury
Library of Congress
Abraham Lincoln
Library of Congress
William Seward
Secretary of State
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Secretary of the Navy, Gideon Welles on the Anaconda Plan (from his diaries vol 1)
“We were all aware that General Scott had, at the very commencement, begun with this error of defense, the
Anaconda theory; was unwilling to invade the seceding States, said we must shut off the world from the Rebels
by blockade and by our defenses. He had always been reluctant to enter Virginia or strike a blow.”

“His influence in the early months of the Administration was, in some respects, unfortunate. It was a maze of
uncertainty and indecision. He was sincerely devoted to the Union and anxious that the Rebellion should be
extinguished, yet shrank from fighting. Seward had brought him into his policy of meeting aggression with
concession. Blockade some of the worst cities, or shut up their ports, guard them closely, collect duties on
shipboard, or “let the wayward sisters go in peace.” His object seemed to be to avoid hostilities, but to throw
the labor of the conflict on the Navy if there was to be war. He still strove, however, as did Seward, to
compromise difficulties by a national convention to remodel the Constitution, though aware the Democrats
would assent to nothing. General Scott inaugurated the system of frontiers, and did not favor the advance of
our armies into the rebellious States. The time for decisive action, he thought, had passed, and those who were
for prompt, energetic measures, which, just entering on administrative duties, they desired, were checked by
the General-in-Chief.”

"I had, in the early states of the War, disapproved of the policy of General Scott, which was purely defensive,
--- non-intercourse with the insurgents, shut them out from the world by blockade and military frontier lines,
but not to invade their territory. The anaconda policy was, I then thought (1861) and still think (1863), unwise
for the country. The policy of General McClellan has not been essentially different..."

The Law of Blockade. (The Jeffersonian Democrat. Chardon, Ohio, May 24, 1861)
A blockade is a high act of sovereign authority. Every belligerent has a right to blockade the ports of his
enemy, but in order to render neutral vessels liable to the penalty which attaches to a breach of the blockade
there must be:

First, an actual blockade imposed by competent authority. Second, notice thereof. Third, a violation of the
blockade. A mere proclamation that a particular port is invested is sufficient to constitute a legal blockade. For
that purpose it is necessary that the place be invested by a competent naval force. A blockade commences
from the time a competent naval force. A blockade commences from the time a competent naval force is
stationed to prevent communication. There are two kinds of blockade; one by the simple fact only;
the other by notification, accompanied by the fact. In the former case, when the fact ceases (otherwise than by
accident or the shifting of the wind,) there is immediately an end of the blockade. But when the fact is
accompanied hy a public notification from the government of a belligerent  country to neutral governments,
prima facie the blockade must he supposed to exist till it has been publicly repealed.

A blockade must be existing in point of fact, and to constitute that existence there must be power present to
enforce it. The famous Berlin and Milan decrees and the British orders in council were held illegal, because
they assumed, in contravention of the clearest principles of public law, to impose the penalties of a breach oft
blockade where no actual blockade existed: in other words, to create a blockade by proclamation. The United
States government has uniformly insisted that a blockade should be made effective by the presence of a
competent force, and have also protested against the application of the rights of seizuse and confiscation to
ineffectual or fictitious blockade.

A blockade having been established the ingress and egress of  vessels are acts treated as breaches of it, for the
destruction of the enemy's commerce is the very object of the blockade. It is intended to suspend the entire
commerce of the place, and a neutral is no more at liberty to assist the traffic of exportation than of
importation. The utmost that can be allowed  to a neutral is, that having taken in cargo before the blockade
begins, she may be it liberty to retire with it.

The sanctions of the law of blockade are the seizure and condemnation of the offending ship or cargo, either or
both.

Shreveport Daily News. (Shreveport, La., May 25, 1861)
Lt Gentlemen of our town just from New Orleans inform us that a rumor -upon reliable authority reached that
city just as they were leaving, that - the Foreign Ministers at Washington had notified the Lincoln authorities
at Washington, in behalf of their governments, that they must define their a position. They must either
acknowledge the Confederate States and declare war against them as a foreign nation, or remove the
blockade. That they could not blockade their own ports.-
La. Baptist.

The Blockade.(Clarksville chronicle. Tenn., August 16, 1861)
The blockade of the southern ports,and of the Mississippi river, are beginning already to have its legitimate
effects. We copy the following from the Iowa State Journal, which shows clearly that the blockade will have to
be removed from the Mississippi, or the Northwest will be ruined :

The blows dealt by the Administration to punish disloyalty are most fearful in their recoil. The loyal northwest is
being ruined by means taken to harrass and disturb the country of the southern Mississippi. Whether the
Administration knows it or not is a question somebody else must answer. Wheat in this city, of a good
merchantable quality, will not sell for 25 cents pr bushel ; corn has been sold and delivered one hundred miles
east of us at seven cent per bushel, and still the tendency is down, down, down. It always appeared to us that
the better policy was to drain the South of specie and concentrate it here.

The loyal Northwest and the disloyal South feel alike the blow. The last, stimulated to greater endeavors, sows
broader acres, and lives while we languish. We can tell the " blood invoking " advocates of this war, that the "
plain men of Mr.Lincoln's proclamation are becoming aroused. They see ruin staring them in the face. They,
see every avenue which has hitherto brought them wealth choked up more, they see evidences of the
animus
of this war, and all of them, Republicans as well as democrats, are beginning to think. From every hill-top of
Iowa tho cry will soon come, "Peace, take off restrictions, unlock the channels of commerce, give us peace
and life." We know it; we state nothing from hearsay or conjecture; it is the monotone of the people which will
become stronger with the need. The Mississippi must be opened and the Northwest saved.

The Mississippi must be opened and the Northwest saved.

The Blockade of Charleston (Nashville union and American., November 19, 1861)
A dispatch from Washington to one of the Northern papers, says : We learn from an unquestionable
commercial source in this city that two English sailing vessels entered the port of Charleston, S. C., a few
weeks ago; there being at that time no blockading ship at that port. Lord Lyons now demands of the Secretary
of State that these vessels be allowed to leave Charleston unmolested, on the ground that, at the time of their
going in, the blockade was not effective --
Charleston Mercury, Nov. 9

The French (Polynesian. Honolulu, Hawaii, May 24, 1862)
The fact that France had dispatched a steam frigate, the
Gassendi, and a Minister to Richmond (Va.), was
incidentally noticed in a telegraph from Fort Monroe, April 18, saying that the frigate " was still at Norfolk,
awaiting the return of the French Minister from Richmond." When the reader naturally asks. What's in
the wind ? a telegraph from New York, April 17, offers to explain by saying :

"A special dispatch from Washington states that the object of the French Minister's visit to Richmond is to
assert the right of French merchants to large quantities of tobacco in the hands of the rebels." If that it the
reason, we fear the French government will be obliged to take it out in "asserting," seeing that the blockade will
not permit the rebels to fill the orders of the French merchants just now.

Great Britain and the Confederacy (Daily Appeal, Jackson Miss. April 14, 1863)
We publish in full this morning the correspondence of the British foreign office with our minister. Mr Mason,
the United States minister. Mr. Adams, and the British ambassador at Washington, Lord Lyons, touching the
American war and the attitude of Great Britain toward the belligerents, which has recently been brought before
the public by a resolution of Parliament. Mr. Mason's correspondence runs through a period of about a year,
and discusses with ability and clearness the questions of blockade, recognition and intervention.

After reading all the letters, remarks the Richmond
Whig,  no impartial mind will fail to conclude that Mr. M.
has presented these subjects in such a light as to show, on the part of the British government, a gross disregard
of precedent and law, a shameless interpolation and distortion of the treaty of Paris, a heartless insensibility to
the claims of humanity, and a cowardly forgetfulness of what was due to the manhood of the renowned British
race. The most perfect neutrality that could possibly have been maintained would have operated unequally on
the Confederate States: but not content with that, the British government, after inviting our accession to the
treaty of Paris, and obtaining from that accession all the benefits it gives a neutral, has chosen to interpret that
treaty in a way that deprives us of the only corresponding benefit that could it accrued to us. This is strongly set
forth in one of the letters of Mr. Mason. The position laid down by Earl Russell as to the requisites necessary
to be possessed and presented on the part of a government claiming recognition, though these requisites are
not wanting in our case is not in accordance with numerous cases in British history. Lord Russell places the
great people whose organ in this matter he is, in the disgraceful, and, we believe, false attitude, of having no
other rule of conduct than interest and policy. And even these he has altogether misjudged, under a childish
terror of Seward and his threats. It will not be many years when if the Confederate States adopt the policy
toward Great Britain to which the course of  her foreign minister provokes us, she will repent in sackcloth and
ashes, that she tolerated him for a day. It can never be forgotten that for more than two years that government
occupied toward us, in this our struggle for liberty and life, a ground of pretended neutrality, all the benefits of
which went to our enemies, while all its hardships fell upon us and that to justify itself in continuing to hold this
ground, it did not scruple to pervert the plain and solemn meaning of a treaty into which it had perfidiously
induced us to enter. It can never be forgotten, that for more than two years of a bloody and desolating war, the
horrors of which were ? and prolonged by her delay, she refused us the recognition to which we were entitled
by the highest proofs ever presented in the history of the world by any people asserting a claim to
independence. The mighty kingdom, for which this narrow-minded and soulless secretary speaks, was never,
itself, put to such a test as we have been compelled to undergo, and have undergone triumphantly. these things,
we say, will not, and ought not to be, forgotten, when we come hereafter to establish those relations of amity
and commerce in which peace will give birth.

In commenting upon the same correspondence, the Richmond
Enquirer says:

The extraordinary diplomatic correspondence between Mr. Mason, the Confederate minister in england and
Earl Russell, the meanest of mankind, has been published by Parliament. Mr. Davis should proclaim a day of
humiliation after reading it. Not that the Confederate minister has made either blunder or mistake. He has said
what good sense and dignity prompted; neither too much nor too little; and said it well but it truly humiliating to
witness the position the Confederacy's representative occupies, and has occupied for more than a year;
petitioning humbly for a personal, not official, interview only, refused because Lord John Russell thinks no
good can be effected by talking with Mr. Mason.

If it could be hoped that the cause of the country could be in any way advanced by aught that a minister can do
or say, it would be weak to put affronts which disgrace only those who offer them, in the balance but nations
and governments are guided, in affairs like these, by self-interest only; and they know what that is better than
any foreign minister can tell them. England has no interest in putting an end to this war, but a very strong one in
the continued existence of the Southern Confederacy. The presence of its suppliant representative, with other
beggars, on the doorsteps of Lord Russell's house, is a quiet and comfortable assurance, that the Confederacy
is still intact, and has not the slightest intention of going back into the Union. But his departure, hopeless and
defeated, would awaken an interest in him never felt before. The idea that the Confederacy might have
concluded to give over the struggle and treat with the Union on its own account, would threaten an alarm the
most vivid and profound that British statesmen are capable of feeling. Those who suppose it to be the interest
of our cause that Europe should believe this country is powerful, united, successful, confident, and determined
on a long war, however true that belief may be, are very certainly in error. If on the contrary, the Confederacy
was thought by the Governments of Europe to be exhausted, disheartened, broken and on the point of
dissolution, they would move at once and decisively. The recall of our useless and mortified ministers, would
do much to excite that opinion; and though offensive to the national vanity, it would be far less painful to real
pride and self-respect, than the spectacle with which we are now presented.

Excitement on Blockade. Running. (The Camden Daily Chronicle, Dec. 6, 1864)
The Columbia Carolinian gets from a private letter the following spirited description of a late passago through
the blockade. The writer,., as a passenger, was a part of what he describes :

The
Hattie, Capt. Lebby, left Nassau on Sunday, the 20th inst., for Wilmington, but owing to a heavy gale of
wind from W. N. W., failed to make her usual quick time. On Tuesday, just before daylight, she was brought
to anchor about forty miles from the bar, where her Capt. hoped to lay till dark, unobserved by the enemy.
The morning had scarcely dawned, however, when she was descried by two of the blockading squadron, who
immediately gave chase. The
Hattie slipped her anchor chain, and  took the desperate chance of attempting to
reach the bar. In a second she was speeding across the water like a thing of life, the Yankees in hot pursuit,
"So you really hope to reach the bar?" I asked, the Captain as the shot and shell came whizzing about us in
every direction. "I will either reach it," was the cool rejoinder, "or die game". The struggle was to put ourselves
under the guns of the fort, which soon came in sight. "More steam, boys" shouted the Captain, "and we will be
safe." -A little longer, and we were near enough to sec that the batteries of the fort were manned. Last of all
came the shout from the artillerists on the fort and along the shore, as we glided across the bar, perfectly
unscathed, after an exciting chase of  five hours. It was the greatest feat in blockade running on record.

Loss of a Blockade Runner. (The Camden Daily Chronicle, Dec. 6, 1864)
The steamer "Beatrice," from Nassau, got ashore on Sunday night during the fog near Sullivan's Island
Beach. She was trying to make the Channel when she became surrounded by Yankee barges, which kept up a
constant fire of grape and musketry on the vessel, preventing the officers and crew from getting the ship off
after she grounded on the shoal. The Capt., Pilot and ten men, got ashore on Sullivan's Island in a boat; and it
is feared that the balance of the crew, some thirty in number, have either been killed or captured.

The ship and cargo will be a total loss.

Blockade Running
In connection with the closing of the port of Wilmington, the following statistics of the blockade running are
interesting:

In 1862, 1863 and 1864, no fewer than 111 swift steamers were built on the Clyde for the purpose of running
the blockade of the Confederate ports. Of the whole 111 steamers, 70 have either been captured- or destroyd,
leaving at the close of 1864, 29 still running while 11 were on their way out. The number running at the close of
1864 was larger than at any previous period in the annals of this blockade. The average number of trips made
by a blockade runner does not exceed five, so that enormous profits must be realized per voyage to make this
peculiar branch of adventure at all remunerative. Most of the blockade runners become watchers, in which
capacity they prove very serviceable. It may be added that notwithstanding the large number of blockade
runners captured or destroyed, more new steamers were built on the Clyde in 1864 to supply their places than
either in 1862 or 1863, showing that speculators and not at all disheartened.