Declaration of War
Quasi-War with France, June 13. 1798
An Act to Suspend the Commercial Intercourse between the United States and France, and the Dependencies Thereof.
SECTION 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That no ship or vessel, owned, hired, or employed, wholly or in part, by any person resident within the United States, and which shall depart therefrom after the first day of July next, shall be allowed to proceed directly, or from any intermediate port or place, to any port or place within the territory of the French Republic, or the dependencies thereof, or to any place in the West Indies, or elsewhere under the acknowledged government of France, or shall be employed in any traffic or commerce with, or for any person resident within the jurisdiction, or under the authority of the French Republic. And if any ship or vessel, in any voyage thereafter commencing, and before her return within the United States, shall be voluntarily carried, or suffered to proceed to any French port or place as aforesaid, or shall be employed as aforesaid, contrary to the intent hereof, every such ship or vessel together with her cargo shall be forfeited, and shall accrue, the one half to the use of the United States, and the other half to the use of any person or persons, citizens of the United States, who will inform and prosecute for the same: and shall be liable to be seized, prosecuted and condemned in any circuit or district court of the United States which shall be holden within or for the district where the seizure shall be made.
SEC. 2. And be it further enacted, That after the first day of July next, no clearance for a foreign voyage shall be granted to any ship or vessel, owned, hired, or employed, wholly or in part, by any person resident within the United States, until a bond shall be given to the use of the United States, wherein the owner or employer, if usually resident or present, where the clearance shall be required, and otherwise his agent or factor, and the master or captain of such ship or vessel for the intended voyage, shall be parties, in a sum equal to the value of the ship or vessel, and her cargo, and shall find sufficient surety or sureties, to the amount of one half the value thereof, with condition that the same shall not, during her intended voyage, or before her return within the United States, proceed, or be carried, directly or indirectly, to any port or place within the territory of the French Republic, or the dependencies thereof, or any place in the West Indies, or elsewhere, under the acknowledged government of France, unless by distress of weather, or want of provisions, or by actual force and violence, to be fully proved and manifested before the acquittance of such bond; and that such vessel is not, and shall not be employed during her intended voyage, or before her return, as aforesaid, in any traffic or commerce with or for any person resident within the territory of that republic, or in any of the dependencies thereof.
SEC. 3. And be it further enacted, That from and after due notice of the passing of this act, no French ship or vessel, armed or unarmed, commissioned by or for, or under the authority of the French Republic, or owned, fitted, hired or employed by any person resident within the territory of that republic, or any of the dependencies thereof, or sailing or coming therefrom, excepting any vessel to which the President of the United States shall grant a passport, which he is hereby authorized to grant in all cases where it shall be requisite for the purposes of any political or national intercourse, shall be allowed an entry, or to remain within the territory of the United States, unless driven there by distress of weather or in want of provisions. And if contrary to the intent hereof any such ship or vessel shall be found within the jurisdictional limits of the United States, not being liable to seizure for any other cause, the company having charge thereof shall be required to depart and carry away the same, avoiding all unnecessary delay; and if they shall, notwithstanding, remain, it shall be the duty of the collector of the district, wherein, or nearest to which, such ship or vessel shall be, to seize and detain the same, at the expense of the United States: Provided, that ships or vessels which shall be bona fide the property of, or hired or employed by citizens of the United States, shall be excepted from this prohibition until the first day of December next, and no longer: And provided that in the case of vessels hereby prohibited, which shall be driven by distress of weather, or the want of provisions into any port or place of the United States, they may be suffered to remain under the custody of the collector there, or nearest thereto, until suitable repairs or supplies can be obtained, and as soon as may be thereafter shall be required and suffered to depart: but no part of the lading of such vessel shall be taken out or disposed of, unless by the special permit of such collector, or to defray the unavoidable expense of such repairs or supplies.
SEC. 4. And be it farther enacted, That this act shall continue and be in force until the end of the next session of Congress, and no longer.
SEC. 5. Provided, and be it further enacted, That if, before the next session of Congress, the government of France, and all persons acting by or under their authority, shall clearly disavow, and shall be found to refrain from the aggressions, depredations and hostilities which have been, and are by them encouraged and maintained against the vessels and other property of the citizens of the United States, and against their national rights and sovereignty, in violation of the faith of treaties, and the laws of nations, and shall thereby acknowledge the just claims of the United States to be considered as in all respects neutral, and unconnected in the present European war, if the same shall be continued, then and thereupon it shall be lawful for the President of the United States, being well ascertained of the premises, to remit and discontinue the prohibitions and restraints hereby enacted and declared; and he shall be, and is hereby authorized to make proclamation thereof accordingly: Provided, that nothing in this act contained, shall extend to any ship or vessel to which the President of the United States shall grant a permission to enter or clear; which permission he is hereby authorized to grant to vessels which shall be solely employed in any purpose of political or national intercourse, or to aid the departure of any French persons, with their goods and effects, who shall have been resident within the United States, when he may think it requisite.
APPROVED. June 13. 1798.
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