Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 8.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.

Proclamation Concerning Foreign Port Privileges [1]

April 11, 1865

By the President of the United States of America:

A Proclamation.

Whereas, for some time past, vessels of war of the United States have been refused in certain foreign ports, privileges and immunitiesPage  398 to which they were entitled by treaty, public law or the comity of nations, at the same time that vessels of war of the country wherein the said privileges and immunities have been withheld have enjoyed them fully and uninterruptedly in ports of the United States; which condition of things has not always been forcibly resisted by the United States, although, on the other hand, they have not at any time failed to protest against and declare their dissatisfaction with the same. In the view of the United States no condition any longer exists which can be claimed to justify the denial to them by any one of such nations of customary naval rights, as has heretofore been so unnecessarily persisted in:

Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do hereby make known that, if after a reasonable time shall have elapsed for intelligence of this Proclamation to have reached any foreign country in whose ports the said privileges and immunities shall have been refused as aforesaid, they shall continue to be so refused, then and thenceforth the same privileges and immunities shall be refused to the vessels of war of that country in the ports of the United States, and this refusal shall continue until war vessels of the United States, shall have been placed upon an entire equality in the foreign ports aforesaid with similar vessels of other countries---the United States, whatever claim or pretence may have existed heretofore, are now, at least, entitled to claim and concede an entire and friendly equality of rights and hospitalities with all maritime nations.

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 eleventh day of April, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-five, and of the Independence of the United States of America the eighty-ninth. ABRAHAM LINCOLN

By the President:

WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.


[1]   DS, DNA FS RG 11, Proclamations.