U.S. Proclamation Regarding Commerce with St. Domingo (1799)

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President Adams had said of Saint-Domingue "They are necessary to us and we are necessary to them". (Sepinwall)


Whereas by an act of the Congress of the United States passed the 9th day of February last, entitled "An act further to suspend the commercial intercourse between the United States and France and the dependencies thereof," it is provided that at any time after the passing of this act it shall be lawful for the President of the United States, if he shall deem it expedient and consistent with the interests of the United States, by his order to remit and discontinue for the time being the restraints and prohibitions by the said act imposed, either with respect to the French Republic or to any island, port, or place belonging to the said Republic with which a commercial intercourse may safely be renewed, and also to revoke such order whenever, in his opinion, the interest of the United States shall require; and he is authorized to make proclamation thereof accordingly; and

Whereas the arrangements which have been made at St. Domingo for the safety of the commerce of the United States and for the admission of American vessels into certain ports of that island do, in my opinion, render it expedient and for the interest of the United States to renew a commercial intercourse with such ports:

Therefore I, John Adams, President of the United States, by virtue of the powers vested in me by the above-recited act, do hereby remit and discontinue the restraints and prohibitions therein contained within the limits and under the regulations here following, to wit:

1. It shall be lawful for vessels which have departed or may depart from the United States to enter the ports of Cape Francois and Port Republicain, formerly called Port-au-Prince, in the said island of St. Domingo, on and after the 1st day of August next.
2. No vessel shall be cleared for any other port in St. Domingo than Cape Francois and Port Republicain 1.
3. It shall be lawful for vessels which shall enter the said ports of Cape Francois and Port Republicain after the gist day of July next to depart from thence to any other port in said island between Monte Christi on the north and Petit Goave on the west; provided it be done with the consent of the Government of St. Domingo and pursuant to certificates or passports expressing such consent, signed by the consul-general of the United States or consul residing at the port of departure.
4. All vessels sailing in contravention of these regulations will be out of the protection of the United States and be, moreover, liable to capture, seizure, and confiscation.

Given under my hand and the seal of the United States, at Philadelphia the 26th day of June, A. D. 1799, and of the Independence of the said States the twenty-third.

By the President:
Secretary of State.

Note 1: During the Haitian and French Revolutions, Port-au-Prince was called Port Republicain.

See also


  • A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents. (1887) Prepared under the direction of the Joint Committee on printing, of the House and Senate. Pursuant to an Act of the Fifty-Second Congress of the United States. New York : Bureau of National Literature, Inc..
  • Sepinwall, Alyssa Goldstein, California State University - San Marcos. "The Specter of Saint-Domingue: The Impact of the Haitian Revolution in the United States and France." The Haitian Revolution: Viewed 200 Years After, an International Scholarly Conference. John Carter Brown Library, Providence, RI. June 20, 2004