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An Act to Prohibit American Vessels from Proceeding to or Trading with the Enemies of the United States, and for Other Purposes
(6 July 1812)

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 in whole or in part by a citizen or citizens of the United States, shall be permitted to clear out or depart from any port- or place within the limits of the United States or territories thereof to any foreign port or place, till the owner or owners, agent, factor, freighter, master or commander shall have given bond, with sufficient security, in the amount of such ship or vessel and cargo, not to proceed to or trade with the enemies of the United States. And if any ship or vessel owned as aforesaid, stroll depart from any port or place within the limits of the United States or territories thereof, for any foreign port or place without giving bond with security aforesaid, such ship or vessel, and cargo, shall be forfeited to the use of the United States; and the owner or owners, freighter, factor or agent, master or commander, shall severally forfeit and pay a sum equal to the value of such ship or vessel and cargo; and the said master or commander, if privy thereto, and being thereof convicted, shall be liable to a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars, and imprisoned for a term not exceeding twelve months, in the discretion of the court.

SEC. 2. And be it further enacted, That if any citizen or citizens of the United States, or person inhabiting the same, shall transport or attempt to transport, over land or otherwise, in any wagon, cart, sleigh, boat, or otherwise, naval or military stores, arms or the munitions of war, or any article of provision, from any place of the United States, to any place in Upper or Lower Canada, Nova Scotia or New Brunswick the wagon, cart, sleigh, boat, or the thing by-which the said naval or military stores, arms, or munitions of war or articles of provision are transported or attempted to be transported, together with such naval or military stores, army munitions of war or provisions, shall be forfeited to the use of the United States, and the person or persons aiding or privy to the same shall severally forfeit and pay to the use of the United States a sum equal in value to the wagon, cart, sleigh, boat, or thing by which the said naval or military stores, arms, or munitions of war or articles of provision, are transported, or are attempted to be transported; and shall moreover be considered as guilty of a misdemeanor, and be liable to be Sued in a sum not exceeding five hundred dollars, and imprisoned for a tern not exceeding six months, in the discretion of the court, Provided, that nothing herein contained shall extend to any transportation for the use or on account of the United States or the supply of its troops or armed force.

SEC. 3. And be it further enacted, That the collectors of the several ports of the United States be, and the same are hereby authorized to seize and stop naval or military stores, arms, or the munitions of war, or any articles of provision, and ship or vessel, wagon, cart, sleigh, boat, or thing by which any article prohibited as aforesaid is shipped or transported, or attempted to be shipped or transported, contrary to the provisions of this act.

SEC. 4. And be it further enacted, That no ship or vessel belonging to any citizen or citizens, subject or subjects of any state or kingdom in amity with the United States, except such as at the passage of this act shall belong to the citizen or citizens, subject or subjects of such state or kingdom, or which shall hereafter be built in the limits of a state or kingdom in amity with the United States, or purchased by a citizen or citizens, subject or subjects of a state or kingdom in amity with the United States aforesaid, from a citizen or citizens of the United States, shall be admitted into any port or place of the United States, unless forced by stress of weather, or for necessary repairs; and any ship or. vessel, belonging to a citizen or citizens, subject or subjects of any state or kingdom in amity with the United States, as aforesaid, except such ships and vessels as are above excepted, which shall, from and after the first day of November next, enter, or attempt to enter any port or place aforesaid, the same, with her cargo, shall be forfeited to the use of the United States.

SEC. 5. And be it further enacted, That any British packet or vessel with despatches destined for the United States, and which shall have departed from any port or place in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland or- its dependencies, on or before the first day of September next, shall not be liable to be captured or condemned, but the same shall be permitted to enter and depart from any port or place in the United States: Provided, that nothing herein contained shall be construed to affect any cartel, or vessel with flag of truce.

SEC. 6. And be it further enacted, That The president of the United States be, and he is hereby authorized to give, at any time within six months after the passage of this act, passports for the safe transportation of any ship or other property belonging to British subjects, and which is now within the limits of the United States.

SEC. 7. And be it further enacted, That every person being a citizen of the United States, or residing therein, who shall receive, accept, or obtain a license from the government of Great Britain, or any officer thereof, for leave to carry any merchandise, or send any vessel into any port or place within the dominions of Great Britain, or to trade with any such port or place, shall, on conviction for every such offense, for felt a sum equal to twice the value of any such ship merchandise or articles of trade, and shall moreover be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and be liable to be imprisoned not exceeding twelve months, and to be fined not exceeding one thousand dollars.

APPROVED, JULY 6, 1812.
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