In carrying into effect these principles, and in suppressing the attempts to evade and resist them, and in order to maintain the Constitution and execute the laws, it became necessary to interdict commerce at those ports where duties could not be collected, the laws maintained and executed, and where the officers of the Government were not tolerated or permitted to exercise their functions. In performing this domestic municipal duty,1 the property and interests of foreigners became to some extent involved in our home questions, and with a view to extending to them every comity that the circumstances would justify, the rules of blockade were adopted, and, as far as practicable, made applicable to the cases that occurred under this embargo or noninter-course of the insurgent States. The commanders of the squadron were directed to permit the vessels of foreigners to depart within fifteen days, as in cases of actual effective blockade, and then vessels were not to be seized unless they attempted, after having been once warned off, to enter an interdicted port in disregard of such warning.In referring to the blockade in these words, the Navy Department clearly had in mind a measure of internal administration; and this domestic application of a belligerent right was excused on the ground of a desire to extend every possible comity to foreigners. But in putting forward this plea, the Secretary failed to see that the application of the rules of blockade to a domestic embargo, so far from extending comity to foreigners, abridged their rights, and imposed on them liabilities and penalties which no domestic embargo of itself could produce. It was not the foreign trader, but the belligerent cruiser that gained by the adoption of the rules of blockade. A government has the right to close its own ports, and to impose heavy penalties upon all who attempt
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1 The italics are not in the original.
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