nts with the enemy's ships-of-war, counted for almost nothing as an effectual barrier to commerce along 3,000 miles of coast.
To undertake such a task, and to proclaim the undertaking to the world, in all its magnitude, at a time when the Navy Department had only three steam-vessels at its immediate disposal in home ports, was an enterprise of the greatest boldness and hardihood.
For the days of paper blockades were over; and, though the United States were not a party to the Declaration of Paris, its rule in regard to blockade was only the formal expression of a law universally recognized.
Blockades, to be binding, must be effective—that is to say, maintained by a force sufficient really to prevent access to the coast of the enemy; or, according to the general interpretation given to the treaty, sufficient to create an evident danger in entering or leaving the port.
In this sense, the Government understood its responsibilities and prepared to meet them.
It was natural, in view