[Philadelphia. 1799]. p. on a single folio sheet, text printed in three columns. Docketed in ink on the verso. Three horizontal folds. Some light edgewear, small separations at the edges of the folds, not affecting text. Very good. Item #WRCAM48177
Rare congressional act extending the suspension of trade with France during the so-called "Quasi-War" of the late 1790s, and adding a provision allowing the U.S. Navy to inspect and seize American ships that are violating the embargo. This act was approved Feb. 9, 1799, and extends the provisions of the law first approved June 13, 1798. It is signed in type at the conclusion by President Adams, Vice-President Jefferson, and Speaker of the House Jonathan Dayton. The Quasi-War was an undeclared conflict between the United States and France during the Adams administration in the late 1790s, manifested mostly in naval engagements between the two nations. The war was the outgrowth of deteriorating Franco-American relations, which had been weakened earlier in the decade by the "Genet Affair" and the "XYZ Affair," and it wreaked havoc on commerce between the two nations. One of the main weapons wielded by Adams was to ban American commerce from France and French dependencies, accomplished by the congressional act of 1798 and extended by the present law. The law forbids American ships from trading with France or with French dependencies, including in the West Indies, and goes on to bar French commerce and French ships from American ports. Significantly, this act goes beyond the provisions of the 1798 law by permitting United States navy vessels to inspect and potentially seize American vessels that have traded with France or with French dependencies. This broadside format is unusual for the printing of a law, and indicates that it was meant to be displayed in ports and customs officers for the attention of ships masters who may have been unaware of the embargo law or willfully violating it. ESTC locates only three copies, at Oxford, the British National Archives, and the American Antiquarian Society. Rare. EVANS 36522. ESTC W42364. OCLC 80514531.