Mr. Stilwell to Mr. Seward.

No. 20.]

Sir: I have the honor to inclose herewith a copy of a dispatch from the honorable J. G. Ochoa, minister of foreign affairs of Venezuela, (with a translation thereof, marked inclosures Nos. 1 and 2,) which dispatch was accompanied by a copy of a proclamation of the acting President of Venezuela, declaring all the ports of Venezuela, from the river Ulnare to Conoma Point, a distance of about six hundred miles, closed and in a state of blockade, a copy of which proclamation and translation thereof is also herewith inclosed, marked inclosures Nos. 3 and 4.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.


Señor Ochoa to Mr. Stilwell.


Sir: The undersigned, minister of foreign affairs of the United States of Venezuela, has the honor to inform Mr. Minister Resident of the United States of America, hoping [Page 939] that through his organ it may come to the knowledge of the government and citizens of his nation that the national executive, as appears from the annexed copy of the decree, has declared on yesterday closed and in a state of blockade the part of the Venezuelan coast that extends from the mouth of the river Ulnare to Conoma Point, in the State of New Barcelona.

With such motive the undersigned renews to Mr. Stilwell the assurances of his distinguished consideration.

God and federation.


Mr. Thomas N. Stilwell, Minister Resident of the United States of America.


I, Miguel Gil, general-in-chief, primer designado, charged with the national executive office—

A revolt having taken place in New Barcelona against the political institutions which the nation has given itself, and it devolving on the national executive to make use of force and other legal measures in order to re-establish constitutional order—


Article 1. The coast of the State of New Barcelona, from the mouth of the river Unare to Conoma Point, is declared closed.

Art. 2. The same extent of the coast is also declared in a state of blockade.

Art. 3. If any vessel shall approach any point of the coast mentioned, the blockading force shall notify her of the existence of the blockade, noting in its navigation papers the day and the place, or the bearings in which she was found, and also the notification made. In case of the vessel insisting in her pretension to enter, notwithstanding the notice, or if she presents herself again at said points, she becomes liable to be seized and detained for the corresponding trial.

Art. 4. For the seizure and detention of ships that attempt to sail from the blockade coast, the previous notification prescribed in the foregoing article will not be needed. But if the vessels that attempt to sail from the port of Barcelona should have entered it before forming the blockade, their departure shall not be impeded.

Art. 5. Vessels that convey effects contraband of war, for the coast of Barcelona, or for the insurgents, shall also be seized and detained; unless their captains should agree to deliver them up to the captor, and the latter be able to take the same on board without difficulty.

Art. 6. The commanders of the blockading vessels shall proceed with the ships detained for violation of the blockade, or for carrying contraband goods, in the manner it is provided for in the ordinances respecting privateering of 1822, wherein it is not opposed to the foregoing dispositions, being bound to bring them captured to the port of La Guayra, in order that the federal high court may try them.

Art. 7. This decree shall be notified to whom it may concern, and the minister of war and marine shall take care of its publication and fulfillment.

Given in Caracas on the 9th of March, 1868, 5th of the law, and 10th of the federation.


For the acting national executive:


It is a copy:

H. TODD, The Secretary of Marine.