No. 812.
Mr. Fish to Mr. Russell.

No. 27.]

Sir: Your dispatch No. 28, of the 6th instant, has been received. It is accompanied, among other papers, by a proclamation of President Guzman Blanco, declaring a blockade of the coasts of the State of Falcon, from the mouth of the river Tocuyo to that of the river Oribono. The necessary force to require an observance of the blockade is professed to have been ordered to that quarter. Such a force will be necessary to impart validity to the act. It seems there is a clause making vessels of the United States which may approach the blockaded coast liable to capture after one month from the date of the proclamation. [Page 1222] It is hoped that no vessels of the United States may become victims of this penalty. If the proclamation, instead of claiming a right to capture after the lapse of a certain time, had made vessels liable thereto which, after having been warned off the blockaded coast by an indorsement on their papers, afterward attempted to enter a blockaded port, it would have been more in accordance with the just rights of neutrals. The Secretary of the Navy has been requested to send a man-of-war thither.

The right to capture within a time arbitrarily limited by a blockading government is not recognized by us.

I am, &c,