The dispatch quoted from in my reply you will find to be No. 11 to Mr.
[Inclosure 1 in No.
Mr. Rójas to Mr.
Caracas, January 15,
Sir: I have the honor to bring to the knowledge
of your excellency that, according to provision No. 2 of article 75, law
XVI of the Code de Hacienda, cargoes destined for a port where the
public order is found to be altered must proceed by the same vessel in
which they arrive, to the nearest qualified port; and that the national
executive resolved yesterday that this case having occured at Puerto
Cabello, the maritime custom-house of La Guayra, as the nearest, will
discharge, in the provided respect, the cargoes destined for the
I renew to your excellency the protestations of my high
[Inclosure 2 in No. 85.]
Mr. Baker to Mr.
Legation of the United Seates,
Caracas, January 22,
Sir: The undersigned, minister resident Of the
United States to Venezuela, has the honor to acknowledge the receipt of
the communication of the minister of exterior relations of date 15th
instant, bringing to his knowledge that, according to provision No. 2 of
article 75, law XVI, of the Code de Hacienda, cargoes destined for a
port where the public order is found to be altered, must proceed by the
same vessel in which they arrive to the nearest qualified port, and that
the national executive had, on the previous day, resolved that this case
having occurred at Puerto Cabello, the maritime custom-house at La
Guayra, as the nearest, would discharge, in the provided respect, the
cargoes sent to the first.
In answer to this communication the undersigned has to say that he does
not acquiesce in this order; that he is advised that the port of Puerto
Cabello was, at the date of the order, under the control of a hostile
force; that whatever may be the measure of the legitimate power of a
government to close a port which is under its control, the only legal
method of closing a port which is in possession of a force hostile to it
is, a regularly declared instituted and maintained blockade,” of which
there is no intimation in said communication.
In this connection the undersigned adds an extract from a dispatch from
the Department of State of his government to his predecessor, Mr.
Partridge, and which, as appears by the record thereof in the legation,
was brought to the knowledge of the Government of Venezuela in a
communication of Mr. Partridge of date September 18, 1869. The extract
in question is as follows, viz:
“In regard to the attempt of the Government of Venezuela to interfere
with the commerce at Maracaibo, I have to say that, while that port is
in the possession of a force hostile to the Government of Venezuela, the
President recognizes a regularly declared instituted and maintained
blockade as the only way of closing the port authorized by the law of
nations. The mere posting of a revenue cutter off that port, without the
institution of a blocknde, will not be acquiesced in by the
The principle here announced is, as the undersigned understands it, that
while a port of a government is in possession of a force hostile to it,
the only way of closing it authorized by the law of nations is by “a
regularly declared instituted and maintained blockade,” from which it
results that, in the absence of such a blockade, the port of Puerto
Cabello, while in possession of a force hostile to the Government of
Venezuela, is not in the view of the law of nations closed by said
Said order, then, being in contravention of the law of nations, it cannot
be upheld by a law of Venezuela; and Venezuela must be justly
responsible for any legal damages occasioned by it to-citizens of the
United States or their property.
The undersigned renews to Mr. Rójas the assurances of his distinguished