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title:“An Act to establish power in order to lay down a temporary embargo”
authors:George Mason
date written:1778-12-18

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last updated:Jan. 22, 2013, 8:11 a.m. UTC
retrieved:April 14, 2021, 5:16 a.m. UTC

Mason, George. "Letter to establish power in order to lay down a temporary embargo." The Papers of George Mason. Vol. 1. Ed. Bernard Bailyn and James Morton Smith. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1970. 462-64. Print.

An Act to establish power in order to lay down a temporary embargo (December 18, 1778)

An Act "for the more effectual execution of an act intituled An act to empower the Governour and Council to lay an embargo for a limited time."
[18 December 1778]
WHEREAS the inordinate lust of gain may tempt many persons to risk the penalties inflicted by an act passed this present session of assembly, intituled "An act to empower the governour and council to lay an embargo for a limited time," by exporting provisions contrary to the same, which during the present alarming scarcity and publick distress would be highly criminal:
Be it enacted by the General Assembly, That any and every person, who, during the continuance of the said recited act, shall export, or cause to be put on board any vessel for exportation, any sort of grain or other victual contrary to the said act, and on which an embargo hath been or shall be laid by the governour and council in pursuance thereof, shall for ever thereafter be disabled from exercising or carrying on, either by himself or by any other in trust for him, or for his use and benefit, or in partnership with any other, any manner of merchandise or commerce within this commonwealth, and from buying or selling any kind of goods, wares, or merchandise, other than what shall be necessary for the use and consumption of his own family, or those in his employ, or shall be the produce of his own estate or manufacture, under pain of forfeiting the full value of the goods, wares, or merchandise, which shall be so bought or sold, to be recovered by action of debt or information in any court of record, one half to the informer, and the other half to the use of the commonwealth.
And for the more effectual discovery of any provisions which may be put on board any vessel for exportation contrary to the said recited act, Be it enacted, That the master of every vessel now in this commonwealth, or building within the same, or which shall hereafter come hither, shall, before he presume to load any such vessel, give bond with sufficient security to the naval officer of the district, in a sum proportioned to the tunnage of such vessel, after the rate of fifty pounds per tun, that such vessel shall not, during her stay here, take on board any of the articles prohibited to be exported by the said recited act more than will be necessary for the sustenance of the crew of such vessel for her voyage or cruise; and every vessel loading or taking on board any goods or commodities, before such bond be given, shall, together with her furniture, apparel, and tackle, be liable to seizure, and be forfeited, one half of the value thereof to the informer, and the other to this commonwealth, to be sued for and recovered as in manner before directed.
And whereas part of the trade of this commonwealth is carried on by persons who have refused to take the oath of fidelity to the same, and it may be dangerous to allow any recusant to have such opportunity of injuring the republick, Be it therefore enacted, That any inhabitant of this commonwealth, who hath not heretofore taken the oath or affirmation of fidelity to the same, shall, after the fifteenth day of March next, carry on any trade or commerce whatever, either by himself or any other person in trust for him, or for his use or benefit, or in partnership with any other, he shall forfeit and pay the full value of his merchandise in which he shall so trade, unless he, before the said fifteenth day of March, take the oath or affirmation of fidelity to this state, to be recovered in the same manner as the penalties inflicted by this law are herein before directed to be recovered.

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