In time of war the duties of the State Department have always been expanded. During the War of 1812, Congress authorized the Secretary of State to issue commissions of letters of marque and reprisal to private armed vessels permitting them to ���cruise against the enemies of the United States.��� Owners of merchant vessels filed applications for the commissions with the State Department or with collectors of customs. Many collectors were allowed to issue to privateers, commissions received in blank from the Department of State. The collectors often sent on to the Department the original applications and forwarded periodically abstracts of the commissions they had granted. During the war the Department also issued permits for aliens to leave the U.S., and it received reports from U.S. marshals on aliens and prisoners of war in their districts, from collectors of customs and State Department agents on the impressment of seamen, and from the Department's ���Secret Agents��� on the movements of the British in the Chesapeake Bay area. The Department also had responsibility for negotiating the treaty at the end of the war.