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In this review of our relations with the neutral nations of Europe, it has been my purpose to point out distinctly that this government has no complaint to make that those nations declared their neutrality. It could neither expect nor desire more. The complaint is, that the neutrality has been rather nominal than real, and that recognized neutral rights have been alternately asserted and waived in such manner as to bear with great severity on us, and to confer signal advantages on our enemy.

I have hitherto refrained from calling your attention to this condition of our relations with foreign powers for various reasons. The chief of these was the fear that a statement of our last grounds of complaint against a course of policy so injurious to our interests might be misconstrued into an appeal for aid. Unequal as we were in mere numbers and available resources to our enemies, we were conscious of powers of resistance, in relation to which Europe was incredulous, and our remonstrances were therefore peculiarly liable to be misunderstood.

Proudly self-reliant, the Confederacy knowing full well the character of the contest into which it was forced, with full trust in the superior qualities of its population, the superior valor of its soldiers, the superior skill of its generals, and, above all, in the justice of its cause, felt no use to appeal for the maintenance of its rights to other earthly aids, and it began and has continued this struggle with the calm confidence ever inspired in those who, with consciousness of right, can invoke the Divine blessing on their cause. This confidence has been so assured that we have never yielded to despondency under defeat, nor do we feel undue elation at the present brighter prospect of a successful issue to our contest. It is, therefore, because our just grounds of complaint can no longer be misinterpreted that I lay them clearly before you. It seems to me now proper to give you the information, and, although no immediate results may be attained, it is well that truth should be preserved and recorded. It is well that those who are to follow us should understand the full nature and character of the tremendous conflict, in which the blood of our people has been poured out like water, and in which we have resisted, unaided, the shocks of hosts which would have sufficed to overthrow many of the powers which, by their hesitation in according our rights as an independent nation, imply doubt of our ability to maintain our national existence. It may be, too, that if in future times unfriendly discussions not now anticipated shall unfortunately arise between this Confederacy and some European power, the recollection of our forbearance under the grievances which I have enumerated may be evoked with happy influence in preventing any serious disturbance of peaceful relations.

It would not be proper to close my remarks on the subject of our foreign relations without adverting to the fact that the correspondence between the Cabinets of France, Great Britain, and Russia, recently published, indicates a gratifying advance in the appreciation by those governments of the true interests of mankind, as involved in the war on this continent. It is to the enlightened ruler of the French nation that the public feeling of Europe is indebted for the first official exhibition of its sympathy for the sufferings endured by this people with so much heroism, of its horror at the awful carnage with which the progress of the war has been marked, and of its desire for a speedy peace. The clear and direct intimation contained in the language of the French note, that our ability to maintain our independence has been fully established, was not controverted by the answer of either of the cabinets to which it was addressed. It is indeed difficult to conceive a just ground for a longer delay on this subject, after reading the following statement of facts contained in the letter emanating from the Minister of his Imperial Majesty:

There has been established from the very beginning of this war, an equilibrium of forces between the belligerents, which has since been almost constantly maintained, and after the spilling of so much blood, they are to-day in this respect in a situation which has not sensibly changed. Nothing authorizes the anticipation that more decisive military operations will shortly occur. According to the last advices received in Europe, the two armies were, on the contrary, in a condition which permitted neither to hope within a short delay advantages sufficiently marked to turn the balance definitely and to accelerate the conclusion of peace.

As this government has never professed the intention of conquering the United States, but has simply asserted its ability to defend itself against being conquered by that power, we may safely conclude that the claims of this Confederacy to its just place in the family of nations cannot long be withheld after so frank and formal an admission of its capacity to cope, on equal terms, with its aggressive foes, and to maintain itself against their attempts to obtain decisive results by arms.

It is my painful duty again to inform you of the renewed examples of every conceivable atrocity committed by the armed forces of the United States at different points within the Confederacy, and which must stamp indelible infamy, not only on the perpetrators, but on their superiors, who, having the power to check these outrages on humanity, numerous and well authenticated as they have been, have not yet in a single instance of which I am aware inflicted punishment on the wrong-doers. Since my last communication to you one General McNeil murdered seven prisoners of war in cold blood, and the demand for his punishment has remained unsatisfied. The Government of the United States, after promising examination and explanation in relation to the charges made against General Benjamin F. Butler, has, by its subsequent silence after repeated efforts on my part to obtain some answer on the subject, not only admitted his guilt, but sanctioned it by acquiescence; and I have accordingly branded this criminal as an outlaw, and directed

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