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Chapter 38:

  • Relations with Foreign nations
  • -- the public questions -- ministers abroad -- usages of intercourse between nations -- our action -- mistake of European nations: following the example of England and France -- different conditions of the belligerents -- injury to the Confederacy by the policy of European powers relative to the blockade -- the Paris conference: principles adopted -- acceded to by the Confederacy with a single exception -- extent of the pretended blockade -- remonstrances against its recognition -- sinking vessels to Block up harbors -- every Proscription of maritime law violated by the United States government -- addition made to the law by Great Britain -- policy pursued favorable to our enemies -- mediation proposed by France to Great Britain, and Russian letter of French Minister -- reply of Great Britain -- reply of Russia -- letter to French Minister at Washington -- various offensive actions of the British government -- hollow profession of neutrality.


The public questions arising out of our foreign relations were too important to be overlooked. At the end of the first year of the war the Confederate States had been recognized by the leading governments of Europe as a belligerent power. This continued unchanged to the close. Mason became our representative in London, Slidell in Paris, Rost in Spain, and Mann in Belgium. They performed the positions with energy and skill, but were unsuccessful in obtaining our recognition as an independent power.

The usages of intercourse between nations require that official communication be made to friendly powers of all organic changes in the constitution of states. To those who are familiar with the principles upon which the states known as the United States were originally constituted, as well as those upon which the Union was formed, the organic changes made by the secession and confederation of the Southern states are very apparent. But to others an explanation may be necessary. Each of the states was originally declared to be sovereign and independent. In this condition, at a former period, all of those then existing were severally recognized by name by the only one of the powers which had denied their right to independence. This gave to each a recognized national sovereignty. Subsequently they formed a compact of voluntary

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