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[318] which the Congress of Paris proposed to settle. The importance of this change was readily illustrated by taking one of our ports as an example. There was ‘evident danger,’ in entering the port of Wilmington, from the presence of a blockading force, and by this test the blockade was effective. ‘Access is not really prevented’ by the blockading fleet to the same port; steamers were continually arriving and departing, so that, tried by this test, the blockade was ineffective and invalid. Thus, while every energy of our country was evoked in the struggle for maintaining its existence, the neutral nations of Europe pursued a policy which, nominally impartial, was practically most favorable to our enemies and most detrimental to us.

The exercise of the neutral right of refusing entry into their ports to prizes taken by both belligerents was especially hurtful to the Confederacy. It was sternly adhered to and enforced.

The assertion of the neutral right of commerce with a belligerent, whose ports are not blockaded by fleets sufficient really to prevent access to them, would have been eminently beneficial to the Confederate States, and only thus hurtful to the United States. It was complaisantly abandoned.

The duty of neutral states to receive with cordiality and recognize with respect any new confederation that independent states may think proper to form, was too clear to admit of denial, but its postponement was equally beneficial to the United States and detrimental to the Confederacy. It was postponed.

In this statement of our relations with the nations of Europe, it has been my purpose to point out distinctly that the Confederacy had no complaint to make that those nations declared their neutrality. It could neither expect nor desire more. The complaint was that the declared neutrality was delusive, not real; that recognized neutral rights were alternately asserted and waived in such manner as to bear with great severity on us, while conferring signal advantages on our enemy.

Perhaps it may not be out of place here to notice a correspondence between the cabinets of France, Great Britain, and Russia, relative to a mediation between the Confederacy and the United States. On October 30, 1862, the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Drouyn de l'huys, addressed a note to the ambassadors of France at London and St. Petersburg. In this dispatch he stated that the Emperor had followed with painful interest the struggle which had then been going on for more than a year on this continent. He observed that the proofs of energy, preseverance, and courage, on both sides, had been given at the expense of innumerable calamities and immense bloodshed; to the accompaniments

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