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[57] therefore most anxious that Mr. Trenholm's proposals should be accepted. Four large and powerful steamers, and six smaller ones, but ‘scarcely inferior for the required purpose’—as these were represented to be—placed under the command of such officers as Semmes, Maffitt, Brown, Taylor, Jones, Huger, Hartstein, Hamilton, Pegram, and Reid, during the first year of the war, would not only have raised the attempted blockade, but would have driven the commerce of the United States from all the seas of the globe. This was abundantly proved by the exploits of the Sumter and Alabama, the results of which were so keenly felt by the North, that England, irresponsible though she was, paid, at a later date, the penalty of Admiral Semmes's achievements.

In his ‘Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government,’ Mr. Davis has not even alluded to the facts we have just related. He states, however, that as early as February, 1861, ‘the third day after my inauguration at Montgomery,’ he had directed Captain (afterwards Admiral) Semmes, as agent of the Confederate States, to proceed north in order not only to purchase ‘arms, ammunition, and machinery,’ but also ‘to seek for vessels which would serve for naval purposes.’ He further states that Captain Semmes was unsuccessful in his errand, and, on his return, reported ‘that he could not find any vessels which in his judgment were, or could be made, available for our uses.’ For that reason, and for the additional reason, says Mr. Davis, that ‘the Southern officers of the navy who were in command of United States vessels abroad,’ before resigning their commissions to join their respective States, invariably ‘brought the vessels they commanded into the ports of the North,’ thereby depriving us of ‘our share of the navy we had contributed to build,’ and allowing it to be ‘employed to assail us,’ we were left ‘without the accessories needful for the rapid supply of naval vessels.’ 1

This is proof conclusive that Mr. Davis himself had some conception of the importance of procuring war-vessels for the Confederacy; though the attempt to purchase them in the enemy's country, was, under the circumstances, a strange proceeding, to say the least of it. And yet, two months later, that is, in the early part of May, when, to use Mr. Prioleau's expression, ‘a fleet of armed vessels’ was offered him, for the service of the Confederacy, with

1 ‘Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government,’ vol. i. pp. 311, 313, 314.

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