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[461] of their rich and important products. Nature has thus made it to their interest to buy where they can purchase cheapest, and to sell in as many markets as possible. To do this, as they will deal more in raw produce than in manufactures, they will seek to take in return the commodities of the rest of the world on the payment of the lowest duties consistent with their revenue wants. They will then virtually stand as the customers, and not as the rivals, of the commercial and manufacturing nations of Europe.

But there is another point of view in which the independence of the Confederate States would more peculiarly interest France. The immense development of her navy in a few years past, has shown not only that her capacity for asserting her equality on the seas has not been properly appreciated heretofore, but also that this relative capacity has been increased by the use of steam. In this view, the further development of her commercial marine, and an easy access to a cheap and certain supply of coal, iron, and naval stores, have become matters of primary importance to her. The commerce of the Confederate States, when disembarrassed of the enormous protective tariffs to which it was subjected under the former Union, together with the almost inexhaustible supply of cheap coal, iron and naval stores which it could furnish, present the means for a further and vast development of the commercial and naval marine of France. She could then find as cheap ships, or as cheap raw material for the building of ships, as could be commanded by any European nation. Depots of coal for her steam marine in these States could be made at less cost, and be of more convenient access for use on a large portion of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, than if they had been found originally in mines in France. That these are no new considerations for the French government, is shown by the interest which it exhibited in the negotiations by which a French company would have secured the great water line in Virginia, through which, when completed, the richest and most inexhaustible supplies of bituminous coal to be found perhaps in the world, would have been transported from its native depositories in the west, to the shores of the Chesapeake in the east. Nothing but the occurrence of civil war prevented the completion of this arrangement between this French company and the Virginia Legislature, by which France would have secured a certain and almost inexhaustible supply of cheap coal, iron and timber.

All this is fully stated in regard to the resources of Virginia, in a letter of Alfred Paul, French Consul at Richmond, to Mr. Thouvenel, Minister of Foreign Affairs, France, dated June 5th, 1860, and as it


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