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[106] France special advantages and privileges in Confederate ports; for example, a tariff rate for twenty years, not to exceed 20 per cent. ad valorem, and certain fixed port charges not to exceed the cost of maintenance. It was not pretended that the suggestion of special and compensatory terms of commercial treaty in the premises was original. On the contrary, the terms were recommended as proven by the treaties of the United States with France and England in the revolution.

The policy of Rhett was a practical confronting of an emergency; the refusal of his policy without a substitute in any degree was a sentiment without an apology.

Did the rejection of Rhett's scheme of foreign alliance give promise of any uncommon exertion of vigor in the Confederate government within the limits of its own resources? The inexplicable situation was laid open by the act of rejection, the diverting of the Federal government of seceded States from control of the political school that had long resisted the invention. Secessionists had called the government into existence upon an argument all their own; Unionists immediately rose to the administration and held it firmly until the end. Perhaps an intrepid spirit for hazards revealed itself in the conduct of the men who had been 10th to the last moment to enter upon so daring an enterprise as the erection of the new republic. It is enough to say the leading secessionists of 1860-61 lost control of the Confederate government at the outset. If discernment was to be used, if opportunity was to be seized, if influence was to be reckoned on, the founders of the Confederacy had no voice in the situation. Whether the road to the Confederacy was straight or devious, the one significant thing was, it led to the goal which the road builders were denied.

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