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[366] had sent abroad (I believe it was the delegate from South Carolina), and I had noticed on every occasion his readiness to receive information and the unbiased, practical view he took of the conflict. With him I could talk without hindrance. I could see him privately, informally. He could listen to me day after day without in any manner committing his government, ask any questions he liked, and elicit every information more freely from a mere eye-witness bearing no credentials than he could from an authorized representative of the Confederate government. Here, then, wars an advantage which I intended to turn to account during a temporary absence from the field.

General H. W. Allen, an accomplished gentleman and distinguished officer, still suffering from a wound received in the field, was then Governor of Louisiana. I enjoyed his friendship and confidence. He honored me with his esteem, and had lately offered me a presentation sword in the name of the State of Louisiana. To him I also imparted my purpose, and the question was fully discussed in all its bearings between him, General Kirby Smith and myself. It is true that as to the intrinsic nature and merits of the conflict I could only repeat what others had said before, yet both Governor Allen and General Kirby Smith concurred in the opinion that my acquaitance with the Duke de Morny was an interesting feature, which I might well try to turn to good account during a period of anticipated calm, in which my presence among my troops did not appear of absolute necessity. None of us three were over sanguine about the result of my undertaking, and in our wildest flights of fancy never looked to an armed intervention as within the range of human possibilities; but it did not seem impossible to obtain a modification of a sham neutrality, which worked entirely in favor of the North, to which a stream of mercenaries from all parts of the world was constantly flowing, and to secure something like equal treatment to the Confederate States, especially as regarded their navy. French commercial interests, I well knew, made the mercantile world lean toward the South, and, in fact, it is difficult for me even now to comprehend how England and France could, from the first, submit to a mere paper blockade, in direct opposition to some of their most important commercial and manufacturing interests, when they might have set it aside by a mere stroke of the pen, without probably ever firing a gun over it.

My journey was, after due consideration, finally decided on. In order to give more weight to my presence abroad I asked General

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