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[643] The speculations of blockade-runners had therefore expanded in proportion as a larger number of these vessels fell into the hands of the Federal cruisers. These prizes, sold in the Federal interest, were, in reality, paid for by the South and the consumers of cotton, for the speculators, realizing enough profit on a single successful venture, indemnified themselves for the loss of four or five cargoes. Some of these blockade-runners, thus captured, were converted into men-of-war or transports, and proved of great service to the Federal navy. It is unnecessary to give a list of them, which comprises from twenty to thirty steamers, and we shall merely mention the most important—the Bermuda, which was captured on the 27th of April, after she had made several successful trips, and brought a considerable quantity of arms and ammunition to the South.

Most of these vessels belonged to ship-owners in Liverpool, and sailed under the British flag. They constituted a peculiar type of naval architecture, in which safety was sacrificed to speed, and formed a fleet, under the command of during sailors, who took the British port of Nassau, in the Bahama Islands, as its base of operations. The town of Nassau, situated on a barren rock, had up to this period led an obscure existence. The blockade gave it a vast importance by making it the mart where all merchandise intended for the South was concentrated, and where blockade-runners came to load before venturing on their perilous voyages. The Federal cruisers watched them at the distance from port prescribed by international law, ready to pounce upon them if they were not quick enough to effect their escape. These cruisers would frequently come into Nassau for provisions, and to see the agents whose duty it was to aid them in their surveillance. The town was, therefore, full of Americans belonging to both parties, who elbowed each other at the hotels and watched each other on the wharves; and it often happened that, among these adversaries compelled to live side by side under the neutral British flag, a couple of shipmates of the old Federal navy, separated by the civil war, would meet and exchange recognition by glancing at each other in sadness and in silence.

We have said elsewhere that the funds raised by the loan subscribed to by Englishmen, under the guarantee of the Confederate

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