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A New international law proposed.It is easier to make a dyke that shall be invulnerable to the water on one side and to vermin on the other than to maintain a perfect blockade. Three thousand miles of coast cannot be so walled in by ships, that nothing can be thrown on the shore and nothing carried off. It was not an improved coastguard, but a reduced tariff that suppressed the smuggling of French goods across the British Channel. It was not the force of our armies, but the irresistible devices of commerce that broke down Napoleon's Berlin decrees. So we may be sure that, however legally effective may be the Federal blockade of the Southern Atlantic ports, there will be always cotton ships crossing the Atlantic if the planters are willing to sell, and we may be sure that they will be the more willing the higher that prices rise through the rigor of the prohibition. But there is another fact no less certain, namely: that the quantity thus brought off will be quite insufficient for our wants, and at a rate far above our means. The world cannot afford to buy of us cloth, the raw material of which we have ransomed rather than purchased. --Illicit supplies will help to keep us in work till the four quarters of the earth are teeming with the plant for which we have offered a reward. But if we try to make the American cotton serve us as heretofore, we shall have the Indian wearer underselling us, by the working up in his rude loom the fibers we have caused to be grown. We must have free trade in cotton and free trade in bread, in time of war as in time of peace, if ever again we are to be at ease touching food and labor. In place of idly speculating upon the supplies that may reach us in driblets, or madly threatening the belligerents with European intervention, our politicians and manufacturers should address themselves in earnest to an amendment of the law of nations. Seeing that all the great powers are, more or less, concerned in the relaxation of the American blockade, why should they not address to the United States Government a proposal based upon its own language in 1856 and 1867. Why should they not invite its assent to a general agreement, exempting all private property not of a warlike nature from blockading and privateering? Such an agreement would afford no special advantage to the Confederates--for it would leave exposed to confiscation all cotton consigned to their Government. It would, therefore, do no injustice to the Federalists — re-opening to them, indeed, a lucrative trade, from which they are now shut out. It would involve no presumption on the part of the European Powers — and no humiliation, save to the Government by whom such proposals were scouted when they came from Washington. Our Chambers of Commerce then urged their acceptance. Let the same and other Mercantile Associations unite now to press the matter upon the attention of our statesmen. Let the French manufacturers be invited to join with those of England in addresses to their respective Governments for this just and beneficent object. The success of such a movement would do far more than relieve the severity of a present exigency. It would establish as a principle the liberation of peaceful commerce from the bonds of war, and secure at least one great benefit to mankind from a war of uncertain, though unfolding, issues.
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