was beginning to tell both upon friends—or, to speak with exactness, upon neutrals—and upon enemies.
The price of cotton decreased at the South, and advanced abroad.
The supply was short, the crop of 1861 being about half that of the previous year; East India cotton had not yet come into the market, and the demand was great.
The price of manufactured goods at the South advanced enormously.
The time was ripe for judicious action; and the Liverpool cotton-merchant, who in the winter of 1861-62 had found ruin staring him in the face, suddenly awoke to the fact that the ports of the South were an Eldorado of wealth to the man who could go in and come out again in safety.
With cotton at fourpence a pound in Wilmington and two shillings a pound in England, the Liverpool merchant was not a man to hesitate long.
Blockade-running from Europe had already been attempted, but the profits had not been sufficient to outweigh the risk of capture during the transatlantic voyage.