Page:A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Confederacy, Including the Diplomatic Correspondence, 1861-1865, Volume I.djvu/382

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Messages and Papers of the Confederacy.

United States for friendly action in respecting it. His Lordship stated that "the United States Government, on the allegation of a rebellion pervading from nine to eleven States of the Union, have now for more than twelve months endeavored to maintain a blockade of 3,000 miles of coast. This blockade, kept up irregularly, but when enforced, enforced severely, has seriously injured the trade and manufactures of the United Kingdom. Thousands are now obliged to resort to the poor rates for subsistence, owing to this blockade. Yet Her Majesty's Government have never sought to take advantage of the obvious imperfections of this blockade in order to declare it ineffective. They have, to the loss and detriment of the British nation, scrupulously observed the duties of Great Britain toward a friendly State."

Again, on the 22d of September, 1862, the same noble earl asserted that the United States were "very far indeed" from being in "a condition to ask other nations to assume that every port of the coasts of the so-styled Confederate States is effectively blockaded."

When, in view of these facts, of the obligation of the British nation to adhere to the pledge made by their Government at Paris in 1856, and renewed to this Confederacy in 1861, and of these repeated and explicit avowals of the imperfection, irregularity, and inefficiency of the pretended blockade of our coast, I directed our commissioner at London to call upon the British Government to redeem its promise and to withhold its moral aid and sanction from the flagrant violation of public law committed by our enemies, we were informed that Her Majesty's Government could not regard the blockade of the Southern ports as having been otherwise than "practically effective" in February, 1862, and that "the manner in which it has since been enforced gives to neutral governments no excuse for asserting that the blockade has not been efficiently maintained." We were further informed, when we insisted that by the terms of our agreement no blockade was to be considered effective unless "sufficient really to prevent access to our coast," "that the declaration of Paris was, in truth, directed against the blockades not sustained by any actual force, or sustained by a notoriously inadequate force, such as the occasional appearance of a man-of-war in the offing, or he like."

It was impossible that this mode of construing an agreement