Page:A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Confederacy, Including the Diplomatic Correspondence, 1861-1865, Volume I.djvu/519

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
Second Congress.

of both belligerents, that the recognition of our independence would be valueless without their further intervention in the struggle, an intervention of which we disclaim the desire and mistrust the advantage. We seek no favor, we wish no intervention, we know ourselves fully competent to maintain our own rights and independence against the invaders of our country, and we feel justified in asserting that without the aid derived from recruiting their armies from foreign countries the invaders would ere this have been driven from our soil. When the recognition of the Confederacy was refused by Great Britain in the fall of 1862 the refusal was excused on the ground that any action by Her Majesty's Government would have the effect of inflaming the passions of the belligerents and of preventing the return of peace. It is assumed that this opinion was sincerely entertained; but the experience of two years of unequaled carnage shows that it was erroneous, and that the result was the reverse of what the British ministry humanely desired. A contrary policy, a policy just to us, a policy diverging from an unvarying course of concession to all the demands of our enemies, is still within the power of Her Majesty's Government, and would, it is fair to presume, be productive of consequences the opposite of those which have unfortunately followed its whole course of conduct from the commencement of the war until the present time. In a word, peace is impossible without independence, and it is not to be expected that the enemy will anticipate neutrals in the recognition of that independence.

When the history of the war shall be fully disclosed, the calm judgment of the impartial publicist will for these reasons be unable to absolve the neutral nations of Europe from a share in the moral responsibility for the myriads of human lives that have been unnecessarily sacrificed during its progress.

The renewed instances in which foreign powers have given us just cause for complaint need not here be detailed. The extracts from the correspondence of the State Department which accompany this message will afford such further information as can be given without detriment to the public interest, and we must reserve for the future such action as may then be deemed advisable to secure redress.