and now acknowledged by nearly all civilized nations. You will be furnished with abundant evidence of the fact that the blockade of the coasts of the Confederate States has not been effectual nor of such a character as to be binding according to the declarations of the Conference of Paris. Such being the case it may perhaps be fairly urged that the five great powers owe it to their own consistency and to the world to make good a declaration thus solemnly made.
Propositions of such great importance and emanating from sources so high may be fairly considered as affecting the general business relations of human society and as controlling in a great degree the calculations and arrangements of nations so far as they are concerned in the rules thus laid down. Men have a right to presume that a law thus proclaimed will be universally maintained by those who have the power to do so and who have taken it upon themselves to watch over its execution, nor will any suppose that particular States or cases would be exempted from its operation under the influence of partiality or favor. It therefore we can prove the blockade to have been ineffectual we perhaps have a right to expect that the nations assenting to this declaration of the Conference of Paris will not consider it to be binding. We are fortified in this expectation not only by their own declarations but by the nature of the interests affected by the blockade.
So far at least it has been proved that the only certain and sufficient source of cotton supply has been found in the Confederate States. It is probable that there are more people without than within the Confederate States who derive their means of living from the various uses which are made of this important staple. A war therefore which shuts up this great source of supply from the general uses of mankind is directed as much against those who transport and manufacture cotton as against those who produce the raw material. Innocent parties who d insist that a right whose exercise operates so unfavorably on them shall only be used within the strictest limits of public law. Would it not be a movement more in consonance with the spirit of the age to insist that amongst the many efficient means of waging war this one should be excepted in deference to the general interests of mankind, so many of whom depend for their means of living upon a ready and easy access to the greatest and cheapest cotton market in the world? If for the general benefit of commerce some of its great routes have been neutralized so as to be unaffected by the chances of war might not another interest of a greater and more world-wide importance claim at least so much consideration as to demand the benefit of every presumption in favor of its protection against all the chances of war save those which arise under the strictest rules of public law?
This is a question of almost as much interest to the world at large as it is to the Confederate States. No belligerent can claim the right thus to injure innocent parties by such a blockade except to the extent that it can be shown to furnish the legitimate or perhaps we might go still further and say the necessary means to prosecute the war successfully. If it has become obvious as would now seem to be the case that no blockade which they can maintain will enable the United States to subdue the Confederate States of America upon what plea can its further continuance by justified to third parties who are so deeply interested in a ready and easy access to the cheapest and most abundant sources of cotton supply? Perhaps we had the right to expect inasmuch as by the proclamation of Her Britannic Majesty neutrality had been declared as between the belligerents that one of the parties would not have been allowed to close the ports of the other by a mere proclamation of blockade without an adequate force to sustain it.