But there is another point of view in which the independence of the Confederate States would more peculiary interest France. The immense development of her navy in a few years past has shown not only that her capacity of asserting her equality on the seas has not been properly appreciated heretoforethis relative capacity has been increased by the use of steam. In this view the further development of her commercial marine and an easy access to a cheap and certain supply of coal, iron and naval stores have become matters of primary importance to her. The commerce of the Confederate States when disembarrased of the enormous protective tarrifs to which it was subjected under the former Union, together with the almost inexhaustible supply of cheap coal, iron and naval stores which it could furnish, present the means of a further and vast development of the commercial and naval marine of France.
She could then find as cheap ships or as cheap raw material for the building of ships as could be commanded by any European nation. Depots of coal for her steam marine in these States could be made at less cost and be of more convenient access for use on a large portion of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans than if they had been found originally in mines in France. That these are no new considerations for the French Government is shown by the interest which it exhibited in the negotiations by which a French company would have secured the great water line in Virginia through which when completed the richest and most inexhaustible supplies of bituminous coal perhaps to be found in the world would have been transported from its native depositories in the West to the shores of the Chesapeake in the East. Nothing but the occurrence of civil war prevented the completion of this arrangement between this French company and the Virginia Legislature by which France would have secured a certain and almost inexhaustible supply of cheap coal, iron and timber.
All this is fully stated in regard to the resources of Virginia in a letter of Alfred Paul, French consul at Richmond, to M. Thouvenel, minister of foreign affairs, France, dated June 5, 1860, and as it may be well to recall the attention of the Government to it a copy will be sent you. In the enumeration of the resources of Virginia which would be thus open to F"In coal and iron Virginia excels all the other States of the Union. The fact is recognized, admitted. "
He thus specifies the advantages which France would derive from the proposed connection which was about to be former with Virginia:
First. Facilities for obtaining the raw materials in France at first hand and cheaper, which would enable French industry to encounter foreign competition with superior advantages. Second. A considerable dimunition in the expenses of the purchase and expedition of tobacco for the government factories. Third. The arrifal, the introduction of our produce by a shorter and cheaper route into the South, the West and the center of the United States. Fourth. A relative augmentation in the movement of our commerical marine. Fifth. Rapid and advantageous provisions of copper, machine oil, tar, bacon and salt pork of the West, and building timber for our naval arsenals. Sixth. Cheapness of coal for our different maritime stations. Seventh. An immense opening in the great West of the United States for French merchandise. Eighth. The probability of seeing Norfolk become an entrepot for the productions of French industry and commerce to be distributed in part in Central and South America by vessels taking them to complete their cargoes.
The establishment of the independence of the Confederate States would secure to France large supplies of coal, iron and naval stores in exchange for her manufactures and other products beyond almost all the probable chances of war. Committed as these Confederate States would be to the policy of free trade by their interests and tradi-