War of the Rebellion: Serial 115 Page 1220 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

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tions they would naturally avoid war and seek for peace with all the world. It may almost be said that the secure the independence of these States is to secure the independence of the great commercial and manufacturing nations of Europe in regard to the supplies of cotton and tobacco and to give France such an independent source for the supply of cheap coal, iron and naval stores as to place her more nearly on terms of equality with Great Britain in building up a navy and merchant marine.

The European nations might then be said to be independent so far as their supplies are concerned because they would be dependent only on a country whose interests would open its markets to the cheapest and easy access of all the world, and which would have every inducement to preserve the peace. But the independence of these States is essential to the certainly of supply and the ease of access to their markets, which are so important to the manufacturing and commercial nations of the earth. If it were possible for the United States to subdue the Confederates and subject them once more to their Government then France would have much cause for apprehension in regard to the future condition of her commerce and manufactures. The non-slave-holding States would undoubtedly use their control over the markets and staples of the South to secure a supremacy in commerce, navigation and manufactures.

There are also political considerations connected with this question which cannot be uninteresting to the Government of France. By the establishment of a Great Southern Confederacy a balance of power is secured in North America, and schemes of conquest or annexation on the part of a great and overshadowing empire would probably no longer disturb the repose of neighboring nations.

Heretofore the South has desired the annexation of territory suitable to the growth of her domestic institutions in order to establish a balance of power within theGovernment that they might protect their interests and internal peace through its agency. This reason no longer exists, as the Confederate States have sought that protection by a separation from the union in which their rights were endangered. But with the establishment of something like a balance of power between the two great and independent confederacies the disputes would precede the annexations and probably do much to prevent them.

Certain it is that the Southern Confederacy would have every reason to preserve peace both at home and abroad, and would be prevented both by its principles and interests from intervention in the domestic affairs and government of other nations. The power of that Confederacy would undoubtedly by felt not as a disturbing but as a harmonizing influence amongst the nations of the earth.

There is yet another question of great practical importance to us and to the world which you will present on the first proper occasion to His Imperial Majesty's Government. It was declared by the fire great powers at the Conference of Paris that "blockaders to be binding must be effectual," a principle long since sanctioned by leading publicists and now acknowledged by nearly all civilized nations.

You will be furnished with abundant evidence of the fact that the blockade of the coastsate States has not been effectual or of such a character as to be binding, according to the declaration of the Conference at 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 solemly made. Propositions of such gravity and emanating from sources so high may