was carried by boarding parties from merchant river steamers. Our fortified positions have everywhere been much strengthened and improved, affording assurance of our ability to meet with success the utmost efforts of our enemies, in spite of the magnitude of their preparations for attack.
A review of our history during the two years of our national existence affords ample cause for congratulation and demands the most fervent expression of our thankfulness to the Almighty Father, who has blessed our cause. We are justified in asserting, with a pride surely not unbecoming, that these Confederate States have added another to the lessons taught by history for the instruction of man; that they have afforded another example of the impossibility of subjugating a people determined to be free, and have demonstrated that no superiority of numbers or available resources can overcome the resistance offered by such valor in combat, such constancy under suffering, and such cheerful endurance of privation as have been conspicuously displayed by this people in the defense of their rights and liberties. The anticipations with which we entered into the contest have now ripened into a conviction which is not only shared with us by the common opinion of neutral nations, but is evidently forcing itself upon our enemies themselves. If we but mark the history of the present year by resolute perseverance in the path we have hitherto pursued, by vigorous effort in the development of all our resources for defense, and by the continued exhibition of the same unfaltering courage in our soldier and able conduct in their leaders as have distinguished the past, we have every reason to expect that this will be the closing year of the war. The war, which in its inception was waged for forcing us back into the Union, having failed to accomplish that purpose, passed into a second stage, in which it was attempted to conquer and rule these States as dependent provinces. Defeated inign, our enemies have evidently entered upon another, which can have no other purpose than revenge and thirst for blood and plunder of private property. But however implacable they may be, they can have neither the spirit nor the resources required for a fourth year of a struggle uncheered by any hope of success, kept alive solely for the indulgence of mercenary and wicked passions, and demanding so exhaustive an expenditure of blood and money as has hitherto been imposed on their people. The advent of peace will be hailed with joy. Our desire for it has never been concealed. Our efforts to avoid the war, forced on us as it was by the lust of conquest and the insane passions of our foes, are known to mankind. But earnest as has been our wish for peace and great as have been our sacrifices and sufferings during the war, the determination of this people has with each succeeding month become more unalterably fixed to endure any sufferings and continue any sacrifices, however prolonged, until their right to self-government and the sovereignty and independence of these States shall have been triumphantly vindicated and firmly established.
In this connection the occasion seems not unsuitable for some reference to the relations between the Confederacy and the neutral powers of Europe since the separation of these States from the former Union. Four of the States now members of the Confederacy were recognized by name as independent sovereignties in a treaty of peace concluded in the year 1783 with one of the two great maritime powers of Western Europe, and had been, prior to that period, allies in war
22 R R-SERIES IV, VOL II