War of the Rebellion: Serial 128 Page 0339 CONFEDERATE AUTHORITIES.

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governments could not assume to judge between the conflicting representations of the two parties as to the true nature of their previous mutual relations. The Governments of Great Britain and France accordingly signified their determination to confine themselves to recognizing the self-evident fact of the existence of a war, and to maintaining a strict neutrality during its progress. Some of the other powers of Europe pursued the same course of policy, and it became apparent that by some understanding, express or tacit, Europe had decided to leave the initiative in all action touching the contest on this continent to the two powers just named, who were recognized to have the largest interests involved, both by reason of proximity and of the extent and intimacy of their commercial relations with the States engaged in war. It is manifest that the course of action adopted by Europe, while based on an apparent refusal to determine the question, or to side with either party, was in point of fact an actual decision against our rights and in favor of the groundless pretensions of the Union States. It was a refusal to treat us as an independent government. If we were independent States the refusal to entertain with us the same international intercourse as was maintained with our enemy was unjust, and was injurious in its effects, whatever may have been the motive which prompted it. Neither was it in accordance with the high moral obligations of that international code whose chief sanction is the conscience of sovereigns and the public opinions of mankind, that those eminent powers should decline the performance of a duty peculiarly incumbent on them from any apprehension of the consequences to themselves. One immediate and necessary result of their declining the responsibility of a decision which must have been adverse to the extravagant pretensions of the United States was the prolongation of hostilities to which our enemies were thereby encouraged, and which have resulted in nothing but scenes of carnage and devastation on this continent, and of misery and suffering on the other, such as have scarcely a parallel in history. Had those powers promptly admitted our right to be treated as all other independent nations, none can doubt that the moral effect of such action would have he delusion under which the United States have persisted in their efforts to accomplish our subjugation. To the continued hesitation of the same powers in rendering this act of simple justice toward this Confederacy is still due the continuance of the calamities which mankind suffers from the interruption of its peaceful pursuits, both in the Old and the New World.

There are other matters in which less than justice has been rendered to this people by neutral Europe, and undue advantage conferred on the aggressors in a wicked war. At the inception of hostilities the inhabitants of the Confederacy were almost exclusively agriculturists, those of the United States, to a great extent, mechanics and merchants. We had no commercial marine, while their merchant vessels covered the ocean. We were without a navy, while they had powerful fleets. The advantage which they possessed for inflicting injury on our coasts and harbors was thus counterbalanced in some measure by the exposure of their commerce to attack by private armed vessels. It was known to Europe that within a very few years past the United States had peremptorily refused to accede to proposals for abolishing privateering, on the ground, as alleged by them, that nations owning powerful fleets would thereby obtain undue advantage over those possessing inferior naval forces. Yet not no sooner was war flagrant between the Confederacy and the United States than the maritime powers of Europe issued orders prohibiting either party