The words which I have italicized are an addition made by the British Government of its own authority to a principle the exact terms of which were settled with deliberation by the common consent of civilized nations and by implied convention with this Government, as already explained, and their effects is clearly to reopen to the prejudice of the Confederacy one of the very disputed questions on the law of blockade which the Congress of Paris professed to settle. The importance of this change is readily illustrated by taking one of our ports as an example. There is "evident danger" in entering the port of Wilmington from the presence of a blockading force, and by this test the blockades is effective. "Access is not really prevented" by the blockad same port, for steamers are continually arriving and departing, so that tried by this test the blockade is ineffective and invalid. The justice of our complaint on this point is so manifest as to leave little room for doubt that further reflection will induce the British Government to give us such assurances as will efface the painful impressions that would result from its language if left unexplained.
From the foregoing remarks you will perceive that during nearly two years of struggle, in which every energy of our country has been evoked for maintaining its very existence, the neutral nations of Europe have pursued a policy which, nominally impartial, has been practically most favorable to our enemies and most detrimental to us. The exercise of the neutral right of refusing entry into their ports to prizes taken by both belligerent was eminently hurtful to the Confederacy. It was sternly asserted and maintained. The exercise of the neutral right of commerce with a belligerent whose ports are not blockaded by fleets sufficient really to prevent access to them would have been eminently hurtful to the United States. It was complacently abandoned. The duty of neutral states to receive with cordiality and recognize with respect any new confederation that independent states may think proper to form was too clears to admit of denial, but its postponement was eminently beneficial to the United States and detrimental to the Confederacy. It was postponed.
In this review of our relations with the neutral nations of Europe it has been may purpose to point out distinctly that this Government has no complaint to make that those nations declared their neutrality. It could neither expect nor desire more. The complaint is that the neutrality has been rather nominal than real, and that recognized neutral rights have been alternately asserted and waived in such manner as to bear with great severity on us, and to confer signal advantages on our enemy.
I have hitherto refrained from calling to your andition of our relations with foreign powers for various reasons. The chief of these was the fear that a statement of our just grounds of complaint against a course of policy so injurious to our interests might be misconstrued into an appeal for aid. Unequal as we were in mere numbers and available resources to our enemies, we were conscious of powers of resistance, in relation to which Europe was incredulous, and our remonstrances were therefore peculiarly liable to be misunderstood. Proudly self-reliant, the Confederacy knowing full well the character of the contest into which it was forced, with full trust in the superior qualities of its population, the superior valor of its soldiers, the superior skill of its generals, and above all in the justice of its cause, felt no need to appeal for the maintenance of its rights to other earthly aids, and it began and has continued this struggle with the calm confidence over inspired in those