Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 13.djvu/461
460 Southern Historical Society Papers.
act of recognition is a mere question of time. If the fact be as stated, the tendency of the act of recognition would be to prevent the further continuance of an unnecessary war and the useless effusion of blood. It may well be doubted, if under such circumstances the nation which thus refuses to throw the moral weight of its influence in the scale of peace, does not share in some of the responsibilities for the contin- uance of an unnecessary war, which it might have done something to conclude without risk or injury to itself.
Indeed, it may be said without exaggeration that France has a deep material and political interest in the establishment of the inde- pendence of the Confederate States. It is the event of all others which would give the most satisfactory solution to the great question of cotton supply for the manufacturing nations of Europe. That the great source of the production of this raw material which enters so largely into the manufacturing industry of Europe has been found in the Confederate States of America is an undoubted fact. That this will continue to be the case for a long time to come is in every way probable, for no other country presents the same combination of soil, climate and trained labor which is all essential to the successful pro- duction of cotton. If our country is to be the great source for the supply of this article so indispensable to the manufacturing industry of the world, the nations of the earth have the deepest interest in placing it in a position of independence and impartiality in regard to the distribution of the raw material for which the demand is so im- mense. If any one country is to have a virtual monopoly of the supply of raw cotton, then the world would have the deepest interest in opening it to the easy and equal access of all mankind. Such would be the case, if the depository of this great interest should be found in a country on the one hand strong enough to maintain its neutrality and independence, and on the other committed by its in- terests to the policy of Free Trade and an untrammeled intercourse with all the world. Such would be the precise position of the Con- federate States when once their independence was achieved; and as a proof that this would be the natural tendency of their policy, we have only to look to their early legislation which reduced the duties on imports to the lowest rates consistent with their necessities for revenue, and opened their coasting trade to the free and equal com- petition of all mankind. Nor is cotton the only great staple of which the Confederate States are likely to become not the sole, but one of the chief depositories upon terms of equality to all the world. To- bacco, sugar, rice and naval stores are to be added to the catalogue