110 Southern Historical Society Papers.
passed through the Confederate ports laden with incoming and out- going merchandise in the three months only of the winter of 1861- 62. The commissioner further showed the British Secretary for foreign affairs that in lieu of a port blockade which it had failed ig- nominiously to maintain, the United States government had estab- lished a line of patrol ships at sea in front of the various Confederate ports, and that the captures of several neutral vessels, made in their attempts to trade with the Confederacy, were actually captures made upon the high seas, and not in the harbors or within the Con- federate jurisdiction. These, therefore, were unlawful prizes and were a direct insult and injury to neutral commerce.
SLIDELL AND NAPOLEON.
Meantime Commissioner Slidell was active in Paris. He per- suaded M. Thouvenal, the French Secretary of Foreign Affairs, to obtain permission from the Emperor for Messrs. Lindsay and Roe- buck, members of the British Parliament, to see him in the interest of the Confederacy. The Emperor cheerfully received the visitors, Mr. Slidell also being present. The interview was prolonged at the Emperor's insistence. He authorized the Englishmen to pre- pare Parliament for any advanced movement in favor of the South, even to a break up of the Whig government that stood in the way, and he would promptly and effectively join it. Mr. Lindsay explained at length to the Emperor that the battle of the United States was not really for the maintenance of a Union from which slavery should be eliminated, but for the maintenance of a Union which would abolish the revenue tariff and in lieu re- store the Clay- American system, or protective duties for the benefit of the commerce and manufacturers of the North. He showed that as imports are paid for by exports, and as the imports of the South were great and of the North small, the South really paid three- fourths of the Federal revenues, only to be denied an equitable dis- bursement of the collection. The Emperor admitted the probable correctness of Mr. Lindsay's views, and reiterated his readiness to join England in recognition of the Confederacy at once and to sus- tain that proceeding at all cost. "Why not advance to that step alone, may I ask your Majesty?" inquired Lindsay. "Ah, what then becomes of my fleet off Vera Cruz?" was the reply.
While the commissioners were thus employed Moncure D. Con- way, a Virginian of extraordinary ability, who had in his youth gone North to enlist with Garrison, Phillips, Mrs. Howe and the