Page:Confederate Military History - 1899 - Volume 1.djvu/453

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significant declaration by the European powers that the execution of privateersmen would be inhuman, and an ineffective blockade would not be tolerated. Spain and Portugal published brief proclamations of neutrality, but the Emperor of Russia through a letter of Gortscha- koff to the Russian minister at Washington, expressed his unfriendliness to secession and conveyed his assur ance that " in every event the American nation may count upon his most cordial sympathy during the import ant crisis through which it is passing. Thus stood the relations of the two contending governments with the nations. The Confederacy had won its right to be known as a government de facto and to be treated as a lawful belligerent. Its proceedings had commanded the respect of statesmen, and its able commissioners were in position to present its cause to public consideration. On the other hand it was at disadvantage in the estimation of European courts in being classed among revolutionary governments, and was to great extent debarred public sympathy because of the slavery question. Its ability to maintain its independence by military resources had not yet appeared, while the widely published preparations of the United States impressively pointed out the military strength which was about to be employed to crush the rebellion. The status was expectant; events were not even foreshadowed; uncertainty prevailed while the armies of the two contestants were drawing toward the battle ground on the soil of Virginia.

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