Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 32.djvu/121

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Confederate Diplomacy. 109

the Southern people were not in rebellion; that the success of the South in the war was inevitable; that the Southern people would never return to the Union; that there were vast stores of cotton on the plantations, which an enterprising neutral could have for the asking. In the retirement of his later years President Davis recounted the success of the first commissioners, as he had anticipated success, in these words:

" Our efforts for recognition by European powers, in 1861, served to make us better known, to awaken a kindly feeling in our favor, and cause a respectful regard for the effort we were making to main- tain the independence of the States which Great Britain had recog- nized and her peoole knew to be our birthright." (Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government, Vol. I, p. 469.) This, after con- templation in fact, comprehended the whole scheme of Confederate foreign diplomacy from first to last.


The Tories of England received Commissioner Mason with open arms. They flocked to his apartments to welcome him and to ap- plaud his country. They escorted him to a seat in the galleries of Parliament, that he might hear with his own ears how they prodded the ministry and shamed it. They carried him to their country homes to see their kennels and their stables and to look upon their balls. " They are the same people here as in old Virginia," wrote Mason to his wife. The Lord Mayor invited him to attend the grand annual dinner. He was there called upon to speak and his speech was turnultuously applauded.

Commissioner Mason took up the question of blockade with the English ministry, to the limited extent that the ministry would hear him. England had insisted that the Confederate States should in- formally accede to the Paris Convention; and this Paris Convention had committed the powers that signed it to the proposition that: (i) Blockade by belligerents must be effective; (2) That blockade once raised, even for an hour, could not be restored without notice to neutrals.


Mr. Mason showed to the British minister conclusively that in the second year of the war the blockade of the Confederate ports was not effective; that a lively trade continually passed through the blockade, so called; that, for instance, 100 vessels and more had