Spain and the Confederate States (1861)

(The Charleston Mercury for September 12, 1861) Our readers will be pleased to see that the Captain-General of Cuba, acting on the authority of the Proclamation of the Queen of Spain, has declared that vessels, occupied in legitimate commerce, proceeding from ports of the Southern Confederate States of America, shall be entered and cleared under the Confederate States flag, and shall be duly protected by the authorities of the Island; and further, that foreign Consuls be notified that no interference on their part can be tolerated.

It will also be gratifying to learn that the Spanish Consul at Charleston, Senor Moncada, will, in a day or two, clear a vessel from this port as from the Confederate States.

Part I of our Civil War collection, A Newspaper Perspective, contains articles gleaned from over 2,500 issues of The New York Herald, The Charleston Mercury and the Richmond Enquirer, published between November 1, 1860 and April 15, 1865.
This is practical recognition of the independence of the Confederate States. The course of Spain is strictly in accordance with usage, which is, to recognize all de facto governments. She is acting towards us by the lights of plain common sense and international law, free from the unfriendly bias and misjudging ignorance which induce other nations, standing in awe of Yankee menace, and in deference to insolent braggadocia, to ignore our existence.

As well might England deny the independence of Austria, because France occupied some of the Austrian provinces, as to deny the independence of the Confederate States, because the United States occupies a few military posts on our borders. There is far less danger of the United States subjugating the Confederate States, than of France reducing Austria to a provincial condition.

This step of Spain towards doing us justice will serve to promote and encourage that sympathy and friendly intercourse which, as nations having the same domestic and industrial institutions, it is the interest and desire of the Slaveholding South studiously to cultivate. In the desperate sectional struggle that has been long raging in the Union between the Anti-Slavery North and the Slaveholding South, there was a time when many wished to strengthen the relative power of the South by the annexation of Cuba, and the idea of purchasing the Island was entertained.

But, with the dissolution of the Union and the independence of the Confederate States, the motive of thus obtaining for the South a counterpoise to Northern power has disappeared along with the system. The Confederate States desire the most cordial relations with Spanish America and Brazil. These are the peoples most identical with us in institutions – institutions which the rest of the world and the United States hate.

It is for these to support and strengthen each other in practising justice and exercising the comity and courtesy of nations. We look forward to close and mutually beneficial alliance with Spain.

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