The timing of a diplomatic lament

In the Third Session of the First CSA Congress (1/63-5/63), on January 14, a letter on foreign affairs from Jefferson Davis was delivered and entered into the record. The argument and the timing of what Davis lays out I have not previously read in diplomatic histories by Howard Jones, et al. They strike me as very important. Here is the gist of his report:
The complaint is that the [European] neutrality has been rather nominal than real, and that recognized {European] neutral rights have been alternatively asserted and waived in such manner as to bear with great severity on us and to confer signal advantages on our enemy.
This is very condensed compared to the long message it summarizes. Davis is saying (and he illustrates this), that the neutrals have been openly and clearly playing against the Confederacy from the start of the war. Up to this point, Jefferson has mentioned neutrals' surrender of their treaty rights to ship non-contraband goods to and from belligerent ports; the neutral's failure to condemn an illegal (paper) blockade; the neutrals' refusal to allow their ports to admit privateering prizes for dsiposal; France's failure to recoginize the sovereignty of states with which it had previously signed separate treaties apart from the U.S.; and most importantly, the French and British position communicated to Confederate commissioners from the outset, "a refusal to treat us as an independent government." The message does not mention frustration with any failure to mount a peace initiative. It acknowledges flatly Louis Napoleon's recent efforts to poll European powers for their attitude on a potential future peace initiative, but Davis seems to dismiss this development. The Davis letter is all past tense, barn-door-closed in tone. At one point Davis says,
I have hitherto refrained from calling your attention to this condition of our relations with foreign powers for various reasons.
It is therefore because our just grounds of complaint can no longer be misinterpreted that I lay them clearly before you.
To repeat, there is no hint of a reasonable chance of neutral intervention ever having been a calculation of the Davis government. The story is one of neutrals playing their neutrality against the CSA in favor of the USA from day one.

The defenders of the conventional wisdom might say that this message was Davis blowing off steam at the failure of intervention. If so, the failure is from the first, a failure to even enter grounds of discussion where this could be feasible.

(Note also, prior to Davis's message, a representative entered a motion - referred to committee - to recall all Confederate commissioners from abroad.)

What we are seeing here is not exasperation that a single military roll of the dice went against one side. In his January 1863 message, Davis was washing his hands of the Europeans (and his Congress is favorable to that) after a string of offenses. He has observed the effects of their policies from the beginning and judged them passively hostile. He is fed up with what has been going on for a long time.

The French initiative then, in the general context, appears as a fluke and Davis seems to give it no consideration for success.

Readers should walk the timeline.

Davis's message was surely in preparation during December of 1862, at the latest. So too, the congressional measure that would have recalled commissioners.

The idea that Davis or his Congress entertained hopes of European intervention in the second half of '62 appears to be unworkable.

Whatever fears the Union had for a peace initiative, it should not be read into the Confederate side.

Intervention looks to be a plot device concocted by talespinners to juice a story, especially that of the Maryland campaign.

p.s. Our friend Tim Reese in his last book did a fine job in tracking (unit by unit) the British Army force buildup in Canada during the ACW, esp. in the run-up to the Maryland campaign. Although the buildup can be roughly correlated to Seward-induced British tensions with the Union, they do not correlate to peace initiatives or discussions in Britain. The diplomatic histories make much of a high point for intervention in the fall of 1862. Its cresting wave was a proposed British cabinet meeting to discuss the matter. The sponsors of this discussion lost their nerve beforehand and it never even got that far. Attempts are made to connect Antietam with the decision to drop the cabinet approach but the whole issue is moot. Had the topic been broached in cabinet, it would have needed a consensus to move forward. Moving forward means deciding on the form of the peace initiative, and whether it would be backed by diplomatic threats to recognize the CSA or military force of some sort to start negotiations. Once those matters were decided, a proposal would have to be sold to Parliament and the French. I have felt that the time element and the moving political parts always made European intervention a false problem for ACW historians. The Davis letter to the CSA lower house moves us even farther away from the possibility of such a development.