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The Palmerston ministry. In reply to some questions put to him by the Earl of Derby, in the House of Lords, on the 15th of February, Lord Russell is reported to have said that, in the affair of the rams he acted from a sense of duty, and from no extraneous influence, believing that the rams were intended to be used for the purpose of carrying on war with the United States. From this, it is evident that he considers it his duty to assist the United States in every way short of a declaration of war, and to thwart the Confederates in every way short of actual hostilities. If he believes that the rams are designed to be used against the United States, he knows that the cannon, small arms, and munitions of war, which the Yankees obtain in vast quantities from England, are designed to be used in making war upon the Confederate States. His idea of a strict neutrality, then, is to throw open at the resources of the British empire to the Yankees, and to keep them closed against the Co