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[608] the vessel and cargo of the offender. Great Britain, however, would not see it in this light. Com. Wilkes's act was an outrage — an insult — which must be promptly atoned for at the peril of war. Such was the purport of the language held by a large majority of her publicists and journals; and a peremptory demand was promptly made, through her Embassador, Lord Lyons, for the unconditional surrender of Messrs. Mason and Slidell and their secretaries. France seconded and supported the requirement of Great Britain, in a considerate and courteous dispatch, wherein she justly claimed to have hitherto uniformly accorded with the United States in a liberal interpretation and generous assertion of the rights of neutrals in war. This demand of Great Britain--to the great disappointment and chagrin of the Confederates, who confidently expected that war between the United States and England must speedily and certainly ensue — was complied with by our Government--Gov. Seward, in an able dispatch, basing that compliance more immediately on the failure of Capt. Wilkes to bring the Trent into port for adjudication on the legality of his act, whereby her voyage had been temporarily arrested and two of her passengers forcibly abstracted.

And thus, at the close of the year 1861, the imminent peril of war with that European Power most able to injure us, because of her immense naval strength, as well as of the proximity of her American possessions, was wisely averted; though it was bitterly felt that her demand would at least have been more courteously and considerately made but for the gigantic war in which we were already inextricably involved by the Slaveholders' Rebellion.

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