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[512] guard the forts from being seized by a surprise, and held by the enemy; but the armament of the fort was so defective, that they could not have been defended against a serious attack.

In Fort Warren there was only one old condemned gun; Fort Winthrop was equally manned; and, though Fort Independence appeared to be better protected, yet its few guns were so old, and of such small calibre, as to be in reality of little value. The other important points of the Massachusetts coast were either not at all or still worse prepared for defence.

Earnest and unceasing efforts were made to induce the United-States Government to remedy, as speedily as possible, this dangerous condition of affairs; but, under the immense pressure of matters at that moment requiring its immediate attention, it could not be reasonably expected to provide for this more distant peril.

On the 14th of October, 1861, the Secretary of State addressed a letter to the Governors of all the States on the seaboard and on the lakes; in which, while referring to the energetic efforts being made by rebel emissaries to secure the recognition of the Southern Confederacy by foreign powers and embroil the United States with England and France, he suggested the necessity of taking every precaution to provide against the dangers to which a foreign war would expose us, and urged that our ports and harbors on the sea-coast and the lakes should be put in a condition of complete defence. On behalf of the President, the Secretary invited the attention of the Governor to the subject of the improvement of the fortification and defences of Massachusetts, and asked that the subject should be submitted to the consideration of the Legislature; adding that the measures which might be taken would require only a temporary use of the means of the State, and that the expenditure should be made the subject of conference with the Government of the United States. The seizure of Mason and Slidell, which followed immediately upon this, and so nearly involved the United States in hostilities with England, gave additional force to the recommendation of the Secretary of State. The Governor, who had unceasingly pressed this subject upon the attention of the United-States Government, no

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John Slidell (1)
Robert M. Mason (1)
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