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[421] letter written by Mr. Blair, the Postmaster-General, that the President referred the letter received by him to General Totten, who made a report upon it to the President, which was read to him in the presence of Mr. Blair; the purport of which was, that big guns were too much for iron-clads, which Mr. Blair considered ‘all stuff.’ Mr. Blair's advice to the Governor was to spend a million dollars in obstructing the channels to Boston; then big guns could be brought to bear on iron-clads, and could sink them.

At this time, fears were entertained that matters might become so complicated between this country and England as to bring on a war with that nation; and John M. Forbes, who was then in London, wrote a letter April 18, upon the subject. He said it was his opinion that it would take but little to bring on another excitement similar to that about the ‘Trent;’ that the British Premier would be likely to act in the same way,— ‘try to get British pride up to back him, and then insist upon our fighting or backing down.’ He was to meet Messrs. Cobden, Bright, and Foster at Mr. Adams's the next day, and should probably hear something more.

Cobden I saw yesterday. He is going to speak next week, and I hope will speak entirely from a British point of view, showing their interest in protecting the sea from privateers, and in showing good faith as to fitting out expeditions. What havoc another Russian war would make on British commerce from our ports! and yet these slow coaches do not see it, or only dimly. It needs infinite caution and firmness to avoid a war by avoiding further irritation; and even then a spark may blow it up. I hope, upon the information before sent, you have already ordered a lot of Blakely 8 1/2-inch rifles. I expect to meet Blakely to-morrow, and shall get some light perhaps.

Mr. Forbes then expresses a hope that the American people will pursue a firm but quiet course, and also that the Governor would have two iron revolving towers across the Narrows, and a chain with hoisting machinery connecting them.

But the first great want is the guns. I feel the danger so strongly, that I may even be tempted to buy some as samples. The enemy are getting them; and, if these iron-clads get out, nothing but these guns and obstructions in the channels will save Boston. I think you have

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