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[378] liberation of the two Commissioners and their secretaries, and an apology for the aggression which had been committed, with no further delay than seven days; after which, if not complied with, the minister was instructed to leave Washington, with all the members of his legation, taking with him the archives of the legation, and reporting immediately in London. He was also to communicate all information in his power to the British Governors of Canada, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Jamaica, Bermuda, and such other of her Majesty's possessions as were within his reach.

All this meant war. England saw her opportunity, and she was determined to embrace it. The settlement of the difficulty was fortunately made before these latter instructions to the British Minister were known. But being so positive and peremptory, admitting no possibility of delay, or time for arbitration, announcing the alternatives of instant surrender, with apology, or hostilities,—fully showed the spirit of the British Government. We learn also from the Annual British Register for 1861, page 254, how promptly England was acting up to the plan of immediate war, for that official statement says:

Troops were dispatched to Canada with all possible expedition, and that brave and loyal colony called out its militia and volunteers, so as to be ready to act at a moment's notice. Our dockyards here resounded with the din of workmen getting vessels fitted for sea, and there was but one feeling which animated all classes and parties in the country, and that was, a determination to vindicate our insulted honor, and uphold the inviolability of the national flag.

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