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[379] received in Washington, or any possibility of news of the state of feeling in England could have reached here, Mr. Seward, Secretary of State, wrote to Mr. Adams, our Minister at London, an account of what had occurred, and stated that ‘Captain Wilkes acted without any instructions from the government, and he trusted that there would be no difficulty in adjusting the matter, if the British Government should be disposed to meet the case in the same pacific spirit which animated the President and his administration.’ By a singular coincidence, this letter was read by Mr. Adams to Earl Russell on the very same day that Lord Lyons had read the English Secretary's demand to Mr. Seward. It was then in the power of Earl Russell to make the purport of Mr. Seward's letter known, which would at once have allayed the war fever which the British ministry had done everything in their power to inflame. But this was not done. In speaking of this, Mr. Dana remarks:
The truth seems to be that, so long as they were uncertain whether their menace of war might not lead to war, they could not afford to withdraw the chief motive for the war spirit in the British people, and admit that their warlike demonstration had been needless. Their popular support depended upon the general belief in a necessity for their having accompanied their demand with the preparations and menace of war.

This conduct of the British government subsequently cost her a large portion of the respect of the civilized world. In Count de Gasparin's L'Amerique devant l'europe, in which that eminent publicist treats the whole question with consummate learning and ability, he remarks:

Between great nations, between sister nations, it was a strange

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