James Ford Rhodes (18481927). History of the Civil War, 18611865 1917.
vessels. Still Russell was not satisfied, and he continued his inquiries, leaving no stone unturned to arrive at the truth; but, in spite of his suspicions, he could not get over the palpable tokens that they belonged to a firm of Paris merchants. He therefore wrote to Adams, on September 1, that the government was advised that they could not in any way interfere with these ships, but he promised that they would maintain a careful watch, and be ready to stop them should trustworthy evidence show any proceeding contrary to the statute. At this time, he was at his country-seat in Scotland, and his letter did not reach Adams until four oclock in the afternoon of September 4.
Meanwhile our Minister had returned from an outing in Scotland, cheered by friendly intercourse with members of the government; but, on his arrival in London, he was immediately confronted with the critical question of the iron-clad rams, one of which, as Dudley had good reason to believe, might at any time go to sea. On September 3 Adams wrote to Russell, transmitting copies of further depositions and averring that there were no reasonable grounds for doubt that the vessels were intended for the Confederate service; and next day, hearing from Dudley that one of them was about to depart, he sent to the Foreign Office a last, solemn protest against the commission of such an act of hostility against a friendly nation. Soon afterwards he received Russells note of September 1 which, as he wrote in his diary, affected me deeply. I clearly foresee that a collision must now come out of it. I must not, however, do anything to accelerate it, and yet must maintain the honor of my country with proper spirit. The issue must be properly made up before the world on its merits. The prospect is dark for poor America. After a night given to such reflections, My thoughts turned