|William Seward, Secretary of State|
The passions of the country are up and a collision is inevitable if the Government of the United States should, before the news reaches the other side, have assumed the position of Captain Wilkes in a manner to preclude the possibility of explanation. … Ministers and people now fully believe it is the intention of the [U.S.] Government to drive them into hostilities.The Confederacy's best chance for victory would be to have European nations as Allies, as the French helped the Americans during the War for Independence. But after several cabinet meetings, the United States finally unanimously decided to free the prisoners. The actions of Captain Wilkes, who had captured the prisoners, were disavowed and Mason and Slidell were released, 150 years ago today.