Page:Henry Adams' History of the United States Vol. 4.djvu/51

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1807
41
DEMANDS AND DISAVOWALS.

if not on his table, the American minister could not but feel that the British secretary might have spoken with more frankness. In truth ministers were waiting to consult the law, and to learn whether Berkeley could be sustained. The extreme Tories, who wanted a quarrel with the United States; the reckless, who were delighted with every act of violence, which they called energy; the mountebanks, represented by Cobbett, who talked at random according to personal prejudices,— all approved Berkeley's conduct. The Ministry, not yet accustomed to office, and disposed to assert the power they held, could not easily reconcile themselves to disavowing a British admiral whose popular support came from the ranks of their own party. Seeing this, Monroe became more and more alarmed.

The tone of the press was extravagant enough to warrant despair. July 27 the "Morning Post," which was apt to draw its inspiration from the Foreign Office, contained a diatribe on the "Chesapeake" affair.

"America," it said, "is not contented with striking at the very vitals of our commercial existence; she must also, by humbling our naval greatness and disputing our supremacy, not only lessen us in our own estimation, but degrade us in the eyes of Europe and of the world.... It will never be permitted to be said that the 'Royal Sovereign' has struck her flag to a Yankee cockboat."

In the whole press of England, the "Morning Chronicle" alone deprecated an American war or