A Century of American Diplomacy/Chapter XI

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
A Century of American Diplomacy by John W. Foster
Chapter XI: After the Civil War


THE most important subject connected with foreign relations which called for the attention of the government at the close of the Civil War was the situation of affairs in Mexico. The disturbed condition during the Buchanan administration, to which I have already referred/ afforded a sufficient pretext or reason on the part of foreign governments to intervene in behalf of their injured subjects in Mexico, and the Civil War in the United States released them from any fear of active interference from this country with their designs. Accordingly, on October 31, 1861, Great Britain, France, and Spain united in a tripartite agreement 2 for a joint military expedition, avowedly to enforce the claims of and secure protection to their subjects, in which they expressly disavowed any intention to secure territory or coerce the nation respecting the form of government; and they sent a combined naval and military force to Vera Cruz.

The United States was asked to become a party to

the agreement and expedition, but Mr. Seward declined,

and in guarded language stated that the United States

could not enter upon warlike measures to enforce claims

1 Supra, p. 355. 2 Dip. Cor. Mexican Affairs, 1862, pp. 134, 135.


402 .

against its neighbor, nor could it consent that any foreign government should acquire territory in Mexico or exercise any influence to interfere with the free choice of its people. In a few months the British and Spaniards discovered the real designs of Napoleon, and withdrew from the country, leaving the French alone in Mexico to pursue their plans. The Emperor Napoleon gave assurance to our government, in June, 1862, after the rupture with his allies, that " the French troops do not go there to interfere with the form of government, nor to acquire an inch of territory," and that his only object was to secure a settlement of French claims; and he repeated this assurance constantly during the following three years. 1

The French forces had a comparatively free hand during the Civil War, although our government con- tinued its relations with Juarez as the lawful president, and firmly and steadily declined to recognize the so- called Emperor Maximilian, who had been placed on a throne erected and supported by French bayonets. But when the Civil War was happily terminated, a large army of observation under General Sheridan was dis- patched to the Rio Grande frontier, prepared for such action as circumstances might determine. General Grant favored the expulsion of the French troops from Mexico without delay, 2 but Mr. Seward felt sure that a temperate but firm insistence upon our position main- tained during the war would accomplish the desired end, and his representations through our minister in Paris

1 Dip. Cor. 1862, p. 348; Ib. 1863, pp. 96-109.

2 2 Grant's Memoirs, 545, 546.


AFTER THE CIVIL WAR. 403

led to the assurance by Napoleon that his troops would be withdrawn; and this was gradually accomplished without a break in our relations with France. 1 Maxi- milian, left to himself, was soon overthrown by the Mexican republican troops, and he deservedly paid the penalty with his life for his attempt at the establishment of a monarchy on this continent by force.

An event which occurred in 1866 the successful laying of the Atlantic telegraphic cable has had a greater influence on the methods of diplomacy than any other physical fact of the century; and it is grati- fying to note that this achievement was mainly the result of the untiring efforts of an American, Cyrus W. Field. Mr. Seward, in his dispatch of congratulation to Mr. Field, said : " If the Atlantic cable had not failed in 1858, European states would not have been led, in 1861, into the great error of supposing that civil war in America would either perpetuate African slavery or divide this Republic; " and he added : " Your grand achievement constitutes, I trust, an effective treaty of international neutrality and non-interven- tion." 2

Upon the succession of Andrew Johnson to the presidency, after the assassination of Lincoln, Mr. Seward continued in the Cabinet, notwithstanding he subjected himself to the severe criticism of his party, which soon broke with the President, he feeling that in

1 The official correspondence and documents of these events are very voluminous; see Dip. Cor. Mexican Affairs, volumes for 1862, 1863, 1864, 1865-6, 1867. For evacuation of French, H. Ex. Doc. 93, 39th Cong. 1st Sess. vol. 12.

2 3 Life of Seward, 333.


404 .

the delicate condition of our foreign relations he should continue in the management of these affairs. His most important act during Johnson's term was the pur- chase of Alaska from Russia, which reflects much credit upon his diplomatic skill and his wise foresight as a statesman.

The steps which led up to the purchase may be briefly stated. The first suggestion of the acquisition appears to have been made during Folk's administra- tion. We have authority of a member of the Cabinet, Mr. R. J. Walker, for the statement that Russia indi- cated a willingness to give us its American possessions if we would adhere to the claim of 54 40' on the Pacific, and thus exclude Great Britain from that ocean on the American continent. 1 The subject was revived in 1859 when Senator Gwin, of California, and Assist- ant Secretary of State Appleton had conferences with the Russian minister in Washington on the subject of cession, and $5,000,000 was unofficially suggested as the price; but the election of 1860, and the Civil War, suspended the negotiations. 2 In 1866 the legislature of Washington Territory sent a petition to the Secre- tary of State, asking for better facilities for American fishing vessels in Russian- American waters. 3 About this time a company was organized in San Francisco to secure the privileges in the fur trade of the Russian- American Company, and also of the lease about to expire by the Hudson Bay Company of the strip of land on the coast north of 54 40'. In their interest

1 Dip. Cor. 1867, p. 390.

1 H. Ex. Doc. 177, 40th Cong. 2d Sess. p. 132. * Ib. 4.


AFTER THE CIVIL WAR. 405

Senator Cole of California had several conferences with the Russian minister in Washington, and also com- municated with Mr. Clay, our minister in St. Peters- burg, on the subject. 1

Another event of the same year (1866) had an im- portant influence on the cession of Alaska. In April an attempt upon the life of the emperor was made, and it brought forth from the Congress of the United States a warm resolution of congratulation on his escape. It was determined to have the resolution carried to St. Petersburg in one of our ironclad men-of-war, and Mr. Fox, the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, was detailed to deliver it to the emperor. 2 This action was taken in reciprocation of the visit of the Russian fleet to our country in the midst of our Civil War, made as an exhibition of the friendliness of that government at a time when most of the nations of Europe were sympa- thizing with the Confederacy, thus manifesting the pre- vailing sentiment voiced in the poem of Dr. Holmes : " Who was our friend when the world was our foe." 3

i Ib. 133. 3 Dip. Cor. 1866, p. 413, 414.

8 Dr. O. W. Holmes's poem was sung to the Russian national air, in Music Hall, Boston, by the public school children, December, 6, 1871, on the occasion of the visit of the Grand Duke Alexis. The verse from which the above extract is taken is as follows : .

Bleak are our shores with the blasts of December, Throbbing and warm are the hearts that remember Who was our friend when the world was our foe; Fires of the North in eternal communion, Blend your broad flashes with evening's bright star; God bless the Empire that loves the Great Union, Strength to her people ! Long life to the Czar.

Holmes's Poems (ed. 1880), 256.


406 .

The mission of Mr. Fox created throughout Russia intense interest and gratitude. 1

A few months afterwards Baron Stoeckl, the Eussian minister in Washington, made a visit to St. Peters- burg, and conferred with his government respecting the cession. He returned to Washington in March, 1867, with authority to negotiate for the transfer. On March 30 the treaty was signed with Secretary Seward. It is related 2 that the Russian minister, late in the evening of March 29, went to the residence of Mr. Seward, where he found the secretary playing whist with some members of his family, and informed him that he had received a cablegram from his government authorizing him to make the treaty, and added : " To- morrow, if you like, I will come to the department, and we can enter upon the treaty." " Why wait till to-mor- row, Mr. Stoeckl? Let us make the treaty to-night," said Mr. Seward. " But your department is closed. You have no clerks, and my secretaries are scattered about town." " Never mind that," responded Seward, " if you can muster your legation before midnight, you will find me awaiting you at the department, which will be open and ready for business." And thus by four o'clock, on the morning of the 30th, the treaty was engrossed, signed, sealed, and ready for transmission to the Senate.

The haste was occasioned by the expected early ad- journment of that body. The treaty was promptly

1 For official reports of Mr. Fox's mission, Dip. Cor. 1866, pp. 416- 459.

2 3 Life of Seward, 348.


AFTER THE CIVIL WAR. 407

ratified by the Senate, by a vote of 37 to 2, with little discussion, except a long and carefully prepared speech by Mr. Sumner, Chairman of the Committee on For- eign Relations, in which he gave a detailed report of the history, resources, and prospective advantages to the United States of the territory. 1 It was the first acquisition of non-contiguous territory made by our government, but this fact does not seem to have created opposition to the measure in the Senate.

The transfer of possession was made October 18, 1867, but the appropriation of the purchase-money was not made until July, 1868. The friendly disposition and confidence of Russia is shown in the fact that it did not make this payment a condition precedent to the transfer. Although the treaty was acted upon by the Senate with little opposition, the appropriation awakened a lengthy debate in the House, it being contended that the territory, because of absence of resources, would prove of no value to the United States. It was further argued that the treaty could have no effect until acted upon by the House, although it had been proclaimed by the President and the territory transferred to the United States. This was the same question that was raised as to the treaty-making power when the Jay treaty of 1794 was before Congress for the execution of its pro-


visions. 2


After weeks of debate the House passed a bill recit- ing that it was " necessary that the consent of Congress shall be given to the said treaty before the same shall have full force and effect,'* and enacted " that the assent

i H. Ex. Doc. 177, cited p. 124. 2 Supra, p. 167.


408 .

of Congress is hereby given to the stipulations of said treaty." This was rejected by the Senate, and in con- ference committee a new bill was agreed to, in which the terms of the treaty are recited in the preamble and the statement made that " said stipulations cannot be carried into full force and effect except by legislation to which the consent of both Houses of Congress is necessary;" and the act simply appropriates the pur- chase-money " to fulfill stipulations contained in Article 6." 1 This action was not, therefore, an assertion that the House has the prerogative of affirming or rejecting a treaty, as implied in the bill as originally passed by that body. 2

Senator Sumner said of the negotiations : " Few treaties have been conceived, initiated, prosecuted, and completed in so simple a manner, without protocols or dispatches." The motive of Eussia in making the cession has been the subject of discussion. Sumner referred in his speech to the motive assigned by Napo- leon for the cession of Louisiana, " to give England a maritime rival destined to humble her pride," and inti- mated that Kussia was influenced by similar consider- ations. 3 Mr. Clay, our minister in St. Petersburg, in referring to the causes which had brought the negotia- tions to success, wrote Secretary Seward that the Rus- sians preferred to have the United States rather than England as their neighbors, and that they entertained the hope that the cession might ultimately lead to the

1 15 Stat. at Large, 198.

2 For debate in Congress, Cong. Globe, 40th Cong. 2d Sess. H. Ex. Doc. 177, 40th Cong. 2d Sess. p. 130.


AFTER THE CIVIL WAR. 409

expulsion from the Pacific of the nation whose power in the East is justly feared. 1 A historian of the period says of the treaty : "It created a profound sensation throughout the country, and indeed throughout the civilized world. The Russian government had never before consented to the alienation of any part of its vast domain; and it was felt that the sale, which came soon after the close of a war in which Russia had openly manifested sympathy with the United States government in its struggle to preserve its integrity, was another evidence of the friendship of the empire for the re- public." 2

Mr. Seward stated, soon after this cession was per- fected, that his object in acquiring Alaska was to prevent its purchase by England, thereby preventing the extension of England's coast line on the Pacific; also because he believed it would strengthen American influence in British Columbia, if it was bounded on the north, as well as on the south, by the United States. He, on the same occasion, said that political union with the United States was the manifest destiny of Canada; that it would remove the causes most likely to produce irritation between England and the United States; and that the longer Canada resisted the inevitable, the longer she would defer the development of her natural resources. 3

The amount paid for the territory was $7,200,000.

1 Dip. Cor. 1867, p. 390.

2 5 Bryant's Hist. U. S. (Scribner), 398.

8 Interview with Hon. John Simpson, Senator of the Dominion of Canada. New York Sun, Jan. 29, 1893.


410 .

The receipts of the government from the sealing in- dustry of the Pribylof Islands alone have amounted to over $12,000,000. The area of the territory is 599,446 square miles. 1

Mr. Seward also negotiated a treaty with Denmark for the acquisition of the islands of St. Thomas and St. John in the West Indies, but the measure failed because of the non-action of the Senate. 2

The situation of our relations with Japan occupied the attention of Secretary Seward often during and after our Civil War, as also that of his immediate pre-

1 The growth in area of the United States on the continent of North America is computed by the Commissioner of the General Land Office, May 2, 1900, as follows :

Sq. Miles.

Territory of the Original Thirteen States . . 909,050 Louisiana Purchase, 1803 .... 875,025 Florida, under treaty, 1819 . . . = i . 70,107 Oregon, under treaty, 1846 .;'....",.;.,>, T v , , 288,689 Texas, annexed in 1845 .- . . 389,795 Ceded by Mexico, 1848 * . 523,802 Ceded by Mexico, 1853 v - . , . 36,211

949,808

Alaska, under treaty, 1867 . .; : ' . . 599,446

Total continental territory . 3,692,125 The insular territory acquired in 1898 is computed by the Superin- tendent of the Coast Survey, May 10, 1900, as follows :

Sq. Miles.

Hawaiian Islands . . ... . 6,740

Porto Rico . . .V .'-'. 3,522

Philippine Islands . . . ..,*,:,. 122,231

Guam " ..., '-::- 175

Tutuila, Samoan group . . . * 5,731

Total insular territory . .'< ,i~ >V 138,399

2 3 Life of Seward, 369; 1 Wharton's Int. Dig. 416; Schuyler's Diplomacy, 23.


AFTER THE CIVIL WAR. 411

decessors. As soon as Commodore Perry's treaty had been ratified, in 1855, Mr. Townsend Harris was ap- pointed consul-general and afterwards was made minis- ter resident. He remained in Japan as the American representative for seven years, in which he rendered valuable services to his own country, and to Japan as well, Mr. Seward attributing much of the success in establishing such friendly relations with that country to his " wonderful sagacity and patience." 1 In 1857 and 1858 he negotiated complete treaties of amity and commerce, in substitution of the limited treaty of 1854, in which he secured the opening of other important ports to commerce, extraterritorial jurisdiction to our consuls, and valuable trade and tariff regulations.

Japan early began to feel the effect of foreign inter- course established by the commercial treaties, and in 1860 it sent abroad quite an imposing embassy, which in turn visited the United States and European coun- tries, to study their institutions and establish better political relations. The embassy was cordially received everywhere, its personnel attracted attention because of its intelligence and ability, and every encouragement was given to the liberal policy which seemed to have taken possession of the ruling classes. But this policy met with fierce opposition within the empire, and often the rage and bigotry of the populace vented themselves on foreign residents, quite a number of whom lost their lives or suffered in the destruction of their property. Among these was the secretary of the United States legation, who was murdered in 1861; and two years

1 1 Wharton's Int. Dig. 495.


412 .

later in an anti-foreign riot the legation premises at Tokio were destroyed, and the minister and his house- hold had to take refuge in the treaty port of Yoko- hama.

Secretary Seward treated these matters and the Jap- anese government with leniency and friendliness. None of our statesmen of his day had such an exalted con- ception of the importance of our future relations to the peoples of the Pacific islands and of Asia. In a speech delivered in the Senate in 1858 he made a notable prophecy. He said : " The Pacific Ocean, its shores, its islands, and the vast regions beyond, will become the chief theatre of events in the world's great here- after." In their intercourse with China and Hawaii he enjoined on our representatives the utmost forbearance and kindness, in order that our citizens and their enter- prises might reap the benefit of peaceful relations and friendship for America. In instructing our minister as to the course to be pursued respecting the injuries inflicted in Japan upon officials and citizens of the United States, he recalled the fact that from its first acquaintance with Japan our government had con- ducted its intercourse with the utmost sincerity, frank- ness, and friendship; that it was the first duty of the American representatives to deserve and win the confi- dence of the Japanese government and people; that they should act as if the riotous events would have been prevented by the authorities, if they had possessed the power; that nevertheless they should insist upon full reparation for the outrages; and that in their united action with other foreign powers, for mutual protection


AFTER THE CIVIL WAR. * 413

and redress, they should conduct themselves with pru- dence, and not resort to force except in extreme cases. 1

The first treaties of the United States and of other foreign powers were made, not with the Mikado or Emperor, but with the Shogun or Tycoon, who was in reality a military dependent of the Emperor, but who for many years in recent times had exercised the chief authority in the islands. Yeddo, the seat of govern- ment of the Shogun, was regarded by the outside world as the capital of the nation, and the treaties had been made with that official under the mistaken belief that he was the chief ruler of the empire. His authority had been waning for some time previous to the arrival of Commodore Perry in the Bay of Yeddo, and the opposition to him on the part of the adherents of the Mikado gradually grew so strong that in 1867 the last of the Shoguns withdrew to his own family estate, and the Mikado became the undisputed ruler of the empire. His supremacy made it necessary that he should recog- nize or ratify the treaties which had been celebrated by the Shogun with the United States and other powers, and thereby accept the latter' s liberal foreign policy; and this was accordingly done in 1868.

An event which occurred during the disturbed period of the revolt of the Mikado's adherents against the Shogun occasioned a conflict with the foreign powers. The prince of the province in which is the narrow strait connecting the Japanese inland sea with the ocean, who was an adherent of the Mikado and had the latter in his charge, seized the fortified port of Shimo-

1 1 Wharton's Int. Dig. 500-502,


414 .

noseki commanding the strait, refused to recognize the treaties made with the Shogun, and sought to close the strait to all foreign commerce. This led to a combined naval expedition in 1863 on the part of the United States, Great Britain, France, and the Netherlands, which destroyed the forts and opened the passage of the strait. As an indemnity for the expense of this expedition, the representatives of the four powers de- manded and received from the Shogun the sum of $3,000,000, of which $785,000 was paid to the United States. 1

This money remained in the treasury of the United States unappropriated until 1883, when Congress, with an awakened conscience, voted its return to Japan. 2 In response to the notes of the minister of the United States, communicating the repayment of the fund to Japan, its Minister for Foreign Affairs said : " His Majesty's government regards the spontaneous return of the money . . . not only as an additional proof of the friendly disposition of your excellency's govern- ment, but as a strong manifestation of that spirit of justice and equity which has always animated the United States in their relations with Japan, and it will, I am convinced, tend to perpetuate and strengthen the mutual confidence and the feeling of cordial good-will and friendship which at present happily subsists between the people of our respective countries." 3

1 For reports and correspondence, S. Ex. Doc. No. 58, 41st Cong. 2d Sess.; H. Misc. Doc. No. 151, 42d Cong. 2d Sess.; Dip. Cor. 1864, part 3; For. Rel. 1874, pp. 675, 694.

2 22 Stat. at L. 421. For. Rel. 1883, p. 606.


AFTER THE CIVIL WAR. 415

The Anglo-French war with China of 1858-60, which resulted in the occupation of Peking by the allied forces and the opening of a number of additional ports to foreign commerce, was a rude, awakening of the Celestial Empire from its seclusion and conserva- tism, and its public men began to see that a new policy of broader and freer intercourse with foreign nations must be adopted. Anson Burlingame, who since 1861 had resided at Peking as minister from the United States, and by his tact and friendly conduct had gained the confidence of the Chinese government, was invited by it in 1868 to become the head of an imperial em- bassy, 1 to visit all the leading Christian nations, and through treaties and personal intercourse establish ami- cable and freer political and commercial relations with them.

This notable embassy first visited the United States, where it was received by the Executive, by Congress, and by the leading cities with distinguished attention. The government of the United States being in full sympathy with the objects of the embassy, a treaty (1868) was readily negotiated with its plenipotentiaries by Secretary Seward, wherein the rights of China were protected respecting all grants of lands or concessions to foreigners for internal improvements, freedom of conscience and religious worship were guaranteed, un- necessary dictation and intervention in internal affairs were to be discouraged, change of home and allegiance and free emigration were stipulated, and the privilege of unrestricted travel and residence in China and the i Dip. Cor. 1868, part 1, 601.


416 .

United States, upon the basis of the most favored nation, was agreed to. After its mission had been successfully accomplished in the United States, the embassy visited Europe, where- it was hospitably received, but where its political objects were not so readily nor so fully at- tained.

Unfortunately in the midst of its labors in Europe the embassy suffered the irreparable loss of its chief in the untimely death of Mr. Burlingame. This event proved a double misfortune to China, first, in weaken- ing the influence of the embassy in Europe, and, sec- ond, in depriving its government of the services and leadership of an able and tactful foreigner to direct its efforts towards a more liberal and progressive policy. We can only conjecture what might have been the future of China if Mr. Burling-ame's life had been

o

spared and he had been permitted to lead in the pro- gressive and liberal movement.

But another disappointment was in store for the empire. The large influx of Chinese laborers to the Pacific coast of the United States, which followed the treaty of 1868, created a sentiment in the country hos- tile to this immigration, and a demand arose for a modi- fication of the clauses of that treaty which permitted the free entrance and residence of Chinese laborers. It would transgress the limits which I have fixed for this work to narrate the negotiation of the immigration convention of 1880, the disregard of treaty stipulations by Congress, and the harsh measures adopted by our government to restrict the admission of the Chinese into the United States.


AFTER THE CIVIL WAR. 417

The period of Mr. SewarcTs service is unique in the history of the Department of State. No other secre- tary has had to deal with so many important questions, and none have held office during such a prolonged crisis, taxing to the utmost the intellectual and physi- cal powers of the incumbent. During this period he produced a series of state papers which take rank with those of the ablest writers on international law and polity. After he retired from office he made a tour of the world, and the reception accorded him attests the high esteem in which his ability and char- acter were held in foreign lands. With the lapse of time Mr. Se ward's services to his country, in the most critical period of its history, as Secretary of State> grow in importance and public appreciation. It is an interesting reminiscence of that time that in the early days of the crisis, when the Trent affair had just been successfully passed, December, 1861, a young man beginning to test the wings of the muse which were to raise him so high in the literary world, then a private secretary to the President, and destined himself to fill Mr. Seward's high office, foresaw his fame, and in an ode dedicated to the secretary, wrote :

" And so, a generous people, at the last Will hail the power they did not comprehend; Thy fame will broaden through the centuries." l

The stormy period of the Civil War and the John- son era of reconstruction and party discord were followed by the more peaceful administration of President Grant. He made a wise selection of a secretary of state in the 1 3 Life of Seward, 35.


418 .

person of Hamilton Fish, a man of education, refine- ment, and experience in public affairs, having been governor of the State of New York, and member of both Houses of Congress, besides having spent much time abroad. During his eight years' term a great variety of diplomatic questions arose, only the most im- portant of which can be noticed.

An insurrection broke out in Cuba the year of Presi- dent Grant's election, was in full operation when Mr. Fish entered upon his duties, and continued during his entire term. It was to him a constant source of anxiety, involving questions respecting the proper enforcement of the neutrality laws, the recognition of the belliger- ency and independence of the insurgents, interference with American vessels, the protection of the lives and property of American citizens, and a variety of other matters growing out of a state of war in an adjacent country with which we had intimate and extensive com- mercial relations. Strong influences were brought to bear upon the government to secure the recognition of belligerent rights to the Cuban insurrectionists, and the arbitrary and cruel conduct of the Spanish officials more than once put the friendly relations of the two nations in great peril; but through the prudent and skillful conduct of affairs by Mr. Fish, the government was enabled to discharge its international obligations and preserve the confidence of our own people, notwith- standing their warm sympathy with the Cuban cause. 1

1 For official papers, 7 Richardson's Messages, 31, 64, 336; S. Ex. Doc. 7, and H. Ex. Doc. 140, 41st Cong. 2d Sess.; S. Ex. Doc. 32, 42d Cong. 2d Sess.; H. Ex. Doc. 30, 43d Cong. 1st Sess. (the Virginias); S. Ex. Doc. 29, and H. Ex. Doc. 90, 44th Cong. 1st Sess.; Wharton's Int. Dig. sections 60, 377, and 402.


AFTER THE CIVIL WAR. 419

Attention was for some time directed to the island of San Domingo, because of a treaty of annexation nego- tiated with the president of that republic by President Grant's private secretary, General Babcock. The pro- ject met with strong opposition in this country and the treaty occasioned much party dissension in Congress, 1 and was finally rejected by the Senate, notwithstanding President Grant's warm advocacy. 2

The Franco-German War of 1870 led to the pro- clamation of our neutrality, 3 and its brief duration occasioned little inconvenience to our commerce. The confidence which both of these great powers reposed in the disinterested friendship of the United States was illustrated in the selection by Germany of the American minister in Paris, Mr. E. B. Washburne, with the ap- proval of France, to take charge of the interests of the subjects of the former during the war; and he acquitted himself with distinction in the discharge of his delicate and laborious duties.

Two cases of considerable interest, involving the question of extradition of criminals, occurred during the year 1876. One Winslow was arrested in London on a requisition under the extradition treaty charged with the crime of forgery committed in the United States. The British government required, as a condition of his surrender, that an assurance should be given that he would not be tried for any other offense than the one for

1 2 Elaine's Twenty Years in Congress, 458, 461.

2 For official papers, 7 Richardson's Messages, 99; S. Ex. Doc. 17 and 24, H. Ex. Doc. 42, 41st Cong. 3d Sess.; S. Ex. Doc. 35, 42d Cong. 1st Sess.; S. Ex. Doc. 9, 42d Cong. 2d Sess.

8 7 Richardson's Messages, 86.


420 .

which he was extradited, on the ground that a British law passed after the treaty required such a condition. Mr. Fish refused to give such an assurance, for the reason that the condition was not warranted by the treaty. He contended that the terms of a treaty could not be modi- fied by a domestic law, and he gave notice that if this position was maintained the United States would cease to ask for the surrender of any criminals under the treaty. The British government declined to yield, Wins- low was released from arrest, and he was never tried. 1 For some months the treaty was virtually suspended, and no criminals were extradited. Finally, Great Britain yielded the point in controversy, and the treaty was again put in operation. But the United States has observed the rule that a person extradited for one offense shall not be tried for another, and the United States Supreme Court has held that such should be practiced under the treaty. 2

The other extradition case referred to was that of " Boss " Tweed, of the Tammany ring, which defrauded the city of New York out of many millions of dollars. He was convicted and sentenced to a long term of im- prisonment, but succeeded in escaping, fled to Cuba and thence to Spain, where he was discovered and arrested. We had no extradition treaty with Spain, and could not demand his surrender as a right. Nevertheless the Spanish government delivered him up, and he was re- turned to the state prison, where he died. 3 This action

1 1 Moore on Extradition, sect. 150, p. 196.

2 United States vs. Rausch'er, 119 U. S. Rep. 407. 8 1 Moore on Extradition, sect. 33, p. 41.


AFTER THE CIVIL WAR. 421

recalls an extradition case which occurred in 1864, and attracted much attention at the time. Arguelles, a Spanish colonel, seized a cargo of African negroes, sold them into slavery, appropriated the money to his own use, and fled to New York, where he established himself as a newspaper proprietor. The Spanish government asked for his extradition, although no treaty existed warranting it; but the crime was so flagrant and so repulsive to the moral sentiment of the nation that Mr. Seward felt justified in yielding to the request of the Spanish government, and he caused Arguelles to be delivered so expeditiously that no opportunity was given for a writ of habeas corpus to issue. 1

The delivery was made in the midst of the presi- dential campaign, and it occasioned a great outcry by the opponents of the war and of the administration, as a tyrannical misuse of power and a violation of the right of asylum. And it is to be confessed that, though the act in question was a meritorious one, it affords a dangerous precedent for abuse of authority in a country which acknowledges the supreme rule of law. It is the last case of the kind which has occurred, the practice of the government being not to grant extradition except to countries with which we have treaties author- izing and requiring it.

The most important subject which occupied Secretary Fish during his long term of office was that growing out of the lax and unfriendly enforcement of neutrality by Great Britain during the Civil War. I have noticed the repeated complaints and protests of our minister in

1 Ib. sect. 27, p. 27.


422 .

London, Charles Francis Adams, following the departure from British ports of one after another of the Confed- erate cruisers to prey upon our commerce, and the little satisfaction he obtained. Discouraged at the time with the small result of his efforts, he wrote the department : " The main object must now be to make a record which may be of use at some future day."

At the close of the war he renewed his correspondence with the Foreign Office, and sought to bring the British government to a realizing sense of the great injury done the United States, and to a willingness to make due reparation. Lord Russell denied all responsibility for the acts of the Alabama and other cruisers, and after a tedious discussion finally declared, with some impa- tience, " that he wished to say, once for all, that her Majesty's government disclaimed any responsibility for the losses, and hoped they had made their position per- fectly clear." 1 Certainly this was sufficiently explicit; but it was utterly unsatisfactory to the United States, and its dissatisfaction and determination to persist at the proper time in urging its claim for reparation were made known to her Majesty's government.

In the course of a few years a change of ministry oc- curred in Great Britain, and, in a better frame of mind, the new ministry manifested a disposition to reopen the door so abruptly closed by Lord Eussell. Mr. Reverdy Johnson, who had relieved Mr. Adams as minister in London, succeeded in negotiating with Lord Clarendon, in 1869, just at the close of President Johnson's

1 For correspondence, President's Message, April 7, 1869, Claims against Great Britain, vol. 3.


AFTER THE CIVIL WAR. 423

administration, a treaty for the adjustment of our dif- ferences with Great Britain, but it was of such an unsatisfactory character that it was rejected by the Senate of the United States, by an almost unanimous vote. 1

Upon the advent of President Grant, the new Secre- tary of State, Mr. Fish, reopened the subject with the Gladstone ministry, and after some preliminary nego- tiations, a special commission composed of five able and prominent statesmen was sent to Washington by the British government to confer with a like commis- sion on the part of the United States, at the head of which was Secretary Fish, and to take up for adjust- ment what were known as the Alabama claims, and all other unsettled questions between the two nations. Out of these conferences there resulted a treaty signed on May 8, 1871, and called the treaty of Washington. It is one of the most important and the most compre- hensive of the treaties ever negotiated by our govern- ment.

The treaty embraced eleven distinct subjects, which, very briefly enumerated, are as follows : In the first article the British commissioners expressed "the re- gret felt by her Majesty's government for the escape ... of the Alabama and other vessels . . . and for the depredations committed by " them, and agreed to the submission of the claim of the United States there- for to a tribunal of arbitration, which has gone into

1 For negotiations and copy of Johnson-Clarendon Treaty, Claims against Great Britain, vol. 3, pp. 692-789; for Senator Sumner's speech in opposition, 13 Sumner's Works, 23-93.


424 A CENTURY OP AMERICAN DIPLOMACY.

history as the Geneva arbitration. Second : The claims, other than the foregoing, of the citizens and subjects of the two governments arising during the Civil War, were likewise submitted to an arbitration commission. 1 Third: The seacoast fisheries of both countries were made free, and fish products were admitted free of duty by both governments for a term of ten years. Fourth : As the British (or Canadians) claimed that this privilege as to the fisheries was much more valuable to the Americans than to the Canadians, a commission was created to assess the excess of value, if any was shown to exist. 2 Fifth : The free navigation of the St. Law- rence, Yukon, Porcupine, and Stikine Rivers was stipu- lated. Sixth : The use of the canals of the United States and Canada was provided for on terms of equal- ity by citizens of the respective countries. Seventh : The free navigation of Lake Michigan was granted to British vessels. Eighth : Free transit of goods in bond through the United States and Canada. Ninth : Cer- tain coastwise trade was allowed on the St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes. Tenth : Free use of St. John River, New Brunswick, for Maine lumber. Eleventh : The reference of the water boundary dispute through the Strait of Fuca to the decision of the Emperor of Germany. 3

The settlement of the questions arising out of the Alabama claims was the most important arbitration in which the United States ever engaged, the most august and impressive ever held in the world, and the

1 For arbitration of war claims, 1 Moore's Arbitrations, chap. 15.

3 Ib. chap. 16. 8 Papers relating to Treaty of Washington, vol. 5.


AFTER THE CIVIL WAR. 425

most lasting in its influence on other nations. The treaty of 1871 created a tribunal composed of one American, one British, and three neutral members, the latter to be named, one each, by the King of Italy, the President of Switzerland, and the Emperor of Brazil; and the city of Geneva was fixed upon as the place where the tribunal should hold its sessions. The treaty prescribed for the tribunal three rules as to neutrality, which were made applicable to the case, together with such principles of international law as were not incon- sistent with them. This was a new departure in inter- national practice, and is believed to have largely con- tributed to the success of the American case.

These rules were as follows : " A neutral government is bound, first, to use due diligence to prevent the fit- ting out, arming, or equipping, within its jurisdiction, of any vessel which it has reasonable grounds to believe is intended to cruise or carry on war against a power with which it is at peace; and also to use like diligence to prevent the departure from its jurisdiction of any vessel intended to cruise or carry on war as above, such vessel having been specially adapted in whole or in part, within such jurisdiction, to warlike purposes; secondly, not to permit either belligerent to make use of its ports or waters as the base of naval operations against the other, or for the purpose of the renewal or augmentation of military supplies or arms, or the recruitment of men; thirdly, to exercise due diligence in its own ports and waters, and, as to all persons within its jurisdiction, to prevent any violation of the foregoing obligations and duties."


426 .

In agreeing that in deciding the questions the arbi- tration might be bound by these rules, the British government stated that it did not assent to them as principles of international law in force when the claims arose. It was, however, stipulated that the two gov- ernments would observe them in the future, and would invite other maritime powers to accede to them. The last clause of the agreement was not carried out, Great Britain showing a reluctance to a submission of the rules to the powers, 1 influenced in part by disappoint- ment over the award and by the construction put upon some clauses of the rules by the tribunal. The general consensus of opinion of publicists, with some dissent in England, is that they are a correct statement of existing international law. 2

After the two governments had submitted their " cases " or statement of their claims and defense to the tribunal, and it became public that the United States had included in its demands what are known as na- tional or indirect claims, it created intense excitement and indignation in Great Britain. Such claims, if allowed, would reach sums so enormous as to cause the bankruptcy of even the British treasury, and its gov- ernment threatened not to proceed with the arbitration unless these claims were withdrawn. This the United States declined to do, maintaining that it had a right to have them passed upon by the tribunal. For a time

1 S. Ex. Doc. No. 26, 45th Cong. 2d Sess.

2 For British writers, 13 Ency. Britannica, 196, art. "International Law; " Maine's Int. Law, 216; other publicists, 6 Rev. de Droit Int. 661, 574, 575, 606; 7 Ib. 127, 427.


AFTER THE CIVIL WAR. 427

the arbitration seemed destined to prove a failure, but the neutral arbitrators, to save the situation, gave an intimation that they would rule out the indirect claims, and upon this indication the arbitration proceeded to a final conclusion. The decision was that as to certain vessels, including the Alabama, the Florida, and others, the British government had failed in its duty as a neutral power; but that as to certain other vessels it had not been negligent. An award in the lump sum of $15,500,000 was rendered in favor of the United States, 1 which was promptly paid into the United States treasury, and in due time distributed to the personal sufferers by the depredations of the cruisers.

There was for a time a feeling in England of disap- pointment and dissatisfaction with the result, but on both sides of the Atlantic general relief was experi- enced that a definite and peaceful settlement had been reached of a question which had occasioned deep resent- ment and threatened a long estrangement of the two kindred nations. The conduct of Great Britain in entering upon the arbitration was in the highest degree creditable to her. It was a serious act for a powerful and proud nation to insert in a treaty an expression of regret at events occurring in its own territory, which were the basis of the claims of the contending govern- ment, and it was an unusual proceeding to agree to rules which would almost necessarily result in her own condemnation. The United States having accepted this expression of regret, having entered upon the arbi-

1 For full details of Geneva Arbitration Tribunal, 1 Moore's Int. Arbi- trations, chap. 14; 4 Ib. chap. 68.


428 .

tration and received the fruits of the award, good faith requires that both the government and people of this country should regard the events in England during the Civil War which caused estrangement as fully atoned for and forever buried in the past.

There is an interesting incident in connection with the preliminary negotiations which led to the appoint- ment of the Joint High Commission and the treaty of 1871. Sir John Rose, a member of the Canadian ministry, conducted the preliminary negotiations in conjunction with the British minister in Washington. Before a substantial agreement was reached, Secretary Fish, in a personal call upon Charles Sumner, chair- man of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, informed him of the progress of the negotiations and of the proposed basis, and asked Senator Sumner's views on the subject. He sent his answer two days afterwards in the shape of a written memorandum. 1 In it he noted the idea of Sir John Rose, " that all ques- tions and sources of irritation between England and the United States should be removed absolutely and forever, that we may be at peace really, and good neighbors," and said : " Nothing could be better than this initial idea. It should be the starting-point. The greatest trouble, if not peril ... is the proximity of the British flag in Canada. Therefore, the withdrawal of the British flag cannot be abandoned as a condition or preliminary of such a settlement as is now proposed. To make the settlement complete, the withdrawal should be from this hemisphere, including provinces and islands."

1 1 Moore's Arbitrations, 525.


AFTER THE CIVIL WAR. 429

Such a proposition as " a condition or preliminary " to a settlement, emanating from the chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate, was to Secretary Fish most astounding and impossible. Years afterwards when both Sumner and Fish were dead, Mr. George F. Edmunds, for a long time a distinguished member of the Senate, referred to this proposition as " most astonishing and extravagant," the mere mention of which u would have put an end to all negotiations at once." l This incident, like that narrated of Mr. Seward at the beginning of his service as secretary, 2 illustrates how our greatest statesmen may sometimes blunder. Sumner's proposition was at the time most impracticable, but it was not without a basis of reason. He had been at the head of the Committee on Foreign Relations since the inauguration of Lincoln, and was probably the best informed of our public men as to foreign affairs. He was in intimate and confidential correspondence with the most intelligent of the friends of America in England, men like Bright, Cobden, and the Duke of Argyll, and knew thoroughly the spirit of the then ruling classes toward this country. He had witnessed with indignation the conduct of the Canadian authorities and their friendly offices to the Confederate emissaries. He, in common with many of the most far-sighted of our public men, as we have seen, 3 Franklin, John Adams, Seward, and others, believed that the greatest menace to our peace with Great Britain was in the maintenance of a colonial dependency on our northern border. 1 Ib. 526. 2 Supra, p. 360. Supra, pp. 74, 409.


430 .

Sumner, however, would probably not have made such a proposition in response to the request of the Sec- retary of State if his relations with the administration had been more friendly. He had led the opposition to the Johnson-Clarendon treaty, and was the conspicuous advocate of the national or indirect claims. He had recently opposed and defeated the San Domingo treaty, and had awakened the enmity of President Grant. Added to this, his warm personal friend, Mr. Motley, had been summarily removed from his post as minister to England, and this led him to break his long-standing friendship with Secretary Fish. It remained for him to experience still another cause of difference with the administration. When the next Congress reassembled, the party managers determined to displace him as chairman of the Committee on Foreign Eelations, and the resolution was carried into effect. This action greatly embittered Mr. Sumner and his friends, led him to break with his party, and saddened the near- approaching end of his life, which had been a highly honorable and distinguished career in the anti-slavery cause and in championship of the Union throughout the Civil War.

The action of the party leaders has been severely criticised, but unjustly so. He had refused to speak to the Secretary of State, and a spirit of bitter enmity existed between him and the President. On whichso- ever side the merits of the controversy lay, it was not proper that he should continue at the head of the com- mittee which was required to hold confidential relations with the Executive Department of the government.


AFTER THE CIVIL WAR. 431

How deeply the matter was lamented in the Senate may be judged from an extract of a letter written to Mr. Sunmer by Senator Oliver P. Morton of Indiana, a strong supporter of President Grant, and at the time the most influential member of the Senate. Replying to a friendly letter from Sumner, he says : " It refers to a controversy which will ever be my most disagree- able experience in the Senate, for it was a controversy among friends. I am, as I have been for years, your friend and admirer, and an earnest well-wisher for your continued health and happiness. In the course I took I believed I was doing right, and what was best for the country and party; and I give you credit for equal purity of purpose." l

Mr. John Lothrop Motley, the eminent historian and a most worthy and patriotic citizen, has the unique dis- tinction in our diplomatic history of having been twice forced out of his post as minister by the Secretary of State. He was appointed by President Lincoln minister to Austria, in 1861, and continued in the useful dis- charge of his duties until the accession of President Johnson. After the latter put himself in antagonism to the party which elected him, an anonymous writer traveling in Europe sent a letter to Secretary Seward, reporting that Minister Lothrop was abusing the Presi- dent and his policy, and speaking in disparaging terms of the Secretary of State. The President directed that an explanation be demanded from Mr. Motley, who, indignant that credence should be given to scurrilous reports impugning his conduct as minister, tendered his

1 For defense of Sumner, 4 Pierce's Sumner, chap. 56.


432 .

resignation and returned home. 1 He was sent by President Grant as minister to London, in 1869, and initiated the renewal of negotiations after the rejection of the Johnson-Clarendon treaty. He failed at a most delicate point in the negotiations in conforming to the exact tenor of Secretary Fish's instructions. It is said that President Grant desired that he should be recalled at that time, but the minister's omission was passed over by Secretary Fish in a mild manner. After the nego- tiations were transferred to Washington, at theinstance of the President, his resignation was requested. This he declined to give, because he felt that under the cir- cumstances it would be an impeachment of his conduct, which he claimed merited no blame. He was thereupon recalled. This step coincided in time with Sumner's speech in opposition to the San Domingo annexation treaty, and it was charged that his dismissal from his post was intended as a punishment to Sumner. A long and bitter correspondence ensued between the displaced minister and the Secretary of State. 2

The personal troubles of Mr. Fish were not to end with the recall of Mr. Motley and the quarrel with Sumner. Following within a few months upon the latter came a very disagreeable experience with the Russian minister, Mr. Catacazy. The first offense of the minister was in resisting a personal claim of an American citizen against Russia by methods at variance

1 FOP correspondence, S. Ex. Doc. 1, 40th Cong. 1st Sess.; for de- fense of Motley, Holmes's Memoir of Motley, chap. 18.

2 S. Ex. Doc. 11,41st Cong. 3d Sess.; 1 Moore's Extraditions, 517-519. For defense, Holmes's Memoir of Motley, chap. 21.


AFTER THE CIVIL WAR. 433

with diplomatic practice. About the same time the negotiations were in progress through the British and American Joint High Commission for the settlement of the Alabama claims. He made free use of the news- papers in an attempt to prejudice and defeat the nego- tiations, and resorted to interviews and importunities with members of Congress, greatly embarrassing to them. He gave no heed to the warnings of the Secretary of State, and finally became personally abusive of the President and members of his Cabinet. When con- fronted with his acts he was guilty of prevarication and deliberate falsehood.

Mr. Fish directed our minister in St. Petersburg to inform the Russian government that Mr. Catacazy's official and personal conduct had for some time been such as to impair his usefulness and to render inter- course with him, for either business or social purposes, highly disagreeable; and that government was asked to recall him. Such a request is usually acted upon with promptness, but the present case was complicated by the fact that a visit to the United States of the Grand Duke Alexis had been arranged, and he was then ready to sail with the naval squadron which was to conduct him. There was no time in which to recall the minister and replace him with another representative before the arrival of the Grand Duke, and if the recall should be insisted upon, it was said the Grand Duke's visit would have to be abandoned. It was therefore arranged that Catacazy should remain till the visit was concluded, when he would be withdrawn, but he was notified by the Secretary of State that in accompanying the Grand


436 .

motives for its celebration being a desire to bind these islands more strongly to our country. In 1875 such a treaty was negotiated by Secretary Fish, and it was renewed and continued in existence until the final con- sumation of annexation in 1898.

Another step in the extension of American influence into the Pacific Ocean was taken in 1872, when Com- mander Meade of the United States navy negotiated with the chief of Tutuila, one of the Samoan group, a commercial agreement, with provision for the use of the port of Pago-Pago as a naval station. This agreement took the shape of a formal treaty in 1878, and that brought about the tripartite government by the United States, Great Britain, and Germany of the whole of the Samoan group. From the latter we were happily released in 1899, and continue only in possession of Tutuila, with its commodious harbor and naval station at Pago- Pago.

Mr. Fish, while not a man of exceptional talent, was one of the most useful secretaries who ever administered the affairs of the Department of State. He possessed a well-trained mind, was methodical, painstaking, and industrious, actuated by a high sense of honor and a conscientious devotion to the duties of his office, con- servative but thoroughly American in his decision of questions, and prompt in the dispatch of business. He was possessed of an independent fortune, was a refined and courtly gentleman, and dispensed the hospitalities of his position with such good taste as to earn the encomiums of both the diplomatic corps and his own countrymen.


AFTER THE CIVIL WAR. 437

This review of our diplomatic history has now reached the memory of the younger generation of to- day, and may properly be brought to a close, as the events following this period cease to be history, and are, in a certain sense, a part of the current affairs of the day. The century, since 1776, has been active in moulding the code of international law, and this review has shown what an important part of that work has been wrought by the nation which had its birth in that year. The chief actors in the work done by the United States of America have been the secretaries of state and its diplomatic representatives abroad. It has been seen that our foreign relations have been usually in the hands of the ablest men whom our country has pro- duced. But they have had worthy coadjutors in giv- ing shape and permanence to this international code. The exposition of the law of nations, as set forth in the decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States, has had a great influence in moulding that law, and its opinions are recognized as of the highest authority by foreign publicists. Among authors in this department of law none carry greater weight throughout the world than Story, Kent, Wheaton, Hal- leek, Woolsey, Wharton, and other American writers. When we recall the services of these diplomatic, judicial, and scholastic representatives of the United States, it is no vain boast to say that no body of men in any country have exercised a more salutary influence on the affairs of the globe, or done as much to improve and enlarge the principles of international law.


436 .

motives for its celebration being a desire to bind these islands more strongly to our country. In 1875 such a treaty was negotiated by Secretary Fish, and it was renewed and continued in existence until the final con- sumation of annexation in 1898.

Another step in the extension of American influence into the Pacific Ocean was taken in 1872, when Com- mander Meade of the United States navy negotiated with the chief of Tutuila, one of the Samoan group, a commercial agreement, with provision for the use of the port of Pago-Pago as a naval station. This agreement took the shape of a formal treaty in 1878, and that brought about the tripartite government by the United States, Great Britain, and Germany of the whole of the Samoan group. From the latter we were happily released in 1899, and continue only in possession of Tutuila, with its commodious harbor and naval station at Pago- Pago.

Mr. Fish, while not a man of exceptional talent, was one of the most useful secretaries who ever administered the affairs of the Department of State. He possessed a well-trained mind, was methodical, painstaking, and industrious, actuated by a high sense of honor and a conscientious devotion to the duties of his office, con- servative but thoroughly American in his decision of questions, and prompt in the dispatch of business. He was possessed of an independent fortune, was a refined and courtly gentleman, and dispensed the hospitalities of his position with such good taste as to earn the encomiums of both the diplomatic corps and his own countrymen.


AFTER THE CIVIL WAK. 437

This review of our diplomatic history has now reached the memory of the younger generation of to- day, and may properly be brought to a close, as the events following this period cease to be history, and are, in a certain sense, a part of the current affairs of the day. The century, since 1776, has been active in moulding the code of international law, and this review has shown what an important part of that work has been wrought by the nation which had its birth in that year. The chief actors in the work done by the United States of America have been the secretaries of state and its diplomatic representatives abroad. It has been seen that our foreign relations have been usually in the hands of the ablest men whom our country has pro- duced. But they have had worthy coadjutors in giv- ing shape and permanence to this international code. The exposition of the law of nations, as set forth in the decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States, has had a great influence in moulding that law, and its opinions are recognized as of the highest authority by foreign publicists. Among authors in this department of law none carry greater weight throughout the world than Story, Kent, Wheaton, Hal- leek, Woolsey, Wharton, and other American writers. When we recall the services of these diplomatic, judicial, and scholastic representatives of the United States, it is no vain boast to say that no body of men in any country have exercised a more salutary influence on the affairs of the globe, or done as much to improve and enlarge the principles of international law.