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THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE. - SHAPING FOREIGN RELATIONS, 1861
THE Secretary of State is regarded as the highest political officer appointed by the President. Seward was fortunate in having had much experience in discussing questions in foreign relations, for since 1857 he had been a member of the Senate committee on foreign affairs. He had a reputation for hospitality, affability, discretion, and adaptability. On the other hand, the exigencies of party leadership and his fondness for showy declarations and surprising prophecies had occasionally led him into saying some unpleasant things about European monarchies. In a public letter in 1846, he announced: "The monarchs of Europe are to have no rest while they have a colony remaining on this continent." When advocating a welcome to Kossuth, he maintained: "This republic is, and forever must be, a living offence to Russia and to Austria and to despotic powers everywhere. You will never, by whatever humiliations, gain one friend or secure one ally in Europe or America that wears a crown. At the same time he referred to Napoleon III. as "the youthful and impatient Bonaparte, the sickly successor of the Romans." In 1856 he mentioned the "treachery by which Louis Napoleon rose to a throne on the ruins of the republic," and he pronounced the French Empire "a hateful usurpation." *
1 1 3 Works, 409.
34 Works, 562.
21 Works, 184.
Yet Napoleon, if he had ever heard of Seward's expressions, was able to overlook them and to treat the New York Senator with marked attention when he visited France in 1859, Seward had spoken of Great Britain in such terms as to cause himself to be regarded as especially unfriendly. His remarks in the debates about the Irish "patriots" and the Clayton-Bulwer treaty were illustrations.' When discussing the latter subject he characterized Great Britain to be the foreign power that was "the greatest, the most grasping, and the most rapacious in the world." "Without a war on our part, Great Britain will wisely withdraw and disappear from this hemisphere within a quarter of a century-at least within half a century." The acquisition of Canada by the United States had long been known to be one of his favorite ideas. Lord John Russell, the British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, recorded his suspicions as early as February 20, 1861-more than five weeks before the actual proposition of April 1st was made-that an attempt might be made to get up a quarrel with Great Britain in case other plans should fail to reunite the sections. But wise nations let the past lie buried, unless some new issue stirs up old grievances or animosities.
From 1820 to 1866 the Department of State at Washington was located in a dingy little structure, two stories
1 See ante, Vol. I., pp. 323 ff., 484 ff.
• Globe, 1855-56, 290, and Apdx., 79.
It was well known that he had spoken of this as a means of compensation to freedom for the acquisitions slavery had made on the South. (3 Works, 273; 4 Works, 442.) In the debate about the fisheries in August, 1852, he said: "A war about these fisheries would be a war which would result either in the independence of the British provinces, or in their annexation to the United States. I devoutly pray that that consummation may come; the sooner the better; but I do not desire it at the cost of war, or injustice. I am content to wait for the ripened fruit which must fall."-1 Works, 273. For other references about Canada, see post, p. 472.
4 Parliamentary Papers, North America, No. 1, p. 13.
high, which stood on ground now covered by the northern end of the Treasury building. Its corridors and rooms were small, and an English traveller wrote, early in 1861, that one would see much more bustle in the passages leading to the council-room of a poor-law board or a parish vestry.' Here the most important years of Seward's life were to be spent. In 1866 the department was removed to the building, now occupied as an orphan asylum, at the corner of 14th and S Streets N. W."
The home personnel of the department numbered less than half as many as in 1899. For Assistant-Secretary, Seward chose his son Frederick. He was a lawyer by profession, but during most of the decade since his admission to the bar he had been associate-editor of the Albany Evening Journal. He had never held a public office, but journalism and intimate association with his father and Weed had made him familiar with political affairs. Although he had not completed his thirty-first year, he soon demonstrated that he possessed ability and good judgment. The chief clerk, William Hunter, was a man of uncommon energy, then only a little past the middle-point of his nearly three - score years of valuable service in this department. At present there are a second-assistant secretary and a thirdassistant secretary, and six distinct bureaus, each with a chief; in Seward's time none of these offices existed.
Not less important than the departmental officials at home were its leading representatives abroad. Both custom and the public service demanded that Buchanan's appointees abroad should give place to Republicans.'
1 Russell's Diary, 36.
? It remained there until 1875, when it was given its present fine quarters next to the War and Navy Departments in the gigantic granite edifice south of Pennsylvania Avenue and east of 17th Street.Gaillard Hunt, The Department of State, 202.
Writing a few months later of the diplomatic service of Buchan
Charles Francis Adams, Seward's close political and personal friend, succeeded George M. Dallas as Minister to Great Britain. Although known as a man of marked talent and character, Adams was without experience in diplomacy. It was, therefore, extremely odd in American politics that a third Adams, in direct line, should represent his country at the Court of St. James. William L. Dayton was appointed in place of Charles J. Faulkner as United States representative at the Court of the Tuileries. His prominence in his party was regarded as establishing a just claim to so conspicuous a place, after it was not found practicable to make him a member of the Cabinet. For similar reasons Cassius M. Clay was sent to Russia. Carl Schurz, then a young lawyer in Wisconsin, but already famous for his eloquent and effective antislavery speeches, was given the mission to Spain. Within a year he was transferred by request from the legation to the Federal army. George P. Marsh became the first United States Minister to the new Kingdom of Italy. He had essayed both politics and diplomacy, but his chief work had been done in philology. After Austria had given notice that Anson Burlingame would be persona non grata, John Lothrop Motley was received at Vienna with special favor. His Dutch Republic had already given him a world-wide reputation; and a long letter that he published in the
an's administration Seward, said: "Our representatives whom that administration had placed in communication with foreign courts were in many cases equally demoralized, and in some, as we had reason to believe, absolutely disloyal. Agents of the insurrectionists were already understood to be living in European capitals invoking recognition of a pretended new confederacy, on the ground that the revolution which should precede it was already de facto accomplished. They inculcated the doctrine that the government of the United States could not, and that it would not, even though it should become necessary, maintain the Union by the employment of force."-Seward to Dayton, July 6, 1861. MS.
London Times, on the struggle in the United States, was the first, and perhaps the best, of the many impressive arguments addressed to Europe in behalf of the Federal Union. But no appointment of the new administration was quite so significant as that of Thomas Corwin. Mexico, bankrupt and the prey of political wolves, knew what it meant for the United States to send to her the man who, in that immortal protest against indulging the passion for conquest, said that if he were a Mexican he would welcome the invading Americans "with bloody hands to hospitable graves." John Bigelow, the new consul at Paris, had for several years been associated with William Cullen Bryant as one of the editors of the New York Evening Post. His energy, judgment, and knowledge of European affairs soon made him one of the most useful of Seward's coadjutors. After Dayton's death he became the Minister; and from first to last his services during this period were unrivaled by those of any other representative abroad except Adams.
When Lincoln was elected, the government was on friendly terms with all nations. France and Great Britain were the powers whose good-will was of the first importance to the United States. The relations with Great Britain had never been more agreeable. Toward the end of 1860 the Prince of Wales made a tour of the United States. The enthusiastic welcome he received brought out an exchange of hearty congratulations between the two countries, and many on each side rejoiced at the prospect of a long period of cordiality. Governor Morgan, of New York, gave an official reception and dinner in honor of the royal party. Seward was one of the guests and took special pride in the occasion, for he supposed that the Prince's visit was the result of a suggestion that he made to the British