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the Democrats have disappeared. This is the greatest act of the administration." In letters of this time he wrote: "God be praised! We have got through the Senate a treaty that will destroy the slave-trade." "If I have done nothing else worthy of self-congratulation, I deem this treaty sufficient to have lived for.""

Unforeseen circumstances prevented the treaty from assuming any such importance as had been expected. When the Secretary of State called upon the Secretary of the Navy to carry out the stipulations, he was informed that it would be impossible during the war to detail any vessel with specific instructions, for that would be a pro tanto locking-up of a portion of the navy, when every ship was needed for the blockade or for independent cruising. Subsequently it was arranged that the special instructions should not derogate from the belligerent rights of search. Welles resented what Seward had done, yet this statement as to the result is deemed to be true: "But, in point of fact, I believe not a single capture was made; the African slave-trade had ceased, and the cumbrous and expensive machinery of mixed courts . . . was never put in operation."


One of the strangest incidents of the slavery question was the conversion of the Republican party to the plan of colonizing free negroes in some foreign country. Lincoln's birth in a slave state, and his life-long association with settlers from the South, made it natural that he should be skeptical about the possibility of the black and the white races living together in political equality. Therefore he, like Clay and nearly all southern Whigs of an earlier time, believed that the deportation of the

1 4 Pierce's Sumner, 68.

* Welles's Lincoln and Seward, 134.

2 3 Seward, 88, 85.

* Welles, 144.

freedmen to some tropical country would be both practicable and necessary. Next to compensated emancipation, this was one of his favorite ideas. On the other hand, Seward's early associations with the abolitionists of New York and of New England, who had long since pronounced colonization an impossibility, caused him to look with disfavor on such a proposition.' Nevertheless, it was his duty to contribute what he could to the experiment.

The preliminary proclamation of emancipation made it urgent for the administration to have an answer to this question: What is to become of the negroes that by the hundred thousand are gaining freedom? Congressional support of a plan of colonization was already assured. Lincoln called for the opinions of the members of the Cabinet. Attorney-General Bates answered at length, September 25, 1862, favoring "the propriety of seeking to make treaties with the American governments within the tropics, and with the European powers which have colonies within the tropics, with a view to obtaining safe and convenient places of refuge for the free colored population of this country "-those already free and those that might become so by the operations of the war. In a circular despatch of September 30, 1862, to the United States Ministers at London, Paris, The Hague, and Copenhagen, Seward stated the aims of the government. The first point was that emigration should be voluntary. The other stipulations related


1 "Seward, to whom the subject was not a new one, had no faith in their [the different schemes of colonization] success, and entertained grave doubts of their wisdom. He did not believe that the colored people would be willing to go to distant lands. He thought the United States offered a better field for their labor, and quite as much probability of contentment and happiness as they would find anywhere in the world. 'I am always for bringing men and states into the Union,' he said, 'never for taking any out.'"-3 Seward, 227.

2 A copy of the memorandum is in the Seward MSS.

chiefly to the welfare and the treatment of the emigrants after becoming residents of the new state. Lord Russell declined the proposition of the United States as to the British West Indies, and no one of the other replies was satisfactory. On November 18, 1862, Seward again wrote to Adams, as follows:

"While some of them [the projects from foreign countries] are thus ascertained to be impracticable, it may be hoped, nevertheless, that we are drawing near to the discovery of a feasible policy which will solve, perhaps, the most difficult political problem that has occurred in the progress of civilization on the American continent."

Unfortunately the discovery was never made. The projects that seemed least impracticable were to settle colonies on lands near the harbor of Chiriqui, in the state of Panama, New Granada, and on Île à Vache, belonging to Haiti. A little inquiry caused a doubt as to the title to Chiriqui, but left no doubt that the district was wholly unsuited to the purpose. By special arrangement and under the protection of the administration, nearly five hundred negroes sailed for Île à Vache, in April, 1863. The dream came to a sad end: within a few months the colonists were overtaken by hunger and sickness, so that a large proportion of them died. Within eleven months from the time the hapless expedition sailed, the government had to bring back the survivors, or they, too, would soon have perished."

Seward's attitude toward slavery was due to his continued belief that the chief business of the administration was to restore the Union, and that any attempt to make emancipation a leading aim-unless a clear majority of the loyal voters demanded it would be hazardous

1 The particulars of the whole question of colonization are given in 6 Nicolay and Hay, 354-67.

and unwise. Being convinced that the election of Lincoln had sounded the death-knell of slavery as a power in national politics, and that the war was inevitably antislavery in its effects, he was confident that the institution would rapidly decline in strength, even without being made the object of Federal attack.' The position was true and statesmanlike, although military failures, the rapid growth of the power of the radicals, and the interests of the United States abroad compelled him to yield to the new and rapidly changing conditions.


1 Carpenter's Six Months in the White House, 72; 1 Dicey's Federal States, 232-34.



SEWARD was an eccentric and many-sided political genius. He illustrated Mirabeau's theory that "Jacobins that are ministers will not be Jacobin ministers.' "" Before December, 1860, he had been chief of the radicals, and his ambition had been primarily personal and partisan. Since the summer of 1861 probably no public man of the time had been governed by more patriotic impulses. Yet he desired as ardently as ever to be master of affairs, and it is doubtful if it ever occurred to him that he could not best perform any task falling to the President or to any member of the Cabinet. When Cyrus W. Field sent him a letter of condolence on his defeat at Chicago, he wrote: "If the alternative were presented to a wise man, he might well seek rather to have his countrymen regret that he had not been President than to be President." Seward aimed to show such abilities in saving the Union-notwithstanding popular blunders, sectional disloyalty, and the malice of factions —that the mistake at Chicago should become apparent to all. Although his patriotism was egotistical, it was essentially unselfish. Here we have the main-spring of his incessant activity.

From the beginning he was much more than Secretary of State. Either with or without formal approval he assumed scores of tasks that naturally belonged to other

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