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formed of the President's opinion that a settlement of them had "become urgently necessary to a re-establishment of entirely friendly relations" between the two governments.' If Great Britain had claims against the United States this government would be disposed to take them into consideration so as to remove by one comprehensive arrangement all existing causes of misunderstanding. Then he again referred to the precipitancy and unfriendliness of Great Britain's recognition of the Confederates as belligerents, and charged that "the misconduct of the aggressors [against United States commerce, etc.] was a direct and legitimate fruit of the premature and injurious proclamation of belligerency, against which we had protested, and that the failure of her Majesty's government to prevent or counteract the aggressions of British subjects was equally traceable to the same unfortunate cause." In language almost threatening, he said that when one state showed a disregard of international obligations so injurious to the citizens of another state as to awaken a general spirit of discontent and dissatisfaction, they were likely "to conform their own principles and policy, in conducting their intercourse with the offending state, to that of the party from whom the injury proceeds. And he added, emphatically: "Thus we have seen ruinous British warlike expeditions against the United States practically allowed and tolerated by her Majesty's government, notwithstanding remonstrance; and we have seen similar unlawful attempts in this country against Great Britain disallowed and defeated by the direct and unprompted action of the government of the United States."


Lord Stanley's reply showed that Seward's statements were too sweeping. In defence of what Seward

21 Dip. Cor., 1866, 179.


1 Dip Cor., 1866, 178.

regarded as the original fountain of the evil - Great Britain's proclamation of neutrality-Stanley said that the Supreme Court of the United States and the Court of the District of Columbia held that a state of war existed prior to that proclamation. While his government could not consent to arbitrate the question as to whether the Confederates were prematurely recognized as belligerents, there would probably be no objection to arbitrating the other questions at issue between the two governments in reference to the war.'

On January 12, 1867, Seward made a long rejoinder, which was very ambitious and ardent, but inconclusive in respect to his main contention about the recognition of belligerency. With characteristic persistency, he said that in case of arbitration the United States would expect this question to be considered along with the claims, although there was no disposition to require that any question of national pride or honor should be ruled and determined as such.

Another year passed without progress in regard to the claims. Meantime it had become apparent in England that other differences were increasing the ill-will of the United States. At the beginning of 1868 Seward called Adams's attention to several questions of great importance: a divided occupation of the island of San Juan, in the Pacific; Great Britain's treatment of IrishAmericans; the extradition of criminals; and the fisheries in the North Atlantic waters.


Any one of these questions may at any moment become a subject of exciting controversy. The naturalization question is already working in that way.

"It was in view of all these existing sources of controversy that the thought occurred to me that her Majesty's government, if desirous to lay a broad foundation for

1 1 1 Dip. Cor., 1867, 184–88.

friendly and satisfactory relations, might possibly think it expedient to suggest a conference, in which all the matters referred to might be considered together, and so a comprehensive settlement might be attempted without exciting the sensibilities which are understood to have caused that government to insist upon a limited arbitration in the case of the Alabama claims." 1

Before anything important was accomplished in the line of Seward's suggestions, Adams's resignation took effect, in May, 1868. Throughout seven years he had maintained with great zeal and efficiency the most difficult and responsible foreign position under the government. His long notes to Russell were thorough and forcible. They contained no bombast, no phrase written for display. His sterling character was reflected in his straightforward, fearless, and well-balanced arguments, and his correspondence left "no deficiency to be supplied," as Seward said.' He also perfectly understood his antagonist, Earl Russell, knowing when to make a sharp reply, when an elaborate statement, and when to yield to his opponent's temper. Of course he had an advantage over both Russell and Seward, for he could and did give his entire time and energy to a few questions; and he treated them in so masterly a way that there has never been any difference of opinion as to the greatness of his talents or his service.

Reverdy Johnson, a distinguished lawyer and exSenator from Maryland, became Adams's successor.

11 Dip. Cor., 1868, 142.

"He had asked permission to resign in 1864, but the administration would not assent to it. In a personal note of November 27, 1867, to Seward, he requested a reconsideration of the question, for private matters demanded his attention, and his time had been occupied by reclaiming Irishmen from punishment, which most of them seemed to him richly to deserve, and entering into discussion about the clothes he must wear at Court.-Seward MSS.

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Seward instructed' him to obtain from Great Britain a recognition of the same rights for naturalized as for native-born citizens of the United States; to say to Lord Stanley that until this difficulty should be overcome it would be useless to try to settle any others; and that the United States were willing to refer to arbitration the question of national dominion and ownership over the island of San Juan. After providing for the solution of these problems, he should "advert to the subject of mutual claims of citizens and subjects of the two countries against the government of each other respectively.” He thought that an arrangement might be made without reviewing the former discussions, and he suggested a commission, on the model of the joint commission of February 8, 1853, for the adjustment of all claims of the citizens of either country against the government of the other. After Johnson and Lord Stanley had signed protocols touching the questions of naturalization and of the San Juan boundary, they agreed to a claims convention. This was unsatisfactory to Seward, and, under his close instructions, Johnson then concluded with Lord Clarendon, Stanley's successor, what is known as the Johnson-Clarendon convention of January 14, 1869.

It provided for the settlement of all claims arising since July 26, 1853. The President and the Queen were each to name two commissioners, and these in turn were to select an arbiter to whom should be referred for final judgment any claim that the commissioners might not be able to decide. If they could not agree on an arbiter, then each side should designate a person, and the arbiter should be chosen by lot from these two. If any 'two or more of the commissioners should desire a sovereign or the head of a friendly state to act as final umpire in any case, then the two governments should agree on one

1 1 Dip. Cor., 1868, 328-331.

within six months. It was thought that an award from such an umpire might be more readily accepted by the people and have more weight as precedent in questions referring to neutral rights. All the official correspondence in regard to any claim was to be laid before the commissioners, and other documents and statements were to be admissible. By this means the old arguments about the recognition of belligerency would come up in review.

The question of the ratification of this convention by the United States was almost wholly political or personal. The Fenian movement had increased the strong public sentiment in favor of either waiting for an opportunity to retaliate in the kind of "neutrality" Great Britain had practised or making that government pay smart-money. The feeling against the President had reached the point of spite against the administration, and Seward was the object of bitter antagonism, because it was believed that but for his influence, and that of his political friends, the impeachment trial might have succeeded. When Reverdy Johnson went abroad the public knew nothing of his instructions or of the improved disposition of the British government. Therefore, when he made very friendly speeches in England, he was supposed to have fallen under the influence of former sympathizers with the Confederacy. This caused much indignation; and, as Seward wrote, party spirit raged, and the Republicans expected and hoped that the new Minister would both fail in his negotiations and suffer humiliation for having lowered the national standard, as was alleged. Now that Grant was President-elect, the Republicans were not disposed to put the seal of success upon negotiations that had been carried on by Johnson's well-hated administration. Perhaps the most effective

1 Seward to Reverdy Johnson, October 26, 1868, quoted in Moore's International Arbitrations, 506.

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