THERE were moments during this first summer when Fish felt the Secretaryship of State a nightmare. Even at Garrison he rose early to pore over papers and went to bed late. At times he was worked to exhaustion by the boiling Cuban situation; always he was worried by the British problem. Rawlins had seemed determined to drag the nation into war with Spain before Thanksgiving, Sumner equally resolved to make a settlement of the Alabama question impossible. Demands for patronage gave him no rest. Motley was by no means the only Minister who got out of control. In Brazil that explosive journalist J. Watson Webb worked up a violent quarrel with Dom Pedro's government. Breaking off relations was a habit with Webb; he had done it three times before without asking State Department permission, and now did it again! In China a flamboyant Californian, J. Ross Browne, was taking a high hand with the Peking Government, and displaying a fatal gift for letter-writing. On July 17, replying to British merchants in Shanghai, he laid down the principle that the Powers were not bound to respect the independence of "an ignorant pagan nation" like China!1 Both Webb and Browne, holdovers from the Johnson Administration, were replaced forthwith. Extradition, emigration, postal conventions, Fenianism, fisheries, Mexican claims, Russian claims, and reciprocity crowded Fish's spare moments.
And to fill his cup to overflowing, before the summer ended there arose the portentous question of Santo Domingo, irresponsibly evoked from nowhere by President Grant.
Santo Domingo is an insignificant portion of the Western Hemisphere, and its twin republics, French-speaking Haiti and Spanishspeaking Santo Domingo, have never been important nations2____________________
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Publication information: Book title: Hamilton Fish:The Inner History of the Grant Administration. Volume: 1. Contributors: Allan Nevins - Author. Publisher: F. Ungar Pub. Co.. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1957. Page number: 249.