Hamilton Fish: The Inner History of the Grant Administration - Vol. 1

By Allan Nevins | Go to book overview

Chapter XII Pandora's Box

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.


I

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

____________________
1
Fish's Papers, June-August, 1869, contained much correspondence concerning these two Ministers.
2
See Sumner Wells, Naboth's Vineyard, Vol. 1; Melvin M. Knight, The Americans in Santo Domingo; J. H. Latane, The United States in the Caribbean; Otto Schoenrich, Santo Domingo. A Country With a Future; Dr. Mary Trendley, "The United States and Santo Domingo," Journal of Race Development, VII, 83 ff., 220 ff. A definitive history of American relations with Santo Domingo is under preparation by Dr. C. C. Tansill. Yet

-249-

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Hamilton Fish: The Inner History of the Grant Administration - Vol. 1
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Introduction xi
  • Contents xix
  • Chapter I an Heir of the Federalists 1
  • Chapter II the Great Whig Battles 20
  • Chapter III the Senate in Stormy Days 36
  • Chapter IV Travel and War 66
  • Chapter V the Watcher 89
  • Chapter VI Grant in Power 105
  • Chapter VII Portrait of a President 124
  • Chapter VIII Broadside from Sumner 142
  • Chapter IX 176
  • Chapter X Motley's Insubordination 201
  • Chapter XII Pandora's Box 249
  • Chapter XIII Congress in Session 279
  • Chapter XIV the Battle of Santo Domingo 309
  • Chapter XV Crisis: June, 1870 335
  • Chapter XVI Exit Motley--And Sumner's Policy 372
  • Chapter XVII War in Europe 400
  • Chapter XVIII the Road to Peace 423
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