WE have said that like tumblers in a gigantic combination-lock the elements permitting an Anglo-American settlement snapped into place during 1870--Grant's quarrel with Sumner; his surrender of foreign affairs to Fish; Canada's unmistakable choice of Britain as against America; war in Europe; Clarendon's death. But this combination-lock was essentially a silent mechanism. The reader must be warned against an illusion perhaps too easily drawn from these pages. Neither in England nor America did the general public pay anxious attention to the relations of the two countries, or worry in the least about the Alabama Claims. On this side of the Atlantic men were much more interested in Tammany scandals, Red Cloud, Mrs. Lincoln's pension, the heathen Chinee, women's rights, Southern amnesty, and assorted murder trials. In England they were far more interested in the Irish question, school reform, Dizzy's new novel, licenses for pubs, Dickens' death, and army reorganization. This healthy indifference quite suited Fish--for he had said that time was needed to let feelings cool. It suited Thornton--for Granville had advised him just after Clarendon's death to let sleeping lions lie. 1"The less you say on the subject of claims either to Mr. Fish or private persons the better. Silence on your part is most likely to bring them to a reasonable frame of mind." Under the surface, despite their dissemblings, British leaders were worried--but not the British public.
The second week of September found Fish, Grant, and Thornton back in Washington. All three realized that they faced a new situation in Canada. At the first Cabinet meeting Grant brought up the question of pardoning the Fenian prisoners; but Fish urged him to wait until the end of the fishing season--a pardon might irritate the Canadians too much! 2 There was more talk in Ottawa of excluding Yankee fishing-schooners from Dominion ports. On the 18th Fish mentioned____________________