No. 17.
General Schenck to Mr. Fish.

No. 198.]

Sir: * * * * *

I spent some time with his Lordship, occupying myself principally in the endeavor to make him understand how little proper comprehension there is here of the state of public feeling and opinion in the United States. They believe, and the Government has seemed to share in the impression, that there is a very general desire among our people, including the most of our prominent men, that the claims for indirect damages should be withdrawn, and the Arbitrators not asked to consider or decide on them. I explained to Lord Granville that much of this misapprehension comes from the course of the English press, giving prominence as it does to every article, letter, or publication of any sort coming from America or purporting to be written by an American taking the British view of the question, and studiously excluding all that would tend to prove the almost entire unanimity of our press and citizens in support of the position taken by their Government. I warned him against trusting to the correspondence and writing of certain persons and journals that I named, as affording any true exposition of the general sentiment in our country. And I represented to him that both the Government and citizens were much more generally concerned to have all claims of every sort, whether regarded as substantial or shadowy, go to the Arbitrators to be decided upon, so that every existing complaint and grievance might be blotted out and wiped away forever, than they were troubled about either the character or amount of the award to be rendered by the Tribunal.

What was most especially desired, I assured him, was that a decision of the whole question and extent of the liability of a neutral should be arrived at, so that the rule and the law for all might be known in the future.

Indeed, among other things I told Lord Granville frankly that I regretted to have to inform him there were not a few of our best people who were growing so dissatisfied with the position which Her Majesty’s Government were now assuming, that they were beginning to say that Great Britain, they supposed, must be permitted to take her course and annul the Treaty, in which event the United States could surmise such an unhappy end of our labors and hopes as well as this Government.

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All I said, and there was a great deal of it, was expressed and received in the most friendly manner, and helped to give us, I hope, a better mutual understanding, whether it may have or not any other effect or result.

His Lordship, I am more than ever satisfied, is sincerely and painfully earnest in his desire to save the Treaty, and I have no doubt that this is equally true of other ministers.

* * * * * *

I have, &c.,