CHAPTER II. IN PRESIDENT GRANT'S TIME
The treaty which caused the removal of Secretary Hoar was one that the President had arranged providing for the annexation of San Domingo. The Senate was opposed to ratification, but General Grant was accustomed to overcoming difficulties and he urged his case with all the power at his command. One result was an unseemly wrangle between the President and Senator Charles Sumner over the latter's refusal to support ratification. General Grant, in resentment, procured the withdrawal of the Senator's friend, John Lothrop Motley from England, whither he had been sent as minister, and later the exclusion of Sumner from the chairmanship of the Committee on Foreign Relations, a post in which he had displayed great ability for ten years. Eventually the President had to give way on San Domingo, as the Senate did not agree with him in his estimate of its probable value.
In its conduct of our relations with England, on the other hand, the administration met with success and received popular approval. Ever since the war the people of the North had desired an opportunity to make Great Britain suffer for her attitude during that struggle. Senator Sumner struck a popular chord when he suggested that England should pay heavy damages on the ground that her encouragement of the South had prolonged the war. Specifically, however, the United States demanded reparation for destruction committed by the Alabama and other vessels that had been built in English ports. In 1870 Europe was in a state of apprehension on account of the Franco-Prussian War, and Secretary Fish seized the opportunity to press our claims upon England. The latter, meanwhile, had abated somewhat her earlier attitude of unwillingness to arbitrate, and Fish placed little emphasis on Senator Sumner's suggestions of a claim for indirect damages. The Treaty of Washington, signed and ratified in May, 1871, provided for the arbitration of the Alabama claims under such rules that a decision favorable to the American side of the case was made exceedingly probable. Each of five governments appointed a representative - the United States, Great Britain, Italy, Switzerland and Brazil. The meeting took place in Geneva and resulted favorably to the American demands. England was declared to have failed to preserve the proper attitude for a neutral during the war and was ordered in 1872 to make compensation in the amount of $15,500,000.
The United States had need of any feeling of national pride that might come as the result of the Geneva award, to offset the shame of domestic revelations, for one of the characteristics of the decade after the war was the wide-spread corruption in political and commercial life. One of the most flagrant examples was the Tweed Ring in New York. The government of that city was in the hands of a band of highwaymen, of whom William M. Tweed, the leader of Tammany Hall, was chief. Through the purchase of votes and the skilful distribution of the proceeds of their control, they managed to keep in power despite a growing suspicion that something was wrong. A favorite method of defrauding the city was to raise an account. One who had a bill against the city for $5,000 would be asked to present one for $55,000. When he did so, he would receive his $5,000 and the remainder would be divided among the members of the Ring. The plasterer, for example, who worked on the County Court House presented bills for nearly $3,000,000 in nine months. The New York Times and the cartoons of Thomas Nast in Harper's Weekly were the chief agents in arousing the people of the city to their situation. The former obtained and published proofs of the rascality of the Ring, mass meetings were held and an election in November, 1871, overturned Tweed and his associates. Some of them fled from the country, while Tweed himself died in jail.