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[144] truth of the accusation against them. Later Seward told John Bigelow that no one resented the query, drawn up by a clerk and signed by himself as secretary of state, except Motley. In all other cases, it was taken as it was meant, a simple matter of office routine. Probably, had the President not been oversensitive about the attitude of his subordinates, the accusing document would have been put in the waste-paper basket. No one knew the β€˜George McCrackin’ from whom it purported to come. Motley, however, did not take it as a formula. Such a question addressed to him seemed an insult, and he lost no time in replying, perhaps only less hotly than he felt, offering his resignation at the end of his denial of the charge that he had maligned the new administration. The secretary of state would have taken no notice of a resignation offered under a momentary smart, but when Johnson said β€˜Let him go,’ Seward did not try to stay his hand. According to the story Seward told John Bigelow in 1869, it would seem a fair conclusion that the minister was too hot and the secretary too cold and too indifferent, when an effort on his part to interpose would have been natural under the circumstances. The result was that Motley left Vienna with a very sharp wound to his self-respect.

Luckily for the ex-diplomat, the seventeenth century was waiting till he should be released from the claims of the nineteenth, and he plunged at once into the next period of his Netherland story. The history of the United Netherlands was concluded by two more volumes issued in 1868. A continuation centred about John of Barneveld was finally published in 1874. Motley returned from Vienna to Boston and was settled there at the time of Grant's first campaign, into which he entered with much interest. At the suggestion of Sumner, he was honoured by Grant with the appointment to the Court of St. James, the highest diplomatic post in his gift. That was pleasant after the Vienna incident. Unfortunately, Grant identified him with Sumner, and when a breach came between the president and the senator from Massachusetts, the former found a pretext to recall Motley, and again a secretary of state failed to protect the minister. Moreover, the explanatory letter written by Hamilton Fish was not phrased in a manner to soothe the diplomat's feelings, so that the incident ended with added discomfiture

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