AuthorCraig Forcese
Chapter 12
Go to war, and the fair f‌ields of the ate of New York may be deluged in
blood. The ate of New York may be ransacked by foreign enemies, and
irreparable injury done to its people.
—    1  18411
T   administration left oce in March 1841, and
President William Henry Harrison appointed Daniel Web-
ster as the new secretary of state on 6 March 1841. The New
Englander was cut from a dif‌ferent cloth than his predecessor at the
state department. By this point, a renowned lawyer one of the
most highly paid in the country and a politician, Webster was a
diplomatic novice. But he had developed f‌irm ideas on international
relations. He was hostile to war, considering it an instrument of
policy inconsistent with the spirit of the age — as a young lawyer and
then congressman, he had opposed the American entry in the War
of 1812.2 He preferred conciliation as a means of settling dif‌ferences,
and worried about the economic consequences of war, and especially
the danger to the United States’ material progress risked by wars
of territorial expansion.3 And the “ardent, indeed rabid” anglophile
Webster assumed oce with important social and business ties to
the British — he had many English friends and correspondents, and
had been legal counsel to the House of Barings bank in London.4
Webster assumed oce anxious to resolve the McLeod and lin-
gering Caroline disputes, as well as border boundary disagreements

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