Lyons, Richard P. M., 1st Viscount

Eminent British envoy to the US during the Civil War

Price: $25.00

Description:
(1817-1887) Eminent British diplomat, entered diplomatic service 1839, first major appointment Dec. 1858 when he succeeded Lord Napier as British envoy to Washington, 2 years before the Civil War. He believed dissolution of the United States was a strong possibility. Lyons was successful in healing the rift in Anglo-American relations. He quickly resolved the San Juan Island crisis in 1859 (the "Pig War") and planned and oversaw the wildly successful 1860 tour of Canada and the US by the Prince of Wales. A few weeks after the Prince's tour, Abraham Lincoln was elected President and the Secession Crisis began. Lyons feared US politicians might try to divert public opinion by quarreling with Britain, particularly suspicious of Lincoln's Secretary of State William H. Seward. Lyons had to deal with the threat to Canada, which he believed might be the target of an attack by the Union. Another was the cotton supply to Britain from the Confederacy in spite of the Union blockade of the southern coast. The most dangerous moment was the Trent affair, which established Lyons's lasting reputation. Public excitement over the affair grew so intense that war between Britain and America seemed for a time unavoidable. Through tact and firmness Lyons was largely responsible for persuading the reluctant U.S. government to release the envoys. In the spring of 1865 his poor health forced him to resign his post. A few months later Lyons went to Turkey for less than 2 years. In Oct. 1867 he went to Paris and represented Britain in France for 20 momentous years. His efforts on behalf of various governments were rewarded with a viscountcy (1881) and an earldom (1887), though he died before the patent had been sealed on the latter. On the 1886 formation of the 2nd Salisbury government he was offered the Foreign Office, but he declined on the grounds of ill health and age. ANS on 2 x 4 piece: I write this in compliance with a request for my autograph. Lyons. No date but ca. Feb. 1861.

Condition: Very good, slightly close at left side, trivial see-thru from glue stain verso, lower left corner bend
Type:ANS






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