John Lothrop Motley
John Lothrop Motley was an American author and diplomat. As a popular historian, he is best known for his works on the Netherlands, the three volume work The Rise of the Dutch Republic and four volume History of the United Netherlands. As United States Minister to Austria in the service of the Abraham Lincoln administration, Motley helped to prevent European intervention on the side of the Confederates in the American Civil War. He later served as Minister to the United Kingdom (Court of St. James) during the Ulysses S. Grant administration.
John Lothrop Motley was born on April 15, 1814, in Dorchester, Massachusetts. His grandfather, Thomas Motley, a jail-keeper (a public position) and innkeeper in Portland, Maine, had been a Freemason and radical sympathizer with the French Revolution. Motley's father Thomas and uncle Edward served mercantile apprenticeships in Portland.
In 1861, just after outbreak of the American Civil War, Motley wrote two letters to The Times defending the Federal position, and these letters, afterwards reprinted as a pamphlet entitled Causes of the Civil War in America, made a favourable impression on President Lincoln. At this point the English census of 1861 confirms that he was living with his wife and two daughters at 31 Hertford Street, in the parish of St George's, Hanover Square, London and describing himself as an 'author - history'.
Partly owing to this essay, Motley was appointed United States minister to the Austrian Empire in 1861, a position which he filled with distinction, working with other American diplomats such as John Bigelow and Charles Francis Adams to help prevent European intervention on the side of the Confederacy in the American Civil War. He resigned this position in 1867. Two years later, he was sent to represent his country as Ambassador to the United Kingdom, but in November 1870 he was recalled by President Grant. Motley had angered Grant when he completely disregarded Secretary of State Hamilton Fish's carefully drafted orders regarding settlement of the Alabama Claims. After a short visit to the Netherlands, Motley again went to live in England, where the Life and Death of John Barneveld, Advocate of Holland: with a View of the Primary Causes and Movements of the Thirty Years War appeared in two volumes in 1874.
Ill health now began to interfere with his literary work, and he died at Kingston Russell House, near Dorchester, Dorset, leaving three daughters. He was buried in Kensal Green Cemetery, London.
Books by John Lothrop Motley
John Lothrop Motley was an American author and popular diplomat, who helped to prevent European intervention on the side of the Confederates in the American Civil War. In 1861, just after the outbreak of the American Civil War, Motley wrote two lette...