Alabama claims, claims made by the U.S. government against Great Britain for the damage inflicted on Northern merchant ships during the American Civil War by the Alabama and other Confederate cruisers that had been built, fitted out, and otherwise aided by British interests. William H. Seward failed to reach a settlement while he was Secretary of State. However, his successor, Hamilton Fish, brought about the Treaty of Washington (1871), which provided for arbitration. Charles Francis Adams for the United States, Alexander J. E. Cockburn for Great Britain, and three members from neutral countries constituted the tribunal, which met at Geneva in 1871–72. The arbitrators threw out American claims for indirect losses, but they awarded the United States $15.5 million for all the direct damage done by the Alabama and the Florida and for most of the damage caused by the Shenandoah. The British were absolved of blame in the cases of several less important cruisers.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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