Mr. Seward (to Earl Russell). "That was a very close shave, my lord; if you hadn't taken up your Pirate -- beg pardon, I mean your Pawn -- that time, I'd have been into your Castle as sure as a gun!" -- (See Mr. Seward's Correspondence with Earl Russell.)
United States Secretary of State William H. Seward is playing chess across from Earl Russell, Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom. Seward speaks to Russell about taking “up [his] Pirate-beg pardon, I mean Pawn.” This is in reference to shipbuilding and trade goods that British sources supplied to Confederate raiders. The United States was in strong opposition to British meddling in American affairs, especially when it supported the Confederacy either directly or indirectly. Though support from British parties continued till the end of the war, American resistance and the landscape of international foreign politics (i.e. Russian alliance with the United States) gradually pressed the British away from connections with the Confederacy.