Cyclopædia of Political Science, Political Economy, and the Political History of the United States

Edited by: Lalor, John J.
(?-1899)
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Editor/Trans.
First Pub. Date
1881
Publisher/Edition
New York: Maynard, Merrill, and Co.
Pub. Date
1899
Comments
Includes articles by Frédéric Bastiat, Gustave de Molinari, Henry George, J. B. Say, Francis A. Walker, and more.
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TRENT AFFAIR

III.270.1

TRENT AFFAIR, The (IN U. S. HISTORY). In the autumn of 1861 the government of the confederate states (see that title) sent J. M. Mason and John Slidell as commissioners to Great Britain and France respectively. They ran the blockade to Havana, and there embarked on an English merchant steamer, the "Trent," for St. Thomas, on their way to England. About noon of Nov. 8 the vessel was stopped in the old Bahama channel by the United States steamer "San Jacinto," Capt. Wilkes, and the commissioners were taken out of her and transferred to Fort Warren, in Boston harbor, as prisoners.

III.270.2

—Capt. Wilkes' act was warmly approved by the people of the United States; but he had nevertheless transgressed the neutral rights for which the United States had always contended, and he had undertaken to put in force the right of visitation and search which the United States had found insufferable when it was claimed by Great Britain. (See EMBARGO.) The United States government therefore disavowed his action, and surrendered the prisoners to Great Britain. There was, however, a residuum of American ill-feeling toward Great Britain because of the British government's officious preparations for an improbable war. Before giving the United States any opportunity for explanation or disavowal, the British ministry prepared troops and transportation for Canada, forbade by proclamation the exportation of arms and munitions of war, and instructed Lord Lyons, its minister at Washington, to withdraw from the United States unless the prisoners were set at liberty and an apology tendered within a time "not exceeding seven days."

III.270.3

—See Diplomatic Correspondence for 1861-2, and authorities under REBELLION, as 2 Draper's Civil War, 540.

ALEXANDER JOHNSTON.

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