1862 JOEL PARKER. The Trent Affair & the Capture of Mason and Slidell. Confederate Spies - Civil War
1862 JOEL PARKER. The Trent Affair & the Capture of Mason and Slidell. Confederate Spies - Civil War
1862 JOEL PARKER. The Trent Affair & the Capture of Mason and Slidell. Confederate Spies - Civil War

1862 JOEL PARKER. The Trent Affair & the Capture of Mason and Slidell. Confederate Spies - Civil War

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A wonderfully rare first edition work on the “Trent Affair,” which nearly drew the United States into a war with Great Britain just as the Civil War in America was beginning, i.e., December of 1861.

What led to the crisis? Two Confederate spies, John Mason of Virginia and John Slidell of Louisiana, were arrested aboard a British mail ship, the Trent, attempting to flee the United States in order to lobby England for their official recognition of the Confederacy as a legitimate government. This would then mean that the North was attacking a foreign power and the South could request help from other nations to resist their “foreign invaders.” The Trent was captured by the U.S.S. San Jacinto. England was outraged at the seizure of a non-military British ship and the two nations sat at the brink of war.

How close were they to war? The British actually began preparations, banning exports of war materials to America and dispatching masses of troops to Canada. Plans were made to attack the American fleet that was blockading the South. The British also planned a blockade of Northern ports. Adding to this threat, France announced it would back Britain in a conflict with America.

It was considered a sign of Lincoln’s diplomatic genius, and willingness to compromise for long-term gain, that he was able to prevent the incident from complicating the Civil War by England’s entrance or the opening of another front.

The Americans did capitulate to the British and release the prisoners. As Lincoln said, “One war at a time.”

Parker, Joel. International Law. Case of the Trent. Capture and Surrender of Mason and Slidell. Cambridge. Welch, Bigelow, and Company. 1862. 66pp.

Very good, solid, complete; removed from a larger sammelband.