Can some explain what the Trent Affair Was in simple terms?

Chlodio

Ad Honorem
Aug 2016
3,934
Dispargum
#2
A diplomatic incident between the US and the UK in 1861 brought about when a US naval vessel illegally boarded a British ship and siezed two Confederate diplomats on their way to Europe. The British took the incident as an insult to the British flag and threatened war. The matter was settled peacefully because neither side really wanted a war with the other. The US released the diplomats who proceded to Europe on their original mission.

Trent Affair - Wikipedia
 
Mar 2018
260
United States Of America
#3
A diplomatic incident between the US and the UK in 1861 brought about when a US naval vessel illegally boarded a British ship and siezed two Confederate diplomats on their way to Europe. The British took the incident as an insult to the British flag and threatened war. The matter was settled peacefully because neither side really wanted a war with the other. The US released the diplomats who proceded to Europe on their original mission.

Trent Affair - Wikipedia
So, it's it about a darn flag?
 
Feb 2016
4,345
Japan
#4
Well no, it’s about sovreignity, diplomatic rights, neutrality, rule of law.... boarding a foriegn national ship in international waters ... it is bad enough, dragging people off it is quite another.

It could have lead to war.
 
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sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
4,522
Sydney
#7
Britain considered that using threats to get the emissaries of one of their ship was equivalent to using threats to get someone on British soil

Secretary Seward had to release them and apologize ,
I very much would like to read the text , apparently it was a diplomatic masterpiece of cheek and un-repentance

There was another incident involving Brazil when an US warship entered a Brazilian harbor took a confederate raider lying there for repair
the US government did the full ceremonial of "amende honorable "
sending a warship whose captain formally presented a letter of appologies , fired a broadside salute , followed by the dipping of their flag
 
Sep 2014
1,194
Queens, NYC
#8
Considering that one reason we declared war on Great Britain in 1812 was their boarding American ships and taking people from them, we certainly owed an apology in the Trent affair.

I'm still trying to figure out the sequence of events. How did the American captain learn of the presence of the rebels on the Trent; where did he get the notion that he could capture them that way?
 

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
4,522
Sydney
#9
I'm not sure about how the Captain was informed of their presence ,
it could have been something as simple that southern newspapers trumpeting their departure
or not
the whole issue seems to have been that instead of taking the ship as prize and bringing it to port
for the civilian authorities to sort out the legalese , he took ( kidnapped ) passengers and let the ship go

He had a right to search , but not the right to apprehend
 
Feb 2016
4,345
Japan
#10
The situation had been building for some time.
The Confederates diplomats were publicly known.
Britain had declared publicly its neutrality and its recognition of the south as a BELLIGERENT.
The mission to Europe was not a secret, and the movements of the diplomats was reported in both the press and through union intelligence.
The following comes from Wikipedia.

Meanwhile, rumors reached the Federal government that Mason and Slidell had escaped aboard Nashville. Union intelligence had not immediately recognized that Mason and Slidell had left Charleston on Theodora. U.S. Navy Secretary Gideon Welles reacted to the rumor that Mason and Slidell had escaped from Charleston by ordering Admiral Samuel F. DuPont to dispatch a fast warship to Britain to intercept Nashville. On October 15, the Union sidewheel steamer USS James Adger, under the command of John B. Marchand, began steaming towards Europe with orders to pursue Nashville to the English Channel if necessary. James Adger reached Britain and docked in Southampton Harbor in early November.[28] The British government was aware that the United States would attempt to capture the diplomats and believed they were on Nashville. Palmerston ordered a Royal Navy warship to patrol within the three-mile limit around Nashville's expected port of call, to assure that any capture would occur outside British territorial waters. This would avoid the diplomatic crisis that would result if James Adger pursued Nashville into British waters. When Nashville arrived on November 21, the British were surprised that the envoys were not on board.[30]

The Union steam frigate USS San Jacinto, commanded by Captain Charles Wilkes, arrived in St. Thomas on October 13. San Jacinto had cruised off the African coast for nearly a month before setting course westward with orders to join a U.S. Navy force preparing to attack Port Royal, South Carolina. However in St. Thomas, Wilkes learned that the Confederate raider CSS Sumter had captured three U.S. merchant ships near Cienfuegos in July. Wilkes headed there, despite the unlikelihood that Sumter would have remained in the area. In Cienfuegos he learned from a newspaper that Mason and Slidell were scheduled to leave Havana on November 7 in the British mail packet RMS Trent, bound first for St. Thomas and then England. He realized that the ship would need to use the "narrow Bahama Channel, the only deepwater route between Cuba and the shallow Grand Bahama Bank". Wilkes discussed legal options with his second in command, Lt. D. M. Fairfax, and reviewed law books on the subject before making plans to intercept. Wilkes adopted the position that Mason and Slidell would qualify as "contraband", subject to seizure by a United States ship.[31] Historians, however, have concluded that there was no legal precedent for the seizure.[32]
 
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