How Victoria Averted War between England and America

Chicago Times-Herald

It was at the time of the "Trent Affair" that Queen Victoria rendered her never-to-be-forgotten service to the English-speaking race by modifying an official note that would have provoked war between the United Kingdom and dis-United States. The seizure and removal of Messrs. Mason and Slidell, Confederate commissioners to England and France, who were passengers on the Royal Mail packet which sailed from Havana, by Commander Wilkes of the United States warship Jacinto, violated international law and constituted an affront which no first-class power could brook. The blunder was immediately recognized at Washington, but public opinion throughout the North justified Wilkes and made a hero of him.

On the other side of the Atlantic, under which there was no cable in those days, the British nation had been stirred to its centre by the exaggerated reports of the high-handed manner in which the sanctuary of the British flag on the high seas had been violated. In garrison and barrack there were feverish preparations for war, the shipyards were busy day and night, and troops were being dispatched to Canada with all the energy the emergency seemed to demand. The South was elated at the prospect of a conflict that meant success for the Confederacy.

The Lectures
March 7, 1901

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