Thursday, December 1, 2011

England Protests the Trent Affair

Lord Lyons, the British Ambassador
When news was received in England of the Trent affair, where an British neutral ship was stopped by an American warship, and Confederate ambassadors on board were forcibly removed, they were outraged. It was an affront to their nation's honor, they, already looking favorably to the South, might be willing to join her if the United States did not apologize. This letter was sent to the British ambassador in Washington:
It thus appears that certain individuals have been forcibly taken from on board a British vessel, the ship of a neutral power, while such vessel was pursuing a lawful and innocent voyage—an act of violence which was an affront to the British flag and a violation of international law.

Her Majesty's Government bearing in mind the friendly relations which have long subsisted between Great Britain and the United States are willing to believe that the U. S. naval officer who committed the aggression was not acting in compliance with any authority from his Government, or that if he conceived himself to be so authorized he greatly misunderstood the instructions which he had received; for the Government of the United States must be fully aware that the British Government could not allow such an affront to the national honor to pass without full reparation, and Her Majesty's Government are unwilling to believe that it could be the deliberate intention of the Government of the United States unnecessarily to force into discussion between the two Governments a question of so grave a character and with regard to which the whole British nation would be sure to entertain such unanimity of feeling.

Her Majesty's Government therefore trust that when this matter shall have been brought under the consideration of the Government of the United States that Government will of its own accord offer to the British Government such redress as alone could satisfy the British nation, namely, the liberation of the four gentlemen and their delivery to your lordship in order that they may again be placed under British protection and a suitable apology for the aggression which has been committed.


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