Lead: On Christmas Day 1861, Abraham Lincoln summoned his cabinet to diffuse an international crisis that threatened to bring the United States and Great Britain to war over the Trent Affair.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In early November of that year two Confederate emissaries, James Murray Mason of Virginia and John Slidell of Louisiana, en route to England, were arrested when the British mail packet Trent was ordered seized by the captain of a Union warship USS San Jacinto. The Confederates were imprisoned in Boston, and the British government demanded their immediate release on the grounds that the Union warship had violated international maritime law.