November 30, 2011
On this date 150 years ago, in a letter to Great Britain's minister to the United States, Lord Lyons, the British Foreign Secretary, Lord John Russell, communicated Britain's displeasure at the seizure of Confederate diplomats John Slidell and James Mason. He further requested that the Union apologize for the seizure and release the two diplomats to Britain's jurisdiction. The British Navy was placed on alert but was told to avoid hostilities. Lyons was directed to leave Washington, D.C., in one week's time if there was no satisfactory response to Britain's request for redress of the affair.