Fear: American Colonies’ Maritime Provinces, eighteen Confederate

Fear: “An unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.” 1 Tension: “A strained state or condition resulting from forces acting in opposition to each other AND A relationship between ideas or qualities with conflicting demands or implications.” 2 Both of these ran rampant in the British North American Colonies between 1861 and 1871. Almost a decade of political turmoil, and pressure, riddled with uneasy situations and relations. The British North American Colonies were given great amounts of tension during these times. They often wondered whether they would be invaded by the Americans as an act of war on the British Empire, or if they would be unwilling forced into America’s Civil War, or even that they would be conquered by the ‘Great America’ once America was no longer divided. All these fears were heightened during the Trent Affair, the Chesapeake Affair, St. Alban’s Affair, and the Fenian Raids.A diplomatic occurence in 1861, during the American Civil War, the Trent Affair caused political backlash that may have easily caused a war between America and the British Empire. On November 8th, a British Mail Ship, the RMS Trent, was captured by the USS San Jacinto, and taken as contraband were two Confederate Ambassadors, James Murray Manson and John Slidell. This was a political misstep as capturing a british ship in neutral waters was a violation of neutral rights. In the America, the people’s reaction was to celebrate and threaten war against Britain, which, in turn, would be threatening the British North American Colonies. Not wanting to risk war with Britain over this Issue, the American government released the diplomats after several anxious weeks. A second political incident was called the Chesapeake Affair which happened on December 7th, 1863, just over two years since the Trent Affair.  From the British North American Colonies’ Maritime Provinces, eighteen Confederate sympathizers commandeered an Union Steamer, the Chesapeake.  Violating British Sovereignty, and many international laws,  in the Nova Scotian seas, the Americans arrested the captors, which, in turn, created a massive political mess. The English, outraged, threatened war against the North, which meant that the British North American Colonies would also be dragged into the war. Thankfully, when investigated, there was no legaliality in the letter from the Confederacy, which turned the act of war into an act of piracy. Yet another political event, St. Alban’s Affair, happened when the Confederate