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During the Trent Affair of 1861, The Great Eastern was chartered by the British Government to transport troops to Quebec. The Trent Affair threatened to directly involve Canada in the Civil War. In international waters near Cuba, on 8 November 1861, a Union ship stopped Trent, a British merchant ship and mail packet. Two Confederate officials were taken from Trent and arrested. Britain pledged to declare war on the United States unless the men were released and Lincoln apologised. Meanwhile, Britain sent thousands of soldiers to Canada and the Maritimes to prepare for the war that it predicted would begin with Americans marching north. Lincoln was advised to invade Canada, but said he would fight only one war at a time. He did not apologize, but the men were freed and the crisis subsided.


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