Brooks - Brooks, Preston Smith Brooks, Preston Smith,...

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Brooks, Preston Smith Brooks, Preston Smith, 1819–57, U.S. Congressman (1852–57), b. Edgefield District, S.C. A lawyer and the nephew of Senator Andrew Pickens Butler, he is remembered as the man who in 1856 caned Charles Sumner after Sumner had bitterly criticized Senator Butler. The slander in Sumner's speech and the brutality in Brooks's action showed how the rift was widening between North and South. Resigning, Brooks was promptly reelected. Trent Affair Trent Affair, incident in the diplomatic relations between the United States and Great Britain, which occurred during the American Civil War. On Nov. 8, 1861, the British mail packet Trent, carrying James M. Mason and John Slidell , Confederate commissioners to London and Paris respectively, was halted in the Bahama Channel by the U.S. warship San Jacinto, commanded by Capt. Charles Wilkes . The commissioners and their secretaries were forcibly removed from the Trent and taken to Boston, where they were interned in Fort Warren. This act was strictly
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