Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Slidell, John

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SLIDELL, JOHN, an American statesman; born in New York City, about 1793; was graduated at Columbia University in 1810; studied law, and in 1819 went to New Orleans, where he soon acquired a large practice. He was appointed United States district attorney for Louisiana in 1829; elected to Congress in 1843; made minister to Mexico in 1845; and was in the United States Senate in 1853-1861. In September, 1861, he was appointed a Confederate commissioner to France, and in November set out with his associate, James M. Mason, for Southampton. Both commissioners were seized on the English mail steamer “Trent” by Capt. Charles Wilkes of the United States steamer “San Jacinto,” and brought to the United States. After imprisonment in Fort Warren he was released on the demand of Great Britain, and sailed for England in January, 1862. From England he at once went to Paris, where in February, 1862, he paid his first visit to the French minister of Foreign Affairs. His mission, which had for its object the recognition of the Confederate States by France, was a failure, but he succeeded in negotiating a large loan and in securing the ship “Stonewall” for the Confederate government. After the war he settled in London, England, where he died July 29, 1871.