Thai king offered to send elephants to President Lincoln in 1861

Lincoln to Thai king: Thanks but no thanks for the elephants
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Elephants are Thailand’s national animal, so it’s only natural that King Mongkut in 1861 offered to send a pair to the United States as a gift of a friendship that has endured 200 years.

President Abraham Lincoln, likely bemused and relieved at the distraction from America’s then-raging Civil War, politely declined, saying his country uses the steam engine and would have no use for the working animals.

As part of the anniversary celebrating the long-lasting relationship, the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok is showcasing historic gifts the two countries have exchanged on the grounds of Thailand’s Grand Palace.

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It includes the first ever official letter sent in 1818 from a Thai diplomat to President James Monroe, as well as the correspondence between Lincoln and Mongut. – Fox



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