14th April 1865 - Death of Abraham Lincoln

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14th April 1865 - Death of Abraham Lincoln

​President Lincoln was assassinated on 14th April 1865. Glasgow had close trading links with America from the 17th century onwards which prompted several organisations to record their condolences.​

A​braham Lincoln became President in 1861 at the onset of the Civil War, a conflict which plagued his presidency. 

On Good Friday 14th April 1865, President Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth. The assassination occurred less than a week after the effective ending of the Civil War and news of the incident spread worldwide. In the 17th and 18th centuries, Scotland became a country of commerce through its trade in sugar and tobacco, Glasgow in particular established a stronghold trading with America. 

Both the Merchants House and Chamber of Commerce records held by Glasgow City Archives feature minutes of special meetings expressing sorrow at the death of President Lincoln. Both organisations included some of Glasgow’s most prominent figures such as politician Archibald Orr Ewing. Glasgow Corporation also sent a letter of condolence which survives in the Abraham Lincoln Library. 

Glasgow City Archives holds several sources showing Scottish reaction to the assassination, which can be viewed in our searchroom. A sample of them are included below:


​Abraham Lincoln - Photograph of President Lincoln taken approximately February-April 1865, mere months before his assassination 
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​Merchants House T-MH 1/7 - ‘That they desire to express their heartfelt sympathy and condolence with the people of the United States, who in a manner so shocking to every feeling of humanity, and so subversive of social order have been suddenly deprived of their chief magistrate at a momentous crisis in the history of their country. That this house would record their high respect for the character of the late President Lincoln and their grateful remembrance of his endeavours at all times to preserve and alleviate friendly relations with Great Britain.’

​Suleman Print TD314 - Section of a panoramic view of Glasgow, by T. Sulman published in 1864, one year prior to President Lincoln’s assassination. The full panorama shows Glasgow’s industrial and maritime activity and is available to view in our searchroom. 
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​Chamber of Commerce TD1670/1/10 - Glasgow 28th April 1865 ‘That this Chamber desire to record their utter abhorrence of the crime by which the United States of America have been so suddenly deprived of the services of their President Abraham Lincoln. The Chamber led to express their sincere sympathy with the people of the United States of America on so trying an occasion, and their trust that the sad event may be so overruled as not to be prejudicial to the continued prosperity of the United States of America and the best interests of the nation.’

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