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The E-Sylum:  Volume 11, Number 13, March 30, 2008, Article 19

ELEPHANTS FOR MR. LINCOLN: CIVIL-WAR ERA DIPLOMACY IN SOUTHEAST ASIA

Howard A. Daniel III writes: "I recently finished reading the
book, 'Elephants for Mr. Lincoln, American Civil-War Era Diplomacy
in Southeast Asia'.  Co-author Dr. Anita Hibler is an old friend
and she has spent a lot of her adult life in Southeast Asia; she
loves the people who live and work in the region and is currently
living and teaching in Jakarta while her husband Will Tuchrello
heads the Library of Congress office for the region.

"The book is not going to keep you up overnight to finish reading
it, but if you are interested in Southeast Asian history, economics
and American activities in the region just before, during, and
after the Civil War, you will find many different tidbits of
information and sources in it.

"There are also quite a few instances of the Confederate Navy
operating in the region and its affects on American shipping and
trade so researchers interested in this area will want to read
about them.  One of the war supplies needed from the region was
hemp so the competition to acquire it dramatically raised the
prices to purchase it.  There are a few items about the French
taking over Viet Nam and Cambodia in the late 1850s and early
1860s that are interesting to me and I will research those sources.

"This was a time when the King of Siam (Thailand) offered
elephants to President Lincoln to fight the Civil War.  A
previous president sent the infamous King of Siam Proof Set
to a Thai king, but coins are not mentioned in the return gifts.
A gold sword to the king and a silver sword to the second king
are mentioned.  I bet another proof set and other gifts are
itemized in the references listed in the extensive Notes and
the Selected Bibliography.

"I have found some interesting information in my research of
Catholic missionaries in the region but I did not think of the
Baptist missionaries from the United States, like these authors
did.  There are many, many currency transactions with the monies
received from the Baptist Churches in the United States and the
locals in Southeast Asia.  I am sure I will not live long enough
to go through the hundred or more missionary references listed!

"The other author is William Strobridge, and the ISBN 10 is
0-8108-5762-6.  The publisher is The Scarecrow Press in Lanham,
Maryland, and it is available through Amazon.com."

[The King of Siam proof set is believed to have been presented
to the King on April 6, 1836 by Edmund Roberts on behalf of
President Andrew Jackson.  -Editor]

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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