So we all know that when a new president comes into power, other countries’ diplomats will offer
bribes gifts. And when Abraham Lincoln moved into the White House, it was no different…well, a little different.
In 1861, Thailand was still called Siam and was ruled by King Somdetch Phra Paramendr Maha Mongkut – try saying that 10 times fast. The king was curious about the West and wanted to create a bond between the 2 countries. So naturally, he offered Lincoln elephants. Yep, elephants.
Mongkut hadn’t quite figured out how to ship them from Siam to America yet, but he still thought it would be a good idea. He proposed this by addressing a letter to former president James Buchanan explaining how he wanted to gift America with several pairs of young male and female elephants.
To quote the king, “after a while they will increase till there be large herds as there are here on the continent of Asia until the inhabitants of America will be able to catch them and tame and use them as beasts of burden making them of benefit to the country.”
I’m sorry, but who in their right mind would deny “beasts of burden?” Personally, I would love my own pet elephant.
Lincoln was thinking a little more practically though *yawn* and responded with this, “Our political jurisdiction, however, does not reach a latitude so low as to favor the multiplication of the elephant, and steam on land, as well as on water, has been our best and most efficient agent of transportation in internal commerce.”
Can you imagine what the States would look like now if Lincoln had a different answer? Elephants would be roaming the streets and I definitely wouldn’t own a car.
So without further ado, please enjoy ‘Life with Elephants’…