Adams, Charles Francis. Lincoln Assassination Circular, 1865 | Illinois History and Lincoln Collections
This collection consists of a circular sent by Charles Francis Adams, Ambassador of Great Britain, to Consuls and Vice-Consuls of the United States. The circular announced mourning protocols following the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.
Charles Francis Adams (1807-1886) was the son of John Quincy Adams and grandson of John Adams. He served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1840-1843 and the Senate from 1843-1845. In 1846, he purchased the Boston Whig and served as its editor. In the 1848 election, Adams unsuccessfully ran as the vice-presidential nominee for the Free Soil Party, with former President Martin Van Buren as his running mate. In 1861, President Abraham Lincoln appointed Adams as Ambassador to Great Britain, a position he held until 1868. During the Civil War, Adams was instrumental in keeping Britain neutral and prevented the country from recognizing the diplomacy of the Confederacy.
This collection contains a circular dated May 2, 1865, sent from London, England, from Charles Francis Adams, Ambassador to Great Britain, to Consuls and Vice-Consuls of the United States living in Great Britain. In the circular, Ambassador Adams described the displays of mourning that the Consulates were to follow in honor of the fallen president, Abraham Lincoln. The Consuls and Vice-Consuls were ordered to wear "crape upon the left arm for the period of six months from the date of this notification" and to "display the flag of their respective Consulates on the day, and for three days, succeeding the receipt of this communication, at half-mast." It was also instructed that American vessels at port raise their flags at half-mast.
The Library purchased this circular in January 2022 with support from the Dr. Harlan Horner estate.