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Historian discovers Abraham Lincoln donated to Ireland during Great Famine


ABRAHAM Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, was one of 15,000 people worldwide who donated money to Ireland during the Great Famine.

Evidence unearthed by historian Christine Kinealy, who is a Professor at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey and has studied and written extensively on the Famine for 20 years, found the discovery in a list of donations, according to Irishcentral.com.

His donation of $10 would translate to about $500 in today’s terms.

“This was back in 1847 when Lincoln was only a newly elected politician to the House of Representatives. It was an insubstantial sum from an unimportant figure at the time but it is retrospectively very interesting," she said.

She added that the donation was not out of character for Lincoln, who had a lifelong rapport with the Irish.

“I suppose Lincoln always had a great affinity for the Irish and their plight. He knew and recited Robert Emmet’s speech from the dock and his favourite ballad was Lady Dufferin’s poem ‘The Lament of the Irish Emigrant’ set to music.”

The research also shows that former US President James L Polk gave $50.

“There were so many donations across the world and it really shows how much sympathy people had for what the Irish were going through. There are donations from China, India, Australia and Russia to name but a few.”