Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln Sculptor

George Grey Barnard

Date

Erected in 1919

About the work

It may seem unusual for Manchester to have a statue of Abraham Lincoln, as there are no obvious links to the 16th President of the United States. In fact, Manchester was a very important ally to Abraham Lincoln’s Union during the American Civil War. As the largest processor of cotton in the world, Manchester took a strong moral and political stance by choosing to boycott Southern Cotton in protest against the use of slave labour.

This was not an easy decision to make and led to the Lancashire Cotton Famine, which saw many cotton workers lose their jobs and struggle to feed their families. Lincoln wrote a letter to thank the people of Manchester for their support. Later an American couple donated the statue as a reminder of the link between Manchester and the United States.

Transcription on the plinth

Abraham Lincoln Born 12th February 1809
Assassinated 15th April 1865
President of the U.S.A. 1861-65
American Civil War 15th April 1861 to 9th April 1865.

Extract of a letter
To the working people1 of Manchester 19th January 1863
I know and deeply deplore the sufferings which the working people1 of Manchester and in all Europe are called to endure in this crisis. It has been often and studiously represented that the attempt to overthrow this Government which was built on the foundation of human rights, and to substitute for it one which should rest exclusively on the basis of slavery, was likely to obtain the favour of Europe. Through the action of disloyal citizens the working people of Europe have been subjected to a severe trial for the purpose of forcing their sanction to that attempt. Under these circumstances I cannot but regard your decisive utterances upon the question as an instance of sublime Christian heroism which has not been surpassed in any age or in any country. It is indeed an energetic and re-inspiring assurance of the inherent truth and of the ultimate and universal triumph of justice, humanity and freedom ... I hail this interchange of sentiments therefore, as an augury that whatever else may happen, whatever misfortune may befall your country or my own, the peace and friendship which now exists between the two nations will be as it shall be my desire to make them, perpetual.

1. [The original letter says 'men']

In the collection

View the Manchester Art Gallery Online Collections page for this work.

Location & Map

This statue of Lincoln is located in Lincoln Square on Brazennose St, which runs between Albert Square and Deansgate.

The placemarker on the map below shows the location of this statue.

View a larger version of this map.