Skip to main content

tv   Book TV  CSPAN  October 16, 2011 6:00pm-7:00pm EDT

6:00 pm
don't know the exact words. so one journalist might, you know, say they talked about moon rocks. but to me that's a very boring and weak way of telling that scene. i know they talked about moon rocks, i know what they did with the moon rocks, so i describe what they do with the moon rocks. and there are some journalists who love it and some who don't. and, you know, it'll be a controversy forever in terms of certain journalists will never like it. with the social network and accidental billionaires, mark zuckerberg came out and said, it's not true, it's not true. and he called me the zach key collins of -- jackie collins of silicon valley, which i loved. that was great. he never said this suspect true and this isn't true. he just said the whole thing's not true, and then he said he didn't read the book, so i don't know where you go with that. [laughter] ..
6:01 pm
at the time 13,000 british troops still occupied new york city and the national treasury was a boy did money. george washington and his troops to georgia and virginia 1781. this is about two hours.
6:02 pm
>> and its just basically feel relaxed and eager to talk about history which is what we hope to do with you tonight. not long after the 1781 victory of yorktown which is where my book begins, general george washington wrote a letter to one of his favorite aides, lieutenant colonel john lawrence that summed up the truth washington had learned from seven exhausting years of the war. he was probably the most committed idealist in the american army. he had gone to south carolina and tried to persuade his native states to approve a plan he had been urging since valley forge. he wanted to free 3,000 african-americans and enlist them in the continental army. not only would it help with the war it would be a body blow for
6:03 pm
the institution of slavery. after some initial hesitation, general washington strongly supported this idea. generally 1780 to the south carolina legislature buried the proposal in an avalanche. the dismayed young colonel reported the results of washington here is the general reply. this year it freed him which at the commencement of this contest would have gladly sacrifice everything to the attainment of its object has long since subsided and every selfish passion has taken its place. it is not the public but the private interest which influences the generality of mankind nor can the americans any longer boast of an exception. this is a very large statement in the context of the american revolution. we began cleaning we had public virtue and the british didn't and that's why we were going to
6:04 pm
win the war. george washington's unblinking realism about human nature, american human nature in particular is that part of the perils of peace. today an astonishing number of americans have the illusion that the revolutionary war had ended at yorktown and 1781 the british had barely given up their guns at the surrender ceremony before the general began writing to governors and congressmen warning them that they are celebrating too much might turn it into a ruinous victory. the british could still win the war. they controlled key parts in georgia, south carolina, north carolina and new york and the interior of the states there were loyalists still hoping for an ultimate victory. they still had 26,000 trained regulars and loyalists underarms and north america from canada to florida. washington's meen army had
6:05 pm
dwindled to less than 6,000 ragged men who hadn't been paid in years. worse, america's french allies had ignored washington's pleas to strike another possibly decisive blow with the british in new york were charleston. instead the french fleet sailed back to the west indies where it soon suffered a catastrophic defeat. the french army hunkered down in virginia for the winter obviously waiting for orders from paris to the nearest port and aboard ships for the sugar islands or ferments. a month after georgetown 300 loyalist guerrillas led by an embittered former patriots named william cunningham erupted from charleston the general nathaniel greene's tiny army of less than 1,000 disgruntled continental's trying to keep three times that many british and loyalists regulars inside the city they
6:06 pm
could only watch helplessly while cunningham had a terrifying in swath of murder and destruction across the state. south carolina militia had no ammunition to stop them. cunningham returned triumphantly from his bloody scout as the americans soon called it to be healed by the british newspaper in charleston for his courage. on the other side of the atlantic more disarray prevailed. benjamin franklin, the american ambassador to paris had resigned in may, 1781. he was infuriated by the themes he was getting a call on the floor of congress for his suppose it womanizing and subservience to france. many of the nastiest of the that's from his fellow diplomat john adams who fed them to the partisans in congress. even worse vitriol spewed from the lips of congress man of
6:07 pm
virginia who served in paris with franklin for several years until his paranoid view of france and frankland triggered his recall but he immediately got himself in the congress. george iii informed that in the context in the global struggle for supremacy against france and spain yorktown was no more than a minor defeat but he saw no reason why he should even consider yielding an acre of what he called dominions in north america to the despicable bankrupt rebels that they did fight in them and there were millions of pounds still in the national they approved the speech from the throne but an overwhelming vote and the handful of people on the moros opposition benches seemed what to do next. unfortunately for the americans was a brilliant irish edmund
6:08 pm
burke who was the brains behind charles watson wentworth of rockingham the leader of the largest opposition party went to work on stiffening the marquee's much too elastic spine. soon he was leading a campaign to bring down the government headed by the boy was nosed prime minister fredrick. when he heard the news of yorktown he rushed wildly around the residence crawling it's all over. it's all over. but he had been saying that for years. he had long since learned to ignore. they are very good at dealing with antagonistic speakers. back in philadelphia the door to general washington pleas for moderation and launched a wild
6:09 pm
celebration of yorktown which wound up smashing every window with your free quaker in yorktown as they were considerably less. on virtually the same day the secretary for foreign affairs robert livingston received benjamin franklin's formal letter of resignation while everybody else was out there celebrating. the disconnect between europe and america would drive politicians on both sides of the atlantic almost desert but the next two years. more than once i paused and wondered if i was out of my mind to try to tell the whole story of this global struggle. the narrative ranges from america to london to dublin to paris to vienna to amsterdam to the west indies and india and the latter places the british fleet and army continue to fight the french and native allies for the merchant and higher to ten times more money into london's
6:10 pm
counting houses and the king's men never collected on the recalcitrant americans. we would be here all night if i tried to tell you the story blow by blow. i think you'll find supplies almost every page. i know i was constantly stalled by the unexpected moves on both sides. edmund burst little bo employee when his hard work on rallying the opposition finally paid off and the government was voted out of office six months after yorktown. george iii loved burke and his patron he refused to speak with him and conducted negotiations on forming a new government through third-party site. rockingham was referenced almost too profound willing to put this humiliation. he accepted it with one proviso.
6:11 pm
rockingham former government only if the king promised before witnesses that he would grant the americans independence when the negotiations with them and france and spain succeeded in striking an acceptable bargain. this was the one concession in the universe that george iii c's vowed never to make but he finally grudgingly made with his fingers and toes crossed hoping against hope something would turn up the would justify his reneging on that. alas them it might propose of the loyal cranium for the decades to come nothing turned up. the news of the havoc that the admiral george rodney on the west indies arrived six weeks too late to save him. even the totally unexpected death of lord rockingham did not
6:12 pm
rescue his majesty. his successor after all but guaranteeing that it would never agree to independence changed his mind without condescending, without consulting his royal harness. in paris the american negotiators ignored the orders of congress to consult the french on any tall points of the treaty of peace. one of the reasons few americans know why they were so interested in that saying given the orders to the diplomats was because practically the whole congress was in the pay of the french ambassador. they had money and americans didn't. was that simple. but they ignored this advice from congress and negotiated a separate agreement with england that let the french foreign minister gasping with shock and rage but franklin sued him with a masterful of letter and more sweet talk from devious prime
6:13 pm
minister lord shelburne to give up their hopes for india and return one or two captured west indian islands. even more amazing in exchange for florida spain agreed to abandon its century long desire to read possess after the failure of one of last ferocious final assault which makes for a great chapter in the book i might add. in the last month 1782, george had to go before parliament and other the hated word independence. it almost choked him literally. i found an eyewitness account of his semi strangulation from an american who winkled his way into the house of lords on that fateful day. was it over? not by any means. on the other side of the atlantic the superintendent of finance had been trying to
6:14 pm
create the illusion of sovereignty for a year. when congress appointed morris it was the most successful merchant in the nation he immediately announced he wouldn't pay the army. he depended on his close friend, general washington, to mollify the soldiers with a promise of an eventual settlement, the officers and the enlisted men had already gone without pay since 1780. this caused hardship for married men and their families. under the articles of the confederation, the half-baked constitution the converse pittard together while fighting the war all the states had to agree to major measures like taxation. at one point in 1782, 12 states had agreed to a tax on imports but tiny rhode island, a first of parting with a boehler it made from its booming trade with the west indies and year both voted no, and that was it.
6:15 pm
no taxes. a dismayed general washington can only reiterate what he had been saying for some time. i see one head turning into 13. he had done everything in his power from writing your nist letters backing of the budget to approving a dispatch team to rhode island to talk to a house adjourns in to the agreement got nowhere. he was practically run out of rhode island. in congress on the new rival the generals x eight alexander hamilton wrote to governor george clinton of new york warning and the country was about to collapse. hamilton recommended offering the soldiers and officers of the continental army generous grants of land in new york. almost certainly come hamilton predicted, there were going to be vicious wars between the states and whittled to have professional soldiers on hand to
6:16 pm
give the empire state's fighting for them. that's thinking. in the camp at new windsor on the hudson river north of new york the continentals were growing more and more restless. not a few officers urged him to march in philadelphia tell congress to go home and take charge of the country as can george i or president and general's life washington emphatically rejected the idea and ordered a colonel who had urged in several letters not to mention it again to anyone ever. congress old the soldiers tyndale's of dollars in back pay and even larger debt was tied to the pledge to give the offices half pay for life. even if the promised pension was commuted to five years of full pay and several congressmen proposed the cost would be close to $7 million that is at least $100 million in today's money.
6:17 pm
half pay was the child of the war. as the continental dollar depreciated, soldiers had begun -- officers rather, soldiers couldn't resign they were interested. officers had begun resigning by the dozen to read over 3,000 went home in valley forge alone. washington had decided the only way to keep good men in the army was to offer half pay for life. after weeks of bombastic wrangling, congress finally agreed to a compromise half pay for seven years after war. it passed by a single vote showing how difficult. by 1780 the economic situation had become truly desperate. continent will always had become almost worthless and an ordinary course sold for $20,000. the previous prewar that price was 200. officers baking $150 a month were actually receiving five or six real dollars.
6:18 pm
washington went back to congress and insisted that the vote the officers half pay for life. the politicians acquiesced and almost immediately lawful on the promise. they asked each state to undertake the task of paying its offices. they had no money of course. it was tantamount to sentencing the obligation to oblivion the offices in the idea that a gentleman's word is his bond insisted they still expected half pay from congress. this was the situation when the rumors of a provisional peace treaty negotiated by benjamin franklin, john adams and john jay in paris which the united states early in 1783. the news did not trigger any celebrations and new windsor, that is the army camp. instead they had aroused in the office to call a surge of fury.
6:19 pm
the office dispatched a delegation of the congress led by major general alexander mcdougal of new york to demand the back pay and a renewed pledge of half pay for life. choosing him as a spokesman was a statement in itself in the early 17 70's this abrasive scott had been a leader in staging the riots and protests against the british in new york. once mcdougal had been a wealthy man he made a fortune as a private hearing captain and owner in the seven year war he was also broke he and the kernels that went with him took two weeks to borrow the money to get to philadelphia. the mcdougal committee got nowhere. congress appointed grand committee of 13 members to listen to the demand for the money that was owed to them but the politicians could not agree on how to raise the cash and they couldn't persuade the majority to improve pay and the
6:20 pm
officers ascent on the promised half pay for life. a disgusted general mcdougal started looking to people in philadelphia who were equally unhappy with the congress. they included robert morris, the superintendent of finance, his assistant, not a relative, he was a new yorker, and congressman alexander hamilton. they suggested the army might do more than complain. after all, they had guns in their hands. why not threaten to use them? everyone might in the past year if the states were frightened into giving the congress the power to levy federal taxes. all congress would do at present was request the states to contribute money. 1782 congress asked for 8 million. on april 1st when the first $2 million was due the superintendent of finance collected nothing. a week or so later, $5,572
6:21 pm
trickled in from new jersey, my native state. it was enough to keep the federal government running for a quarter of a day. the years 72 ended with a shortfall of $6 million. only to loans from france and holland enabled morris to dodge toole bankruptcy as for paying the army it was beyond the realm of the financial possibilities. soon anonymous broadsides began circulating around the new windsor can't. the officers abandoned their milk and water study with mcdougal's plea to congress but the army did not act now declared these compostable the officers were condemned to growing old in poverty and wretchedness and content. peace would benefit everybody but them. it was time to confront the gratitude of their fellow citizens who br me courage had made it dependent.
6:22 pm
there was only one option left. moreover, they should suspect a man who would advise them to more moderation and longer for parents. those last words were not for the preemptive strike at general washington. five days later washington confronted several in new windsor called the temple. he made a passionate appeal to reject the call so violence. his words didn't seem to have much impact and their faces remained cold and pingree. in desperation washington pulled out a letter from a virginia delegator who claimed congress was trying to meet the officer's demand as the general started to read it he blinked and robbed his eyes and drew a pair of glasses from his pocket. it was the first time anyone had
6:23 pm
seen him wearing them. general, you will permit me to put on my spectacles for i have grown normally gray but also blind in the service of my country. a rustle of aeneas, a murmur of emotion swept through the audience. a few officers actually wept and others rushed to the cheers to the to tears. washington finished reading the letter and departed. instantly henry knox, the popular commander of the artillery was on his feet asking the meant to reject the infamous addresses and affirm the attachment to the rights and liberties of human nature. another resolution asked washington to become their advocate of congress. the resolutions were approved by a unanimous vote and timothy pickering of massachusetts, the army master general rose to
6:24 pm
object. he condemned the hypocrisy of infamy on the publications. during the preceding days she said every army had read them with rapture. some people leader said that one more speaker followed sentiments and the offices where feige would have reacted with general washington as well as congress but no one said a word. the soldiers departed to the quarters and the most perilous moment in the history of the united states of america ended peacefully with the crisis was far from over. they were still angry men only one finger restrain them, general washington pledged his support to win the money the unquestionably deserved. washington did his utmost to make good on that promise.
6:25 pm
he warned the congress in a letter that if they failed to compensate these men then shall i have learned what in credit today's and the memory with in better every moment of my future life. those are all some words. conversely failed to pay which it did in an underhanded way. discharging them on pay might have been construed as an act of courage or candor the politicians furlough to the army, the man who had enlisted for the duration of the war the british signed a definitive treaty of peace they would become permanent. june 5th, 1783 the committee of officers told washington they viewed the news with a mixture of astonishment and sugar in. four fifths of the army was
6:26 pm
being disbanded without even one of their demands for justice. they were being sent home without the means to support and comfort our families and to arrest the debt that of a contract on the service. washington's reply was labored, polite and unsatisfactory. he said he was a servant of the public and have no power to alter the furlough policy. they're simply was no money to pay the cost of keeping the army together. the only thing he could offer the man or promissory notes for three months' pay signed and backed by the personal credit of the superintendent of finance. most officers decided to go home without waiting for the so-called notes. if to sell them to the speculator is at a half of one-third of their face value to get any cash on the first place. the departing officers canceled their dinner at which the it
6:27 pm
planned to make general washington the guest of honor. the decision one officer wrote troubled certain characters along with general knox and a few other officers would hope to defuse the congenital washington. there could be little doubt that he was deeply wounded by this unmistakable evidence that he had lost the adoration and affection of his officers he may also have heard what some officers in philadelphia were saying about him of all of his illustrious foibles' one small but his affectation of zeal and he stroked as the most ridiculous. he suggested a new title for the general. washington's response to this situation was his farewell
6:28 pm
orders to the army of the united states. he wrote this after most of the continental army had been furloughed. they marched off without a victory parade or even a state of gratitude from congress. some biographers have dismissed the message as a collection of platitude. it is no such thing if you read it that it came from a man who is trying to fend off lifelong in betterment. washington told his men to their achievement against the most powerful nation on the globe was little short of a standing miracle. men from all parts of the continent had become one patriotic a band of brothers. another miracle. he professed one more time his attachment in friendship he hoped the country would eventually pay them what they deserved. no one else is secured by their courage and devotion such innumerable blessings for others. at west point, a group of one
6:29 pm
furloughed officers decided to write a response for the farewell statement. they appointed the minister general pickering to prepare a draft, again, not an accidental choice. to no one's supplies the newly linder's praise of washington was minimal. he spent most of his time inviting the congress and the states the atrocious malfeasance one historian has described the text as a self pity and define and outrage. the officers did not bother to present this less than full some response to general washington personally. they mailed it to. this is the seldom if ever told the crowd that brings us to washington's farewell to his officers here at the tavern after the british army had finally evacuated new york on
6:30 pm
november 25th, 1783. the officers were only a handful. the army shrunk to 800 men and most of whom joined in the long war. washington didn't know most of these men. alexander hamilton did not attend. he and washington had exchanged angry letters shortly before hamilton discussed the general had warned his former aide that the army was a dangerous instrument to play with. hamilton replied it was a principal hostility to the army losing the country and in congress that made him wonder if the united states of america desert any soldiers loyalty. on the second floor washington picked up the food and it was on the table but he off if no interest he poured himself a glass of wine and raised it to his lips with a shaking hand. they quickly filled the glasses.
6:31 pm
washington key is the the officers with his lips trembling he wanted, he even had needed to break through the resentment. investing their minds and hearts he wanted to speak to the small cluster of offices and reach of the officer corps. slowly washington raised his glass and said with a heart full of love and gratitude i now take leaves of you. i wish that your leader days may be as prosperous and happy as your former ones have been glorious and honorable. and almost breathless science one recall the watched him drink. they raised their glasses in the emotional response a few mumbled freezes and broken sentences. tears began to stream down washington's cheeks. the officers ander of this man if not a congress dissolved in the several meetings of the general grief.
6:32 pm
they understood that it was only one reason for those tears. a larger reason was his regret that the field to get the reword the needed and deserved. not only the money that was owed to them but the praise in depreciation from a grateful country. by this time the hostility to the army that had troubled congressman hamilton had ballooned into a smear campaign led by some politicians and many newspaper editors. the officers were portrayed as a greedy aristocrats who wanted to live off their pensions. the dimensions of this orgy of mudslinging almost unbelievable extremes the neighbors of one connecticut officer told them they hoped they would die before they collect the pension and they cheered when he got sick. this low opinion of the officers in golf the rest of the continental army but washington
6:33 pm
county virginia officials reported some how there is a general disgust taking place for what appears the name of a regular when "washington post" the post for our me if 3,000 men even a tiny regular army would many congressmen ready to threaten america's liberty and of course have to be paid. three weeks after leaving the tavern washington and arrived at annapolis where the congress was sitting. the national legislature was a pathetic group barely 20 in number. they had fled philadelphia when drunken soldiers in the city's 500 anderson surrounded the pennsylvania state house and demanded back pay more of a promissory notes but in the hard money the officers who called washington the almost certainly helped triple this of people.
6:34 pm
now to annapolis the laughingstock of the country. other friends of america and france wrote letters to washington and others wonder if the united states was about to fall apart. on the amsterdam stock exchange, sales of shares and american loans plunged catastrophically. in london the british rub their hands and bloated with anticipation. it took weeks for the congress to assemble to have a quorum that enabled them to do any business at annapolis. no one had much enthusiasm for serving an organization whose reputation had hit bottom. in full uniform flanked by general washington stood before this collection of political zeros. [laughter] these were the men with who had defrauded his officers. think of what he must have felt.
6:35 pm
did he know than any respect? had any of them earned it? this supreme realist who had no illusion of human nature retain division of with the continental congress meant to the future united states of america. he had somehow kept his understanding of why the revolution had been fought and won to create a nation of free men and women. a good general drew a speech from his coat pocket and unfolded it with hands that trembled with the motion. mr. president, he began with a low voice, the great events on which my resignation depended having taken place i now have the honor rauf offering my sincere congratulations to congress and presenting myself before them to surrender into their hands the trust committed to me and claim the indulgence of retiring on the service of my
6:36 pm
country. this is the greatest moment in american history. let me say that again. it is the greatest moment in american history. here is a man who could have dispersed congress with a single regiment would denounce them in a raging speech that would have destroyed their authority forever. instead, he was humble a renouncing power and becoming a private citizen at the mercy of these and other politicians over whom he had no control. this visible incontrovertible act did more to affirm america's declarations by legislatures and treatises by philosophers. washington's emotions grew so intense he had to grip the pages of his speech with both hands to keep it steady. he continued i considered it an indispensable duty to close this last act of my official life by
6:37 pm
commending the interest of our dearest country for the protection of the almighty god, and those who have the superintendents of them to his whole we keeping. tears again streamed down general washington's cheeks to read these words touched a vein of religious faith deep in his school board of battlefield experiences that had convinced him of the existence of a caring god this faith blended with his faith in america's future. without both i doubt if he could have dealt with to the appalling disappointment he and his officers had undergone in the previous eight months. the deeply moved spectators all but one congressman said and there was hardly a member of congress who didn't drop tears to read some of them since and perhaps even understood the deeper meaning of the general tears one james mchenry of
6:38 pm
maryland had been an aide of washington and new how much the general cared about his army and his country. he sensed the debt of his sadness and the anguish of his hope. in europe washington's resignation restored america's's battered prestige. was reported with in amazement newspapers from london to vienna, the connecticut paynter john trumbull study ninian goodland wrote home that it had earned the astonishment and admiration of this part of the world. no one was more surprised than george iii. when he heard a lot of his majesty stoddard disbelieving leave that those she become the greatest man in the world. the was the moment if everyone knew america was going to survive the perils of peace.
6:39 pm
thanks for listening. [applause] >> thank you very much. [applause] >> yes, ma'am. >> for more u.s. department of state service. i'm interested because i think all of the war start with an issue of the commerce. so how do they pbr me? to tax collectors come around, do you have to send them into washington, how is that done? >> i am sorry i didn't quite get the question. how long did it take them? >> how were the taxes collected?
6:40 pm
>> the states collected taxes under the article of the confederation and then they send the money in a bundle to the congress and then as the secretary of the finance had created a bank and he put the money in the bank but he didn't have much money to put in as i made it clear. >> what bank was it? >> it was the only bank in the country in philadelphia. it was of some stability but he could come close to raising the money that he needed to run the country. instead he was always writing letters to ben franklin saying please get another loan from france. that is one reason why at the end of the many years later king louis xvi was staring in the
6:41 pm
face she said i never think of an american revolution he really bankrupted them. we have a lot to do with it. actually the tax system did it. if it had been reversed the british could have financed their revolution with a breathing deeply. they were the only that have a good taxation system and they had it in place almost 100 years. they had thousands of tax collectors all of the country just pouring money into the bank of england so that's the secret of why even after yorktown. >> i was wondering why a country with such an aggressive growth founders could have such a lackluster congress. [laughter] >> the fact of the matter was as i mentioned in the speech white we have such a lackluster
6:42 pm
congress? because congress conducted all its meetings under a code of silence. when a politician went to congress he virtually disappeared. nobody knew what he was saying or doing and also as time went on as it becomes apparent in my talk, congress lost the respect of the people that's all there is to it and james madison who is a big figure in my book and i didn't get a chance to mengin him in my speech he was with hamilton at the time and they both desperately tried to work out some federal taxation, but hamilton said a minute that the congress was unable to print money to print the $200 million then it started depreciating and they realized this was ridiculous so they stopped printing any more and so it became meaningless but the minute they stopped printing money that was the end of their
6:43 pm
political influence. they still were printing money they could ship it to the states from then they became beggars asking the states for money and they had better things to do. yes, sir. >> alexander hamilton's absence from the farewell -- >> the soldiers speech, where was he, did he ever have an explanation? >> nobody seems to know. he was living on the a couple of blocks away. he rented a house right here only a few blocks from the tavern and he was coming to practice law. my explanation, i've done a good deal of study i wrote a book called dual about the regime and the letters that hamilton and washington exchanged were pretty
6:44 pm
rough, and washington was telling hamilton i know you were involved in that year revolution and i don't think it was a good thing to do, and hamilton fired back he never would admit he was wrong about anything he fired back the principal hostility to the army he couldn't stand at. i'm just curious if the members of the army, the officers and the soldiers were not being paid were the members of congress earning salaries, and government employees earning salaries? >> let's start from the back. there were no government employees were mentioning. the secretary of foreign affairs had one clerk. the lady from the state department is laughing.
6:45 pm
members of congress were theoretically been paid but they weren't. they depended on a very generous jewish financiers and high and solomon. he loaned them the money to keep them going but most of them were sent by the states and they didn't get any money from the federal government, so everybody was. there was a wonderful story that i have in the book that when the messenger from the victory of yorktown arrived as one of washington's's aids, he was completely exhausted and suffering malaria and so forth and after he gave the good news to congress he said i have to lie down i have to go someplace and take a rest had been riding a horse for like 24 hours he said but i don't have money. so congress -- everybody looked at the congress and there was no money the government couldn't pay enough money to get a room
6:46 pm
for the night so the congressman from new jersey suggested everybody did for their pockets and come up with a dollar each and as i say the message of the victory of yorktown was rescued from debt. >> thank you very much. i find it ironic that 220 years later the military still wasn't getting what they deserve in terms of pay. we go out there and fight the war and they still won't pay us when we get out they get us peanuts. >> we do reword the military much better than we did in the 18th-century when they got zero. they did get paid something in 1796 gave some money and then 1818 when most of them were dead the offered them pensions.
6:47 pm
but yeah, i did a history at west point and i interviewed 300 generals of the course of the four years, and a lot of these guys are interested in history and the ones with the good memory for a where the army was never popular. we were deceived by the popularity of the army in world war ii and then that sort of spilled over into the guise of korea they got some support, too. but that was really dealing war in which the army was popular. the original army nine speaking of. during the civil war the volunteers or popular to some extent because they had people let home crying for them and supporting them and what have you. but that is the story of the regular army. and you know what sam adams called a regular squawks the shoot lights of society. that was his attitude. a tree but he had a paranoid
6:48 pm
fear washington was going to turn into oliver cromwell and take over the government. so they suspected the army of doing this and that, not being respectful of congress and so forth. it was one of the problems washington had to deal with throughout the whole war. this gentleman right here and the leedy in the back. >> such a bleak outlook in the country as you pointed out the british army had more money than god the and they were just waiting for us. why did they just not leave the army in new york or charleston or wherever and say we will wipe it up and to get right back? >> they lost control of the government. the king wasn't the figurehead like today's. she ran the parliament for 15 or 20 years. the it all sorts of key members. they were on the payroll in various ways.
6:49 pm
edmund spent 15 years of his life denouncing the privileges that ran parliaments like he owned them and so forth, but once he lost the control of parliament the government then and there were enough people in the government who said i don't think we can beat the americans. there was a majority in parliament who fought that we lost and they wanted to cut their losses basically. survey were the ones who led them out and de salles thanks to the victories they won a couple of big victories in india that i didn't reach to the convention in the speech and then destroyed, almost destroyed the french fleet in the indies. on the basis of those victories they were able to negotiate a very good treaties of peace with france and spain so they decided independence any way as george
6:50 pm
free said the there is despicable people in my kingdom any way. [laughter] yes, sir. in the back. >> we will get to you. okay. >> i seem to remember something about the fact that these soldiers were paid with grants and that washington actually brought up a lot of those grants. >> you are thinking of the seven year war. the virginia soldiers who committed the seven year war were given large grants of land in the west which actually virginia didn't own the just claimed it and washington than bulk of their land grants by the time there was any land grant given to these guys she was probably out of the presidency and would have been very undignified to get involved in that. he was a young up and comer in
6:51 pm
the 17 sixties and early 70's and he could build up a huge estate and he was a very good businessman. yes? >> sorry you had to wait so long. >> i wonder if there is any data in what happened to these soldiers in by your streets and to have to support their families and they are in in debt. what ever happened to them? >> any danger? >> any data about what happened to these people. >> well, no pity the enlisted men were mostly pretty young and unmarried. the officers who were older and many of them had wives and some of them had families come and but most of them or not the guys that you saw with the guns in their hands at lexington and concord. these guys were enlisted in the
6:52 pm
army. somebody called them a very nasty his story and i might add call them the simplest population. they were poor guys who had no land and actually thought it wasn't a bad deal. three square meals, clothing and $6 a month which wasn't bad pay in those days. labor didn't get much more than that. and so, that's how they were able to -- to deal with the enlisted men. they were not nearly as angry as those who were being defrauded of millions of dollars. the enlisted men were given $80.1 of these promissory notes to you could see the difference in the scale and so forth. yes, sir. >> mr. fleming, i've read that the british government incurred and the enormous debt starting with the seven year war which we know as the french and indian war. and then of course they have enormous expenditures off 30,000
6:53 pm
troops fighting the american evolution. so, was at the british government, you know, like deeply in debt at that time of the government? >> you have to stop and think of what alexander hamilton decided from the british system in action he said a national debt is a national blessing. they sold shares in its. when he became treasurer of the secretary he did exactly what the british were doing. he would create the bank of the united states which was a bank of england under a different name he sold shares of that in the country was prosperous and the credit was restored and so forth. our credit by the end of the american revolution and for many years after that was absolutely worthless we couldn't borrow money and we were in very bad shape. so the constitution and that sort of thing was almost like a
6:54 pm
emergency surgery to restore a drowned man. it was important to put the country back together that way. >> what was the reason that they stopped the war? >> it certainly influenced them, yes but as the king said in his speech from the throne to give you another big sable and british generals were thinking, he was in command when they signed the treaty of peace. he was enraged, the commander of new york. he said we could borrow 40 million pounds tomorrow just like that and keep the war going. the credit was so good to give you an example how good their credit was they were borrowing millions of dollars which was the best for the big bankers of the day. they were borrowing let's say $10 million paying 3% interest, the french were paying six come
6:55 pm
seven, 8% and by 1782 going up to 9% they were being killed by this whole thing because their credit was nothing so it is quite a difference. yes. >> thank you mr. fleming. a question about that same issue what was the political climate in a fleet 1781 that led to such a dramatic change of control in parliament? there had been other major losses by the british most notably the loss at saratoga. but the faction that wanted to keep the war going and in permanent remains strong in georgia in 77 minute. >> there must have been something different about the political climate. >> they lost another whole army. this is a terrible humiliation. this definitely played a part.
6:56 pm
also the public was getting tired of the war. they lost their enthusiasm for it, and there was -- the people who were starting to criticize the war had support and there was a huge rock yet in london in 1780 which almost burned down the whole city. they call let the gordon riots he was a nut case supposedly protesting some law which had some restrictions and he was a fanatic protestant but out of the slums of london and everywhere else you can see there was a huge mob and politicians and so forth and they got the message, the politicians of parliament that they were no longer very popular and probably the war wasn't popular either, so there was a definite sense that maybe if we have a good reason for signing a treaty of peace but then we have
6:57 pm
to go back to the fact that the french had achieved in the war for those of you to study military history the initiative is crucial. whoever has the initiative is in control of the war and in 1780 and 1781 the french seized the initiative at sea and they had more ships at sea in the british and they had to keep a big home fleet because they were afraid of a french invasion that oversees the and the initiative in the west indies they gobbled up all island after island and so forth and those islands in india, too were worth as i said in a speech huge amounts of money to the british and they were at risk so that is another reason why they said we better talk peace and get the americans out and off our backs. >> out of the sources that i have read about the farewell
6:58 pm
tavern mention that most of the generals were not to confuse the hollywood expression the big names. >> there's only a few generals there. >> was the absentee, word de absentees' because of that issue? >> most of them had left the army by then. for instance it was the second-best general in the war commander in the south he had already met washington in new jersey and when the congress was pretended princeton was the capitol of the country and making fools of themselves and so he was back in rhode island. most of them left the army by this time so that was the reason why they were absent. the follow washington every way they have no place to go. he was determinant and i think mcdougal was there, too that is
6:59 pm
the explanation of why there was nobody else there. yes? >> just curious -- >> he has the mic so i guess the guy on the right. >> you mentioned the officers in the 70's or finances better from 1775 to 1780, or -- >> definitely because congress was printing this money like it was going out of style. they had millions and millions of dollars and of course it was depreciated very badly but still, for a while we looked like we could beat the british with no sweat. one more question, okay? this gentleman. >> [inaudible] >> no, this is fine. >> i am concerned or curious if general washington was concerned with the degree of rebellion among the ranks of the officers and soldiers to not having been paid did


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on