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tv   Book Discussion on The Washingtons  CSPAN  January 2, 2016 5:00am-6:11am EST

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a child and adults hitler. >> this is his most recent book the rise of hitler and fdr. this is book tv on c-span2. >> good evening everyone this is where you say good evening back. >> that's good. i want to thank you all for joining us this evening. it's my pleasure to welcome you all here for this installment of the lecture.
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we are honored to have flora flora fraser with us this evening. she will discuss her book, the washingtons, george and martha. joined by friendship and crown by love. it's a portrait of the father and mother of our country and of the struggle for independence that he led. already the book has been hailed as a major work on american history, an important contribution to understanding the joys, complexities and intricacies of the union of our greatest founding father and the nation's very first lady. 2015 marks the tenth year of the lecture series. established -- yeah, how about that [applause]. established in 2006, the series honors her.
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i'd like her to stand and be recognized. [applause]. they told me when i took the job that when you became came to america you might not hear everyone but i still say k is calling the great ideas and you can barely keep up with her. i'm grateful for all you have done. the gayheart gains election lecture series tipped me to this book the washingtons. [applause]. lou is also a great guardian of american history having cofounded the organization and we are glad to have you back.
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they come all the way down from pennsylvania to do this and we are glad you are here. thank you very much [applause]. >> it's also a really great pleasure to introduce stephen. he is the winner of the 2013 george washington book prize for his work george washington, gentleman warrior. i would say this was the first book on washington to win the prize. we are delighted that you are here. [applause]. tonight marks another milestone in mount vernon's effort to educate the world about martha
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washington and the critical role she played as a partner to george washington. we expanded our partnership at the university of virginia to undertake a comprehensive addition of martha washingtons papers in press in digital format. next year we will offer more authors to discuss their book on first ladies. we continue to add new content to the website and acknowledge the charm, grace and wisdom of our own very special martha washington who delights visitors on the estate. it is impossible to fully know george washington and understand him mount vernon without knowing the story of martha washington. this question was posed, would he ever have been commander or president of the united states if he had not married the rich
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widow? as you know ever jealous of the deep affection shown by the american people to washington in both lies and death, he frequently cited his stature and rugged good looks and luck in marriage that that is all that took him to wear it brought in. they make the argument that washington's marriage to martha completed him. at her conclusion, martha viewed george not only with wealth but confidence he had earlier lacked. together this couple became disaffected with london and had remarkable consequences for their union and the future of the united states. flora fraser faced a daunting task in documenting the intricacies of their marriage without all of the correspondence and yet she
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succeeds. she grew up in london and scotland. she is the daughter of a best-selling biographer. she is also the author of six daughters of george the third, beloved emma. during her teens and 20s she conducted research for a number of authors including her grandmother and her mother who were both historical biographers. in 2002 she cofounded the historical biography society for authors. she served as a trustee of the london national portrait gallery and since 2011 she has been a member of the development council in oxford. she is also a patron of
5:10 am this group is an outdoor amphitheater. she resides in london and we are grateful to you to have traveled this far to join us. please join me in welcoming flora fraser [applause]. >> thank you. cut the, gay, lou, ladies and ladies and gentlemen it is a privilege and a pleasure to be speaking here this evening at mount vernon. i've had the most glorious day walking around the mansion and grounds and i have put on, as
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background to this talk, this image which most of you will know, it's a watercolor by birch and i was sitting on the piazza on a -looking chair this morning and i was looking at the beautiful view cap to pristine of merry land opposite of the organization into my left i looked and there indeed was a field of horses. this is just a small tribute to the work of mount vernon in both preserving and reinterpreting george and martha's home in ever
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new and surprising ways i find the story of george and martha's marriage so engrossing, vital to his success as a commander that i would happily narrate all 40 years of it but we don't have time for that. i would like to save some time at the end of my remarks for any questions you would like to ask me. you can ask me about anything you would like. where did i get this nice coat. [laughter] well, as kurt said, martha didn't only bring wealth. she was a rich widow.
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she brought, i think a confidence to george. he was nervous, easily cast down and she responded with her natural robustness and her spirits were short up right from the beginning of their marriage. over 15 years of marriage before the war, they forged bonds of devotion. martha journeyed to georgette headquarters, to valley forge and bleek headquarters new york and new jersey, she was there for him and he for her.
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in the presidency, again they forged those roles as president and presidential partner together. this above all, my book their marriage, the story of the washingtons, wherever they are at mount vernon, in the war in the presidential homes, it's a story about human connection it's a a shifting union. they start by being colonial conservatives. they become radicalized, sweat to the home of the rebellion and then take charge in government
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and i could talk about any one of those periods and in my book i do divide these periods into three books. there is book one vic two and book three. i like that old-fashioned way of dividing a book. i want to talk tonight about the third chapter of their lives. the. that they spent as president and presidential spouse, but remembering that this is what they wanted to get back to. when there was a congressional
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recess they came home with joy and went back to the life of duty with a wish to come back home again. washington had looked forward to a life of retirement at mount vernon when the revolutionary war ended in 1783. he was just over 50 and martha was eight months older than him. he was 51 and martha was 52 to be exact. hopes eroded during the five years after the war while the constitution was being framed. word came in march, 1789, of washington's election as first president as the united states.
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he wrote to general henry knox, soon to be secretary of war, my movements to the chair of government will be accompanied with feelings, not unlike those of a culprit who is going to the place of his execution. george moved swiftly within the news of his election. his destination was a house in new york on cherry street. it was located close to today's bookings bridge.
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>> >> washington with his political colleagues with an official cabinet. there was the etiquette proper to be observed by the president. alexander hamilton, as soon to be secretary of the treasury was firm.
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to expect -- expect formal entertainment four times a year on the anniversary washington having digested asked john adams and his parents -- appearance at teapartier is my be permissible. with the reaction to the confined life have no taste of frivolity as the president he should have known intercourse with society but as presidents business. so to have those unfortunate
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connotations to denote a formal reception, now led the team for york but to have the prince the title to uphold the president's authority but they said the accord seems to determine
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with this ticket to ultimately congress may decree and mrs. washington began very firmly mrs. washington. as martha stepped out she took her two grandchildren aged tend in you all know better than i the children
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of her son jackie who had died of a camp with your or typhoid surely after victory at yorktown. and had given a home of the youngest to one of the president's many nephews called his departure from mount vernon. a number of them made their parents to take leave of their mistress but he seemed really agitated to affect equally so.
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at the plantation where martha does bill their granddaughters lived he wrote the family in tears everything is the most lamentable situation. coming to the jersey shore to meet his wife in manhattan. for hours they spent alone together now one terry st. st. and only one servant in attendance and with those secretaries in conference with cabinet colleagues.
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and additionally to give up the detailed correspondence. here at mount vernon. georgia justin was in charge of the house. but since she arrived in new york i have not had one half hour to myself my hair was that interested the day she told her niece a good deal in the fashion. the was loving the city. she is a wild creature spending your time at the window passing by which is
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new to her. think of the carriage is coming up and noted that the granddaughter was to begin music the following week and she became resigned performer. and was a conscientious student. the eight year-old had high spirits but no cover is an application. with the seventh of alexander hamilton he much
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prefers life at home so for the washington's the congress dinner the tuesday levy and cherry street was between three and four in the afternoon. of the majestic figure at these assemblies the great height the powerful build and the silence was unearthing. he appeared more regal following his mother's death and the portrait is of
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washington in the black velvet coat in the crimson background regardless. and with that cloth to read. and then the drawing room but then it was circulating that enjoy limited in the ice-cream. and eliminate. and had at that signified he
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was a guest had a gathering. to describe the horror that's the right -- surrounded washington. and treated as if he had a crown. and the public mockery to have such week entertainments abigail adams with 18 worth in august to cry about the president's life. and most becoming pleasant as.
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than i ever did. abigail praises martha's white hair. in private she spoke her mind whether condemning jefferson's ill treatment of her husband were to weigh in with advice of family members. children that eat everything if they like it eight as heartily is yours does must
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be filled with worms. [laughter] indeed i never saw children as stuffed as shore's what i was in virginia. [laughter] every thursday they posted -- she hosted a public tender. and to become interested submitted the declarations. to give me huge pleasure to read about the dinners in my book.
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that is where we're whole idea came from. a remarkable display. and some members of congress were invited in their lives and some politicians geller hosted by congressional president's and called on the president to renounce his statement washington refused. he told a friend and virginia first the novelty would be considered an ostentatious imitation through mimicry if england as dining in private with
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queen charlotte. to stop the avenues of useful information to make independent on the few so the first congressional dinner continued. later while they've heard in philadelphia by remote-control but the uncouple proved reluctant to exercise authority over servants and how slaves with admonishment from the president to have little effect.
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martha wrote to her niece about charlotte and experienced seamstress and vaguely about the state me is to be overseen by georgia guston. it is the sacrifice that they didn't hesitate to to make for washington to become the servant of congress again. for a couple in their late 50s and 60s not to be here
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to oversee the estate and never was his intention to give wine or to go to an expense to entertain thereof could always be had. [laughter] the washingtons' brought some housewares but many domestics that cherry street were white presence but they were all impressed with the idea it was decided the not washington's view.
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the president declared i strongly suspect nothing is brought to my table that is not used as profusely. [laughter] both washington's look forward to a congressional recess with private individuals. and in new york george did enjoy it a measure of private interment showing himself in the presidential box meeting with acclamation tangiers.
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during the course of the play washington could relax with a guest often with their wives and now in government with hamilton it was an isolated life very contrary to a virginia way of life that even their headquarters were more
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sociable. >> trading against the restrictions she wrote in a october 1 memo like a prisoner than anything else the mess not depart from. she was more philosophical than she was not dissatisfied the god forbid to conspire to make me what is and it. and then to make the
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occasion of celebration and every year after that. birthnight as it was called was marked but in america before the revolution was the most important day the secretary of state jefferson was in his drawing room. intending to introduce these trappings ultimately to establish a constitutional monarchy. in fact, was giving the authority to be established
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with the levees and criticism of the executive branch. in late february 1790 to take their presidents in the presidential home and the diplomat left all furnishings from his departure from europe. what went she but a the
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during service when when when when but has the information says ended is used thereafter. washington had less compunction and the senator described the feast to which they sat down.
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one. with apples are peaches are nuts. and now given the scale was entertaining in new york it is fortunate washington accepted the salary of $5,000 a year. so in may 1790 the house on broadway with the security of the fledgling united states and the balance it was raging in new york. but on may 10th his lungs were served -- severely
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inflamed as doctors came from philadelphia and new york medics. it became more acute and on the 15th they found a household in tears. was an extraordinary moment with the cabinet colleagues and to feel as a president the listening to the expectation when the same
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time his life was despaired of and within days he was declared safe a proper recovery would take time but tranquillity was restored to the state. to was later it was washington to accommodate the national capital that one day would be named washington ended district of columbia. two of his granddaughters
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would live there the the central government has home in philadelphia in congress had a very fine manchin belonging to finance your robert morris. but in 1793 not responding to reports the attack was renewed further from the presidential style instead shaking hands with a cushion
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from the people the washington did oversee those stately gatherings they receive the invoices for the four republics in a style that believed upheld the dignity of the united states. and in 1796 to celebrate the february anniversary. but to criticize the treaty with the chief justice there was scarcely favor british interest when the protests
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stopped the public attacks made washington miserable. but turpitude of america touches him more than he owns in words. the president told him in philadelphia maliki child in the holidays counting a month in the weeks and the days the previous to my release. john and abigail adams became the new occupants on market street adams the knowledge to be the successor of this is
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washington and make good her place will be an arduous task. women should ask for guidance:never to volleyer steps. she was content to withdraw with her husband from the public gaze. the curtain is falling she wrote to a more tranquil theater in virginia. a life of retirement did not last long before washington in march that passed away. with their death the closeness of their marriage
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faded from the memories of patriots as they would remember the father of the nation. i would love it if my book served to bring more of that out of the shadows and restore her to her strong but real confident and doting husband george. thank you cockup
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>> i will add it one dash to answer questions senate where did he get that coat? [laughter] >> a shop that i call my overcoat with a rating i write to more or less indigenous. for every four or five years >> what made you decide to write this? >> coming year. i love states seen talking
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about an earlier book princesses indicate now to visit milburn and. -- mount vernon. i went into the mansion isn't looked at the house and bought it was so english but also the early american couple. but the thoughts persisted and they kept thinking about it is thinking they were
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british to start. and when they furnished the home or embellished the house they were a british colonial couple. that martha was says keene of the patriot the headquarters but she is terrific when soviet idea they were together all the
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way through and they worked at their marriage is a lot to read about george washington. [laughter] but it is a bit of a cheat the is not the american expression that with british and the statements to read
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about georgann martha and i enjoyed every inch of the way researching going to the virginia historical society is the wonderful national parks. the lead to the battlefields. >>. >> they seem to be loyal to each other in to their families. was a series of very small events or cataclysmic events
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bear broke their british citizenship? >> it was really does the impact but even before that there were never happy with the firms in london as with most virginians but there were getting the right price for the tobacco. to imagine that the goods were a variety of things if
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they didn't work there last year's fashions, they were pawned off effectively. so there was always that in washington made the decision of the domestic market. so i would say it was small and incremental. it was like the violence he wanted to resort to early but that is how the --
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conversations go with george mason as his neighbor as they blast each other's trees with the legislation you tried to get through. there was a very productive relationship.
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>> what about the president's wife? >> it was used only after her death she was called the first lady of the nation. with brain is she's. the lead felt very strongly about this. event it with a big couple
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of days ago. and dolly madison. is that true? is? in the arbitrary piece as the first lady of the nation during her lifetime. and mike "huffington post" that i suggest it would be nice for the first president's style to refer
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to the next supporter of the next president as the presidential partner as martha washington was called by a washington. and agreeable partner and after her death called a worthy partner for mr. washington. i think that covers all possible sexes. [laughter] and it works because if you have a presidential partner with the president himself
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the designed to save mr. president. [laughter] i like the idea. with the term first lady and the smithsonian display and that the least mrs. obama is white dress. it was absolutely fabulous. or not. >> been thinking very much.
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certainly read the washington traveled to different camps during the war and spent months with george washington if that is the love i don't know what is. but i understand the very beginning he was in love with someone else. i don't imagine when they met it was lightning bolts out of the blue. with an instant love match. talk about that development.
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>> absolutely. i was talking with doug this afternoon it was a small society and the town where everybody would meet. but it can't know if they met or not but martha became available as a wealthy widow. in to was the one lawyer to
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do some legal work for george and his wife was a sister to sally fairfax to whom washington was in love and minutes before he proposed to merge the. -- martha and it was a very suitable marriage. for both of them. she needed someone to look after the state's. she did to a very capable job to handle business with
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some austerity which is impressive but nevertheless she is union almost inevitable in washington i would say started rational but tepid compared to how he felt to martha later. they had no children. that is tough. and then they never made reference to it. martha destroyed their
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correspondence. but their affection and the romantic nature of their relationship only grew as they got older. but i would say washington's respect grew enormously during the war. during the months he was without her just how much he missed her. he wrote a wonderful letter
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that is here in the library about cambridge he was worried she would be lonely and he would worry about her being lonely. but i think he was lonely. and they never thought she would go to him but he sent for her. and that changed their relationship. but that is when he realized to say during the war to benjamin franklin's daughter
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, while dancing and a ball, this is the date 20 years ago i was married to mrs. washington. much later he told the grand daughter elisa, marriage is an important foundation of life. is for everyone but for washington i do think it
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was. >>. >> if she did she burned it unfortunately. but we do have her letters. i find them extremely vivid. and the martha washington papers project is under way. who knows if there are letters that were not published.
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it will be very exciting over the next four or five years it will be published in about four years it is one of the times but america is a and treasure trove of the eighteenteighteent h century papers. in people travel so much in the papers from the vienna


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