tv Quakers Guns and the British Industrial Revolution CSPAN January 26, 2019 10:30am-12:01pm EST
american history tv, stanford university history professor explores the complex relationship between the quaker community and gunmakers during the british industrial revolution. the professor is the author of empire of guns, the violent making of the industrial revolution. the national history center and wilson center cohosted this 90 minute event. looks today we are quite fortunate to have with us a professor of history at stanford university. educated at stanford, the london school of economics, and the university of california berkeley. she is the prize-winning author of spies in arabia, the great war, and cultural foundations of britain's covert empire in the middle east, a book published in 2008. her work has appeared in academic journals and collections and popular media such as the nation, financial times, and the washington post. today she will be speaking on her recent book, empire of guns, the violent making of the industrial revolution.
>> good afternoon everybody, can you hear me all right? is this good? thank you so much for coming. thank you, amanda and peaks for the arrangements and thank you to the center for inviting me out to give this talk. i'm sorry i disrupted your regular monday schedule. thank you for making the adjustment so we can talk to one another. as eric was saying, this talk is based on my book, which came out this year. and i started about 12 years ago. you will see, i think, in short order, what drew me in for such a long time. there is a mystery at the heart
of the problem i was trying to answer. i guess the best way to put it is the mystery is the biggest gun making family, the family that owned the biggest gun making firm in 18th century britain was a quaker family. they were the biggest suppliers of guns to the slave trade in south africa. they were suppliers to the east india trading company, which would use them guns that use their guns for trade and conquest. there are also the single biggest supplier to the british government, which needed guns for his thomas nonstop wars against spain and france, in what you may call the long 18th-century. the quaker sect, as many of you know, was founded in the midst of these religiously framed
political wars in the 17th century. most of us will be familiar with the fact that a core principle of the quaker faith is -- -- is believed in the unchristian nature of war. quakers do not participate in war or work training -- war training. they were persecuted minorities in 17th and 18th centuries because they were used to swear loyalty to the king, or to arm themselves in defense of his realm in a time when there are really many substantive threats to the monarchy, both at home and abroad. how do we explain this quaker gun making family? how do we understand how and why quakers excepted the cartons as their peers in the quaker community? as it turns out the family was working in the gun trade from about 1702, if not earlier. they were prominent in the birmingham quaker meeting for generations without a tracking any critical notice for their livelihood. not a word about any problem with the fact that they are a gun making family. how do we understand why other quakers expected the dalton's as their years in the community.
met -- working in the gun trade from 1702 and prominent in the birmingham withouteeting attracting and a lot -- any dental noticed her livelihoods. there's not a word about any problem the fact there is a gun making quaker family. society, the birmingham of france. suddenly the scandal in 1995. this is the head of the family in 1795. he's the main when we will be talking about today. this is just geographically to let you know, this is birmingham, this is the west midland.
that's where we are geographically. why not before and why then? whited the quaker community suddenly realized there was a contradiction as an arms making quaker? did guns suddenly change in that moment? what happened as a result of the controversy? those are the questions i set out to answer. i'm going to share with you some of the answers i found. the answers i found, i think, revealed how difficult it was and still is, i think, to extricate oneself entirely from participating in warfare. regardless of one's principles pre-at war was and remains
integral to the working of industrial capitalist society. our challenge is to make sense of this phrase, which seems a paradox at first glance. either our understanding of the word quaker needs to change or our understanding of the word gun needs to change. let's start with the word guns. the first thing to keep in mind is 18th-century guns work from guns today. they were perishable and unreliable. this is a nicer pistol. his father's father-in-law made it. that's an early 18th-century arm. the bulk of the arms are these, this is the standard military arm from about the 1720's to the 1830's. it's more or less the same thing
bulk of the arms we are talking about are these. this is a standard military arm for british troops from about the 1720's to the 1830's. it's more or less the same thing and affectionately known as the brown vest. these are the kinds of objects i we are talking about. it's actually a very tall weapon. in private how were these banking 18th-century guns used? i'm happy to talk about the sources we used to arrive at these conclusions. the first thing we found was
you guns were not used in crimes of passion the 18th century. most murders took place in situations of huge arguments were brawls. will you here is one of the 18th century cartoons. and you probably it is what you whatever everything you ready what are likely are likely to snatch up and use in your moment your. of rage. duncan thierry dust documents. desktop in theory and demand -- violence was intimate. guns were not used by rioters. they were used to put down riot, but not for themselves. guns are more readily available in the latter half, and you don't see any change in these two findings. i think there's some thing going
on here that's cultural, and it's not whether or not guns are available. guns were being used in conflicts around property, both at home and abroad. the 18th century was the period of the rise of this idea, this principle and his regime of private property in england. i think guns were essential to that process. you see guns being used in situations of robbery, burglary, poaching, smuggling, and people defending their property against those kinds of threats. they were often waved around as instruments of intimidation. another cartoon of the highway men threatening a man of property. paradoxically understood this part of the simpler eyes and
process. and remember the highway men was known as the gentleman of the road. they are polite counter to the more intimately threatening instruments of violence that others held, tomahawks or sword or daggers or things like that. they allowed violence to be threatened and perpetrated personally from a distance. they can be used this way because they were so unreliable. if you'll indulge me, just to give you a sense of what would be the internal dialogue, monologue of somebody who is an 18th-century person. i'm going to pull this trigger that releases a mechanical step in the process. an result that could be anything from doing nothing to terrifying you and wounding you. all this meant that a firearm in the 18th century is a satisfactory weapon.
it was something to effective and wave around intimidation, like the loose cannon that staves off further conflict and closer engagement. they are a personal deterrent. at first glance, the invention of firearms seems to be quite pernicious. their invention saved the permanency and extension of civilization. thisu look at
advertisement from a bristol gun maker bristol is a support city closest to birmingham. you can see he's advertising he makes supplies with guns in store for the african west india and newfoundland trade. and then there's the image of the native who has taken up a musket. and a ship that bring civilization to the 18th-century believe and value. on the other side you have the typical -- that is what -- the arm to native is not a threatening figure here. that changes in the 19th century. purposes and new violence
related to property possible. even in warfare they were used as a terrorizing deterrence. must get killed but the rate of fire mattered more than accuracy. they were not aimed. students which--soldiers would load and fire in unison. he said firearms have revolutionized warfare with the noise and invisible desk to desk -- invisible death to which every man feels exposed. firing would strike the enemy at random, and it's often the bayonet charge that would decide the outcome of the battle. it understood as a threat to the regime or property ushered in in 1689. guns were also a currency, they were literally money in which
-- in a period in which cash was quite short and credit was very important. they were valued at home and abroad for their intrinsic contact -- intrinsic content. they were facilitators of trade. all of this meant in the 18th century, a quaker could own guns, even make guns without raising eyebrows. he should on them for hunting or agricultural purposes. like shooting and rodents and grows. in 1776 and american quaker visits the family at their country home. he describes the wonderful pleasant environment, and includes a description of a quotes.
there is nothing strange about that to him. no comment. that will change later. in the 18th century after the 1790's, a new kind of society made up of greater numbers of strangers and determined to defend property as a point of national pride. in this particular moment, they were not the weapon of the angry and the passionate. or the weapon of practiced highway men might illegally be used to threaten or snatch that property. all of this was changing in the 1790's. a quaker gun maker could tell himself he was making an object
that promoted civilization in a more polite form of violence. there was the cultural consensus on that. then things changed. gun start to earn a new reputation during the long wars the go from 1793 to 1815. this is a period of mass arming. this is when you get the british shift to effective games. --effective name byron bell gaza make the mass casualties possible, not because of their technical superiority but because of the impersonality in which they own -- they allow a
prompt to volunteer soldiers to dispense death. the advanced warfare free from independent's on emotional investment. in this new context they used different kinds of violence. guns begin to appear in reports of new kinds of untimely deaths in the city of gloucester in 1802. a newspaper reported a story about a 15-year-old discharged soldier who was waiting and threading to fire to intimidate them. standing on bristol bridge without getting any notice, he wantonly with the trigger and death through killed the man. almost a personal and casual violence with firearms that was unrelated to property. before this shift in the 1790's, the word gun in this phrase was more complicated than we might have thought at first glance. did he think he was a gun maker? that he made guns? he also made
a lot of other things. he made swords and bayonets and cutlasses. gunmakers in general in this period were also known as toymakers. birmingham is famous for its toys, small either functional or ornamental objects, like buckles and belts, buttons and rings and things like that. this man here, matthew bolton, who partnered with james watts and made the steam engine. he made everything from steam engines to coins and buttons. i think it's important think of him as in a similar mold. he's a gun maker, but he also deals with toys. he selling buckles and other things.
he also manufactures iron. he opens a bank, he's engaged in various kinds of transatlantic trade. he's a gun maker, but much much more as well. gun making was a very highly does -- highly divided industry. they were assembling parts of guns coming to him from other kinds of specialists, known by their trade. or polishers, or welders. -- orare known as filers polishers or welders. so he felt his controversial and to the manufacture of guns was merely incremental read this is something lots of people were involved in. those specialists were also filing and polishing and other gun parts. it's difficult to look back now and say who was making guns and who is not making guns. gunmakers were also drawing a larger network of people into
investment in their gun making business. so he bought a lot of brass. but his brass suppliers would which he used in the small parts of furniture. also buy guns from him and use him in the transatlantic trade in the slave trade. he also had also manchester and cotton manufactures, investing in his gun business. even getting sales for him. a lot of people were invested in making guns and profiting from the manufacturer guns. that's partly because the british state had an interest in keeping the industry as diffuse as possible. in the aftermath of the glorious revolution of 1689. that revolution ousted stewart king james the second.
and inaugurated a new constitutional monarchy under william and mary. the government was worried in the decades that followed about rebels inside the british isles who may want to overturn that settlement and go back to the ousted stewart kings and undo that revolution. those people who would be in favor of such a counterrevolution are known as jacobites. the country was worried a jacobite rebels. from their point of view, a very concentrated arms industry was more vulnerable to capture jacobite rebels. they had multiple centers for the kingdom. the government works actively to ensure there are multiple centers in arms production. as a counter to the pre-existing london gun manufacturing site. birmingham and london are dependent on materials and expertise that are coming from
other places like liverpool and bristol and the villages around birmingham and even further on. the government does various things to support the industry. even in peacetime, you find the office in charge of dealing with these firearm contracts, putting out contracts for firearms. it would also employ down and out out of work -- they would sell old decaying military arms back to gunmakers so they can use them in the african trade and elsewhere just to keep the trade healthy.
there are many ways we know the 40 government is supporting the gun industry. and it's very careful not to let with a in the individual gun maker become a favorite. the staff and the officer given clear instruction not to have any favorites, not to give any gun maker work when there wasn't really any need for work. the risk was one gun maker would then have to much power over the kingdom. instead, what the government did you was is to draw more and more draw more workers into the process of gun making. process of what you see happening is a kind of revolution you happening is a kind of revolution. start annual production was around tens of thousands at with around tens of thousands at most. the most. production was in the millions. pain that shift in magnitude production is not the result of was the introduction of machine manufacturer, it's the result of basically that all the
government driven expansion of the sheer number of people and result the government involved in gun making and all government driven government and experimentation you in the organization of the and the drink industry. even for me even birmingham -- even birmingham carpet makers . even birmingham carpet makers are making stocks for the guns. the specialist who makes -- it's fine and will and the most the -- makes the dunlop -- it's the most skilled trade and requires the most training. it doesn't become a bottleneck in the process. they also choose the musket design simple enough to mass produce by more people. they don't choose the best musket design, they choose the one that is most producible by a
number of people. -- they they employ employ inspectors to check uniformity and ease mass production. they force gunmakers to manufacture arms and collective factory style warehouses instead of in their separate workshops. so what you see is factory organization is growing out of a government led effort to increase productivity well before the era of machine manufacturers. and to create a third site as a check on these other two existing sites of a gun manufacturer with private contract. beyond making test beyond gun making, making something that was being used by the state for military purposes. if they weren't making some part of guns, they were making iron going into the guns. these are all families tied through marriage and this
relationship. the west midland industrial economy was built up on war related contracting. best business relationships. the west midland industrial economy was built up on war related contracting. thousands were manipulating metal into everything from buttons to pistol springs for the kings men. other industries were feeling more demand for things like copper sheets, paper, wheelbarrows, iron, compasses, pencils, medicines, food, bedding and so on and so forth. this whole network of industrials was supporting one another. gunmakers helped matthew bolton get his copper contract with the government and he in turn is helping them get contracts for firearms. he told the whole business and family network was involved in
war related contracting or finance. the end of the napoleonic war brought ruin to the iron industry. in short, it was the tip of an iceberg. the state was a bulk purchase that brought the bounty of mass demand that meet industrial and trade worth the enormous major they entailed, and made mass production of objects necessary and possible. maker is more complicated than it first may seem. everyone was a gun maker in some fashion and gunmakers were more than just guns. quakers were not supposed to be involved in the war. the evolved mechanisms ensure following that everyone was following that principle. that starts in the 1740's. 40four the central yearly i meeting, which was a london your leading of london meeting, they began to check in with
local branches around the country with a query about area and whether friends and work 80 those local branches eight more like were participating in warlike necessary participating in warlike activities. uighurs this has become were becoming more necessary and more important necessary because it was evident that quakers were becoming more and more invested in the economy at that point. greater many had become industrialist established as successful bankers, traders and related activity industrialists because of activities. and and they were tapping the quaker network quicker like you on their collective work networks. good credit liability networks. it was drawn to their collective reputation for good credit, really reputation for good credit, reliability and so on and so forth. they were strained from you principal not only out of the greed for profit, but out of a genuine sense of patriotism as well. you are in 1745 in the middle of you in 1745 in the middle of i the war of the austrian succession.
source his uncle joined in the golf will will galton's uncle joined in the suppression of that rebellion, actually joined the army. he wrote to his sister to explain why he had done this. he said he did this out of a sense of patriotic duty. in 1748, a prominent quaker in london wrote that he welcomed peace as a quaker, but as an english man he hoped war would be pursued until a more solid piece was secured. the community had become invested enough in the regime. the hold of its principal had started to loosen. the seven years war, also known as the french and indian war, at that point it became even harder for socially established quakers to stand aloof from war because it was so clearly becoming the
central and defining fact of 18th-century british life and national identity. so, financial stalwarts like the barclays were critical to fight those midcentury wars. now, people start to notice. at the end -- you are familiar with thomas payne from the american revolution. and his work, common sense. work, theref that is a letter he addresses to the quakers. he is pointing out to them, he is the son of an english quaker himself. he is speaking sort of as one of them and pointing out the evident hypocrisy of quakers in that moment. he says, the general tenor of your actions want uniformity. and he says that he refuses to credit their quote, pretended scruples, because we see them being made by the same men who in the very instant that they are exclaiming against the world are nevertheless hunting after
it with a step as steady as time and an appetite as keen as death. the sect was increasing its of policing, people were noticing inconsistencies in quaker behavior, but no one is saying anything about the galton business. right? this is 1776, the same year the american quaker visits galton and describes very admiringly the manufacturing of muskets. i think no one in 1776, though payne is pointing out quaker hypocrisy, the meeting was clearly concerned. i think guns themselves have still not become scandalous enough at that point for galton to attract any particular notice. that shift happens in 1790. how do we get there?
the american revolutionary war is the one where the british lose. that defeat really raises the moral stakes of everything for britain. the slave trade in particular starts look like a moral liability. quakers become central and critical to the launch of the movement to abolish the slave trade in the 1780's. excuse me. the role of guns in the slave trade and in the punishments used in plantations become part of its critique. earlier, the quaker sect had always emphasized the importance of staying separate and pure and aloof itself. not trying to reform the rest of society, just keeping their own hands clean. but, here you see a major break with tradition. now, they are taking of leadership of a political crusade on behalf of the entire nation. they want everyone to get out of the slave trade. galton's relative, david barclay, becomes a leader of this movement.
abolition is also partly about reviving the quaker sect because discipline is so clearly withering within the sect. it is about redemption within the sect, but also about british national redemption after this defeat at the hands of the american rebels. so the stakes are really high for the quakers who are leading the charge. ethical consistency among quakers on the national stage becomes really, really important in a new way, for tactical reasons as much as anything else. the central meeting group starts to assert its influence on local branches even more, deliberately trying to impose conformity and consistency. so, in 1790, they sent a letter to all the local branches and it reads like this. we have been publicly charged with some under our name fabricating or selling instruments of the war. and they call for an inquiry into this charge and say that anyone found to be involved with
a practice so inconsistent should be reclaimed and failing that, disowned. that is 1790. so, also at this point, a birmingham quaker start to complain about galton, not because of the role of guns in the war, but because of their role in the slave trade. again, it's the abolitionist movement. this birmingham quaker says the birmingham meeting should not accept the galton family's donation to enlarge the birmingham meetinghouse. still, besides that little murmur of criticism, nothing formal transpires in the birmingham meeting for another few years. it is only in 1795 that finally the birmingham meeting objects to the military purposes of galton's firearms and says he needs to stop making them, or he will be disowned. galton at that point was painfully aware that many of his
accusers were as invested in war as he was. so note the timing. this is just when guns were beginning to earn a new reputation as instruments of wonton violence. it is also precisely in 1795 that the quaker sect, the society of friends, explicitly proclaims itself against hunting and shooting as well. right? so, guns have become scandalous in a new way at exactly the moment when quakers are particularly concerned about scandal. so, that is why 1795 became the year of reckoning for galton junior. here we see that quakers were not always just quakers, they were also britains. once we understand the 18th-century culture of violence and patriotism, the political context of that time and emotive manufacture, there is less of a paradox in the phrase "quaker gun maker." but let us look at what galton
in the face of the threat of disownment when new understanding of guns and quaker obligations suddenly made the idea of a quaker gun maker paradoxical. he was a self-consciously modern man. besides a gun maker he was also a scientist, a fellow of the royal society, a member of the lunar society, which was a formal gathering of gentlemen. and he refused to comply with the sect's wish that abandon the gun trade, and instead he decided to reason with the society of friends. he did this with a text that he wrote and printed and circulated. it is his defense. he did this, he says in the text itself, that he is doing it for posterity. he is doing it for us. i think that is really important. i think that means he was in earnest.
right? he did not see this as a tactical or transparent rationalization. he intended later generations to consider his arguments seriously for the light they might shed on the real-life limits on living a life disconnected for more in his time. his first main argument was that everyone, including his fellow quakers, participated in war, and that his own role was merely incremental. there was some truth in this, as we have seen. he argued that production of commodities was so complex that it was impossible to assign moral responsibility. he writes in this text, quote, did the farmer who sowed barley, the brewer who makes the beverage, the merchant who imports rum, or the distiller who makes spirits responsible for the disease, vice and misery which might ensue from their abuse? galton perceived economic actors
so tied to the state that they collectively formed the kind of military industrial society. the extreme division of labor with each gun passing through hundreds of highly skilled hands before it was complete, and the intermittent nature of manufacturers' relationship with the statement it difficult for galton to complete any -- as for as he could see, anyone who was anyone in society was in some way complicit in the production of war material or financing. one of the friends who was appointed to visit him as part of this reclamation process was an old friend and relation of galton. he himself was the psion of a family who along supplied iron for the galton gun manufacturing. you can imagine how awkward that conversation would have been between them. from galton's point of view, --
the gun was it collectively and socially produced object. -- a collectively and socially produced object. one lesson here is to think about the industrial revolution differently. to think about the extent to which it really depended on war and government demand for war material. galton lamented to his judges in this document, quote, the practice of your principles is not compatible with the situation in which providence has placed us. he saw himself as part of a wider military industrial society in which there was little if any political economic space outside the war machine. the other main strand in his defense, was that guns were not instruments of violence, but tools of a civilization based on society like doorknobs. in this, he invoked the 18th-century understanding of guns as deterrence to more horrific and unruly forms of violence, and as instruments for the entirely justified defense of property. and we know that up to that moment in which he was writing,
that was how guns were understood. but that view was just becoming out of date in that moment and quakers in particular had begun to see guns as unequivocally violent. galton's argument was an early articulation of the way in which the division of labor which characterizes modern industrial production tends to alienate the manufacturer from his product and release him from any sense of responsibility for what it is or for the uses to which it might be put. it is this alienation that made possible the mass production necessary for the mass violence of modern warfare. paradoxically then, at this very moment in which lethal mechanical violence came to pervade modern existence, it became invisible to those most responsible for its spread. galton argued that by singling him out and singling gun making out, the quaker society was
denying quaker participation in an economic system based on war. he lost the debate in this moment. the yearly meeting read this document. they were not persuaded by his arguments, and the disarmament process proceeded. but, galton was a stubborn man, too. so, he completely ignored the disownment process and he continued to attend of a worship anyway in birmingham and participated in many birmingham meetings, philanthropic activities. his donations continued to be accepted as well. i think this says something about his standing in birmingham and the birmingham meeting. also, it may even hint at the fact that perhaps some of the other birmingham quakers thought there was some merit in his arguments, even if london quakers in the yearly meetings did not feel persuaded. meanwhile, at precisely this moment at the turn-of-the-century, galton's gun profits truly skyrocketed. he passed it on to his son.
samuel galton jr.'s money remained invested in the partnership. he was not divesting from the gun business at all. in 1804, the family also launches a bank. they do this in partnership with joseph gibbons, who was another of the three men appointed in that reclamation process. joseph gibbons is a quaker and he has no problem partnering with the galtons and starting a bank knowing that the capital going into the bank is made up of profits from gun sales. right? samuel tertius is a gun contractor and a banker. 1815 is one of gun business is finally wound up. the closure of the gun business is really the result of the collapse of state demand for guns at the end of the napoleonic wars that year. by then, samuel galton left the
quaker fold because he married outside the quaker community. he married the daughter of erasmus darwin. their son was francis galton, the father of eugenics. so, that is an interesting from a history that goes on from there. in 1831, the galton bank is merged with what becomes the beginning of midland bank, which was around until the 1990's and then merged with hsbc. so, it is still with us. when galton jr., his father died in 1832 and he was worth 300,000 pounds. how do we conclude? i think we can read galton junior's failure to persuade the yearly meeting in 1796 as a key moment in which war driven industrial capitalism was normalized by his critics' -- by
particular scandals like slavery or the arms trade. by insisting on the particular pernicious this of his trade and evading the questions he was trying to raise about collective societal complicity, the quaker society of friends became blind to the reality that the modern industrial life emerging around them really was founded on militarism. that midland bank, or hsbc, was founded in some proportion on the wealth of the gun trade in this period, i think is an interesting but somewhat trivial finding. more provocative is that so too were the fortunes went into the banks of galton's relatives, both banks that are still with us now. those families in oblique ways were also involved in galton's gun business, either as ironmongers or bankers financing the business or its merchants helping guns reach different corners of the world.
in 1795, the scandal was galton's arms manufacturing, not the midland economy's general dependence on government contracts. by criticizing gun manufacturer alone, the society of friends avoided criticizing war and conquest. and this has remained our way of dealing critically with capitalism. we tend to focus on the problem of particular bad commodities, bad goods like drugs and slaves and arms. things that seem to implicate only a few. of course, in the 19th century, marx reopened up the question of systemic wrong once again. and of course henry david thoreau does that as well with his advocacy of taxing. in our time, the targeted tactic of consumer boycott has endured much better than any kind of systemic critique that might require much more revolutionary change and action. and i think that is testimony to the success of industrial capitalism's motive self
critique and normalization. i tried to resurrect the critique of industrial capitalist warfare not so much to exonerate or vindicate him, but to implicate us and to get us to think more about our own kind of systemic participation in these kinds of things. in the 18th century, military industrial society that galton described, laid the origins of britain's emergence as a global superpower, and a cautionary tale about the place of violence in modern industrial and commercial life. where it was so central and yet so hidden, that even the sincere quaker could easily participate in its propagation while maintaining a truly clear conscience. thank you very much for listening, and i'm looking very much forward to your comments, questions, thoughts. [applause]
mr. arnesen: thank you so much for that talk. i think we have a lot to discuss this afternoon. just a few ground rules. if you would wait to be called upon, wait until the microphone reaches you, please use the microphone and identify yourself before asking your question or making your comment. i have many questions of my own -- but we will see if someone else wants to start us off. yes, right here. and the microphone is coming. >> thank you. i'm trevor jackson, an assistant professor of history at george washington university. you are next to my boss, so i will try not to embarrass myself. thank you for that. the book is great. that was a great talk. i'm a great fan of your work. so, i am used to thinking about that kind of transition from unpredictability to responsibility that comes with the mechanization of production, industrialization, and the way that industrialization removes natural variation from a
calculus of human responsibility. in the sense that if my horse and buggy is late, it is not my fault. it could be the road or the weather. it is hard to describe a personal responsibility to that. whereas, anytime my metro train is late -- right. i think it is somebody's fault. it seems like in some ways you are describing a similar story. but different in that the cultural change is not a result of mechanization. that the mechanization comes to the gun industry relatively late and that instead it is something else, like something about the excess of the violence maybe that is provoking this. is that how i should think about this, or should i think about it in a different way? prof. satia: i had not thought about that before. no one had ever asked me that. in the case of the gun industry, you have to separate
mechanization of the process from maybe rationalization of the process. so, i definitely think there is greater effort to rationalize the process, to make it more predictable, because the state's needs are very specific and they need to know whether they can meet them or not and they need to have a sense of control the process. it cannot just be left up to the mood of the artisan. you now? their leisure needs, and so on. so, there is definitely an effort driven by the state to make the production process more rational and predictable. but it is not mechanized. there is not an introduction of machinery except in barrel manufacturing very late in the century. it is interesting that those things do not come together in this case, but i still think that there is a revolution in the industry despite the lack of introduction in machine manufacturing. have i answered your question? there was something about violence that i am not sure i got to.
>> [inaudible] prof. satia: right. right. yeah, this is the age of contract and promises mean a lot more. the abolition movement is coming out of the same cultural space. right? this sense of your actions here can have very distant effects three to four steps down the line because of the way the market connects people. so yeah, i think culturally, the fact that he is being held accountable in a new way is part of the cultural moment for sure, in the same sense that the abolition movement is trying to hold people accountable in a new way. but i think the image of guns had to really shift for him to be held accountable for anything, and i think the presence of quakers in the abolition movement made it very important for them to kind of
demand accountability from everyone in a more intense way at that point. they were letting things go a lot before. i mean, there was always -- the possibility of disownment was always there, so people were being held accountable and this is on a different scale and targeting someone who was very prominent in the quaker world. that is a great question. mr. arnesen: let's start in the back and we can move our way forward. >> i'm a retired engineer. it is my impression that gunmakers in england at that time were often private. cannon makers were all royal arsenals. is that incorrect? when you had private shipyards, the bulk of naval warships were built in royal yards. what is that distinction?
prof. satia: thank you for asking that. one of the things i'm trying to do with this book is to push back against this language of public-private. it is very difficult to pin those words down in the 18th century. and i think we have those words now, and a sense of what those two bases should be because of people -- because of a reaction against what was going on in the 18th century. so, these firearms manufacturers, we can look back and sort of see them as private contractors, but at the same time, in many cases, some of them would often also have some sort of official role within the office of ordinance. it is very hard to draw a clear line between them. so, for instance, the london gun are organized into a chartered company.
it is a corporation. it is kind of like a company or something. so, they are a partner with the other things that make up the states, like the monarchy, like the treasury, the navy and so on and so forth. and the warden of the company of gunmakers also has a position within the office of ordinance. so, is he inside or outside the state? it is very hard to say. right? is the east india company a company or is it part of the state? it is both. a lot of these things are neither fish nor foul. this starts to look like, in the 1760's and 1780's, people start criticizing this and it is called corruption, in a new way. right? the idea is it should not be like this and we need to have a clean line between these two things and government should not be mixed up in economy, and those are separate things.
but that distinction is something we make, and we make more and more real in the 19th century. but in this period, they are kind of indistinguishable, there is so much overlap. so yeah, the naval yards are kind of the first factories, you could say, in england. but there are times in which the navy is also drawing on private shipyards. it depends on the need. they need to have that capacity to be able to draw on seemingly private units during a time of war, when they needs exceed the government's capacity. but the way employees in naval dockyards work with people in the so-called -- i mean, it becomes very blurry, very quickly. we think of galton as an entrepreneur, but he is also a government contractor.
he supplies the copper currency of the realm, like a mint. that is very much considered a government function. so, there are many figures who are very hard to pin down that way. i hope that makes sense, that it is kind of blurry. >> [inaudible] prof. satia: yeah, the royal arsenals are interesting. there are, of course, cannon manufacturers there, but john wilkinson is a contractor manufacturing them what the government is working with them. they had limitations. he complies with that, even though why should he, he is not a government employee. there's many ways in which there's overlap, back and forth. some of the same people are in both realms, and people start to get very disturbed by this, especially after the defeat -- when it looks like there is a certain set of people who were making a lot of money, even know there is a defeat.
that is the whole critique of capital o, capital c -- corruption. mr. arnesen: right here. >> thank you. i would imagine that a majority of the guns were manufactured under contract to the government for the military purposes. but there were also guns manufactured for private use for hunting, for duels, for whatever else. i was wondering how much production was actually done on spec with the intention of perhaps selling it to somebody as opposed to produce under contract. and, did the quakers make any distinction between military weapons and guns produced for private use? prof. satia: another great question. yeah, from what i can gather, gunmakers really preferred having contracts, because there was a sense of security that what we make will be used. because these guns were so
perishable. they were prone to rust and rot, worms, all kinds of things. they did not last very long. it is not like if they made them and no one bought them they could just warehouse them and sell them a year later. they would go bad in that much time. so, they really liked the security of having a contract. that said, they had certain other outlets, thanks largely to the support of the government. when they would make guns -- and sometimes they were anticipating contracts, like during wartime they would keep making them and the office of ordinance was sometimes slow and contracts but they would continue their work anticipating, and suddenly the war would end and they would have 5000 guns, what are the we going to do, and sometimes they would buy them anyway or they would say you can sell those in the african trade or the east india company. they would swoop in and save the day many times.
so, the british government is doing things to make sure that the gun makers have other kinds of customers out there. but, guns for domestic use, like for people who wanted to do hunting and shooting, relatively it is a small number, i think. gun ownership rates are very low in england in this period, and virtually nil in scotland and ireland. the controls are very tight because those are colonized areas, where the idea of rebellion is quite alive. mr. arnesen: yes, right here. >> i am a consumer of economic history. my impression was that this
massive expansion of capitalism came through but western -- came through by christianity -- i apologize. my reading is there was a massive expansion of western christianity beginning with the conquest of america. it started with the portuguese. and this created a huge demand for guns. that was created by demand for wars in europe. how did this affect the development of the gun industry, not only england, but also in france and germany? secondly, the quakers are a very unusual group. they are extraordinarily innovative. in that particular period in england, the period you mentioned, they were critical throughout the british economy. even the imperial trade. what is the linkage between quakers and capitalism? mr. arnesen: a small question.
[laughter] prof. satia: the first question i believe you are referring to european arms sales in north america? during the period of the spanish? >> [inaudible] prof. satia: yes, for sure. arms are a big part of that. they are a big part of trade, settlers buy them, native a americans buy them. it is another one of those outlets they can have to sell their guns. lots of european countries are doing it. sometimes, an official will say, maybe we are not wise in selling firearms to certain native american nations. right? and then if we do not do it, they will buy be from the french
and we will lose prestige, lose diplomatic edge, lose profit, we will not know what arms they are using, all kinds of other disadvantages will accrue. so in the end, they would always reason their way back into willingly selling arms to pretty much anyone in the 18th century. that changes in the 19th century. yeah, there is more concern about colonial subjects having firearms in the 19th century and there is more care to pass very racialized laws on gun ownership in many of the colonies. quakers and capitalism, yes, for sure. i mean, they are an instance of a network group that even though it is a minority group, a persecuted group, they do not -- you know, they are barred from political and civil rights, yet
they are so important to the way british power evolves, and to the way that british industry and capitalism evolve in this period. i think it is something about the way a network like that can function. because they are shut out from so many other institutions, they have to become an institution in themselves. right? and so, the effects within that network are really powerful, and they have a reputation that becomes very attractive to outsiders. yes, i was going to say yes, you can think of armenian networks, jewish networks, i mean, there are lots of these sort of geographically dispersed -- because the quaker network is a transatlantic one. right?
they are very important in the creation of global trade networks. the way credit and reputation work. >> [inaudible] mr. arnesen: could you wait for the microphone? it's right there. people need to hear it. >> most likely you heard what was said about the quakers. they came to the united states to do good and they did very well. [laughter] mr. arnesen: i'm going to take this opportunity to get in a question or two of my own. what was not clear to me in the book or the presentation was the level of intensity of this belief on the part of quakers on the evil of gun manufacturing, or the degree of passion that they brought to this issue. yes, they charged galton, he had to respond. but, it seems that they accept him. he still attends meetings, maybe he can't participate to the same
degree. people are happy to accept his philanthropic contributions in the decades to come. abolition is a different issue that seems to have a greater intensity attached to it. and so, i wonder about the degree to which they took this as seriously as abolitionism. and then a related question has to do with the divergent fate of both pacifism and abolitionism. abolitionism or anti-slavery has a slightly longer history and goes back many decades and quakers have been dealing with this issue for longer. and it becomes a movement that attracts not just quakers, but other evangelical christians and eventually others beyond that group. and it transforms a very long-standing institution by first affecting the abolitionist slave trade and then eventually the institution of slavery itself. pacifism does not go very far. it stays more or less constrained within the ranks of
quakers, and does not gain the same degree of attractiveness as a social movement as does abolition. i was wondering if you could reflect on the divergent fates of those two movements as well. prof. satia: what a great question. and they are related. they are analogous. it is interesting to think why they sort of -- they get after galton for a few years and then they let it pass, give him a pass. whereas they do not let go on the abolitionist issue. that is interesting. and i am wondering if there was more of a sense of a recipe to be effective, to borrow thomas haskell's language, to be effective in abolishing the slave trade in the way that it would be much more difficult to try and be effective in abolishing the arms trade at that point.
so, maybe there was some kind of element of realism there. maybe there was some equivocation on the case against arms in the way that galton had expressed in his defense. and maybe there was a sense that quaker participation in the slave trade was more widespread, more noticeable, more objectionable than the number of quakers who were actually making arms. of course, many quakers were involved in war-related things, but in terms of arms, galton was kind of himself. kind of a singular problem. once you take care of him, there are no more quaker gunmakers. this was somehow less of a concern than with the slave trade, but that is a really good question. i am not sure i have a fully
satisfactory answer. thank you. mr. arnesen: in the far back, then we will come to the front. all right. >> hi. tim stevens from gloucestershire. the thing that intrigues me in addition to the singularity of galton, was he technologically superior to any of the other arms makers? and in asking that, how big a component of his wealth was slavery? to the extent that giving up one part of his wealth and replacing it with another, perhaps more important to the overall quaker mission. prof. satia: yeah, he was very concerned with the quality of his arms. so, it is notorious that the british would dump bad arms where the barrels had not been proofed in west africa as part
of the slave trade. but, in the galton correspondence, it is pretty clear that this particular firm, they were quite concerned with maintaining the reputation for quality, even in the arms that they sold in west africa. it's pretty clear that from the state's point of view, galton -- i mean, by the 1770's, by the time of the revolutionary war, there was a clearly identifiable group of go to firearms makers. for the office of ordinance. before that, there was sort of lots of people then they disappear. then, there is a set group by the 1770's, a kind of establishment. in the office minutes and correspondence about them, they are often referred to as galton and the contractors.
so, he is sort of first among equals, in a sense. i think that also says something about his reputation. and often, when something new was being made, like the ferguson rifle, the first contracts would go to galton. so, that is something technically challenging and they would entrust that to him. i have seen that as well. but there are also moments to come up in the book where galton is having trouble getting some of his guns passed by the government inspector and he does not know how he is supposed to appease this man who seems to be sort of failing his guns for arbitrary reasons. so, i am not sure how consistent his work always was. and the same controls applied to him that applied to the work of other contractors, these government inspectors. but, he certainly was relied on very much. the question about the proportion of his wealth that
came from sales in the slave trade as opposed to government, yeah, it is a really interesting and difficult question because there is no way to answer it with quantifiable, quantitative data. yeah? but my sense, my impression from the correspondence is that they did like having the slave trade outlet for times during which government contracts dried up, but they much preferred having government contracts on the whole. the profit margins were low across-the-board, were it for the slave trade or government contracts. but they had the sense there was little opportunity to appeal or an press for more of a margin with the government than there was in the slave trade. and also, that slave traders and merchants could and did go bankrupt, and they could just never get paid. whereas when the government would run short of cash, it would still pay in debt ventures
and other ways and its credit was good. the government cannot walk out on you. it will at some point get back to you in some way. you do not have the risk of incurring as much of a loss in those deals as you would in the slave trade. when the abolition movement was really gathering steam and there was the sense they were about to lose that outlet, that happened during the napoleonic wars. and while galton is supporting his daughters who are sugar boycotters and abolitionists, he is at the same time signing a petition saying that maybe the solution is not to abolish the slave trade, but to fix the slave trade and regulate it and make it more humane. he is trying to find his way through this kind of moral minefield, but he does sign that petition, and other gunmakers to have interviews with the board of trade where they are saying we are really worried what will happen when abolition happens.
we are going to suffer as gunmakers. this is really important to an industry that is very important to the nation's security. they put it that way. what the government does in 1807, the year of abolition, during the napoleonic wars, they say whatever guns you are going to sell in the slave trade this year, because those were allowed even during wartime, because the guns were so bad they were not considered arms, we will buy them as sort of an inferior gun for militia and marines. and the government bought up those guns. by the end of the war, the inby the end of the war, the galtons pull out of this and other gunmakers continue to sell guns in west africa in exchange -- it takes a long time to actually abolish the slave trade, so sometimes for slaves but other goods coming out of west africa. like palm oil and stuff like that. so, the trade in arms in west africa goes on for the rest of the 19th century. sorry, that was a very long answer.
sorry. >> hi. i am grace. towards the end of your lecture, you talk about how the quakers focused on the specific gun trade as opposed to larger societal or warfare concerns. and, you spoke about applying that to the present day. could you elaborate a little bit more on how that applies? prof. satia: i mean, we sort of have with us an echo of what the quakers were saying, this idea of arms makers are the merchants of death. they are the villains of capitalism. right? but there are moments in which we realize, well, actually, many of us are also more complicated or complicit in what they are doing than we would like to think. arms manufacturers provide a lot of jobs, a lot of work for
advertising firms and media companies and law firms and insurance companies, legal companies and so on and so forth. many of us own stocks directly or indirectly in those companies. i mean, we have been facing this with our own epidemic of shootings and groups like the california retired teachers, the pension fund trying to divest funds. manufacturers of ar-15 -- it is very difficult to do. because of the way that everything is financially intertwined. so i think that is what i was referring to. it is easy to demonize arms makers, and of course, it is a degree of responsibility there that is different and extreme, but that does not mean that everyone else's hands are clean. i think we need to recognize how much of our economy in different ways continues to depend on
war-related production. and you know, in the cold war, we called it the military-industrial complex, but that still implies something quite concentrated. a complex. i think it could be wider than a complex, more diffuse than that. where i come from in silicon valley, it is just like the way people talk about the industrial revolution in britain. this genius, and entrepreneurship and innovation and no role for government, but there is such a big pentagon government footprint in silicon valley, the contracts all those companies have. so, i think we need to be much more alive to that and conscious and of that. within google, there are debates right now about that, because they have made that don't be evil commitment, just like the quakers have a certain ethical pressure because of the culture. mr. arnesen: here. >> hi.
i teach at maryland. i wanted to ask you to reflect a little bit on the relationship between telling the story of the industrial revolution through guns and telling it through cotton. because it struck me, actually, the mention of samuel smiles in the introduction. that brief mention. i was thinking from smiles to marx, to the latest wave of revisionism, and all these people, we are so often tied to cotton when we tell the story of the industrial revolution. whether it is a triumph story of genius, entrepreneurs who do it by themselves, or whether we are telling the structural, global story where india is key, not britain. whatever stories we tell.
so, what is your take on what cotton does to that story? >> on what kind does to that story? interesting. i think it is still there. in the book, there are moments in which i draw a few connections between key events in in the story of the revolution of the cotton industry are coming out of this milieu. certain machines being made by cotton manufacturers are made by people rooted in this birmingham and arms contracting world. there are connections between these worlds. but, i do not think that acknowledging the role of military contracting and driving the midland industrial revolution necessarily means
that we no longer have that other story of lancaster and cotton. i just think that we need to be aware when we're talking about lancaster and cotton that, one, there are these connections of what is going on the midlands, and two, the sam becker story of how much of the cotton revolution is related to the story of war and conquest and getting the raw materials necessary, getting and finding the markets where you can sell these things, which is what the birmingham industrial revolution is also related to. right? so, there is no peaceful story of industrialism anymore. whether it is cotton or guns. becker, i think, was very strong on showing us how the cotton story relates to the story of war and conquest. i guess what i am seeing is these wars drove another kind of industrial revolution very close
to lancaster. there are different regional stories. the industrial revolution is a highly regional story. and i think they were out of sync with one another. metallurgy was always a stepchild. is not as sexy. right? there are not beautiful prints. you know? it does not have that consumer in a -- we cannot fetishize that commodity as much as we do in cotton, except for firearms. right? that is one kind of military commodity that is mass-produced in that way that has the same kind of aura around it maybe. so, i think it is useful to think with that to get out the wider picture of how how warm metallurgical industrial change is. does that make sense? yeah? ok.
mr. arnesen: i will get another question in, that in part plays off of the previous question. there is a lot in this book that you could not touch upon today. have you given, or can you imagine giving a talk that does not involve this story at all, about galton, but involves the elaboration of the industrial revolution story as you are trying to tell it? and so, the implication of the state in early gun manufacturing. the role that war and british government contracts played in driving early industrial capitalism. would i be correct in guessing you have given talks like that based on the book, or could you do so? prof. satia: yeah, i have done that. i have done that -- maybe two or three years ago i was doing that talk.
i like hanging it on galton because that is how i got into it. and the other issue is that for economic historians, quantitative data is just the thing that is going to seal the debate. right? we are never going to seal this debate because we're never going to have that data. i think what is really helpful with a figure like galton is that he is giving us a subjective point of view that is hard to dismiss. and he is not the only one that is saying that in this period. there are other people situated close to him, like in the same midlands area, who are saying things like, oh, war is really good for business. you know? and i think it is worth taking their observations seriously. and they may not apply, it may not be true for every business in every region, but i think that we need to hear what they
are saying rather than just engage in a sort of futile search for finding the figures. they are never going to exist to give us the proportion of economic growth that was due to war versus the proportion that was genius unbound, or whatever you want to call it. i think that is the wrong way of trying to answer it. war is the context in which all of this change happens. and he is so aware of that -- not him, his dad. he is so aware of it. that is why i like to talk about him. you could tell a straight up story about how wardrobe economic peace. and then in the farm industry this happened, and in the wool industry this happened, and i think that can just pile up and smell. [laughter] mr. arnesen: we have a last question right here.
the microphone is coming. >> it's very simple. i just wanted to ask since you have been making a critique of capitalism, do you believe that non-capitalist societies are the ones where the spirit of quakerism is most likely to bloom? prof. satia: what do you mean by that? the quaker spirit? >> the quaker spirit of pacifism. you are suggesting that capitalism, essentially -- prof. satia: industrial capitalism. >> ok. prof. satia: depends on war. and you are saying can i imagine a world that is more specific? a particular society?
>> you talked about marx. there have been attempts to get away from capitalism. we have seen them. my question is, do you think they have been more successful? prof. satia: like the soviet union? no. >> well, take your pick. prof. satia: hmm. in i mean, yeah, i guess you could think of the scandinavian countries as a way out. i do not know enough, though -- i am wary of picking out a particular society in the world today. yeah, i do not see it. because even with sweden, the arms manufacturers, they sell here. right? so, it is very difficult -- i mean, part of this story is that it is a global story.
so, i do not think you can think of a society in isolation which has peace within because maybe it is a mess everywhere else. most of the world has tight controls on gun ownership and much more relative peace and much more gun violence, but that is because we're kind of subsidizing that violence. our violence subsidizes their peace, because all of their gun manufacturers consult to us and we own half the guns that exist in the world, american civilians. their peace depends on our violence. i do not think it is possible to think of a society in isolation that way, not in our world that we have that we have inherited and is so interconnected. that is just off the top of my head. good question. i don't know if it is a fair question, but it is a good question. [laughter] mr. arnesen: on that note i unfortunately have to draw this to a close.
but, i will remind you that next monday the 29th, daniel bestner him and will be speaking on his book, "democracy in exile." there is a reception in the room next door so please day and join us for that. i would like to thank you, our participants in the seminar, and thank you, priya satia. prof. satia: thank you so much for your questions. [applause] >> the richard dean story does not end there. november, he was forced out of his office when the government shutdown. and the second time the government shutdown, he continued helping social recipients but he
was working without pay. on behalf of richard dean and all the other people who are out there working every day and doing a good job for the american people, i challenge all of you in this chamber, never, let's never, ever shut the federal government down again. ,> tonight at 8:00 eastern stonehill college professor peter on how the state of the union has changed since the time of george washington. >> clinton scored here. he scored politically. theso we start to see that address,-- u the smaller. it is designed to -- it is designed for party leadership.
do not avoiddents the opportunity to use the address to try to score political points. we are way far away from that formal, succinct address that george washington would have given or many of his successes. >> this weekend on american history tv. on c-span3. war,e on the civil historian, john talks about the memories desmond morris of the yulia cities -- ulysses s. grant symposium. that is whatcause people were interested in? is it because the wars, he did not want to talk to the presidency? what is that about? >> the answer is yes. [laughter] >> ok. actually, what grant came to
realize, he came to realize that people wanted to read about what he did in that war. they could not have cared less about his presidency. interestingly enough. granty the same token, is the only president in american history from andrew jackson to woodrow wilson, nobody else serves two terms. except for ulysses s. grant. historians consider him the first of the modern presidents. he did a lot of things, particularly in foreign policy that were not done until grants came along. president.like being the only reason he said he was president because -- was because he was worried if somebody else was elected, they would lose the effect of the war.
>> you can watch the entire program on the memoirs of lewdness is -- ulysses s. grant tonight. presidency, richard moss talks about how presidents have used covert means to conduct since the diplomacy. mr. moss is the author of nixon's back channel to moscow. johnson and nixon as well as a 1968t overture, the candidate hubert humphrey, which he declined. the gerald r. ford presidential library hosted this one our 15 minute event. there out to tonight's engagement. we are honored to have richard maas here to speak about his new "nixon's back channel to