tv Albert Gallatin and the Treaty of Ghent CSPAN October 11, 2015 11:00am-12:01pm EDT
individual stories from the dust will migration and any migration --dust bowl migration and any migration, especially migration that is forced. people do not want to leave their land and their property, but they had no choice. i think some of the history of in which people want theirassion stories to be told. >> find out where c-span city tour is going next online. you are watching american history tv all weekend, every weekend, on c-span3.
>> albert gallatin was treasury secretary and a member of the commission that because she did the treaty of ghent. this talk was hosted by the u.s. capital historical society and is about one hour. >> thank you ladies and gentlemen. i have to ask who is this person that montoya was referring to, wunderkind? i would like to thank my hosts for this afternoon.
it is a great pleasure to be among my fellow citizens and be able to discuss at some length what happened in ghent, and to address a few other matters which are of interest to us at this particular time, which is the recent application of napoleonic and the possibilities being discussed, the removal of the capital from the current location to another. i will save those for the end of our discussion. as you know or may not know, i was a relatively young man when i came to the treasury. i was 40 years old. now i am 54 years old. as you can see there has been some change in my appearance in that time. some would say it is the responsibilities. i would simply prefer to think of it as the passage of time. what i should begin with today is what it was that first
brought us to war and then what happened subsequent to that which led us to negotiating with the english in ghent, and the signing of the treaty on christmas eve. you may recall that the wars in europe began shortly after the beginning of the french revolution. it evolved into a world war between england and her allies and france and her allies. england, as the mistress of the seas, wished as much as possible to man her ships. but not only was a she impress
his sailors from the merchant vessel, she was doing it in one specific instance from the uss chesapeake. it is the first time that a belligerent on one side should claim a right of impressment of any sailor from a neutral. this is a matter of considerable concern to mr. jefferson. it was this that led to the embargo, which i had the responsibility of ensuring its enforcement. the decision was rather than go to war with england and/or france, we would simply refuse our trade with both of them until one of them should come to its senses and should eliminate the orders and councils or the various decrees.
it became clear that the efforts for economic pressure on france and england was not to work. we were hurting ourselves more than we were hurting england and rants. -- and france. so there were the subsequent attempts and a number of other actions. none of which were effective in the end. and so it became quite clear to the administration of mr. madison that matters were tending to war. -- were trending to war. there were certain people in the northern part of our nation who disagreed with this, because they had been profiting from their intercourse with england, in a mercantile sense.
it was a matter of considerable debate, until finally in june of 1812 mr. madison says -- mr. madison sends a war message to the congress to debate and to decide upon the declaration of war. they did this, and you will forgive me if i refer to my notes. i would rather be condemned for a poor memory than inaccuracy. the issues for a declaration of war was the principal matter. our commerce being harassed, entering and leaving our ports, mostly by england. by this point the french navy had been swept from the seas. of the was -- it was a matter of pretended blockades, saying we had blockaded your ports, but not having more than one ship standing off the roads from whatever port it was they be blockading.lacating.
a blockade, in order to be understood as such, best a blockade, in order to be understood as such, -- a blockade, in order to be understood as such -- it is ships that are visible and can prevent the majority of ships from entering the port. and finally the council. the orders in council had already, it made -- in mid june of 1812, and no longer apply. because of the length of time it took for any message to come
from europe, we had no knowledge of this. the first year of our war was a land and a glory at sea. i must admit to you as someone who frequently thought -- frequently fought to have the navy reduce its size, it was a difficulty on my part to admit the navy had done extremely well. in point of plain fact, our frigates were very well handled, well commanded, and as a consequence they got the country glory.
many of its senior officers were superannuated. they served honorably in the revolution. however, for the more -- for the most part they had no idea how to conduct a war. it is entirely possible the general might have found himself being executed for competence. the court-martial results were overturned in he pardoned him. he no longer had concern himself with finding himself with a stretched neck.
in the first year of war it was not a particularly encouraging state of affairs for the administration. on the other hand from the beginning president madison made it clear he wished to take advantage of all opportunities to return to a peaceful state, to the extent that two weeks after war was declared he spoke and made it clear that we would entertain whatever discussion england wished to initiate in the interest of returning to peace. of course this did not move quickly across the ocean. the russians came to president madison and secretary munro and proposed that a russia mediates between the united states and england.
why would a russia be interested in acting as a mediator between russia and england? in the first instance russia was a neutral. she understood our difficulties as a neutral nation involved in trade. her trade has been damaged by english depredations on neutral nations trading with other nations, not under england's control.
russia had become an ally of england, prussia, and austria in an attempt to bring napoleon to heal in central europe. it was in russia's interest to be sure england would focus exclusively on what was happening to central europe, as opposed to this war, which was wholly unnecessary and that certainly was damaging to the prosecution against napoleon. in march of 1813, he offered to act as a mediator. even though we did not have an answer from the english at that time, president madison felt it was important enough to act and to act promptly. and so he agreed to this. he named a commission which consisted of john quincy adams,
son of the second chief magistrate, and probably the most experienced diploma cysts we had -- diplomatists we had at the time. his service had been noted by us in a number of instances. i regret to say that now we must refer to him as the late senator, as i understand he passed several days after he returned from europe and not so long ago. i asked for your kind thoughts in this regard. receiving -- in the meantime.
we should be allowed to continue on our way. we were presented -- the minister of foreign affairs for the imperial court. unfortunately his imperial majesty was not in st. petersburg. he was already in his army to confront napoleon with the allies of his coalition. however long it may be. nothing occurred until november of 1813.
two pieces of news came to us. the first was i had been -- i have not been confirmed to be a member of this commission by the senate. i believe my friends, in particular samuel smith among others and thus i was not officially a member of the commission. i was a private citizen. the counselor assured me i was to be treated as though i were a member of this commission i said no. i will re-embark for home and stop in london along the way.
the second piece of news, which we risk -- the second piece of news which we received was england refused to russia's mediation. i found out later from esther alexander behring, who is a banker in london and a very good friend of mine, was that the ministry felt that this was a family quarrel. and that it should not be in the hands of anyone else to do this. england sees us as a rebellious daughter, who by various means of enticement and whippings will be back to her arms of england. and so i left in one of the worst winters in many years. it took us 38 days to go from st. petersburg to amsterdam.
in amsterdam i went to london, had discussions with mr. behring and other individuals who had some notion of what it was that would be the ministry's position so i could report what it was that england would be looking for in a direct negotiation. i was then informed there was a second commission which had been formed, and this would consist of myself and mr. quincy adams and included mr. henry clay, who was speaker of the house. a very interesting group of people, you must admit.
there is a story i can tell you about the nature of the negotiations. mr. quincy adams was known for his discipline, that he would rise early in the morning and begin his devotions and his correspondence. it was usually the time mr. clay would roll in from some party he had been involved with. mr. quincy adams was not frequently very happy about this. they moved to the question of actually sitting down with the english.
in june of 1814, after a proposal to meet either in london or in sweden, we count the proposal again and they agree. it was convenient for the english ministry to find her representatives as well as it was for us to be there. england was hoping for some positive results in various activities. it wasn't until august 8 that dr. adams and mr. -- presented themselves to us and the negotiations began. what was it the english wished to see happen as a result of these negotiations?
that of which the treaty would not be considered, to establish an indian barrier state north of the line of the treaty of greenville, which was just slightly north of the ohio river. in essence it would bar our settlers from grow -- from going into what had been our territory. furthermore, the various tribes that adhered either to the united states or to england would be the responsibility of each of those respective nations and negotiations would be under the responsibility of those various nations.
the second matter was to end the fishing rights. you can imagine since it was particularly negotiated for by john adams and the signing of the treaty, mr. john quincy adams would not be particularly anxious to see this right eliminated. it would be a matter of concern later on in our discussion. continued free access to the mississippi river, which was a matter of the treaty. this is for the english, that they should be able by whatever land connection they can make they should be about to get to the can -- get to the mississippi river, they would have free access all the way to the sea. the basis for all border adjustments is that which we actually possess. that is a matter of concern.
he will discuss it in just a moment. there would be no american naval presence on the great lake. that is the printed -- the british trade rights with indians. and adjusting the borders between main and canada in particular. our opening positions was that there be an end, that blockades be clarified what is in the nature of a blockade. what are our fishing rights as per the treaty of 17 eight -- the treaty of 1783. and that which existed before the war began. you will notice there are some difficulties here.
the reason there are difficulties in all of this, first of all the english position was we will win this war, we will have territory, we will use it as a marker for negotiations, and the americans will exceed as a consequence of this. in addition, it is a very interesting, i mentioned the treating rights of 1783 for the fisherman of new england to be able to use unoccupied land in canada near the fishing banks to be able to address their fish. this right was aggregated since the wars beginning. the same treaty, which guarantees them access through the mississippi, somehow was not aggregated by the same war, which was a difficult position to reconcile.
i had incredible difficulty reconciling the zone matters in my own mind. -- these matters in my own mind. it was a matter of understanding between secretary munro and ourselves, tried to the negotiation, that we would not press the matter. napoleon had abdicated in 1814. he had been sent to exile. the need for impress meant -- for impressment no longer existed.
it would make matters easier for us. as we look at the situation in the country at the various military activities, we have four invasions. how many of you realized that were four invasions of the united states in 1814? you are aware of these? where were they, can you tell me that? >> we invaded canada, there were a whole series of battles that went on in the area between what is now vermont and new hampshire, new york, that area.
we were aware of what was going on in new orleans. and the british invasion of eastern -- excuse me, western florida into mobile. and then there was the invasion of the chesapeake bay and the burning of washington. >> there is a fourth one. that is the one in maine, in northern maine. this is one that is frequently forgotten. i'm sure my friends and colleagues from massachusetts would not appreciate my comments, but i really don't know that northern maine would have been a great loss. there's a great deal of bogs and trees. however i would expect if i were to say to the georgians, for example, there is a spot of georgia there -- a spot of georgia that is nothing but swamp and trees and we would hand it over to another nation there would be substantial objections on their part.
i could understand why my colleagues from massachusetts would object to seeing a part of their state being handed over to a foreign country. invasions, three of which which were significant and at the military situation, the traditional invasion route to lake champlain, the chesapeake bay, and new orleans, and the seizure of new orleans was important from an english standpoint because it was a chokepoint. once they seized new orleans, as they would control the traffic from the interior of the country and use it as a way of separating the western space from their allegiance to the united states. that is a possibility not something actually discussed. however, in the end, all 4, well, three at the time of the
negotiation, in one sense or another failed. northern maine was to establish a military road between halifax and quebec. the invasion of northern new york down to st. john's through lake champlain was commodore madonna at the battle of lake champlain and the lieutenant general withdrew his army when he saw the navy he expected support from was defeated. in the chesapeake bay, i am sure many of you are well aware of the damage that was caused by general ross and admiral colburn. this innovation was also not ultimately successful when they
went and attempted to take -- to destroy fort mchenry and they failed to do so. in the end, a failure for land operations. we found out that a request had been made of the duke of wellington to become the commander in north america is that in essence, his message to the military was i will go where you will send me. however, no amount of troops will ultimately defend the americans on their territory. you do not have enough now to make any claim. i would suggest that you negotiate an end to this more quickly. why was he so concerned about an end to the war?
because the situation and france was unstable and england's representatives in france to the court could see that they were not particularly well settled on their throne. despite the size of louis xviii. as a consequence, we were able to come to an end of discussions and at the status quo ante bellum was accepted by england and we signed the treaty in 1814. the last matter which was a possible block, the 2 matters that had to do with the treaty of 1783.
the english claimed that the right for fishing in canadian waters that had been established by the treaty of 1783 had been abrogated because of the war. and we exhausted the right of navigation, free navigation down the mississippi has been equally abrogated. and so this was a more important to england than ensuring there will be unoccupied lands for dry fish. they were prepared to sign. both mr. quincy adams and mr. clay went out with the difficulty. whenever in a diplomatic arena that one is negotiating between one country and the next, i can assure you there are negotiations that take place within the team.
and in this particular instance i had to apply whatever diplomatic skills between mr. quincy adams and mr. clay. finally mr. adams accepted it was not a right but a liberty and the english were granting in 1783 and he was prepared to sign. mr. clay was prepared to leave and not adhere to the treaty. i said to him, mr. clay, when you are prepared to act seriously, please come and let me know and we will sign the treaty. and he signed the treaty. and so this is how we came to the treaty of ghent. i have not gone through other the discussions back and forth between the english and what is
a proposed and what we proposed. in end result at the end, we had achieved a victory of a stalemate. and mr. quincy adams is supposed to have said that he hopes this was the last treaty between the united states and england. i am not a particularly religious man but i can devoutly hope that is the case. now, this ends my presentation on the treaty of ghent. i wish to go forward in time. now we have the matters of the abdication of napoleon. napoleon who was in exile in elba returned in march of 1815 and began a march. which no one would have credited him with being able to do. and yet, by june of this year he brought in army and to the northeastern part of france and the -- not far from where we were negotiating. at waterloo, a great battle over three days between the french on one side and on the other, the russians and the english and duke of wellington.
napoleon was defeated. and -- he has abdicated yet again. and that this particular time we believe it will be permanently. it is ironic that he threw himself on the mercy of the english, his greatest opponent, because he trusted and their sense of honor and in their unwillingness to act in a way he would have acted. had it been the other way around if george iii through his mercy on napoleon, i do not think there would be much question of what would've happened to george iii.
as to where napoleon will end, i do night no at this point. we know it was restored to the throne and hope what he said of them will not be true that they have forgotten nothing and learned nothing. it is yet to be seen whether louis xviii has learned the lessons of his brother and his ancestors. i have some degree of confidence he cannot return to the absolute monarchy that was there prior to the revolution and i have a measure of confidence that out of self-preservation if nothing else, he will continue to speak and treat and deal with those who adhere to napoleon.
who are numerous and are also powerful. as far as the last question which i was prepared to discuss which was the removal of the capital which i've heard since i have been in the federal city, some discussion. my view of it is this -- i speak as a private citizen. not a member of the administration. i have no political intentions and so, my view is that removing the federalist city, where would you put it? if you move in north, those from the south would say it is to their disadvantage. if you move it from the south to savannah or charleston, it would be the northerners who would say it is to their disadvantage. if you move into west, both the north and south say it is to the advantage of the westerners and to our disadvantage. if you're going to annoy anyone, leave it exactly where it is. ladies and gentlemen, that ends
my presentation to you. i am prepared to entertain your questions at this time. [applause] yes, sir? >> there were troops left that were left in the northern territories. what were the final resolution of getting them out of their? albert: 1795 which ultimately settled the question of the british removing their soldiers had been in the various forts through the northwest into the west. and the final resolution would they all remove themselves. which was a matter of concern to the indians because they looked at the british as the guarantors of their independence. vis-a -vis ourselves.
settlers coming in. yes, sir? >> yes, thank you very much, mr. secretary. if memory serves me correctly, there is a provision in the treaty, i think the last provision that promises both parties that we would address the slavery issue and at the indian issue. where did that come in? for allowed that to enter into the treaty? from the british? from the americans? albert: the original concern, the original matter of indian -- rights, i would suppose you would have to say, was a concern expressed by the british.
that was in his their own favor. and by the end of the negotiation, it was clear that england had abandoned her indian allies. and so this matter which as you stated correctly left somewhat vaguely worded is not likely to be acted upon promptly. >> what about slavery? albert: the slavery issue is a very difficult one. in our revolution, a matter of the slaves which had been freed by the english under a claim if they fought for them, they would seek and ensure their freedom. and of course, the slaveowners from the south, for the most part, not exclusively, they put a claim against the english government for the recovery of those slaves of their value. that has yet to be fully resolved. and it would be my estimation that in this particular matter is likely to be one of lindsay negotiations. have i answered your question,
sir? >> i think you have. the british did give to those slaves who sought asylum on their ships and gave them settlement elsewhere in the empire. that is a fact. albert: the matter is from the american perspective, it is property. i personally do not agree with his view. however, the simple fact of the matter is that there is an argument that is made that these are property and the provisions of the treaty in an earlier provision actually speaks of the restoration as possible by compensation or property. the question becomes, do you see the slaves as property or do you not?
>> thank you. >> can you describe some of the personal attributes of alexander hamilton? things you most like about him. things you did not necessarily like about him. and how do you think history will treat alexander hamilton? albert: i have found a little profit in trying to play the prophet. i will not say what history's view might be of general hamilton. general hamilton and i had a difficult relationship as you are probably well aware. the difficulty began in a most personal sense when i briefly served in the senate between november 1793 and march 1794.
i was there very briefly because there was a claim i had failed to meet the citizenship requirement of time to serve as a senator despite the fact i had mentioned this to the legislature and pennsylvania. they said, do not worry. we will put you there. as soon as i took the oath of office, electives, good federalists, decided i was not qualified to hold the office. however in that brief time of four months, i submitted a bill in which i required, it required the treasury to outline where the money, which have been appropriated, had in fact gone. at the time, the administration would ask for an appropriation. but not specified. so much for the navy, for the army, so much for the state department. and as a consequence, it was unclear where the people's money was being spent.
i also in this bill hope to the administration of those moneys would be clarified. let us be very clear -- secretary hamilton was a brilliant man. there is no question. his ability to encompass the questions of finance, unparalleled. mr. jefferson, himself, wrote mr. hamilton is a host upon himself. and so his brilliance in creating a system of financing for this country did not improve administration and clarity of administration and when i came to the treasury i hope to do big to achieve and clarity of administration that anyone should be able and should be
able to understand exactly what the money went and how they have been expended and so on. in addition, one of the things that i ask for in that bill was that secretary hamilton gave us a very explicit rendition of the management of the treasury in terms of the funding which had been appropriated and had been spent, who knew where. or whether or not the general washington was aware and approved it. his answer was he was far too busy. he had far too few people to do it despite the treasury was the largest executive department at the time. and as a result, we were not able to learn all of the information we wished to learn.
you have asked me a question which is a very challenging question. what did i like about alexander hamilton? given our personal difficulties at one point during the whiskey rebellion and he came as part of the 13,000 men militia to the ohio country and if it had been up to him, my neck would be considerably longer than it is now. however, what i most admire -- perhaps like and dislike not really when men are in a service, what i most admire about mr. hamilton was the sheer energy and creativity of his effort. and that he personally was incorrupt as a secretary of the treasury.
we know of his personal peccadilloes which he revealed so we were not think his administration as a public official was corrupt by his personal difficulties. what i did not like about alexander hamilton was immaterial, truthfully. what i found difficult to encompass of his administration was its lack of clarity. i hope i've answered your question, sir. madam? >> you had a close relationship with aaron burr at one time. you were his supporter and i will like to hear what your opinions of how they changed or didn't. albert: mr. burr, when i came to this country, eventually i settled in western pennsylvania.
my estate is called friendship hill. i married for the first time in 1789 a young woman for virginia named sophie. five months after we were married i brought her to the western country of pennsylvania, she passed away of a fever. in 1793 just before i took the oath of office as a senator, i married hannah nicholson. hannah nicholson was the second daughter of james nicholson the elder. a good democrat republican. and she was from new york. and so simply by being a part of the nicholson family, i became
familiar with and familiar to a number of other figures, the schuylers, the -- and in so far as my personal relations with colonel burr, they were excellent. he and i understood exactly what it was that was transpiring in new york and his efforts. however, when he refused to step into the second position that was offered, that of the vice presidency, i disagreed not only strongly but as the leader of the democratic republics in the sixth congress, i was responsible for ensuring as so for as it was possible that in the election of the president of the united states and the will of the people had been expressed. and as we had understood within
the party would come to pass. that meant mr. burr would have to be the vice president. as it turned out, it did not sour our relationship at all. in so far as his activities of 1805 after left the office of the vice president. nothing was proven. and it would not to be appropriate for me to make a comment that was made by john marshall in the treason trial. they found him not guilty. i have no reason to challenge that particular view. i will say that when it came to my attention that colonel burr and general hamilton had had a duel, my view of it was even though i did not agree in so far as a duel concerned, it seemed to be quite fair.
>> at of the outset of the war of 1812, what was the regard of canada? was it the invasion for the british permanently? or as a bargaining chip? albert: your second point is exactly what i would have understood as our intentions were in terms of canada. i know with mr. clay said and what mr. jefferson said that if we should go into canada we shall march and it will fall into our hands. unfortunately the pear had a pit.r pet -- bitter
and so as a consequence, we cannot honestly say that we had any realistic intentions of taking over canada. that was our revolution which we hoped to make canada our 14th colony, our 14th state. in terms of the war of 1812, i would argue that it was more in the nature of a bargaining chip to force the english to come to their senses and end the impressment and treat with us as a nation instead of this rebellious i referred to earlier. >> victory of colonel andrew jackson and the battle of new orleans. [indiscernible] albert: the victory, it would
not have changed matters significantly. because our intention was to return to the status quo ante bellum. general jackson's victory was a defensive victory. it was not that we had seized the territory's data had some sort of bargaining chip to apply against the english. if on the other hand general jackson had been defeated, and it had been known a bill for the treaty had been ratified, then it would probably have been a reason for the english to reopen negotiations. and it would be difficult for me to guess what would have been the results. any further questions? sir? >> your interest in native american languages, what brought that about?
albert: an interest in languages in general particularly because i was not unaware of the fact with the removal of indian tribes and the difficulties they had vis-a -vis the settlers coming in, it was possible their languages would be lost. it would be a great loss for our understanding of what it was that was here. i personally believed none of us are truly native americans, only the indians are truly native americans. i believe that antonio will say something. >> can i call you ron now? yes, disrobe. turn around. [laughter] [applause]
>> ron and i had a plan before that his signal for jumping ahead 200 years to the modern day would be his defrocking. we are in d.c. civilized ways here. listen to wonder, ron channeling albert. i have listened to ron speak on many occasions about a variety of critical moments. we could've had just a wonderful time of him talking about an immigrant experience and the first decades of the american republic. i've heard of government wonderful talk about lewis and clark such as the treasury. he spoke at the state department on native american relations. we heard a glimpse of the war of 1812 which we asked him to focus on because of the burning. you can listen to ron on any
number of questions. maybe your questions to pose about why he got into living history. what is it called? ron: history first interpretation. it is an odd sort of field. it is at a nexus between theater and history. and at the consequence, neither exactly. history because it is imagined to some extent. but you have to have the background in order to be able to discuss it intelligently and accurately. >> that is not a wig. that is his head. this is how you played to the character. i have to say, ron, i've
listened to many historians and very few approach not just the know-how but the passion that you bring to interpreting what is very, in very important character in american political history. some of you might want to approach him again and talk more about the immigrant experience which i find the most interesting while while dealing with immigrant experience today. he rose to the highest echelon of government and he was a citizen of geneva. a different place. ron: an independent city state. >> we have discussed this over fondue one evening. ron: yes. >> let's close the formal session and -- ron: people can ask the questions. [applause] >> you are watching american
history tv. 48 hours of american history programming every weekend. follow us on twitter for information on our schedule and upcoming programs, and to keep up with the latest history news. our objective here at the frontier culture museum in stanton, virginia, is to teach people how unique american folk culture was created through the blending of european, african, and indigenous peoples cultures. comes from worse to sure, england, in the west midlands. time we are showing is 6020 -- 1620-1640. people are wanting to have a place of their own, whether english or irish or german. second and third sons are going to need to leave to go to america.
they want to have land. >> my name is jerry koester and i'm a costume interpreter on this scotch irish farm. the time. between 7020 and 1740. that is when these people start leaving ireland to come to america for a better life very -- for a better life. economically you would say he was a strong farmer, but he was middle us. definitely not the wealthiest but definitely not the poorest. days, everyone is making lots of money so life is good. but then with the depression things started going bad really quick. a lot of people ended up in philadelphia because pennsylvania had such strong ties with the linen trade, and of course you arrived in the delaware valley or philadelphia. being farmers you look for cheap land.
you could end up in some on place at the -- called the shenandoah valley. >> we are at the 1840's american settlement, also known as the backcountry of the american colonies. here it is very different. it was difficult here. climate is very different. ,arsher summers and winters which would affect your crops. it is also different in that it is verywooded, which different especially if you're coming from ireland, where they don't have as many trees and would have been making their homes out of stone as opposed to log. using the material that is available. another big thing would be the kitchen garden. that would include crops that would have come over from europe , and the kitchen garden would have been a style that would have been used in europe as well. , in the fields down
way, we have corns, being, and squash. influence fromn the old world. it was an influence from the american indians. they were grown in all of the same mounds. the corn, beans, and squash grew together. >> this is the first of a two-part series on the frontier culture museum. part two explores life on the early american frontier. you can watch this and other american artifacts programs anytime i visiting our website at c-span.org/hi >> established under the indian plains asked by united states congress, the indian claims commission was a judicial panel meant to resolve many long-standing claims between the u.s. government and native american tribes. next, the university of utah professor, gregory smoak, talks about the founding of the commission and the modern repercussions of some decisions.