Skip to main content

tv   Lead- Up to 1783 Treaty of Paris  CSPAN  November 17, 2019 10:40pm-12:00am EST

10:40 pm
is a tours spotlight to beckon more people to come and visit the wild and wonderful state. >> our cities tour staff recently traveled to charleston, west virginia to learn about its rich history. to watch more his -- more video from charleston and other stops on our tour, visit c-span.org/cities tour. you are watching american history tv. all weekend, every weekend on c-span3. on american history tv. university of new hampshire d deliveredilia goul an address called "making peace in britain, ireland, and america: 1778 to 1783." the efforts of several peace commissions to end the revolutionary war, and the events leading up to the 1783
10:41 pm
treaty of paris. part of ate talk was three-day conference cohosted by the museum of the american pritzker military museum and library, and the richard c von hess foundation. andood evening, all, welcome to the museum of american revolution. we are on third and chestnut street in philadelphia. you are in the headquarters of the american revolution. era of the oldest founding objects andurviving buildings are within a couple of blocks of where we are sitting. the building we are sitting in his one of the newest. it opened on april 19 of 2017. i know this crowd knows the significance of april 19. last twom, in the
10:42 pm
years, we have welcomed more than 800,000 visitors from around the nation and world. we have 16,000 square feet of immersive galleries. ,ore than 500 works of art objects, original manuscripts on display at any given time. one of the real treasures of the museum is what we refer to as washington's war tent. field headquarters of general george washington. that is presented dramatically in the museum. it has become a favorite with our visitors. about 70,000 school children a year, who arrived for our wonderful educational programs. that is just on-site. we have 50,000 subscribers to our biweekly email newsletter. it sends you an serve of a fabulous book about the american revolution. many of them written by speakers that will be here for our conference on the american revolution. and that000 members,
10:43 pm
number is growing from all 50 states. thank you to those of you in the audience and those of you watching on c-span. if you are interested in learning more about the museum of the american revolution, our vep -- our website is mre museum.org. the mission is to tell compelling stories about complex events that sparked america's ongoing experiment in liberty, equality and self-government. we are able to accomplish that mission through our visitors, supporters, members, and most importantly, our partnerships with like-minded organizations that share the educational mission. foremost, in our hearts and minds, particularly for this weekend, is the pritzker military museum and library in chicago, illinois. introducepleased to dr. rob, who has become the
10:44 pm
president and ceo of the pritzker military museum and library. this is a membership organization, with supporters around the nation. i encourage you to explore all the activities of the pritzker museum. joining as president and of theb was president foundation in lexington, virginia. george c marshall being exemplary soldier. that starts with george washington here and the museum and the story we tell. he was executive director of the national church still museum. -- churchill museum. an englishman.d, we won't hold that against anyone here. a visiting professor of british history at westminster college. he is professor of war studies
10:45 pm
at the royal military academy and sam harris. he taught at the london school theconomics and at university of cambridge. i am feeling like an underachiever here. in addition to leading the pritzker museum and library as an author, scholar and teacher. his ba was from queen military college in london. the london school of economics and political science, later, modern british history and phd from pembroke college and the university of cambridge. wordsy -- to say a few about pritzker military museum and library, join me in welcoming dr. rob havers. [applause] havers: thank you for that introduction.
10:46 pm
yes, i am here with the loyalist accent. i hope you will forgive me. i am the president ceo at the pritzker military museum and library located in chicago. atn colonel pritzker found the museum back in 2003, she envisioned an institution that would work with other organizations like those i see represented here today. work towards a better understanding of the military, its past, present and future, and its impact on the world we live in today. our mission at the pritzker military museum and library is to further this understanding. to do so through programs and exhibitions, but also through partnerships and support of conferences such as this. we hope that we can be a resource to all of you in this our museum and library on-site in chicago, but also through our online
10:47 pm
importance. i would like to start off by introducing the concept of the citizen soldier. advancing ato greater understanding of military history, the pritzker military museum and library also works towards increasing the public's awareness of the soccer of the sacrifices made by men and women who served, and the believe of the better understanding of that sacrifice is appropriate, but also because a citizenry so informed can exercise adequately the -- of civilian oversight and control of the military. of the citizen soldier is something the museum and library holds very dear. the citizen soldier has also been a linchpin as the foundation of the american military. since well before this nation's founding. today, more than ever, we rely on citizen soldiers to serve in
10:48 pm
the armed forces on behalf of that nation. adopting many of the traditions of the british army, the young american nation, in the post-revolution era, came to rely on it citizen soldiers. not only to defend the nation called upon, but as in the case of general washington and general marshall, to serve the nation as leaders both in war and in peace. the pritzker military museum & library looks to further educate ourarchers, visitors and community at large about the sacrifice that citizen soldiers have made throughout this country's great history. took up colonists who arms originally, to the young men and women who serve today. in mind, is theme would like to highlight some of evolutions tot arise from the american
10:49 pm
revolution. throughout the american revolution, nearly every aspect of american life was touched by that revolutionary spirit. from slavery, to women's rights, to religious freedoms, to voting , american attitudes would be forever changed. a nation, and the memory of that forging inspires this nation still. from immediate equality would eventually come to draw their later inspiration from revolutionary sentiments. the revolution also perpetuated this feeling amongst americans, that this fight for liberty was becoming a global issue. major changese happening before the dawn of the 19th century, the american revolution is well remembered this weekend as a global event. on behalf of the pritzker military museum & library, on behalf of colonel pritzker, i
10:50 pm
would like to say thank you for allowing us to be part of this wonderful commemoration and these discussions, and as a sponsor of this international conference on the american revolution. thank you very much. [applause] >> i would like to acknowledge, as well as pritzker military you see library, and as on our title slide, the richard c von hess foundation, and john illinois who has made a possible together us all here from many points on the firsts together for this international conference on the american revolution. now it's time for the main event. i am very excited to introduce somewhere -- someone who has figured largely in my research of the american revolution.
10:51 pm
gould who is a professor at the university of new hampshire. he has had a distinguished career as a man so young. of the american revolution focusing on the outer edges of a story that is often centered right here in this philadelphia neighborhood that we are sitting in, or perhaps , the 13 colonies of the united states in the 18th century. his work spans the atlantic world, even the globe to take in all of the americas, africa, europe and beyond. it is a series of award-winning books and articles that have been critically acclaimed and really advanced the field significantly for the last generation. eliga did his undergraduate work across the river at princeton university. graduate studies at the university of edinburgh.
10:52 pm
then finally landing in baltimore at johns hopkins university where he completed his phd. his current book project, and i think tonight is an outlook of the ongoing research, the title "crucible ofill be peace: the turbulent history of america's founding treaty." which is looking at one of the least known, least examined .ocuments in the united states which is the treaty that created the united states, it is the treaty of paris in 1783. previous to that, his previous book "among the powers of the earth: the american revolution and the making of a new world empire" was a great example of his ability to make us a lot smarter about the 18th-century, but also bridge to the present day. exploration of the
10:53 pm
ways in which the early american republic during and after the revolutionary war, had a quest to be treated as treaty were the in the eyes of other nations by those european colonial powers. that effort shaped american's thinking about topics and interests still to us today, not just federalism, eight of american rights and slavery, among the powers of the earth was named the library journal best book of the year. it received the book prize for the early republic. it was a finalist for the george washington book prize. that is just some of the latest accolades in a long list of wonderful accomplishments. i also know that he is known for incredible teacher and devoted to undergraduate treating. andas a masters degree teaching education. right? what is that?
10:54 pm
>> a master of science. >> yes. yes. always gets awards. we appreciate that as an educational institution. and a long line of very distinguished fellowships. you are not here to listen to me talk, so i will invite eliga gould up -- we will advance the slide to welcome you in. do i do it? i thought you had the clicker. there it is. [applause] dr. gould: scott, thank you so much. i like to moved around when i talk. i will have to stay in the pocket. brady.w englander, tom
10:55 pm
thank you for that very generous introduction. i'm sorry. fan, soaltimore orioles i do route for losers too. too.ot for losers [laughter] dr. gould: many thanks to scott for inviting me and rob havers for the pritzker museum. who firstead contacted me. it is a real pleasure to be here. it has been -- it has only been but comingo years, here has been on my bucket list. some other things finally got me here. thank you very much. so, uh oh. other arrow. there we go. i want to start with a town, it's actually on the opposite side of new hampshire.
10:56 pm
i live on the seacoast side of new hampshire, durham, new hampshire. if you go to the far opposite southwest corner of the state here.ll get you will discover a beautiful picture perfect new england town. toore i go father i want take off mike -- farther i want to take off my watch to keep an eye on time. massachusetts, is a weekly public market, several churches, a historical greaty that meets in a building that once housed the local academy, and much more. building isevival so handsome i included two buildings. walpole is a lovely town. people love it there. [laughter] "making peace in britain, ireland, and america: 1778 to 1783." can everyone -- dr. gould: can everyone see? not just country music.
10:57 pm
1780 two, however, during the closing months of the waslutionary war, walpole a much less happy place. the people of western new hampshire had grown weary of the war with britain, of the wars economic cost, of the economic cycles of inflation and deflation. of congress is worthless paper taxes that were 13 times what they had been before the war. although britain and the united states signed a provisional peace treaty in paris on the last in november, the news would not reach new hampshire, or any other part of america for another four months. what walpole's inhabitants did know, was that the governor general of british quebec had offered to allow the breakaway republic of vermont, whose
10:58 pm
founder had taken a leading part in resisting britain to the world's -- wars early years. vermont a different kind of peace if they would rejoin the british empire. if vermont excepted george the third as their king, sir frederick promised that its people, who already had the lowest taxes in new england -- here is a big new hampshire theme, low taxes -- but vermont's were low at this point. sir frederick promise that if vermont rejoin the british empire, it's people would have the same legislative independence as ireland. more to say about that in a minute. which meant, neither parliament nor any other legislator would ever tax the colony again. people oftrapped western new hampshire, many of them who had not paid state
10:59 pm
taxes in years, that sounded like a good deal. ,4 towns, including walpole decided they too wanted to be in vermont. not everybody in walpole felt that way. one of the more influential outliers was general benjamin bellows, whose father founded walpole in the 1750's and was the towns largest landowner. in early december, with the general's encouragement, new hampshire officials seized 150 heads of cattle from the towns vermont supporters for nonpayment of taxes and put them up for sale. on the day of the auction, a crowd of 500 angry townspeople attacked the yard and refused to let animal cell for more than a shilling. when general bellows tried to raise the bid to one dollar, he was ordered out of the circle and warned not to bid again.
11:00 pm
after returning the livestock to its owners, the vermonter's marched to the town commons. when protesters in revolutionary america wanted to send a message, they generally elected -- corrected a liberty pole. walpole's liberty polls symbolize new hampshire. cheers andut three drink punch. when word of the riot reached new boston, a like-minded crowd assembled there and took its own loyal toast before burning an effigy of the commander of the french fleet at your town. had the question been put to a vote, walpole would be in vermont today. the unrest -- in early 1780's western new hampshire was a frontier place.
11:01 pm
with a strong sense of grievance against the wealthy towns on the seacoast and their better educated, more prosperous inhabitants. here we see general john sullivan from my hometown of durham. he is exactly the kind of people that he did not like. on the newengraving hampshire seacoast from 1780. a lot of this is about local state politics. that really matters. right was also the about fivewhat was years of constitutional innovation within the british empire with far-reaching consequences for britain, ireland and america.
11:02 pm
the trigger for this a stunningion was offer to congress in 1778 to give up the fiscal supremacy that it long claimed over the american colonies. as the people knew, parliament admitted this concession to thein the initiative after battle of saratoga in 1977. --t was a battle . to set the stage for the alliance that france concluded with united states in year.ry of the next
11:03 pm
france came to the letter states of them formally aligning with the u.s. and the czech republic which entered the war in 1780. by the time britain suffered its yorktown,at defeat at the war of the american revolution had become a world war with fighting in europe, india, africa. with the benefit of hindsight, we know that britain emerged in much better shape than anyone had to ask backed. we see that two of these battles are great british victories. this is the battle of the saints here. this is the lifting of the siege of gibraltar in 1782. empire looked like
11:04 pm
it might be one of america's testes. desperate times call for desperate measures. during the spring of 1778, as the news of the french alliance reached britain, the government lord north responded by dispatching frederick howard to philadelphia with parliament's remarkable -- and i want to suggest unexpectedly successful -- offer. ok. well, for anyone who had followed the standoff that began with parliament's attempts to tax the american colonies with the stamp act of 1755 and the revenue act of 1767, the exhibits on these in this museum are really splendid. if you have not had a chance to see them, you can find out all about them by going upstairs. for anyone who followed this
11:05 pm
stand-off, the administrator's decision to send carlisle to america looked like a humiliating defeat. here, we see the earl of carlisle -- i will show another picture. this is done in the late 1760's. i'm not sure -- but the cartoon on the right, we see the carlisle peace commissioners bowing down before a female american indian and oftentimes congress and the americans are symbolized as an american -- a native american. it gives you a pretty good idea of just what this defeat looked like to the british. having spent the previous decade insisting on its unlimited fiscal supremacy, parliament reversed itself with three far-reaching measures, all enacted on the government's behest. the first repeal the tax on tea, the last of the 1767 townsend duties still in affect, and ran announced for all time parliament's right to levy taxes
11:06 pm
for colonial revenue. pretty big deal. the second act repealed the massachusetts government act of 1774, which suspended the colony's 1691 charter and invested the royal governor with broad discretionary powers. finally, parliament authorized carlisle and the other peace commissioners to arrange a cease-fire when they got to america to suspend any other colonial legislation enacted since 1763 if they thought it would help persuade congress to open negotiations and to negotiate a treaty with congress itself, quote, as if it were a legal body. and that is a really big deal. congress was the usurping legislature. it was definitely not a legal body in british political
11:07 pm
discourse. a dull, melancholy silence for some time succeeded to this speech, reported the annual register in the house of commons when lord north announced the peace initiative. even the government supporters seemed stunned. in the words of one observer, to treat with those who denied and took up arms in opposition to the authority of parliament had long been out of the question, yet that was exactly what britain was prepared to do. one can certainly see why the proposal caused such consternation. by repealing the hated impost on tea and giving up the right to tax and revenue, parliament abandoned what lord jermaine and other hardliners had insisted was the government's central war aim. and here we see hardest hardliner of them all, lord germain, on my right, your left.
11:08 pm
and another british cartoon in the center. of even greater moment, the royal instructions that carlisle carried with him to america envisioned a union where parliament no longer had unlimited powers. that unit was substantially different not only from the union britain was fighting the war to uphold, but from how british riders understood the relationship between britain and its colonies since the glorious revolution of 1688. should yielding on colonial taxation not produce the desired results, the commissioners were empowered to allow americans to retain the federal system of government that congress worked out under the articles of confederation and in fact to incorporate the articles into britain's unwritten imperial constitution. although the goal was to restore the kings authority in america, carlisle's terms overturned nearly a century of
11:09 pm
constitutional precedent and were quite revolutionary. henceforth, the british government would meet the costs of colonial governments not through parliamentary taxes, but with voluntary requisitions on each colony. this of course was the system that had been in place in america before 1762. that part was not really new. those requisitions could take the form of cash payments or the raising of independent regiments of a sort that washington had served in. you have seen the first portrait of washington dressed as a militia officer. it is an officer of a virginia regiment. so that part is not new. however, carlisle's instructions mooted a number of much more
11:10 pm
radical reforms. while a new system had to protect the sovereignty of the mother country and sovereign rights of the crown, possible concessions -- and these are like, if it comes up, it is ok if you do these -- possible concessions include the popular election of colonial governors, admission of colonial representatives into the house of commons, creation of a public treasury as envisioned in the articles of confederation, service the colony's debt, and turning congress into a parliament. if parliament approved, the effect would be to reconstitute the british empire as a commonwealth-style federation with each colony enjoying broad rights of self-government and the crown although serving as the administrative and political center. and of course this matters because by the final quarter of the 18th century, parliament is still a legislature, but it is also the center, the locus of executive authority within the british empire as well. it is carried out in the name of
11:11 pm
the crown, but executive powers are in parliament. so carlisle and the commission is proposing to give up that power. although the commissions -- i am sorry -- for congress, on whose behalf benjamin franklin and other american envoys in paris were at that moment finalizing the alliance with france. they are doing this in paris. these concessions, radical though they were, were too little and came much too late. and here we see one of the famous images of franklin with louis the 16th, they have in front of them the treaty of paris. the treaty of 1778. and here we see the treaty, a handwritten copy on your right. within days of reaching philadelphia -- that is, within days of carlisle reaching philadelphia, which had been occupied by british troops since 1777, carlisle and other members
11:12 pm
of his peace commission discovered americans had no interest in terms that had they been offered in 1774, it would have been received with the highest tokens of gratitude. as was written in her influential 1805 history of the american revolution, the famous, famous portrait. i'm sure you have all seen it. the discussion of the carlisle peace commission goes on at some length. she clearly regards this as hugely important. she spent 10 pages talking about this. nothing short of recognizing the former colonies as the free and independent states that congress had declared them to be in 1776 would now do. congress, which of course was not in philadelphia, it is under
11:13 pm
britain's control, they are in york, pennsylvania, congress drove the point home by refusing to meet until the carlisle commissioners recognize american independence. on may 5, celebrated the french treaty's ratification by breaking open a case of a case of wine that carlisle sent to fulfill a hope for reconciliation with britain. take that. [laughter] with little to do, they spent the next six months complaining
11:14 pm
in letters to his wife about the size of sparrows and the unbearable heat of philadelphia and new york. he did not much like it here. in october, fed up with congress's foot dragging, carlisle issued a harshly-worded public manifesto promising that britain would wage war against the former colonies without mercy, in laying most of the blame for congress's refusal to negotiate on the united states' pretended new ally, louis the 16th of france. a number of people took exception to this disrespectful reference to one of the leading powers of europe, and one of those who did was of the marquis de lafayette, who challenged the english peer to a duel. carlisle, whose most notable exports had been at the dabbling table, wisely declined. with nothing to show, he left new york on a ship in december. his mission, an abject failure. and that is basically where most historians leave it. this failure, however, was an important failure. sometimes failures -- i don't know if it is a noble success, but it is an important failure. far more so than british or american historians, or for that
11:15 pm
matter, historians in the wider british empire including canada, ireland and the british caribbean, often concede. over the next five years, as the revolutionary war dragged on, and as the prospects for british victory waxed and waned, the terms the congress refused to consider in 1778 revealed two very important things about the shape of the british empire was likely to assume once the war was over. first, they showed that parliament's imperial authority was not as unlimited as the british claimed during the 1760's and 1770's. no less significant, carlisle's overtures suggested the british constitution was sufficiently flexible to sustain a
11:16 pm
commonwealth-style union with britain's overseas colonies, one that would concede them, yield them quite a lot of autonomy over their own internal governance. some of the first people to grasp these wider implications, no surprise i suppose, were the british government supporters in america. here are two of them. for many loyalists, carlisle's terms seemed completely reasonable and answered the most urgent all objections that led congress to take up arms in 1775. benedict arnold for one cited the peace commission in an open letter justifying his decision to switch sides in 1780. the whole world, he wrote
11:17 pm
shortly after crossing british lines, saw the teams terms for ending the war exceeded our wishes and expectations and made congress, not parliament, look like the aggressors. those usurping congressman. in his writings on the loyalist behalf, galloway of pennsylvania, took a similar position, placing the blame for the failure on congress and the independents, who feared that the overtures would be popular with war weary americans. rather than jeopardize the power that they had usurped from the british king, congress refused to negotiate with carlisle for a simple reason. his terms threatened to reduce their own personal and political standing. so this is a battle over ambition, over pride, arrogance. usurpation. from the standpoint of these two
11:18 pm
guys, we probably take galloway more seriously than we do arnold, britain had gone the better with this generous offer. during the war's final campaigns, british officers in america turned carlisle's union into the centerpiece of their attempts at pacification. reaching out to disaffected patriots like the leaders of vermont and using the promise of renewed self-government to encourage loyalists like arnold and galloway. following the capitulation of charleston to british forces of -- in may of 1780, henry clinton promised white south carolinians who submitted to the king that britain's goal was to restore the quote, peace and liberty the colony had traditionally enjoyed under british rule, including exemption from taxation except by their own legislature. there we see very clearly carlisle's terms enshrined in 1780 in clinton's offer to the people of south carolina. the war had to end before they would actually get that. so it is a promise never
11:19 pm
actually fulfilled. of the hundreds of people who responded to clinton's offer and accepted the king's protection in south carolina, most historians say they did so to protect their property, including their property in enslaved african americans. you can see that story clearly in the exhibits upstairs. but at a moment when reformers were starting to call on parliament and congress to check the rights of slaveholders, legislative autonomy mattered as well. as the earl of shelburne, british prime minister during the paris negotiations told the south carolinan who helped negotiate the treaty in 1782, shelburne told lawrence, the constitution of great britain was sufficiently flexible to accommodate colonial demands for self-government throughout the whole world. ultimately, though, it was not america where the carlisle peace commission's transformative potential was enlarged -- emerged, but ireland. we come back to ireland and the town of walpole. i promise you we would. because the terms carlisle offered congress tracked loyalist constitutional and political thought so closely,
11:20 pm
there is a body of loyalist thought, it makes for interesting reading, it prefigures many ways the british commonwealth of the 20th century. we are loyal to the crown but we want local legislative rights. because carlisle's proposal attract their writing so closely, it is not surprising benedict arnold and joseph galloway would give them a warm reception. it is also not surprising that congress said yeah, that is what we thought. the support that the mission's terms received in ireland is a different matter. there is a lot of reporting on the carlisle peace commission in the irish press during the late 1770's. during the late 1770's, the revolutionary war had imposed economic costs on irish men and women, plunging the kingdom into a deep recession. patriots, as the government's
11:21 pm
opponents called themselves, just like american patriots, placed much of the blame on britain's 1776 embargo on the irish provisioning trade with america. and ireland, particularly in court, had a very, very flourishing trade with america, very heavily involved in trade with america throughout the 18th century. and the revolutionary war disrupts this. and it creates a lot of economic hardship. invoking the example of their fellow patriots in america, opposition leaders like henry flood and henry gratton initially focused on the embargo. but they eventually called for britain to repeal all the restrictions that limited ireland's access to overseas markets in times of peace as well as war. free-trade became one of their great rallying cries. if i had known that, i would
11:22 pm
have put a picture in here. there is a picture of the gratin flag in the exhibit downstairs taht you can see. -- that you can see. if you have not seen it already, go check it out. it says, free-trade at the top and legislative rights at the bottom. that is a spoiler, actually. [laughter] dr. gould: well, in 1779, as the war spread to europe and as france and spain threatened britain and ireland with invasion, armed units of irish volunteers mustered in response to the franco-spanish threat only to begin making demands of their own. and here we see francis wheatley's wonderful paintings. invasion, armed units of irish one of my favorite artifacts of the american revolution. the dublin volunteers gathering on november 4, 1779. by the spring of 1780, patriots across ireland were insisting on the same terms the administrator had given the americans. it is worth noting, the earl of carlisle actually is appointed to the lord lieutenant seat of ireland. that is the vice royalty, royal
11:23 pm
representative of ireland, in 1780, and served as the irish lieutenant from 1780 through 1782. so he is actually there. it is not clear that is a trigger, but it is part of the interconnected context. by the spring of 1780, the irish are demanding the same rights britain had offered the americans in 1778. on april 19, five years to the day after the minutemen fired the shot heard round the world, henry gratin rose in the house of commons and moved that the kings, lords of commons in ireland were quote, the only powers competent to make laws to bind this kingdom. a hugely important moment in irish history. britain had offered everything
11:24 pm
short of independence to america, including the entire session of parliamentary power. why, he wanted to know, should ireland be any different? a clear reference to the carlisle peace commission in this defining moment in ireland's 18th-century history. although we take another two years, britain eventually bowed to the wishes of gratin and the patriots after lord north's fall from power. north of course falls from power in the wake of cornwallis's defeat at yorktown. so again, there are interconnections here. during the spring of 1782, parliament repealed the irish declaratory act, which affirmed supremacy over irish affairs,
11:25 pm
while the rocking ham and shelburne ministries which had seceded lord north allow the dublin parliament to gut the medieval statue that subjected irish laws to review by the english privy council. in other words, britain conceded ireland's legislative independence. certainly for the first time since the glorious revolution, irish historians argue over this, but certainly for the first time in a century, the irish parliament had the same legislative rights as the british parliament. hugely important moment. the british lower house, in westminster, william eaton, who had been a member of the carlisle peace commission in
11:26 pm
1778, one of carlisle's commissioners, who served as carlisle's chief secretary in ireland, said the government had no choice. parliament, he quipped, might as well strive to make the tens flow up highgate hill. highgate hill is pretty high. the thames is not flowing up there. it would depend on common allegiance to the king, not parliament's imperial sovereignty. given the extent of the irish patriots support, at their zenith, volunteers may have had 40,000 men under arms and they are many connections with patriots in america. historians describe the events of the early 1780's as an irish revolution whose affects were second in importance only to the winning of american independence. independence, however, was a difference that mattered. henry gratin for one went out of his way to emphasize that point. this nation, he proclaimed, is connected with england not only by allegiance to the crown, but by liberty.
11:27 pm
making ireland an independent republic was not part of the plan. and i want to note here the date. there is a reproduction of this painting in the exhibit which points out, november 4, 1779 is hugely important. it is the birthdate of william of orange. it is a very protestant event. there are middle-class catholics who participate. we estimate a third of their membership are catholic.
11:28 pm
so, the irish volunteers are trying to surmount ireland's deadly sectarian history, but they are not really succeeding. most protestants want legislative independence, but they don't want to sever all ties with britain. why? they are a minority in britain are guaranteeing their liberties at the end of the day. so the protestant character of this movement places limits to what the irish volunteers were willing to claim. ok. well, this is really important. one result of the irish volunteers was to lend new credibility in america to the terms that carlisle had offered congress in 1778. for a traitor like benedict arnold to praise the earl's proposed union was exactly what americans expected in midi silence with which congress responded appear reasonable. when the praise came from a patriot like henry gratin, the proposal became harder to ignore. and it demanded a response from americans who were paying attention. on reading a speech in which gratin lauded his own country's continued loyalty to the crown, while casting aspersions on the sovereignty that americans
11:29 pm
demanded for themselves, boston merchant and future u.s. senator kristen dalton wrote the irish should instead thank us for the blessing they have lately acquired. ireland agreed the west indian patriot, benjamin von, who ended up retiring in maine, ireland agreed benjamin von started on the right path but it disciples of freedom don't always understand the whole of the freedom's doctrine. ouch. in correspondence with friends and associates in ireland, americans were quick to congratulate them on their newfound independence. reading the correspondence of this period is interesting. they are polite.
11:30 pm
they are careful not to let the irish know this is what they are thinking. but they are equally clear when the talk among themselves that they would rather continue the war, as a george washington wrote in 1782, from the encampment at newburgh, new york, than accept, quote, the same kind of independence for themselves. irish independence, not interested. when washington wrote these words, there were quite a few politicians in britain whose views were closer to henry gratin's than they were to his own. one of the most important of these was this guy. the anglo-irish earl of shelburne, who, as colonial secretary helped broker the settlement with ireland during the spring of 1782, and who oversaw peace negotiations with the americans after becoming prime minister in july. he goes from ireland to america. for shelburne, the legislative independence that britain granted ireland seemed like an acceptable form of independence for the united states. what's the matter? one of his first acts as colonial secretary was to instruct sir guy carlton, newly
11:31 pm
appointed anglo-irish commander-in-chief of britain's military forces in north america, to take whatever steps he judged necessary to revive old affections or extinguish late jealousies. to ensure that his instructions were followed, shelburne took the precaution of dispatching his personal secretary, maurice morgan, as carlton's assistant. after carlton and morgan reached new york, washington complained that it was impossible to say whether the new commander's mission was to concede independence as americans understood the term or legislative independence while the king retained quote, the same kind of supremacy as in ireland. as late as the end of july, shelburne minded richard ozweld, britain's emissary to paris, was his preference was for a settlement based on a quote, federal union that would keep the 13 american states within the british empire. though shelburne conceded that the american commissioners were
11:32 pm
unlikely to agree to such terms. he retreats from this position gradually. shelburne also had a nasty habit of saying one thing and then another. he was hard to pin down. after he concedes defeat, he continued to talk about a federal union. well, in a matter of weeks, he did in fact admit defeat. bowing to necessity, he instructed ozweld to do what the earl of carlisle did not and negotiate with benjamin franklin and john jay in their capacity as ministers of the independent united states. on november 30, st. andrew's day, as the british commission secretary caleb whitford noted enthusiastically in his diary,
11:33 pm
representatives of britain and the united states signed a provisional peace treaty bringing the war of the american revolution to a close. and here we see benjamin west's wonderful painting of the american peace commissioners. now, this painting is unfinished. and people have oftentimes made quite a lot of that. west wanted to paint all of the peace commissioners, including the british commissioners, but richard oswald refused to sit for his portrait. and this has sparked a rumor that refuses to die, that oswald was embarrassed of the role he had played in this. in fact, oswald was very proud of the role that he played. he had land in south carolina. he also had human property in south carolina. he and lawrence were business partners. he is not at all ashamed of his role. what he was ashamed of was his looks. he was not good-looking. so he refused to sit for the treaty. and west's group portrait remained unpainted. giving further to that story, here we see david hartley, who replaced oswald as the commissioner for the definitive treaty, which was signed in september of 1783.
11:34 pm
hartley was very happy to have his portrait painted and happy to have it painted with the definitive treaty by his right hand. and here we see in the expansion, i don't know if you can see it -- i can, it says definitive treaty. so anyway, that is the story
11:35 pm
behind west's unfinished portrait. well, because britain eventually accepted american independence on congress's terms, it is tempting to consign lord shelburne's ideas about a federal union to the same dustbin of history, historical might-have-beens, as the carlisle peace commission or the irish revolution of 1782 at its short-lived constitutional settlement. another spoiler alert, it lasts for about 19 years. succeeded by an incorporated union in 1800, 1801. dismissing these various attempts at alternate peace settlements, though, i think risks missing three important points. each of which warrants more attention from historians of the american revolution than they usually receive. the first is the importance of resisting the tendency to think in comparative terms of the british empire and united states as each other's polar opposites. i'm delighted to see in the opening placard for the exhibit on st. george, the word "entangled." these are entangled entities. they are interconnected. they were in 177 they still were6, in 1783, they continue to be into the 20th century. although the two communities were obviously distinct, they
11:36 pm
continued to be entangled with each other in deep and profound ways. with the vast gray areas where their political institutions and cultures resembled each other and overlapped. they were sufficiently strong to include carlisle's instructions like of joe being -- like absorbing the u.s. articles of confederation into -- and for the british commissioners to invite americans to accept the obligations of royal subjecthood within what carlisle suggestively called a united british empire. that is capital u. without giving up all the benefits of republican citizenship. the comparative historian thinks of subject and citizen as object, as opposite. because of this fluidity and interconnection, the second point to bear in mind is that the union that carlisle proposed in 1778 ended up exhibiting a much greater influence on the development of the british empire then congress's refusal to negotiate would lead us to expect. as the creation of new brunswick in 1784 anticandida act of 1791, creating ontario and quebec. as both of the shows, parliament's renunciation of the right to colonial taxes for revenue, which has become a fixed part of the british imperial constitution, or at least as fixed as a right enacted by parliament could be,
11:37 pm
11:38 pm
an important caveat. ensuring taxes on the british side of the imperial border were in some cases five times lower than in the united states. if all you heard about was taxes, you went to canada. ironically, the american which started as a tax result lead to higher taxes. it is a fact. look it up. as the walpole tax riots of 1792 show, the possibility of re-federating with the british
11:39 pm
empire on the basis of common allegiance to the king turned out to be popular with disaffected republicans on the margin of the new union of states. during vermont's 14 year on and off flirtation with british officials in canada, a flirtation that just begun, the possibility refused to go away, raising false hopes in montreal while giving congress nightmares. although the constitution of 1787 reduce britain's attractiveness, the possibility of rejoining the british empire did not completely disappear. over the next 70 years, the roster of americans willing to consider the idea of some sort
11:40 pm
of affiliation or league with britain included the leaders of kentucky and tennessee, daniel boone, andrew jackson, the republics of east and west florida, before florida was purchased by the united states, and texas and california before they joined the american union in 1845 and 1848. significantly, groups who remained open to britain's overtures also included the african-americans loyalists, who founded sierra leone's province of freedom in 1787. initially sierra leone is not founded as a british colony. a black nation under the protection of the british crown. the relationship looks a lot like the carlisle union or ireland's. and also one of my favorite characters, a white loyalist adventure from frederick, maryland who attempted in 1799 to create a mixed-race anglo creek republic on the florida panhandle, which he grandly called the state of muskogee. all thought they saw legislative independence within the british empire as a viable alternative to being absorbed by the united states. were they right? lord carlisle certainly thought so. as long as the same king is acknowledged, he wrote during
11:41 pm
the summer of 1778, americans would eventually come to see that they and the british were quote, the same people. the wealthier americans would resume sending their children to be educated in england, and the affection the people throughout the empire had felt for each other would return quote, as the recollection of these misfortune subside. yet the history of the two unions that most closely resembled the one that carlisle hoped congress would accept, is not encouraging. in the case of ireland, the constitutional settlement of 1782 collapsed less than two decades later. a victim of renewed confessional strife and revolution. among its victims was the anglo-irish aristocrat richard st. george, whose tenants ambushed and killed him in 1798. the american confederation turned out to be even more short-lived. in 1787, one of the first acts of the convention that gathered in independence hall in philadelphia right around the corner was to scrap the articles of confederation, whose revision was the purpose of their meeting, and to write a completely new constitution. despite federalism's widespread appeal, the fact was, and if we honest, i think is, loose-knit federastions have a troubled history. would his british united empire be anymore successful than the confederation that he wanted to replace?
11:42 pm
that's hard to say for sure, but it wasn't a bet that most americans between 1778 and 1783 were willing to take. thank you. [applause] dr. gould: so yeah, i think the plan is for questions. i know there are two microphones in the wings. i'm happy to entertain questions about vermont, new hampshire, ireland, ken burns. [laughter] yes, right here. >> how much was carlisle -- dr. gould: i think there is, i
11:43 pm
don't know if the q&a will be on c-span, but it may be. so they are asking us to speak into the mic. it is one of the reasons i didn't run around. you guys can hear me. >> how much was carlisle's list of, to-do list, informed by galloway's plan of union? which had been presented to the continental congress and rejected by one vote, i think. dr. gould: yes, exactly. i mean, there are definitely
11:44 pm
loyalists in england who the north ministry is talking to. it is -- to assign a particular person like galloway and give him sort of the influential role is a little misleading. the short answer is i'm not sure of that particular question, although i wouldn't rule it out. what i would say is these ideas are so pervasive that in many ways carlisle is articulating, i mean, his instructions make a fascinating read. it is sort of a grab bag of choose your favorite loyalist idea and put it in there. so, they are pervasive. and certainly galloway immediately picks up on it and galloway continues to write into the 1780's.
11:45 pm
william smith, the chief justice of british new york, is also very influential and meets with him. so, it's a -- the other problem with carlisle, i presented this as kind of a uniform fixed set of positions, carlisle is a bit of a moving target, and those of you who read about the carlisle peace commission may well have noticed that the way i presented it. i simplified that. i mean, it is a good question, and certainly galloway is among the most influential of the loyalists. and probably the most creative, too. he is a serious thinker. >> how close did vermont come to rejoining the british? dr. gould: oh, that's a good question. you know, it's funny. at the end of the day, it's the constitution of course of 1787 that creates the federal government with a clear supremacy, not total supremacy, but enough supremacy over the states that allows the federal government to step in and broker a settlement.
11:46 pm
and the dispute is with new york, even though new hampshire has a horse in the race too. with the constitution i think there is no question vermont wants to be in the union. but you know, ira allen in particular, there are definitely some fairly influential vermonters who would have rather ended up in the british fold. if you go to burlington, there is a coast guard station. because lake champlain is an international waterway. it empties into the st. lawrence estuary. it's part of the st. lawrence drainage basin. so that if you are farming on the west side of the green mountains, as the allens were, you actually had pretty good reasons to want to be trading down to st. lawrence. there actually is a division within vermont, the eastern vermont counties, that is the one in the connecticut valley, are probably less taken with the idea of a union. that is where walpole is, and walpole wants to punch king george in 1782. but at the end of the day, the
11:47 pm
union was -- once you got the constitution in place, the union was going to win out. but you know, i think that we make a mistake if we assume that is the whole story. the presence of this british alternative has a huge impact on what goes on in these western territories well into the 19th century. there is also one over here. and there is a question back there. >> when you talk about a commonwealth-style, obviously what comes to mind today is a commonwealth of nations, but i don't want to be anachronisticly putting that back. is that the term they are using? how does that not anticipate the later developments? dr. gould: that is a good question. historians have used it. so, it shows up in historical
11:48 pm
literature, and so i'm emboldened to use it because of other people's anachronisms. nothing like blaming someone else for your own anachronisms. there is a lot -- you know, i have to go and look. i want to look at galloway, but it is not just galloway. i would want to look at some of the irish writers. gratin had things to say about this. one of the really interesting early interesting proponents of this is john cartwright. he calls american independence the glory of great britain. but what he means by independence is legislative independence. he is envisioning what we would anachronistic call a commonwealth.
11:49 pm
it publishes i want to say in 1776, i talked a lot about that in my first book. it is either 1775 or 1776, right at the start of the war. and he may use the term commonwealth in there. of course when someone like cartwright, or james burg, another person talking in these terms, scotsman, they are thinking of themselves as commonwealth men, there are commonwealth women too, sort of harking back to an older republican style. so it is a complicated question. commonwealth, just like republic, it is simply the english version of republic, can mean both an extended loose-knit associations of states. republican mean that, too. it can also refer to a state that is itself a republic. the commonwealth of
11:50 pm
pennsylvania, i grew up here. the very proud of the fact that we are commonwealth just like kentucky and massachusetts. so commonwealth, it is a slippery term in this period. but you do see republic used to describe a larger commonwealth-style federation. i think you do see commonwealth as well but i would have to do some digging around to be certain of that answer. in the back, and then some others here. >> so, when we are kids and we learn about the american revolution in elementary school, we learn that everybody in the country was a patriot. and then as we get a little bit older relearn that -- we learn that not so much. i'm curious this balance between patriots and loyalists. once news of the carlisle initiative gets out, does that balance change dramatically? do more folkssort of come over to the loyalist side? dr. gould: no. but the thing that -- the thing
11:51 pm
that really surprised me, and i first stumbled on the peace commission in my first book, which is on british politics and the revolution, and i mainly looked at it from that sort of internal debate in the house of commons. and british historians are just like, to say they are not interested in the carlisle peace commission would be an understatement. americans are more interested in it. but what i was really struck by an my first book, and i've come back to it in my writings, it's carlisle's terms that are the alternative. as i have said here. i'm struck by the sense of purpose that it actually gives the british cause from 1778 to 1783. so, if you follow, if you read about what happens in south
11:52 pm
carolina -- and that is the darkest moment for the patriot cause. you know, the continental currency never doing that well, just collapses after the fall of charleston. in fact, congress simply stops issuing it. it is the darkest moment in philadelphia, the economic center. and in south carolina, hundreds and hundreds of people, including like former governors of the state, people who had been patriots, accept the king's protection. and it's hugely demoralizing. and you know, part of -- clinton thinks he sees a way to pacifying south carolina and the carlisle terms are providing the provision for it. the other thing though that is interesting, carlisle's commission also forces congress to start getting its act in
11:53 pm
order. you know, the articles of confederation, the draft had been finished since 1777. they are being leaned on by the french. but it's in response to the carlisle peace commission taht -- that congress really starts paying attention to the federation. so between the carlisle commission and france, i didn't really talk about the french side of this, the articles of confederation sort of becomes, they take shape from under pressure on the french on one hand who want to see a tighter union, and the british were threatening to blow it all apart. so that becomes an important part of the confederation's history as well. again, the confederation is such a nonstarter for most american historians that we don't hear much about that. i am going to talk more about that in this book i'm writing. so it is important, but you are right, we all thought everyone was patriots back in the day. yes.
11:54 pm
>> thank you very much for a very enlightening talk. the links between ireland and america. and of course there could have been an element of divide and rule, trying to divide tactics and of course the fact of trying to fend off the french, and that made a big difference. but the point i really want to come to is this -- the experience of legislative independence in ireland was deeply unsatisfactory because it
11:55 pm
was legislative independence. quite a part of it from being a partisan parliament only, including dissenters and so on. if there was no executive independence, london kept complete control of the executive and they relied on powers of patronage to keep a majority. the executive was not actually responsible or accountable to parliament. now, it did have its points. at the time of the 1921 treaty negotiations, churchill had at his side a rather pedantic ideologue called lionel curtis. and he pointed out that the freedom conceded by the treaty didn't go so far as the sovereign legislative independence granted in 1782. now i mean, this is theoretical and academic and soon unproved, but i suppose my net point would be the americans were very wise not to go down that path. [laughter]
11:56 pm
dr. gould: yes. yeah no, thank you very much for that. and actually you have highlighted a number of really interesting and important things here. actually, the first-rate disappointment of this settlement happens with ratification of the definitive treaty of paris. there is an expectation. and i had not realized wolfe tone would be so prominent in this exhibit. tone get very involved in this later. i don't know if he is this involved this early on. but anyway, there is an expectation that ireland, which of course had been an equal belligerent in the war or american independence, as the british tend to call it, and that ireland does too, that ireland would also get to ratify
11:57 pm
the treaty of paris. it doesn't. and i think the ratification takes place in britain sometime that ireland does too, that in the fall of 1783. and ireland is just cut out of that. right, exactly. this is a great disappointment. and it cuts to the question of these executive confederate of powers. the interesting thing is within the confederation it is almost the opposite problem of no executive. and the great what-might-have-been in american history is robert morris's
11:58 pm
attempt to create a post in 1781 and 1782 in little rhode island puts the kibosh on it. because you cannot revise the articles of confederation unless all 13 states agree. an taxation, they did not have. had that happened, we might have seen the emergence of an american executive. you could almost say the problem within the american confederation is exactly the opposite. there is no executive. and that is a real driving force in the constitutional convention. ok. i have been told, so, yeah. ok. thank you very much. i have been asked to tell people that, you know, obviously we will be back for a full day of panels tomorrow and on saturday. and there will be special tours of this marvelous exhibit of the life and times of richard st. george. and really, i have just done sort of a quick turn through. i cannot wait to go into detail. it brings out some of what i have been talking about quite
11:59 pm
>> this is american history tv. feature 48 hours of programs exploring our natures -- nations past. >> the house will be an order. providinghas been unfiltered coverage of the white
12:00 am
house, congress, the supreme court, and public-policy events. you can make up your own mind. c-span is brought to you by your local cable or satellite provider. >> a pulitzer prize winning cartoonist and his work are the subject of discussion at the university of virginia, which has just acquired his cartoon collection. we hear from scholars from miller center. they focus on the presidency from lyndon b. johnson to ronald reagan. [applause] >> welcome. what we are going to have for the next 75 minutes is a kind of

17 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on