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American Collections Project


Albert Gallatin and the politics of the early United States

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This documents the exhibition held at Senate House Library 1 Oct – 27 November 2015 with items from Senate House Library and the Institute of Historical Research collections. The exhibition was curated by Benjamin Bankhurst, Postdoctoral Fellow in North American History at the School of Advanced Study 2014-2015 with assistance from Mura Ghosh and the conservation team at Senate House Library.

Front leaf from Laws of the Commonwealth of PennsylvaniaRepublished by Alexander James Dallas, Philadelphia: Hall and Sellers, 1793 Vol. 2.

Several items in the US collections once belonged to prominent early American statesman Albert Gallatin (1761-1849). These works came to the libraries as part of the Conway bequests of the 1920s and 30s and represent a selection of Gallatin’s – much larger – personal library. This small exhibition celebrates items in our collections relating to Gallatin’s political career. Gallatin played a significant role in the political and economic debates of the United States during the Antebellum period.

 


Introduction

Gallatin portrait

From The life of Albert Gallatin Henry Adams Philadelphia; London: J.B. Lippincott & Co, 1879 – SHL

Albert Gallatin was born into a prominent merchant family in Geneva where he spent his childhood and adolescence. Orphaned at an early age, he spent much of his youth as a student in residency at the Geneva Academy. His enthusiasm for French philosophers, especially Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and the magnetic draw American revolutionary ideology led the young Gallatin to consider sailing for the United States. In 1780, at the age of 19, Gallatin arrived in Boston and later settled in western Pennsylvania.

It was in Pennsylvania that he first became embroiled in the fractious politics of the new nation. In 1790 he won a seat in the state senate before becoming a US senator for Pennsylvania in 1793. He was later elected to the House of Representatives for Pennsylvania’s 12th district, an office he occupied from 1795 to 1801. Gallatin was instrumental in negotiating the peaceful resolution of the Whiskey Rebellion, a protest movement in western Pennsylvania. As a resident of the western counties with a track record of opposition to the Federalist bloc in congress, Gallatin and helped to convince many of the movement’s leaders to stand down before the arrival of Federal troops.

He became the Republican party leader in the House and was a leading critic of the Adams administration and the national debt. Following the spectacular electoral victory of Thomas Jefferson and his Republican allies in 1800, Gallatin was appointed the fourth Secretary of the Treasury. In 1816 he helped charter the Second Bank of the United States. He then spent most of the subsequent decade abroad, first as the US Minister to France (1816-1823) and then to Britain (1826-27). Upon returning to the United States, Gallatin spent the last twenty years of his life in Astoria, New York.

Throughout his career Gallatin pursued projects to promote learning and the Arts in his adopted country. He first developed an interest in the ecology and geography of North America as well as Native American culture while studying at the Geneva Academy. He maintained an interest in these subjects throughout his career in the United States. In 1803 and 1804, he helped plan the Lewis and Clark expedition to the lands acquired by the United States as a result of the Louisiana Purchase. During his New York years, after he had retired from political office, Gallatin became involved in several civic and national improvement campaigns. In 1831 he backed efforts to found a university for New York’s growing commercial classes. The result was the establishment of New York University. Gallatin also became the President of the American Ethnological and New York Historical Societies. He published two works on Native American culture: A Table of Indian Languages of the United States (1826) and Synopsis of the Indian Tribes of North America (New York, 1836). Finally, he continued to write pamphlets and deliver speeches on national economic and political issues, many of them having to do with the western expansion of the United States (for example, he published a pamphlet on the peace with Mexico in 1848).

 


The United States and the French Republic, 1794-1800

General Report of such vessels of the United States as have been taken... by the French, 1796, bound with other pamplets in: ‘Reports Etc., 1 Session, 7 Congress – 1801-2’ (vol. 1)

General Report of such vessels of the United States as have been taken… by the French, 1796, bound with other pamplets in: ‘Reports Etc., 1 Session, 7 Congress – 1801-2’ (vol. 1) – IHR

The French Republic, suspicious of America’s policy of neutrality during the wars between Britain and France following the signing of the Jay Treaty, begun to attack American shipping in the Atlantic. This official report was published by the government of the United States and shows where US ships were captured, where they were taken, and what happened to them. The foreign policy pursued by the John Adams Administration was central to partisan political atmosphere of the late 1790s.

 

 

 

The relationship between the French Republic and the United States deteriorated throughout the late 1790s. In 1794, the US and British governments signed the Jay Treaty, an action that undermined the proclaimed neutrality of The United States in the ongoing conflict between Britain in France. In 1796, the French Republic refused to receive American envoys unless they were willing to pay bribes. When this was revealed to the American public during the “XYZ Affair”, a firestorm of anti-French sentiment swept the nation, temporarily increasing support for the Federalist Administration of John Adams. Gallatin, and other immigrants were singled-out as foreign sympathisers during this period. This pamphlet outlines the instructions of the American envoys that were originally sent to negotiate with the French Republic.

 

 

 


Politics and the New Nation

federalist

The federalist: a collection of essays New-York: printed and sold by J. and A. McLean, 1788 Porteus Library RDb/Ham – SHL

In March and April 1788, New York publisher J. & A. MacLean, published the first bound collection of the Federalist papers. The two volumes held in Special Collections at Senate House Library were published by the MacLeans and date from the period of the ratification debate. Albert Gallatin sided with the Anti-Federalists during the ratification debate. Like many in the Anti-Federalist camp, he argued that the document did not provide adequate safeguards for the preservation of liberty. Many of his concerns would be addressed with the passing of the first ten amendments to the Constitution (the Bill of Rights) after the Constitution was ratified.

 

The 1790s were a turbulent decade for the early American Republic. The passions that raged during the debate over the ratification of the US Constitution were channelled into increasingly partisan political debates in the years that followed. The decade also witnessed the spread of radical ideologies throughout Europe as a result of the French Revolution, a development that many in the Federalist Party thought might ultimately destabilize the United States. In this tense political environment, prominent immigrants, especially those with radical sympathies, became targets of the Federalist Press. William Cobbett, a pro-British writer and publisher, attacked Gallatin for his support of Jefferson and the Republicans, his “French” manners, and his questionable loyalty to his adopted country. Gallatin is depicted as a luxurious Frenchman (he was actually from Geneva) representing “Whiskeyland” (western Pennsylvania, where an armed rebellion against federal taxes took place in 1791). There is some controversy over the image depicted here, it either represents Albert Gallatin or, more likely, Thomas Paine in front of a Guillotine – a reminder of the fate that might befall the United States if Jefferson and the “friends of France” ever came to power.

 


The Republicans in Power

Border-line-Ohio

Letter from the Secretary of the Treasury accompanying a report Published by the order of the House of Representatives [s.n.], 21st December 1801. Bound in volume Reports of the Treasury 1801-13 – IHR

Thomas Jefferson and his supporters swept into power during the election of 1800. In 1801, Albert Gallatin was appointed the 4th Secretary of the Treasury and was responsible, in large part, for the implementation of Jefferson’s economic policies. Land and the western expansion of agriculture were key to Jefferson’s vision for the country as an agrarian republic. The sale of western lands, one of the central revenue-raising measures pursued under Jefferson’s leadership, therefore had the dual benefit of spreading republican virtue, a quality the Jeffersonians believed was rooted in land ownership while simultaneously providing the government with money. These government reports show the sale of government land in Ohio.

Act-incorporate-subscribers

An Act to Incorporate the Subscribers to the Bank of the United States Philadelphia: Printed by order of the Board of directors (William Fry, printer), 1816 [G.L.] E.816 – SHL

The establishment of the Bank of the United States became another issue over which the two main political parties of the 1790s (Federalists and Jeffersonian Republicans) clashed over. The Federalists argued that the Bank was crucial to the encouragement of American industry, while the Republicans argued that it benefited rich merchants over the majority of population and that it eroded the republican virtue of the agrarian republic. In 1811 the senate allowed the charter of the first Bank of the United States to expire. While he had initially opposed the Bank while in congress, Gallatin changed his mind and became a supporter of the re-establishment of the bank in 1816.

 


The Northeast Border Dispute

Pamphlets-Maine-boundary-dispute

Maine North Eastern boundary Pamphlets vol. 1 . Bound in volume Resolutions of the legislature of the State of Maine – IHR

This 1832 map, one of five in a bound volume containing fifteen pamphlets relating to the Northeastern Boundary Dispute (1783-1842), shows three proposed borderlines between Canada and the United States. The red line represents the British/Canadian claim and the green the American position. The yellow line denotes the compromise solution recommended by the third party arbitrator in the dispute – William I, King of the Netherlands. Though rejected by the American negotiators when it was first proposed in 1831, the Dutch compromise (with a few alterations benefiting the British) was ultimately accepted by the United States in the Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1842. This volume was once owned by Gallatin.

This pamphlet calling for the reform of the Bank of Upper Canada was sent to Gallatin in 1830 by controversial Canadian politician, William Lyon Mackenzie (1795-1861). Mackenzie is best known as the first mayor of Toronto and for the role he played in the failed Upper Canada Rebellion of 1837-8. During the rebellion Mackenzie led an expedition of rebels to the outskirts of Toronto in 1837 and later declared himself the head of the ‘Canadian Republic’ before the rising was put down by British troops in January 1838. The inscription on this pamphlet reads, ‘To the Honourable Albert Gallatin, New York. York, Upper Canada, June 26, 1830. With W.L. Mackenzie’s Compliments’.

 

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A Tour of the IHR Library’s North American Collections

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Last week the IHR Library welcomed a group of final year undergraduate students from Kings College London for a tour of the Library and an introduction to the collections. The students were all researching North American history, with most currently undertaking dissertation projects surrounding the American Revolution. Therefore, the North American Collections Library was booked for the group in order to allow for an extensive tour of the North American collections and a subsequent discussion of the remit and scope of the collections.

Collection Librarian Michael Townsend providing an introduction to the classmark arrangement of the North American collections

group

Following this introductory overview, each student discussed their personal research topic with relevant source materials in the IHR Library’s collections suggested by both our Collection Librarian, Michael Townsend and KCL Teaching Fellow in North American History, Dr Angel-Luke O’Donnell.

Items of interest and significance were also brought down from the IHR’s onsite store ahead of the visit in order for the students to engage fully with the collection and to allow them access to a selection of the Library’s rarer holdings.

Examples included The George Washington Atlas: a collection of eighty-five maps including twenty-eight made by George Washington, seven used and annotated by him and eight made at his direction and Exploring with Lewis and Clark: the 1804 journal of Charles Floyd. William Wirt Henry’s, Patrick Henry: life, correspondence and speeches was also made available from the Library’s Special Collections.

Tower Rock, by Karl Bodmer in Lewis and Clark’s Expedition Journal

George Washington’s sketch map of the country he traversed in 1753-4

Dr Angel-Luke O’Donnell suggesting sources in the IHR collections for students to use during their dissertation research

To round off the visit, the group were afforded the opportunity to browse the shelves and ask library staff any remaining queries. We wish all the students well with their respective research projects and hope to see them all back using the Library’s extensive North American holdings in the near future!

For more information on the Library’s North American collections please consult the collections guide for United States History in the Institute of Historical Research Library.

In addition, information on locating and researching North American resources across London is available on the dedicated North American section of the History Collections Blog.

Tours of the Library are available for groups of any size and can encompass a general introduction to the Library or focus upon a specific area of the collections to suit research interests and needs. Please contact the library with any queries or to arrange a tour:

Tel: +44 (0)20 7862 8760         Email: ihr.library@sas.ac.uk

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History of Slavery in the Collections of the IHR

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The IHR Library team have recently completed a comprehensive guide to the History of Slavery in the Institute of Historical Research Library collections. parliamentary

The guide encompasses general historical works on
the history of enslavement, the slave trade in Britain, the United States and Latin America, and highlighted themes within the collection such as personal correspondence and diaries written by both slave-holders and those who were formerly enslaved.

The guide is designed to provide help to researchers new to the IHR’s collections, but it is hoped it will also benefit those familiar with the library’s holdings by documenting a subject which overlaps many collections and locations within the library.

It complements the guide to the Institute of Historical Research United States Collections, which also includes a specific section highlighting slavery within the United States holdings in the library.

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American collections in the IHR and beyond

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massachusetts-loyalistsWe’ve recently produced a detailed guide to the Institute of Historical Research United States collections. Coverage includes early American colonial history, the Revolution and establishment of the United States, and special themes such as slavery. The core of the guide was written by Benjamin Bankhurst during his time as Postdoctoral Fellow of North American History, and it has been completed with contributions from others.

The guide will be useful for people new to the collections but those familiar with the collection may also discover something new. It complements the Guide to Canadian History produced in 2014.

You can discover more about North American collections in libraries across London and beyond at the History Day event this Friday. As well as covering general history, a special strand this year will highlight North American collections. If you can’t attend in person, more information is available about the participating libraries and collections at http://historycollections.blogs.sas.ac.uk/north-american-collections.

montage

 

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North American Collections Room now open!

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American-room2
The North American Collections Room on the second floor of the IHR opened its doors to readers last week. We are pleased to announce that over two-thirds of our American resources are now available on open access in the room. The resources are spread over 350 metres of shelf space and represent the strengths of the overall collection, including colonial North American History, Canadian history, the American Civil War, US western expansion, and early US constitutional history. The space is also home to the IHR’s English and Spanish Caribbean holdings.

Soon the room will be equipped with a projector and will provide a new base for several IHR seminars. It will also be used to host small workshops, book launches and other functions promoting American history in London. In this way, the library hopes that it will become a community space for students and researchers interested in early American history.

To mark the opening, the library will post a series of entries on the IHR blog devoted to a body of sources that constitute the backbone of our colonial American resources: archival series published by state and regional historical societies. All together, the IHR holds over 800 volumes of state historical society material relating to the history of the colonial and revolutionary periods. It is the largest open shelf collection of these resources in the UK. These volumes contain printed versions of a range of documents held in state archives, including – but by now means restricted to – personal correspondence, assembly minutes, and court records. The first blog post, to appear early next week, will focus on our New England resources.

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‘Everlasting bickering and matters delayed': the American delegation and the 1814 Ghent peace negotiations.

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Signing_of_Treaty_of_Ghent_(1812)

Amedee Forstier, The Signing of the Treaty of Ghent, Christmas Eve, 1814 [John Quincy Adams (5th from left), Albert Gallatin (6th from left), and Henry Clay (10th from left, seated)].

Wednesday marks the bicentenary of the signing of the Treaty of Ghent, the agreement that ended the War of 1812, the last open conflict between the US and Great Britain. The war was fought between the two countries over north Atlantic trading rights and territory in the North American interior. In celebration of this anniversary, this blog entry will examine the peace negotiations of 1813-1814 through the eyes of 17-year-old James Gallatin, the son of the chief American delegate during the negotiations and serving Secretary of the Treasury, Albert Gallatin. James accompanied his father to Europe and recorded the day-to-day challenges faced by the Americans in their dealing with the British and, perhaps more interestingly, in their attempts to arrive at a consensus strategy among themselves.  James Gallatin’s diary reveals the human side of nineteenth-century diplomacy as a process of negotiation, not only between delegations representing rival nations, but also within each peace commission, where clashing egos among friends sometimes threatened to derail talks.

The Madison Administration sent several key members of the government to negotiate the end of the war alongside Albert Gallatin, including John Quincy Adams (1767-1848), James A. Bayard (1767-1815), Jonathan Russell (1771-1832) and Henry Clay (1777-1852). Adams, the future president of the US, was then serving as the US envoy to the Russian court. Bayard was a prominent Federalist senator from Delaware and Russell was the US envoy to Sweden. Finally, Henry clay was the Speaker of the House of Representatives and would later become Secretary of State during the Adams Administration.

The American delegation was beset with problems from the beginning, many of which were of their own making. The three men fought among themselves and with their British counterparts throughout the peace talks. James Gallatin recorded the first meeting between his father and John Quincy Adams in St. Petersburg during the unsuccessful Russian-backed peace talks of October 2013. The two men had different thoughts about how to best advance the American position. James remembered: ‘After a stormy interview with Mr. Adams (Adams was the storm) father has decided to take his own course’ (12).  To his frustration Albert Gallatin found himself marginalized by two of his compatriots. He, for example, wanted the negotiations to take place in London, thereby allowing the Americans direct contact with the British Foreign Minister, Lord Castlereagh. In this he was overruled by Clay and Adams who refused the suggestion ‘point blank’ arguing that, unlike Gallatin, they were ‘plain Americans and that in England they would only be treated as colonists.’ Geneva-born Gallatin did not understand their position. ‘You are a foreigner,’ they told him ‘which places you on an entirely different footing’ (21). From this moment onward the US delegation descended into regular bouts of in-fighting. Clay and Adams did not get along and often disagreed over how the negotiations should proceed. To make matters worse the Americans arrived in Ghent a month before their British counterpoints, leaving plenty of time for competing egos to clash and resentment to fester. James recorded these episodes in his diary. On 15 July he wrote: ‘Nothing to do. Mr. Adams in a very bad temper. Mr. Clay annoys him. Father pours oil on the troubled waters’ (27).

The situation worsened after the British delegation arrived in August. As Gallatin had feared when he objected to Ghent as the location for negotiations, the British, who had always viewed the American war as a sideshow in the larger conflict with France, sent relatively low level representation to Low Countries. Soon after their arrival Lord Gambier (1756-1833), an Admiral of the Fleet, and Henry Goulburn (1784-1856), Undersecretary of State for War and the Colonies, presented the Americans with a set of demands that they could not possibly accept. The British position regarding the North-Western Territory was utterly unreasonable from the American perspective. It required that the sovereignty of the region – which would eventually encompass the states of Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois along with portions Indiana and Ohio – be returned to Native American control under the Guarantee of the British Crown. This would require the evacuation and repatriation of thousands of US citizens. A few days after this initial meeting, James recorded the despondency and frustration of the US delegation in his diary. ‘Father finds greater difficulty with his own colleagues’ he wrote ‘Clay uses strong language to Adams, and Adams returns the compliment’ (28).  Gallatin clearly feared that both Clay and Adams could undermine the negotiations by making brash demands or by venting their tempers in the presence of the British. By late October the Americans began developing a treaty proposal among themselves. James’s diary reveals that this was, like everything else to that point, a tortured and exasperating process. ‘It is a most difficult task’ he claimed ‘both Mr. Adams and Mr. Clay object to everything except what they suggest themselves’ (32).

By November it appeared that negotiations were on the verge of collapse. At this point of despair for the Americans, Gallatin received a confidential letter from the Duke of Wellington, a man close to both the British Prime Minister and Lord Castlereagh. In it he reassured Gallatin that peace was attainable despite mistakes made on both sides. He informed Gallatin that the British ministry held him in high regard. The Foreign minister identified Gallatin as the senior member of the American delegation. ‘As I gather’, Wellington wrote:

Mr. Madison as well as Mr. Monroe [Secretary of State and future President] gave you full power to act, without even consulting your colleagues on points you considered of importance. I now feel that peace is shortly in view. Mr. Goulburn has made grave errors and Lord Castlereagh has read him a sharp lesson (34).

Two weeks later Gallatin received another letter from Wellington again stressing the Ministry’s faith in him: ‘I hear on all sides that your moderation and sense of justice, together with you good common sense, places you above all other delegates, not excepting ours.’ ‘I have always had the greatest admiration for the country of your birth,’ Wellington continued, ‘you are a foreigner with all the traditions of one fighting for the peace and welfare of the country of your adoption.’ Gallatin’s political opponents regularly questioned his suitability for office on the grounds that he was an immigrant and therefore harbored residual attachments to the land of his birth. He had been thrown out of Congress for this reason in 1793. James noted his father’s reaction to Wellington’s compliment: ‘Father, I think, was pleased. He is a foreigner and is proud of it’ (35).

Peace terms were agreed shortly after Gallatin received Wellington’s letters. Both sides agreed to the immediate cessation of hostilities and the establishment of the status quo antebellum. The treaty also stipulated that all border disputes be referred to territorial commissions (for Gallatin’s role in later border dispute see the blog). Having concluded the peace talks after several long months of stressful negotiation, the British and US representatives then sat together for Christmas dinner. This act initiated a period of peace and friendship between the US, Canada and the UK that holds to this day.

All citations are taken from: James Gallatin, A Great Peace Maker, the diary of James Gallatin secretary to Albert Gallatin, ed. Count Gallatin (London, 1914).

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Albert Gallatin, US – Canadian relations, and the rebel mayor of Toronto

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Continuing our series on the Albert Gallatin Collection in the IHR library, this post explores a few interesting items relating to the often fraught relationship between the US and Canada in the early nineteenth century. Throughout his later political career, Gallatin worked towards the peaceable resolution of the Northeastern Boundary Dispute (1783-1842) between the US and the British Canadian colonies. The first set of sources discussed here, a series of fourteen pamphlets and five maps collected by Gallatin, bear interesting provenance indicating that Gallatin relied upon a large international network of correspondents in order to flesh out his own position on the border question.  The second source examined is interesting primarily for its provenance. It is a pamphlet on Canadian currency and the Bank of Upper Canada sent to Gallatin by the future first Mayor of Toronto and rebel leader William Lyon Mackenzie. All of these sources came to the IHR as the result of bequest in the 1930s by Sir Martin Conway. They likely passed into Conway’s possession through his father-in-law, the New York newspaper magnate Manton Marble.  For a short time, a few of Gallatin’s books will be on display in the exhibition case in the newly refurbished Foyle Special Collections Room at the IHR.

Map-MainePamphs

Map in the Gallatin Collection depicting the proposed boundary between the US and Canada.

Albert Gallatin and the Northeastern Boundary Dispute

Gallatin first became interested in the dispute between the United States and British Canada over the Maine border shortly after his arrival in Boston during the closing years of the War for American Independence.  Over the winter of 1780/81 he served in the garrison guarding the coastal Maine frontier town of Machias against a possible British Invasion from Nova Scotia. He later became directly involved in the negotiations over the boundary when he took office as the US Minister to Great Britain in 1826. He continued to conduct research on the subject when he returned to America in 1827. This research culminated in the publication of ‘A memoir of the north-eastern boundary’ (New York, 1843), a work commemorating the final establishment of a permanent border under the terms of the Webster-Ashburton Treaty.

Signature of Charles Stewart Daveis found in the Gallatin Collection of pamphlets on the Northeastern Boundary Dispute. .

Signature of Charles Stewart Daveis in the Gallatin Collection.

Two pamphlets in the collection bear provenance that suggest they once belonged to Gallatin. The inscription found on both of these works reads ‘[To the] Hon. Albert Gallatin with the respects of C. S. Daveis’.  The man who presented these pamphlets to Gallatin, Charles Stewart Daveis (1788-1865), was a Bowdoin trained lawyer and a central figure in the development of the legal position of the United States during the boundary negotiations. Daveis served as an agent (1825-1827) for the proprietors of disputed lands in northern Maine before becoming a United States agent to the Netherlands in 1829. From the 1820s through the 1840s the state legislature published reports derived from Daveis’s research on northern land grants and settlement claims extending back to the reign of William and Mary in order to bolster American claims to land ownership. Daveis arrived in the Netherlands at a crucial moment in the on-going dispute over the international border. On the eve of the 5th federal census in 1830 the Maine Legislature sent representatives to the contested lands along the Saint John River in order to gauge popular support for Maine’s case and, perhaps more importantly, the size of the American communities in the north. The legislature hoped that residents in the disputed area might be counted in the census and that the state might therefore see increased representation in Congress. The authorities in Halifax responded by sending the New Brunswick militia to the region in order to disrupt public meetings organized by the Maine representatives. As a result of the ‘Crisis of 1830’ the US activated the clause of the treaty of Ghent (1815) that stipulated that a ‘neutral third party’ should arbitrate future border disputes between the US and the UK. Both countries agreed that King William I of the Netherlands would serve as the chosen arbitrator. Daveis, who had been sent to the Netherlands perhaps in anticipation of this development, was therefore well placed at the heart of the negotiations over the future of the border. William did not arbitrate in favour of either side’s position, instead suggesting in January 1831 that a line be drawn approximately halfway between the two proposed borders. Britain accepted the Dutch position while the US rejected it. The dispute therefore rumbled on for a further decade until the Webster-Ashburton Treaty (1842) finally established a permanent border.

Odell One of the pamphlets in the collection reflects the Canadian perspective on the issue and indicates that Gallatin had access to a wide array of sources and viewpoints on the issue. The pamphlet, written by Ward Chipman (1787-1851), a prominent New Brunswick judge, and entitled Letters on the Boundary Line, first published in the City Gazette (Saint John [New Brunswick], 1828), bears the inscription ‘from Wm. F. Odell Esqr’ on its titlepage. William Franklin Odell (1774-1844) was a member of a prominent New Jersey loyalist family that had settled in New Brunswick following the War of American Independence. His father Jonathan Odell was a Church of England clergyman and poet who became a leading propagandist for the Crown in New York during the Revolution. William was named after his father’s patron, William Franklin, the last Royal governor of New Jersey and son of famed American intellectual and statesman Benjamin Franklin. Odell held a number of important offices in New Brunswick over the course of the forty-year dispute. In 1815 he was sworn in as a member of the colonial legislature and in 1833 became a member of the powerful five-man Executive Council.  From 1818 until 1820 Odell led annual survey missions to the banks of the Saint John in the expectation that their findings would refute American claims to the region. His final report on the topography of the borderlands was dismissed by Washington because it ignored a hilly region (the Notre Dame Mountains) near the St. Lawrence that the Americans contended was the natural boundary between Canada and the United States. The existence of these highlands mattered as the American claim to the contested region was based upon the assertion that all land encompassing the headwaters of the St. John and its tributaries flowing into the Atlantic Ocean, rather than the St. Lawrence, constituted US territory.

Other sources on the Northeastern Boundary Dispute in the IHR Library

  • The IHR holds another pamphlet about the Northeastern Boundary dispute written from the British/Canadian perspective. The essay, written by Sir George Head and entitled ‘Remarks on the north-eastern boundary question’, was published in 1838 alongside a travel narrative recalling the author’s journey through the Canadas during the late 1820s.
  • In 1839 the British government sent George William Featherstonhaugh (1780-1866) to the Maine frontier in order to finally settle the border dispute. Both sides approved of Featherstonhaugh’s appointment to the post of commissioner. He had previously worked for the US government on a number of surveying missions. Indeed, Featherstonhaugh had spent the previous thirty years in the United States, during which time he had served as the US geologist tasked with exploring the Louisiana Purchase. The IHR holds a copy of Featherstonhaugh’s journals composed during his mission on the Maine/Canadian border.
  • We also own a copy of Featherstonhaugh’s  published thoughts on the final draft of the Webster-Ashburton Treaty, Observations upon the Treaty of Washington, signed August 9, 1842.

Gallatin and William Lyon Mackenzie

William Lyon Mackenzie (1795-1861) was one of the most colourful figures in nineteenth-century Canadian history. Over the course of his heavily mythologized career he was a firebrand journalist, radical politician, rebel and exile. Throughout the mid-1820s he edited several reformist newspapers, including The Colonial Advocate, which became conduits for criticism of the Canadian Tory establishment. Mackenzie directed his most scathing printed attacks towards the small group of office holders derisively labelled the ‘Family Compact’.  His publishing activities earned him the ire of the Compact’s supporters who in 1826, in what is known as the ‘Types Riot’, attacked the offices of the Advocate, destroyed Mackenzie’s presses and threw his type into Lake Ontario. Mackenzie was able to capitalise upon this event through the publicity generated by the trial that followed and in 1827 he was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Upper Canada. He served in the legislature until 1834 before becoming the first mayor of the newly incorporated city of Toronto.

William Lyon Mackenzie, image courtesy of Wikimedia.

William Lyon Mackenzie, image courtesy of Wikimedia.

Mackenzie is perhaps best remembered for leading the failed Upper Canada Rebellion (1837-38), in which a hastily organized group of American settlers and reform supporters attempted to establish an independent Canadian Republic. Mackenzie and his supporters hope to take advantage of the fact that the British Army regiments stationed locally had been called away to supress another rising in Quebec – the Lower Canada Rebellion led by Louis-Joseph Papineau. In December 1837, the rebel force was repulsed on the outskirts of Toronto during the battle of Montogmery’s Tavern. Afterwards, Mackenzie and other prominent rebels fled to Navy Island on the Niagara River. There Mackenzie declared himself the head of the provisional government of the Republic of Canada. The Republic was short lived and the arrival of the Royal Navy on 14 of January 1838 scattered the remaining rebels and forced Mackenzie into exile in the United States. Mackenzie landed on his feet in the US where he worked as newspaper correspondent for the next eleven years. In 1849 he was invited back to his home country as part of an amnesty agreement that followed the electoral victory of the Reformers in the 1848 legislative election. Remarkably, Mackenzie successfully transitioned back into a political career shortly after his homecoming. Between 1851 and 1858 he served as a member of the provincial parliament where he continued to pursue his quest for constitutional reform. In the last years of his life he advocated the annexation of Canada by the United States. Mackenzie died in Toronto on 26 August 1861 at the age of 66. It would seem, however, that neither sedition nor death could keep Mackenzie out of Canadian politics. He was resurrected in a popular satirical twitter feed during the 2010 Toronto mayoral election in which he bemoaned the rise of the controversial current mayor of Toronto.

The IHR Library has recently uncovered an item in our collections that bears provenance linking it to both William Lyon Mackenzie and Albert Gallatin. The item in question is a select committee report on the currency of Upper Canada published by the legislature in 1830. Mackenzie was then serving his first term in the legislature and had chaired the committee that produced this pamphlet. Mackenzie distrusted the Bank of Upper Canada, viewing it as a monopoly overseen by British office holders. Mackenzie favoured introducing hard specie in the colony and had organized the committee to investigate the feasibility of doing so. Albert Gallatin had by 1830 reversed his opposition to a national bank in the US and was instrumental in the founding of the Second Bank of the United States. It is perhaps not surprising, then, that Mackenzie would have established contact with Gallatin in order to discuss the reform position on the bank and currency in Canada. The inscription on this pamphlet in the IHR library reads, ‘To the Honourable Albert Gallatin, New York. York, Upper Canada, June 26, 1830. With W.L. Mackenzie’s Compliments.’.

Next week we will move our discussion over to the SHL library blog for the final post in the series. We will take a look at a few of Gallatin’s pamphlets held in Senate House Library’s special collections. These pamphlets touch upon many subjects including the debate over Jeffersonian political economy, ante-bellum finance and popular politics in the early American republic.

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Albert Gallatin’s Library in the IHR collections

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Gallatin-imageThe IHR library is excited to announce that we have discovered several items in the US collections that once belonged to prominent early American statesman Albert Gallatin (1761-1849). These works came to the library as part of the Conway bequests of the 1920s and 30s and represent a selection of Gallatin’s – much larger – personal library. They provide us with an insight into the type of works owned by Gallatin and may, in at least one instance, cast light on how he acquired some of the books in his collection. Over the next two weeks the IHR and Senate House libraries will post a series of blog entries celebrating items in our collections relating to Gallatin’s political career.  This post will look at Gallatin’s life and the significant role he played in the political and economic debates of the United States during the Antebellum period. It will also briefly introduce one of the sources recently uncovered that bears marks of ownership linking it to Gallatin.

Albert Gallatin and the politics of the early United States

Albert Gallatin was born into a prominent merchant family in Geneva where he spent his childhood and adolescence. Orphaned at an early age, he spent much of his youth as a student in residency at the Geneva Academy where he became enamoured with the philosophy of the French Enlightenment. His enthusiasm for French philosophers, especially Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and the magnetic draw American revolutionary ideology led the young Gallatin to consider sailing for the United States – a place where Enlightenment principles might be put into practice. In 1780, at the age of 19, Gallatin arrived in Boston. The first few years of his life in America were spent in Massachusetts and Maine.  Enticed by the prospect of organizing a new community of French refugees, he later headed south and settled in western Pennsylvania. It was in Pennsylvania that he first became embroiled in the fractious politics of the new nation. In 1790 he won a seat in the state senate before becoming a US senator for Pennsylvania in 1793. In the Federal Senate, Gallatin aligned himself with the Jeffersonian Republicans in opposition to the financial policies of the first Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton and, as a result, soon fell out of favour with the Federalist majority in the chamber. He became an early causality of the Federalist campaign  to marginalize foreign-born Republican supporters (culminating in the passing of the Alien and Sedition Acts in 1798) after his congressional opponents eventually managed to unseat him on the basis that he did not meet the residency requirements to qualify for admission into the Senate. He was later elected to the House of Representatives for Pennsylvania’s 12th district, an office he occupied from 1795 to 1801. Gallatin was instrumental in negotiating the peaceful resolution of the Whiskey Rebellion, a protest movement in western Pennsylvania spurred by Hamilton’s tax on distilled liquor. Though he abhorred the secessionist rhetoric and violent tactics of many of the rebels, he sympathized with their core position regarding federal tax policy. As a resident of the western counties with a track record of opposition to the Federalist bloc in congress, Gallatin was able to earn the trust of many of the movement’s leaders and helped to convince them to stand down before the arrival of Federal troops.

He became the Republican party leader in the House and was a leading critic of the Adams administration and the national debt. Following the spectacular electoral victory of Thomas Jefferson and his Republican allies in 1800 (the so-called ‘Revolution of 1800’) Gallatin was appointed the fourth Secretary of the Treasury. He stayed in this office during the Jefferson and Madison administrations, leaving office in 1813/14. Though he had initially opposed Hamilton’s plans for a national bank, the need to adequately fund the army during the War of 1812 convinced Gallatin of its necessity. Accordingly, he departed from the position held by many in his party and helped charter the Second Bank of the United States in 1816. He then spent most of the subsequent decade abroad, first as the US Minister to France (1816-1823) and then to Britain (1826-27). Upon returning to the United States, Gallatin settled in Astoria, New York, where he spent the last twenty years of his life.

Throughout his career Gallatin pursued projects to promote learning and the Arts in his adopted country. He first developed an interest in the ecology and geography of North America as well as Native American culture while studying at the Geneva Academy. He maintained an interest in these subjects throughout his career in the United States. In 1803 and 1804, he helped plan the Lewis and Clark expedition to the lands acquired by the United States as a result of the Louisiana Purchase. During his New York years, after he had retired from political office, Gallatin became involved in several civic and national improvement campaigns. In 1831 he backed efforts to found a university for New York’s growing commercial classes. The result was the establishment of New York University. Gallatin also became the President of the American Ethnological and New York Historical Societies. He published two works on Native American culture: A Table of Indian Languages of the United States (1826) and Synopsis of the Indian Tribes of North America (New York, 1836). Finally, he continued to write pamphlets and deliver speeches on national economic and political issues, many of them having to do with the western expansion of the United States (for example, he published a pamphlet on the peace with Mexico in 1848).

For more information on the life and works of Albert Gallatin, consult the following works in the IHR and Senate House libraries:

The IHR:

Senate House Library:

The Laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, 1793)

Gallatin's signature on the front flyleaf of 'The Laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania' (Philadelphia, 1793)

Gallatin’s signature on the front flyleaf of ‘The Laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’ (Philadelphia, 1793).

The IHR library holds many items containing provenance suggesting that they were owned by Albert Gallatin. The majority of these items are presentation copies of pamphlets and books bearing manuscript inscriptions and messages directed to Gallatin (we will be looking at a few of these items in future blog posts). Within one volume, however, we discovered direct evidence that established that the item was once owned by Albert Gallatin. In this case the provenance was very clear: Gallatin’s signature on the front flyleaf of the 2nd volume of a 1793 edition of The Laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Laws was printed in Philadelphia while Gallatin was serving his short term in the Senate as a representative for Pennsylvania. In our next blog we will examine in detail a collection of pamphlets held in the IHR collection, once owned by Gallatin, that focuses on an issue that remained close to his heart during his career in America: the Northeastern Boundary Dispute (1783-1842).

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H. P. Biggar and Canadian history at the IHR

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Biggar book plateFollowing on from last week’s launch of the library’s bequests webpage and in keeping with recent blog posts about our Canadian holdings, the IHR would like to take the opportunity to highlight a few examples of historic donations to our North American collections. The Institute’s extensive  resources relating to the early history of Canada came into existence as a result of several large bequests and donations from private donors and public bodies during the 1920s and 30s. Of these donors, H.P. Biggar stands out for his efforts to promote Canadian studies at the IHR and in London more generally.

The Biggar Collection

Henry Percival Biggar (1872-1938) served as the European representative of  the Public Archives of Canada in Ottawa during the first three decades of the 20th century. While in Europe he received a doctorate in history at Oxford and published several titles on European exploration in North America including The voyages of the Cabots (Paris, 1903), The Voyages of Jacques Cartier (Ottawa, 1924) and The Works of Samuel de Champlain (Toronto, 1922-1936).

Biggar was central to the acquisition campaign for the Public Archives and later participated in the organization of historical manuscripts in the national collection, a project he wrote about at length in the first two volumes of the Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research. From 1905 he served as the European representative of the Department of Canadian Archives, a position he occupied until his death in 1938. He was instrumental in the founding of the Canadian Historical Society in 1922 and served as its first secretary. As secretary he oversaw the transcription of important manuscripts relevant to the early history of Canada held in Parisian and London archives for deposition in the Public Archives of Canada. Biggar was also an activist for Canadian and imperial charities in the capital, serving as the National Commissioner of the Canadian Red Cross Society during the early years of the Depression.

From 1921 onwards Biggar donated books from his personal library to the IHR. As a result, a number of the Colonial Collection’s strengths reflect his research interests in the areas of early European exploration of North America and the history of New France before the British conquest of 1759/60. Biggar’s largest donations of books and pamphlets arrived in the IHR over the course of the summer of 1926 and the winter of 1927.  In 1938, the IHR library committee valued the Biggar Library, then consisting of 562 volumes and 256 pamphlets, at £950.

The Canadian Lectureship Fund Acquisitions

Throughout his years in London Biggar tirelessly promoted the professionalization and study of Canadian history in the UK. In 1926 he organized a fund to endow a lectureship in Canadian History at the University of London. Sadly, he was unable to collect enough money for a lectureship endowment before his death. The money raised for that purpose, however, did enable the IHR to significantly expand its colonial history holdings. In 1932 Biggar stipulated that the interest from the lectureship fund, then standing at £600, be used by the IHR library committee to ‘buy books to be presented to the Canadian section of the Institute library’. Many of the library’s holdings in the area of European exploration in North America were purchased through the Canadian Lectureship Fund including, for example, Paul Gaffarel’s, Histoire de la découverte de l’Amérique, 2 vols (Paris, 1892)and Henry Murphy’s The Voyage of Verrazzano (New York, 1870). Perhaps the most substantial additions to the library purchased under the aegis of the Lectureship fund were the initial two dozen volumes of the Rapport des Archives du Quebec series.

Provenance in the Biggar Collection

  • A presentation copy of Joseph-Guillaume Barthe’s (1816-1893) Le Canada Reconquis par la France (Paris, 1855) presented to the French illustrator and student of Delacroix, Maurice Sand (1823-1889) includes a letter from the author bound among the front flyleaves of the book. It is dated Quebec, 15 September 1867 and discusses a meeting between Barthe and Sand in Paris in 1861. La Canada Reconquis par la France argues for renewed French immigration to Quebec in order to rejuvenate French Canadian language and culture. [1]
  • The first volume of the  IHR copy of Etienne Michel Faillon’s Histoire de la Colonie Francaise in Canada contains a long citation from the work in Biggar’s hand. It also contains a letter, bound among the front leaves, with information about the book.
  • The library holds several books purchased by Biggar during his time as a student in Paris in the 1880s. Biggar recorded the location and year of purchase on the front flyleaves of many of these books including Leon Deschamps’s Un colonisateur du Temps de Richelieu, Isaac de Razilly (Paris, 1887) and Pierre Boucher’s Canada in the Seventeenth Century (Montreal, 1883).

[1] For more information on Barthe see the Dictionary of Canadian Biography: Biography – BARTHE, JOSEPH-GUILLAUME – Volume XII (1891-1900) – Dictionary of Canadian Biography

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2013 Donald Murphy Prize awarded to IHR Fellow

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benbankhurstWe are delighted to announce that Benjamin Bankhurst has been awarded the Donald Murphy Prize for Distinguished First Books for his recent work Ulster Presbyterians and the Scots Irish Diaspora, 1750-1764. Ben is the Postdoctoral Fellow in North American History at the IHR, and his book examines how news regarding the violent struggle to control the borderlands of British North America between 1750 and 1764 resonated among communities in Ireland with familial links to the colonies.

The prize was awarded by the American Conference for Irish Studies (ACIS), which annually recognizes five books and one graduate dissertation for their contribution to the field of Irish Studies in the disciplines of social sciences, history, literature, and the Irish language.

You can find more details of the ACIS prizes here, and full details of Ben’s book are available here.

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