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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
We’ve now been open for two weeks, and the library staff are getting used to the new layout just as much as readers are. The book move took months of planning, and it’s pleasing to see how well the new arrangement works in practice and that most readers have been happy with it. A few books ended up being shelved in the wrong order, inevitable in such a big move. The library staff have been finding time to tidy these sections at times when there are few readers about. Much of the shelf signage is complete. The folio sections were especially disrupted while in store, and we are pleased that they are now back on open access and upright.
We’ve moved as much of the collection as possible to the open shelves, and regret that many periodicals have had to remain in closed access. Exceptions include the four most frequently requested periodicals (see below) and many record society and similar source-based series. The Current Periodicals room on the ground floor houses the last three or four years of most titles.
As most people will already have discovered, the 1st floor houses British (including local), Irish, Crusades, Byzantine and Church history. On the 2nd floor are the other European collections. The Military and International Relations collections are in the basement. Still under construction is a further room on the 2nd floor which will contain substantial parts of the American and Colonial collections. Watch this blog later in the year for news of its completion and opening.
Please note that three collections – Scottish, Spanish local and German – are shelved in rooms which double up as meeting rooms. Please check the IHR diary if you are planning to use these collections. Items can be reserved in advance of your visit if necessary. The rooms are:
Scottish History: Professor Olga Crisp room (room N102)
Spanish Regional: John S Cohen room (N203)
German History: Peter Marshall room (N204)
German local: Past and Present room (N202)
Some of the older (pre-1750) and rarer material has been classmarked S and is being kept in closed access for reasons of security. These books can be requested as usual, and will be stored in the library office when not in use.
The main changes to where items are shelved are as follows:
Collections moved from closed access to open access
Four heavily-used periodicals – Historical Research, English Historical Review, Past and Present and History
Most folios (BB and other double letters)
A new sequence of oversized folios (BBB and other triple letters)
Most International Relations and Military History
Most German and Low Countries
Selections from the general collection (all of E.1 Historiography, E.4 Holy Roman Empire, E.6 Medieval European history, selections from E.2 Reference works, E.3 General European history and E.7 Modern European history)
Collections moved from offsite to onsite store
European Universities (E.8)
Other selections from the general collection (the parts of E.2, E.3, E.7 not on open access)
Signage, catalogue and website updates are still ongoing, but do pop in and see staff in the library enquiry office if you have any questions.
We’re still waiting for the photocopying/printing equipment to arrive, and for the Wifi to be connected. We apologise for the inconvenience the delay has caused. We will provide updates when we have further information. You are welcome to use your own photographic equipment to make copies.
Reader desks are provided around the library. We expect the first floor reading room to be the most heavily used. If you find it fully occupied, remember that there are plenty of desks on the same floor in the Foyle reading room and upstairs on the 2nd and 3rd floors.
The Foyle reading room has book supports and a large table making it ideal for consulting large and fragile material as well as maps.
We have eight PCs currently available and three more will be added once some network faults are fixed. Two of these PCs have our new microfilm scanners attached, but are also available for general use when not required for this purpose.
Thanks for your patience during this time. We will put updates on the blog but please contact us if you’d like any further information on firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 7862 8760.
We’re on schedule to reopen on Monday morning and looking forward to welcoming you to the refurbished IHR. Over 3.5 kilometres of books have been moved during the last 2 weeks and merged from 3 locations into the new library, and the movers have done an amazing job and stayed cheerful throughout!
The catalogue and finding aids are in the process of being updated, but staff will be on hand on Monday to help with locating material, and we are happy to give tours around the collections and facilities. We welcome our new library trainee Alex Zaleski on Monday as well, and she will be learning the new layout with the rest of us.
Please bear with us as we get things straightened out over the coming weeks. Photocopiers and Wifi are not yet available but will be installed as soon as possible. There are some new PCs ready to use on the 1st floor (the rest will be installed next week) and brand new microform scanning facilities.
The much loved common room is fully refurbished and will have catering provided at lunchtimes and afternoon tea. We hope you will enjoy using the new facilities.
The library’s move back to the refurbished north block of Senate House is progressing very nicely, and we’ve said a final goodbye to our temporary south block home, which is now almost completely cleared. So far everything is going to plan (more or less) and the movers have been working hard to get our collections safely into their new locations. We have a great selection of brand new comfy furniture around the library and in the common room, which has a striking new design.
There’s still a lot to be done over the next week, bringing selected material down from closed access in the tower, and back from our offsite store, but everything seems to be running to schedule and we hope to reopen on Monday 1st September as planned.
Again we apologise for any inconvenience caused by the closure period but we’re all really pleased with the library’s new look and facilities, and how much of the collection has returned to open access, and we hope that you will be too!
The 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 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).
We are beginning to move books and finalise shelving layouts in preparation for the move. Some books which have been on open access need to be temporarily moved into closed access to be shelved in sequence. This particularly affects books at B.0 (British bibliography), place names series and folios. They can still be requested if required, and will be returning to open access after the move. Please check the catalogue for details of specific items.
The fetch service and staffing of the enquiry office may also be disrupted during the next 2 weeks. We will guarantee a fetch at 9am and 2pm, but other times (11am and 4.30pm) may be affected, and you are advised to check with library or reception staff if a request is urgent (020 7862 8760/8740).
The library will close completely from Saturday 16th August to Saturday 30th August inclusive. We hope to reopen in the north block on Monday 1st September but please check the IHR website and blog for updates nearer the time..
We apologise for the disruption caused during this period, but we have attempted to keep the closure period to a minimum. We’re looking forward to welcoming you to the refurbished IHR complete with the much missed common room!
2014 History libraries & research open day by Kate Wilcox
Save this date: Tuesday 20 January 2015! For anyone studying and researching history or related disciplines, this will be an important opportunity to locate key libraries, archives and collections. Following up on the successful 2014 History Day, Senate House Library and the Institute of Historical Research Library will be hosting a second History libraries & research open day with the support of the School of Advanced Study. With the open history fair and one-on-one research clinics in Macmillan Hall and training sessions in a nearby seminar room, the event aims to match researchers and historians with the skills and collections they need. Keep an eye on the event website for further details and we hope to see you here in January!