Showing posts with label Cromwell. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cromwell. Show all posts

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Accession : The Coup d'etat of 1688 (and All That)

This outright usurpation is blithely referred to in British-Venetian parlance as the 
``Glorious Revolution''
--which should give you some idea of how little regard for truth prevails in these circles.

"By the Grace of God, King of England, Scotland, France and Ireland, Stadholther of the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands, Prince of Orange, Count of Nassau, Defender of the Faith, etc."

If you crown him, let me prophesy:

The blood of English shall manure the ground,
And future ages groan for this foul act;
Peace shall go sleep with Turks and infidels,
And in this seat of peace tumultuous wars
Shall kin with kin and kind with kind confound;
Disorder, horror, fear and mutiny
Shall here inhabit, and this land be call'd
The field of Golgotha and dead men's skulls.
O, if you raise this house against this house,
It will the woefullest division prove
That ever fell upon this cursed earth.
Prevent it, resist it, let it not be so,
Lest child, child's children, cry against you woe!

Not all the water in the rough rude sea
Can wash the balm off from an anointed king;
The breath of worldly men cannot depose
The deputy elected by the Lord:
For every man that Bolingbroke hath press'd
To lift shrewd steel against our golden crown,
God for his Richard hath in heavenly pay
A glorious angel: then, if angels fight,

Weak men must fall, for Heaven still guards the right.

HIST-251: Early Modern England: Politics, Religion, and Society under the Tudors and Stuarts

Chapter 1. The Glorious Revolution of 1688 [00:00:00]

Professor Keith Wrightson: Okay. Let's get started.

When I was at school we were often told that one of the great things about British history was that the country had never been successfully invaded by a foreign power since 1066 when William the Conqueror and the Normans conquered the Saxon kingdom, and this was part of the national story as we got it. There was a great deal of emphasis upon successfully resisting foreign powers, the Spanish Armada, Napoleon, Hitler, whatever. 

So no successful foreign invasion since 1066, and this makes a good story, but unfortunately it's not actually true. 

Britain was very successfully invaded in November 1688 by a largely Dutch army under William of Orange, Stadtholder of the Netherlands.

But that of course didn't count. The whole events of 1688 had been successfully repackaged as the essential prelude to the English Revolution Part Two, the Glorious Revolution of 1688, taken in the classic Whig interpretation of national history as a fundamental watershed. 

Before 1688, the country had been beset with chronic political instability and indeed social conflict. 1688 cleared the way. It cleared the way for the establishment of a stable constitutional monarchy; cleared the way for political liberty. It cleared the way for religious toleration and cultural pluralism, the triumph of Whig principles in that respect; and security of property and growing economic opulence and the formation of the United Kingdom by the Union of England and Scotland, and finally the successful assertion of national power internationally and the growth of an overseas empire.

Well, these are some of the key elements classically stressed from the eighteenth century onwards in Whig historiography. It's a bit of a myth; a particular, rather self-serving, interpretation of the national past with a strong ideological message about what it is to be British. But like all historiographical myths of that kind it did have a kernel of truth, even if it airbrushed out an awful lot of the real complexities of the story and tended to represent as being almost inevitable a set of outcomes which were in fact far more complex, far more hesitant, far more messy than was usually recognized. But still, be that as it may, these are the processes that we need to consider in the final days of this course.

Well, as you'll remember, by 1688 King James II had succeeded in undermining the initial strength of his position when he came to the crown by utterly alienating what's usually referred to as the Tory Anglican majority in the political nation, people upon whom Charles II had counted when he faced down the Whig opposition in the Exclusion Crisis of 1678 to '81. And, at the same time as he alienated those people, James had failed to win the trust and support of the Protestant dissenters, [and] the low church Anglicans who had been the backbone of the Whig and exclusionist cause. The extent of this general alienation from the King and his policies was of course revealed in the fact that some of the leaders of the political nation were willing to actively support intervention by a foreign power in 1688, indeed to invite it in their famous letter to William III. And even more, including James II's own army, were willing at least to acquiesce in the face of William's intervention. 

They sat on their hands.

To this extent one could say that the Revolution of 1688 was in different ways both a Whig and a Tory revolution. It was in part an elite coup d'etat; it was in part a country revolution. It merged a range of political opinion in opposition to James, in opposition to the specter of "popery and arbitrary power." And the political settlement as it emerged reflected that composite character of the Revolution. On the 22nd of January 1689, a Convention Parliament met to begin working out the settlement. It had, it's estimated, 319 members of broadly Whig sympathy and 232 of broadly Tory sympathy plus the House of Lords, but the debates as they went on seemed to have become largely dominated by those of the middle ground who managed to hold the minorities of extremists of both political persuasions in check. It seems to have been one of those rare but instructive situations in history when the center is tough and holds firm.

The Convention's formal definition of the situation reflected that. It resolved — and I'm quoting — it resolved almost unanimously that, "King James II, having attempted to subvert the constitution of the kingdom by breaking the contract between king and people and by the advice of Jesuits and other wicked persons having violated the fundamental laws and having withdrawn himself out of this kingdom has abdicated the government and that the throne is thereby vacant."

That's what they resolved, and note carefully in those words; it's another masterpiece of ambiguity comparable to the communion service in the Anglican Prayer Book of 1559, which you'll remember. They say that James broke the contract between king and people. 

That's Whig ideology, the notion of a contract. But he also withdrew himself and abdicated, so he hadn't actually been deposed for his offenses. That's an appeal to Tory sympathy. They didn't believe in resistance to a divinely appointed and anointed king; so he'd abdicated. As for the Jesuits and so forth, well, everyone could agree on that. 

And in all of this of course the status of the baby Prince James was conveniently forgotten.

Chapter 2. Settlement

Now this kind of interpret-it-your-own-way attitude also suffused a lot of the rest of the settlement as it unfolded in 1689 and 1690. William was not content to be simply a regent, but he and Mary shared the crown until her death in 1694. He was king in effect but he wasn't an elected king. He held the crown in right of his wife who was a legitimate Stuart heir, the Protestant daughter of James II by his first marriage. And it was agreed that Mary's youngest sister, Princess Anne, would be the next heir, ahead of any children that William and Mary themselves might have. 

Again, all very odd.

The Convention also drew up a Declaration of Rights later passed into law as the Bill of Rights. It was clear on some matters which found almost universal assent, but it was also cautious and ambiguous in other respects. The power of the monarch, for example, to suspend the laws was declared to be illegal but the dispensing power of the monarch, the traditional dispensing power, was illegal "only as it hath been exercised of late," i.e., as it had been exercised by James II. Parliaments should be called frequently and should be freely elected, but as yet there were no specific measures to ensure that that would happen. Roman Catholics were to be excluded from the crown, but as yet there was no specific provision to ensure that that would be the case. And, above all, the status of the whole document was rather obscure. It looked rather like a contract with the new monarchs, but in fact the offer of the crown to William and Mary was not made conditional upon accepting it. The offer of the crown was actually made on the 13th of February before the Declaration of Rights had been presented to William and Mary, and they hadn't formally accepted it before they were proclaimed monarchs the next day.

So 1689 saw a series of measures intended to advance the transfer of power to William and Mary and that was rapidly consolidated with other acts of Parliament which again reflect the coalition of interests involved in the Revolution. They passed a Mutiny Act. That laid down that no standing army would be permitted in peace time unless authorized by Parliament. They voted income to the crown by taxation but the sums which were voted were well known to be inadequate for even peacetime administration, let alone war time, and so Parliament would always be needed in order to grant additional necessary supply. They passed a Toleration Act. Protestant dissenters were allowed to worship publicly, and by the end of 1690 some 9,000 dissenting meeting houses had been opened, but they were still not accorded full civil rights. The Church of England remained the legally established church, the Test Acts were still there to exclude nonmembers of the Church of England from holding public office. But Protestant dissenters were allowed to worship openly and meanwhile Roman Catholics, Unitarians and Jews were permitted to worship in private. They were tolerated, officially.

Altogether the settlement of 1688 and '9 constituted a kind of pragmatic compromise designed, obviously enough, to appeal to as many people as possible and to alienate as few as possible from the Revolutionary Settlement. John Morrill has put it well, he calls it "a centrist compromise and a constitutional blur." And as with the Elizabethan religious settlement of 1559 it was full of inconsistencies and it remained to be seen just how they would work it out in practice, how it would be worked out by political groups who had somewhat different interpretations of just what it actually meant.

But worked out it was. And in the course of the next twenty-five years or so that involved a significant refashioning of the state as a result, and the emergence by 1714 of a British state of a shape and structure which no one had quite anticipated in 1688.

Chapter 3. War

Well, that British state was shaped partly by political principles. It was shaped partly by political and religious prejudices, and partly also by the constraining force of immediate circumstances. And of those circumstances the dominant circumstance was war. The modern British state, it could be said, was forged under the stresses of war.

William of Orange hadn't intervened in 1688 out of his deep personal concern for England's religion and liberties. His intervention was part and parcel of his life's mission of containing the threatened hegemony of the French monarchy of Louis XIV and in particular the threat it posed to his own country, the Netherlands. And the price of William's intervention was war. War first of all to defend the Revolutionary Settlement against Jacobite risings — Jacobites being supporters of James — Jacobite risings in Scotland in 1689 to '90, then to oust James II from Ireland where he'd landed with an army in 1689 to '91, culminating in the Battle of the Boyne at which James was defeated and fled back to France. Then war in the Netherlands against Louis XIV between 1688 and 1697 to contain the French who were James' principal supporters, and then again after William III's death in 1702 renewed war between 1702 and 1713 to defeat the renewed menace of French hegemony, which included French recognition of the claims of James II's son. James had died in 1701. His son and heir, James III, to those who supported him, was known as "The Pretender" to the crowns of England and Scotland; thirteen years old when his father died.

So then between 1688 and 1713 we have a whole generation of major wars being fought on land and sea, mostly against the French. Given its commitment to the Revolution, the political nation represented in Parliament was willing, though very reluctant, to recognize the need for these wars. But at the same time Parliament was acutely sensitive to the danger that they might lead to a buildup of royal power which might threaten its own position, might raise again that specter of arbitrary power. Out of the interaction of that necessity to fight the wars and that anxiety about where they might lead, there eventually emerged what was, on the one hand, a far more powerful state apparatus — it's been described famously by John Brewer as the "fiscal military state" which emerges at this time — and yet, on the other hand, it was a more powerful state apparatus which remained very firmly under parliamentary control. The key to the whole process, as you'll be aware, was finance, but to understand that we have to step back first a little bit in time and look at what's known as the 'Financial Revolution'.

Chapter 4. The Financial Revolution 

Now, as you know, by the standards of the day England was a relatively rich country by the late seventeenth century and getting richer. Earlier in the century, however, governments had rarely succeeded in tapping that wealth effectively for their own purposes. The late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries and the so-called Financial Revolution saw a transformation of the 'fiscal capacity' of the state, that is its ability to raise money for its purposes, and consequently a transformation of its capacity for effective action. And this was the outcome of developments which, in the words of one recent historian of the Financial Revolution, "transformed the willingness, rather than the ability, of the English people to pay high taxes, lend large sums, and above all repose great trust in the financial institutions of their parliamentary government." That's Henry Roseveare I'm quoting.

Parliamentary government and the trust which it could inspire was perhaps indeed the key to this whole development. Under Charles II, Parliament's ultimate control of the public purse was of course not in doubt but, as you know, suspicion of the crown's policies could mean that Parliament was unwilling to grant supply. Indeed, in 1672 the situation in royal finances had become so bad, the crown became so overstretched as a debtor, that it led to what's known as the 'Stop of the Exchequer' in which Charles II postponed repayments of his debts to private lenders. Many London bankers were completely ruined as a result. It was a very severe blow to the crown's credit and its ability to raise money.

Well after 1688 that kind of situation was transformed, transformed in less than ten years, in the face of the need to raise money for the wars fought to defend the Revolutionary Settlement. It's a long and complex story, but the essence of it all was quite nicely contained in a statement made by Lord Macaulay in his history of all this written back in 1848. Macaulay wrote, "from a period of immemorial antiquity it has been the practice of every English government to contract debts. What the Revolution introduced was the practice of honestly paying them back." Parliament was now fully in control not only of grant of supply but of its expenditure. Annual estimates were made of need. Supply was voted. The accounts were audited by parliamentary commissioners. Revenue was now regarded as the public revenue rather than the monarch's revenue. And from 1698 even the ordinary day-to-day expenses of the crown were controlled by an annual grant, the so-called 'Civil List', the money paid for running the day-to-day business of the monarchy, as still happens.

Parliament sanctioned a whole series of devices to raise money for the war. In 1690, it voted a Land Tax, a quite heavy tax on landowners which brought in a reliable annual income. Loans were raised on the security of parliamentary taxation. Longer term borrowing was achieved by means of the sale of annuities to the public with the regular payment of those annuities secured by parliamentary taxation. They tried out lotteries as a way of raising money, again with Parliament's sanction. In 1694, the Bank of England was chartered. Lenders were brought to subscribe to a 1.2 million pound loan with the interest and the eventual repayment of the capital guaranteed from taxation. The Bank of England was not a central bank in the modern sense, but it was a vehicle devised to raise money for the needs of the state. There was also the development of a market in various forms of state securities, these new state securities which were being issued. They could be sold on to third parties and it was at the core of the emergence of dealings in stocks, the beginnings of the London Stock Exchange.

All of this was initiated in a piecemeal and a rather improvised manner, year by year they dreamed up something new as a way of raising the money they needed. But gradually by the early eighteenth century it had coalesced into a system, and fundamental to the whole emerging edifice was an effective tax system which made possible the servicing of a growing public debt. Initially the Land Tax, quite heavy, about 20% on landed income in the richest counties, and then increasingly the use of the Excise, which was indirect taxes collected by a growing corpus of public officials, Excise Men as they were known. And as this system developed there was a growth of confidence in the financial probity and reliability of the state, and that growing confidence transformed people's willingness to lend their money to the government. Public revenues increased massively. By 1700, it's been estimated that about 9% of national income was being taken in taxation, and by the same year about a third of the revenue raised by the state was being used to fund the debts.

By 1714, the national debt had risen to 48 million pounds, a massive sum by the standards of the day, most of it funded by parliamentary pledges to pay the interest and eventually the principal. In 1717, after the end of the War of the Spanish Succession, a variety of sinking funds were established to pay off parts of the debt, but it was generally recognized that a public debt of some size, reliably serviced in the way I've described, would be a permanent fact of life thereafter. In short, what they'd done in the Financial Revolution was to create, gradually, a stable system of public credit based upon parliamentary taxation and with it a regime which has been described as having "the political support, the administrative capacity and the fiscal base required to accumulate and service a perpetual national debt."

So in the years after 1688 the fiscal capacity of the state was rapidly and massively transformed. John Brewer calls this a "fiscal military state" because so much of the enhanced public revenue was spent on war. Military expenditure as a proportion of national income was about 2% at the death of Charles II in 1685. By 1700 it was 4%, in 1710 at the height of the War of the Spanish Succession it peaked at over 14%, and then it settled down after peace came in 1714 at about 5% even in peace time, mostly as a result of the regular expenditure which was maintaining the Royal Navy as a permanent military presence.

Now all of this could have been potentially destabilizing, and there were times in the 1690s as they went from year to year trying to raise money that the whole thing sometimes teetered on the edge of potential collapse. There was a real risk in 1696 that they wouldn't be able to raise enough money, for example, to pay the army. But they managed to sustain it. They improvised their way through and eventually, as I said, it coalesced into a system which provided the underpinning for the emergence of England as a significant military power, a significant world power.

But if Parliament was willing to provide the resources which made possible that kind of growth in the power of the state, Parliament also exacted a price. It exacted a price politically. As John Brewer shows, the prevalent suspicion of central government amongst parliamentarians meant that they exerted themselves to try to shape this emergent state apparatus in ways that would accord with their own preferences, their so-called country attitudes, their suspicion of central government. The need for annual parliamentary supply meant that Parliament became a permanent part of the government of the country. They had to have parliamentary sessions every single year. No one had anticipated that. It just happened; it was necessary.

The money which was granted to the government by these parliaments was very carefully monitored according to the system of 'appropriation', the principle of 'appropriation'. That's to say parliamentary grants could be used only for the purposes for which they had been granted. Therefore, policy had to be in accord with Parliament's wishes, to meet Parliament's approval. Royal ministers might be chosen by the crown but, again, they needed to be men who could command the support of a majority in the House of Commons. If they had no majority in the House of Commons, they were unable to achieve anything, they were unable to get the supply that they needed. And in other more specific ways, as Brewer puts it, "fiscal control put the bite into the bark of country politics."

Sometimes they would tack on to revenue bills a Place Act. That was an act which attempted to exclude government officials from the House of Commons in order to preserve the independence of Parliament. In 1694, William III was forced to accept a new and strengthened Triennial Act, under which Parliament should be not only called every three years but should not sit longer than three years without new elections. So they had to have elections every three years, a very significant curtailment of the royal prerogative to call and then to dissolve Parliament when the king chose. William resisted it strongly but he had to give way in the end.

By 1700, the relationship between the ministers in the royal government, those who sat in the Cabinet, and Parliament, had become the crucial axis of political life. And the struggle of those ministers to establish and to maintain a working majority in Parliament, above all in the House of Commons, was giving rise to an increasingly vigorous brand of organized party politics in Parliament. The old abusive labels, Whig and Tory, which, as you know, had first appeared to hurl against your enemies in the Exclusion Crisis, these were now revived and perpetuated to describe different groupings, groupings which had different interpretations of the meaning of the Revolution and differences of view about how the Revolutionary Settlement should be developed.

By 1700, the Whigs and the Tories were fairly organized groups: they had their own favorite meeting places in London, they had their own newspapers, they had their own national followings. The adversarial politics of Whigs and Tories influenced political life at the level of the city, at the level of county politics. It erupted periodically in the vigorous contests of the many general elections which were held between 1695 and 1715. There were ten general elections in those years in which it's estimated something like a quarter of the adult male population exercised their votes and the election campaigns were full of competing — of competition — for seats in which the Whigs and Tories organized their supporters. These alignments were even such that in the city of York, where they had assembly rooms where polite society met to hold balls and other occasions, concerts and so forth, there was one assembly room for the Whigs and one for the Tories.

But if Whigs and Tories fought furiously for dominance in both Parliament and in local politics, there were also vital areas in which they were fundamentally at one, and that was revealed in 1701 when the death of Princess Anne's only child, the ultimate heir to the throne, called into question the future succession of the crown. This precipitated the so-called Act of Settlement of 1701. It's known as the Act of Settlement but the actual title of the act is quite significant. It was actually called "An Act for the Further Limitation of the Crown and Better Securing the Rights of the Subject". This act, which obtained support from both sides politically, passed over fifty-seven possible claimants to the crown on the grounds that they were Roman Catholics and it fixed the succession on the Electress Sophia of Hanover, ruler of a small north German principality who was descended from King James I. 

Sophia of Hanover and her heirs were chosen as the nearest Protestant successors

The Act also required that future monarchs should be communicants of the 
Church of England; 
It forbade their marriage to Roman Catholics; 

It restricted the movements of the monarch outside the kingdom, they could not leave the kingdom without permission; 

and, in addition, it made royal privy councilors more accountable to Parliament, restricted the election of placemen from the government to the House of Commons, and declared that, in future, judges in the law courts should enjoy their tenure during good behavior and not merely at the will of the monarch. 

So a specific contingency, the problem over the succession, gave rise to a far-reaching set of statutory restrictions on the crown's actions which found widespread support.

In sum then, by the time Queen Anne came to the throne in 1702 with the prospect of the future Hanoverian succession, which actually eventually took place in 1714 when Electress Sophia's son, George, became king,, with all of that it can be said that some of the fundamental political issues which had so disturbed the seventeenth century were close to being resolved, with general acceptance of those resolutions. The issue of the security of the Protestant religion and of the toleration of religious dissenters had been resolved. The issue of Parliament's role and its permanence in the constitution had been resolved. The issue of the royal prerogative in matters of state and how far it could be controlled or reduced. The problem of effective government finance. The problem of how to contain differences of political principle without those partisan differences leading to the breakdown of government or to civil war had been resolved with party politics. The structures and practices of the English state had been refashioned in a manner which both enhanced the power of the state and at the same time contained the power of the state in ways which would be conducive to safeguarding the liberties of the subject.

Chapter 5. Scotland

Well, one final element remains. From 1707, this emergent state was not just an English but a British state, with the constitutional union in May 1707 of England and Scotland. Ireland remained technically a separate kingdom until 1801, though one ruled by a Protestant landed elite.

Now in Scotland much of the kingdom, particularly lowland Scotland and some parts of the Highlands, those parts of the western Highlands of Scotland which were dominated by the Clan Campbell who were both Protestants and Whigs in politics, much of Scotland then had welcomed the Revolution of 1688. And rebellions by some of the Jacobite clans of highland Scotland were swiftly put down in 1690. But in the years that followed, if the 1690s witnessed a kind of resurgence of Scotland's political independence it was also a profoundly traumatic decade for the Scots.

Scotland remained a relatively poor country; magnificent landscape but somewhat barren. It was largely a subsistence economy in the rural areas and it was a very fragile one

In 1695 to '99, Scotland suffered dreadful famine known as the "ill Years of King William." 

It's possible that as much as 13% of the population of Scotland died in those years and indeed much more in the most marginal highland areas. 

In the highland Aberdeenshire up here, the highland areas of northeastern Scotland, it's estimated that perhaps a third of the population died in the 1690s. 

Scotland had relatively little manufacturing industry. It was little developed. The most important sector was the manufacture of linen on Tayside up here and over near Glasgow in the west, and this was an industry which was principally dependent upon selling that linen to English markets.

Overseas trade was also relatively limited. Scotland was excluded from England's colonial trade as a separate kingdom, and efforts made by some Scots in the 1690s to try to establish a colonial foothold of their own, when they attempted to establish a colony in Panama, the Darien scheme in 1695 to '99, unfortunately those efforts proved to be a disastrous failure. Not least because the English government refused to help a venture which antagonized Spain by attempting to establish a Scottish colonial presence in territories regarded as part of the Spanish empire. Well, all of these unhappy events provided the political and economic context of the Union of 1707.

The Scots were extremely conscious, of course, of their distinctive national identity and history. They were anxious to preserve their national integrity.

In the 1690s, the Scottish Parliament was enjoying a greater independence from the crown than it had ever done so hitherto. 

But economically the most dynamic sectors of the Scottish economy were heavily dependent upon England and some Scots were also attracted to the possibility of obtaining greater access to English markets and participation as equals in English colonial trade. Meanwhile, the English government was interested in a closer union with Scotland for quite different reasons, for largely political reasons.

In 1701, when the Act of Settlement was passed fixing the succession in the Hanoverian line, the Scottish Parliament did not at first follow England's lead in recognizing the Hanoverian succession. This raised, in the early years of the eighteenth century, a potentially dangerous situation. 

What if the Scottish Parliament decided to recognize a Stuart succession, decided to vest their crown in the old line, the Stuart line, after Queen Anne's death?

If that happened it could potentially provide a major security risk. 

It could return to a situation in which the two kingdoms, which had been joined only in the person of their monarchs, might fully separate. 

That might pose a new threat to England from the North, especially if the Scots had a Stuart crown allied to the French.

The English government therefore began to put on pressure for a union which would remove that threat and they were willing to use economic leverage to try to do so. In 1705, the English parliament passed the Alien Acts, which excluded the Scots from English markets unless they commenced negotiations for a possible union. And, on the other hand, it held out the prospect of economic advantages for Scotland if they were willing to do so. Now in Scotland the issue was very passionately debated both in Parliament and in the streets of Edinburgh, but in those debates the economic advantages of union soon came well to the fore. As one opponent of the union, Alexander Fletcher of Saltoun, put it, the economic issues were "the bait that covers the hook." And, in the event, that carried the day with those of the Scottish elite in Scotland's Parliament who ended up making the decision.

In 1707, after protracted negotiations a Treaty of Union was at last agreed. There would be a single United Kingdom of Great Britain with a single flag, the "Union Jack." You'll see, lovingly drawn on the bottom of your handout, the St. George flag of England, the St. Andrew's flag of Scotland, and how they merged together into the Union Jack, a flag now familiar to us on the tops of mini-cars and on swimming costumes. [Laughter] 

The Hanoverian succession to the united throne was recognized. The Scots would join a single parliament for the United Kingdom meeting in Westminster. Sixteen members would be sent to the House of Lords, forty-five to the House of Commons, in rough proportion to population. 

The Scottish legal system, however, would retain its full jurisdictional independence. The Scottish church, the Kirk, would also retain its independence as a Presbyterian church.

But fifteen of the twenty-five articles of the Treaty of Union concerned economic arrangements. The Scots would be granted full access to English trade. Lower taxes would be levied in Scotland, because of the relative economic poverty of Scotland as compared to England. Scotland's industries would be protected. Substantial compensation would be paid to those Scots who had lost heavily through their investment in the Darien adventure of the 1690s. 

And so on the first of May, 1707, Scotland's Parliament dissolved itself, not to meet again until the year 1999 when it was reinstated as part of the current constitutional reconfiguration of the United Kingdom. 

So the Union had taken place.

Was it, one might ask, a union of absorption, a union in which Scotland was to be dominated by England, a union of absorption, or was it to be a union of fusion, one of cooperation rather than domination? Many Scots at the time feared that it would be the former. In the long run I think it turned out to be more the latter. Scots certainly proved to have a quite disproportionately large role, almost from the beginning of the Union, in the running of the British Empire for example. But in the early eighteenth century it was not yet quite either. England was not actually much interested in dominating Scotland beyond the question of security, and indeed Scottish affairs remained largely in the hands of Scots themselves. Conversely, it took a while before Scotland was able to fully exploit the economic advantages of Union, though by the 1750s they were indeed doing so very successfully. The emergence of Glasgow as one of the major Atlantic ports is one of the biggest success stories of that part of the Union.

The Union then, one could say, confirmed neither the fears nor initially the full hopes of the Scots who had agreed to it. But from the English point of view it had resolved a pressing security problem and it completed the refashioning of the state which had been introduced by the Revolution of 1688. 

Culturally, there was an England and a Scotland and a Wales, as there still is, but politically by 1714 there was what Jonathan Swift described as that "crazy double-bottomed realm Great Britain."

And crazy it was in many ways; a monarchy which was actually run by a Parliament, truly a monarchical republic, in which The King after 1701 actually had fewer powers than were later granted to Presidents of the United States. 

A confessional state and yet a confessional state which actually had two established religions

The Church of England in England, 
The Presbyterian Church of Scotland in Scotland, 

and which, by 1714, was headed by a "King" who was actually a German Lutheran

but was an Anglican when he was in England 
a Presbyterian when he was in Scotland

and meanwhile practicing greater religious freedom than was tolerated by any other state save the Netherlands. 

An offshore island deeply hostile to foreign involvement, deeply hostile to militarism, and yet which was playing a key role in destroying the threat of Louis XIV's monarchy and which had emerged as a great military power.

It was all very confusing, but there it was. They had finally muddled through to something that worked.

Okay. And we all lived happily ever after. [Laughter]

Right. Next time I'll have a short lecture as a kind of windup and then talk in some detail about the examination and what to expect when the examination comes. The examination's going to be held here on the 16th at 2 p.m., remember.

[end of transcript]

God forbid!
Worst in this royal presence may I speak,
Yet best beseeming me to speak the truth.
Would God that any in this noble presence
Were enough noble to be upright judge
Of noble Richard! then true noblesse would
Learn him forbearance from so foul a wrong.
What subject can give sentence on his king?
And who sits here that is not Richard's subject?
Thieves are not judged but they are by to hear,
Although apparent guilt be seen in them;
And shall the figure of God's majesty,
His captain, steward, deputy-elect,
Anointed, crowned, planted many years,
Be judged by subject and inferior breath,
And he himself not present? O, forfend it, God,
That in a Christian climate souls refined
Should show so heinous, black, obscene a deed!
I speak to subjects, and a subject speaks,
Stirr'd up by God, thus boldly for his King:
My Lord of Hereford here, whom you call king,
Is a foul traitor to proud Hereford's king:

And if you crown him, let me prophesy:

The blood of English shall manure the ground,
And future ages groan for this foul act;
Peace shall go sleep with Turks and infidels,
And in this seat of peace tumultuous wars
Shall kin with kin and kind with kind confound;
Disorder, horror, fear and mutiny
Shall here inhabit, and this land be call'd
The field of Golgotha and dead men's skulls.
O, if you raise this house against this house,
It will the woefullest division prove
That ever fell upon this cursed earth.
Prevent it, resist it, let it not be so,
Lest child, child's children, cry against you woe!

Schiller Institute 1994-Palmerston Zoo conference-G. Lowry --Venice Takeover of England

How The Venetian Virus Infected

by H. Graham Lowry
Chorus: (WGT) The consolidation of the Venetian Party in England and Britain was a question of culture. Francesco Zorzi of Venice, the close friend and relative of Gasparo Contarini, who was sent by the Venetian oligarchy to England as the sex adviser to Henry VIII, was a cabbalist and Rosicrucian. In 1529, Zorzi came to London to deliver his opinion, and he remained at the court for the rest of his life, building up an important party of followers--the nucleus of the modern Venetian Party in England. In 1525, Zorzi had published the treatise De Harmonia Mundi, which uses the cabbalistic Sephiroth to expound a mystical, irrationalist outlook and to undercut the influence of Nicolaus of Cusa.
In 1536, when he was at the English court, Zorzi wrote his second major work, In Scripturam Sacram Problemata. This is a manual of magic, with Zorzi assuring the aspiring wizard that Christian angels will guard him to make sure he does not fall into the hands of demons.

Zorzi was a great influence on certain Elizabethan poets. Sir Philip Sidney was a follower of Zorzi, as was the immensely popular Edmund Spencer, the author of the long narrative poem The Faerie Queene. Spencer is a key source for the idea of English imperial destiny as God's chosen people, with broad hints of British Israel. Christopher Marlowe and William Shakespeare both attacked Zorzi's influence in such plays as Doctor Faustus and Othello, but the Venetian school was carried on by the Rosicrucian Robert Fludd, and, of course, by Francis Bacon and Thomas Hobbes.

John Milton, the admirer of Paolo Sarpi and apologist for usury, is an example of the pro-Venetian Puritan of the Cromwell Commonwealth period. Milton taught that the Son of God is inferior to the Father, a kind of afterthought, and in any case not necessary. Milton was the contemporary of Sabbatai Zevi, the false messiah from Smyrna, Turkey, whose father was an agent for English Puritan merchants. Did Milton's Paradise Regained of 1671 reflect knowledge of Sabbatai Zevi's meteoric career, which burst on the world in 1665?

The British East India Company was founded in 1600. By 1672, adventurers, such as Diamond Pitt, were freebooting around India.

H. Graham Lowry: 

In December 1688, the armies of the Dutch Prince William of Orange invaded England, interrupting the Hobbesian nightmare the country had experienced under the deranged King Charles II and his brother James II. A worse nightmare was to follow when William seized the throne of James II, for he embodied a more highly distilled form of poison which Venice had perfected during its sway over the remains of the Dutch Republic. 

This outright usurpation is blithely referred to in British-Venetian parlance as the ``Glorious Revolution''--which should give you some idea of how little regard for truth prevails in these circles.

The notion of ``English rights and liberties'' was quickly transformed from fiction to fraud under William's dictatorial regime. When King James II fled to France, the rightful successor to the English throne was his eldest daughter Mary, who had married William of Orange reluctantly (he was a notorious homosexual). 

William's demand to be declared King was never submitted to Parliament for a ``constitutional'' veneer. 

Instead, he summoned a special ``convention,'' which granted him full power, rather than simply the rank of the Queen's Consort.

King William's Venetian baggage included the evil John Locke, who became the chief propagandist for foisting the Bank of England on that hapless country in 1694. 

This was not the sort of bank you turned to for financial assistance. It was a gargantuan Venetian swindle, which promptly created England's first national debt to finance ongoing wars of attrition in Europe, imposed a credit crunch by cutting the amount of circulating English coinage nearly in half, and loaded new taxes on an already-collapsing economy. The bank's chief architect was Venetian Party leader Charles Montagu, William's new chancellor of the exchequer, who later attained the loftier position of British ambassador to Venice. Montagu appointed the pathetic Sir Isaac Newton to oversee the ``recoinage'' swindle, and Newton repaid that debt by prostituting his own niece to serve as Montagu's mistress.

The bank's promotional hireling John Locke is better known as the peddler of the obscene notion that the human mind is nothing more than a tabula rasa--a passive register of animal sensations. He clearly had a higher regard for the cash register, however, and openly defended usury as a necessary service for those whose ``estates'' lie ``in money.'' Locke's theories of government approximate those of a casino operator who lays down rules rigged for the house, under which the bestialized players compete for sums of money, which then define their worth as individuals. This is Locke's ``liberty'' to pursue property. His notion of the ``social contract,'' which guarantees the players' club members the right to enter the casino, was in fact advanced in order to justify William of Orange's usurpation of the British throne. James II, in effect, was charged with having denied those rights to his more speculative subjects, thus breaking the contract. Locke argued that the Venetian mob was therefore entitled to move in under a new contract.

By 1697, the Venetian Party's coup inside England was nearly total, and its members filled William's ``ship of state'' from stem to stern. They looked forward to reducing a most troubling matter in the English colonies of America: the impulse toward building an independent nation, which had been driving the Venetians berserk since the 1630s founding of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In 1701, John Locke, as a member of England's Board of Trade, advocated revoking all the independent charters of the American colonies, placing their economic activity under royal dictatorship, and banning their manufacture of any finished goods.

Leibniz builds anti-Venice movement
Yet, even as the Venetians were swaggering over their apparent triumph, a powerful republican opposition was building around a higher conception of the nature and purpose of man, which both inspired and opened the way for the later founding of the United States. Its leader was the great German scientist and statesman Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz, who led what might well be called a movement for the pursuit of happiness--the ultimate goal of the liberty which America embraced in its Declaration of Independence.

In the face of the new Venetian onslaught in England, Leibniz set forth his view of human happiness, from the standpoint of man's creation in imago Dei. Writing ``On the Notions of Right and Justice'' in 1693, Leibniz defines charity as ``universal benevolence,'' which he calls the habit of loving, i.e., ``to regard another's happiness as one's own.'' That joy is first approximated, he says, in the contemplation of a beautiful painting by Raphael, for example, ``by one who understands it, even if it brings no riches, in such a way that it is kept before his eyes and regarded with delight, as a symbol of love.''

When the object of delight ``is at the same time also capable of happiness, his affection passes over into true love,'' Leibniz says. ``But the divine love surpasses other loves, because God can be loved with the greatest result, since nothing is at once happier than God, and nothing more beautiful and more worthy of happiness can be known than He.'' And, since God possesses the ultimate wisdom, Leibniz says, ``the notions of men are best satisfied if we say that wisdom is nothing else than the very science of happiness.''

As the leading scientist and philosopher of his day, Leibniz was widely known throughout Europe, and among such republican leaders of New England as the Winthrops and Mathers, later extending to include, most significantly, Benjamin Franklin. From the 1690s onward, Leibniz's leading ally within England, Scotland, and Ireland, was the brilliant anti-Venetian polemicist Jonathan Swift, who directed a cultural onslaught against the bestial notions of Bacon, Hobbes, René Descartes, Newton, and Locke, for more than 40 years.

From the standpoint of reason, the Aristotelian empiricism of the likes of Descartes and Locke reduces the notion of man to the level of a mere beast, which, of course, is the prerequisite for imposing an empire of the sort the Venetians sought, then and now. When Jonathan Swift took up his cudgels on behalf of Leibniz's refutation of empiricism, he ridiculed their enemies' ideas for what they were: insane. Swift's ``A Digression on Madness,'' in his 1696 work A Tale of a Tub, examines ``the great introducers of new schemes in philosophy,'' both ancient and modern. They were usually mistaken by all but their own followers, Swift says, ``to have been persons crazed, or out of their wits;|... agreeing for the most part in their several models, with their present undoubted successors in the academy of modern Bedlam.''

Oligarchical Families Move In

By 1701, the lunatics of the late-model incarnation of the Venetian Party had typically inbred a set of oligarchical families, mixing and matching Spencers, and Godolphins, and Churchills--the last headed by John Churchill, soon to become duke of Marlborough.
Churchill had begun as a page boy to Charles II in 1665, behind the skirts of his sister Arabella, the mistress of the king's brother James. Then, for similar services rendered, Churchill received £10,000 from Charles II's favorite mistress.

With things apparently moving so swimmingly, the Venetians set their course for their next major objective: the destruction of France, the most productive economic power in Europe. Under the ministry of Jean-Baptiste Colbert, the patron of the scientific academy at Paris where Leibniz himself was engaged in the early 1670s, France had led the way in infrastructural and industrial development. So in 1701, England launched war on France. More than a decade of bloodshed and destruction followed--for the populations of both countries, and their European allies. It was yet another rigged game, in which Venice expected to be the only winner.

There are inevitably loose ends in any foul scheme. Queen Mary had died in 1694, leaving William without a direct heir. Her sister Anne was next in line to the throne, but the death of Anne's only surviving child in 1700 presented a new succession crisis. An Act of Settlement was imposed in 1701. James I's 71-year-old granddaughter Sophie, the head of the German House of Hanover, was designated as Anne's successor. King William died in 1702, and Anne became queen of England.
As the Venetian Party expected, she quickly bestowed preeminence at court upon the duke and duchess of Marlborough, who had spun their webs of influence over her for many years. The problem for the Venetians, was that Sophie's chief adviser and privy counsellor, was Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz.

The Battle for Britain 

With Leibniz virtually one step away from guiding policy in London, the final battle against Venetian Party dictatorship within England broke out in earnest. It was a conflict between the pursuit of happiness, and the lust for empire. The Marlboroughs resorted to deceit, terror, and treachery to cut off political relations--or even ordinary civilities--between Queen Anne and Sophie of Hanover. Swift maintained a fierce barrage both publicly and privately against Marlborough's Venetian gang, to the point that he broke their domination of Queen Anne's cabinet. He extended his own influence to her innermost circle, and, during 1710 and 1711, he drove the Marlboroughs and all their cronies from office.

London desperately hurled Isaac Newton into the fray against Leibniz, puffing the old fraud up with the lie that differential calculus was his invention rather than Leibniz's. Leibniz and Swift conspired to bring the great composer George Frideric Handel from Hanover to London in 1710, seeking to uplift English musical culture from decadent braying and outright snoring.

The American Flank

And in the midst of all this, Swift managed to get two of his allies appointed to royal governorships in the American colonies. Robert Hunter in New York, and Alexander Spotswood in Virginia, launched a drive in 1710 which opened the door to our future continental republic.

That same year, in Massachusetts, Cotton Mather published his republican organizing manual, An Essay upon the Good, which spread Leibniz's notion of the science of happiness throughout America for more than a century. Benjamin Franklin paid tribute to Mather's book as the single most important influence upon his life.

Jonathan Swift said of this period, that he doubted there was another in history ``more full of passages which the curious of another age would be glad to know the secret springs of.'' The Venetians would not like you to know that Leibniz and Swift constructed some of the secret passages which led to the founding of the American Republic. But within Britain (as it came to be known after the 1707 union which England forced upon Scotland), the battle against the Venetian Party was soon lost.

Leibniz's patron, Sophie of Hanover, the designated successor to Queen Anne, died in May 1714, at the age of 84. Her son George was now the heir to the British throne. William of Orange had been George's idol, and Marlborough and the Venetian Party had bought him many times over. Barely two months after Sophie's death, Queen Anne's life was ended, probably by poison, at the age of 49. The duke of Marlborough, who had plotted in exile for years for Anne's overthrow, landed in England the same day; and George of Hanover was proclaimed Great Britain's King George I. Jonathan Swift had been forced to flee to Ireland, and George soon dismissed Leibniz from the court of Hanover.

How serious was the threat Leibniz and Swift posed to the Venetian Party's conspirators? Just consider the conspirators' satanic rage against the dead Queen Anne, who for all her faults had learned to seek something better in life than they could ever know. There was no public mourning, nor royal funeral; her corpse was left to rot for more than three weeks. Then a chosen few, serving George I, buried her secretly at night, in Westminster Abbey--beneath the tomb of her great-great-grandmother, Mary, Queen of Scots. To this day, no stone or tablet marks her grave.

Leibniz himself died in 1716. Jonathan Swift fought on from Ireland, from the position Queen Anne had granted him as the Dean of St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin.

He became the acknowledged political leader of all Ireland during the 1720s, building a mass-based movement on the principles of man's God-given right to liberty, and the right to national sovereignty based on natural law. Swift thereby extended Leibniz's movement for the pursuit of happiness, and immeasurably influenced the growth of republicanism in eighteenth-century America.

Britain, however, began a rapid descent into hell, under the new regime of George I. Previously secret Satan-worshipping societies such as the Hell-Fire Club now surfaced, heralded by the publication in 1714 of Bernard Mandeville's Fable of the Bees, or Private Vices, Public Benefits. Very simply, Mandeville argued that the interests of the state were nothing more than the maximum fulfillment of its individuals' hedonistic pleasures: The more private vices, the more public benefits. Therefore, the state thrives most upon the corruption of its subjects. Inevitably, Britain was soon locked into a Venetian orgy of corruption and new heights of financial speculation, leading to the massive blowout of the South Sea Bubble in 1720. Appropriately, the government which emerged in 1721 from this devastating collapse, was headed by Prime Minister Robert Walpole, who held that post in the service of evil for the next 20 years. 
The Hell-Fire Clubs not only proliferated; they became the inner sanctum of Britain's degenerate elite. The most prominent one, founded in 1720 by Lord Wharton, included on its dining-room menu ``Hell-Fire Punch,'' ``Holy Ghost Pie,'' ``Devil's Loins,'' and ``Breast of Venus'' (garnished with cherries for nipples). By the 1760s, when the American colonies began to openly break with Britain, most of the king's cabinet were members of the Hell-Fire Club. When Benjamin Franklin served as our colonial postmaster general, for example, his official superior, Sir Francis Dashwood, was the head of the Hell-Fire Club!

The murderous toll of such a regime upon the British population is expressed by the following statistics: From 1738 to 1758, there were only 297,000 births recorded--against 486,000 deaths. Typifying the bestiality of the emerging British Empire, was the phrase smugly coined by Robert Walpole, ``Every man has his price.''

We must not pay it.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Rogue One : The Militant, The Moderate and The Terrorist

Add caption

Rochester, August 29, 1868
Dear Harriet: I am glad to know that the story of your eventful life has been written by a kind lady, and that the same is soon to be published. 
You ask for what you do not need when you call upon me for a word of commendation. I need such words from you far more than you can need them from me, especially where your superior labors and devotion to the cause of the lately enslaved of our land are known as I know them. 
The difference between us is very marked. Most that I have done and suffered in the service of our cause has been in public, and I have received much encouragement at every step of the way. 
You, on the other hand, have labored in a private way. 
I have wrought in the day – you in the night.
I have had the applause of the crowd and the satisfaction that comes of being approved by the multitude, while the most that you have done has been witnessed by a few trembling, scarred, and foot-sore bondmen and women, whom you have led out of the house of bondage, and whose heartfelt, “God bless you,” has been your only reward. 
The midnight sky and the silent stars have been the witnesses of your devotion to freedom and of your heroism. 
Excepting John Brown – of sacred memory – I know of no one who has willingly encountered more perils and hardships to serve our enslaved people than you have. Much that you have done would seem improbable to those who do not know you as I know you. It is to me a great pleasure and a great privilege to bear testimony for your character and your works, and to say to those to whom you may come, that I regard you in every way truthful and trustworthy.
Your friend,
Frederick Douglass.


Lecture 9 - John Brown's Holy War: Terrorist or Heroic Revolutionary? [February 12, 2008]
Chapter 1. Introduction

Professor David Blight: 

On a morning in the second week of March, 1857, Americans grew up living — they didn't all quite understand it yet — but they grew up living in the land of the Dred Scott decision. 

And if you were African-American, that really meant something.

Now 1857 is, of course, the final year of the playing out of Bleeding Kansas and we'll return to that in just a second. And we're going to discuss mostly today the story of one abolitionist; you could say the most famous abolitionist, certainly the most notorious American abolitionist, John Brown. 

John Brown never made it easy for people to love him. 

In some ways he wasn't very lovable, 
until he died on the gallows, 
and the gallows made him heroic 
— at least to some people — 
and it made him all but the devil to others. 

There are catalytic events in history, that is, events around which ideas, forces, movements, problems coalesce. 

Unfortunately, they often have a lot to do with violence, and we'll come back to this point at the end today....

But John Brown was far, far, far, far more important dead than he'd ever been alive. 

Poets, songwriters, lyricists, biographers, those who would come to love him, those who would come to hate him, and those who cannot quite figure out what to do with him, would never stop writing about him. And we still haven't. 

And we're in the midst right now of a John Brown biography revival. That's in part because next year is the 150th anniversary of the Harpers Ferry raid. Almost all major African-American poets in the twentieth century attempted their John Brown poem. So did Stephen Vincent Benét in a famous and classic lyric, epic poem called John Brown's Body, published in the 1920s. And embedded in that poem is this verse where Benét, I think, captured the dilemma of John Brown. John Brown — it's not easy to decide — was he a heroic revolutionary or a midnight terrorist? 

This is Benét's verse, embedded in a 250-page epic poem. 

"The law is our yardstick and it measures well, oh well enough when there are yards to measure. 
Measure a wave with it, measure fire, cut sorrow up in inches, weigh content. 
You can weigh John Brown's body well enough, but how and in what balance do you weigh John Brown? 
He had no gift for life, 
no gift to bring life, 
but his body 
and a cutting edge, 
and he knew how to die." 

More on old John Brown coming up.

Chapter 2. "A House Divided": The Lincoln-Douglas Debates 

The year before John Brown's raid the most important, the most exhilarating, and by far the most substantively interesting political debates in American history would occur in Illinois, when Abraham Lincoln runs for the U.S. Senate against Stephen Douglas — Stephen Douglas, the same Stephen Douglas, author of the Kansas-Nebraska Act; parliamentarian genius of the Compromise of 1850; the man most associated with the Democratic Party's theory of popular sovereignty for Kansas and Nebraska and the whole of the West. 

And this guy, Abe Lincoln, with one term in the U.S. House of Representatives and then a failed attempt at re-election, a guy with very little experience when he ran for President. In the opening of his campaign he decided to open it in the Legislative Hall of the old State House in Illinois. It was on the outside steps of that State House where Barack Obama began his campaign almost exactly a year ago. But inside, Lincoln gave his now famous House Divided speech. Now in your reader, your Lincoln Reader, edited by Mike Johnson, you have the House Divided speech, but read past the first page. 

Don't just read that first lyrical, biblical paragraph, read what Lincoln goes on the argue. 

The speech is about the Dred Scott decision. The speech is his opposition to the Dred — to the Supreme Court case that had just been passed the year before. The speech is his opposition to the Kansas-Nebraska Act. His speech is a warning. It's the warning of a moderate Republican, but nevertheless a moderate, anti-slavery, free soil Republican who throws down the gauntlet, in the wake of Dred Scott. This is a sentence on the fifth page of the House Divided Speech, page 68 in your reader if you look it up. "We shall lie down soon," said Abraham Lincoln, "pleasantly dreaming that the people of Missouri are on the verge of making their State free, and we shall awake the next morning to the reality instead that the Supreme Court has made Illinois a Slave State." Get his drift.

The Dred Scott decision, in his view, and the view now of most in this new, extraordinary coalition, the Republican Party, believes the Dred Scott decision now threatens everybody — north, south, and west — with the presence of slavery, and slave labor, and all that goes with it.

It's the opening of that speech though, of course, that the world always remembers, and we love to return to this in our political culture, in our political history, whenever we feel great polarization and great division. Are we a house divided again, against ourselves? "If we could first know where we are and whither we are tending…" — this is so Lincoln; he kind of meanders in a bit of a homespun way into a very serious argument — "…we could then better judge what to do and how to do it. We are now far into the fifth year since a policy was initiated" — Kansas-Nebraska — "with the avowed object and confident promise of putting an end to the slavery agitation. Under the operation of that policy that agitation has not only not ceased but has constantly augmented. In my opinion it will not cease until a crisis shall have been reached and passed. A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure permanently half-slave and half-free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved, I do not expect the House to fall, but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other." Southerners never forgot that sentence. "Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in a course of ultimate extinction" — and those two words, more than anything else Lincoln had uttered before the Civil War, Southern Democrats would never forget — "or its advocates will push it forward till it shall become alike lawful in all the states, old as well as new, north as well as south. Have we no tendency to the latter condition? Let anyone who doubts carefully contemplate that now almost complete legal combination, piece of machinery so to speak" — and here he's arguing the slave-power conspiracy, without naming it — "compounded of the Nebraska doctrine and the Dred Scott decision, let him consider not only what work the machinery is adapted to do and how" — the machinery — "and how well adapted. But also let him study the history of its construction and trace, if he can, or rather fail if he can, to trace the evidences of design and concert of action among its chief bosses, from the beginning." It's all there; the Republican Party coalition of ideas and fears is all there.

Chapter 3. Implications of the Dred Scott Decision and the Panic of 1857 [00:10:12]

Well, what was everybody so angry about over the Dred Scott decision? It's just a Supreme Court decision. Well, I left you the other day hanging in abeyance. Dred Scott was, as I said, an old, old man by the time this thing finally got before the- got on the docket in 1854, finally was argued in late 1856 and early 1957. And when the court brought down its decision, literally two days, forty-eight hours after the inauguration of James Buchanan as President in 1857, his case was now, his name would now become almost a household word across the country. Now a measure of how important this case was as it was developing largely in legal secrecy was the kind of lawyers who argued it. Montgomery Blair and George Ticknor Curtis for Scott. Montgomery Blair was from the famous Blair family from Missouri, moderate anti-slavery leaning Republicans by this point in time, Member of Congress; George Ticknor Curtis, a former attorney-general, a very important, famous trial lawyer. And for the Government, another former U.S. Attorney General, Reverdy Johnson, and a U.S. Senator, Henry Geyer, were the layers. Reverdy Johnson made the startling statements in the arguments before the Supreme Court and called for a — he made startling statements and he called for a broader pronouncement from the court. He urged Justice Taney, the Chief Justice, and the court to render a big decision here and try, once and for all, to put this — as Lincoln called it — slavery agitation, this whole slavery in the Western Territories problem to rest. The Supreme Court after all is supreme. Reverdy Johnson said — I quote him — "This is a case that shall determine whether slavery shall live forever." Forever; whether preservation of slavery was the only way to preserve the Union.

The decision came on the 6th of March 1857, and here was the decision. Taney and the majority in the court did not have to go as far as they did. This is now legendary and famous, Taney developing his majority. And it was ultimately a six to three decision. And lest you think the Supreme Court doesn't really matter in our political history, please remember the Dred Scott decision. Number one part of the — there were three parts of the decision. The first was jurisdiction. Did Dred Scott as a black person have the right to sue — this is the first question they were asked to settle — the right to sue for anything in a Federal Court? Could a non-citizen, because he was a Negro — which was the language used then — sue in Federal Court? Two, did Scott's residence on free soil — remember his four years with Dr. Emerson, his former owner, from 1834 to 1838, living in Minnesota Territory — did his residence on free soil entitle him to freedom? Or, if a slave was taken by his owner to Free states or Free territories, was it the law of the State the master came from that always had jurisdiction? In other words, was it the law of Missouri that took precedent here, or the law of Minnesota? And the third question before the court — they didn't have to take this one up but they sure did — was Congress's right to determine slavery in the Western Territories.

The pressures on the court were tremendous, as I said, to move for a broad decision, to try to put this thing to rest. Well the decision, of course, six to three. And at that point there were five southern born justices, five either slaveholders or former slaveholders on the Supreme Court. The sixth judge who voted with them was Greer of Pennsylvania, forming a majority against the three northern born justices who voted against it. The decision was, one, Scott had no right to sue in a Federal Court. Two, his residence on free soil did not give him his freedom, the law of Missouri was in place. And third, and by far most important, the court ruled — trying to put to rest now nearly forty years of this problem that had been compromised this way and compromised that way and argued with that principle and that principle and that principle, as we've seen — it ruled that Congress had no authority to exclude slavery from any U.S. territory because it would be, just as Southerners had been arguing now for two generations, a violation of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution, a person's right to life, liberty, and property. If someone ever wants to doubt that American history is about its ironies, just note that language. Therefore, the Missouri Compromise Line, that so-called sacred pledge that had now been violated, said Northerners, in the Kansas-Nebraska Act, had never been constitutional to begin with; that any attempt to prevent slavery's expansion anywhere would be unconstitutional. Now, Taney not only went that far, but in his opinion, in his own written opinion, he famously went a step further and he argued — or he said, quote, that blacks, or negroes is the word he used, had — I'm quoting — "had for more than a century been regarded as beings of an inferior order, so far inferior that they had no rights, which the white man was bound to respect." Some of the most infamous words ever in an American Supreme Court decision.

Now, the decision, six to three, was issued. For this new Republican Party coalition in the North, in some ways this was horrible news and in some ways it was good political news, because nothing crystallized this Republican coalition now quite like this case. They will crystallize in resistance to it, as I just tried to demonstrate, from quoting from Lincoln's famous House Divided speech. But most importantly here, I'd argue — the hook to hang your hat on here — is that the Dred Scott decision, it's not once and for all. The war is not necessarily now inevitable. Contingencies are always there, they're always laying there to happen. But what the Dred Scott decision did almost once and for all, is that it destroyed compromise. It destroyed almost any conception now of consensus or compromise. Or put another way, it ruined moderation. Moderate politicians, former Democrats like David Wilmot from Pennsylvania, racist to the core, but free soiler who's joined the Republican Party. Abraham Lincoln of Illinois, got his own racial problems, but a much more advanced sort of anti-slavery thinker, but still a moderate — he didn't like abolitionists, he'd never been a member of an Abolitionist Society and never would be — believed there were Constitutional restraints on what Congress could actually do about slavery. But it will bring together now some strange bedfellows in this Republican coalition who cannot find anymore any middle ground with their foes. And that's when you see danger — you more than see danger — in American political history. It's when the side that loses a debate cannot accept the result.

Now, there are many ways to try to demonstrate the importance of that Dred Scott case as it sunk in. Now it's sinking in now in the summer of 1857 as a depression hits the country. Wages in America, North, in northern cities like New York, Boston, Philadelphia and so on, drop forty and fifty percent in six months. The estimate is that 100,000 workers in New York City were thrown out of work by the end of 1857; about 50,000 in Philadelphia. The prices of wheat go plummeting, practically overnight. The United States had one of its first significant stock market crashes. There's a lot to be feared here. And on both sides of this, North and South, they're going to blame each other. Southerners are going to blame Northerners for over-speculation, for the over-issuing of credit by banks. And, of course, they're right about that. There were no controls on banks in these years. There was no Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; you only got that from the New Deal in the twentieth century. And Northerners are going to blame Southerners because of their belief in King Cotton and this kind of dependence on a single export. They're going to throw blame all over the place.

If you were African-American you now lived in the land of the Dred Scott decision, which had said what? It said you will never be a citizen of the United States. You have no rights which the white man has to respect, which means the white man's Constitution, which means the white man's society. It means you live in the land of the Dred Scott decision that said you have no future in the United States. In the wake of the Dred Scott case, about a month after it, Frederick Douglass gave a speech, which was a bit uncustomary for him. In the 1850s Frederick Douglass was learning his politics, he was really was — he was getting his feet as a political thinker and even as a politician. He was trying to sidle up to this Republican Party, even though it was kind of a half-baked loaf of bread to him; it wasn't real abolitionism. This case drove him further into their laps.

But he gave a speech, largely to a black audience, in the wake of Dred Scott. And so typical of Douglass's brilliance as an orator, he started to discuss how he saw fear on the horizon, and trouble and dread on the horizon, and he said he saw what he called "the manifold discouragements of my people everywhere I go." I quote him. "They fling their broad and gloomy shadows across the pathway of every thoughtful colored man in this country." And then he ended with this lament. "I see them" — these are discouragements — "I see them clearly and feel them sadly with an earnest, aching heart. I have long looked for the realization of the hope of my people, standing as it were, barefoot, and treading upon the sharp and flinty rocks of the present and looking out upon the boundless sea of the future. I have sought in my humble way to penetrate the intervening mists and clouds and per chance to see in the distance, a time at which the cruel bondage of my people should somehow end, and the long entombed millions rise from their foul grave of slavery and death. But of that time I can now know nothing, and you can know nothing, and all is uncertain at this point. I walk by faith and not by sight." That's Douglass's beautiful and terrible way of expressing that he's now told, as an African-American, you have no future in the United States.

Chapter 4. John Brown: His Early Life and Beliefs [00:23:48]

All right, so who was John Brown? That picture — I'm going to show you just a couple of images here. John Brown, of course, has been a fascination for artists, to say the least. I don't want to take too much time with this. But this is a black and white version now — I don't know if you can see the rope up here. This is one of the 22 panels in Jacob Lawrence's magnificent series on John Brown. Jacob Lawrence, a great African-American painter. He painted this in the 1930s. And at least 20 of the 22 images in Lawrence's incredible series on John Brown, you will find some image of a crucifix, of execution, a hanging. When I was teaching at Amherst College, I don't know, eight or nine years ago, we had Jacob Lawrence for an Honorary Degree, and I got to spend like two days with him. It was one of the greatest thrills of my life. And the museum at Amherst managed to get the series on John Brown, they had it in a room. And I was asked to do a gallery talk on it. And so I went into the room the day before I was to give this talk, all by myself, nobody in there, and I just communed with these terrible images. Sometimes the images, just sort of crisscrossed bayonets and sometimes crisscrossed rifles, and sometimes it's literally crosses on the wall in rooms, and sometimes it's this image, of Brown hanging. And I was overwhelmed by it. And the next day I gave this talk and I talked about these images of crucifixes. What they hadn't told me is that they were also inviting a busload of Fifth Graders to come to the lecture, and they also hadn't told me that that morning in the New York Times, in the headline — today this wouldn't even get headlines — there'd been a bus bombing in Jerusalem and 38 people were slaughtered on a bus by a terrorist bomb. And I was going to talk about John Brown, whether he was a terrorist, and in walked the Fifth Graders. Toughest — one of the toughest audiences I ever had. How do you smooth over John Brown and all those crucifixes with Fifth Graders on a fieldtrip? Don't even try is the answer. [Laughter]

Another favorite image of mine of John Brown is David Levine's. David Levine is the artist for the New York Review of Books. This actually comes from 1969. A series of books had come out on John Brown. This is an image that kind of fits John Brown to many people — the gun slinging, kind of wild man. He's got a red face, probably, big nose, gun belt, bullets all around him, kind of saying, "Don't mess with me." But then, of course, there's Thomas Hovenden's incredible painting of John Brown, which hangs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. I don't have the full version of it. This is the painting that depicts the scene of John Brown leaving his jail cell in Charlestown, Virginia, on the day of his execution, according to the artist with the hangman's noose already around his neck, before he even rode to the gallows — details. And a black woman comes up with her baby and raises her baby to John Brown and he kisses the child. It's the "legend of the kiss," as John Greenleaf Whittier put it in a poem. It didn't happen, but in art anything can happen. This is the gentle savior John Brown, this is the liberator John Brown, this is the martyr John Brown. There are many, many, many John Browns. And you're going to start hearing about and seeing a lot more of them next year. [Technical adjustments]

Well, John Brown was born in Connecticut, Torrington to be exact, and just a ways up the road. He was born in 1800. He grew up mostly out in the Western Reserve, as it was called, of Ohio. He witnessed at the age of twelve the beating of a slave boy. There were remnants of slaves still traversing the north in the eighteen-teens. He tried Divinity School for a little while at the age of sixteen, but said he quit because of insufficient funds and because all the reading caused him sore eyes. He experienced a confession of faith in his father's church, a congregational, old-fashioned Calvinist congregational church, when he was about sixteen. He married first in 1820. His first wife would die on him. He had no less than twenty children by two wives over some thirty years. Nine of those children would die in infancy. From 1820 to 1855 he engaged in approximately twenty different business ventures of one kind and another in six different northern states, virtually all of which ended in failure and poverty for his family; several of which ended in law suits and bankruptcies and one litigation after another; one of which led to debtor's prison for awhile. He and his family had lived a poverty stricken, rolling stone existence, across the northern states.

Probably what sustained him — and we know a good deal about this — was his religion, his faith, his theology if you want. He was a kind of orthodox nineteenth century Calvinist. He believed in such things as innate depravity, providential design, predestination, on some level, and the total human dependence on a sovereign and arbitrary God, and an arbitrary God that sometimes chose certain individual human beings in history to act for Him. He believed in an Old Testament kind of justice, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. He punished his children and his employees with Mosaic vengeance. He had a puritanical obsession with the wickedness of other people. He could be domineering, vane, obstinate, as one friend once put it, impervious to a joke. Probably not a lot of fun to just have lunch with. He gave orders, remembered Brown's younger brother, quote, "like a king against whom there is no rising up." He was a thorough going non-conformist. He probably never joined any formal anti-slavery organization, although he went to lots of their meetings. He never joined a political party. We're not even sure if he ever voted.

He was a practitioner of what would become known in these years — certainly by the 1850s — of a kind of higher law doctrine about slavery, an allegiance to God's will and God's law above man's law. To John Brown, put simply, slavery represented an unjustifiable state of war, by one portion of the people against another; and in a state of war you do what's necessary to defend yourselves. He believed slavery was an evil so entrenched — and he was dead serious about this — so entrenched in America that it required revolutionary ideology and revolutionary means to eradicate it. It had led him — as it has often in history led most proponents of revolutionary violence — that the means can, therefore, justify the end. As God had willed so often in his Old Testament that the wicked must die, so too had he willed that slaveholders and their defenders at least deserved the same fate. John Brown came to believe that violence in a righteous cause was like a rite of purification.

Now, what did he do? In brief, John Brown's interest in Kansas was intense, after the Kansas-Nebraska Act. He was living then, by then, in upstate New York, up near what is today Lake Placid, in North Elba, which is indeed where he is buried. Five of Brown's sons went west to Kansas, in late 1854 and early 1855. There was an extraordinary exchange of letters between a couple of those sons, especially Owen Brown and his father back in New York, letters that are saying things like, "Father, you must come out here with us. There are slaveholders living over on such and such creek, within two miles of us Father. Violence is beginning to break out, Father." And so the father came. And John Brown developed, in Kansas, by late 1855 and into 1856, his own little guerilla band. They had gone to Kansas to fight in Kansas's Border War.

Now, I mentioned the other day that it was in the spring of 1856, Brown and his men are traveling along a roadway and they get word of the beating of Charles Sumner on the floor of the Senate. I think it was first told to them that Sumner was all but dead, this, to him, great abolitionist senator. And Brown, it appears, went into a frenzy and vowed revenge, and a couple of days later he and four of his sons, or three of his sons, went and did visitations at three houses along Pottawatomie Creek in eastern Kansas, known to be an area settled by slaveholders or pro-slavery people, and they dragged several men from their houses, in front of their wives, and hacked them to death — five men to be exact — hacked them to death with these huge broad swords, and deposited their bodies on the front steps of their cabins. This was the Pottawatomie Creek Massacre. It touched off even greater violence in Bleeding Kansas, throughout that summer, into the fall of 1856. To John Brown, he had kind of tried to even the score because just a few — a couple of weeks before that pro-slavery forces had sacked, attacked and burned the anti-slavery capital of Kansas — Lawrence, Kansas — burned a hotel and killed six people. Brown, by killing five, said he hadn't quite evened it up.

He spent the summer of 1856 in hiding, into the fall. In October 1856, he left Kansas and went back east to launch what became the Harpers Ferry conspiracy; and in legal terms that's exactly what it was. He launched a fundraising campaign to finance a new and more daring attempt to take this war, as he put it, into Africa; by that he meant the South. It was his hope of attacking, ultimately, the largest federal arsenal in the United States — which was in Harpers Ferry, Virginia, at the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers, just some thirty, forty miles from Washington, DC — capture that largest federal arsenal with its thousands of rifles and side-arms and barrels of gun powder, and apparently, launch a growing, developing, slave insurrection, down through Virginia. And it was his hope, at least, the best we can understand, to engage in and effect a violent coup d'état and take over the State of Virginia.

Now, to make a long and dramatic story short enough, his fundraising campaign by 1857 fell by the way, in part because of the Panic of 1857. But he visited all over the North. He visited the parlors of many famous abolitionists in New England. He sat in Ralph Waldo Emerson's study. People hosted dinners for him. He was this fascinating, romantic, somewhat bizarre old man with hair that was whitening, and had been out there in Kansas raising hell. They didn't all know the details of the Pottawatomie Creek Massacre, and even when they began to hear them they didn't want to know too much. But Brown was leading a crusade in Kansas to keep Kansas free soil. Brown was doing in Kansas what a lot of these abolitionists back east could not themselves do but they were glad he was doing it; began to raise some money for him. He came down here to Connecticut and he ordered some 1000 spears — he called them pikes — from a forgery, which were ultimately delivered in boxes to a farm near Harpers Ferry, labeled famously Beecher's Bibles; huge, heavy boxes labeled Bibles. And then he went back west. He established a headquarters in Tabor, Iowa, a town known to be settled by abolitionists from the east, a place where he could begin to recruit men and train them.

Then in early 1858 he spent one full month living in the attic apartment of Frederick Douglass's home in Rochester, New York. We have only one little letter they exchanged during that time. It says, "John, come down to dinner." Thanks a lot guys. But what we do know, that in that attic of Frederick Douglass's house, John Brown wrote his so-called Provisional Constitution for the State of Virginia. When he took over Virginia he was going to announce a new Constitution. He, in fact, was going to be the governor, lest you had any doubt. And then he called a convention in May 1858, in Canada, Chatham, Ontario, to which he invited abolitionists now, black and white, and it was to be a recruiting convention to recruit the men who would become part of his abolitionist army. Now the problem here with John Brown, for everybody who met him — including Douglass, who may have known more about the Harpers Ferry plans than anybody alive — the problem was he was so secretive. He would never tell people the details of what he was doing, who he was actually hiring. Forty-six so-called delegates went to this Chatham Convention; thirteen of them white, the rest of them black. Most of the people attending it were fugitive slaves living in Canada, who had escaped slavery in the United States, many of whom still had family back in the South. Here was a man, in the midst of this political crisis going on in the country — this is in 1858 now — who is saying, "I'm going to lead you back into the South and we're going to get your families out."

He lacked money. He had hired an unreliable drillmaster, a guy named Hugh Forbes, an English soldier of fortune who'd been off in Italy in the late-40s and early 1850s, kind of soldiering as a soldier of fortune with Garibaldi in the Italian Revolution, but it turns out wasn't very reliable. He [Brown] got involved with the so-called Secret Six, New England abolitionists — time doesn't really allow me to tell you everything about them but they were Franklin Sanborn, Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Theodore Parker, Samuel Gridley Howe, George Luther Stearns, Gerrit Smith and others; prominent, powerful, and in one case rich, white, New England and Northern abolitionists who supported him.

Then Brown went back out to Kansas that winter, of '58, and in December of '58, with a band of about thirteen men, he went across the Kansas border into Missouri, dead of winter. He attacked three farms, or I suppose you could call them small plantations, in Missouri, where he seized eleven slaves, killed one of the owners, and then went back across the border into Kansas and hid out for awhile in the dead of January 1859, along Pottawattamie Creek. And then he engaged in an eighty-two day wintertime trek of over 1000 miles with these eleven freed slaves, from Kansas north into Nebraska, then into Iowa, into Grinnell, Iowa, by the way also settled by New England abolitionists. In Grinnell, Iowa he was given the key to the city by a Mayor. And in Grinnell, where the railroad had reached as far as Grinnell, Iowa, they put them all in a boxcar, a special boxcar, and they rode by train, all the way to Chicago, and then all the way to Detroit. And on the 12th of March, 1859, there was a remarkable scene on the Detroit River as John Brown ushered these eleven freed slaves from Missouri across the river into Canada. But at this point there was a twelfth. A baby had been born in the boxcar and its mother had named him John Brown Daniels. So, lest we think this guy was only a lunatic — this was the real thing, he'd freed some slaves, and he had carted them all across the northern states, in the dead of winter, to their freedom. To the extent he had a messianic image, and a sense of himself as a Moses — actually, his greatest hero was Oliver Cromwell. If you know anything about the English Civil War and the Puritan armies, it makes sense; it was based on something.

Chapter 5. Planning the Raid on Harpers Ferry 

Now, I only have a few minutes. The raid on Harpers Ferry would've actually happened a bit earlier, it would've happened in the summer of 1859, had he been able to pull everything together and get everybody to gather. And in the end, it is one of those sad and tragic stories that then takes on a much, much larger meaning than anyone could've ever predicted. His so-called Provisional Army — that's what he called it — for his Provisional Constitution for his provisional new Virginia, would ultimately be about twenty-two men. He rented a farm five miles north of Harpers Ferry, in Maryland, where they were all to gather that summer. He wanted Frederick Douglass to join him. He actually had met Harriet Tubman in Canada. He tried to convince Harriet Tubman to join him. He'd heard of her legend. But she was a little too smart for this. She'd done this stuff. She had more experience in freeing slaves and getting them out than anybody, and she apparently said, in effect — "no thanks." He desperately wanted Douglass to join him, and had he joined them Douglass would've been dead in 1859. But Douglass did have a final meeting with John Brown at an old stone quarry outside of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, in late August of 1859. He went down from New York with a fugitive slave Douglass had helped to his freedom named Shields Green. Here's Shields — where is he — there he is. Douglass took him along. They met at this old stone quarry and in Douglass's testimony they had a long conversation. Brown tried one last time to talk Douglass into coming with him, and Douglass, in his recollection, famously said, "I can't do it. You're going to be trapped in a" — how does he put it — "you're going to be surrounded in a trap of steel. You will never get out. But if you must go, go." And then he said to Shields Green, "Your call, your choice." Well it turns out Shields Green was a fugitive slave from Virginia. His wife was still in Virginia. He said — according to Douglass — "I think I'll go with the old man." And Shields did, and he'll die at Harpers Ferry.

There were five black men, finally, who joined John Brown's raid — Osborn Perry Anderson, Dangerfield Newby, Shields Green, John Copeland, Lewis Leary. Two of them were Oberlin College graduates; three of them were former fugitive slaves. Dangerfield Newby had a letter in his pocket from his wife, in Virginia, when he died at Harpers Ferry. The plan, simply put — so far as we know — was to attack Harpers Ferry, take the federal arsenal, and begin, if he could, to escape into the mountains, the Blue Ridge Mountains on either side of Harpers Ferry, to establish mountain hideaways, to try from those hideaways to get slaves to escape into his lines, to arm them, and then to begin, as a guerilla warrior, to selectively attack sites in northern Virginia, moving on Richmond.

Now, I say to the extent we understand it, because he didn't leave us much to go on in terms of what his actual plan was. What we do know is the raid only lasted forty-eight hours. They never got out of Harpers Ferry. He did free about a dozen slaves in the surrounding countryside, brought them into the old Fire Engine House of the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, hid out. And the news sprung across the country like news had never spread in the United States, partly because John Brown's first major strategic mistake, or tactical mistake, was that the Manakosie Railroad came through Harpers Ferry right as he was entering the town. They stopped the train. The first casualty was a free black watchman on that train who was shot by one of Brown's men. Then Brown, within two hours, let the train go — dumb. The conductor of the train at the next town wired Washington and said, "One man and 200 men are attacking Harpers Ferry." By the time it reached Buchanan's desk in the White House it was 500 men attacking Harpers Ferry. And within twenty-four hours Buchanan ordered a contingent of U.S. Marines under the command of Robert E. Lee and a lieutenant named J.E.B. Stuart to get to Harpers Ferry as fast as possible and crush this slave insurrection, which they did.

Chapter 6. Brown's Capture and Conclusion

Now, I'm going to leave you there, in this situation. Brown was captured. All but two or three of his men were killed or captured, and all those captured will be hung. One of his sons, Owen Brown, did manage to escape. What ensued at Harpers Ferry for 24 hours was an absolute pitched battle between the townspeople, local militias, and Brown's men, and many townspeople were killed. Owen Brown would escape and eventually move as far, far away as he possibly could, and live on a little desert farm up above Pasadena, California, halfway up the San Gabriel Mountains, most of the rest of his life, trying to escape the infamy of his father's legacy. Brown was captured in the Engine House. They tried to run him through with a sword. They beat him over the head, they bloodied him up but, as the story goes, he was saved by a huge brass belt buckle he had, and they kept stabbing at him and they kept hitting the brass belt buckle. He was captured, put in jail in Charles Town, Virginia, just four miles up the road. And in November 1859 he would get the most famous, sensational trial that the United States had ever seen. I'm going to leave you there because it's the John Brown hanging and execution and the aftermath that is the most important template of that election year of 1860 soon to come.