Rough Crossings - Simon Schama Speaks at Google


Uploaded by Google on 16.07.2007

Transcript:

FEMALE SPEAKER: --
Republic, The New York Review of Books, The Guardian, and
has been an art and cultural critic for the New Yorker
since 1994.
Professor Schama's work has been translated--
[INAUDIBLE].
Professor Schama, sorry-- has also worked as a writer and
presenter for the BBC.
His award-winning 15 part History of Britian has 4
million viewers in the UK and was shown in the US on the
History Channel.
So with no further ado.
SIMON SCHAMA: Yeah, thanks.

This is so nice.
Forgive me the throat.
I'm just getting out of a horrible, kind of flu-y
condition, which I'll try not to give to you.
I'm staying as far back as I possibly can.
But if any of you, during the middle of my remarks, suddenly
get up and throw up.
I won't take it personally.
It's just you've contracted whatever it was I had.
So this is fantastic.
This looks like the nicest college there ever was.
So there will actually be an exam before
you leave the room.
I don't want to hear any kind snoring.
Or at least no audible snoring going on.
So here's this funny book I wrote called Rough Crossings.
And which I expect, since it was only published yesterday,
not all of you will have read from cover to cover yet.
It's quite a long book, although it was said by my
editor who's not here, 416 pages Simon, a pamphlet for
you, which is probably right.
One of my shorter efforts.
Why should anyone be interested in the story of the
slaves who decided to vote with their feet for the
British rather than American freedom?
And I think the answer is summed up in one life really,
Henry Washington, sometimes known as Harry Washington.
He was one of George Washington's slaves.
Who, as soon as he had the opportunity, voted with his
feet and went to the British.
And I'll explain why in a minute.
You can go down the list of the Southern signers of the
Declaration of Independence, James Madison, Arthur
Middleton, Edward Rutledge, South Carolina signers of the
Declaration of Independence, and another important Founding
Father, Patrick Henry.
A week, we think, after Patrick Henry stands up in the
Virginia House of Burgesses and says, give me liberty or
give me death, his slave, [? Rafe ?]
Henry, says, fine, I think I'll have liberty.
And heads as fast as he can for the Union Jack.
Why are they doing this?
Because in the autumn of 1775, in November 1775, the last
governor of Virginia, a man called the Earl of Dunmore, by
no means a kind of humanitarian abolitionist, but
someone who is desperately short of soldiers, issues a
proclamation approved by the government in London, saying
that any slave leaving a rebel plantation in effect who makes
it to the King's lines and willing to
serve in whatever capacity.
Some of them did in fact fight but a much larger number of
those who did take the offer seriously served as sappers,
ditch diggers, carters, spies, sometimes very dangerous jobs.
Anybody who serves the King for the duration of the
present conflict will receive their freedom.
And Dunmore got together almost overnight an army of a
few hundred runaway slaves who were called
the Ethiopian Regiment.
And who were the first to go into battle for the game with
a badge like this on their breasts that
said, liberty to slaves.
That had not happened in America before.
So this is a story of cynical motives that produce
extraordinary, inadvertent good and great heroism.
There are a lot of-- ultimately
it's a tragic story.
Because if in fact for the blacks in the American South
their enemy's enemy was their friend.
Better the British than their American slave masters.
However, loudly people like Thomas Jefferson and Patrick
Henry spoke about liberty, the reality of their world was
anything but liberty.
And there were many British, there were some British who
betrayed their promises.
There were British officers and British generals who kept
their promises.
And those who did indeed serve out their time in the War, and
who made it to safety on British lines, continued to be
free and, in fact, had documents in New York.
They were called General Birch Certificates.
I'll come onto in a second actually the extraordinary
moment at the end of the war in 1783 where that freedom
seemed frighteningly transitory
for a moment or two.
So what we have essentially is a kind of tragic odyssey that
again I'm going to talk about without
taking up too much time.
And of course it's a story that actually you will not
find particularly in your standard social studies, high
school textbook.
Or am I wrong?
Did you all know that the first women to vote for
anything anywhere in the world were runaway slaves freed by
the British who made, it in the end, all the way back to
Africa as free blacks and voted in local government
elections in Sierra Leone?
Does it appear in social studies textbooks that the
first articulate, African-American political
leaders essentially are those who fought in the British army
or were aligned with the British during the
Revolutionary War and after?
The first free black churches, the first free black schools
all a part of this extraordinary experience, this
enormous exodus.
We think, most historians working on this, that
something like between 80,000 and 100,000 slaves left the
plantations during the American Revolutionary War in
an attempt to get to British lines.
Did they all fight?
The overwhelming number did not.
Many died of smallpox.
Many were captured by the American patriot side.
Some sort of ran between the two lines and
were caught in between.
But some did fight.
There were black, guerrilla partisans fighting in boats on
the Hudson River picking off patriot settlements and
patriot supply posts.
The first great, black, guerrilla captain was a man
called Colonel [? Tide. ?]
Ferocious.
Ruthless.
Heroic.
Implacable.
Worked out of New Jersey and not very far away again on the
Hudson River.
So where's the story gone?
Well, everybody is a little bit of a party pooper on the
Fourth of July isn't it?
Frederick Douglass said, what is your Fourth of July to me?
It's a little inconvenient.
Hence, actually in Britain where this book already came
out they said, great story, Simon.
Actually one of my friends, Allison Pearson, a novelist,
she said, fantastic story, Simon.
I really look forward to visiting you in Gitmo, in
Guantanamo.
I don't think, an orange jumpsuit is
not your look really.
She said, how's your Green Card?
I just got my new Green Card, so it's OK.
But of course to digress a bit, and I'll come back to the
story which I hope you want to hear lots more about.
And I'm happy to answer questions about.
What's the great, for me, strength, and beauty, and
virtue of Western history by which all I mean is history
written since Herodotus and Thucydides has been its
unflinching, self-critical honesty.
The Peloponnesian War, the first great knockout
masterpiece of historical writing, is the history of
what in Britain we call a cock up.
The expedition to Syracuse.
How weird is it that all you usually get in American core
curriculum from that book is Pericles' funeral speech?
The reason it's good to die for democracy, a very
important document.
But the reason that document is very important is because
it leads you to an absolutely chilling account written by a
veteran general--
Thucydides was himself a general--
of how catastrophic imperial
overreach was for the Athenians.
So from the beginning, history has been a cautionary or
tragic muse.
It's not been in the thumb sucking, lullaby, feel good,
consolatory.
There's kind of history into the mirror of which we look
and the slight temptation, I speak as someone who spent
half my life in America and half my life in Britain,
because life is tough in America in 2001, 2006.
I'm stuck in 2001.
In 2006 we want, I want to sort of find a generation our
founding fathers, we may be deeply screwed now.
We may actually be bereft of half decent, fully-witted
leadership.
But once, by God, once there was a leadership where
Washington, Jefferson, Madison were wise, strong, virtuous,
truthful, honest, powerful, and victorious.
Well yes, all of that is true.
But how much deeper and richer and more powerful does that
history become when we complicate it a bit with the
stories that ought to be told alongside
the feel good message?
This I don't think is, especially if you're
African-American, this is not a feel bad story.
It's sort of a think hard story, I suppose.
God, that sounds so glib, and I just thought it up.
But it actually just makes you think a bit more about what
you would have done.
History is supposed to-- it's above all a kind of an
encounter with the other, with people who
lived long before us.
Auden described it as breaking bread with the dead.
It's essentially, another wonderful thing about history,
it's wired, if you'll forgive the word,
it's wired to be tolerant.
Because actually you are encountering people who are
not of your own time or of your own place.
And in this case those you encounter plantation slaves
who say, what am I going to do?
There's all this noise about liberty that
my master is making.
On the other hand, there's also this The Red Coats, are
they all scoundrels?
Are they all cynics?
And part of the story of this book is that amazingly we know
from run away advertisements before the Revolutionary War
starts in other words, around 1773 and 1774 and early in
1775, runaway advertisements for the return of captured
slaves that say Cato or Scipio or Pompey gone to
the British in the--
parenthesis-- deluded, in effect, belief that they will
receive freedom in old England.
What had happened was a series of court cases in the 1770's,
in Britain itself, in London, in which the Lord Chief
Justice had been almost forced to rule that nobody could be
transported against their will in England.
That the status of a slave in effect, you could still be a
slave in England, he was a bit misunderstood in that respect,
he was ruling.
But essentially you couldn't be resold to the West Indies.
But the way those court cases got reported and somehow they
got back in gazettes and journals, made their way west
to America and among the semi-literatre or literate
groups of slaves, some of them in the North, the news of Lord
Mansfield's decisions especially in a case called
the James Somersett case, meant that there was some
sense among the slave community in the South when
the War started that somehow to be British might actually
offer a better chance of becoming free than if you
stayed American.
When I found a slave about whom we
know very, very little.
But we know this one incredibly important fact.
Who decided to call himself British Freedom, which in the
American Revolution sounds like an oxymoron.
Decided to call himself British Freedom, we know that
mythical or not mythical that belief that by actually
getting somehow to British lines you would earn your
freedom was extremely, deeply rooted and provoked this
extraordinary exodus of tens of thousands of people that I
write about it in the book.
Another very interesting issue is that we know that before
the Revolutionary War, most escapes and plantations were
invariably adult males.
From the documents we have of those 3,000 or so freed
ex-slaves who end up here in New York at the end of the
Revolutionary War, an extraordinary number of them
actually were women who went in groups of women sometimes
with men who were the fathers of children, sometimes not.
Large numbers clearly ran away from North Carolina, South
Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Maryland in family groups,
again often with very small children commandeering or
stealing boats trying to make it to the British ships,
trying to make it behind British lines in Philadelphia
and New York.
And a few of them subsequently leave to become preachers.
So they leave memoirs of actually
what happened to them.
And I use those memoirs as all we have. But we do, for the
first time, have real African-American voices to
work with in describing the difficulties and the perils of
this experience.
Here's one of those voices describing what it's like to
be in New York at the end of the War.
This is a city which has its own free black encampment
downtown, which was no picnic, no picnic at all.
And blacks meanwhile have served in, some of them have
been abandoned disgracefully by Cornwallis.
Some of the other British generals have been genuinely
benevolent like Sir Henry Clinton.
They'd served in sieges.
They'd served crucially in the Siege of Savannah and the
siege from the other way round of Charleston.
One of them, who is really the first African-American
political leader, a sergeant in the British army called Tom
Peters in the British Pioneers, had been twice
wounded, promoted, become one of these very tough veterans
as it were except they didn't wear red coats.
They wore blue coats.
I would say black red coats.
The man I'm just going to read a very quick paragraph on is
called Boston King.
He was a slave who was actually a slave in a race
horse breeding colony in Wilmington, North Carolina.
And he escapes.
He joins the army in '76 along with thousands of others.
And he becomes a Methodist preacher.
That's why we have his memoir.
And he's in New York at the moment when the War is over.
So their thought is what the hell is going to happen to us?
New York was full of slave catchers all--
George Washington, of course, is responsible for negotiating
the details of the evacuation of the British army, is being
hounded by his own friends and his own class in Virginia to
have Negroes returned.
In fact a very last minute clause was inserted in the
preliminary peace treaty that said there shall be no
carrying off by the British army of property and Negroes.
That was suddenly inserted article seven of
the Treaty of Paris.
Here's how Boston King writes about that moment.
About this time, peace was restored between America and
Great Britain, which diffused universal joy among all
parties except us, who had escaped slavery and taken
refuge in the English army.
For a report prevailed at New York that all the slaves in
number 2,000 were to be delivered up to their masters
although some of them had been three or four
years among the English.
This dreadful rumor filled us with inexpressible anguish and
terror, especially when we saw our old masters coming from
Virginia, North Carolina, and other parts and seizing upon
slaves in the streets of New York and other parts--
Or excuse me, seizing the streets of New York or even
dragging them out of their beds.
Many of the slaves had very cruel masters so that the
thought of returning home with them, the masters, embittered
life to us.
For some days we lost our appetite for food and sleep
departed from our eyes.
The English had compassion on us in the day of our distress
and issued out a proclamation importing that all slaves
should be free, quote, who had taken refuge in the British
lines and claim the sanction and privileges of the
proclamations respecting the security and
protection of Negroes.
In consequence of this, each of us received a certificate
from the commanding officer at New York, that was Samuel
Birch, which dispelled our fears and filled us with joy
and gratitude.
Imagine a printed piece of paper promising this.
Some of the children who'd been born during the War had a
little certificate that said, born free
behind British lines.
And however, particularly the evacuations in Charleston and
Savannah, scoundrelly and hypocritical many of the
British were, and by God they were.
Lots got resold back to the West Indies.
There was one redeeming, indisputably, decent, moral
moment that happened in May '83.
Washington meets with this last Commander in Chief for
the British army, a man called Sir Guy Carleton.
No hero but a basically doltish good egg.
And they have a summit conference down at Tapan on
the Hudson.
And Washington says, it's quite clear what the first
piece of business was going to be, said we'll have our
Negroes back.
And Sir Guy Carleton said, well, my dear general I wish I
could oblige you, but they actually happen all to be
free, in effect.
And they're coming with us to Nova Scotia.
And what's more, some of them have already left.
And I'm sure, my dear general, I'm paraphrasing.
I'm sure you would not wish me to violate the word given by
the King and his government in respect of restitution for
services made during the War.
And Washington was furious about this particularly since
ships had already started going.
He apparently didn't know that on those ships, he thought
they were all slaves that belonged to Loyalists.
I should say that actually if you were a Loyalist's slave,
tough luck.
The deal only went, I mean there was a huge degree of
cynicism on the part of the British.
But for this moment Carleton could utterly have folded.
He did not fold.
He said basically they're coming with us.
In effect, want to start the war over again?
Start the war.
There were still a lot of British troops around.
War was not started.
Three thousand do sail off with the British to Nova
Scotia where their freedom is honored, but that is about it.
They were all supposed to get land, 25 acres to 100 acres.
They don't get what they were promised.
They go through incredible, desperate ordeals of misery
and penury and privation.
They sort of stay together as a community.
And they do stay free.
They're reduced to indentured servants.
But they are educated enough to take to the court sometimes
when they suspect that their legal position has been
depressed of that of being slaves.
And again the man I mentioned, Thomas Peters, is incensed
enough and articulate enough and determined enough and
militant enough to make it all the way back to London, I'm
not quite sure how was his passage.
Where he finds the ear of the black community, free black
community, in London, small but important group.
And then the abolitionist movement in London about whom
a lot of the book is also about.
And reports that the King's wishes, the government's
wishes, are not being observed.
They then send Peters back along with a young 27-year-old
Naval lieutenant called John Clarkson to make
the following offer.
That if you wish to stay in Nova Scotia, we will see to it
that the promises in respect of land will now be observed.
It was the white Loyalists who were making life miserable for
the black Loyalists.
If you do not, then we will make arrangements for you.
We will actually pay for and assemble a fleet to take you
to your own self governing settlement, which would be
Sierra Leone.
Which had had an embryonic beginning four years earlier.
But had been wiped out in an African raid in 1790.
And something like 1,300 of them accept the
offer to go to Africa.
And there, the last part of the story is the story of this
extraordinary short lived--
they begin to run into all sorts of terrible trouble.
They arrive in the rainy season.
Their immune system isn't prepared for African diseases.
They have an incredibly difficult time with the white
councilors, the imperial counselors who were sent out
from London.
But they hang on.
And for the first time, a free African-American community is
self governing.
It has its own juries.
It has its own political counselors.
They're called [? tithing ?]
[? men ?] and [? Hundred Doors. ?]
They have their own little military police force.
When there's an extraordinary scene, for example, when a
white sailor who's accused of persecuting and abusing some
of these free blacks is tried for it and is flogged, almost
to death by a black constable called Simon Proof.
I mean everybody is called in the entire settlement out to
see this, whites and blacks together for a free black
administering the kind of flogging which they would only
have remembered being administered to
themselves as slaves.
And some of those slaves completed this extraordinary
arch of a journey.
A small number, but very moving number of them,
remembered of course having been taken in captivity as
children, being sold to slavery in America, leaving
the plantations during the Revolutionary War, making it
to the British army, staying with the British army, going
north to Nova Scotia, enduring hell there, and back across
the Atlantic in this 15 ship fleet lead by Clarkson.
Clarkson himself is an extraordinary figure who
leaves an 800 page diary, journal.
Which is one of the great documents of 18th century
romantic, evangelical passion in English.
And ought really, there's a good on line edition if you
want to find it.
But there really ought to be a proper published, print
published edition.
I might have a crack at myself.
Clarkson is someone who had been a Naval officer, had
served in the Caribbean, had shown not the slightest
inkling of indignation about slavery.
But his big brother becomes one of the great abolitionist
in Britain.
And he undergoes a kind of Pauline conversion.
And he's becomes for about two years, it's his moment in the
intense flood light of history.
He becomes a new person.
He constantly investigates his own worthiness for the role.
But he has this extraordinary sense as a rather conflicted
relationship with Thomas Peters.
But he has this extraordinary sense that he is as the blacks
call him, their Moses, the one who's supposed to lead them to
the promised land.
When he gets his fleet of 15 ships together to make this
extraordinary crossing into freedom from Halifax, Nova
Scotia to Sierra Leone.
He's very conscious that of some of them will have last
encountered the Atlantic as slaves.
So he travels on a hospital ship.
He makes absolutely certain that the amount of rations are
very clearly specified.
That the medical provisions for anyone falling sick,
ditto, ditto.
And they run into the most incredible, extraordinary
almost, epic catastrophes, literally where The Perfect
Storm happens in the movie off of George's Bank, two storms
rather than three.
And Clarkson actually rowing himself around the fleet the
night before they all left from Halifax giving everybody
their own little certificate of land in Sierra Leone, which
he insisted on doing.
Caught something horrible, we think it might, I think it
might have been meningitis.
He falls sick, badly sick on the hospital
ship, on the Lucretia.
And doesn't move for 48 hours.
His friend Charles Taylor the physician thinks he's dead.
They stitched him up in the canvas.
He's just about to be committed to the
deep, and he moves.
You can't make this stuff up.
We know about this because actually the doctor and the
captain then reconstruct, he obviously isn't keeping his
journal up, reconstructed it.
And he transcribes it later from what they told him and
from their own version of the log.
The captain, of course, has to be called Captain Jonathan
Coffin doesn't he?
And so they know he's still alive.
And they take him down to his cabin and kind
of warm him up again.
And he's sort of still out but alive.
Almost at the moment, there's this gigantic kind of not
quite tsunami, huge storm smashes in the whole back of
the ship, the deadline, just where John Clarkson is.
The captain runs down to find John Clarkson is then covered
with blood and water.
Amazingly, he's not washed out into the open ocean.
But he's still very sick.
He survives again.
He is nursed again.
Captain Coffin keeps a kind of vigil when
he can by the bedside.
And he contracts whatever it was that Clarkson had.
And he does die.
I told you all the good bits in the book.
And so Clarkson, when he gets better, has to actually bury
the captain.
So there's this extraordinary kind of epic, amazing ordeal.
Plenty more from the weather and from disease and sickness,
I can't remember exactly how many?
But there were a number who died on the way over, the more
surprising thing is how many survive.
Other misfortunes befall this extraordinary little colony.
But it kind of grittily hangs on and becomes something new
in the world.
And I think I'm just going to rather annoyingly without any
grand sense of, well, what does it will mean?
Stop.
Because I've gone on long enough.
I'm very happy to hear questions.
Yes.
AUDIENCE: I'm assuming that the information for this book
wasn't easy to come across.
So where did you start your research?
SIMON SCHAMA: Yeah, no.
Actually I have to admit, I'm not the first person by any
means to have written this story.
I've really kind of sewn it together.
Partly because I did do archival research in the
public record office in London and the New York Historical
Society has a manuscript copy of John Clarkson's journal,
which was in three volumes, sort of two from Nova Scotia
and one from his year in Africa.
But they've been extremely good books actually written
about this.
But pieces, books on what happened in the American South
and books on just what happened in Sierra Leone.
And I wanted to do the whole arch of the thing together.
But I do what any kind of meat and potatoes historian does.
You go gratefully to--
I mean I ran over, I stumbled over the story of that New
York summit conference in the great history of New York
called Gotham.
I was so startled by the story.
I then went to other books.
And then the books leads you to primary sources.
Then you do your own archival digging and truffle hunting
with your nose to the ground.
The material has been there for a while.
And so the story's been around for a while.
I absolutely take no credit for particular originality in
this respect.
This is sort of synthesis in a way of stories
that have been told.
Sometimes you just need to attempt to do not the complete
story, no story is ever complete.
But a story which, what's not happened is that this story
hasn't been lodged in the mainstream of what we tell
ourself about the American Revolution.
You won't find a whole lot about this story in David
McCullough or in some of the other stories.
There are books about blacks in the American Revolution,
both sides.
There were black patriot soldiers of course.

And there are still stuff to be discovered.
I've only just barely begun to read it.
But there is a review of another book along with my
book in the New Yorker by Jill Lepore, who points to a book
written by a woman called Cassandra Pybus, I don't know
about, but looks as though it's covered a lot more
primary sources than I did and followed some of these people
to Australia.
But it's just time this story came home to American history.
Yeah.
AUDIENCE: I'm from Canada.
SIMON SCHAMA: Which part?
AUDIENCE: Toronto.
SIMON SCHAMA: Yes.
AUDIENCE: And in our history, we never heard any of this.
Although we did hear--
SIMON SCHAMA: Oh there are some really good books written
by Cada-- is that right?
I'm very surprised.
Ever been to Preston, Nova Scotia?
AUDIENCE: I've been to Nova Scotia but not Preston.
SIMON SCHAMA: Yeah, Preston's still a black township.
That was one of the great--
there was a place called Birchtown near Shelburne.
There was a very good black Loyalist website.
There was a little museum just outside Halifax.
Although typically, I mean I rented a car to take myself to
Preston, and the guy in Halifax said, oh yeah Preston.
Good boxers come from Preston.
Excruciating cliche.
There was a man called James Walker who wrote, and Robin
Winks wrote a big book called Blacks in Canada.
Because in the War of 1812 I should say, it happens all
over again.
The British again offer, and there's another huge--
it's so deeply lodged in the memory of the slave world in
the South that the moment actually there was a
possibility of British occupation in the War of 1812,
there's another huge exodus to the British.
And another arrival in Nova Scotia actually.
And most of the black population in Preston, Nova
Scotia are descendants of African-Americans
from the War of 1812.
See I confess there was this moment where when I heard
about the freedom tower and that it had to be 1,776 feet
high what's the message?
That freedom arrives in the modern world
when the Brits depart?
Well, yeah.
I suppose so.
In a way, it sure does.
But have we heard of Oliver Cromwell or
Magda Carter or something?
Is modern freedom only and forever to be defined as the
1776 moment?
Well ask Henry Washington, ask Ralph
Henry, ask British Freedom.
They bloody well didn't think so.

If it chastens us a little bit about having reinvented the
world anew in 1776, ain't no bad thing, as the song says.
AUDIENCE: [? [INAUDIBLE] ?]

SIMON SCHAMA: I believe that's the case.
AUDIENCE: [? [INAUDIBLE]-- ?] be able to find the primary
source online?
SIMON SCHAMA: Oh absolutely.
Yes, if you just--
how could I possibly say--
I was about to say if you Google.
And doesn't that sound--
if you want?
Do you really?
How embarrassing is that?
Yes, John Clarkson, or John Clarkson's narrative, or John
Clarkson's mission to America, or John Clarkson's mission to
Africa, you'll get a link to the black Loyalist website.
And that will give you the whole thing on line.
I'm pretty sure it's the whole thing.
I read it in manuscripts.
I just love the kind of touchy-feely quality of that.
But actually it is lovely to read in
the historical society.
AUDIENCE: In another example by Samuel [? [INAUDIBLE] ?]

SIMON SCHAMA: I didn't hear the other example.
AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE]
SIMON SCHAMA: Oh yes.
AUDIENCE: Do you find there is more sort of significant
primary sources being published
online and not in print?
Or is that--
SIMON SCHAMA: I think it's becoming so.
Yeah.
AUDIENCE: Do you think that's a--
SIMON SCHAMA: Do I think it's what?
AUDIENCE: A valuable thing?
SIMON SCHAMA: Fantastic.
Yeah.
Absolutely.
Oh, God yes.
I have a whole other talk about the digitization of the
archive, which is just going to, it's already kind of
transforming what history is.
Especially when it happens through institutions like the
Library of Congress and the British Library.
We now, at last, have the possibility of a
democracy of research.
You don't have to be enrolled in a Ph.D program.
I mean I love the fact that when I was, I can't remember,
I did, you know, I guess I was doing some research actually
about Washington's early career.
Not for this book for, I mean of course I
was teaching at Colombia.
And there's this thing called, probably still called, America
Memory, which is run by the Library of Congress.
If you enter that site, you can sort of almost
instantaneously get some of Washington's early annotated
journals from even before his land survey days before the
French Indian Wars.
But you could read it either in the digitized version of
the manuscript, or you can read it in the typed version,
or you can read an edited version.
You have this fantastic kind of array of possibilities of
how to treat the archive.
There's a wonderful site called Valley of the Shadow,
which I really recommend, developed out of the
University of Virginia, about two counties on either side of
the Civil War.
One in I believe in
Pennsylvania and one in Maryland.
I think that was right.
And you enter a site which is designed like Monticello.
And you can head off to musical sources or diary
sources or early photographs.
You can treat the archive now with the enthusiasm but not
very trained expertise of a 9th grader.
Or someone who's in effect wants to come back to
university after having finished a career or as a
serious graduate student right in the thick of studies.
This is just the most fantastic
liberation of the archive.
The danger about it is it's very promiscuous.
Isn't it?
I mean it's just that we've already had instances of dodgy
documents somehow being inserted or being
insufficiently scrutinized, actually of making it into on
site archives when they are very small archives.
There is still a role for kind of monitors at the gate in
affect actually.
Making sure about the kind of authenticity of documentation.

FEMALE SPEAKER: We are going to actually wrap up.
Does anyone here have questions?
Or is that about it?
We want to thank you again.
His books are available in the lobby to buy.
And he'll be signing those copies as well.
SIMON SCHAMA: Do you guys ever buy books?