Skip to main content

tv   Jefferson the Federalists in Washington DC  CSPAN  August 18, 2021 4:15pm-5:11pm EDT

4:15 pm
more information on how to get started, visit your website at student cam.org. >> next, discusses the result in use relationship between president jefferson and members of the congress, the first to have a full session in the new capitol of washington, d.c. he explains how the differences between the democratic republicans and federalists shaped everything. today is the inaugural scholar series. we thought we would start with our have you own chuck geeadacamonter ayo, one of the
4:16 pm
nation's finest similars on the first congress, and that early period in the development of our country. and so he has put together a very imaginative presentation using primary source, letters of the times, where people wrote to one another about the science, the food, the culture, and the back and forth that made early days in washington. that being said, we invite you to stay with us for your questions and answers. chuck will do the presentation, and i will work through the questions, and we will have a couple of questions that we may do a couple of questions in the presentation, and the majority of the questions will be at the conclusion of the presentation.
4:17 pm
so, please, put your questions in, and i'll try to work them through both at the end and as we move forward. thank you very much, chuck, for the work that you have put together to put this together, and welcome to the platform. >> thank you. i am really happy we could pull this off. i am going to, as jane said, tell a very imaginative story. so just let your minds go. it's not a straightforward narrative, but we are going to touch a lot of points. the point of departure for me came with the publication of the book which i will show you here, and some of you have seen it before. it is my book on george thatcher. the screen that you will see is a painting of george thatcher. i have edited a volume of his letters and the point of departure for me was his
4:18 pm
attendance at the second session, the last session of the sixth congress. he was the through the confederation period and the first six congresses under the federal government under the u.s. constitution. and so he has come to washington, d.c., when the federal government first moves here in 1800, and he arrives at the seat of government from maine with his fellow maine congressmen haley wadsworth. who was to portland merchant and a revolutionary war veteran. and for many new englanders in particular this exposure to washington, d.c. is their first exposure to rural slavery. he writes his daughter a few days before the opening of the last session of the sixth congress. the first session to meet in washington, d.c. this is in late 1800. he writes, the ground as you approach georgetown is excellent for roads. being of red course gravel but is in very bad repair by reason
4:19 pm
of many gull skpooes a great want of labor. -- whose at that timered inhabitants bespeak wretchedness and whoa a landlord -- great pride but little money. he goes on. but the capitol of the what of the capitol? why, it is a high, though magnificent pile it is but one wing of the original design. the bother in another wing is yet only to appear to the imagination from a view of the foundation which is laid in stone and lyme. you can see that in this i will station here. this is the capitol that george thatcher and his roommate from maine appear at at the end of the century, 1800. it is november 1800 when they convene. they actually meet here. i show that because not many people get to see this image. this is obviously a blue print
4:20 pm
of the main floor of the capitol at that time when congress first moves in. the senate was down below, where the old supreme court chamber now, the gallery is depicted here. and the house of representatives is actually meeting where the library of congress was going to eventually be meeting. in the third session -- sorry, there is no third session. in the seventh congress -- george thatcher is the only congressman to be reelected as often as he was. he decides his family is better served by him earning a nice salary as a supreme court justice back in maine. so he gives up his seat in congress. and his old roommate wadsworth is now representing maine -- massachusetts, rather w nathan reed. you see reed on right here. nathan reed was a scientist from
4:21 pm
salem, massachusetts. he starts out as an apothecary but he's really interested in steam engines. he actually applies for patents from congress before he is elect there had in 1800. he only serve this is one session. and he and thatcher and wads worth reside in a boarding house. the seventh congress meets, and thatcher is gone. wadsworth finds other housing and reed's roommate now is this guy named reverend minute asa cutler. a congressional minuter from hamilton, massachusetts, northern massachusetts. he is kind of an everyman. a you are la, a merchant. many might know him as the subject of david mccull ok's
4:22 pm
book. you will hear the voices of reed and cutler. they left voluminous letters and other writings up in salem, massachusetts. they are also, besides being colleagues in terms of the documentary record they left tined, they are colleagues spatially. they actually inhabit the same boarding house room here. i don't know if you can see my cursor, but it's right here. and it is where the library of congress jefferson building sits now. to those of you who are antiquaryians of dc know this is carroll row. they occupy the southernmost -- this one on the far right is a boarding house run by josaiahs king. this is the way that cutler describes to it his daughter, betsy. this is the first session of the seventh now congress. this is the first entire congress that is calling washington, d.c. home. and cutler writes about life on
4:23 pm
carroll row and josaiahs king's boarding house. it is situated east of the capitol on highest ground in the city. mr. reed and myself have i think the pleasantest room in the house or indeed in the whole city. it is a third story commanding a delightful aspect of the capitol, the city, along the extent of the river and the city of an exandrea. imagine how beautiful. he adds i am exceedingly happy with mr. reed. were i have to have made my choice of all of the members of the house and congress to have lived in the same chamber with me, all things considered, i would have chosen mr. reed. i am not much pleased with the capitol. it is a huge pile built with handsome stone handsome without but not within. if they were looking out their window toward the capitol this
4:24 pm
is what they would be seeing. the senate north chamber on the right side. the left -- that odd structure, is called the oven. some of you might have seen images of it before. none of them would have contemporary. these are all reconstructed images because we don't know exactly what it looked like except from verbal images. but they were connected by the rotunda. in the offen is where the house sat. they stayed through the seventh congress up to first session of the eighth congress in 1804. i am going to use the words of these three men, wadsworth, reed, and cutler. reed and cutler are roommates. at some point i will be throwing in words by william plumber a senator from new hampshire. he came in a year later to fill a vacated seat. he shows up in december of 1802. again, all of these things are
4:25 pm
spin-offs of my book on thatcher. i was curious, once thatcher leaves congress what happened everwards? what happened to the federalist congressman from massachusetts, new hampshire, the other new england states primarily would were left behind to carry on the federalist fight. i call all of this talk experiencing defeat, it is a ripoff of christopher hill's famous book the experience of defeat which looks at how levellers, quakers, parliamentarians dealt with the restoration after the english civil car in the 18 60s. i wanted to see how they dealt with defeat. from that chronological episode, full, i tease otd four themes. they all cover -- kind of like micro history. he teased them out of their record of the first three or four days of 1802 during the first session of the seventh congress. i began to realize what they are talking about is basically the politicization of everything. we are talking about sociability, food, science, and
4:26 pm
historical memory. those are the four themes i am going to be teasing out of here. the first one, sociability. the social life in washington probably then as now, revolves around the white house. and the white house's new occupant at this point was thomas jefferson. he had been inaugurated in march, 1801. and we all know from jefferson's famous first inaugural where he says we are all federalists, we are all republicans. he's trying to conciliate all parties. but what he really meant is we are all republicans. the federalists just don't know it yet. so he decides -- i mean, he's not naive. he realizes the federalists need special treatment. one way he does this is to use one of the greatest informal resources at his disposal, which is the white house's social life. right away, it sets up with a contrast with his predatorest
4:27 pm
issors with the federalist republican core. this is the highly exaggerated mid-19th century view of the artist's imagination of what bun one of martha washington's levees looked like. jefferson is more democratic writes cutler to his social on the 4st of january, 1802, just a couple days into the session. he writes, inner the new order of things there are no levys, nothing like this. but the members are invited to dine with the president in road indication. i include this for the people who maybe haven't seen this before. this is latrobe's blue print for jefferson's white house. the dining room you can see in the.er left is where these events -- these dinners would have taken place. he contains, what is strange, if anything done here can be strange is that only federalists or only democrats are invited at the same time. the number in a day is generally
4:28 pm
eight and when the federalists are invited there is one of the heads of departments, which make nine. mr. reed and myself and watts worth among others were socially and handsomely received and entertained. jefferson wasn'ted to create this idea and succeeded of -- wanted to create this idea, and succeeded, of having a very informal white house. one of the best images that illustrates this is one of these paintings. this artist depicted jefferson's study here which is this room right here. its southwest corner of what is today the state dining room. you can see it is filled with paraphernalia of his scientific js and studies. the idea is that jefferson is trying to depoliticize his dinners.
4:29 pm
jefferson hates conflict. no politics were to be discussed at his dinner table. my friend and colleague cat al gore from mass historical wrote about this. by trying to defuse the small conflicts that might wind up with both parties at the same tame he may have fostered a deeper division. one should note that jefferson's invitations to dinner were sent out under thomas jefferson, not president of the united states. the idea being that he wanted to create this image it was more democratic, just a gathering of friends, not a political meeting in any way. but, in fact, inviting people under his own name rather than in the name of his office as president was an excuse for him to invite who he wished. that is why he is able to invite just federalists all at a time or just democrats. eventually, as time goes by we learn he uses his dinner invitations as a way to punish
4:30 pm
members, primarily federalists. we know about this from some of the words from william plumber from new hampshire. according to al gore plumber decided jefferson used friendly conversation and good food and wine to bind congressmen to himself and divide them from one another. in bum plumber's own words this being the true ground of his adopting the present form. in the last session there were gentlemen who though they called on him from to the invited to dine with him. he names high flying federalists it is through they reasoned against some of jefferson's measures. and their arguments made his suggestions appear ridiculous. styled by jefferson abuse. it discovers a littleness of mind unworthy of the president of united states. as president he ought never to act towards an individual as if he knew what was said for or against him or his measures on floor of the house.
4:31 pm
plumber, i realize, in jefferson's behavior at least in the way he doled out dinner invitations to his white house stifled debate and stifled initiative. in the first few days of january, 1802. in fact, on new year's day we pick up again with cutler's journal. he writes, although the president has no levys, a number of federalists agreed to go from the capitol in coaches to the president's house and wait upon him with the compliments of the season. we were received with politeness, entertained with cake and wine. the mammoth cheese having been presented this morning with democratic parade and etiquette, the president suggested we go to the mammoth room and see the mammoth cheese. this then we see this monument
4:32 pm
of human weakness and folly as long as we wished and then go home. that cheese was a gift to jefferson from a largely -- community in massachusetts to thank jefferson for his work promoting religious freedom. it would have been important to baptist who is are a minority in most of the country at this pointed, certainly in new england. the cheese itself was four feet wide, 15 inches high, and weighed 1,230 pounds. i don't have an image of the cheese. there is no contemporary image or any image that i know of of the cheese. but we have one again in a famous -- would be famous painting by paid waddle. soon to be famous. this san jose the big cheese that was given to andrew jackson. there is something of a tradition of giving presidents a cheese they can host with. this is a big cheese that was presented to jackson in 1835.
4:33 pm
it was there for people to munch on for a couple of years. it looks ridiculous, i think. but this cheese is in fact, at least to federalist thinking, really a symbol of jeffersonianism. it's gouache. it's impractical. the idea is driven by folly. and it is the case where the idea or the ideology doesn't always play out as planned in the reality. and it doesn't help at all that the cheese was present booed at this leader of the baptist community in chest sure. he writes, last sunday 3 january, leland the cheese amonger of poor, illiterate clownish who was the creator of this was introduced to both houses of congress and a great
4:34 pm
deal of gentlemen and ladies from i know not wear. he made such a performance i have never heard before and hope never shall again. such a sounds was never heard by any decent auditory before. shame or horror appeared in every count fans. this was the guy who created the cheese. one year later on new year's eve 2803 cutler writes again, after we left the levy room as we were passing through the great hall, i happened to think of the mammoth cheese. and one of -- excuse me. -- i happened to think of the mammoth cheese and i asked one
4:35 pm
of the servants in livery and waiting whether it was still in the mammoth room? he replied it was and i might see it if i pleased. i went with a moment when was wishing for another look at it. the president told us 60 pounds had been taken out of the middle in sequence of the puffing up and symptoms of decay. so in case you are wondering what happened to the mammoth cheese, the plumber writes about it a couple, two years later in december 1804 that at that point was very far from being good. it was last seen a year later in 1805. it was either by that point totally consumed or some scholars think it was dumped into the river. now i want to talk about the word mammoth here. when cutler wrote, quote, to the mammoth room and see the mammoth cheese, he bothered to put that in quotes because he was quoting jefferson verbatim. and he set it off with quotes
4:36 pm
because, in fact, it was a very novel use of the expression, mammoth. imagine my surprise. i went to the oxford english dictionary and found that it credits thomas jefferson with coining the adjective mammoth. and certainly by the team the cheese arrives in washington, d.c., people have fikd up on this terminology, mammoth cheese. it was an adjective for something huge, weird, conviction otdic, gouache, serving no practical purpose. imagine, who needs 1,200 pounds of cheese. but it is not a perfectly politically neutral word either. in time it would suffer the wide set usage and impact that the word atomic would have this the 20th century when we assign the adjective of atomic of the it means something. what are the origins of the adjective mammoth. >> well, the noun mammoth was a phenomenon that historians of
4:37 pm
science and social historians more and more were beginning to recognize as thomas jefferson's hobby horse. thomas jefferson imagined himself among other things as a scientist. just like benjamin franklin. you see, scientists had to have fur-lined jackets. jefferson for much of his life is interested in science in ways that can be reputed by a philosopher who insisted on a theory of american degeneracy. it was an article hosted in his multi volume work where he identifies maga fauna that are found in the northern and western hemisphere are inferior to those found elsewhere this the world. they degenerate on this side of the world w. jefferson at least
4:38 pm
it wam a patriotic article of faith that americans had mega fauna at least as -- as europe did. we saw it in 1875. he endorses an expedition beyond the miss in 1793 where he specifically charges him under the head of animal of history to make notes on the mammoth -- the mammoth that he might find there. the mammoth is particularly recommended to your inquiries, he writes. ten years later he sends out lewis and clark with similar ininstructions on their famous competition to the west. needless to say jefferson is really excited when in the summer of 1802 charles wilson peele is told about mammoth bones in the hudson river valley near newburgh. by the way, it's not always called mammoth. sometimes it appears as the word
4:39 pm
incould go neat up because they didn't know it was. but you can see there are some bones you can see in the dialogue peele is holding up. he hired a hundred man and rigged up this contraption to dig out the skeleton of what they are still dog a mammoth or incould go neat up. jefferson is calling it mammoth, today. we know today, in 1806, thanks to the work of an anot misthat it is not a mammoth but a new species entirely which he named mast toe done because of its teeth. mass toe, like breasts, mastectomy. and don, because of donned teeth. mammoth skeletons were found out
4:40 pm
west. lewis finds those. but in the east they are finding mastodon. on christmas eve, 1801, peele actually erects it in the headquarters of the american philosophical society. the skeleton ends up in independence hall where peele opens his museum eventually. we see it there in the background on the right partially hidden by the draipry in this self portrait by peele called artist in his museum in 1822. despite its obvious scientific significance the federalists follow jefferson's lead in using it as a political symbol. his search for the mythic mammoth, like his use of mmaot
4:41 pm
cheese becomes conviction ottery. win days reed and other federalists are calling the jefferson administration the mammoth and company. and plumber, two years later, writes how it's -- the word is used in yet a different context, but with the same intent. plumber, two years later, writes, the baker of the navy erected an oven and having made a barrel of flour into a loaf he baked it and called it the mammoth loaf. reasonable enough. this loaf was lid on a bere and born on the shoulders of men. it was carried to the capitol and lodged in a committee room near adjoining to the senate chamber. a large sirloin of beef and casks of wine and whiskey were deposited in the same place. the chamber was crowded with people of all classes and colors, jefferson himself to the meanist and vialest of slaves. he took a jack knife from his pocket and cut and ate of the
4:42 pm
beef and drank from the liquors. he compared this drunken frolic to the sacrament of the lord's supper. you can imagine what that's doing to federalists. today, the focus in kids' books for example, is on the search for scientific truth. while the mammoth cheese is presented to kids either as a tale about -- did i am quoting now the book blushes, the engine youity and community spirit of one new england village or a triumphant self exploration of rural america and the debts we owe our history, our parents, and ourselves. before i move on -- >> where is peele's mastodon today? >> peele's mastodon. >> is it in the white house now? >> no, it's not in the white house. >> is it in the capitol?
4:43 pm
>> it's not in the capitol. i am sure it ever made to it washington. it's mammoth cheese that's in washington. but the mammoth or the mastodon that was the inspiration for the frenzied use of the word mammoth -- it is in baltimore until the 1840s when they move it over the europe to try to sell it in europe. they thought they had a buyer in france, then the revolution of 1848 kicks in. so it ends up in germ neshek believe it or not. that's the picture i showed you earlier of the full mastodon skeleton there in germany n. a museum in germany. now, the neat thing about the subject of my talk and everything else that's going on in washington is that the mastodon is now back -- jane, i have to swallow my words. the moss toe done is here in
4:44 pm
washington. it was moved for the first time in 170 years to the smithsonian, where it was erected in the -- i believe the museum of american art. for an exhibit on barron -- alexander von humboldt and the united states. and they thought that the skeleton represented the highest aspirations of american science and european science meeting together. so they actually brought it here. it was supposed to open this month. obviously, that didn't happen. maybe the shutdown will end we have to ship the mastodon back. it would be lovely to see. back to new year's day in 1802, after taking an early dinner, eight of us set off for mount vernon, says cutler in his journal for that day. pilgrimage to mount vernon and the politicization of george washington's memory is another major theme i wanted to touch on. it comes out in this little vignette of federalist congressman's visit to martha washington at mount vernon.
4:45 pm
but the bigger story of memorializing george washington at this item time is told in mack he is sell theo's book about the efforts to bury washington in the capitol building. they arrive at mount vernon on saturday, the second of january, day after new years. cutler writes to his daughter again, a servant conducted us to madam washington's room where we were received in a very cordial and obliging manner. mrs. washington appeared as much rejoiced at receiving our visit as if we were of her nearest connections. we were all fed railists which gave her pleasure. her remarks were pointed and sarcastic on the new order of things and the administration. she spoke of the election of mr. jefferson whom she considered as one of the most detestable of
4:46 pm
mankind. her unfriendly feelings toward hem were to be expected from the abuse he offered to general washington while living and for his references to him after deceased. they arrive at the venerable tomb of washington himself. cutler picks up the story, this tomb contains the remains of washington, the first object of our attention. i will not attempt to describe our feelings as we approach the reverend mound of earth. the tomb opens nearly toward the river in an upright door which is locked and all the stone work is covered with earth. between the tomb and the bank, a foot path much trodden lined with trees passes around it. here mrs. washington often takes her melancholy walks. here, every visitor in slow and
4:47 pm
solemn steps visits this mound. i shall enclose a twig cypress and a leaf of the holly. a few months later, watts worth writes to his daughter because he's going down to visit the same place and pay the same kinds of homage to washington and his relics, martha. he has pretty much the same experience. there was awe in the approach the place where his remains were diplomated. how disgraceful to the united states to suffer these remains after having been slitted of and granted by the celek to remain unnoticed, condemned. will not the almighty blast the ingratitude of this ungrateful country. this oh jefferson be thigh glory, your loins have not half the merit of his little finger. pitiful revenge, and glorious triumph. congress in fact did have plans to honor george washington. most of us know of the existence
4:48 pm
of a tomb below the crypt level of the capitol building that was intended to hold washington's remains. martha actually gave permission before she died few years later. but it was kind of a moot point. jeffersonians resists efforts in 1800 and periodically there hafr to have a mausoleum built to washington either near the capitol or somewhere else in washington. burying him in the capitol was a moot point until that central portion of the capital could be finished where the tomb could be created. by then it was the middle of the 1930s and the washington family had changed their find and they left washington and the new tomb thaet they had created for him at month vernon, where he is laid to rest today. months later, on the friday
4:49 pm
before washington's birthday, in that year, 1802, the house was listening to one of the wild crazy debates of the john roanoke. the idea was that it was -- it would the give workers a chance to install ventilation in the oven. that's the mick shift house chamber that i showed you earlier. it is called the oven because it got quite stifling. but officials wanted to remind members that it was washington's birthday and he trumed so much respect would be tad to washington's memory that congress would do no business on that day. it was the intention of those to devote the day to a commemoration of the man in whose name the nation gloried. as soon as jeffersonian members realized this was happening they
4:50 pm
decided, no, we needed to meet on monday. they didn't want recognition being paid to the fact it was washington's birthday. cutler writes, have we lived to see the day, has it so soon arrived that the memory of washington should be met with i had to throw in leslie odum there as burr from the hamilton play. jen, that's for you, really.
4:51 pm
the last sunday of the sermon is the last sunday sermon given in congress. the house of representatives, some of the audience might know, is actually holding religious services in the house chamber in the capitol building because it's the largest single chamber in the young city. so the last sunday sermon of that session that i've been focusing on was in may of 1802, a few months later. we know about it through cutler's journal where he says he attended the hall mr. parkinson preached. he had the same kind of reputation in federalist minds as that john leland did, the cheese monger who preached a few months earlier. our chaplain who is an illiterate man preaches in the same style as leland. they disgrace the cause of religion and bring it into contempt. this was probably one motive the democrats had in choosing a chaplain of this stamp. you have to admit, he's a little tone deaf because he chose to preach as a subject of his
4:52 pm
sermon the biblical passage about lots leaving sodom. so two days later, cutler takes a packet with reed and 20 other members of congress at the top of chesapeake bay and then by stage to new castle, delaware, and then to philadelphia where he visit peel's museum and sees the skeleton of the mammoth. that's a drawing of the skeleton as it exited in the 1830s. so this has been our sort of tour of the landscape of the very first months of the first congress -- the first full conference to meet in washington that's a drawing of the skeleton as it exited in the 1830s.
4:53 pm
so this has been our sort of tour of the landscape of the very first months of the first congress -- the first full conference to meet in washington and how different aspects of society, food, science, social life, the way you memorize -- memorialize people, how it's all politicized during this day when the federalists are still hanging on. although the jeffersons have created the first major regime change in national history. and that's the end of the talk. hopefully -- maybe there are some questions i can answer for people. >> we have a number of questions, chuck. and we have one piece of good news for viewers which is that there is an exhibition tour online with curator eleanor jones harvey of the smithsonian that you can see online the skeleton of the mastodon. and that is -- it's called "art, nature and culture," and that can be reached with the -- through the smithsonian website. and i think we can figure out a
4:54 pm
way to send to the registrants of this the link so you can go and see what's going on at the smithsonian while they are under the work from home order just like the rest of us. >> it's a wonderful tour that she gives, by the way. >> great. a couple people indicated they know about it and it is a fabulous tour. it is now available online. but here's the question that a couple people asked, is that it seems like you have really gotten to know these people, that you've -- you know, i often have heard doris kerns goodwin when she's presenting one of the books she's written, whether it's lincoln or teddy roosevelt or franklin. she talks about him as my people. and she feels sad to leave them when the book is finished. it sounds like you've built a relationship with these individuals. can you describe, how does it work, how does it feel and how do you maintain a relationship with people who lived 200 years
4:55 pm
ago. >> in some ways it's easier than it is with people in our lives today. the reality we know of them is the reality that comes out through their letters and it's -- most people's whose letters survive, they knew their letters would be saved. >> in some ways it's easier than it is with people in our lives today. the reality we know of them is the reality that comes out through their letters and it's -- most people's whose letters survive, they knew their letters would be saved. i'm not convinced thatcher expected his letters to be saved. he had a magnificent correspondence with his wife just like abigail was to john adams. but we have only two of her letters for the hundreds that we know she wrote. the family didn't think her
4:56 pm
letters were worth keeping. there's a big blank in my heart for sarah thatcher, his wife. george thatcher like most of the early political figures in the republican, you can't help but fall in love with them. joe ellis wrote his wonderful book founding brothers instead of founding fathers. they're all fumbling along trying figure out how to move ahead in life together. for us to look back from 200 years later and see what it must have been like when you didn't know how the story was going to end, it's a really -- it's a real treat and an honor, really, to have access to these letters and to be able to make sense of them. sometimes you get so embedded in them that you forget that there is a post-1802. i made very, very few references to anything happens after 1802, 1803. my colleague is famous for saying if you ask him anything about anything after 1803, he's
4:57 pm
like that's science fiction to me. i don't know what you're talking about. your real world ends when these letters end and the members sign themselves yours dearest or whatever. it's a wonderful experience. even amateur historians, people interested in genealogy, their family histories, the first thing you should do is get your hands on the letters, read secondary literature and so on. start with the letters because it will provide the passion that is the fuel for historical research. >> is there anything -- one of the questions that a couple people asked, is there anything in the letters that talks about how did they travel from washington, d.c., to alexandria? was that a difficult trek at that time? >> yes, because, of course, there are no 14th street bridges. you don't have the 14th street bridge traffic either. but you would take -- it involved a ferry at this point
4:58 pm
in time. and it was -- from cutler's telling of it, if you left in the morning, you could be -- if you left like around noontime when they were done visiting jefferson at the white house at noontime, you would be at gatsby by the evening as i said towards the end of my talk, it's mostly overland at first until you get to the bay. you might want to take the water route up the bay. it's a very interesting thing that comes out in the letters. today when we write letters, we don't write about how we get somewhere because we assume the recipient is going to be experiencing the same thing. so when you find references to travel, it's kind of a big deal. and it's always enlightening because we're always surprised at how difficult it was. i think i can say if most of the
4:59 pm
travel, it's kind of a big deal. and it's always enlightening because we're always surprised at how difficult it was. i think i can say if most of the audience had to confront what these people confronted in the course of getting to work, if you were a congressman, you probably wouldn't do it. you probably would just stay at home. and in george thatcher's case, the distance from home was a deterrent to him coming back to congress. we know that for a fact. he's always complaining about how far away from home he was. he was doing it in new york, and that was one-third of the distance from washington, d.c., to maine. you can imagine. >> chuck, one of the other questions -- someone was asking about the religious services. were they held in the house chamber? is that what they called the oven? where were these services held? >> the references i found to it in the letters of reed, wadsworth and cutler, plumber
5:00 pm
doesn't talk about it, they refer to it as the hall. i'm thinking because a representative is using that expression, that he's referring to the oven which is bigger than the senate chamber. i'm thinking that's where they were held. they were -- there was a congressional chaplain from the very first week of the very first congress. but they opened the religious services to all different denominations. we saw, for example, leland. we know that there were episcopalians. the people that were speaking during these religious observances in the capitol were not technically servants of the government. they were just utilizing government space in a communitarian sense. this is the biggest room in the city so we're going to use it. i would be careful to say it's government endorsing any particular religion or the idea
5:01 pm
of religion, to be honest with you. keep that in mind when we read about religious worship in the early capitol building. >> and did those -- how long did those services continue? they continued through jefferson's presidency. >> they did. i don't know. i don't know. something for me to look into. i imagine when other space became variable -- certainly churches are being built at this time. a catholic would never be seen outside of a church, a sanctuary, we know catholics weren't doing it. there is a catholic church in georgetown, for example. i can't remember when the first catholic parish starts, but it's not long after this period that we're talking about. so at some point they do move out of the capitol building. i don't know when. >> chuck, one of the questions that, you know -- we have a couple folks who are still interested in this cheese now.
5:02 pm
and so we have two questions, one, i think is maybe not quite in your venue, but nevertheless, it was called the chester cheese because it came from chester. was it cheddar cheese? what's the relationship between the two? >> i don't know. it begins with the same three letters. it makes the -- the expression mammoth cheese all the more pointed. as i said, to coin the word around the same time. but it was also known as the cheese because it came from chester and it was cheddar. that's all i really know about it. maybe cheddar lasts longer? maybe that's why they opted for cheddar.
5:03 pm
i don't know. >> your friend from durham has been enjoying the talk and sends you his greetings. but he has a very important question. he said is that where they came up the idea of calling the president the big cheese. >> you would ask that. i don't know when that expression started but i'm sure i'm not only the one who will google it as soon as this is over. maybe it is. makes sense. i'm not sure that jefferson would not appreciate it, to be honest. >> and one of the people asked, were the religious services open to the general public or just for members of congress -- >> no, this is the point. it was the general public. it was -- as a public service to the community to have them in the capitol. so it was intended as a public
5:04 pm
service. so, yes, the community was invited. >> and one of the other things -- you noted in your comments that jefferson really was not very conflict adverse. but on the other hand it appears that he was very much in conflict both in life and death with the federalists. how do you reconcile those two things? >> well, jefferson's attempt to suppress conflict, it never works. we know this in our personal lives as well. it's going to come out sideways one way or another. in avoiding conflict -- he would do it in his cabinet meetings as well. there's stories of how some of his cabinet would start fighting with each other and he would pull madison aside and say, make sure that doesn't happen again, basically. he liked having his ducks all lined up to the point where --
5:05 pm
and cutler's very detailed journal of that seventh congress, he's frustrated. there's no allowance made for debate. all of the votes are already arranged. jefferson made sure with john randolph roanoke and some of the other leaders, the speaker, all jeffersonians at this point, that as soon as the orders came down from the jefferson white house, all you had to do was vote on it and that was it. so you're suppressing conflict but in the very fact of suppressing it, you're not acknowledging other people's input and when people aren't involved in the process, they get -- they double down, right? we know this from the way politics is done today. so, yeah, i would say jefferson was a failure at -- certainly didn't make any attempt to reconcile. but he was also a failure to kind of erase conflict.
5:06 pm
as plumber said in his very acute observation, he's actually aggravating conflict as you're suggesting. he's aggravating conflict by not giving it voice. >> we have two more questions because we could carry this on for the rest of the day and be fascinated. but we're trying to be respectful of your time and everyone else's time. the one question was, has anyone ever done an analysis of the people who ran for congress and didn't win and who were they and what was the context of those campaigns when you talk about experiencing defeat? >> in this period, in this period? >> yes. >> i imagine -- certainly i like to think of myself as well read on the secondary literature.
5:07 pm
but you'll find only snippets. there's no systematic way of looking at how many lawyers lost re-election. i did it, for example, with my thatcher book. i did a very detailed analysis of who he ran against, what the issues were and why that person lost -- ultimately lost every time to george thatcher. it would be so difficult. i think it would be lovely if it happened. there are great websites. i want to encourage people to go on america votes which is a website run by tucks and the american society, it's free. it will tell you every vote recorded for every office from local dog catcher to the president of the united states up to the 1820s land give every candidate whether known anywhere outside his own family. he got a vote he's on that list on that website. explore that it's fascinating.
5:08 pm
you have to loch our aud the first bishop preached there january 18, 1826 for two hours. now you know something you maybe didn't know. it says the first skaj lick. -- catholic.
5:09 pm
according to shane mccarthy. >> mccarthy should know. >> he put his name behind it. i'm just giving -- >> we'll stand by it. yeah. >> chuck, i think a couple people asked about your book. could you just hold it up again so that people can see it? >> my baby. >> there, this is the book. it is available through the united states capitol historical society. if you go to our website, there is a shop feature and you can get all kinds of wonderfulmemorabilia of the capitol. we have christmas ornaments made with metal from the capitol, and we have books like chuck's books. if you want to get the book, come join us if you want to be part of the continuing exploration of capitol history. we hope you become a member and supporter of the capitol historical society. thank you very much. chuck, we appreciate the depth of your knowledge and the fact that you shared it so well. >> it was fun. thank you. >> thank you. take care. bye. we are honored to have eachf
5:10 pm
you signed on with us today for our lunch bites with steven jane with a special guester

10 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on