Rough Crossings – Simon Schama Speaks at Google

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?

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