The Reagan Speech Preservation Society

London #2

Modified: Monday, 23 November 2020 14:35 by admin - Categorized as: Podcasts, Reagan Radio, Speeches
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Painting of the transfer of Martin Koszta

The following is a collection of the materials used in creating the first episode of the Citizen Reagan podcast (pending permission from the Reagan Foundation) about the Reagan's Radio Commentaries.

I decided to take the dive into history with Reagan's broadcast entitled, "London #2" in which he told the story of Captain Duncan Ingraham and Martin Koszta.

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Reagan Transcripts

Reagan would actually tell the story more than once. The first being his "A City Upon A Hill" speech at the first CPAC in January of 1974. He would then broadcast the story in 1975 as part of his "Viewpoint" Radio show. As transcripts of both are available, I thought I would start with a side-by-side of the two texts.

A City Upon A HillLondon #2 Radio Commentary (Rough Transcript)











Among them was a young refugee from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He had been a leader in an attempt to free Hungary from Austrian rule. The attempt had failed and he fled to escape execution. In America, this young Hungarian, Koszta by name, became an importer by trade and took out his first citizenship papers. One day, business took him to a Mediterranean port. There was a large Austrian warship under the command of an admiral in the harbor. He had a manservant with him. He had described to this manservant what the flag of his new country looked like. Word was passed to the Austrian warship that this revolutionary was there and in the night he was kidnapped and taken aboard that large ship. This man's servant, desperate, walking up and down the harbor, suddenly spied a flag that resembled the description he had heard. It was a small American war sloop. He went aboard and told Captain Ingraham, of that war sloop, his story. Captain Ingraham went to the American Consul. When the American Consul learned that Koszta had only taken out his first citizenship papers, the consul washed his hands of the incident. Captain Ingraham said, "I am the senior officer in this port and I believe, under my oath of my office, that I owe this man the protection of our flag."


He went aboard the Austrian warship and demanded to see their prisoner, our citizen. The Admiral was amused, but they brought the man on deck. He was in chains and had been badly beaten. Captain Ingraham said, "I can hear him better without those chains," and the chains were removed. He walked over and said to Koszta, "I will ask you one question; consider your answer carefully. Do you ask the protection of the American flag?" Koszta nodded dumbly, "Yes," and the Captain said, "You shall have it." He went back and told the frightened consul what he had done. Later in the day three more Austrian ships sailed into harbor. It looked as though the four were getting ready to leave. Captain Ingraham sent a junior officer over to the Austrian flag ship to tell the Admiral that any attempt to leave that harbor with our citizen aboard would be resisted with appropriate force. He said that he would expect a satisfactory answer by four o'clock that afternoon. As the hour neared they looked at each other through the glasses. As it struck four he had them roll the cannons into the ports and had them light the tapers with which they would set off the cannons — one little sloop. Suddenly the lookout tower called out and said, "They are lowering a boat," and they rowed Koszta over to the little American ship.


Captain Ingraham then went below and wrote his letter of resignation to the United States Navy. In it he said, "I did what I thought my oath of office required, but if I have embarrassed my country in any way, I resign." His resignation was refused in the United States Senate with these words: "This battle that was never fought may turn out to be the most important battle in our Nation's history." Incidentally, there is to this day, and I hope there always will be, a USS Ingraham in the United States Navy.
For about 135 years there's always been a ship in the United States Navy with the name USS Ingraham. Let's hope there always will be. I'll be right back.

I'm still in London and still enjoying that special look at America one gets when one's far away from home. Yesterday I spoke of our constitution, the contract between us and our government, making it plain that government exists only through our voluntary sufferance. We agree to take whatever collective action is necessary if even one of us is unjustly denied his constitutional rights, wherever in the world he may be. Some suggest it's foolish to risk the safety of the majority to rescue one or a dozen or even a few hundred. If we buy that we sell out the rights of all of us. Perhaps we should follow the example set for us 135 years ago when our nation was young, so young it wasn't taken very seriously by the great powers of Europe.

It seems a young Hungarian revolutionary who had participated in an attempt to free his country from the rule of the Austrian emperor had fled to America to escape execution. He took out his first naturalization papers and became an importer by trade. His business took him to a seaport on the Mediterranean there happened to be in the harbor a large Austrian warship, and as fate would have it Koszta, that was his name, was recognized, kidnapped, and taken aboard the warship. Koszta's manservant had been told what our flag looked like. Pacing up and down the waterfront he saw an American flag, it flew from the mast of a tiny war sloop. He went aboard and told his story to the commanding officer Captain Ingraham. Together they went to the American consul, when the consul learned that Koszta had only taken out his first papers and hadn't yet been sworn in as a citizen of the United States he decided he was relieved of any responsibility for the man.




Captain Ingraham had a different idea; he went aboard the Austrian warship and demanded to see the prisoner. The Austrian admiral, somewhat amused by all this, had Koszta brought on deck. Captain Ingraham asked Koszta one question, "Do you seek the protection of the American flag?" he said. "Yes." Koszta replied. Going ashore the captain told the consul what he had done and what he intended to do. Meanwhile two more Austrian warships had entered the harbor. Captain Ingraham sent a message to the Austrian admiral to the effect that any attempt to leave with our citizen would be resisted with appropriate force. He indicated he would expect a reply by four o'clock that afternoon. As the hour neared he ordered the guns rolled into the sally ports, one tiny sloop against three men of war. Still no response. So he ordered the gunners to prepare to light the fuses and then the lookout shouted, "They're lowering a boat." and thus Koszta was delivered to the American ship.




Captain Ingraham then went below and wrote his letter of resignation to the United States Navy. In it he said "I did what I thought my oath required but if I have embarrassed my government I hereby resign from the navy." His resignation was rejected on the floor of the senate with these words, "this battle that was never fought may turn out to be the most important battle in our nation's history" and that's why there's been a USS Ingraham in our navy ever since. I hope there always will be.

This is Ronald Reagan thanks for listening.

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My Transcript



Greetings Ladies and Gentlemen.

This is something of an unexpected pleasure for me because I never really anticipated I would ever create a podcast.

To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time I have had my voice out there, in the aether, for the whole world to hear. It could also be the last time, depending on your reaction to what I have to say or the audio I have to present. If you find this interesting or insightful, I hope you'll pass it on to your friends.

I come to you today hoping you'll come along on a dive into history.

Between 1975 and 1979, former Governor and future President Ronald Reagan had a radio show. For 3-5 minutes each day, he would speak on current events, government policy or whatever he felt was interesting in the news. It helped lay the planks in the platform that he would eventually use when he ran for president in 1976 and 1980.

I have been fascinated by these snippets of radio since I first learned that he performed them. A small number of them are available in an audiobook, (Reagan: In His Own Voice) but the bulk of them are currently housed at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University where they can be purchased as MP3s.

In this first attempt at a podcast, I bring you a piece of history from the 1850s, one which I know I never heard about until I started digging into Ronald Reagan's writings and speeches. It led, coincidentally, to a money-making hobby I have had for about a decade. I'll touch on it later, but I'd best save the long version of that story for some future broadcast. For now, here is Reagan's story of Captain Duncan Ingraham and the Koszta Affair of 1853.

For about 135 years there's always been a ship in the United States Navy with the name USS Ingraham. Let's hope there always will be. I'll be right back.

I'm still in London and still enjoying that special look at America one gets when one's far away from home. Yesterday I spoke of our constitution, the contract between us and our government, making it plain that government exists only through our voluntary sufferance. We agree to take whatever collective action is necessary if even one of us is unjustly denied his constitutional rights, wherever in the world he may be. Some suggest it's foolish to risk the safety of the majority to rescue one or a dozen or even a few hundred. If we buy that we sell out the rights of all of us. Perhaps we should follow the example set for us 135 years ago when our nation was young, so young it wasn't taken very seriously by the great powers of Europe.

It seems a young Hungarian revolutionary who had participated in an attempt to free his country from the rule of the Austrian emperor had fled to America to escape execution. He took out his first naturalization papers and became an importer by trade. His business took him to a seaport on the Mediterranean there happened to be in the harbor a large Austrian warship, and as fate would have it Koszta, that was his name, was recognized, kidnapped, and taken aboard the warship. Koszta's manservant had been told what our flag looked like. Pacing up and down the waterfront he saw an American flag, it flew from the mast of a tiny war sloop. He went aboard and told his story to the commanding officer Captain Ingraham. Together they went to the American consul, when the consul learned that Koszta had only taken out his first papers and hadn't yet been sworn in as a citizen of the United States he decided he was relieved of any responsibility for the man.

Captain Ingraham had a different idea; he went aboard the Austrian warship and demanded to see the prisoner. The Austrian admiral, somewhat amused by all this, had Koszta brought on deck. Captain Ingraham asked Koszta one question, "Do you seek the protection of the American flag?" he said. "Yes." Koszta replied. Going ashore the captain told the consul what he had done and what he intended to do. Meanwhile two more Austrian warships had entered the harbor. Captain Ingraham sent a message to the Austrian admiral to the effect that any attempt to leave with our citizen would be resisted with appropriate force. He indicated he would expect a reply by four o'clock that afternoon. As the hour neared he ordered the guns rolled into the sally ports, one tiny sloop against three men of war. Still no response. So he ordered the gunners to prepare to light the fuses and then the lookout shouted, "They're lowering a boat." and thus Koszta was delivered to the American ship.

Captain Ingraham then went below and wrote his letter of resignation to the United States Navy. In it he said “I did what I thought my oath required but if I have embarrassed my government I hereby resign from the navy.” His resignation was rejected on the floor of the senate with these words, "this battle that was never fought may turn out to be the most important battle in our nation's history" and that's why there's been a USS Ingraham in our navy ever since. I hope there always will be.

This is Ronald Reagan thanks for listening.


According to the book Reagan in his own Hand, which is the companion to the audiobook I mentioned earlier, Reagan recorded this commentary sometime in April of 1975, possibly while in England, but it is not the first time he had told the story. On January 25, 1974, at the first Conservative Political Action Conference (or CPAC), Reagan had included it in his keynote speech. In looking over both versions of the story, one can see the common themes and language. The point of sharing the story is to highlight the lengths the United States government should go to protect one of its citizens, or in this case, residents. I will include a link to my research Wiki somewhere with this episode.

With that brief statement about the broadcast, let's investigate the history. Unfortunately, I have to report that Reagan got many aspects of this story incorrect. I have no reason to believe that he did this intentionally. It may be that he found an incorrect telling of the story, one which I myself cannot find. What I do know is I have found a number of documents, old and new, which paint the incident in a different light.

We shall start at the beginning, several years before Ingraham sailed into that Mediterranean port. I have found three sources I will pull from in the hopes of telling as factually correct a story as I can.

But first, I'd like to take a moment to try to sell you something. Yes, even with this first broadcast, I've got a sponsor...me. How do you feel about the state of education today? Do you feel like the people 100 or more years ago were probably smarter than we are today? Perhaps I can help. I sell digital books through Amazon. All public domain. Mostly History, Historical Fiction and Political Theory. I do it so people can read what we used to know. You can find a list of the books for sale at poorrrichardsprintshop.com and if you are so inclined, I have a separate Twitter account for it @poorrichardsps. I would especially recommend the 1902 "A History of the United States" by William Davidson.

Back to the story:

It's August 1849. After numerous defeats against Hungarian revolutionary forces, the Austrian emperor, Franz Joseph I, requests and receives military assistance from Russia. The additional troops put a swift end to the hopes for freedom of the Hungarian people. One of the leaders of the independence movement in the Parliament, Louis Kossuth, makes his way to modern day Turkey, where he remains until 1851, much of the time held at Kutahya Fortress. It's unknown whether they arrived separately or together, but Martin Koszta ended up in the same city. They would be released (the Austrians having asked the Ottoman Empire to hold them) and travel together to America on the US warship Mississippi on the condition that they never return to Ottoman territory.

On July 31, 1852, Koszta would take out his “first paper” stating his intent to become an American citizen. This included him renouncing his loyalty to Austria. At the time, immigration and naturalization law dictated that those applying must remain in the United States for a period of 5 years. In taking his trip to Turkey, he violated this law. He also would have violated the banishment order.

On June 22, 1853 Koszta was abducted from a street cafe in Smyrna of the Ottoman Empire, now called Izmir Turkey. He was taken to a nearby wharf and thrown, not into a boat, but directly into the water. As the story goes, he was dragged through the water to an Austrian ship, a brig-of-war called the Huszar. Another Austrian warship, a schooner named the Artemisia, was also present in the port.

The next day, the USS St. Louis came into port. The St. Louis was part of the Navy's Mediterranean Squadron, a 5-ship force put in place to protect shipping lanes after the wars with the Barbary coast. A group familiar with what had transpired the day before rowed out to the St. Louis and explained the situation to Commander Duncan Ingraham. They believed him to be a US citizen and they sought help on his behalf. Ingraham contacted the American consul, Mr. E. S. Offley. Offley had been given a copy of Koszta's "first paper", noted that the strength of the "first paper" had never been tested internationally and advised caution. He also sent word to John Brown, charge d'affaires in Constantinople. Ingraham felt it best to attempt to speak with Koszta directly, to which Offley agreed.

Ingraham met Koszta on the Huzsar along with Offley, Offley’s Austrian counterpart and the Captain of the Huzsar. Koszta confirmed his intent to become a citizen and his renouncement of any loyalty to Austria. Ingraham then urged the Austrians to do nothing until a decision could be made regarding Koszta.

Five days later, word reached Ingraham that the Austrians intended to move Koszta to a new ship and transport him to Treiste, a major port for the Austrian Empire. It was not until after sending a message urging the Austrians again not to move Koszta that word from Brown in Constantinople arrived. In summary, Brown said if the Autrians did not release him, Ingraham was to "take him out of the vessel."

Ingraham would visit Koszta a second time onboard the Huszar on July 1. This time, he asked his one important question: "Do you want the protection of the American flag?" "Yes." responded Koszta. "Then you shall have it." ended Ingraham.

The next morning, the ultimatum was delivered. If Koszta was not turned over to the American ship by 4pm, he would be taken by force. This was a rather bold statement to make. While the St. Louis may have been a fair match for the Huszar, there were other Austrian ships in the port. Richard Meade, Jr., nephew of the future Union general, was a midshipman on the St. Louis, is quoted, "The total Austrian force in the harbor consisted of two men-of-war and two one-gun merchant vessels, mail steamers of the Austrian Lloyd Company, or in round numbers 33 guns and 550 men against our 20 guns and 220 men." Those men-of-war would be the Huszar and the Artemisia, which carried 12 guns and had positioned itself to deliver a broadside against the St. Louis.

But, as the clock neared 4, a lifeboat was lowered and Koszta was delivered to the American ship. He would later be turned over to the French consul while the American State Department and the Austrian diplomatic corp hashed out a solution. Ultimately, Koszta was returned to the United States and Ingraham was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.

So, there’s a number of aspects of the story that seem to differ from Reagan's account.

By all indications, Koszta was not under threat of execution, one could argue he didn't really flee to America, there was no manservant, and the American consul did not feel released from responsibility (or, as Reagan put it in the CPAC version, “washed his hands of the incident”) because Koszta was not a full citizen. Ingraham acted with the consent of the American charge d'affaires in Constantinople. Ingraham was outgunned, but not in the same fashion Reagan described. The St. Louis would have been roughly equal to the Huzsar in terms of cannon (estimating 19 guns judging from Meade's statement) and more than a match for the Artemisia. It was not, as Reagan said, "one tiny sloop against 3 men-of-war." Reagan refers to Ingraham as a Captain and the Austrian as an Admiral. Evidence is mixed as to whether Ingraham actually held the rank of Captain. The term Captain is often applied to whoever commands a vessel, even if they hold a lower rank. The Austrian, a man named von Schwartz, was only a Captain.

Finally, Reagan states, quite specifically, that for about 135 years there had always been a USS Ingraham in our Navy. Reagan, unfortunately, butchers this part of the history.

Over the years, there have been 4 ships bearing this name in the United States Navy. The first 3 were destroyers and the final was a guided missile frigate.

The first Ingraham was launched in 1918, only 57 years before the original broadcast. That ship was decommissioned in 1922 and removed from the Navy's roster in 1936. Ingraham number 2 was launched in 1941, but involved in a collision at sea and sunk in 1942. The third Ingraham was launched in 1946. That ship was decommissioned in 1971 and sold to Hellenic Navy of Greece, where it remained in service for another 21 years. The final Ingraham to date was launched in 1988 and decommissioned just a few yeasrs ago in 2014.

We have not had a USS Ingraham in our Navy for 135 years, we have not always had one and there wasn't even one at the time Reagan made the statement, nor would there be one until the final year of Reagan's presidency. Strange coincidence: 1853 + 135 = 1988, the year the 4th Ingraham was launched.

Reagan had some questionable information. Without knowing his original source, we have no way of knowing where facts Reagan was given may have been wrong and where Reagan may have embellished the story himself. He also would have had certain time restrictions.

However, we must not lose the point of Reagan's words. The United States protects its own, it leaves no man behind. When one of our citizens, or in this case, a resident hoping for citizenship, is under threat, the powers that be will act to the best of their ability to help that person. This has been true throughout our history, though I will note that there have been lapses, such as the debacle in 2012 at Benghazi, Libya.

I also want to read you something, verbatim, from the first source I found on this story. It comes from the book I mentioned earlier in my advertisement, "A History of the United States" by William Davidson.

The Martin Koszta Affair — 1854. — In this administration the United States won a signal triumph in the field of diplomacy. Martin Koszta had been a prominent leader, along with Louis Kossuth, in the Hungarian rebellion. When the rebellion failed, he came to the United States, and immediately took out naturalization papers, thereby taking the first steps toward becoming a citizen of the United States, and therefore entitled to its protection in any country of the world. In the year 1854 he went to Turkey and was given permission by the Turkish authorities to go ashore at Smyrna, under the passport of an American citizen. While ashore, at the instigation of the Austrian consul at Smyrna, he was seized by bandits, thrown into the bay, picked up by an Austrian boat in waiting for the purpose, and taken on board an Austrian man-of-war. The American consul at once demanded his release. This being refused, the American sloop-of-war, St. Louis, then in the bay of Smyrna, loaded her guns, ran up her flag, prepared for action, and demanded Koszta's surrender at the cannon's mouth. Hereupon the Austrian authorities agreed to turn Koszta over to the French government for safe-keeping, and to refer the final question of his release to arbitration between the two governments. This proposal was at once agreed to by the American consul. In the controversy which ensued between the government at Washington and Austria, the United States was completely triumphant, and Koszta was released. This diplomatic victory greatly strengthened national pride. It was now felt that "to be an American citizen was a greater honor than to be a king."


This was in a school textbook! Not only do we not talk about the whole affair, but even the idea embodied in that final line, I'll bet very few schools teach that kind of pride in the United States anymore.

The primary source for the narrative I just presented is an article from the July 1953 issue of Foreign Service Journal. Other sources of interest include a 1911 issue of The Magazine of History which contained several letters from an American living in Smyrna at the time and an 1853 article from Brownson's Quarterly Review which focused on the legalities of the incident. If you are interested in finding these sources, I invite you to visit the Wiki I have assembled over the years pertaining to Reagan's speeches and their contained history. The URL is www.poorrichardsprintshop.com/wiki/ if you search for the title Reagan gave this broadcast, "London 2" you will find those sources and anything else I may have that I could not share here.

Many of the recordings he made are little more than snapshots in world history, now 40 years in our past. Talk about the aftermath of Vietnam or some specifics of the Cold War are dated. However, many of the recordings are more generalized or discuss topics that are still very relevant today.

My goal, should I continue, is to take one or two of these broadcasts and discuss them. I might expand on the history Reagan shares, fact-check something Reagan said that doesn't quite sound right and/or provide a look back on what Reagan said to see what happened in the years or decades after the broadcast. Honestly, it will depend on what interests me in the broadcast and what I can find while researching it.

Now, I should make something clear. I have contacted the Reagan Foundation in an attempt to gain permission re-broadcast Reagan's words. I have not received any reply to my emails. It is my hope, by doing this podcast, I can gain enough support and interest to receive their blessing. If, however, you find my entire channel gone at some point, you'll know why.

In Reagan fashion, Thanks for listening.


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Sources

The Case of Martin Kostza (Brownson's Quarterly Review for January, 1854) - A look at the legal aspects of the Incident

A Naval Incident in the Mediterranean, 1853 (The Magazine of History, December 1911)

ImageQuarter Deck Diplomacy (Foreign Service Journal July, 1953)

Defending Residents Abroad, April 2020



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