Sincethe earliest work of the Republic, Benedict Arnold has actually been the American phrase for traitor. Other villains from Aaron Burr come Aldrich Ames have come and gone with the food of American history, however none have quite matched Arnold’s nefarious reputation. Willard Sterne Randall, however, notes the Benedict Arnold did not plot treachery alone. Instead, the general’s wife, Peggy Shippen Arnold, carried the key to she husband’s betrayal. Through today’s concern for gender equality, per­haps that is time to remember a woman as America’s greatest traitor.

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NEARLY every HER LIFE, PEGGY SHIPPEN WAS surrounded BY THE TURMOILof period of wars and revolution. She was born with the British realm in 1760, just weeks before the French surrendered all of Canada. Before her 3rd birthday, british America had actually grown by occupation from a piece of coastal colonies come nearly fifty percent of phibìc America. The town of Philadelphia, where her father, judge Edward Ship­pen, hosted a financially rewarding array of early american offices, to be the largest seaport in America. A center for trade and its regulation, it was a organic target for protests once resistance to British revenue measures flared in the 1760s. Through the period of five, she had actually seen riots in the streets outside her father’s handsome brick town house.

The revolutionary movement grew all she childhood. At 15 she lis­tened at her parents’ dinner table together their guests suggested politics: George Washington, man Adams, Silas Deane, and also Benedict Arnold were among the patriots that dined at the Shippens’; british officials and also officers includ­ed general Thomas Gage and also the intriguing man Andre. By the time Peggy to be 17, the British military occupied Philadelphia and she to be being connected romantically through the young brother spymaster. After ~ the american reoccupied the city, and before she to be 19, Peggy married army Governor Benedict Arnold and also helped him come plot the boldest treason in American history–not only the surrender of West point and its 3,000 men yet the catch of Washington, Lafayette, and their linked staffs.

Delicately beautiful, brilliant, witty, a consummate actress and astute businesswoman, Peggy Shippen was, new research reveals, the highest­ payment spy that the American Revolution. Understandably, the Shippen family damaged papers the could connect her come the treason of Benedict Arnold. As a result, for two centuries she has been considered Arnold’s hapless and passive spouse, innocent though neurotic. But new evidence reveals the she actively engaged in the Arnold conspiracy at every step. She was a deeply committed Loyalist who assisted persuade she husband to adjust sides. Once he wavered in his resolve to defect, it was she who maintained the plot alive and then shielded him, risking her life over and over. Ultimately expelled indigenous the joined States, she was handsomely rewarded by the british “for services rendered.”

When Margaret Shippen was born, top top June 11, 1760, she father, who already had a son and also three daughters, composed his father the his wife “this morning do me a current of a fine baby which, despite the worst sex, is yet completely welcome.” judge Shippen was generally cheerful about his large brood: The Shippens were one of colonial America’s wealthiest and most illustrious families.

The very first American Shippen–Peggy’s great-great-grandfather, the first Edward–had immigrant to Boston in 1668 through a fortune from profession in the center East. He and his mam were granted sanctuary in Rhode Island by branch Benedict Arnold, the traitor’s great-grandfather. The pair resettled in Philadelphia on a two-mile-deep riverfront estate. Shippen later became Speaker the the Pennsylvania Assembly and the 2nd mayor the Philadelphia.

Peggy’s father, the fourth Edward in the line, was a conservative man who seemed constantly worried, usually around money or property. He fol­lowed his father’s wishes and practiced law, likewise holding several remuner­ative colonial offices simultaneously–admiralty judge, prothonotary, recorder that deeds–and to be at an initial firmly top top the British side in the lengthy struggle that evolved into the Revolution. His tortured reactions come the almost continuous tensions that accompanied years of riots, boycotts, and congresses in Philadelphia to be the backdrop because that his daughter Peggy’s inexplicable childhood.

When parliament passed the stamp Act in 1765, before Peggy’s fifth birthday, she father check out aloud about “great riots and disturbances” in Boston. He thought about the act oppressive, however he protest illegally destroy­ing stamped paper. “What will certainly be the consequences of together a step, i trem­ble to think….Poor America! It has actually seen its ideal days.” By the time Peggy to be eight and also learning to read leather-bound publications in their library, she father’s admiralty court had end up being the facility of the storm end British taxation. When she to be 10, his judgeship to be abolished.

As the early american crisis dragged on, Shippen lectured his favourite daugh­ter ~ above disobedience: bad laws had to it is in repealed; merely to neglect or withstand them would open the door to anarchy. In spite of his drawing-room bravery, however, Shippen refused to take it a publicly stand, careful to protect against offendingradicals or street mobs the might strike his property or damage his daughters. That burst into a rare fit of rage at cutting board Paine’s “book referred to as Common Sense, in favor of full separation from England….It is artfully wrote, yet might be conveniently refuted….This idea that independence, though sometime back abhorred, might possibly, by degrees, end up being so familiar regarding be cherished.”

Judge Shippen’s only son, the fifth Edward (“Neddy”), had actually early presented himself to be inept in ~ business, and he ultimately squandered much of the family fortune. The judge made decision to education Peggy together if she were his son. Peggy curled increase in a wingback across from she father to check out Addison, Steele, Pope, Defoe, every the latest British writers. Her mommy saw come it that she was instructed in needlework, cooking, drawing, dancing, and music, however in none of her surviving letters is there any of the family members trivia of she time.

Peggy had a distinctive literature style and wit, and, choose her father, she wrote through unusual clarity. A quiet, severe girl, she was also practical, too interested in business and also in make the most of time and money, for friv­olity. By age 15, as the Revolutionary battle began, she to be helping she father with his investments. She learned the finer points of bookkeeping, accounting, real estate and also other investments, importing and also trade, bank­ing and also monetary transactions-and she basked in her father’s approval.

But she had also been studying her sisters’ manners and social behav­ior. It was at the fortnightly dances in Freemasons Hall the young guys who danced through them began to notification Peggy: She to be petite, blond, dain­ty of face and also figure, through steady, wide-set, blue-gray eyes and also a full mouth, which she pursed as she listened intently.

As far into the brand-new politics as Judge Shippen would delve to be to invite partisans of all stripes to his brick mansion on fourth Street, in Philadelphia’s society Hill section, come air your views at his dinner table. In beforehand September 1774, Peggy and her household entertained some of the dele­ gateways to the first Continental Congress. Few, if any, foresaw a battle of revo­lution versus the mom country; plenty of expected to conciliate their com­plaints v Parliament peacefully. Of all the colonies, Pennsylvania was the many divided: The bulk was comprised of pacifist Quakers and mem­bers that the more than 250 German pietist sects, and there to be the strong Penn proprietary party, faithful to the British.

That steamy September, Philadelphians agonized end the food of the brand-new England radicals’ confrontation through the crown in British­ populated Boston as post riders, delegates, militiamen, and redcoats came and also went under the vast cobbled streets, making the increasingly complicated to continue to be neutral. Congressional delegate Silas Deane created to his mam that “this city is in the utmost confusion.” Rumors of brothers invasion also were flying; during one panic, Pennsylvania militiamen drilled and marched past the Shippens’ city house also as the last red-coated british regiment in the middle colonies strode come the waterfront and boarded troop transports taking them phibìc to reinforce Boston.

One young british officer who could have liked to sign up with them wasSecond Lieutenant man Andre of the 7th Foot, the imperial Welsh Fusiliers, who had actually arrived in Philadelphia just a couple of days earlier. Sent from England to join his regiment, Andre to be en path to Quebec. He had been a peacetime officer for 5 years and also had never combated in fight but instead had actually pursued the life the a dilettante poet, playwright, and also artist.

From the security of England, Andre had taken the unrest in America lightly, however upon arrival he uncovered Philadelphia in the fixed of anti-British frenzy. It was not a safe location for a young, solitary british officer. Oddly, he made decision to take trip not board a brothers warship yet on foot alone north to Lake Champlain. He cruised on come Quebec in a schooner, in the firm of a black woman, one Indian squaw in a blanket, “and the sailors round the stove.” It was the first of john Andre’s strange and romantic journeys through an America that would never understand.

As Andre meandered north, 33-year-old shipowner and revo­lutionary Benedict Arnold, who had arrived in Philadelphia through the Connecticut delegation come Congress, was accompanying his mentor, Silas Deane, come a series of politics caucuses and also dinners. A self-made man of means and lengthy a leader that the radical boy of Liberty in brand-new Haven, Arnold to be helping to plan the organized suppression of antirevolutionary sentiment. The function of the Congress was to protest brothers oppression, but Sons the Liberty from a dozen nests used the chance to discuss the removed of Loyalist opposition.

Yet Arnold and Deane had actually time for dinners in Philadelphia’s best houses. And also one Loyalist family, the Shippens, stood the end for your hospi­tality. Deane and Arnold were invited to the judge’s dinner table, whereby Shippen introduced his daughters, including the youngest, the precocious Peggy. Although only 14, she was already one the the city’s most pop­ular debutantes. Flirtatious and quick-witted, she might talk confidently with men around politics and also trade. Benedict Arnold met her for the first time in ~ dinner that September.

Peggy heard Benedict Arnold’s name generally in the next couple of years together the change turned to war and also its leaders put on uniforms and also fanned out to struggle the British. Arnold’s attack on ft Ticonderoga, his heroic march come Quebec and his daring attack on the walled city, his marine cam­paign top top Lake Champlain, his wounding, and also his quarrels over promotion frequently put his surname in the Philadelphia newspapers. A couple of blocks native the Shippen house, a brand-new ship in the Pennsylvania marine was offered Arnold’s name, and also that remained in the papers, too.

News of the war frequently touched closer come home. Peggy’s earliest sister’s fiancee, a rebel, was missing and presumed killed in the American rout on long Island. Her brother, Neddy, 18, top top the spur that the minute decid­ed to join the British army in Trenton because that the Christmas festivities. As soon as Washington attacked, Neddy to be captured. He was freed by the Shippens’ erstwhile dinner guest, George Washington himself. Every one of Judge Shippen’s careful neutrality was jeopardized. Stripping the youth of any kind of further part in family company affairs, the judge turned his son’s duties end to Peggy.

When the Americans attacked Canada late in 1775, the British do a was standing at ft St.-Jean ~ above the Richelieu River, surrendering only after a long siege. One of the officers recorded was 25-year-old 2nd Lieu­tenant Andre. Freed top top parole, he was sent out south with the package of his other officers to home arrest in Pennsylvania. In Philadelphia, while that attended come provisions because that his other prisoners, Andre had actually time to discover “the little society of 3rd and 4th Streets,” the opulent town residences of Peggy’s neighborhood. The romantic young officer to be ushered into the fourth Street house of judge Shippen and also introduced come 15-year-old Peggy Shippen. Before he left because that an unknown term in bondage on the Pennsylvania frontier, he played his flute and also recited his poetry and asked to sketch her.

One year later on Andre was exchanged for an American prisoner. Then, in the fall of 1777, when Peggy was 17, basic Sir wilhelm Howe’s British military drove the Americans out of Philadelphia and marched up second Street, 2 blocks indigenous the Shippens’. Andre had actually recently given the orders because that a brother regiment to solve bayonets, remove the flints from your muskets, and attack a sleepy American unit at adjacent Paoli. The progressively callous Andre tersely defined the massacre in his regi­mental journal, calling the americans a “herd” as almost 200 guys were killed and a good number wounded. He provided they were “stabbed…till the was assumed prudent to…desist.”

As one aide in ~ British headquarters in Philadelphia, Andre determined to fol­low the example of his commanders and seek diversions from the toils the killing. He and his elegant friends reconnoitered in the best culture they can find, and also Andre started calling on the Shippens, accompanied by his girlfriend Captain Andrew Snape Hamond that HMS Roebuck and lord Francis Rawdon, who considered Peggy the many beautiful woman he had ever before seen. Also a dominating officer, however, can not hope to escort a Philadelphia debutante come the incessant round of army balls there is no a prior ring of introductions. The very first step was the morning visit to the drawing room the the plan partner. Andre generally showed up, sketch pad under his arm, for obligatory cups of tea and chaperoned talks about the recent books, balls, and plays. In the night Andre, that was now a major, and his assistant, brand-new York Loyalist Captain Oliver De Lancey, were tough at work turning a previous warehouse on south Street right into a splendid theater.

Peggy Shippen probably fell in love that winter v the charming major. However he flitted from one drawing-room beauty come another, serious around none the them. Still, he favored to be with Peggy; he chosen to map out her, showing her as elusively elegant and also poutish, sometimes transforming away, occasionally fixing him with an enigmatic smile. He took pleasure in breakneck sleigh rides v her at his side, her friends crowding in with them under hefty bearskin rugs.

But as soon as Peggy stepped the end for the evening, the was more often ~ above the arm of Captain Hamond, who later said, “We were all in love with her.” among the season’s highlights to be a dinner dance aboard the Roebuck. Peggywas piped on board the ship, which to be illuminated with lanterns for the occasion. She sat down at Hamond’s best for a dinner offered to 200 invit­ed guests, then danced until dawn.

By late April 1778 the brothers learned they were to withdraw to new York City and also prepare for the come of the French, the revolutionaries’ new ally. Philadelphia was as well exposed. A brand-new British commander was coming; basic Howe to be being recalled. Man Andre volunteered come pre­pare a lavish farewell, a Meschianza, including a waterborne parade, a middle ages tournament, a dress ball, and an huge dinner party. No other effort of Andre’s ever approached this opulent festival. He designed cos­tumes because that 14 knights and their squires and “ladies selected indigenous the foremost in youth, beauty, and also fashion.” because that the ladies, he developed Turkish harem costumes evoking the Crusades. The designed Peggy’s entire ward­ robe and also sketched her in it. Andre’s very own glittering costume featured pink satin sashes, bows, and wide baggy pants.

Peggy’s dad grumbled, but he shelled out sufficient gold to outfit 3 of his daughters. Together Peggy rode residence the next morning, a Quaker diarist wrote, “How insensitive perform these people show up while ours land is so great­ly desolated.”

Before man Andre left a couple of weeks later, he offered Peggy a souvenir the showed how close they had actually become: a locket containing a ringlet of his hair. Despite parted, they composed each various other secretly v the lines, at an excellent risk to Peggy, directing the letters through a third party.

In may 1778, as the british made prepared to evacuate Philadelphia, George Washington’s newly appointed military governor was preparing a calm takeover that the funding city. Benedict Arnold–the hero the Ticonderoga, Quebec, and Saratoga–had been shot twice through his appropriate leg and also was still unable to was standing without a crutch. Washington had actually urged him come take more time to recover, however Arnold insisted on returning to the war, so Washington provided him the rear-area command–thus placing Arnold in the middle of a political cross fire in between the continent Army and also Pennsyl­vania politicians. As the British sailed away, Arnold drove into the city in his coach-and-four through his liveried servants, aides, and also orderlies. From their brick mansion, the Shippens could see the American light horse ride by.

Benedict Arnold’s duties as army governor included social evenings arranged by his spinster sister, Hannah, that was additionally rearing his 3 young sons; Arnold’s wife had passed away while he was attacking Canada. When an impoverished orphan, Arnold now moved easily in Philadelphia’s upstream society, sipping tea through the Shippens, the Robert Morrises, and other affluent merchants and lawyers, and also playing organize to members of congress at lavish dinners in his headquarters mansion.

He often encountered Peggy Shippen at this gatherings. Frequently his carriage was viewed parked in prior of the Shippen house, whereby British police officers had concerned call just a couple of months earlier, and as the summer the 1778 progressed, Peggy came to be known together the general’s lady. At first, resentment the the American hero of Saratoga was courting the Loyalistbelle of brother officers’ balls was confined come a small sniping in Congress. Arnold’s insistence top top inviting Loyalist women to revolutionary social events lugged increasing criticism, however Arnold appeared oblivious as he spent more and an ext time through 18-year-old Peggy.

In September 1778 Arnold asserted himself a major suitor in 2 let­ters, one come Peggy, one to she father. A relative of Peggy’s created that “there can be no doubt the imagination of miss Shippen was excited and also her heart captivated through the oft-repeated stories of his gallant deeds, his accomplishments of bril­liant courage and also traits of generosity and kindness.” Peggy appeared espe­cially touch by his paying for the education and also upbringing the the three youngsters of his friend Dr. Joseph Warren, who had actually been eliminated at Bunker Hill. Yet Peggy had actually other factors for fallout’s in love with Benedict Arnold: He to be still young (37), ruggedly built despite his injured leg, animated, intelligent and witty, strong handsome and also sometimes charm­ing. It was noticeable a life v “the General,” as she always called him, would certainly not it is in dull.

The judge did not say yes, but he did not say no. He wrote to his father to seek advice. Yet the an ext Arnold was publicly criticized for his lenien­cy come Loyalists and his quite open up love that one, and the longer the judge balked, the closer the two lovers attracted together. Arnold had involved appre­ciate she “sweetness the disposition and also goodness the heart, she sentiments and her sensibilities.” He had actually faced few more implacable adversaries than Judge Shippen, who worried around his daughter’s marrying one invalid. Finally, however, relatives convinced the judge that Arnold to be “a well­ dispositioned man, and one the will usage his ideal endeavors to make Peggy happy.” The judge additionally liked the fact that Arnold settled a £7,000 nation estate called Mount pleasant on her together a wedding present.

On the various other hand, the judge didn’t prefer what the was beginning to hear about Arnold’s private service dealings; however months of assaults on Arnold in the push by radical political enemies had made Peggy every the more determined come marry him. In the end, referee Shippen appears to have actually acced­ed come his daughter’s engagement only as soon as his continued refusal made Peggy, currently thoroughly in love, hysterical come the allude of fainting spells.

On April 8, 1779, Arnold’s nine-month siege ended. That rode down 4th Street through his sister, his 3 sons, and also an aide because that an night cer­emony in the Shippen home. In his blue American major general’s uni­form, Benedict Arnold, 38, married 18-year-old Peggy Shippen. A young family member wrote that Peggy to be “lovely, a beautiful bride” together she stood in ~ last next to her “adoring general.”

IN might 1779, within ONE MONTH OF their WEDDING, the pair entered right into a daring plot to make Arnold a British general who would lead every the Loyalist forces and bring the long war to a speedy conclusion. All through their courtship there had actually been a mounting furor in the press about Arnold’s alleged profiteering as army governor. No evidence has ever before been uncovered that, approximately then, he had actually done anything much more than usage his office to problem passesthat helped Loyalist merchants, who in turn cut him in because that a percentage of your profits; and also once he diverted military wagons come haul contraband right into Philadelphia for sale in stores. Both were common practices, however Arnold was regularly stiff-necked and arrogant in his dealings v Pennsylvania revolutionaries.

When Pennsylvania carried formal charges against Arnold, George Washington refused to interference and, much from supporting him, cure him v the very same cold formality he scheduled for every officers dealing with court­ martial. Arnold had currently endured year of censure and also controversy, and also Washington’s aloofness, coupled v a ferocious attack from Congress and also in the newspapers, evidently journey him end the edge. Peggy appears not just to have approved the his decision come defect come the British however to have actually helped him at every revolve in a year and a half of on-again, off-again plotting the at the very least once she alone managed to save alive.

When Arnold’s prosecutors produced no evidence to judge him, and when Washington, whose generals to be preoccupied, was unable to bring around a speedy court-martial to clean him, the proud hero could tolerate the general public humiliation no longer. On might 5, 1779, he created a correctly letter come Washington: “If your Excellency thinks me criminal, because that heaven’s sake allow me be automatically tried and, if uncovered guilty, executed.”

Apparently that same day, with Peggy’s assistance, Arnold opened up his an enig correspondence v the British, using Peggy’s friends and also Philadel­phia connections. A china and also furniture dealer, Joseph Stansbury, who was help Peggy decorate the Arnold house, acted as courier v the lines to Andre at British headquarters in brand-new York City, where Stansbury often went on purchase trips. Peggy currently had been sending harmless message to Andre through Stansbury. She now operated with Arnold come encode his mes­sages, making use of a cipher composed in invisible ink that could be read as soon as rinsed with lemon juice or acid; a price in one corner indicated which come use.

On might 21, 1779, Peggy satellite down through Arnold in a bedroom that their industry Street house and pored end the pages of the 21st version of Bailey’s Dictionary. (Andre had wanted Blackstone’s Commentaries ~ above the regulations of England, but they had rejected that as also cumbersome.) according to Stansbury, they provided one that two duplicates of the compact dictionary: “This I have actually paged because that , beginning at A…. Every side is numbered and con­tains 927 pages.” The Arnolds added “1 to each number of the page, of the column, and of the line, the an initial word of i m sorry is constantly used, too. Zoroaster will be 928.2.2 and also not 927.1.1. Birds is 838.3.2 and also not 837.2.1.”

It usually took 10 days for Stansbury come slip with to Andre in brand-new York, and also as long to return; late at night he would certainly send a servant to the Arnolds, and also Peggy would carefully decode the message and also encode Arnold’s reply. Just rarely walk the Loyalist Stansbury view the general; almost always he faced Peggy. Andre had instructed Stansbury to resolve “the Lady.” In October 1779, once the brother at first failed to fulfill Arnold’s terms, Peggy composed a cryptic letter in code to Andre and also kept the negotiation alive till the 2 principals struck your bargains. This timeshe sent her note with a brother prisoner that was being exchanged and also returned to new York. She had become far much more than an unwitting go­ between, as historians have actually tended come portray her; she was now an energetic coconspirator:

Mrs. Moore sent and also she will certainly pay because that the entirety with thanks.

The shopping list, evidently not the first, included towel for napkins and also for dresses, a pair that spurs, and pink ribbon.

Andre, who had actually feigned indifference in current messages, came to be alarmed. He saw through Peggy’s list: return the negotiations through her husband had been fruitless so far, she was informing Andre that they were no hopeless. He put aside her shopping list and informed sir Henry Clinton, the British command in chief, that Arnold had finally proclaimed his price: together Stansbury had actually told Andre, £20,000 if that succeeded; £10,000 if that failed. What Clinton want was detailed plans that West Point, the brand-new American stronghold 50 mile up the Hudson from British lines. Andre sent the pro­posal ago to Peggy, referring to she list as “trifling services from which i hope you would infer a zeal to be further employed.”

It was late October prior to Andre received another coded keep in mind from Peggy:

Mrs. Arnold gift her finest respects come Captain Andre, is much obliged to him for his an extremely polite and friendly sell of gift serviceable to her.

To entice the British, the Arnolds sent much an essential military and also politi­cal intelligence through the currently in the 17th months from might 1779 v September 1780. In June 1779 they tipped off the british com­mander that Washington would leave his basic at Morristown, new Jersey, as soon as the an initial hay was harvested and also move north to the Hudson for a summer campaign. This leak offered Clinton time come strike an initial up the Hudson before Washington could reinforce his forts there. The couple disclosed that Congress had made decision to all yet write turn off Charleston, southern Carolina, the largest and also most necessary town in the South, if the British as soon as again test to take it it. (They did and succeeded.)

The Arnolds also informed Clinton about American currency problems and about congressional refusal to provide agents in Paris full power to negoti­ate a peace treaty v Britain: The Arnolds believed the French alliance to be shaky, and that if it fell apart, the american would have to sue because that peace. Arnold assumed he can then be useful in bringing about a recon­ciliation in between responsible Americans and also the British. “I will cooperate v others once opportunity offers,” that wrote, including a postscript: “Madam Arnold presents her particular compliments.”

Ironically, among the Arnolds’ early messages come the British led to the discontinuity of his court-martial in June 17, 1779, soon after it lastly began, when the British took his advice and also attacked up the Hudson. Together Washington and also his army dashed north, Arnold lurked behind in ~ headquarters, talk to various other officers around Washington’s plans because that the season the war. The Arnolds encoded top-secret information around American convoy strengths, dispositions, and also destinations. He to be the first to warning the brother of one American exploration “to ruin the Indian settlements” the Pennsylvania and new York. However his most disastrous tips to be dispatched on July 17, 1779: the recent troop strengths; supposed turnout the militia; the state that the army; the place of its it is provided depots; the variety of men and cannon ~ above the punitive raid against the Mohawks; troop locations, strengths, and weaknesses in Rhode Island and also in the South; the location and movements that American and also French ships. Peggy Shippen met alone v Joseph Stansbury throughout these treacherous July 1779 negotiations together Benedict Arnold verified the british what he was willing to provide in exchange because that a red uniform and also at the very least £10,000.

More months dragged by before Washington might spare general offi­cers to reconvene Arnold’s court-martial. Meanwhile, Arnold had resigned as armed forces governor of Philadelphia. Not until December 1779 to be he allowed to defend himself, and although the generals encourage a for­mal reprimand, the Arnolds did not learn of his conviction till April 1780, only weeks after ~ the birth of their very first child. He never forgave Washington because that publicly censuring that in writing. But Washington thought about it a minor affair and also promptly offered Arnold an additional field command, this time as his number two general.

The Arnolds were figured out to defect, and also Arnold himself placed it in composing to Andre and also Clinton the West suggest would quickly be his come command and also his to betray come the British. But Washington insisted that Arnold join him v his troops. Peggy to be at a dinner party at the residence of Robert Morris when news reached Philadelphia the Arnold had been appointed to com­mand the left soup of the continent Army, no West Point. She fainted.

What Peggy go not learn for 3 weeks was that Arnold, pretending his old injuries had flared up, had actually finally encouraged a perplexed Washington to rewrite his orders, installing him as the commandant that West point and one enlarged new York command. Arnold arrived at West point on respectable 4, 1780.

He sent word come Peggy in Philadelphia to leaving his sons by his first mar­riage in the care of his sister and also to come by carriage v the baby and her 2 servants. Meanwhile, he went around weakening West point defenses (by deploying men so they can not defend versus the British) and arranging the details of his defection with significant Andre, who had been pro­moted to chief that the British an enig service inside new York City. Plans for a first meeting on the Hudson on September 11, 1780, miscarried, and also Arnold was nearly killed by gunfire from a brothers gunboat.

After 2 months personal from her husband, Peggy at last arrived at West Point, and also their days and also nights took on the included excitement the plotting their defection. Peggy’s weeks without Arnold, the longest she had ever before been far from him, had been one of the loneliest periods of she life, filled through desperate anxiety. But the exact same day she rejoined him, they receiveda letter cutting brief the time they could expect together. Washington was coming north from his new Jersey headquarters, he composed Arnold secretly. Arnold was to provide an escort and also meet him as he rode there is no his army to confer with the French in Hartford.

Realizing how delicate Washington would certainly be, Arnold sent off an urgent post to Andre: If the British moved quickly, your warships top top the Hudson, helped by a few hundred dragoons, could capture Washington and also his generals as he overcome the river through a few score troops. In a bold armed forces coup, Arnold would seize Washington and negotiate an American surrender that would quickly end the war. If the plot succeeded, Arnold could expect a dukedom from a thankful king, and also Peggy would be a duchess.

PEGGY’S very first AND just SUNDAY together THE MISTRESS the WEST POINT, September 17, 1780, was a tense affair. Arnold’s staff fled right into the wainscoted dining room of Beverley, the commandant’s house, come take your seats v Arnold’s weekend Loyalist houseguests. The was very early dinner: Arnold was quickly to walk downriver to supply Washington’s hand-picked escort. They to be hard­ly seated as soon as a courier arrived through two coded letters for Arnold from Andre, who was aboard the Vulture, a British ship 12 mile downriver. Trying not to betray his excitement, Arnold pocketed the letters. After din­ner the rode off v 40 Life security to meet Washington.

Circling earlier alone the night ~ his last meeting v Washington, Arnold waited because that the brothers attack, however Clinton procrastinated and also it did not come. He had learned, however, that Washington would certainly be inspecting West allude on September 23; the british would have actually a 2nd chance. Three more anxious work passed at Beverley. Shortly before dawn on September 21, Arnold kissed Peggy good-bye and slipped off to meet Andre. Late the night an open watercraft bearing Andre, sheathe in a marine blue caped coat, vibration ashore 2 miles below Haverstraw. At critical the two males met. Arnold turn over records to Andre and returned to West suggest on September 22.

While Arnold had actually been gone, Peggy, still worn down from her nine-day trip to West allude in an open carriage in the summer heat, had stayed v the infant in Beverley’s understand bedroom, a sunny, quiet ar with huge open windows and balustraded porch. Now, ~ above September 23, a Saturday, she stayed late in the room, planning to go downstairs later when Washington arrived. Arnold and also his staff had just been served breakfast when a messen­ger, muddy and also dripping, was shown in: john Andre had been captured!

His luck had actually run out half a mile north of Tarrytown the morning. Seven young militiamen absent without leave had banded with each other to way­ put Loyalist travelers. As Andre rode as much as Pine’s Bridge, he was startled by three of them. John Paulding, in a recorded Hessian’s uniform, ordered the little of Andre’s horse.

“Gentlemen,” stated Andre, who could see the brother lines, “I hope you belong to our party.”

“What party?” Paulding demanded.

“The reduced party,” Andre replied, alluding come the Loyalists. “Thank God, i am once more among friends. I am happy to view you. Ns am one officer in the brother service.” The exuberant Andre pulled out his yellow watch “for a token come let you understand I to be a gentleman.”

“Get down,” Paulding growled. “We space Americans.”

“My God, I need to do something to get along,” Andre rejoined through a phase laugh, brandishing a happen Arnold had written out for him.

“Damn Arnold’s pass! You said you was a brother officer. Obtain down.

Where is her money?”

When Andre began to argue, Paulding swore and also pointed his weapon. “God cursed it! where is your money?”

After Andre protested that he had none, Paulding and his friends compelled him into a thicket and also ordered him come strip. Andre later said that the three men ripped increase the housings the his saddle and also the collar of his coat and were about to let him go when one of the party said, “He may have it in his boots.” castle threw that down, yanked off his English boots, and, in his stockings, uncovered Arnold’s report the West Point’s fortifications and troop displacements, a an overview of the American army’s strength, and also the mystery minutes of Washington’s recent council of war concerning linked Franco-American strategy.

“This is a spy,” Paulding ultimately shouted come the others. Lock prodded him with their weapons as he dressed and mounted. Climate they bound his eight behind him and led him ago over the roads he had just ridden, ago toward the American lines.

At West Point, Arnold was handed a keep in mind informing him the a packet of files in his very own handwriting was on its means to Washington. The hurried upstairs to Peggy, locked the bedroom door, and also whispered that the plot had actually been discovered. Washington was expected any minute.

Peggy must have actually reassured she husband that she and also the baby would be safe; it is unlikely that she do the efforts to talk him the end of fleeing for his life. She agreed to burn every one of their papers and stall for time. He taken on her, take it a last look at Neddy, and hurried out, notified an aide to saddle a horse. At the river, Arnold jumped right into his eight-oared barge, drew his pistols, and told his crewmen that would provide them two gallons of rum if they acquired him downriver. The boat lurched into the Hudson channel, Arnold in the stem. By the moment Washington arrived, a couple of minutes later, Arnold was on his way to the Vulture and the brothers lines.

Peggy’s years of studying theatrics now saved she husband’s life, also if she performance could have price hers. Together Arnold to be making his escape, she ran shrieking down the hallway in she dressing gown, she hair disheveled. Arnold’s aides rushed increase the stair to uncover her screaming and also struggling with two maids, that were do the efforts to gain her ago into her room. Peggy got one young aide by the hand and cried, “Have friend ordered my son to it is in killed?” Peggy fell to she knees, the aide later on testified, “with prayers and entreaties to spare her chaste babe.” Two much more officers arrived, “and we brought her to her bed, raving mad.” The distraught20-year-old therefore distracted Arnold’s staff that no one believed to pursue him until Washington arrived.

Peggy Shippen’s human being had to be exploded by a plot she had actually encour­aged, aided, and also abetted, and also sheer nervous tension on the work of discov­ery helped her to completely fool everyone approximately her. It would certainly be the twentieth century before the opened of the brother Headquarters records at the college of Michigan showed what the eighteenth century refused to believe–that a young and innocent–appearing woman was capable of help­ ing Benedict Arnold plot the conspiracy that virtually delivered victory to England in the American Revolution.

When Peggy learned that Washington had actually arrived, she cried out again and also told the young aides that “there to be a warm iron on she head and also no one yet General Washington might take that off.” The aides and a staff medical professional summoned the commander in chief, but when Peggy witnessed him she said, “No, that is not general Washington; the is the man who to be going to assist…in death my child.” Washington retract from the room, particular Peggy Arnold to be no conspirator. A couple of days later he sent her and also the baby under escort to her household in Philadelphia.

When news the Arnold’s treason spread out throughout America, Peggy was ordered expelled indigenous Pennsylvania. The exact same officials whose hounding of Arnold had actually provoked him into treason now unwittingly aided her escape v British lines to sign up with the traitor in brand-new York City. She came down on Two Broadway, the home Arnold had actually rented following door come British headquarters, with time to discover that man Andre had been hanged through Washington after a drumhead trial because that espionage. She secluded herself in her bedroom because that weeks, rarely appearing with Arnold at headquarters functions.

Paid £6,350, Arnold was commissioned a brothers brigadier general. He elevated a regiment, the American Legion, comprised exclusively that deserters indigenous the American army–no brothers officer would certainly serve under him–and led it on bloody raids through Virginia. Arnold’s troops sacked the capital at Richmond, almost capturing cutting board Jefferson, and also his native Thames flow valley that Connecticut.

Peggy spent the last year of the Revolution, she last year in her indigenous country, a celebrity in new York, pregnant much of the time with she sec­ond child. Several of her old Philadelphia next-door neighbors were likewise Loyalists liv­ing in British-occupied Manhattan; her former culture Hill neighbors kept tabs on her and wrote earlier news come Philadelphia.

Peggy to be grieving for Andre, also though her marital relationship to Arnold was serene. Mrs. Samuel Shoemaker wrote in November 1780 that Peggy currently “wants animation, sprightliness and fire in her eyes.” when she did show up in public, however, the was together the brand-new favorite in ~ headquarters balls. Peggy “appeared a star of the an initial magnitude, and had every fist paid her,” specifically after she got a an individual pension of £500 a year indigenous the queen. After the brother surrender in ~ Yorktown, wherein American troops cele­brated victory by burning Arnold in effigy, the Arnolds sailed for England in a 150-ship convoy. They arrived at January 22, 1782, and also according tothe Daily Advertiser took “a residence in Portman Square and collection up a car­riage.” She was, wrote one nobleman, “an amiable mrs and, was she husband dead, would be lot noticed.”

The Arnolds’ warmest reception was at the Court that St. James’s, where they were presented to the king and also queen. Arnold, King George III, and also the Prince of Wales took long walks together, deep in conversation. Queen Charlotte was specifically taken with Peggy, and also her courtiers, together one wrote, paid “much fist to her.” The queen double Peggy’s pension come £1,000 a year and listed a £100 lifetime annuity for each of she chil­dren. Peggy was to progressive five, and also eventually got far more from the crown 보다 Arnold did. She pensions guarantee that she could bring up her kids comfortably and also that based upon their mother’s reputation alone they would certainly be presented into society as English gentry. All 4 of the Arnolds’ sons became British officers; their daughter married a general.

Arnold never got an additional farthing. Once peace came, he became a half-pay pensioner and also had come strap household resources to build a ship and also return come the life at sea that had once made the wealthy. As her husband cruised to Canada, Peggy, 25 years old, suddenly felt the lose of she American home and family. Arnold to be gone for virtually a year and a half, throughout which Peggy ran their company affairs, gathered and invested their pensions, and also fought lawsuits. Once he returned, she had to pack every­ thing up again–this time castle were moving to Saint John, new Brunswick, whereby Arnold had developed a shipping business, was buying increase land, and also had built a basic store. Late in 1787, just six weeks after ~ they arrived in Canada, Peggy provided birth again.

For the first time since she left Philadelphia, Peggy was able to make close friends. She lived in a huge gambrel-roofed clapboard home elegantly decorated with furniture Arnold lugged from England. Yet the home was an opulent island in a sea of deprivation: The city to be crowded with impov­erished Loyalist refugees, and few people might afford to salary Arnold for his imported goods. That made new enemies as he challenged frequent decisions around whether to sue or to put guys in debtors’ prison. When his warehouse and store burned, there were whispers the he had actually torched them for the insurance. A former company partner was among his accusers, and when Arnold faced him, the guy said, follow to the court record, “It is not in my strength to blacken your character, for it’s as black color as it deserve to be.”

The insult straight resulted in the refusal of Arnold’s insurance allowance claim­ and also in the very first jury trial because that slander in new Brunswick history. Arnold won, yet instead of the £5,000 the sought, the judges based the award on the value of his reputation and gave him just 20 shillings, an unbearable insult. At the exact same time, a mob sacked the Arnolds’ home. Peggy and the youngsters were far at the time, safe. After five years in Canada, the Arnolds moved earlier to England.

Like plenty of Loyalists, Peggy Shippen Arnold planned to return one day to live in the unified States, wherein she retained her inheritance invest in Robert Morris’s financial institution of the joined States. However, once she went to visither ailing, age mother, she was menaced through sullen mobs who refused to forgive her husband. The come of the traitor’s wife in Philadelphia, also as Congress to be deliberating the brand-new Constitution, stirred controversy. She brother-in-law tape-recorded that she to be treated “with so lot coldness and also neglect that her feelings were continually wounded.” Old friends stated her visit put them “in a ache position.” others whispered the “she should have actually shown much more feeling by continuing to be away.” after ~ a five-month visit, Peggy left her family members forever.

Benedict Arnold’s final years were populated with a long string the busi­ness misadventures and likewise with his obsessive defense that his reputation. He expanded his Caribbean operations, in his last eight years sending or sailing 13 various ships on commerce voyages. Regularly offended publicly, he dealt with a duel v the earl that Lauderdale, who had actually insulted the on the floor that the house of Lords. Peggy composed to her father the the days before the duel were filled through “a great deal the pain.” She “had not dared to dis­cuss the duel v the silent general,” fearing that she would certainly “unman him and also prevent him acting himself.” once fought, the duel created no casu­alties, but it “almost in ~ last confirmed too much for me, and for some hours, my factor was to it is in despaired of.”

As a brand-new war v France spread over the world, Arnold outfitted his own privateering ship to strike French shipping in the Caribbean. This time he was gone 18 months, agonizing months because that Peggy, who learned the her husband had been caught by French revolutionaries and had managed to escape only shortly prior to his scheduled execution. As soon as Arnold returned and she again ended up being pregnant, Peggy’s health began to decline. Top top December 5, 1795, she created to girlfriend in Canada: “For my very own part, ns am determined to have actually no an ext little plagues, together it is for this reason diffi­cult to provide for them in this country.”

For year Peggy stayed in dread that the queen would die and her pen­sions would certainly stop–a legitimate fear, do worse after she husband’s cap­tains defrauded lock of part £50,000 and also she had actually to sell her American invest to bail the out. In 1801, at age 60, Benedict Arnold came to be dispirited and, after a four-month illness, died “without a groan.” Peggy, oppressed through his creditors and stunned by his loss, lived for three much more years, long sufficient to pay off all his fan “down to the last teaspoon.”

“Years that unhappiness have actually passed,” she confided in a letter to she brother-in-law. “I had actors my lot, complaints were unavailing, and also you and my various other friends are ignorant the the many reasons of the uneasiness I have actually had.” To she father she composed that she had had to move to a smaller house, “parting through my furniture, wine and also many various other comforts provided for me through the indulgent hand that (Arnold’s) affection.” Arnold had actually paid a last com­pliment to Peggy’s organization acumen by do her single executrix of his estate, one unusual step at the time. As soon as she had cleared up the mess he had left and also could see that her kids would be provided for, she thanked her father for her fine personal education: “To you, mine dear parent, am ns indebted because that the capacity to execute what I have done.”

Years that anxiety and illness had exacted a disastrous toll, and also Peggy Shippen Arnold’s quarter-century ordeal in exile finished on respectable 24, 1804. She had, she wrote, “the dreaded evil, a cancer.” She told she sister she had “a very large tumor” in her uterus. “My just chance is indigenous an inner operation which is at current dangerous come perform.”

Peggy died at 44. After her death, her youngsters found concealed amongst her personal possessions a yellow locket containing a snippet of john Andre’s hair. Family tradition holds that Benedict Arnold never saw it.

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Willard Sterne Randall is the writer of Benedict Arnold: Patriot and Traitor (1990) and also Thomas Jefferson: A Life (1993). The is at this time working ~ above a biog­raphy that George Washington.