Skip to main content

tv   Book TV  CSPAN  August 25, 2012 8:00pm-9:00pm EDT

8:00 pm
ten to 50% were working in basic and applied research. the vast majority were working in development. they were looking at research department. the research department started off very small. in the book, i talk a little bit how its great success with the early vacuum tubes that could amplify phone signals in the early part of the 20th century. it really gave credibility to the small research department at bell labs. they succeeded in deploying a cross-country phone link. from then on, the research department grew and grew as it worked more fundamentally. ..
8:01 pm
in fact, she was probably the most dangerous teenage girl in american history. [laughter] and half the age of her husband. and it's just, it's a story that nobody really knew and in fact it was poorly understood at the time even and by the time anyone understood what the story was nobody seemed to care anymore. peggy was mrs. benedict arnold and she liked it that way. she didn't want to be anything else. she would much rather be the
8:02 pm
victimized wife of a traitor then be considered with the real truth is, which is a co-conspirator to try to bring down the american revolution. who had fooled the founding fathers and got off scott free. which is exactly what she did. alright, more than a century after her death, british papers in the general clintons archives are finally studied by american scholars and they figure out, well there was all this really important circumstantial evidence that indicate that peggy shippen was certainly part of of the pot and there is no smoking gun batons of circumstantial evidence, not that i think any reasonable person would agree she knew all about it and was part of the plot. but by that time she had really kind up, she had gotten a pass from history. stephen and i think wanted to bring the story to another generation and focus the story on peggy.
8:03 pm
she has been just a supporting character in a lot of biographies of benedict arnold and we just wanted to center on her and write it in a different way. do you want to start talking about her a little bit? >> imagine you were in damascus, syria. not long ago the violence erupted in the cities of aleppo and homs and it took him out while to get to damascus. you are a prominent professional of some kind. what do you do about this war that is suddenly in the capital city where you have achieved achieve prosperity and prominence? do you support the insurgents? do you support the government, or do you just try to say how do i get through this and come out in one piece with my life and my family intact? well that is what the story of peggy shippen and her family is
8:04 pm
and it's all about philadelphia from 1774 to shortly before 1780. peggy's grandfather was a co-founder of what is now princeton university. her father extremely prominent lawyer in the community, very wealthy. the family were slave owners still reporting in the 1790 census that they had three slaves. they had several children and mark and i think that the father decided to play the war by being as neutral as he could get away with, leaving no clear message to the children about which side they were on. so, what happens? in 1774 in september, the first continental congress meets in philadelphia.
8:05 pm
george washington of virginia shows up. practically the first night he was there he was invited to dinner at the shippen home. peggy met him for the first time and knew him very well until she had a falling out. and then we get the declaration of independence, when she is 16, which is literally signed about a block and a half around the corner from their families fancy home. and then we get to september, 1777 and the british. >> the person chosen to be the military governor in the philadelphia area is benedict arnold. by that time he had a grievous leg wound that has made him unable to ride a horse and had to ride in a coach and he has proved himself to be the most audacious and able in battlefield commander on the continental army side, recognize
8:06 pm
that way by george washington. so, he is 38 and peggy is 18 when they married. they have a courtship of about a year and this happens -- let me back up just a little bit. peggy became kind of this society debutante at the age of 16 or 17 shortly after that the duration of independence was signed, and the war really started in earnest. they ended up, the british ended up taking philadelphia and holding them for about five months and during that time peggy became very friendly with some of the british officers. they seem to be a lot more fun than the patriot officers. [laughter] there was especially a guy named john andre who was a brilliant captain who wrote poetry, played the flute, acted in plays and wrote plays and spend a lot of
8:07 pm
time at the house and became a great friend of hers. but the british ultimately had to leave philadelphia and go back to new york and then arnold comes in, who is really nothing like audrey. andre is kind of handsome and vibrant and arnold by that time is 38 years old and previously wounded and limping around. >> now mark when the british left, did they do anything special? [laughter] >> idol know what you're talking about. there is something called -- this is another thing. when stephen and i started studying this in earnest with the help of a brilliant team of academic researchers who stephen kind of recruited and they found great documents. we couldn't have done it alone. so, there was this event called them asean sin which i had certainly never heard of and i just wonder why they didn't teach it. it was a big low out party in philadelphia in the middle of
8:08 pm
the occupation by the british. meanwhile this is -- it happens in the spring just when the terrible winter of valley forge is happening so the continental army is in valley forge and the forces are dying and people are dying and they are barely surviving. the british are having a great time and philadelphia. it's the worst time in many people's lives and maybe the best in hers. they had this party which cost an incredible bond of money to where they had 12,000 pounds worth of dresses that were sold, which i think was a convert to -- the version of modern currency we use in the book, they are really rough but just an ungodly amount of money. they get these bands floating on barges into the delaware river. they took over the wharton match and because wharton was a patriot and had to flee but even
8:09 pm
the wharton mansion was big enough for this party. they built a separate dining hall just for the event and so they are spending incredible amounts of money. john andre this dashing officers pretty much in charge of designing everything and he designed what colors the rooms would be on things like that. so, it was just this absurd little always is in the middle of this terrible war. so the british leave peggy fair disappointed and benedict arnold comes and immediately -- she is the most beautiful woman in philadelphia or later described as the most beautiful woman in north american later she goes into exile and london spoiler alert there. but she ends up being called the most beautiful woman in england. she is fairly highly-regarded
8:10 pm
and she doesn't miss throwing parties with benedict arnold and making sure that benedict arnold spends a lot of money on parties and lavish stuff. so arnold, if you want to get into a little bit of this is why arnold turned into a traitor. >> he didn't fit well into groups and even before the war started, he had duels with people in the caribbean. he had been in the shipping business and he was serving after the british left as the military commander of philadelphia and the candidates for the bad guy in the story is the civilian government and pencil mania a man named joseph reed who is was exactly the same age. and my judgment, not terribly well supported by the record, but many things i have read give me that is that when arnold in a connecticut man surfaced in
8:11 pm
pennsylvania and married into the richest and most prominent family in town, or one of them, he saw arnold his arrival for post-war political power. he started a president for watergate. first there was a smear the smear of arnold on charges of wrongdoing of various kinds and this created a congressional committee hearing under a congressman from maryland named papa and nothing ever changes. the congressional committee didn't want to criticize the finest field commander in the revolution so far, the hero of ticonderoga, the hero of saratoga etc. so they buffeted to george washington with the suggestion of a court-martial in washington had no choice but to start court-martial proceedings. and arnold was really mad about it. this all broke just about the time that he married the
8:12 pm
19-year-old young lady who had had the relationship not 10 months earlier with a handsome 25-year-old british officer, john andre. so, what mark, within what time period after the wedding did the documentation show that the communication with the british began on the spy scandal? >> who did they communicate with? >> are not get some kind of guy who really likes the british but somehow it's been able to maintain residents in philadelphia and they ask him to find his way to new york city and he does and he asks for john andre. now, coincidentally john andre isn't just a captive any more. by this time john andre being such a brilliant and influential and well-liked guy is acting adjutant general of the entire
8:13 pm
army and in fact chief of staff to general clinton. he also solely takes over all the spy duty so he becomes the spymaster of the british forces in north america. so here you have one of peggy's best friends is suddenly the chief spy of the british army. and so a month after they are married, this letter goes and says hey we want to join the british and we will do whatever we can to help. now, we don't know and in the book we don't guess. we don't speculate much at all. we say alright, we don't know how this came about this, this or this. in this case it could've been a joint decision. she could have begged him to do it or it could have been his decision, we don't now. >> i think it was all her idea. [laughter] >> well you know it could have been. one month later married and
8:14 pm
suddenly they are sending spy information to the british and trying to make a deal. so andre even sends a secret letter to peggy saying hey i would be happy to buy you sewing supplies. i have a seal to be employed by you. you know, but other than that seal, the letter is innocuous and peggy ultimately, there is a separate level of communication with benedict arnold had with andre and did not get the money they want. what they want is a guarantee of 10,000 pounds. >> they started at 20,000 for the sale of arnold and all of his secrets. >> right, and so it takes more than a year for them to get to this point, but some of the circumstantial evidence is that whenever arnold was away from
8:15 pm
philadelphia he would send these letters to peggy that would be chock-full of military information, where armies were, were installations where we can where they were strong, plans for troop movements. not the kind of -- it's not pillow talk. it's not what a man would send to his wife and who also coincidentally just happen to find a way to send those messages to the go-between who took him to new york. is that circumstantial evidence or is that her as a spy? so ultimately they are about to come to an agreement and john andre -- >> this goes on for almost a year. >> more than a year really, so they have this dramatic meeting at midnight and john andre and benedict arnold while peggy is up in a house near west point where they set up. just real quickly, washington
8:16 pm
wanted arnold to be a battlefield commander even though he had a shattered leg as he was so good and arnold wanted to be commander of west point which was vital set up along the river. a it would be much easier to hand over to the british because it was a stationary place rather than trying to surrender in the middle of a battle might be difficult. >> people in the room who are my age remember in the 60's when the news was full of reports about efforts by the american military to interdict the ho chi minh trail because, what is the napoleon cliché? the army travels on its stomach, no food, no ammunition, no fighting army. if you go into a skyscraper in manhattan on a high floor and look at the hudson river at the west, craning your head from left to right you will see low
8:17 pm
ridges 30 or 40 miles out of new jersey. look to the right it's the ram opposed and new york and up the river is the hudson islands. from 1776 until 1782, most of the revolution was at stalemate. the british occupying manhattan and george washington's army stretched from peeksville new york all the way down to middlebrook new jersey and neither side really for various reasons wanted to have it out with the other side. the supplies from all those military people in new jersey crossed the hudson river north of west point and west point which is up on a high bluff where the river makes a very short, to very short turns, had a chain built across it. all for the purpose of keeping the very powerful british navy navy from going upriver neon and
8:18 pm
west point where could interdict the supply line. so there is a reason why the u.s. military sanctum santorum of the of the u.s. army at west point. it was the strategic key to victory in american revolution and what you had was arnold and peggy conniving to secure command of that facility. >> is interesting to peggy was doing her own work to try to get him vet appointment to west point. in fact arnold sister wrote a letter to him saying that she was flirting with a very powerful new york politician. which is weird because in all of our study of that, peggy never is inappropriately flirtatious. she is always very appropriately flirtatious. [laughter] but she was faithful to her husband and very charming and proper. so this is one aberration where
8:19 pm
arnold sister says hey she is flirting with livingston. and livingston was part of the process of deciding who would get the west point appointment. so, i mean the theory is that peggy was working him to help get arnold the appointment. indeed he got the appointment and another great thing about that if he is a stationary appointment at west point he has a house on the other side of the river that is two miles down and it's only hundreds of feet from the riverside. so it would make an instant retreat, an instant escape and also peggy and their firstborn son edward who is born by this time -- they could move up. said they settled that up and had a meeting at midnight between arnold and andre just to make the last preparations for how much he was going to get paid and how quickly the british navy was going to rush up to the hudson, grab west point and
8:20 pm
possibly by the way capture and torture washington who is supposed to visit the arnold's that very weekend. and so it all comes to this amazing culmination. >> if it had worked, it might very well have set back or appended the american revolution but the washington is on his way from -- where he has been meeting with the french general rochambeau who were the two people who won the war at yorktown later. he is coming back to west point to visit the works and inspect the ford. after the midnight meeting, skipping a lot of the amusing details, andre had to put on civilian clothes and go back to his headquarters in new york city by horseback. so we have washington and his entourage headed for west point. andre going lickety-split by horseback down to new york city to get the troops mobilized, get
8:21 pm
up the hudson river and get to west point. when andre gets to the bridge in tarrytown across the river i think he is stopped by three men. some people say they were thieves. some people say they were militiamen on guard duty. and they couldn't agree on a price. he took off his boots and will some say he was carrying spy information and some say he had money in his boots. they found maps of west point and documents. one of them said we had better turn this guy in. so they took him to a place in westchester where their kernal was. the kernal was -- he didn't know what to do. he knew washington was traveling to harvard so he print -- sent a
8:22 pm
note to general washington saying he had found something suspicious, so in effect there is a race going on. how to get to washington before the note gets to arnold. and washington is now fish kill, one town away from where the arnold's family house is and he is expected for breakfast at 11:00 a.m.. and he says to his entourage, let's stop, i want to inspect this. it was either lafayette or hamilton who said oh no we have to go your excellency. we will be late for breakfast in washington says oh i know. few young men are all in love with mrs. arnold and then you can't wait to see her. and he offered them to go ahead to obey their commander. and so with both notes headed
8:23 pm
lickety-split. guess where the first note got to? >> so it gets to the robinson house where the arnold's are staying so benedict arnold reads the note and quickly goes upstairs and tells peggy and according to witnesses, it's a very quick conversation and suddenly he is out the door and he runs down to the water side and orders his barge to go toward the british lines down the hudson. not toward west point. they thought that was a little weird but he promised them all a bunch of rum if they got there fast so they finally get to the british boat, which is called the vulture and later thomas paine said it was one vulture entering another. he says alright, i am joining the british side and so are these people on the barge. they say, no were not. we are americans.
8:24 pm
so they just took him prisoner instead. they said to the british captain, -- what a creep. [laughter] >> he so think about this. this leaves peggy in the house by herself with her son. she has been told that the jig is up. their plot has failed and she is holding the bag. meanwhile, washington is within minutes of getting there. so what she ends up doing is she stays upstairs and is very quiet. washington shows up with but the note to him has not shown up yet so he seems very weird. he says is very weird that neither peggy nor benedict arnold are there to greet him. i will just go over to west point instead. he is shocked by how badly the fortification is then prepared because benedict arnold on purpose was not doing a job supposedly. alright, so meanwhile while
8:25 pm
washington is at west point what happens to peggy? >> she is upstairs in the know comes from the kernel in westchester saying for his excellency size only so of alexander hamilton had wrecked this goes to sleep in a chair and when general washington comes back he is mystified. what's going on? hamilton wakes up and says the messenger brought this note for you. washington opens it up and it all falls together because he is figured out, what does he say, whom can we trust now because arnold has betrayed us. in the meantime no peggy. >> right, so peggy shippen, as soon as she left washington get across west point in effect to give her husband more time to
8:26 pm
escape, she launches on something that was a little bit of history that has been written about this -- we call it the mad scene because peggy shippen goes completely crazy. i mean like hysterically bad. she start shrinking. there are hot coals and her husband's head and they are going to put hot coals in her head and she says her husband has flown through the ceiling and he is gone. she says that general washington is trying to murder her child and she will not let him. and she shrieks down the hallway, runs around the house wearing very few clothes also. >> one of the staff officers was later the mayor of new york and he says she came downstairs wearing so few clothes that not even a gentleman of the family should have seen her. let alone a stranger.
8:27 pm
[laughter] >> you right, so alright, obviously you can gentlemanly see how a woman who was completely innocent of this plot had just found out that her whole life had fallen apart would be upset. so it struck them, it shocked them but i think they managed to process it in the way she wanted them to process it which is that she was just -- but also the fact that this incredibly beautiful woman is running around half closed couldn't have probably made the men who were most likely to suspect her not suspect her. they were thinking about other things. alexander hamilton fell for it hook line and sinker. if you really want to appreciate alexander hamilton read his letter to his fiancée. he is writing his fiancée about how cool this woman is, and how he just wished he could be a brother to her.
8:28 pm
[laughter] and what kind of rather? after hamilton leads lafayette took over, leaving one of lafayette's viagra first to suggest from his letters that lafayette may have had a sexual interest in her and then george washington shows up. washington i have to tell you, two years of reading about the american revolution only makes you like washington more. washington is very sympathetic and shows up and says what is wrong this is arnold and she had nothing to do with him. she said that is not george washington. that is an imposter who is going to murder my child. she recognizes this man is a family friend and she just goes stark raving mad for the entire day. really alarming. do you want to talk about what you found?
8:29 pm
>> she wraps all the founding fathers around her little finger and one of my jobs in research was to go through this kernel's papers that were at the new york historical society. the next morning in her hand which is very -- is the letter from peggy to the kernel saying dear colonel derek if you have any funds owed to my husband please remit them to me immediately. we had a quick recovery. >> and from then on she has none of the madness all those seems to be courting sympathy when possible. so she goes back and she is given the choice of going to new york or philadelphia to join her husband and she picks philadelphia but joseph reads
8:30 pm
people have ransacked all of our papers and they found that millinery letter from john under that set hey i will buy your sewing supplies. it didn't say anything more than that for but some of them suspected that had opened up a whole avenue of communication. it didn't in fact that it was the one thing they found that kind of pointed toward peggy. said they banished her from philadelphia. >> before she gets to philadelphia she has to go by carriage across northern new jersey and it's more than a one day trip. so she stopped to stay overnight at the home of a lady she knew in paramus new jersey which ones did not have shopping centers. [laughter] and the lady, a woman named theodosia provoked was the fiancée of aaron burr. peggy knew her and many years later, after burr had died his memoirs were published and he says in hi memoirs that she had
8:31 pm
gotten into theodosia's house and went inside sit theodosia get rid of the staff, have to talk to you privately. burr closer as saying i am so sick and tired of putting on airs and how terrible this is. it all fell apart on us at the last moment and it was all my idea. now when that was published in the 1840s, the shipman -- the shippen family accused aaron burr of having tried to seduce peggy and he fabricated this to get even. >> m. burr didn't have the greatest reputation so it didn't really hold water but it the shippen story seems to not make sense. >> by the time peggy gets to philadelphia or a couple of days later the army has taken care of major andre and he has been tried and court-martialed for spying, being an officer of the enemy army behind our lines.
8:32 pm
the lawyers are tickled to death by his defense which he never had any legal training and his defense was that he came in uniform under a truce and only dawn civilian clothes on the orders of the senior officer of the patriot army. pretty doggone good thinking on your feet when you are ready to feel that news around your neck only it didn't work. the 13 generals that were in him and in a very dramatic scene after asking to be shot rather than hanged in having alexander hamilton become his best friend, he is hanged in a very traumatic event with men in tears and his valet had been sent to give them a fancy uniform. so andre is dead and peggy is in
8:33 pm
philadelphia to banish her. >> she promises she won't communicate with her husband that they banished her so she goes to new york city and her father takes her at a very sad trip to new york city to rejoin her husband. that is another unknowable story of whether she really wanted to rejoin her husband are not. women were not allowed legally to divorce at that time. the divorce law was passed after that in pennsylvania so women had almost no choice. she couldn't stay with her family who she loved. where could she go other than to rejoin her husband? >> she was 20 years old when all this happened and she only saw her parents and siblings one time after she was banished. >> she was banished until the war was over and then she came back one other time of their time but was treated very rudely and people didn't like her very much so she only came once. she had spent her life in exile in london and in canada.
8:34 pm
the book goes from birth to death and her later years were very sad because benedict arnold despite gaining more money than any single person kept on losing money and getting in debt and his wife had a very tough life. >> she was popular though in england and queen charlotte like terry and through the recommendation of the army she was given a pension for life of 500 pounds a year which was a whole lot of money at that time. >> separate from arnold's. he couldn't touch it. >> he went back in the shipping business, was constantly in trouble. couldn't call on the american courts for obvious reasons. peggy is back at home and they end up having six children together one of whom died in infancy. for boys and a girl survived. he developed a lot of business
8:35 pm
in canada mostly in st. johns and new brunswick. had a girlfriend there, had a love child. peggy found out about that and sold it on and kept her family together. as the four boys matured, they were given commissions to the british army and -- >> mostly went to india and one of them ended up living with an indian woman and having a child so peggy has a half indian granddaughter. who later moved to ireland and it's a whole story. >> arnold dies just after he was 60 in 1801, leaving the family. buy bye-bye now peggy's father, the strategy of the revolution worked manage not to take sides and ended up a winner. he is now in 1800 the chief justice of pennsylvania.
8:36 pm
and we have extensive correspondence between him and her in which her father helps her workout paying all the debts, but the boys are all in the army and we found one of her descendents where we had a genealogist help us, bunch of her letters written in 1803 and 1804 to the same child who is being cradled when the plot broke up. unfortunately, she died in 1804 at age 44 of all very and cancer. when they went through her things, what did they find? >> they found a lot of -- the john andre had given her in philadelphia. there is always speculation about whether there was a romantic relationship or it was just a deep friendship and in fact i tend to think that john andre liked one of peggy's friends better than her.
8:37 pm
we would love to answer some questions. [applause] >> he if there are questions please wait for the microphone. thank you. >> someone with your gentleman's broad interests of that could get interested in delving too anything how did you come across this one out -- why did you decide to delve into it among all the subjects? >> 10 or 12 years ago by read the 4-volume biography of george washington and only two good stories in there one of which i won't tell and it's after the war and george washington want to talk these instead of meals and there is a wonderful story about he went to the markey lafayette to import donkeys. you have to read it. the other thing that i thought
8:38 pm
was a remarkable story was about this teenage woman. it reminded me a little of some of the very young women who got in all kinds of trouble and war protests. jo ann chess ammar chesson marr and susan rosenberg, patricia hearst had written books about it and i didn't realize that a teenaged women woman had gotten herself embroiled by the passions of the revolution, and so i just kept my eye out in my other reading. over at period 10 years and the box that is sent to mark i accumulated 30 or 40 books and kept looking for things. and then i propose this to a literary agent. long story short he said hey is a great idea but you are a lawyer. you have written too many -- so said the agent introduced me to mark who is a skilled and able professional writer and between my research and my comments and an awful lot of hard work by
8:39 pm
mark, we did a. >> one of the things that has to be mentioned is part of stephen's research task as well as going through all these archives themselves was to assemble a great team of archivists and researchers. andrea meyer, stephanie schmeling, and julianne. they went hour after hour, day after day they would go through and photograph original letters in the historical society of pennsylvania. >> that archive has 41 linear feet of shippen family papers and these brilliant young people that helped the south went through every single one of them. >> and they posted the significant ones on the server where i could get ahold of it and stephen could look at it and point me which way.
8:40 pm
also i had not heard of peggy shippen until my agent, stephen's friend, brought it to me and said would you like to work with stephen? >> he didn't know what he was getting into. >> it's been a great project, but they were really good about not knowing much about it, had all these journalistic questions and newspaper questions in a way where i would say hey i don't know anything about the high hair worn by women in that era and could you get a bunch of stuff about that? they would get mail these academic articles about how high hair was worn and some of those ended up being three sentences in the book of course. the loyalists then wore their hair really high and that was considered a difference between the pro-preachy at -- pro-pictured woman and the probe british women. for the first anniversary of july 4 in philadelphia, they had
8:41 pm
a parade of somebody wearing a high hair making fun of them and their high hair. >> philadelphia after the british left right after the party was really ugly and people were being hanged for cooperating with the british and the fighting between arnold and joe read over who is the boss, going through this has change my attitude about the news reports about damascus and homs and aleppo and all of the complicated mess there. it wasn't pretty. philadelphia was an ugly place that year. >> one thing this book tries to do also is putting human face on the loyalists. i think in school at least i was taught that there were a bunch of really great patriots who always did the right thing and
8:42 pm
then everyone else was fiendish and only wanted to crush freedom. and guess what, it's not that simple. [laughter] and i mean, modern historians, had seen one estimate that they deal like 40% of the columnist wanted independence and 20% per loyalists in the other 40% just wanted to not get killed in the war and didn't really care. which means a minority were in favor of independence and i think for the better. >> i was just wondering, the way you described it, it all happened so fast with peggy marrying benedict arnold and then shortly thereafter -- >> the secret correspondence with the british in new york city began. >> right, and i wondered if you found any reason to suspect that andre had actually suggested that peggy get involved with
8:43 pm
arnold? >> he no. in fact we are not even sure -- i don't think, at least i have never read anything that established whether they knew for sure. it's not clear whether they arnold sent their emissary to find andre or to simply go to the british headquarters in lower manhattan but when they went to the british headquarters in lower manhattan, andre was there so i don't know that it's crystal clear that they were asking for andre but he was totally the right person at the right time and it seems like quite a coincidence that they weren't asking for him. >> if he read you read the nine teen century literature it rather strongly, taste the view that she was a sweet innocent bystander exploited by her evil husband. in the 1920s, the university of michigan clements library
8:44 pm
bought general clintons private papers and this then revealed to the scholarly community for the first time all of the secret coded spy communications which the common law scholars in the room will be amused to note that the one of the codes they use the most was based on lack stones commentary at the common law, which where was that going to come from expect by peggy's father, prominent lawyer. it was only when the secret correspondence came out in the 1920s that it was overwhelmingly clear that at a minimum peggy had not been -- about the process and creates with the burr memoirs in my mind a strong circumstantial case that she was clearly a co-conspirator if not the instigator. my lawyer friends in the room, i ask for a motion to dismiss. i couldn't get summary judgment
8:45 pm
but i think i could winds the jury. >> at least a civil, maybe not criminal. >> i have preponderance in the evidence and i cannot lose. >> yeah i have a question. in the book you mentioned that george washington upon reading the note and realizing what arnold has done, that he begins weeping in front of i believe some of his aides and maybe alexander hamilton and i think it's mentioned in the book that this was the only time -- >> lafayette. >> he cried and sort of public setting with people around him so i guess, i would love to pick your brain on what is his dramatic emotional reaction more based on the fact that a sense of personal betrayal or was it maybe more a case of their potential fallout in the
8:46 pm
revolution or maybe a combination? >> i think the war with so much about something like that, such a tremendous blow like that was, just for the survival of the revolution i guess he could have been very upset at all so yeah, he had kind have gone to bat for arnold. people resented him and would always spread rumors about him. washington had no part of that. when washington reprimanded him he was very straightforward and even after that he offered him the left-wing of his army. so i think, think was just a crushing blow both personally and as far as the fate of the nation. >> as you know lafayette in washington were so close that during the french revolution lafayette sent his children to mount vernon for safety. and what is remarkable about the lafayette letter describes
8:47 pm
washington breaking down in tears is lafayette said in my long close association with this man through the early days of the war through yorktown it was the only time i ever saw him break down and cry. >> other questions? >> right here. >> just a little bit about peggy shipton. i know very little about peggy except the sushi this should she is the daughter of the supreme court pennsylvania in the battle of germantown and she eventually and buried john howard from howard county maryland, right? what is going on with those two? she is tied into this whole thing. >> if if i am right mark, we all
8:48 pm
know that beautiful young teenage women often have a group of close other teenage female friends. >> she had peggy hsu and she had two friends named becky. one of which was becky franks who is a fascinating person with a great sense of humor whose father imported the liberty bell to philadelphia. and, so there was kind of a group of two peggy's into becky's who kind to kind of hang out together. peggy hsu, that is the young woman who andre took. that was his date. they all trust as nights or as turkish maidens for that thing and in fact one of the big mysteries that we didn't speculate on but talked about what the possibilities could be was the family story is the
8:49 pm
shippen's did not allow their daughters to attend and at the last minute a bunch of quakers came to the door and said this is terrible, you cannot consort with the british this way and this is shocking plus those girls outfits are just too indecent. >> the argument about the outfits were -- peggy shippen, and the evidence is mixed over whether she went to the party or not. that did not stop major andre from drawing her picture wearing this fancy turkish maiden party dress. we have reproduced a copy of that picture in the book. it's one of the objects in the yale university art collection. >> one more follow up on what your question really was about peggy hsu. she maintained but they called the birthday club with the british officers in york so there was this group of women
8:50 pm
and peggy shippen was married so she wasn't necessarily part of this but all the british officers and their friendly young and ladies in philadelphia would toast each other's birthdays. some people look at the moon and think of each other in different places. they would do that so they were still as time and in fact that was discussed as a possible way to get messages during this whole conspiracy, that andre could write two peggy hsu and she possibly with invisible ink between the lines of those would be sent to peggy shippen. there is no indication that of that absolute -- actually happen but it was discussed in the papers in the 1920s. which is another indication that peggy shippen was aware of it because otherwise which used -- why would you develop a means of communications where you would have to go to peggy's friends and not her? >> peggy's father was very good
8:51 pm
at exfoliation of evidence. in news of this reached home, suddenly every document anywhere in the sub by family involving peggy disappears and we never had a chance for a court of law to impose sanctions. >> but pretty much many people think this and we certainly think that after the millinery letter was found and it was proved that peggy was communicating with andre during the war, through enemy lines, all of peggy's friends and family we thank burned every letter that she had ever written. the reason we think that is because none of them exist and also because she was such a prolific letter writer and all of her friends were prolific letter writer's. there are letters from her later years that exist and were a great source of information for as. >> these are remarkably articulate letters, hamilton's letters and peggy's letters.
8:52 pm
the complete transcript of the arnold court-martialed was published at his expense and you read that and you say, this guy, they will all get almost the highest possible scores on an english essay. these are articulate people with unbelievably broad vocabulary as. >> so the fact that the letters exists for most, until she met an addict arnold and then only a few from that. not. >> all the good stuff you wanted to find, nobody has ever seen. >> back when they were writing their papers there was a report that she had said something really catty about the french at this party and made fun of the french women who attended the party and that didn't help her out much either. the french were in high regard than. >> i have a question. the relationship between peggy and arnold, was that something
8:53 pm
more of an arranged kind of thing or was it true love? i guess -- >> he wrote a letter to peggy said saying it's unclear what he meant, but soon after he came to philadelphia he wrote a letter to peggy saying i want to court you with the intention of marrying you and wrote a letter to her father saying that, here are what my intentions are. there was a long period in which the family thought no, and especially thought they didn't want such a young beautiful girl to marry a 38-year-old with a bad leg. >> and with three children whose money would go to these children that weren't part of that marriage so there were a lot of reasons they didn't like the idea of her marrying arnold. arnold at the very last minute spot this beautiful mansion in
8:54 pm
the philadelphia area called mount pleasant which kind of served as an earnest gift. he had audit and said here is where we could live and it was kind of, think that sent a message of family. there is no indication from anything we have read that they weren't in love with each other. arnold did stray and peggy in one letter talks about kind of the pain that brought her but she seems very faithful to a man who was not very likeable. so i think, but especially back then marriage was not a decision made by two people. marriage was a decision made by two families and they saw this great negotiation and great deliberation before they said yes. >> one last question. >> one more question. >> thank you. it strikes me that the overall plot as you described it, plot
8:55 pm
that i wasn't at all familiar with of the details until i heard your description, seems like the success and the likely success was pretty tenuous. it seems that arnold, i mean that -- >> andre? >> andre the likelihood that he would not make it through and the double plan or for that matter the strength of the forces at west point or whatever, it seemed like a big risk to me the way he described it. was the final decision on the last minutes of the plan? >> midnight meeting was on the ship of fulcher and he was supposed to go back on the vulture which would have been a lot easier than going back on horseback. a militia officer with the orders that arnold noaa about saw the ship and apparently went
8:56 pm
out and fired at it. >> they fired at the fulcher and forced it to withdraw. and andre could not get back on the ship so we had to go by land which was greatly complicated but he almost made it. he was within just a few miles of being back there. this was the meeting that sealed the deal and within days the giant british fleet was going up the hudson trying to seize west point. would they have succeeded? i don't know. they had a four-hour meeting in the middle of the night and arnold presumably told in the best way to get and. >> he weakened the place and andre had all the maps with the places to send the army. i think it was a close call whether they had gotten there in time to capture washington and he later wrote a letter saying he didn't think the plotters were after him. i think they would have liked to have gotten there in time to capture washington but i believe that because of the way arnold
8:57 pm
had weakened the defenses of west point that if the british invasion had occurred it would have been successful. >> arnold felt that if the attack, the planned attack had failed that he would still be safe, that he would be undiscovered at this point? >> my guess -- once the attacks started he and peggy would have gotten on the barge and headed toward manhattan for safety, whether or not that's attack seceded -- succeeded. the whole sticking point over the negotiations was how much he was going to get paid if it failed. they'll agreed it was going to be 20,000 pounds if it succeeded but they were bickering over whether they would get a guaranteed 10,000 pounds in the sail which the british didn't like that he wanted. >> what the end up getting? >> he ended up getting six,
8:58 pm
which was a lot back then. >> he thanks very much. >> tank you -- thank you very much. spin. >> for more information visit "treacherous beauty".com. >> what are you reading this summer? booktv wants to know. >> claude shannon, the center of information theory and also recent books about clyde shannon which is by james lek called the information by george dyson on turing, turing and shannon and claude shannon is a great figure from m.i.t. at bell labs that i've been following for decades in my guides as a technology guru. i studied telephone and the
8:59 pm
internet and this required me to master information theory. i discovered that information theory is perfectly aligned with economics and actually gives a better way of explaining capitalism band the existing models that are based on a false imitation of determinist physical theory. capitalism is not a material system. it's an information system and just as the key measure of information under claude shannon's theory is news or unexpected surprise. so in capitalism, the key factors are his p


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on