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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  September 2, 2012 10:00am-11:00am EDT

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william silber in "volcker: the triumph of persistence." joseph crespino chronicles the life and career of the late republican senator from south carolina. historian william chafe examines the relationship between bill and hillary clinton and the impact both have had on american poll licks in "bill and hillary." and mark owen, a pen name used by one of the members of seal team six, gives a first-person account of the planning and raid on osama bin laden's compound in "no easy day." look for these titles in bookstores this coming week, and be sure to watch for the authors
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in the near future on booktv and on booktv.org. >> coming up, mark jacob and stephen case recall the role that philadelphia socialist peggy shippen, benedict arnold's second wife, played in the conspiracy to harm george washington's forces. this program is just under an hour. ms. . [applause] >> with thank you for coming. i'm mark jacob, stephen case is to my left. and we started studying a couple years ago, steven many years ago discovered peggy's story, just an underappreciated story in american history. in fact, she was probably the most dangerous teenage girl in american history. [laughter] and, you know, half the age of her husband, hutch more famous -- much more fame, and it's just, it's a story that
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nobody really knew. in fact, it just kind of -- 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 victimized wife of a traitor than be considered what the real truth is, which is a co-conspirator to try to bring down the american revolution. and who had fooled the founding fathers and got off scot-free. which is exactly what she did. all right. about more than a century after her death, um, british papers in the general clinton's archives are finally studied by american scholars, and they figure out, well, there was all this really important circumstantial evidence to indicate that peggy shippen was certainly part of the not. i mean, there's -- plot.
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there's no smoking gun, but tons of circumstantial evidence. i think any reasonable person would agree she knew all about it and was part of the plot. but by that time she'd gotten a pass from history. and stephen and i, i think, wanted to bring this story to another generation and focus the story on peggy. she's been kind of just a supporting character in a lot of biographies of benedict arnold, and we just wanted to center it on her and write it in a different wai. do you want to start talking about her a little bit, stephen? >> imagine you were in damascus, syria. not long ago the violence erupted in distant cities aleppo and homs, and it took a while to get to damascus. and you are a prominent accountant professional of some kind. what do you do? about this war that's suddenly in the capital city where you
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have achieved prosperity and prominence? do you support the the insurgence? 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's what the story of peggy shippen and her family is, 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, father extremely prominent lawyer in the community, very wealthy. the family were slave owners. still reporting in the 1790 seven is is the us they had three slaves -- census 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
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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. george washington of virginia shows up. the practically the first night he was there he was invited to dinner at the shippen home. peggy met him then for the first time and knew him very well until she had a falling out. and we get the declaration of independence when she's 16 which is literally signed about a block and a half around the corner from the family's fancy home. and then we get to september 1777, and the british. >> and the person chosen to be the military governor of the philadelphia area is benedict
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arnold. now, by that time he's had a grievous o leg wound that's made him unable to ride a horse and have to ride in a coach, and he's won -- he's proved himself to be the most awe cautious and -- audacious and able battlefield commander on the continental army side. recognized that way by george washington. so he's 38, and peggy is 18 when they, when they marry. they have a courtship of about a year. and this happens -- let me back up just a little bit. peggy can became kind of -- peggy became kind of this society debutante at the age of 16 or 17, shortly after the declaration of independence was signed, and the war really started in earnest. the british ended up taking philadelphia and holding it for about nine months. and during that time peggy became very friendly with some of the british officers.
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they seemed to be a lot more fun than the patriot officers. [laughter] there was especially a guy named john andre who was just this brilliant captain who wrote poetry, played the flute, acted in plays and wrote plays and spent a lot of time at peggy's 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 if who's really nothing like andre. andre's kind of handsome and vibrant, and arnold by that time is 38 years old and grievously wounded and limping around. >> now, mark, when the british left, did they to anything special? -- do anything special? >> they -- i don't know what you're talking about, steven. [laughter] no, there was something called -- this is another thing. you know, when stephen and i started studying this in earnest with the help of really a brilliant team of academic researchers who stephen kind of
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recruited, they found great documents for us because we couldn't have done can it alone. so there was this event that neither -- that i certainly had never heard of, and i just wonder why. it was a big, blowout party in the middle of philadelphia in the middle of the occupation by the british. meanwhile, this happens in the spring. just when the terrible winter of valley forge is happening. so the continental army is in valley forge, and the horses are dying, and people are dying, and they're barely surviving. the british are having a great time in philadelphia. and peggy is too. you know, so it's the worst time in many people's life, but it's maybe the best in hers. and they had this party which cost an incredible amount of money to where they had 12,000 pounds worth of dresses, i think what does that convert to
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pushing a million? >> many of hundreds of thousands. >> yeah, conversions to modern currency that we use inside book, they're really rough. but just some ungodly amount of money. they get these bands floating on barges and go up the delaware river, they take over the wharton mansion because wharton was a patriot and had to flee. but even the wharton mansion wasn't big enough for this party. they built a separate dining hall just for the event. so, i mean, they're spending millions, you know, incredible amounts of money. john andre, this dashing officer, is pretty much in charge of designing everything. he designed what colors the rooms would be and things like that. is so it was -- so the this absurd little oasis in the middle of this terrible war. so british leave, leaving peggy there, and, you know, disappointed. and benedict arnold comes. he immediately -- she's, you know, known as the most beautiful woman in philadelphia, or she's later described as the
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most beautiful woman in north america, and later when she goes into exile in london -- spoiler alert there -- [laughter] too late. but she ends up, she's called the most beautiful woman in england. so she's this very highly regarded, and she doesn't miss a beat as far as going to parties with benedict arnold and making sure he spends a lot of money on parties and lavish stuff. so arnold is kind of -- you want to get into a little bit of this, why arnold would have turned traitor? >> well, he was a feisty guy who didn't fit well into groups, and even before the war started he was in duels with people in the caribbean. he'd been in the shipping business. and he was serving after the british left as the military commander in philadelphia and my candidate for the bad guy in this story is the civilian head of government in pennsylvania, a
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man named joseph reid who was exactly the same age. and my judgment, noter terribly well supported by the record, is that when arnold, a connecticut man, married into the richest, most prominent family in town or one of them, he saw arnold as a rival for postwar political power. and he started the precedent for watergate. first, there was the arnold on charges of wrongdoing of various charges, and created a congressional hearing committee under a congressman, and nothing ever changes in this country. the congressional committee punted on the outcome, didn't want to criticize the finest field commander in the
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revolution. so they bucked it to george washington with a suggest of a court-martial. and washington had no choice but to start court-martial proceedings. finish and arnold was really mad about it, and this all broke just about the time that he married -- >> right. >> -- the 19-year-old young lady who had had the relationship not ten months earlier with the handsome 25-year-old british officer john andre. so, what, mark, within what time period after the wedding does the documentation show that the communication with the british begin on the spy scandal? and who did they communicate with? >> within a month the arnolds are somehow able to maintain a
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residence in philadelphia, and they ask him to find his way to new york city, and he does. he asks for john andre. now, coincidentally, john andre isn't just a captain anymore. by this time john app dray being such a brilliant and influential and well-liked guy is acting agitant general of the entire army. in effect, the chief of staff to general clinton. and he also slowly takes over all spy duties. 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 their marriage, this letter goes and says, hey, we want to join the british, we'll do whatever we can to help. now, we don't know and we -- in the book we don't guess, you know, we don't speculate much at all. we say, all right, we don't know how this came about.
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it could have been this, this or this. in this case they could have made a joint decision, she could have influenced, she could have begged him to do it, or it could have been his decision, we don't know. >> mark is a careful, scholarly journalist. i think it was all her idea. [laughter] >> well, you know, it could have been. you know, one month later married and suddenly they are sending spy information to the british and trying to make a deal. so they -- andre even sends a secret letter to peggy saying, hey, i would be happy to buy you sewing supplies. i have a deal to be employed by you, you know -- a zeal to be employed by you. but the letters otherwise, other than that zeal, the letter's innocuous. and peggy's, ultimately, there's a separate level of communication that benedict arnold has with andre, and they're not getting the money they want. what they want is a guarantee of
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what do they want, like 10,000 pounds? >> they started at 20,000 quid for sale of arnold and all his secrets. >> right. and so, so it takes more than a year for them to get to this point. but some of for circumstantial evidence is that whenever arnold was away from philadelphia, he would send these letter to peggy that would be chock full of military information, where armies were, where installations were weak, where they were strong, what plans for troop movements were. not the wind of thing that -- it's not pillow talk. it's not what a man would send to his wife. and also coincidentally, she just happened to find a way to hand those messages to the go-between who took them to new york. so, i mean s 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, what, it was almost a year? >> yeah, more than a year
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really. so they have this dramatic meeting at midnight, um, and john andre and benedict arnold hold it while peggy is up in the house near west point where they have set up. just real quickly, they -- washington wanted arnold to be a battlefield commander even though he had a shattered leg because he was so good, and arnold wanted to be commander of west point which was this vital set of forts along the hudson river because, a, it'd with much easier to hand over to the british because it was a stationery, you know, place rather than trying to surrender in the middle of a battle might be difficult. >> people in the room remember in the '60 when the news was full of o reports about efforts by the american military to interdict the ho chi minh trail because what's the napoleon cliche, army travels on its
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stomach. >> right. >> no food, no ammunition, no fighting army. if you go into a skyscraper in manhattan, a high floor, and look across the hudson river to the west, craning your head from left to right you will see low ridges, 30 or 40 miles out in new jersey. look to the right, it's the mountains in southern new york and then further to the right up the river it's the hudson highlands. from 1776 until 1782, most of the revolution in the middle atlantic states was a stalemate. the british occupying manhattan and george washington's army stretched from peakskill, 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 for all those military people in those hills
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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 sharp, two very sharp turns, had a chain built across it all for the purpose of keeping the very powerful british they navy from going upr beyond west point where it could interdict the supply line. so there's a reason why the u.s. military academy, sanctum sang tore rum, of the regular army was at west point. it was a strategic key to victory in the american revolution. and what you had was arnold and peggy conniving to secure command of that facility for general arnold. >> it's interesting, peggy was doing her own work to try to get him that appointment to west point. in fact, arnold's sister wrote a letter to him saying that she was flirting with a very powerful new york politician -- >> she, peggy.
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>> yeah, she, peggy, was. which is weird because in all our study of it, peggy never is inappropriately flirtatious. she's always very appropriately flirtatious. [laughter] but she's faithful to her husband and very charming and proper. but, so this is one aberration where arnold's sister says, hey, she's 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. and, indeed, he got the appointment. another great thing about that, if he's got a stationary appointment in west point, he ends up picking a house on the other side of the river that's two miles down, and it's only 100 feet from the riverside. so you can make an instant retreat, instant escape. and also peggy and their first born son edward who's been born
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by this time -- >> six months old. >> yeah, they can move up there. so they set all that up. and they have the meeting at midnight between arnold and andre just to make the last preparations for how much he's going to get paid and how quickly the british navy is going to rush up the hudson, grab west point be and possibly, by the way, capture george washington who was supposed to visit the arnolds that very weekend. and so, i mean, it all comes to this culmination. >> if it had worked, it might very well have set back or ended the american revolution. but washington is on his way from hartford be where he's been meeting with the french general who they were the two people who ultimately won the war at yorktown later. and he's coming back to west point to visit the works and inspect the fort. after the midnight meeting, skipping a lot of amusing
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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 from hartford to west point, andre going by horseback down to new york city to get the troops mobilized, get up the hudson river and invade west point. when andre gets to the bridge at tarrytown across the river, i think, he's stopped by three men. some people say they were thieves, some people say they were militia men on guard duty, and they couldn't agree on a price with andre to release him, so they took off his boots, some say to see if he was carrying spy information, some say to see if he had money in his boots, and they found maps of west point and documents in arnold's handwriting. one of them said we better turn this guy in. so they took him to a place in
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westchester where their colonel was, and the colonel was mystified by this. he didn't know what to do. he knew washington was traveling to hartford, so he sent the prisoner and a note to arnold with messengers and guards, and he sent a note to general washington. >> saying he'd found something, you know, suspicious. so, in effect be, a race going, will the note get to washington before the note gets to arkansas hold? [laughter] >> and washington is now in fishkill, one town away from where the arnold family house is, and he's expected for breakfast. 13 a.m. 11 a.m. and he says to his entourage, let's stop, i want to inspect this. and it was either lafayette or hamilton, according to washington irving, who said, oh, no, no, no, we have to go, your
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excellency, we'll be late for breakfast with general arnold, and washington says, oh, i know, you young men are all in the love with mrs. arnold, and you can't wait to see her. and he offered them the go ahead, but they to bayed their commander -- obeyed their commander. and so with both notes headed lickety-split for both men, guess where the first note got to? >> all right. so it gets to the robinson house where the arnolds are staying. so benedict arnold reads the note and quickly goes upstairs and tells peggy. according to witnesses, you know, the very quick conversation, and then suddenly he's out the door, and he runs down to the waterside and orderlies his barge to -- orders his barge to go toward the british lines down the hudson. not toward west point. and 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
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british boat which is called the vulture. and later thomas paine said it was one vulture entering another. [laughter] and because he gives up, he says, all right, i'm joining the british side and so are these people on the barge. and they say, no, we're not, we're -- [laughter] we're americans. we're not going to join the british. so they just took them prisoner instead. >> he said to the british captain, take my barge crew as prisoners of war. i mean, what a creep. [laughter] >> yeah. all right, so think about this. so 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's going to, you know, she's holding the bag. and 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, but the note to him has not shown up yet. so he seems very weary, he
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thinks it's weird neither peggy, nor benedict arnold are there to gloat him -- greet him. he goes over to west point, and he's shocked at how badly it's not been prepared, because benedict arnold purposely was not doing a good job, supposedly. meanwhile, what happens to peggy? >> she's upstairs, and a note comes from the colonel in west chester saying for his excellency's eyes only, so alexander hamilton having had breakfast goes to sleep in a chair, and when general washington comes back at about 4:00 in the afternoon mystified, no 19-gun salute for the commander, no general arnold, what's going on, hamilton wakes up and says, here, messenger brought this note for you. washington opens up, and it all falls together. because he has figured out that arnold -- what does he say?
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oh, whom can we trust now? arnold has betrayed us. in the meantime, no peggy. >> right. so peggy shippen, upstairs -- as soon as she let washington get across the west point, in effect to give her husband more time to escape, she launches on something that history, the little bit of history that's been written about this is called the mad scene, and we call it the mad scene because peggy shippen goes completely crazy for an entire day. i mean, like hysterically mad. she starts shrieking that there are hot coals in her husband's head, and they want to put hot coals in her head. she says her husband has flown through the ceiling, and he's been gone, gone. she says that general washington is trying to murder her child, and she won't let him. and she. >> reeks down the hallway -- shrieks down the hallway, runs
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around the house wearing very few clothes also. >> one of the staff officers was richard barrack, 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 so attired, let alone so many strangers. [laughter] >> right. so, all right. obviously, you could genuinely see how a woman who was completely innocent of this plot and had just found out that her whole life had fallen apart would be upset. so it didn't strike -- 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 distraught over this. but also the fact that this incredibly beautiful woman is running around half clothed couldn't have probably made the men who were most likely to suspect her not suspect her because they were thinking about other things. [laughter] >> alexander hamilton fell for
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it hook, line and sinker. [laughter] and if you really want to appreciate alexander hamilton, the read his letter to his my fiancee about -- >> he's writing his fiancee about how cool this woman is and how he just wished he could be a brother to her. [laughter] and you really wonder, well, what kind of brother? >> after hamilton needed relief, lafayette took over. reading one of lafayette's -- leading one of lafayette's biographers to suggest that lafayette may have had a sexual interest in mrs. arnold. >> and then george washington shows up, and washington being a family friend, and washington, i've got the tell you, two years of reading about the american revolution, to me, only makes you like washington more. and washington, you know, is very sympathetic, shows up at her bedside, says what's wrong, mrs. arnold, and she'll have nothing to do with him.
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she says that's the imposter who's going to murder my child. and so she can't recognize this man who's a family friend supposedly. and she just, you know, she just goes just stark raving mad for the entire day. really alarming people. and do you want to talk about what you found in the historical society? >> well, we had the day with the mad scene where she wraps all the founding fathers around her little finger, and then one of my jobs in our research was to go through this colonel barrack's papers that are all at the new york historical society. and i'm in there one saturday going through my papers. the next morning after the mad scene in her hand, which is very strong and easy the read s is a letter from peggy to the colonel saying, dear colonel, if you or the army have any funds owed to my husband, please, remit them to me immediately. [laughter] we had a quick recovery from being insane. >> right. and from then on she has none of
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the madness, although it seems to be courting sympathy when possible. and so she goes back to -- she's given the choice of going to new york to join her husband or going to philadelphia to join her family. she picks philadelphia, but joseph reid's people have ransacked all her papers, and they found that letter from john andre that said, hey, i'll buy you sewing supplies. now, it didn't say anything more than that, but some of them suspected that had opened up the whole avenue of communication. it didn't, in fact, but it was the one thing they found that kind of pointed toward peggy. and so they banished her from philadelphia. ..
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. and he says in his memoirs that -- went inside and said get rid of the staff. i have to talk to you privately. aaron burr quote carries a 9 am so sick and tired of putting on airs and how terrible this is. all fell much part on us and it was all my idea to begin with. when it was published in the 1840s there was a fit about it and try to seduce peggy and fabricated this to get even.
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>> in freehold water. >> taking it to philadelphia or a couple days later the army has taken care of major andre. he has been tried and court-martialed for spying being an officer in the enemy army behind our lines in civilian clothes. the lawyers in the room would be tickled to death by his defense which he didn't have any lawyers or legal training and his defense was he came in uniform under a flag of truce and only donned civilian clothes under orders of a senior officer of the patriot army. pretty doggone good thinking on your feet when you are ready to feel the news around here nick only didn't work. the 13 generals convicted him and in a very dramatic scene after asking to be shot rather
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and haying and how having alexander hamilton become his best friend he is hand in a very dramatic event with men in tears and sent to give him a fancy new uniform. andre is dead. peggy is in philadelphia. she is banished and promised won't communicate with her husband and they made her go so she goes to new york city. her father takes her on a sad trip to new york city to rejoin her husband and that is another unknowable about whether she really wanted to rejoin her husband or not. women who are not allowed legally to divorce at that time. the divorce law was passed after that. women have almost no choice. she couldn't stay with her family. and she loved. where could she go other than rejoin her husband?
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>> she is 20 years old and only saw her parents and her siblings one time after she was banished. >> until the war was over. she was treated rudely and people didn't like her very much so she only -- cheese spent her life in exile in london and canada. the book goes from birth to death and later -- and benedict arnolds made more money looking off of the american revolution than any single person and kept losing money, his wife had a very tough life. >> she was popular in england and queen charlotte liked her and threw the recommendation of the army she was given a pension for life and of 500 pounds a year which was a whole lot of
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money and separate from articles he couldn't touch him. >> back in the shipping business, constantly in trouble. could not call on american ports for obvious reasons. peggy is back at home and they end up having six children together. one was an infant who died in infancy. four boys and girls survived. he developed a lot of business in canada mostly in st. john's and new brunswick. had a girlfriend and a love child. peggy found out about that and went on and kept her family together. as the four boys matured they were given commissions in the british army and mostly went to india and ended up living with an indian woman who had child so peggy had an indian granddaughter.
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who later moved to ireland. >> arnold died after he was 60 in 1801. leading the family hugely in debt. buy now peggy's father's strategy for the revolution worked. manage not to take sides and end up a winner. he is now in 1800 the chief justice of pennsylvania. we have extensive correspondence between him and her in which her father helped her workout paying all of these debts but the boys are all in the army and far away and we found in one of her descendants when we had a genealogists help us a bunch of her letters written in 1803-1804 to the same child who was being cradled when the plot broke out. unfortunately she died in 1804 at age 44 of ovarian cancer and when they went through her
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things what did they find? >> they found a lot of hair that andre had given her in philadelphia. >> whether that was romantic relationship or a deep friendship. i tend to think andre like one of her friends better than her. >> she had more slaves. >> interesting questions. [applause] >> if there are questions -- thank you. >> with your gentleman's broad interest that could get interested and delve into anything how did you come across this one and why did you delve into it? >> 12 years ago i read the
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magnificent james flexner's biography of george washington and only two good stories in their one of which i won't tel. after the war, george washington wanted donkeys instead of mules and there's a wonderful story about a went to the marquis they lafayette -- the other thing is about a teenage woman, reminded me of some of the very young women who got in all kinds of trouble in the war protests. susan rosenberg, patricia hearst wrote books about it and i didn't realize a teenage woman had gotten herself embroiled by passions of the revolution so i kept my eye out in other readings over a period of ten years, reeboks that i sent i accumulated 30 or 40 books and
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kept looking for things. it is a great idea but you are a lawyer and you wrote too many loan agreements. a skilled and able professional writer and between my research and my comments and an awful lot of hard work by mark we got an industry. >> one of the things that is mentioned is part of stephen's research task as well as going through these archives was to assemble a great team for archivists and researchers. andrea meyer and stephanie -- hour after hour and day after day they would go through and photograph or original letters
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in the historical society of pennsylvania. that archive has 41 linear feet of ship and family papers and these brilliant young people who helped us out when through every single -- >> they posted significant ones on this server where i could get ahold of it and stephen could look at it and point which way. they are also great -- i had not heard of peggy shippen into my agent brought it to me and said would you like to work with steven? >> in know what he was getting into. >> a great project. >> they were really good not knowing much about it i have always journalistic questions and newspaper questions where i would say i don't know anything about hair worn by women in that area. can you get me a bunch of stuff on that and they would shoot me these academic articles about how high hair was worn and it
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was pretty interesting and some of that ends boiling up to three sinss. loyalists women wore their hair really high and that was considered a difference between perot patriot women and pro-british women to for the first anniversary of july fourth in philadelphia they had a mocking parade of somebody wearing -- had to parade through philadelphia making women -- making fun of women with high air. >> it is a sideline but philadelphia after the british left after this fancy party was really ugly and people were being hanged for cooperating with the british and the fighting between arnold and joe reed who was the boss, going through this has changed my attitude about the news reports
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about the that -- damascus and all of the complicated things when everything settles down and recriminations. it wasn't pretty. philadelphia was an ugly place. >> one thing this book tries to do is put a human face serve on the loyalists. i was taught that there were a bunch of great patriots who always did the right thing and everyone else was fiendish and only wanted to crush freedom. guess what? is not that simple. modern historians -- i have seen one estimate that they feel like 40% of columnists wanted independence. 20% boylston 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 for the better. >> another question? >> just wondering the way you describe it.
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it all happened so fast with peggy mary and benedict arnold and shortly thereafter -- >> the secret correspondence with the british in new york city began. >> i wondered did you find any reason to suspect that andre had suggested at the 11 involved with arnold? >> no. in fact we are not even sure -- i never read anything that established whether they knew for sure -- not clear whether arnold sent their emissary to find andre or go to the british headquarters in lower manhattan but when they went to the british headquarters in lower manhattan andre was there. i don't know if it is crystal clear they were asking for him but he was the right person at the right time and seems like quite a coincidence that they
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weren't asking for andre. >> if you read nineteenth century literature except for the aaron burr supporters, strongly to the view that she was a sweet innocent bystander exploited by her evil husband. in the 1920s the university of michigan clemens library bought general clinton's private papers and this then revealed to the scholarly community for the first time all of the secrets encoded spy communications which, law scholars in the room will be amused to no one of the codes they used the most was based on blackstone's commentary from common law which where was that going to come from except from peggy's father of a prominent lawyer. only when the secret correspondence came out in the 1920s it was overwhelmingly
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clear that at a minimum peggy had not been duped about the process and creates with the aaron burr memoirs in my mind a strong circumstantial case that she was a co-conspirator if not instigator. my lawyer friends in the room might easily pass a motion to dismiss. i couldn't get summary judgment. but i think i could win a jury case. >> at the civil legal not criminal. >> with preponderant to the evidence standard i can't lose. >> i have a question. in the book you mention that george washington upon reading the note and realizing what arnold has done that he begins weeping in front of some of his aides and maybe alexander hamilton. it is mentioned in the book that this was the only time -- that
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he cried in a public setting with people around him. i would love to pick your brain and his dramatic emotional reaction more based on the fact of a sense of personal betrayal or was it may be more a case of potential fallout -- >> the war was so much in the balance that something like that to such a tremendous blow like that, just for survival of the revolution he could have been very upset but also he had gone to bat for arnold. arnold made enemies everywhere he went and people resented him and would always spread rumors about him. washington had no part of that. washington reprimanded him after the court martial. very straightforward and even after that he offered him the
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left wing of his army so it was a crushing blow personally and as far as the fate of the nation. >> lafayette and washington were so close that during the french revolution lafayette send his children to mount vernon for safety and what is remarkable about the lafayette letter that describes washington breaking down in tears is lafayette said in my long close association with this man through the early days of the war to the victory of yorktown was the only time i have ever seen him break down and cry. >> other questions? >> it is gone. >> little bit about peggy and
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peggy shippen. peggy shoe is daughter of the supreme court pennsylvania -- german term -- eventually married john howard, howard county, maryland. what is going on with those two? >> if i am right, beautiful young teenage women often have a group of close other teenage female friends. what was peggy's group? >> she had peggy shoe and two friends named becky one of which was becky francs who was a fascinating person with a great sense of humor whose father and imported the liberty bell to philadelphia. there was a group of two peggys and two backes who hung out
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together and peggy shoe is the young woman who andre took, his date. they all dressed as knights or turkish maidens and in fact one of the big mysteries we didn't speculate on but talked about what the possibilities could be is a family story in that the shippens did not allow them to attend the. at the last minute group of quakers came to the door and said this is terrible. you can't consorts with the british this way. those girls are too in decent. the argument about the outcome is worked. >> 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 made in party
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dress. we have reproduced a copy of that picture in the book. is one of the object in the yale university art collection. >> one more follow-up on what your question really was and peggy shoe. she maintained the birthday club with the british officers in new york so there's a group of women by the time peggy shippen was married she wasn't necessarily part of this. all the british officers in new york and friendly young ladies in philadelphia would test each other's birthdays separately. some people look at the manhattan and think of each other in different places. they would domoon and think of each other in different places. they would do that. that was discussed -- possibly was invisible between the lines.
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and send them to peggy shippen. no indication that that happened but it was discussed in papers released in the 1920s which gives us another indication that shippen at -- peggy shippen was aware of the otherwise why developing means of communication in which you have to go to her friend and then hurt? >> peggy's father was good at exultation of evidence. when news of this reached home suddenly every document in the shippen family involving peggy disappears and we never had a chance for a court of law to impose sanctions. but many people who think this, there was a big -- after the letter was found which proved peggy had been communicating with andre during the war through enemy lines all of peggy's friends and family we
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think burned every letter she had ever written. the reason we think it is none of them exist and also because she was such a prolific letter writer and all her friends were prolific letter writers. letters from her later years exist and where a great source of information. >> these are remarkably articulate people. you read hamilton's letters and peggy's letters the complete transcript of the arnold court martial was published at his expense. you read that and you say this guy and peggy and hamilton they get the highest possible score is on the english at 80s. these are particulate people with unbelievably broad vocabularies. >> the fact that no letters exist until she met benedict arnold and then only a few from that period. >> all this good stuff you wanted to find nobody is ever found. >> back when they were raising
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her papers there was a report that she had written something really caddy 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 because the french were in high regard then. >> the relationship between peggy and arnold. was that more of an arranged kind of thing or was it true love? the background? >> he wrote a letter to peggy. it is unclear when a match but soon after she 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 here are my intention this and there was a long period in which the family thought no. especially they didn't want such
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a young beautiful girl to marry a 38-year-old with a bad leg. >> with a war with three children. >> his money would go to these children who were not part of the new marriage. there were a lot of reasons they didn't like the idea of her marrying arnold. donald at the last minute but this beautiful mansion called mount pleasant which served as an earnest give to. here is where we could live and that sent a message of family. no indication from anything we read that they were not in love with each other. donald did stray. peggy talks in one letter of the pain that brought her but she seems very faithful to a man who was not very likable.
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especially back then marriage was not a decision made by two people. marriage was a decision made by two families. a great negotiation and great deliberation before they said yes. >> one more question. >> one more question. >> thank you. >> strikes me that the overall plot as you describe it is a plot that i wasn't familiar with the details until i heard your description. it seems like the likely success is pretty tenuous. i don't know. it seems arnold -- andre -- the likelihood that he would not make it through and the whole plan or for that matter be personal strength of forces at west point or whatever seems like a big risk the way you describe it.
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a final decision on the last minutes of the plan -- >> for the midnight meeting on the ship, he was supposed to go back on the folger. >> would have been a lot easier. >> then going back on horseback. alisha officer without orders that arnold knew about saw the british ship and apparently on his own initiative fired at it. >> fired at the vulture. the vulture and force it to withdraw where andre couldn't get back on the ship so he had to go by land which complicated it. he almost made it. he was within a few miles of being back there. this was the meeting where they sealed the deal. within days a giant british fleet going up the hudson trying to see west point. would they have succeeded? i don't know. they have four our meeting in the middle of the night and
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arnold presumably told them the best way to go in. >> and weakened case and andre had maps where to send the army. of the close call whether they had gotten him in time to capture washington. he wrote a letter saying he didn't think they were after him. i think they would like to have gotten there in time to capture washington but i believe because of the way arnold had weakened defenses that west point that if the british invasion of the ford had occurred it would have been successful. >> arnold felt that if the planned attack had failed that he would still be safe, he would be undiscovered at this point? >> my guess is once the attack started he and peggy would have gone them and headed for man had been for safety whether the attack succeeded or not. the big sticking point in the
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whole deal over this period of negotiation was how much he would get paid if it failed. it would be 20,000 pounds if it succeeded but they were bickering over whether he would get a guaranteed 10,000 pounds if it failed which the british didn't like but he wanted. he wound up getting 6 which was a lot back then. >> thank you both so much. >> for more information about the book and its authors visit treacherousduty.com.
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[silence] >> coming up next booktv presents after words. an hour-long program where we invite guest hosts to interview authors. this week co-authors john cov n covricovri covrino and patti gallagher discuss same-sex marriage. conservative columnist uncovered how they differ and why as they provide a road map for one of the most volatile ongoing debates. >> john, agreed to be

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