tv Stephen Case Mark Jacob Treacherous Beauty CSPAN September 3, 2016 4:00pm-5:01pm EDT
eastern here on c-span 3's american history tv. next on history bookshelf, co-authors mark jacob and stephen case on their book "treacherous beauty". the two talk about the role thatthe two talk about the role socialite peggy shippen, benedict arnold's second wife, played in the effort to harm george washington's forces during the revolutionary war. this is just under an hour. [applause] mark: thank you for coming. i am mark jacob. to my left. is we started studying a couple discovered- stephen many years ago the story of
peggy shippen. she is probably the most dangerous teenage girl in american history. [laughter] her husband is much more famous. it is just a story that nobody really knew. in fact, it was poorly understood at the time even, and by the time anyone understood what the story was, no one seemed to care anymore. was mrs. benedict arnold, and she liked it that way. she would rather be the victimized wife of a traitor, rather than the real truth, which was a co-conspirator to try to bring down the american revolution, who had full be founding fathers and got off scott free -- which is exactly what she did. more than a century after her death, british papers are
studied by american scholars. and they find out there is all of this really important circumstantial evidence to isicate that peggy shippen certainly part of the plot. there is no smoking gun, but there is tons of circumstantial evidence. i think any reasonable person would agree she knew all about it. but she had gotten a pass from history. and i wanted to bring this story to another generation and focus the story on peggy. she has been a supporting character in a lot of biographies on benedict arnold and we wanted to write it in a different way. do you want to start talking about her a little bit, stephen? stephen: imagine we were in damascus, syria. not long ago, violence directed
in the distant cities of aleppo 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 is suddenly in the capital city where you have achieved prosperity and prominence? do you support the insurgents? ?o you support the government or do you just try to say, how do i get through this and come out with one piece with my life and my family intact? that is what this story of peggy shippen and her family is. it's all about philadelphia from 1774 to shortly before 1780. katie's grandfather was a cofounder of what is now rinsed peggy'srsity -- grandfather was a cofounder of what is now princeton university. very wealthy. the family were slave owners,
still reporting in the 1790 census they had three slaves. they had several children. mark and i think the father decided to play the war by being as neutral as he could get away , leaving no clear message to the children about which side they were on. so, what happens? september, the first continental congress meets in philadelphia. george washington shows up. he shows up at the shippen home. peggy met him and got to know him very well until she has a falling out. then we get the declaration of independence when she is 16, which is literally signed a block and a half around the fancy from the family's
home and then we get to september 1777 and the british. the chosen person to be the director of the philadelphia area is benedict arnold. he is -- he has proven himself to be the most audacious and able battlefield commander on the continental army side. recognize that way by george washington. and take he is 18 when they marry. they have a courtship of about a year. this happens -- let me back up just a little bit. 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. during that time, peggy became very friendly with some of the british officers. there is a guy, john andre, who , played the flute. he spent a lot of time at peggy's house and became a great friend of hers. the british ultimately had to leave philadelphia and go back to new york. he is nothing like andre. and benedicte arnold by that point is grievously wounded and limping around.
-- [indiscernible] stephen and i,k: with the help of a brilliant team of academic researchers that stephen recruited and worked on a great document for us -- because we could not have done it alone -- there was this i had never heard of. it's this big blowout party at the time of the occupation by the british. the continental army is at valley forge. the people are dying. the horses are dying. the british are having a great time in philadelphia. and peggy is, too. it is the worst time in many
peoples lives, but it may be the best time of hers. .nd they had this party of dresses were sold -- conversion to modern currency we use in the book, they are really rough. an ungodly amount of money. they have these bands floating on barges of the delaware river. they'd take over the wharton mansion because wharton was a patriot and had to flee. even the wharton mansion was not big enough for this party. they built a separate dining hall for the event. they are spending incredible amounts of money. john andre and his dashing officers are pretty much in charge of designing everything. he designed what colors the rooms would be, things like that. absurd away so it's in
the middle of this terrible war. so, the british leave peggy there in disappointment, benedict arnold comes. he immediately -- she is known as the most beautiful woman in philadelphia or is later described as the most beautiful woman in north america, and later when she goes into exile in london -- spoiler alert there -- [laughter] late.too she ends up -- she is called the most beautiful woman in england. so, she is very highly regarded. makes sure that benedict arnold spends a lot of money on parties, and, you know, lavish stuff. if you want to get into a little bit of this why arnold would have turned traitor? he was a feisty guy who did not fit well into groups. with people in the
caribbean. he had been in the shipping business. he was serving after the british left as the military commander of philadelphia and my candidate for the bad guy in this story is the civilian head of government, a man named joseph reed, who was exactly the same age. -- not terribly well supported by the record, aroma that many things i have read give me -- a connecticut man surfaced in surfaced as one of the richest man in town and he saw arnold as a rival for postwar political power. first there was a smear of arnold on various charges of wrongdoing of various kinds. this created a congressional committee hearing under a congressman from maryland.
nothing ever changes in this country. the congressional committee punted on the outcome. did not want to criticize the finest field commander in the revolution so far, the hero of ticonderoga, the hero of saratoga, etc., so they rebuffed it to george washington with the suggestion of a court-martial. washington had no choice but to start court-martial proceedings that arnold was really mad about it. this all broke at just about the time he married the 19-year-old young lady who had had the not 10 monthsith, earlier, with the handsome 25-year-old british officer john andre. so, what, mark? after theperiod wedding does the documentation show the communication with the british began on the spy scandal?
and who do they communicate with? the arnold getk: some kind of guy who really likes the british, but somehow has been able to maintain a residence in philadelphia. and he asks for john andre. , being such a brilliant and influential and well-liked guy, is the acting adjutant general of the entire chief of in fact, the staff to general clinton. he slowly takes over all spy duties. 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. so a month after their marriage,
this letter goes out, hey, we want to join the british, do whatever we can to help. wethe book we don't guess don't speculate much at all. we don't know how this came about. it could have been this, this, or this. she could have begged him to do it. we don't know. is a careful, scholarly journalist. i think it was all her idea to begin with. at [laughter] mark: well, it could have been. monthre married and one later, they are sending spy information to the british, trying to make a deal. a letter toends peggy saying, i would be happy send you sewing supplies. i have a zeal to be employed by
you. what did that letter not give us? take the has a second -- peggy has a second level of andre.tion with they are not getting the money they want. withen: they started 20,000 quids for the sale of arnold and all of his secrets. mark: right. so it takes more than a year to get to this point. some of the circumstantial evidence is whenever arnold was a way from philadelphia, he was sending these letters to peggy that were chock-full of military information -- where armies were, were installations were weak, where they were strong, were plans for troop movements were. it's not pillow talk. it's not what a man since to his wife. coincidentally, she found a way thean those messages to go-between who took them to new
york. is that circumstantial evidence, or is that her as a spy? so, ultimately, they were about to come to an agreement. stephen: this goes on for what? almost a year? mark: more than a year, really. they have this dramatic meeting at midnight. john andre and benedict arnold hold it while peggy is up in the house near west point where they have set up. just wrote quickly, they -- washington wanted arnold to be a battlefield commander even though he had a shattered leg. because he was so good. arnold wanted to be the commander of west point, along the hudson river because 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 the battle might be difficult stephen:. at -- might be difficult. stephen: people in the room nor
my age or member the 1960's when the news was full of reports -- who are my age remember the 1960's when the news was full of ho chi minhhe trail. no food, ammunition, no fighting army. if you go into a skyscraper in manhattan, on 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 of new jersey. look to the right, it's the route pose in southern new york, and further to the right of the river, it is the hudson. most of the revolution was a stalemate.
george washington's army stretched from peekskill, new york all the way down to milford, new jersey and neither side, for various reasons, wanted to have it out with the other side. the surprise for those military crossed the haves and north of west point. bluff, they had a chain build to cross it, all for the purpose of keeping the very powerful british navy from going up river beyond west point where it could interdict to be supply line. so, the reason why the u.s. military academy is sanctum sanctorum of the regular army, key point was the strategic to victory. what you had was arnold and peggy conniving to secure command of that is szilagyi --
all that facility. .ark: it's interesting peggy was doing her own work to get him that appointment to west point. arnold's sister city in a letter saying that she was flirting with a very powerful -- stephen: peggy? mark: yes, peggy was. which is interesting, she is never inappropriately flirtatious. she is always very appropriately flirtatious. [laughter] faithful to her husband and charming and proper. this is an aberration where arnold's's is true says, hey, she is flirting with this livingston. in the processis of deciding who will get that west point appointment. 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 has a stationary appointment at west point, he
ends up taking a house on the other side of the river that is two miles down, only 100 feet from the riverside. so, he can make an instant retreat, instant escape. and also peggy and their firstborn son edward, who has been worn by this time -- who has been borne by this time. they set all of this up and they had a meeting at midnight to make the last preparations -- how much he is going to get paid, how quickly the british navy is going to rush up the hudson, grab at west point, and possibly, by the way, capture -- george washington is supposed to visit the arnold that very weekend. it is an amazing culmination. stephen: if it had worked, it might very well have set back or in did the american revolution. but washington is on his way from hartford where he has been meeting with the french general rochambeau.
they were the cheetah people who ultimately won the war at yorktown later. he is coming back to west point to inspect the works. after the midnight meeting, skipping a lot of amusing details, andre had to put on civilian clothes and go back to his headquarters in new york city by horseback. washington headed to west point, andre back to new york city to get the troops mobilized, to invade west point -- when andre gets across the river, he is stopped by three men. some people say they were thieves. some people say they were militiamen on guard duty, and they could not agree on a price for andre to release him.
carrying spyas information. some say to see if he had money in his boots. they found maps of west point and documents and arnold's handwriting. one said, we better turn this guy in. so they took him to a place in westchester where the colonel was, and the colonel was mystified. he did not know what to do. he knew washington was traveling to hartford. he sent a note to arnold with messengers and guards and he sent a note to general washington. mark: saying he had found something suspicious. in effect there is a race going on. stephen: washington is now in fishkill, one town away from where the arnold family is and he is expected for breakfast at 11 a.m. and he says to his
entourage, let's stop. i want to inspect this. it was either lafayette or hamilton, according to washington irving, who said, oh, no, no, we have to go, your excellency. we will be late for breakfast with general arnold. and washington says, oh, i know. all you young men are in love with mrs. arnold and you cannot wait to see her. offers for them to go ahead, but they obeyed their commander. and we both know it was lickety-split for both men -- guess where the first note got to? mark: it gets to the robinson s werewere the arnold staying. arnold reads the note. he quickly goes upstairs and tells peggy. it was a very quick conversation and suddenly he is out the door. he runs down to the waterside 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 from if they got there fast. they finally get to the british boat that is called the vulture, and later thomas paine said that was one vulture injuring another. he gives up and said, all right, i am joining the british side. no, we are not. we're americans. so he took him prisoner -- so he took them prisoner instead. stephen: he said to the barge crew, take them prisoner. what a creep. mark: peggy has been told the jig is up. they -- the plot has failed. and she is holding the bag. meanwhile, washington is moving
within minutes of getting there. she stays upstairs and is very quiet. washington shows up, but the note to him has not shown up yet. weird.seems a very he says it's really weird that neither peggy nor benedict arnold are there to greet him. he says i will go over to west point and inspect. he goes over to inspect and is shocked i how badly the fortifications of been prepared, because benedict arnold, on purpose, was not doing a good job. meanwhile, while washington is over in west point, what happens to peggy? stephen: she is upstairs and a note comes from the colonel in saying for his excellency's eyes only. alexander hamilton, having had breakfast, goes to sleep in his chair. when general washington comes afternoon,0 in the mystified -- no 19-gun salute
for the commander, what's going on? the messenger brought this note for you. washington opens it up and it all falls together because he has figured out that arnold -- what does he say? oh, whom can we trust now? arnold has betrayed us. in the meantime, no peggy. mark: right. so, peggy shippen upstairs -- as soon as she let washington get across west point, in effect to give her husband more time to escape -- she launches on something, the little bit of writtenthat has been about this calls "the mad scene." we call it that, too. peggy shippen goes completely crazy for an entire day. hysterically mad. she starts shrieking there are hot coals in her husband's head ead.hot coals in her h
she says that he has flown through the ceiling and is gone, gone. she says general washington is turned to murder her child and she will not let him. she shrieks down the hallways, wearing few clothes also. stephen: one of the staff officers was richard barrick, later the merit of new york. 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] mark: right. so, obviously you could genuinely see how a woman who was completely innocent of this plot had just found out her whole life at phone apart would be upset. so, it shocked to them, but i think they managed to process it in the way she wanted them to process it, which was she was just distraught over this. but also this incredibly
youthful woman running around half closed probably made the men most likely to suspect or not suspect or a cousin were thinking about other things. [laughter] stephen: alexander hamilton fell for it hook, line, and singer. 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 wished he could be a brother to her. mark: what kind of brother? but anyway -- stephen: after hamilton needed relief, lafayette took over. leading one of lafayette fell biographers to suggest lafayette might have had sexual interest in mrs. arnold. the george washington shows up, washington being a family friend -- and i got to tell you.
two years of reading about the american revolution, to me, only makes you like washington more. he shows up at her bedside, says, what is wrong, mrs. arnold? she said, that's not george washington. that is an imposter. that is an imposter was going to murder my child. she can't recognize this man who is the family friend, supposedly. she just go stark raving mad for the entire day. really alarming people. about -- t to talk stephen: what we had was the mad scene where she wraps all of the founding fathers around her little finger, and one of my jobs in our research was to go atel's paperso the new york historical society. i went through the papers. the next morning after the mad scene, in her hand, which is very strong and easy to read, is a letter from peggy to colonel
derek which says, if you and the army over funds to my husband, please remit them to me immediately. we had a quick recovery. mark: from then on, she has none of the madness, although seems to be courting sympathy whenever possible. she is given the choice of going to new york to join her husband are going to philadelphia to join her family. she takes philadelphia. but just of read's people have ransacked all of her papers and found that millinery letter, the letter from john andre, that said, hey, i will you sewing supplies. it did not say any more than that, but some suspected it opened up the avenue of communication. it didn't, in fact, but it was the one thing that kind of went toward peggy. before she gets to philadelphia, she has to go by
carriage across northern new jersey and it's more than a one-day she stopped to stay in a home of a lady that she knew in new jersey, which did once not have shopping centers. [laughter] a woman was the fiancee of aaron burr. peggy knew her. his memoirsad died, were published. he says in his memoirs that he got to theodosius' house, and she said, get rid of the staff, i have to talk to you privately. "i'mquotes her as exciting so tired of putting airs on how terrible this is. it was put on this at the last moment and it was all my idea to begin with." when that was published in the 1840's, the shipment family had a fit and accused ehrenberg of
trying to --accused aaron burr of trying to cities peggy. seduce peggy. peggy gets toe philadelphia, or a couple days later, the army has taken care of major andre. ing court-martialed for spy behind our lines in civilian clothes. the lawyers in the room would be tickled by his defense, which he did not have any lawyers or legal training. his defense was that he came in uniform under a flag of truce, doned civilian close under orders of a senior officer of the degree army. pretty good thinking on your feet when you are ready to fill that noose around your neck.
it didn't work, the 13th generals convicted him. afterery dramatic scene asking to be shot rather than hanging, having alexander hamilton to come his best friend, he is and in a very dramatic event -- is hanged in a very dramatic event with that lays giving him a fancy new uniform. andre is dead, peggy is in philadelphia. promisessh her. she that she will not communicate with her husband. hergoes to new york city father takes her to rejoin her husband. that is another on the noble whether she wanted to rejoin her husband or not. women were not allowed legally to divorce at that time. women had almost no choice.
she could not stay with her family. >> she is 20 years old when all of this happens. she only saw her parents and steve siblings one time after banishment. >> she was banished until the war was over. she came back one time but was treated very rudely. exile in her life in london and canada. the book goes from birth to death. her later years were very sad because benedict arnold, despite making more money off the american revolution than any kept getting was into debt and his wife had a tough life. she was popular in england. queen charlotte liked her.
through the recommendation of the army she was given a pension for life of 500 pounds a year, which was a lot of money at that time. he went back into the shipping business, was constantly in trouble. could not call on american ports for obviously reasons. he and peggy have 6 children together. 4 boys and a girl survived. she developed a lot of business in canada, mostly st. john's and numerous -- and new brunswick. love found out about their child and soldiered on. as the four boys matured, they were given commissions in the british army. >> they mostly went to india. one of them ended up living with an indian woman and having a child.
peggy has a heavy indian granddaughter. -- a happy indian granddaughter. who later moved to ireland. >> donald dies just after 60 years old in 1801. leaving the family hugely indebted. by now, teddy's father, whose -- peggy's father, bruce strategy worked, in 1800 he is now the chief justice of pennsylvania. we have extensive correspondence between him and her in which her father helps her workout paying all of the debts. the boys are in the army far away. we found out one of her descendents, a bunch of her letters written in 1803 to the , unfortunately she
died in 1804 at age 44 cancer. cancer.4 of ovarian >> they found a lock of hair that john andre had given her in philadelphia. [laughter] there was speculation whether that was romantic, or 80 friendship. -- or a deep friendship. i tended to think that john andre liked one of peggy's f riends. we would love to answer some questions. [applause] if there are questions, please use the audience microphone. >> someone with your broad interest could delve into anything, how did you come across this? why did you decide to delve into
it among others? >> 10-12 years ago i read that magnificent for volume biography of george washington. -- only two good stories in it, after the war, where george washington wanted donkeys instead of mules. there is a wonderful story about how he went to the marquis lafayette two important donkeys. another remarkable story was about this teenage woman. it reminded me of some of the young women who got in all kinds of trouble in the vietnam war susan rosenberg, patricia hearst have written books about it. i didn't realize that a teenage woman had gotten herself embroiled by the passions of revolution. and i kept my eye out in my
, iding, and over 10 years accumulated 30-40 books. i proposed this to a literary agent. long story short, they said it's a great idea, but you are a lawyer, you have written too many loan agreements. [laughter] so the agent interestingly to -- whooduced me to mark, helped me write a manuscript. stephen's research task was to assemble a great archivist and researchers.
hour after hour, they would go through and photograph the original letters in the historical society of pennsylvania. mark: that archive has 45 feet. and he's brilliant young people helped us through every single one of them. stephen: and it was to the significant ones on this 30 -- on this server. at -- i hado great not heard of peggy shippan until stephen brought it to me. he did not know what he was getting into. [laughter] mark: it was a great project. knowinge great -- not much about it, i had all sorts of journalistic questions. i don't know anything about the
high hair worn by women and that era, can you get me stuff on that? they would shoot me academic articles about how high here was one. some of that stuff ends up boiling down to three sentences in the book. the loyalist women were their hair really high. i was considered a difference between the pro-patriot women and improve british women. women.pro-british for the first anniversary of july 4, they had a mocking parade somebody wearing a high hair. stephen: it is a sidelight, but philadelphia after the british left was really ugly. people were beginning hanged for cooperating with the british. the fighting between arnold and
joe read over who was the boss, going through this has changed my attitude about the news reports about damascus and aleppo. it wasn't pretty/ . philadelphia was an ugly place that year. mark: we also want to put a human face on loyalist. the school and was taught there were a bunch of great patriots who always did the right thing, and everything else was fiendish and only wanted to crush freedom. [laughter] guess what? is not that simple. estimatestorians, one they feel like 40% of colonists wanted independence, 20% were loyalists, and the other 40% just not wanted to get killed and did not really care. which means a minority were in
favor of independence. and i think that was for the better. wondering, the way you described it it all happened so fast with peggy marrying benedict arnold, shortly thereafter -- stephen: secret correspondence with the british in new york city began. >> did you find any reason to suspect that andre had actually suggested that peggy get involved with arnold? stephen: no. --fact, we are not even sure i have not read anything that established whether they knew for sure. it's not clear whether arnold sent their emissaries to go find andre or simply go to the british headquarters in lower manhattan. when they went to the british headquarters, andre was there.
i don't know that it's crystal clear they were asking for andre. he was the right person at the right time. stephen: if you read the 19th century literature, except for the burr porters, it strongly gravitates to the view that she was a sweet innocent bystander exploited by her evil husband. ofthe 1920's, the university michigan library bought general clinton's private papers. and this revealed to the scholarly community the first spy included communications. which common-law scholars in the room will be amused to know, one of the codes was based on blackstone's commentaries on common-law. [laughter] where was that going to come from, except from peggy's father
the prominent lawyer? it was only when a secret correspondence came out in the 1920's that it was overwhelmingly clear that at a minimum, peggy had not been duped. creatests with the -- with the burr memoirs, stronga circumstantial case that she was a strong co-conspirator, if not the instigator. i urge you to dismiss, i could not get summary judgment -- but i think i can wind injury case. [laughter] -- can win the jury case. with the preponderance of the evidence standard, i can't lose. >> i have a question. in the book, you mentioned that george washington, upon reading the note and realizing what arnold has done, he begins weeping in front of his aides.
i think it's mentioned in the book that this was the only time. right, lafayette. he cried in a public setting. braind love to pick your -- was his dramatic emotional reaction more based on the fact of essential personal betrayal? or was it may be more a case of the potential fallout for the revolution? i think the war was so much in the balance, that a tremendous blow like that -- just for the survival of the revolution, i think he could have been very upset. he has gone to that for arnold. -- gone to bat for arnold. arnold had made enemies. washington had no part of that.
washington recommended and after the court-martial. it was very straightforward. even after that, he offered him the left wing of his army. i think it was just a crushing blow, both personally and affecting the fate of the nation. stephen: lafayette and washington were so close, that during the revolution lafayette sent his children to mount vernon for safety. what is remarkable about the lafayette letter that describes washington breaking down in tears, "in my long close association through this mean in the early days of the war to victory in yorktown, it was the only time i ever saw him break down and cry." mark: other questions?
right here? >> just a bit about peggy shippan. two house is the battle of -- she eventually marries howard county, maryland. she is tied into this whole thing. stephen: we know that teenage women often have a group of other teenage friends. another peggy and two friends names becky. whose father imported to
the greater liberty bell to philadelphia. it was a group of two peggies and two becky's. that andre took to the date. they all just as kn--the all turkishas knights or maidens for that event. the family story is that the shippans did not allow their daughters to attend. a bunch of quakers came to the .oor and said this is terrible you can't consort with the british this way. too, those outfits are indecent. the argument about the outfits worked.
whether she went to the party or not, that is not stop major andre drawing her picture wearing this turkish maiden dress. we have reproduced a copy of that picture for the book. it is either the yellow university art collection. -- yale university art collection. peggy contained what was called the birthday club with british officers in new york. by the time peggy shippan was married, so she did not necessarily have part in this. they would toast each other on their birthdays separately. there was this tie. that was described as a possible
way to get messages through this conspiracy. could write to her friend, and those communications would be sent. it was discussed in the papers in the 1920's. another indication that peggy shippan was aware of it. why would you develop a means of ?ommunication stephen: when this news reached home, suddenly every document involving the shippan family disappeared. we never had a chance for a court of law to impose sanctions for just duction. many people think there communication between peggy
and andre during the war through enemy lines. 's friends and family burned every letter she had written. the reason we think that is because they never exist, and she was a prolific letter writer. there are letters from later years that are a great source of information for the book. stephen: these are remarkably articulate people. the complete transcript of the arnold court-martial was published at his expense. , theyad that and say would get the highest possible score is on the english sat. [laughter] these were articulate people with broad vocabularies. mark: so the fact that no letters exist.
stephen: only good stuff anyone has wanted to find, no one has ever found. mark: at some point she wrote something really catty about the french at a party. that did not help her out much either when she got back to philadelphia, because the french were in high regard then. [laughter] >> the relationship between peggy and arnold. was that something more of an arranged thing? was it true love? mark: it is unclear when they met. soon after he came to philadelphia. he wrote a letter to philadelphia to peggy wanting to court her and wrote a letter
to her father with his contingents. wherewas a long period the family did not want such a young beautiful girl to marry a year old with a bad leg. whose money would go to the children not part of the marriage. there are many reasons they did not like her marrying arnold. last minute bought this beautiful mansion called mount pleasant. that served as an earnest gift. he bought it and said, here is where we could live. that sentiment to the family. there is no indication from what we have read that they were not in love with each other. arnold did stray. peggy talked about the pain that
brought her. she seemed faithful to a man that was not very likable. the book gives us a little bit. especially back then, marriage was not a decision made by two people. it was made by two families. there was great negotiation and deliberation before they said yes. -- one lasttion question? >> it strikes me as the overall , the likelihood of success was pretty tenuous. arnold -- andre, that the likelihood that he would not make it through, and that the whole plan, or that the
strength of the forces at west point -- it seems like a big risk. was it a final decision in the last minutes? that was a midnight meeting on the ship called the vulture. mark: which would have been much easier. officer thatlitia arnold about some of the british ship, and apparently on his own initiative went out and fired at him. mark: wheeled up a cannon and fired at the vulture and forced it to withdraw. kent andre cannot get back on the ship, so he had to go by land. but he almost made it. he was in just a few miles of back there. this was the meeting where they sealed the deal. within days, a giant british fleet would have been going up
the hudson trying to seize west point. with a have succeeded? know.t they had a four-hour meeting in the middle of the night and arnold presumably told them the best way to get in. stephen: andre had maps where to send the army. i think it was a close call whether they could have captured washington. he said he did not think the plotters were after him. i think he would have liked to have gone there in time to captured washington. i believe because of the way -- and differences of west point -- that if the invasion had occurred, it would have been successful. >> is the planned attack had failed, he would still be undiscovered at this point? guess is that once the attack started, he and peggy
and the baby would have gotten in the barge and headed towards manhattan for safety, whether or not the attack succeeded. mark: the big sticking point in the whole deal over this negotiations is how much he would get paid if it failed. they all agreed it was going to be 20,000 pounds if it succeeded. over he were dickering would get 10,000 pounds if it failed. which the british did not like, but he wanted. he ended up getting 6000, which was a lot back then. thanks very much. >> thank you both so much. [applause] >> on history bookshelf, hear from the country's best-known history writers of the past decade every saturday at 4:00 p.m. eastern. you can watch any of our programs anytime when you visit our website, c-span.org/history.
you are watching american history tv, weekend, every weekend on c-span3. this labor day weekend american history tv on c-span3 has 3 days of featured programming. tonight at eight eastern on "lectures in history," bakersfield college professor shares his personal family history and other oral histories about the national farm workers association. >> chavez was blowing this up. the movement of farmworkers at the bottom of society were suddenly becoming engaged, fighting for their rights. but also mobilizing for politicians. later. talk about this friends of the chavez family is the kennedy family. starting with john and robert and their children. host: sunday evening at six
clark on "american artifacts," visit the archives at george washington university for the 50th anniversary of the freedom of information act. signed into law by president johnson. >> a lonely crusader picked up this bright young illinois congressman as a cosponsor. donald rumsfeld. his statement on the floor of the house in 1966 is a pretty good explanation of why the bill became a majority bill. rumsfeld said government had gotten so big, involved in so many different pieces of our lives, commercial, industrial, personal lives -- medicare and social security -- we need the right to get those records out of agencies to uphold our own standard of living and freedom. host: monday morning at 11:00 eastern, the national parks service marking it 100 anniversary at arlington house. the robert e. lee memorial. we spoke with former nps
director and the former arlington house manager who will oversee a year-long restoration of the mansion, quarters, and grounds. >> we were incredibly fortunate to tailor our specific needs for all kinds of things for the museum objects telling the interpretation. buildings, but historic grounds and gardens. generouslyein very donated this $12.3 million to make that happen. host for complete schedule:, go to c-span.org. tv,p next, american history kenneth boling speaks to the u.s. capital historical society about the concept of an american empire. mr. bowling argues we were not simply found it on ideological principles ofub