Thursday, October 4, 2007

Washington Informs Congress of Espionage

On this day in 1775, General George Washington writes to the president of the Continental Congress, John Jay, to inform him that a letter from Dr. Benjamin Church, surgeon general of the Continental Army, to Lieutenant General Sir Thomas Gage, British commander in chief for North America, had been intercepted. Washington wrote, "I have now a painful tho' a Necessary Duty to perform respecting Doctor Church, Director General of the Hospital."
Washington described how a coded letter to a British officer, Major Crane, came into Washington’s possession by a convoluted route from "a Woman who was kept by Doctor Church." Washington "immediately secured the Woman, but for a long time she was proof against every threat and persuasion to discover the Author, however at length she was brought to a confession and named Doctor Church. I then immediately secured him and all his papers."
The woman Washington interrogated was the mistress of Dr. Benjamin Church, a renowned Boston physician, who was active in the Massachusetts Committee of Safety and served as a member of the Provincial Congress. In July 1775, Washington had named Church the first surgeon general of the Continental Army, only to find out three months later that he had been spying for the British since 1772. Church faced an army court martial on October 4, 1775.
Despite Church’s plea of innocence, and the inconsequential nature of the information he provided to Crane, the contents of the letter included Church’s statement of allegiance to the British crown. He was charged with treason, convicted and sentenced to life in prison. After becoming ill while incarcerated, Dr. Church was exiled to the West Indies. The ship in which he traveled is believed to have been lost at sea.
On November 7, 1775, shortly after the conviction of Dr. Church, the Continental Congress added a mandate for the death penalty as punishment for acts of espionage to the "articles of war."

Jasn Robb, my Arkansas attorney and I are in Greensboro, North Carolina, although this morning we had our doubts whether or not we would make it. We left for the airport about 3:45 for the 2 1/2 hour trip. According to our ticket we were to fly from the Fayetteville airport at 7:25. So leaving at 3:45 should have gotten us to the airport by 6:30. I had been to the airport in Fayetteville several times before, but it has been 10 or 12 years since I was last there. The problem occured when we got to the airport we found out it had moved. The ticket said we would fly out of Fayetteville but it turned out that the Fayetteville airport was no longer in Fayetteville. It was now about 4o miles north of Fayetteville. In fact, it was even north of Springdale. We set our sights to get to the new airport (which was not in Fayetteville) and as you guess, we did not make it in time. The tickets we had were non-refundable and they were nor trasferrable, you know the kind you get off of priceline etc. to savemoney. The ticket clerk informed us of the nature of the ticket, but then said, "You are being really nice for someone who just missed their plane, I'll be right back." About 5 minutes later she returned and said she has spoken to her supervisor and they have agreed to allow us fly another flight. So we got on another plane and actually arrived in North Carolina about an hour earlier then our original flight would have gotten us here.
We are checked into our motel and have spoken to our NC attorney. We are to be at his office about 12:30 and then meet with the mediator at 2pm.
I ask everyone to pray for a successful trip.
I am not sure how much I will be able to write on my blog while here, but I will not my best to keep you update. Unfortuately I won't be able to show any pictures until I return. The key board on this computer in the business center of the motel is bad and it is difficult to type on it.
God bless you all.

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