the astounding news of the conspiracy. Its effect was stunning, and he
despondently asked Knox and Lafayette: "Whom can we trust now?" By this
time Arnold had been some time safe aboard the Vulture, and the hurried ride of
Hamilton and Shaw (or McHenry) to Verplanck's, sixteen miles, was fruitless,
except for their presence when a flag of truce arrived from her, bringing a letter1
from Arnold to Washington, which enclosed one for Mrs. Arnold.8 Amid the
universal consternation and mutual distrust caused by these extraordinary events,
Washington, his first ebullition of despair over, remained calm, and acted
promptly and vigorously. As he had reason to suppose the British fleet might at
any moment be sighted in the distance, on its way to capture West Point in
pursuance of the plot, his first thought was for the security of the post. Colonel
Lamb, who had crossed with him from the Point, and whom he promptly detached
from its command by this letter —
Sir,—It is my wish to see Colonel James I^ivingston8 to-night, and I write him by
you on the occasion. In his absence you will take command of the posts at Stoney and
Verplanck's Points till further orders.
I am, Sir, (etc., etc.,)
Head Quarters, Robinson's House G. Washington.
in the Highlands, September 25, 1780,
------o'clock p. m.
To Col. John I,amb of the Artillery.
u William Eustis was born in Cambridge, Mass., June 10, 1753, and died in Boston, February 6, 1825. He was
graduated at Harvard, studied medicine and became associated with Dr. Joseph Warren. He attended the
wounded after Bunker Hill, was appointed as an army surgeon, and was stationed at the Robinson House
two or more years. From 1788 to 1794 he was a member of the Massachusetts Legislature, from 1801 to 1805,
a member of Congress. In 1807 to 1813 he was Secretary of War, from 1814 to 1818 Minister to Holland;
1820 to 1823 he was again in Congress, and in 1823 elected Governor of his native state, dying in office.
Several of his family have been distinguished as soldiers. The late Senator James B. Eustis, of Louisiana,
who was in the Confederate army, and afterwards Ambassador to France, was his grand-nephew, as were
also Brigadier General Abraham Eustis, Colonel of the First U. S. Artillery, Captain William Eustis, of the
Third Infantry and First Dragoons, and Brigadier General Henry L. Eustis, Colonel Tenth Massachusetts
1 On board the Vulture,
Sept. 25, 1780.
Sir,—The heart which is conscious of its own rectitude cannot attempt to palliate a step which the
world may censure as wrong. I have ever acted from a principle of love to my country, since the
commencement of the present unhappy contest between Great Britain and the Colonies; the same
principle of love to my country actuates my present conduct, however it may appear inconsistent to the
world, who very seldom judge right of any man's actions. I have no favour to ask for myself. I have too
often experienced the ingratitude of my country to attempt it; but from the known humanity of your
Excellence, I am induced to ask your protection for Mrs. Arnold, from every insult and injury that the
mistaken vengeance of my country may expose her. It ought to fall only on me; she is as good and as
innocent as an angel, and is incapable of doing wrong. I beg she may be permitted to return to her
friends in Philadelphia, or to come to me, as she may choose; from your Excellence I have no fears on her
account, but she may suffer from the mistaken fury of the country. I have to request that the enclosed
letter may be delivered to Mrs. Arnold, and she be permitted to write to me. I have alsoto ask that my
cloaths and baggage, which are of little consequence, may be sent to me ; if required, their value shall be
paid in money.
I have the honour to be with great regard and esteem,
Your Excellency's most obedient and humble servant,
His Excellency B. Arnold.
P. S. In justice to the gentlemen of my family, Colonel Varick and Major Franks, I think myself
in honor bound to declare that they, as well as Joshua Smith, Esq. (whom I know is suspected), are totally
ignorant of any transactions of mine, that they have reason to believe were injurious to the public.
2 There is in the possession, 8 When Washington had, page 44.
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