The plot to assassinate George Washington — and how it was foiled

Feb 18, 2019 by

It was the opening overture of the Revolutionary War. Boston had ditched its tea, Thomas Jefferson was finishing up the Declaration of Independence, and George Washington had brought the ragtag Continental Army to New York, where a British invasion was expected at any moment.

And if all went as New York’s governor planned, Washington would soon be dead.

That’s according to thriller writer Brad Meltzer, who, with Josh Mensch, has written his first nonfiction book, “The First Conspiracy,” about a little-known plot to assassinate the commander-in-chief.

“We love in America to tell the story of the American Revolution where we just all held hands together, dreamed of democracy and took on the British,” Meltzer says. “It’s a great story. It’s not the real story.”

There was no polling data then, but historians estimate that in the summer of 1776, about one in five white colonists were loyal to the king. Most loyalists were in the middle colonies of New York and New Jersey, and included New York’s royal governor, William Tryon.

Tryon had been forced into a strange exile onboard a ship docked in the New York harbor, where he waited for the British invasion and took regular visitors. One of those visitors was David Mathews, the loyalist mayor of New York City. Together, they worked on a way to help the British from behind enemy lines.

“The plan was that they were going to blow up certain bridges, they were going to steal cannons, and some said they were going to kill George Washington right there in an assassination. And others say they were going to kidnap him and hang him,” Meltzer says.

Source: The plot to assassinate George Washington — and how it was foiled | National Post

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.