Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Advice from James II

James II (left); the Duke of Berwick (center) and young James III (right)

Today, many Christians seem to be confused about who is qualified for political office.  I addressed one facet of this problem in my article "On the Buckley Rule".  However, King James II of England understood these concepts much better than most Christians today.  His advice to his son is excellent, being founded on Exodus 20.
"Be very careful in the choice of your chief ministers; it is of the last concern to you, it being impossible for a prince to do all himself. They must not only be men of good sense and sound judgment, but of great probity [integrity] and well founded as to Christianity, and that it appear by their way of living; for a loose liver, or one that by his actions or discourses shows himself profane or atheistically inclined, never trust or rely on, for how can you expect that those that fly in God Almighty's face everyday, can be thoroughly true to their king, when what they think thwarts their worldly interest is not consistent with their loyalty?...
"You ought to take the same care in the choice of your domestic servants, and such as you employ in any place of trust, for besides the reasons already given, it will make you beloved by all good men, and encourage others to lead more Christian lives, or at least hinder them from giving public scandal, when they see profane and loose-livers discountenanced. And let not any ones being a Catholic exempt him from these rules..."

Friday, May 18, 2012

A Different Kind of Courage part 3 of 3

Not All Spies Serve Their Country
André, Tallmadge, and the Culper Ring all served their respective countries, but William Heron (known as Hiram to the British) did not.  His greatest loyalty was money, but he also enjoyed velvet breeches and gold-headed canes.  Heron was a member of Connecticut’s Congress and a friend of Continental General Samuel Parsons. After Benedict Arnold joined the British, Heron told Oliver De Lancey, the new British spymaster, that he knew another general named Parsons who wanted to follow Arnold.  De Lancey was excited, and “Hiram” said that De Lancey should send Parsons some money, to encourage his loyalty (which Heron pocketed).  At the same time, he was employed by Washington to spy on Loyalists.  Hiram kept promising results to De Lancey for over a year, until Major Beckwith took command as British spymaster.  Beckwith realized that Parsons, despite all the money that had been sent to him, would never come over.  Heron’s health was poor and he quit spying, but continued on to a nice career in the Connecticut Congress.  No one ever guessed that he had been a double agent spying for both sides until many years after his death.
Spies in the American Revolution, whether on King or Congress’s side, required a different kind of courage than a soldier.  A soldier was in danger whenever a battle was being fought, but the rest of the time was fairly quiet.  A spy, on the other hand, was always in danger of being arrested by the enemy.  Despite the danger, Washington’s spies in the Culper Ring worked tirelessly, and, in God’s providence, were a major cause of the Continental victory. But God’s blessing was not confined to successful spies.  Major John André won respect from both friend and foe, illustrating after his death the saying in Proverbs: “When a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to live at peace with him.”—Proverbs 16:7

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Different Kind of Courage part 2 of 3

Spying For the King
The British spy system was far weaker than Washington’s, because they had better scouts to gather information. A scout was a light-armed soldier sent ahead of the main body to locate the enemy and bring back detailed reports about them, such as how many soldiers they had.   If an army in the War for Independence had good scouts, it did not need to rely as heavily on spies, and if their scouts were rather lackluster, spies were required.   The British had some of the best scouts on any side in the entire war because Loyalists, especially in the Queen’s Rangers and Banastre Tarleton’s British Legion made wonderful scouts, due to their knowledge of the country.  The 17th Light Dragoons were also very useful because they were mounted and could move fast, but Washington’s cavalry scouts were rather weak (they suffered from a lack of good horses). 
General Clinton had some clever ideas to get secret messages through enemy lines.  He wrote a letter to General John “Gentleman Johnny” Burgoyne, to be read with a special hourglass-shaped overlay.  By putting the overlay over the letter, a secret message would be revealed.  While Clinton’s letter said, “I own to you that I think the business will quickly be over now.  Sir W’s move just at this time has been capital.  Washington’s have been the worst he could take in every respect”, the overlay revealed Clinton’s true message: “I own to you that I think Sir W’s move just at this time the worst he could take.”[i]  Another idea of Clinton’s was a hollow silver bullet with a message inside.

Major John André took command as chief British spymaster in 1779 and greatly improved the British spy system.   André soon met an important leader who was planning to join the British.  His name was Benedict Arnold, and he commanded the important fortress of West Point.  Arnold believed that Congress had forgotten about his achievements at Quebec (1775) and Saratoga (1777), where he broke Burgoyne’s army without help from his commander Horatio Gates.  He was not happy with his lack of promotion while Gates, who did nothing at Saratoga, had been promoted to Major-General and was now commander of the entire Southern Department.  In addition, he was not pleased with the alliance with France, had endured a court-martial, and had married a stout Loyalist, Margaret “Peggy” Shippen. He planned to join the British, who were glad to have such a high-ranking general with them and would appreciate him more than Congress and Gates ever had, and give them West Point.  André and Arnold met several times to plan all the details, because Arnold wanted a large sum of money and a command in the British Army.  Arnold planned to surrender West Point when Washington was near, and Major Tallmadge might even be in the area.  To capture West Point, Washington, and Tallmadge, would be a war-winning blow.
Andre is visited by some Continental soldiers during his arrest
Picture by Howard Pyle
Finally, Arnold was ready to make his move.  He gave a pass for the bearer “John Anderson” to go through Continental lines and patrols.  André set out, but was stopped by three wild armed men.  Andre believed them to be British, but they were not.  They were more interested in his watch, money, and fine boots than any other cause.  When they took André’s boots off, they found a map of West Point and papers telling where the Continental troops were located.  John Paulding, the only militiaman in the trio who could read, read the papers.  The three decided to take André along to the local Continental colonel, who sent him on to Washington.  André said that he was an officer taken prisoner, not a spy, and that he was arrested while between the British and American lines, both of which statements were true.  Clinton would not exchange Arnold for André, but the Continentals needed to pin the blame on someone.  Many on both sides (including General Washington) regretted André’s death, for he was a gentleman of courage.  In fact, André and Tallmadge became good friends while André was under arrest.  After his death, he was fondly remembered by all.  The British erected a monument to his memory, gave his mother and sisters a pension, his brother a knighthood (André never married and had no children), and buried him in Westminster Abbey.  After the war, Tallmadge defended him in Congress against John Paulding, who wanted an increase in his pension for catching André (he didn’t receive it).
Arnold escaped to British lines and hunted spies in New York before becoming a less-than-remarkable British general who raided Connecticut and Virginia.  Robert Townsend quit work in the Culper Ring, worried about what might happen if Arnold arrested him.  In 1781-82, the Culper Ring silently dissolved, and its members resumed normal life.

[i] Fred B. Wrixon, Codes, Ciphers, Secrets and Cryptic Communication (New York: Black Dog & Leventhal, 2005)—p. 490

Monday, May 14, 2012

A Different Kind of Courage part 1 of 3

Recently, I joined a magazine dedicated to showing the work of God in history.  It is called "The Young Patriot Magazine", and articles are written by readers.  For more information about the magazine, or to subscribe, just leave me a comment.
Their first issue was on the American War for Independence.  I asked if they had a particular aspect which they wanted me to cover, and was given the assignment to write about the spies in the war.  In the magazine, it is one article; however, I have broken it up into three articles to post here.

A Different Kind of Courage: Spies in the American War for Independence

Spies have been used by military leaders for thousands of years.  Moses sent spies to spy out the land of Canaan (Numbers 13) and Joshua sent two spies into Jericho to gather information on the enemy army and walls (Joshua 2).
Washington’s Spies
George Washington believed in the importance of spies to gather information.  One of his first spies was Nathan Hale.  Hale was supposed to gather information in New York, but was seen and hunted by the wily veteran, Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Rogers of the Queen’s Rangers.  Rogers met Hale by pretending to be a Continental sympathizer.  When they met again in a tavern, some men of the Queen’s Rangers were in disguise nearby.  Once Hale rather foolishly told Rogers he was a spy, the Rangers arrested him. Shortly after Hale’s execution, a British officer recorded this entry about Hale in his journal: He behaved with great composure and resolution, saying he thought it the duty of every good officer, to obey any orders given him by his commander in chief; and desired the spectators to be at all times prepared to meet death in whatever shape it might appear.”[i]
In 1778, Washington appointed Benjamin Tallmadge, a friend of Hale’s from college and Major of the 2nd Continental Light Dragoons, as chief Continental spymaster.  Tallmadge formed the Culper Ring to smuggle information out of New York City.   New York City had been British headquarters since Washington’s defeat at Long Island in 1776.  It was inhabited by British soldiers and loyal civilians, who would quickly inform a local British commander if they noticed an enemy spy.  The members of the Culper Ring ran great risks, but secured important information for the Continental cause. 
After many difficulties, Tallmadge formed a strong chain of agents, travelling over 100 miles to link New York City to Washington’s headquarters in New Windsor, New York.  Charles Townsend (codenamed Culper Jr.) was the agent in New York, responsible for gathering all the information he could find from British sympathizers in New York.   Townsend would write an innocent letter in black ink, but put his information in invisible ink (the Culper Ring called it the “stain”) between the lines.  His invisible ink message was also written in a cipher that Tallmadge had designed, where some of the words would be replaced by numbers.  For example, 711 was “General Washington”, 635 was “troops”, 355 was “lady”, and 727 was “New York”.  Thus a typical message would look like this one: “I intend to visit 727 before long and think by the assistance of a 355 of my acquaintance, shall be able to out wit them all.”[ii]
When the letter was finished, he would pass it on to Austin Roe or Jonas Hawkins.  They would convey the messages to Long Island Sound, where Caleb Brewster would sail them across in his whaleboat, dropping them off with Culper Sr. (the codename for Abraham Woodhull, the leader of the Culper Ring) who had previously been the New York contact.  Woodhull, after adding any information of his own, passed the dispatches on to Tallmadge.  Tallmadge would render the invisible ink visible, and send the now-complete message, via unsuspecting troopers of the 2nd Continental Light Dragoons, directly to Washington.  While the route was long and somewhat tedious, it provided Washington with his only link into the British fortress of New York.
The Culper Ring provided Washington with key information.  In 1779, they reported that General Henry Clinton was preparing boats and troops to attack…somewhere.  It turned out to be preparations for Colonel William Tryon’s 1779 raid into Connecticut. 
But their most important work came in 1780.  The Ring warned Washington of a planned British ambush of Rochambeau’s French troops as they landed in Rhode Island.  Clinton formed an expeditionary force to sail to Rhode Island, where they would hide on the beach in ambush, waiting for the French to land.  When the French stepped off their boats, British troops would blast them with musket fire.  After the heavy losses, Louis XVI would probably lose his ardor for the Continental cause, and the American-French alliance would collapse.
Washington sent this information on to Rochambeau, who altered his plans accordingly.  Washington also moved a strong part of his army closer to New York, which the British scouts noticed.  If Clinton sent most of his veteran British troops to Rhode Island, Washington might capture New York, and Clinton would have to find another seaport city to use as a base of operations.  For without a seaport, he could not receive aid from the Royal Navy.  Clinton cancelled his expedition, and so did Washington.
Washington had other spies, and British deserters might pass along some information, but the Culper Ring was by far the most professional, and gave Washington the best and most trustworthy information.

[i] Alexander Rose, Washington’s Spies: The Story of America’s First Spy Ring (New York: Bantam Dell, 2006)—pp. 31-32
[ii] Ibid. –p. 173

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Queen Anne

"Honour all men.  Love the brotherhood.  Fear God.  Honour the king."--1 Peter 2:17

Queen Anne, "in dying" says Klose, confirmed the belief, that had long prevailed, of her partiality for the exiled Prince, by exclaiming, "Oh, my dear brother, how I pity you!"--pg. 322, History of the Irish Brigades in the Service of France by John Cornelius O'Callaghan.
Prince George and Princess Anne of Denmark
Queen Anne I of Great Britain was born February 6, 1665 to James, Duke of York and Anne Hyde.  On July 28, 1683, she married Prince George of Denmark, becoming Princess Anne of Denmark.  When William III invaded England, George and Anne deserted James II and joined William.
In 1702, William III died and the crown passed to Anne, who was, author G. A. Henty says "good-nature itself".  Anne determined to let her brother succeed her, perhaps in hopes of undoing her desertion of her father, and reorganized the army to that end.  Most of the people were in favor of her brother, James III, having the crown. In God's providence, however, she died just before her plans could be finished, saying that she pitied her "dear brother".
Despite the fact that her plan was undone, Queen Anne is remembered fondly today.  Under her, British troops won the War of the Spanish Succession with the Duke of Marlborough leading them.
Rather than idly wishing that her brother would succeed, she worked towards it.  So should we.