Sunday, September 9, 2012

Kill George Washington, Impossible.

The most well known traitor in American History, despite my argument, is Benedict Arnold. However, there was someone who did something much more traitorous then Arnold. How traitorous am I talking? Well, this man planned to kill George Washington. That's right, you read that correctly. There was a planned attempt to take Washington's life in 1776. If successful, this assassination would have crushed the rebellion and any & all hopes of American Independence. So how can this person be overshadowed by the actions of Arnold? Was West Point more valuable then General Washington? I highly doubt it, but it is important to see that there is a traitor so horrible in our History, that from now on when someone betrays you, call them a Thomas Hickey.

To most people George Washington is a mythical giant of indestructibility on which our nation was built. However, it is a fact that Washington's military skill was not a match of his counterparts and was a flesh and bone guy just like the rest of us. That being said, it was a man entrusted to guard his life that would be part of the attempt of taking it. Thomas Hickey was a private in the Commander-in-Chief's-Guard. He was an original member of the Guard which formed in March of 1776 in New York City. The Guard had several objectives, protect official documents coming and going to Washington, watching over the Continental Army's cash and most importantly keeping George Washington alive. Thomas Hickey was one of the selected men to carry out these duties. But from the beginning Hickey was trouble. In the spring of 1776 he was jailed for passing counterfeit money. While in prison Hickey blabbed about the planned assassination.

Hickey explained to a fellow prisoner Issac Ketcham that a group planned on betraying not only Washington, but America when the British arrived to New York. The plan was to kidnap Washington and turn him over to the Brits and kill his chief officers. The plot involved a total of eight men, two of which were the Mayor of New York City David Mathews and Governor of New York William Tryon. Now a quick recap for those that don't remember U.S. History I. New York City was a Loyalist stronghold. Those loyal Tories flocked to New York because of its ties to the mother country and the fact that the British would go onto hold New York City until the end of the war. Luckily the assassination was never able to come to pass, or else we'd still be sipping tea at high noon and watching cricket. With Hickey now the main suspect it was time to hand out some old fashion American justice. Hickey was hung on June 28th in New York City in front of nearly 20,000 onlookers that Washington himself ordered to go. The order was given as to send a warning to any future traitors. It was a stern and clear message that trying to double cross George Washington would result in your death. After the hanging of Hickey, no other attempt was made on Washington's life.

So why write about Hickey? To prove once more that you can't mess with George Washington? Not really, but it also adds to the lore that George Washington could not be killed by conventional weapons. But it does show something amazing. Even though the United States was still in its infancy, it's government was already created. The case of Hickey went before the Provincial Congress. It was there that the court martial and sentencing were handled. The young nations government was not even officially formed but was already a fully function government office. Hickey also should be going down in American History as America's greatest traitor. So it appears that a man can conspire to kidnap or kill George Washington and not be remembered. Perhaps it is because the plan never happened and that is why we dub Benedict Arnold with the title of greatest traitor. But in the end the rest is history as they say. Washington would go on to defeat the Evil Empire that England was, be the first American President and set a standard for which not just the Presidents should strive for buy all Americans should. 


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