The First Conspiracy planned to Assassinate George Washington

In 1776 the War of Independence could have took a different turn due to a plot against George Washington. The failure of the scheme was caused by a counterfeiter and an iron mill foreman.

It may look like the something similar to a historical thriller but the event was real and led to one the most remarkable stories of the American Revolution.

The plot is beautifully rendered in a new book called ‘’The First Conspiracy’’, co-written by best-selling thriller author Brad Melzter and well-known documentary producer Josh Mesch.

The events occur in 1776 in the early months of the revolutionary war.  In those days obtaining independence from Great Britain seemed like a far-away shot. The British employed one of the most powerful armies of the world and the American army, constituted by untrained men and former criminals was considerably inferior.

The hope of the fledgling nation was placed in George Washington, named commander-in-chief of the army by the Continental Congress in 1775. While the army was deemed weak by many Washington proved that it was more than able to fight for its dream, conquering Boston and moving its sights on New York, a well-known British stronghold that was filled with loyalists.

The mayor of the City, David Matthews and governor William Tryon were Tories and feared the approach of Washington’s army. They came up with a daring plan: an attempt to kidnap or assassinate the general in order to strike a deep hit into the morale of American citizens.

While the plan was brave the execution was more than faulty. The plan involved the recruitment of members from the Life Guards, a group of well-trained soldiers that kept Washington safe. Two of the recruited guards were arrested for possession of counterfeit money. They revealed the plan to a cellmate which was also arrested for counterfeiting money. An iron mill foreman that was sent to investigate some workers that were also a part of the plot learned more details about it by pretending to be a British loyalist.

The attempt failed miserably and one of the guards was hanged. It is thought that the plot led to the birth of counterintelligence, a new field of espionage.

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Emmy Skylar

About the Author: Emmy Skylar

Emmy Skylar started working for Debate Report in 2017. Emmy grew up in a small town in northern Manitoba. But moved to Ontario for university. Before joining Debate Report, Emmy briefly worked as a freelance journalist for CBC News.  She covers politics and the economy.

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