Benedict Arnold and Monson Hayt
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- Arnold, Benedict, General
- Hayt, Monson
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Benedict Arnold was born January 14th, 1741, in Norwich, Connecticut, son of Benedict Arnold, a merchant, and Hannah Mansfield.
The infamy that clings to Benedict Arnold in the American popular mind has obscured the remarkable life a man who was--after George Washington--the ablest general in the Continental Army. He had an apothecary shop and trading business in New Haven in 1761.
When the Revolution broke out in 1775 Arnold was eager to defend colonial liberties against what he regarded as the oppressive policies of th British government. He would take part in numerous campaigns, including the failed invasion of Canada (1775-1776). In 1780, he defected to the British Army. His publicly stated reasons were that he never supported the idea of independence but merely had wished for a redress of legitimate colonial grievances; and he was simply not able to continue supporting the American cause once an alliance with France, "the enemy of the Protestant faith", had been concluded. In reality more likely personal problems he experienced during the war: enemies, accusations of misconduct, court martial, etc. Convinced that a man of his talents deserved better treatment, in May 1779 he began sending military intelligence to the British Commander-in-Chief, Sir Henry Clinton, using at intermediaries the Loyalists Joseph Stansbury and Jonathan Odell. He was made a brigadier-general in the British forces.
In 1781, having abondoned all hope for a future in the colonies he moved to England. There he was still unable to be involved in any substantial way in the war. In 1785 he emigrated to Saint John, New Brunswick, and purchased lot. no. 1329 and established a trading partnership with his son Richard and Monson Hayt. The firm conducted a profitable trade with the West Indies. He was still embroiled in controversy particularly with a lawsuit against Edward Winslow in 1789. The partnership dissolved and Hayt and Arnold were involved in legal actions. Arnold was accused of arson of the business for the insurance money. Arnold was defended by Ward Chipman and Jonathan Bliss. Hayt was found gulity of slander but the damages awarded were minor. Arnold left for England in 1791. Arnold's last years in England were miserable ones. He was still was unable to obtain a military command, was financially not prosperous, and plagued with ill health. He even fought a duel in 1792. He died in 1801.
Dictionary of Canadain Biography, Vol V, 1983
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This fonds includes legal documents relevant to the litigation process between Arnold and Hayt in 1790.
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Documents donated to UNB Archives by Fraser Winslow on 17 October 1950.
Arrangement is chronological.
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See also Miscellaneous material relating to early NB history (MG H 57) no. 17: Deed ... signed by Benedict Arnold 31 August 1786.