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April 18, 2013

The Henry Plot

(Continued)

But when the British government failed to pay him for these documents (he wanted $160,000), John Henry returned to America. There he met a French crook named Soubiron, pretending to be the “Count of Crillon,” who suggested that John Henry sell his documents to the United States. After some negotiations, President Madison agreed to pay him $50,000 (virtually all the money in his Secret Service budget), while the “Count of Crillon,” sweetened the deal by giving Henry a fake deed to property in France supposed to be worth $30,000 more. Henry collected the $50,000 and promptly sailed for France.

When the documents were revealed to be worthless, the scheme backfired. Americans were furious at the British, and the anti-war Federalists were to some extent weakened. Some people believed that this hastened the American declaration of War against Britain in June 1812. The British “Order in Council of October 26,1812,” mentioned in the story above, provided for the issuance of licenses to American ships wishing to trade with French islands in the Caribbean, but only if they came from New England – thus seemingly endorsing John Henry’s claim that the New England states might be induced to break with the rest of the country.

Soldier’s Body Found

Cazenovia, March 31, 1813. On Thursday last, the coroner was called on to view the body of a man, found in ... the town of Nelson. The body appeared to have lain a considerable time in the situation in which it was found. He was about 5 foot 10 inches high. His dress was a blue short coat with metal buttons, swansdown vest, tow cloth shirt, light corduroy pantaloons and boots all very much torn or worn, and his body shockingly mangled and defaced by the hogs .... The coroner’s jury ... brought in a verdict, “that he died by the visitation of God, in a natural way.” JOHN E.BAKER, coroner.

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