There was another Royal Wedding this past weekend.
Also came the announcement of another Royal Pregnancy. (For the record: I think they will have a girl. They will name her Ann. You heard it here first.)
So yes, the Royals.
We all might be paying more attention to this, if it were not for spies.
It is true. America, might be England-West, if it were not for a band of spies called the Culper Ring. I was just reading about them this morning.
All of this, of course, takes place during the Revolutionary war, when we were hashing things out with Britain about our Independence.
In July 1776, those good old colonial delegates wrote and signed the Declaration of Independence. We declared. I DO declare. And the British Empire was given notice that we intended to break our ties and be on our own. We were tired of tea and crumpets. And then some.
The English didn’t like that trash talk. So very soon, a war was underway. Yet, we didn’t start out so great. By the end of the year, our General George Washington and the Continental Army were in trouble. He and his troops had been forced to abandon their position in New York City. Guess where they went.
Jersey. This was way before Chris Christie was snarfing Doritos on the beach with his family. Yes, the Continental Army took flight to New Jersey. To make matters worse, we had a spy and he got caught. It was Nathan Hale. The British hanged him for treason.
As you can see, Washington was in a tough spot. He organized several different groups to collect information. He used civilians in hopes they would attract less attention. But he needed news in New York.
So around 1778, The Culper Ring was formed out of sheer necessity. It was a ring of spies. The main guy was Benjamin Tallmadge. He was Washington’s director of military intelligence. Here is a sidebar. Benjamin Tallmadge had been Nathan Hale’s roommate at Yale. So. Can you imagine how he must have felt? Taking over this spy spot? “The guy before you was hanged, Ben. You’re Roomie, at Yale. But don’t worry. What could happen?”
At any rate, Tallmadge managed to recruit a small group of friends from his hometown. (Setauket, on Long Island, ) It was a pretty good group. Each of them brought lots of sources of information into the spy network. They did all sorts of sneaking around and snooping. They actually built a very complex system of gathering and relaying intelligence to Washington. I’m not kidding. They used invisible ink, and made-up names. They wrote in secret code too. Of course, all of this was risky business.
I could go into all the names of the spies, and the details of their work. But trust me on this. The things they did, the information they gathered, were critical points in the Continental Army winning the war.
There were less than a dozen spies in all, and after the war, they all went on to live happy, free, American lives. They probably got together on Independence Day and ate hot dogs, and baked beans. And jello desserts with Cool Whip layers, and crushed pineapple.
So, today I give thanks for the Culper Ring. Otherwise, I might be eating Black Pudding and Bubble & Squeak today, instead of good eggs and oatmeal.
Or saying “Long Live the Queen!”
But then again…..