Benedict Arnold: The Aftermath Of Treason

PrintPrintEmailEmail

… sincere thanks for your very acceptable present, which came most opportunely, having been obliged to incur a great many unavoidable expenses … [I am] constantly under the effects of opium, to relieve a pain which would otherwise be intolerable. … Mr. [Robert R.] Livingston, your Minister to Paris, called upon me several times during his stay in London, where he was not very well received. —He appears completely to have adopted French principles, and French ideas.—I have written this in great haste, and am always obliged to write while laying down, which is indeed almost wholly my position.—Pray remember me most tenderly to all the family, and believe me, my beloved Parent, most truly and affectionately
Yours
M. A.

Death came on August 24, 1804. She was only forty-four, but she had lived long enough to have been able to write her stepsons during the preceding summer, “To you I have rendered an essential service; I have rescued your Father’s memory from disrespect, by paying all his just debts; and his Children will now never have the mortification of being reproached with his speculations having injured anybody beyond his own family. … I have not even a tea-spoon, a towel, or a bottle of wine that I have not paid for.”

The note of quiet triumph was understandable. As a devoted wife and mother, faithful to her bargains and gallant under strain, the lovely Mrs. Benedict Arnold had made a good ending to an ill-starred life.