After years of protesting and resisting British rule in New York, Mulligan passed important information on to George Washington, possibly saving his life. How did that one-time act of happenstance blossomed into a career as a full-time spy?
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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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bringing you three stories from our team about the weird and wonders developments we ve seen in science, technology and culture. Fresh episodes will be out every Monday on Itunes, Spotify Google play music and everywhere else with fine hot has profound. welcome to you, Mr News, from how support and welcome to them. I am Tracy how we may we are picking up where we left off in our story of ITALY's Mulligan, inspired by the blade Hamilton, although, as we mentioned in part one, literally the only character or place or whatever that appears in well, so that no one has asked us to talk about it. I just wanted to do it
after years of protest staying and resisting british rule in New York, Hercules Mulligan passed some important information on relating to the safety of George Washington, which possibly say of the man's life, and today we will talk about how this one time act of half happenstance, where he just happened to be in the right place at the right time, with the right intoxicated person to get important information to sort of transformed into a career as a full times. By, as we talked about power, one Hercules, Mulligan owned and extremely fashionable clothing shop on Queen Street in New York, when british forces moved into the city more and more british officer started buying clothes from him, including their uniforms, and form aware for the evenings. Mulligan also did repairs for soldiers in the lower ranks he kept up.
owing to civilians as well. Basically, anyone who wanted fashionable well made clothing could go to Hercules and a lot of people were willing to overlook his solid history, resisting the British in order to buy clothes from him. So great was his reputation. There are also people who overlooked the fact that they found the man personally to be kind of tacky, angry and goose egg. Even going to imagine a very flamboyant showy person rubbing some of this Nobby Elk the wrong way because Hercules, millions, brother owned cartwrighting Company and his wife was the needs of a royal, the admiral. He was in a pretty socially briskly disposition and, as always, food drink and lively conversation were part of any shopping excursion to Molly and place of business. They started picking up little tidbits about the british forces and its plans to casual conversation, anthem. exactly what kind of clothing people were ordering from him things that seems to be unseasonable.
Warm or cool for what the weather was like in New York suggested that somebody might be about to be deployed somewhere else soon. He became re acquainted with Hame Solomon, a Jew who have emigrated from Poland and had been jailed it Provost prison at the same time as Mulligan had Solomon told Mulligan that he had told the British he wanted to join their cause and, having heard that, a lot of british officers were having trouble communicating with german speaking hessian soldiers, he offered his services as a translator, as people had gotten used to his presence. They had stopped being particularly keen well about what information they shared in front of him or how sensitive the materials were, that they gave him to translate the minutes as a bit of a side. Note Solomon was one of the people who were spreading rumours to the haitian soldiers that they actually be a lot better off is hurting, which is a phenomenon we tie but in our previous podcast on the Haitians, desertion rates or kind of I, because they had heard that they can stay in the United States
We want a fireman. How great that would be one of the sources a bad idea was Hame Solomon around him. Solomon was actually captured as a spy and sentenced to death, but the sons of Liberty broke him out of jail and went back to his former work. As a Joe Broker and a lot of its financial works supported the revolution Some grandiose claims for from later on that led to him being nicknamed the financial zero of the American Revolution were likely invented, or at least really deeply embedded. by a well meaning but overzealous son after his death maleagans work at the shop and solomons work as a translator meant that together they had all kinds of access to information that would be very useful to the continental army. But by this point the continental Army was headquarters in Pennsylvania and there was no possible way either man could travel there.
Back unnoticed. Yeah. Apart from the fact that Hercules Mulligan had already had only been released from jail under the condition that he not leave New York, vows kind of a hall, people would notice if you were gone for that long, and so this is when Hercules Mulligan turns to cater so sometimes and historical record and in article thirty Cato is described as a servant, but it's far more likely that he was in slaves. Like a lot of times, people use the word servants of talk about people that they actually owned as property, not as servants who were paid for their labour he's that we probably was
Hercules. Maleagans property people were used to seeing Cato deliver Mulligan merchandise, both the british and hessian officers, though you seem like a pretty good choice. The start delivering other things as well. First Mulligan gave Cato advertisements for his shop to take two Solomon and have translated into German at those were then distributed to hessian forces and then Sullivan would give Cato documentation of whatever intelligence that he gathered and Katy would take that back to Mulligan Some of this was about the british force in their plans where they were being quartered, how they were being trained and disciplined and what kind of supplies they were procuring. Seventy and Asian was about what was happening in the war itself. Hercules Mulligan learn the battles of Trenton in Princeton, for example, from Solomon via Cato is the courier who carried the information Hercules Molly
gleaned information from his brother, Hugh as Well Hughes firm, had become a supplier to the british Army and as owners, he had information about everything they were buying and where it was to be sent some of her colleagues Elegans intelligence was gathered in his own home as well, as was the case for a lot of people in New York. He was made to house british officers there. There is some disagreement among historians about exactly when and how Hercules Mulligan started. Officially spying for George Washington, however, some time or in the spring of seventeen. Seventy seven George Washington remark to Alexander Hamilton that he wished they had a trusted spy in New York City who could keep them informed on the situation there. Unsurprisingly, Hamilton suggested his long time, friend, well known, patriot and friendly year to a seemingly endless parade of british officers in need of clothing for the job.
The formation of the coal perspiring would follow in about one year, talk a little bit more about Hercules, millions, more official spy craft and how he eventually did become associated with this covers firing after a brief word from Here's the thing, saving we were Geico was almost better than playing pick up basketball, because there's always that guy who joins your game. He never passes the rock he constantly bricks theories and who completely you and then put his hands up and say no foul, no foul with Geico it's easy to switch save on car insurance, no need to fake an ankle sprain because you're, absolutely exhausted, so which in save with back it's almost better than sports
tat the little bit pontellier. Exactly how her do you smell again found out that Turkey had gotten a job at the spot. The whole thing was undertaken with so much safer. That there is actually no mention of it in Washington or Hamiltons papers Likelihood Hamilton sends a message along with a farmer or a merchant or some other civilian, with the legitimate reason to get into New York alone, with the news that he was to be a spy mulligan, also that a list of safe houses in New York in New Jersey, where you could send messages. Many of these messages went the Cato who people were used to seeing out about carrying packages to and from elegance shop. You would usually carry a collection of packages all looking very much like normal parcels of clothing, but some of them contained the intelligence that Mulligan had gathered at the safe house. Goods and intelligence would be repackaged to remove all references to Mulligan and his shop and then they would be sent on their way
late April of seventeen. Seventy seven Cato carried a package containing details of a british Armada that was being assembled under general, William, how the particularly massive fleet, which would contain two hundred sixty ships and more than seventeen thousand men so the british Army was on the move and by sea. This information also contain details of a number of british and hessian officers who were asking well again to handle rush orders of lightweight uniforms. So logical conclusion: the british fleet was headed South Washington, first moved his fighting force to Middle Brook outside of New Brunswick New Jersey, ready to either defend New Jersey from a massive british attack or to move southward. If that was warranted, watchers along the coast lost sight of the fleet for several weeks when they were cited in the Chesapeake Bay on August twentieth of seventeen. Seventy
Then Washington deduce that their target was Philadelphia. This information meant that Washington was in fact able to meet general how they are and mounted a. However, House superior numbers meant that he took Philadelphia just the same and he established a headquarters there for a while. This meant that Maleagans intelligence in New York wasn't is important. It was nice to have, but with House headquarters in Philadelphia. It often wasn't is critical until later on in seventeen, seventy eight when general, how resign and was succeeded by General Henry Clinton who relocated the british armies headquarters back to New York. It was about this time when Mulligan first made contact with the culprit ring. So, to recap, for the folks who are familiar, the copper ring was one of George Washington's intelligent, organizations daringly american Revolutionary war. The copper ring was named for the code names of two of its agents. Abraham would hall, he was code, name, Samuel, copper and Robert Townsend, who is code name Samuel,
Virginia the covering with organised and managed by major Benjamin Talmud, there are other agents and stubbornness in aspiring as well and apart from her please now again the most well known or Caleb Brewster Austin ROW and a strong, and a woman known as three fifty five. Rather than sending scouts on short reconnaissance missions in enemy territory, the coal perspiring operated by keeping a continual presents behind enemy lines in New York. They were all effectively working under cover and reporting. Their findings of british fortifications and movements back to the continental Army, Mulligan seems to have become acquainted with the copper ring. Three Robert Townsend a K, a copper junior who can actually known for several years and once he was aware of this spy rings existence. He thought it would be a good idea to maintain a formal connection to have a second and sometimes better, depending on the circumstances way of getting information to George Washington.
Abraham, would Hall really didn't like this idea, as we measured in part, one mulligan had been extremely visible in his pro independence activities. Connecting him connecting with him seemed like way too much of a risk for a very covert spy ring so in towns and started spending, time and Mulligan Shop and then collecting documents to pass on the George Washington. It was not entirely with wood holes approval. He was in fact so anxious about the idea of being discovered thanks to mulligan that he sometimes took to his bed over. It tell me, on the other hand, new, a thing about it until after the war, because the need for secrecy was so great and they did not have any person who knew literally every other person. That would be a bad idea, covert firing. There's only one way to run your specific, I for one person to have literally all the detail about all the other people so Hercules.
Again used the call perspiring to send his intelligence, occasionally in somewhat sporadically throughout, though or he really relied alot more on Cato to do it. Cato wound are being arrested and interrogated at Provost prison, at least once where he was reportedly treated extremely clear Mulligan eventually arranged his release, and he bid continue to work as a courier after that point, but having been captured once did make him a little bit less effective as a covert operative, he'd sort of was on the list now like Hercules, Mulligan of people who were trouble. Mulligan was arrested a second time in May of seventeen. Seventy eight, following an attempt by british forces to recruit him to the army at a tavern thinking that he appeared to be so popular that if he enlisted surely others would follow. Mulligan, of course refused and the whole thing threatens to lead to a huge bar fight before the british forces left shortly thereafter. Mulligan was arrested for obstructing.
officer in the performance of his duties, Mulligan wound up giving aid jovial and light hearted testimony on the matter and audience before, whom included a lot of his customers and once again he was released and once again afterward he returns to aspire work. The information mulligan obtained and passed on in late, seventeen, seventy eight and early seventeen, seventy nine included a plot to capture or assassinate George Washington and several prominent patriot leaders, including Governor William Livingston of New Jersey in July of seventeen seventy nine. He also learned that major Lynch was moving South was it with his entire core, which he heard from the man self in his shop and confirmed by finding out that his brother was provisioning them. He also passed along information regarding an eminent attack on Charleston South Carolina in the winter of seventeen. Seventy nine seventeen eighty with Washington was once again able to act on, but similarly too
this experience as it was not enough to successfully defend Charleston from the british forces, far superior numbers in the summer of seventeen. Eighty mulligan gathered some particularly sensitive information. British forces were planning to attack about five thousand troops, led by Count Russia Bow of France when they arrived at Newport, Rhode, island, hoping to surprise them upon their arrival. This would Britain hoped derail France's involvement in the war, and this message was so important that Mulligan scented, the other Koper rings information chain and by Cato going straight we'll Headquarters Cato delivered his message first and was once George Washington heard about it from Alexander Hamilton. He immediately move to defend the french troops landing. He also created some false orders about attack inclined onto New York, which he allowed to fall into british hands, making Clinton who wary to leave New York and protected in order to attack the french force, Russia
and his men arrived in Newport and were on their way without having to fight off the british first. Other intelligence efforts were not quite successful in December of seventeen. Eighty Hercules Mulligan was pretty sure that something was going on and that it was something big, but no amount of boisterous conversation and generous libations in his shop could reveal exactly what it seems to be happening around the Upper Hudson River. Also suspicious on that front was Robert Townsend, whose family home on Oyster Bay, was being used to billet british troops and Major John Andrea was frequently see visiting their. What was going on was the Benedict Arnold was plotting to hand over West point to the British in exchange for money and the commission and the british Army none of Thousands or Maleagans intelligence had added up to that, and we they both knew something without that it still caught. Everyone by surprise, Andrew,
however, was captured with incriminating documents, so the patriots did find out about the plot, but not before Benedict Arnold was able to escape behind british lines. Lying, with the knowledge that Washington had a spy that work, although appeal we need a lot of clear detail about who was involved or how Andrea was executed in retaliation. The British started rounding up anyone Arnold named as a spy or a sympathiser Hercules brother. He happened to be a cleanse headquarters while negotiating a provision income, ACT, and he heard about this order. He let his brother, new and arrest was imminent, but Hercules refused to leave New York once again. Hercules Mulligan was arrested and this time he was taken right well prison, which is where he learned of his arrest. Had been because Benedict Arnold have named him as a spy, he merely escaped they then but a patrol spotted him trying to climb over the prison wall. He wondered being recaptured and then move to Provost prison, which was still
overseen by his long time, enemy, William Cunningham. At this point, Mulligan was courtmartialed. The lead witness against him was Benedict Arnold, but Arnold didn't really have any clear evidence to give its likely that he had simply named Mulligan as a spy because he had such long and obvious loyalist leanings. Cunningham testified as well, but his evidence was mostly his personal dislike of Hercules Mulligan, so it no hard evidence and yet another silver tongue. Defence on the part I would give himself he was neither convicted nor acquitted, but Captain Provost prison because surely, after so many arrests, something must be going on us really worked out to be kind of a bad. Turning. for her killings, MEL again and we'll talk about exactly now after a rake. The media landscape continues to change. Policy programme leads the ones we follow on a weekly basis region out the fans in a completely different way, guys like Tom Brady for Broad James
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regards are clear on exactly how long Hercules Mulligan was detained this time around and protest prison. The reason Ultimately, releasing him also is not totally clear, but it seems like he was in there for approximately five months. Even though his clothing shop had been open staffed, while he was imprisoned, business had dropped off precipitously. Previously it seemed ass, though british officers and soldiers were willing to overlook maleagans, obviously loyalists leanings, whether it was because he was so friendly or because his store was so fashionable, didn't seem willing to overlook Benedict Arnold allegation that he was a spy. However, and thus this was especially true since he'd been imprisoned on charges of espionage and never
quitted of those charges. He wound up having to work for his brother, whilst struggling to keep his own shop open. Even though loyalists were far less likely to shop in his store after this point, Hercules was still able to gather information while working at his brothers firm, which way still provisioning and out bidding the british military in the Americas. It was while working at his brothers firm that Hercules Mulligan heard of another plot to kill George Washington intended to take place as he passed through Lebanon Connecticut on March fifth of seventeen. Eighty one. This followed the british forces learning that Washington was planning to meet with Russian BO sending messages via Cato was really no longer an option both because of his own prior arrest and because he was owned by the not ever actually acquitted of treason, Hercules, Mulligan, so Mulligan the Washington and then his message by Robert towns and in the copper ring. The message arrive.
time for Washington to change his red, avoid the british ambush and still make his rendezvous with russian Bow Pharaoh. This was probably the second time that Mulligan Save Washington Life, although the play Hamilton and makes it sound as though the patriots knew their plan for the battle of Yorktown would work thanks to Mulligan spy work, and there was quite a bit of espionage involved in that battle. Success for the Patriots Molly himself, actually doesn't seem to have been a major player in that one. Most of the fighting in the American Revolutionary WAR ended after the battle of Yorktown did not was in October of seventeen eighty one, although the work itself officially end until September. Third, seventeen, eighty three, that window between the end of the battle of York, town and the end of the war was a particularly difficult one for Hercules: Mulligan in his family, without british officers and soldiers, barring clothes from him, his clothing business nearly fell, failed and higher,
and without a british army to outfit anymore, he couldn't moonlight and his brothers sperm anymore, because they're just wasn't enough work for him to do there. He wound up deeply in there and he tried and failed to offset this debt by working and real estate with the end of the war. Benjamin damage became afraid that some of his Koper, agent, spies, who would maintain loyalists covers during the war, would be harassed or otherwise treated badly after the war had wrapped up. It was when meeting with Washington to try to figure out how to ensure the safety of his agents. The Talmud learned about Mulligan for the first time at some point, the two men, reportedly men and Mulligan, described his spy work, as quote generals have a way of talking, sometimes when their being fitted for an embroidered waistcoat. So I keep ears open on November. Twenty six, seventeen eighty three after the end of the war, George Washington and Alexander Hamilton, went Somalians home at twenty three Queen Street to have breakfast with the Mulligan family, probably as a show of thanks for Maleagans work,
Washington also ordered a complete wardrobe of civilian clothes for Mulligan who, from that point on described himself ass, Claudia General Washington in his advertisements, this event turned his business back. And although it was still quite some time before he was financially solvent again, his name was posted in lists of insolvent debtors until seventeen. Eighty five during Washington's presidency, at which point the capital was in New York. He live not far from Mulligan Sharp and he visited their several times. Washington also continued to buy clothes from Hercules Mulligan because of the extreme secrecy with which Mulligan had carried out his fur. work. Most of their surviving correspondence is actually about ordering clothes, including a letter written to order some mole, skin and pants who sent from Silt Philadelphia in seventeen. Ninety two Hercules and his wife, one that having eight children together, three sons and five daughters, and they prospered until his eighteen twenty retirement, their child
we're John Sarah Elizabeth, Margaret William Francis Hercules and Mary. Several of them lived quite long although the younger three Francis Hercules and Mary died at the age of ten nine months and five Hercules again himself passed away in eighteen. Twenty nine and he's buried and truly churchyard, not that far from Alexander Hamilton, that is, Hercules, Mulligan story and while many people probably want to sing songs from Hamilton. Now I have the Disney. gospel, Choir Hercules thing going on in my head very fond of stay Hercules Mulligan. It is a good name and I feel like
However, some of the things that I read as those preparing for this you often weak people surnames more when we're talking about a person at length and apply gas and it it doesn't seem like a lot of people were electing to call him Hercules Mulligan all the way through, maybe desgas they were tackled by that being such an awesome name, blame them. Do you have a little bit of listener mail for us as well? Do it is from fan stance has good morning Ladys. I just finished listening to the WASP episode and thought you might enjoy some personal flash family law regarding the Wall Street. my grandmother was a registered nurse in the army Erika during World war. To see was stationed. Stateside down, there were Delaware, she told us a story that involved health and other nurses at the base. During the day, the nurses had washed their clothes and had everything hang out and closely to dry. During that day, a group of WASP flew into the base one Sunday,
They showered impression Bab. When my grandmother in her nurse friends went to retrieve their clothes, they were missing underwear the presumption what when the last flew and they now the clean clothes to change into. After that, the nurses would try their clothes inside their barracks. My grandmother told the story and laughed about it. I have no idea whether that family story true or not, but it does amuse me a little bit that maybe, if you were falling into a basin freshening up, you might want some clean to put on and and and maybe you you might take a less than up enough way to solve that problem. During war time. This letter design, my grandmother, had to go to the mythology order food for the patients. So during this time she started dating a man who would become my grandfather chooses she was a second lieutenant. He was a staff sergeant. There was an officer and enlisted men situation which is frowned upon in the military. She
MR tour was honourably discharged and they were married, then my grandfather with them over to India to finish this time and the war wrapped up I find it amazing how women during World WAR, two were allowed to do quote men's work, but once the men and women were sidelined. I think you did a great job of explaining how the last do their job in such a way as to not threaten a mantra, but as soon as things slowed down, they were bait. They were essentially threatening men's work by taking away jobs for men think about it. This happen everywhere. Rosy the river was sent home from the factory when the boys came back from the waterfront. This must have been very difficult for young. None of that generation to have broken through the glass ceiling just to get pushed back down when the war was over. I was too young to really think about this Things from my grandmother was alive when I think about it. My mother grew up with two working parents, something that was kind of unusual back in there
I feel like anyone can do anything regardless of your gender race orientation, but even today I think there is a gap between women and men and also a race gap. I feel very strongly that there is a biased toward girls and certain risk groups at a young age that carry out and perpetuate stereotyping. We as a society ever reachable. Where everyone is equal based on school, I dont know, but I think there needs to be a ton of fundamental changes to happen before society embraces these viewpoints completely sincerely stand. Thank you so much then. I love the story as I alluded to love a story about alleged undergarments theft.
it tackles me a little bit. I agree like with it definitely was hard for for women who had been out in the workforce and enjoyed in a lot of cases being out in the word workforce, then being basically steps backward once the wherewith over, which is one of the reasons why we have told some of those on the show. If you would like to write to us about this or any other punk you can. If history Pike ass the House to Fort Stockholm, we do Many have every other thing ever mentioned in the word in the in the play Hamilton on the list already. So no need to do that of anything else. Go ahead, write to us, whereas on face if they spoke that complements the industry and on twitter it s, the mystery are tumblr is missed in history that somebody com or also unhampered restock, confines missed. Industry are Instagram, MR history as well. You can come to our parent companies website, because how stuff works that put the word,
as to the search bar and you'll find housewives work. Little learn a little more about we talked about today. You can also from the higher with that which have missed in history that you'll find out your archive everything we had ever done. Your fine. I just that share those are the ones for Holly follies and my upstairs. But when we have worked on the ones we have worked on together, they can do all that
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