After General Washington had delivered the reprimand to Benedict Arnold, he proceeded at once to make good the intimation which he had given the unhappy officer—“I will myself furnish you, as far as may be in my power, with opportunities of regaining the esteem of your country.” It was late in July, 1780, that General Washington had learned of the British plan to march to Newport and attack re-enforcements of the American cause before they could land and entrench themselves. Washington therefore decided to harry the British and perhaps prevent the attack by crossing the Hudson and marching down the east shore to menace New York, the British headquarters.
It was the last day of July, and General Washington was personally seeing the last division over at Kings Ferry, when Benedict Arnold appeared. It is true that he had been wounded, it is also true that his accounts had not been allowed by Congress; but his wound was the fortune of war, and the delay in allowing his accounts was due to his already acquired reputation for shady dealing in money matters, neither of which justified him in betraying his country, but both of which might have stimulated him to recover the status he had so early lost.
It was thus that Benedict Arnold appeared before George Washington, that last day of July, 1780—a man whom Congress rightly distrusted, a man who had just been rightly reprimanded, a man whose fellow-officers looked at him askance.
Yet it was to such a man that Washington made good his word. The army was on the way to New York to attack the British. As Arnold rode up, General Washington said to him, “You are to command the left wing, the post of honor.”
Those who were present report that, at Washington’s words, Arnold’s countenance fell. The magnanimity of the First American meant nothing to him. The opportunity to retrieve his good name had somehow lost its value.
So patent was Arnold’s disappointment, that Washington asked him to ride to headquarters and await him there. At headquarters Arnold disclosed to Washington’s aid, Colonel Tilghman, that his desire was not for a command in the army, but for the command of West Point. West Point was then but a post up the Hudson River, far outside the zone of important fighting, and certainly the last place it was thought the intrepid Arnold would desire to be. The inconsistency between Arnold’s desire for action and West Point’s lack of action struck General Washington very forcibly. He had offered Arnold a chance to rehabilitate his reputation; Arnold hung back, asking for a place where no distinctive service could then be rendered.
Now let the reader take note of this fact: it may be important, it may be unimportant; it may have some bearing on Benedict Arnold’s action, it may have none; but the fact nevertheless is this: The Forage Master, that is, the quartermaster at West Point, was Colonel Isaac Franks, a member of the same family which we have been considering in these articles. This Colonel Isaac Franks, we are informed by the Jewish records which make a great deal of the fact, was once confidential aide-de-camp to General Washington, though for what reason the relationship was dissolved we are not informed.
The reader will recall that the narrative of Benedict Arnold has already included two members of the Franks family—David, of Philadelphia, and David Solesbury Franks, who came down from Montreal.
The third Franks is now in view—Colonel Isaac Franks. He is in charge of supplies at the post of West Point. It is to West Point that Benedict Arnold wishes to go, even though General Washington is offering him the post of honor in the forward movement which the Continental Army is about to make. It is the last day of July, 1780.
On August 3, General Washington gave Arnold his orders and allowed him to proceed to take command of West Point. Accompanying him, of course, was Colonel David Solesbury Franks, his aide-de-camp, whose testimony had been so useful at the court martial. There were then two Franks at West Point—Colonel D. S. Franks, aid to the commandant, and Colonel Isaac Franks, in charge of supplying the post.
It appears that Arnold had already been in communication with the enemy and had asked for the command at West Point, not for any of the reasons he alleged to General Washington, but because he had already chosen it as the gateway through which he was to let the British through into the weakened American territory. For two months Arnold had been writing to “Anderson,” or John André. He had been reaching out toward the enemy for a longer time than that, and had at length requested that a man equal to himself be appointed to negotiate with him. Major John André, adjutant general of the British Army in America, was chosen as one of rank sufficiently high to deal with Arnold. They had already come into touch with each other before Arnold asked General Washington for the post at West Point. And André, as we have previously seen, knew the Franks.
Apologists for Arnold have said that the reason he showed so deep a disappointment when General Washington offered him the command of the left wing of the army, was that he had never expected such magnanimous treatment, and for the moment was conscience-stricken that he had gone so far with the enemy when his own country offered him such fine prospects. If that were the true state of Arnold’s mind, he need only have taken command of the left wing, or, having been committed to take West Point, he need only have gone there and performed his soldierly duty.
The history and personality of Major John André, who completed the negotiations with Arnold, and lost his life as a spy, while Arnold lived long as a traitor, have been the object of much interest and research. His descent is obscure. His parentage was known as “Swiss-French.” It is thought that the first André came to England in the train of a Jewish family. André himself had those accomplishments which were most highly prized in the society of the day. In any event, of Jewish or non-Jewish descent, he was a far finer character than Benedict Arnold.
On Arnold’s staff at West Point, besides the two Jewish Franks—Isaac and David—there was Lieutenant Colonel Richard Varick. This Varick was a wise young fellow who preferred to have as little as possible to do with Arnold’s affairs. He refused to take any responsibility connected with Arnold’s dealings with money or goods. For some apparently good reason, which will not be difficult for the reader to surmise, Varick adopted the strict policy of keeping his hands off all supplies. Thus it was left to Major Franks to attend all such matters, to which he was apparently nothing loath. In fact, Major Franks even looked after General Arnold’s private cupboard.
Not to delay longer over details, suffice it to say that on September 22, 1780, less than two months after assuming command at West Point, the treason of Benedict Arnold was accomplished. One more day, and it was discovered and foiled.
Instant inquiry was made to detect accomplices. Major Franks is placed under arrest. David Franks, of Philadelphia, is arrested. It may or may not be significant, but it is nevertheless a fact, that upon the accomplishment of Arnold’s treason the authorities ordered that the two Jews, David Franks and David Solesbury Franks, be put under arrest.
The experience of David Franks adds a bit of Jewish comedy to this serious scene. It appears that he still has influence to save him from severe treatment and to gain him time. On the occasion of his previous arrest in 1778, Benedict Arnold was commander of the city of Philadelphia and David Solesbury Franks was on Arnold’s staff, and if Arnold and Franks could concoct a scheme of profiteering off the closed stores of the city, it was probably not beyond them to see that the elder David Franks received favor in his case. At least, as the reader of previous articles knows, David Franks went free, although caught in the act of communicating with the enemy.
But this time there is no Benedict Arnold to help him, and his nephew, like himself, is under arrest because of Arnold’s treason. Yet the Philadelphia Jew discloses a marvelous facility of playing horse with the law.
He remained in jail until October 6, and then, strange to relate, he is given two weeks to get within the enemy’s lines. Investigation somehow has been stopped; prosecution has been sidetracked. But David found 14 days too brief a time to wind up his affairs, and he petitions for an extension of time. It is denied. Then when one week of the time had passed, Franks asks for a pass to New York for himself, daughter, man-servant and two maid-servants; this is refused and passes are authorized for himself, daughter, and one maid-servant, “provided she be an indented servant.” But David does not use these passes. He applies again for an extension of time on account of an “indisposition of body.” Thus, by keeping officials busy with his evasions and his counter-suggestions the record finds him still in Philadelphia on November 18, a month after he was supposed to be out of the country.
He makes application for another pass. The Council obediently sends him one, the secretary making this observation in his note: “The Council are much surprised that you still remain in this city, and hope that you will immediately depart this state, agreeable to their late order, otherwise measures will be taken to compel you to comply with the same.”
Does David go? He does not. He writes an extremely polite letter. Incidentally he gives a hint of what may be keeping him. In his letter to the Council he says:
“Being apprehensive that a report raised and circulated that I had depreciated the currency by purchase of specie may have given rise to prejudice against me with the Honorable Council . . . .”
More than likely this is precisely what David was doing. It was done later by another Jew in American history, Judah P. Benjamin, and it was done everywhere by Jews during the recent war. With David’s racial itch for money and his disloyalty to the American cause, there was probably sound foundation for the report.
And then, in the last line of his letter, he finds fault with his pass, and asks for another. All this time, of course, he is gaining time, and is fulfilling his purpose with regard to the specie.
This, by the way, is a common Jewish stratagem. It is very much observed in lawsuits. The non-Jew can always be depended on to desire justice and humanity, and these traits are systematically played upon. The non-Jew is also inclined to take men’s word at its face value, which is also a trait which can be used to his hurt. If, for example, in a business transaction which is to be consummated a week hence, the non-Jew could absolutely fortify himself if he had the slightest suspicion of sharp dealing, it is to the advantage of the Jew who tries to “do” him to give him his word as to exactly what steps will be taken a week hence at the final settlement. If the non-Jew believes that word, he is quieted for a week. He does nothing. He rests implicitly on the given word. Then the morning comes, and the dishonest Jew steps up without warning and drives through ruthlessly to a tricky gain. This is so common that thousands who have been tricked by it have told the full details. Keep the Gentile so busy, or satisfy him so fully, that he will not bother—that’s the strategy. David knew it even in his day, and it was ancient then.
His request for a new pass is refused. But still he does not go. Finally, an aroused Council sends him notice to be gone by the next day. And he then goes, but not, we may well believe, until he had done all he intended to do. David is delightfully Jewish, and the Council are naively Gentile.
Up at West Point other matters are proceeding. When General Washington arrived and heard the startling news, he asked Colonel Varick to walk with him. He spoke to the young officer most considerately, told him he did not question his loyalty, but under the circumstances he would ask him to consider himself under arrest. It was very like Washington to do this, to make the arrest himself, gently. There is no record, however, that a like courtesy was shown the Jewish Major David Solesbury Franks. Washington probably remembered him as the witness for Arnold in the case which led to Arnold’s court-martial and reprimand.
On that frontier post (as West Point then was) there were no witnesses. Franks and Varick were confronted with the necessity of testifying for each other. That is, the Jewish major was his own representative in court and practically his own witness. Franks put Varick on the stand to testify for him, and Varick put Franks on the stand to testify for him. The resulting testimony shows that Franks knew much and was eager to tell how much he knew of Arnold’s traitorous intentions—but he did not tell it until Arnold’s treason was exposed and he himself under arrest.
The purpose of this article being merely to fill up the gaps which are left in the Jewish propagandist boasting of the part they have played in public affairs in the United States, the reader must himself be a judge as to how far Major David Solesbury Franks was in Arnold’s secret. (The “Smith” mentioned in the testimony was Joshua Hett Smith, who did secret work for Arnold and rowed André ashore for the night conference with Arnold.) Following are vital extracts from the testimony:
Major Franks—“What was my opinion of Joshua H. Smith’s character and conduct, and of his visits at Arnold’s headquarters. . . .?”
Colonel Varick—“When I first joined Arnold’s family . . . . Arnold and yourself thought well of him as a man, but I soon prevailed on you to think him a Liar and a Rascal; and you ever after spoke of him in a manner his real character merited. . . . .”
Arnold, of course, knew what Smith was. Arnold and Smith were already partners in treason. But Varick did not know of this partnership. All that Varick knew was that both Arnold and Franks appeared to hold the same opinion, that Smith was all right. Here Arnold and Franks appear as agreed again. Varick regarded them as holding the same opinion. Varick says so to Franks’ face in answer to Franks’ question. He does it, however, from a friendly purpose. But the fact is significant that Franks and Arnold are found holding the same front—“Arnold and yourself thought well of him as a man.”
Now, Arnold knew what Smith was, knew enough about Smith to hang him. Smith was one of the tools of his long extended treason. The question is, did Franks also know? Was Franks kept in ignorance of Arnold’s real knowledge of Smith, or was Franks actually deceived as regards Smith? It may be, but let this be observed, that Varick, who was not at all in Arnold’s confidence, nevertheless was not deceived about Smith, but saw through him at once. Did not Franks see through him, too? Until the time that Varick dared speak out about the matter, Franks and Arnold were preserving the same appearance of opinion—they “thought well of him as a man.”
Then Varick honestly spoke out. He got hold of the Jewish Franks and told him all that he knew and suspected about Smith. The evidence was too overwhelming for Franks to scoff at. Any man scoffing at Varick’s tale would himself be under suspicion. Varick was given to understand that he had changed Franks’ opinion of Smith. Thereafter Franks comported himself in a manner to convince Varick that he regarded Smith as a “Liar and a Rascal.”
It is permissible to ask, was this pretense or reality? If Varick knew things, Varick was a man to handle wisely. If Varick knew things, it would be foolish to lose touch with him and thus lose the benefit of knowing how much was known or surmised outside. These, of course, are the arguments of suspicion, but they are made concerning the same Jewish officer who, on finding that Colonel Fitzgerald had discovered the profiteering venture in which Franks and Arnold were partners, was wise enough to inform Arnold and permit the plan to drop. Major Franks’ previous behavior, like Benedict Arnold’s, arouses the suspicion. Benedict Arnold appeared to Varick to regard Smith as a good man; Franks appeared to Varick to share Arnold’s opinion; but whether Franks really knew, as Arnold knew, and only pretended to change his opinion that he might keep the confidence of Varick, is a point on which Franks’ previous conduct compels the mind to waver.
How well Franks knew Arnold may be gathered from other points brought out in this testimony:
Major Franks—“How often did Arnold go down the river in his barge, whilst I was at Robinson’s House (Arnold’s headquarters)? Did I even attend him, and what were our opinions and conduct on his going down and remaining absent the night of the twenty-first of September?” (This was the night of his meeting André.)
Colonel Varick—(answers that Franks, to his knowledge, never accompanied Arnold) “But when I was informed by you or Mrs. Arnold, on the twenty-first, that he was not to return that evening, I suggested to you that I supposed he had gone to Smith’s, and that I considered Arnold’s treatment of me in keeping up his connection with Smith, in opposition to the warning I had given him, as very ungenteel, and that I was resolved to quit his family” (meaning his staff). “We did thereupon concert the plan of preventing their further intimacy by alarming Mrs. Arnold’s fears . . . .
“You did at the same time inform me that you could not account for his connections with Smith—that you knew him to be an avaricious man and suspected he meant to open trade with some person in New York, under sanction of his command, and by means of flags and the unprincipled rascal Smith; and that you were induced to suspect it from the letter he wrote to Anderson in a commercial style as related to you by me. We thereupon pledged to each our word of honor that if our suspicions should prove to be founded in fact, we would instantly quit him.”
It is the honest Varick talking. Franks questioning him. It will be observed that it is Franks who tells Varick of Arnold’s absence and that he will not return that night. Franks knew, but Varick did not. It will be observed also, that it was Varick who protested and threatened to quit Arnold. It was indeed the second time he had threatened to quit, but the Jewish major seems never to have had a similar thought. But most important to observe is Varick’s statement in answer to Franks, and in Franks’ presence, that it was Franks who opened up with information regarding Arnold’s character—that Arnold was an avaricious man, that Franks suspected him of opening up trade with the enemy “under sanction of his command” (just as he had planned to misuse his authority at Philadelphia) and that Smith was to be the go-between. Then he mentions a letter to “Anderson in a commercial style”—this “Anderson” being none other than Major John André of the British Army.
Here we find Major Franks intimate with every element of the conspiracy—every element of it!—and giving a certain explanation of it to Varick. Did Franks know more than he told, and was he quieting Varick with an explanation which seemed to cover all the facts, and yet did not divulge the truth? It is a question that occurs, directly we recall the close collusion of Arnold and Franks at Philadelphia.
There is other testimony, that it was Varick, not Franks, who prevented Arnold selling supplies of the government for his own profit. Time and again this occurred, but never with Franks, the long-time aid and confidant of Arnold, in the role of actor. But every time Varick did it, Franks knew of it, as he testified.
Now we approach the “Day of his Desertion,” as the records call the day of Arnold’s treason.
Major Franks—“What was Arnold’s, as well as my conduct and deportment on the Day of his Desertion, and had you the slightest reason to think I had been or was party or privy to any of his villainous practices and correspondence with the enemy, or to his flight? Pray relate the whole of our conduct on that day to your knowledge.”
Colonel Varick—“I was sick and a greater part of the time in my bed in the morning of his flight. Before breakfast he came into my room” (and talked about certain letters) “and I never saw him after it but betook myself to my bed. I think it was about an hour thereafter when you came to me and told me Arnold was gone to West Point—also a considerable time thereafter you came to the window of my room near my bed and, shoving it up hastily told me with a degree of apparent surprise that you believed Arnold was a villain or rascal, and added you had heard a report that one Anderson was taken as a spy on the lines and that a militia officer had brought a letter to Arnold and that he was enjoined secrecy by Arnold. I made some warm reply, but instantly reflecting that I was injuring a gentleman and friend of high reputation in a tender point, I told you it was uncharitable and unwarrantable even to suppose it. You concurred in opinion with me and I lay down secure in the high idea I entertained of Arnold’s integrity and patriotism. . . .”
Here is a record of Major Franks’ conduct, told at his own solicitation before a court of inquiry. It reveals that Arnold told Franks, but did not tell Varick, where he was going. It reveals also that Franks knew of the message that came to Arnold, the bearer of which had been bound by Arnold to secrecy. (For the reader’s benefit it is recalled that Arnold’s treason was prematurely exposed by André being lost in the woods at night after his interview with Arnold, and his consequent inability to get back to the British ship. He was sighted and halted in daylight, and discovery was made of the West Point plans in his stockings. The innocent soldiers sent word to Benedict Arnold, their commanding officer, that they had captured a spy named Anderson. This gave Arnold information that the plot had fallen through. Enjoining absolute secrecy on the messenger, Arnold made off hastily as if to investigate, but really to rush to the ship to which André had failed to return.) But observe: the messenger arrived and immediately Franks appears to be informed what the message contains. He is informed also that Arnold is going to West Point. He is informed of “Anderson’s” capture. Once again Franks is in instant touch with all the points of the matter, but this time he goes further and accuses Arnold. In the peculiar phraseology of Varick, which may or may not be significant, Franks “hastily told me with a degree of apparent surprise” that he believed Arnold to be a villain or rascal.
Then the difference between these two men appeared again; it shines out luminously. When it was possible to save Arnold, it was Varick who was most concerned, while Franks appeared to be hand-in-glove with the traitor. But when it was apparent that something irrevocable had happened, it was the Jew who was first and bitterest to denounce, while Varick remembered the conduct expected of gentlemen. Likewise, as at first, the Jewish major changed his opinion of Smith to agree with Varick’s opinion, so now he “concurred in opinion” with Varick, although he had just violently uttered the opposite opinion concerning Arnold.
Varick was charitable because he did not have the facts. Was Franks outspoken as he was because he had all the facts? If so, where did he get them? From Arnold?
How much did Franks know? That question will probably never be answered. There is, however, this additional testimony of his on record:
“I told you that I thought Arnold had corresponded with Anderson or some such name before from Philadelphia, and had got intelligence of consequence from him.”
David Solesbury Franks was implicated in every major crime of Benedict Arnold and in the great treason he gave evidence of knowing every movement of the game, from its far beginning in Philadelphia.
Franks was exonerated by the court.
From his safe retreat on the British man-of-war, Benedict Arnold wrote a letter in which he exculpated Smith, Franks and Varick, writing that they were “totally ignorant of any transactions of mine, that they had reason to believe were injurious to the public.”
Smith was neither ignorant nor innocent. He had rowed out to the British ship and brought André ashore for his conference with Arnold. He had been a go-between on many shady missions. Yet Arnold in his letter exonerates Smith. That fact seriously affects his exoneration of Franks. If Arnold can lie about Smith’s innocence, why cannot he lie about Franks’ innocence? As to Varick, he is the only one of the three who can do without Arnold’s exoneration; to Varick it is an insult to have Benedict Arnold vouch for him. Franks, however, was always afterward inclined to lean upon Arnold’s letter. An impartial study of the testimony, upon the background of a knowledge of Frank’s history, leaves grave doubts as to the unimpeachability of his relations with Benedict Arnold. So much so, indeed, that in the study of Arnold’s treason it is a grave omission to pass over Franks’ name.
The reader who will make a complete study of Franks’ character as revealed in the records will testify to this: the present study has been exceedingly charitable to his character; he could easily have been prejudiced in the reader’s mind by the presentation of a series of facts omitted here; the object has been to judge him solely on his acts with relation to Benedict Arnold.
Rightly or wrongly, Franks was suspected ever afterward. It was the Philadelphia incident that stamped his reputation. The suspicion of purjury on that occasion never left him. Franks insisted on having himself vindicated all around, but he was never satisfied with his vindications, he always wanted more. Jewish propagandists have misrepresented his subsequent work as a diplomatist. It was of the merest messenger-boy character, and he was entrusted with it only after the most obsequious appeals. He peddled petitions reciting his services and asking for government favor. The man who asserted in his defense at Philadelphia that he was eager to leave the army and enter business, could not be induced to leave the public service, until the allotment to him of 400 acres of land seems to have effectually weaned him from public life. What his end was, no one appears to know. His present-day use, however, is to furnish Jewish and pro-Jewish propagandists with a peg on which to hang extravagant praise of the Jew in Revolutionary times.
There can be no objection whatever to Jewish propagandists making the most of their material, but there is strong objection to the policy of concealment and misrepresentation. These impositions on public confidence will be exposed as regularly as they occur.
[THE DEARBORN INDEPENDENT, issue of 22 October 1921]