Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/United States/Arnold, Benedict

See also Benedict Arnold on Wikipedia; the 11th edition; and the disclaimer. This appears in a biographical appendix of Section I (History and Constitution) of the United States article. The section was written by Alexander Johnston.

Arnold, Benedict, was born at Norwich, Conn., Jan. 3, 1740. His disposition was unruly in his boyhood. When the revolutionary war broke out, he entered the army, and soon became a colonel. He was sent with a detachment through the Maine wilderness to assist Montgomery, and was severely wounded in the assault on Quebec in December, 1775. He was discontented because his promotion was slow, and still more because he had not sufficient opportunity for pecuniary advantage. Distinguishing himself at Bemis Heights and Stillwater, though then under arrest, he asked and obtained command of the post of West Point, the key to the Hudson river. He offered to betray this post to Clinton, but the negotiations were detected, and Clinton’s agent, André, was captured and hanged as a spy, while Arnold escaped to the British lines. He was given a rank in the British army corresponding to that which he had abandoned, and commanded two plundering expeditions. It was not easy to induce other British officers to serve with him, and he went to England, where he seems not to have fared much better. He died in London, June 14, 1801. His Life, in Spark’s American Biography, gives the usual American estimate of him; but a more apologetic biography, by a descendant, has recently been published.