The American Revolution Round Table of New York

New York's Revolutionaries
Marinus Willett
Marinus Willett (1740-1830), born in Jamaica, Queens, NY, was an agitator by 1765. He served in many military posts throughout the war, and was New York City's mayor 1807-08.

Next Meeting

Date: Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Time: 6:00 pm

Where: The Coffee House, 20 West 44th Street, 6th floor

Speaker: Christian McBurney

Subject: Abductions in the American Revolution: Attempts to Kidnap George Washington, Benedict Arnold and Other Military and Civilian Leaders

The tactic of kidnapping enemy leaders, used in the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, dates to the American Revolution. George Washington called such efforts "honorable" and supported attempts to kidnap the British commander-in-chief (twice), Benedict Arnold (after he turned traitor), and a future king of Great Britain. Washington in turn was targeted at his Morristown winter headquarters, by British dragoons who crossed the frozen Hudson River. New Jersey Governor William Livingston went to considerable lengths to avoid being abducted by the Loyalist raider James Moody.

Sometimes these operations succeeded, as with the spectacular captures of Major General Charles Lee, Major General Richard Prescott, and North Carolina Governor Thomas Burke. The abducted, such as Declaration of Independence signatory Richard Stockton and Delaware's Governor John McKinly, faced risks to their reputations. The kidnapper risked all--if caught, he could be hanged. This book covers attempted and successful abductions of military and civilian leaders from 1775 to 1783.

Attorney Christian McBurney is an independent historian whose work emphasizes the Revolutionary War and Rhode Island. He is also the chief publisher and editor of the Online Review of Rhode Island History, with more than twenty contributing authors. He has previously addressed the New York ARRT on his books The Rhode Island Campaign and Kidnapping the Enemy: The Special Operations to Capture Generals Charles Lee and Richard Prescott. He lives in Kensington, Maryland.

Abductions in the American Revolution

Cost: $45 for members, $55 for guests. (This includes an excellent three-course dinner.)

Individuals with food allergies or vegetarian preferences should definitely make their needs known before we meet.

Reservations, made 30 hours in advance by e-mail, postal mail, or phone, are much appreciated but not required. The secretary-treasurer can be e-mailed at, or called at 212-874-5121. We look forward to seeing you!

ARRT-NY Meetings

The Coffee House, notwithstanding its name, is a private business-persons' luncheon club that has been in existence over a century. It is dedicated exclusively to ARRT-NY for five evenings each year. The club has a kitchen and two large, comfortable, atmospheric rooms on the sixth floor of a building of great architectural and historical interest in its own right: the home of the General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen--New York's earliest labor union, organized in 1785. (The 44th Street block, incidentally, also includes the New York Yacht Club, the Harvard Club, the New York City Bar Association, and the Algonquin Hotel.)

Meetings commence informally at 6:00 p.m. Hors d'oeuvres are served in the "living room," and a cash bar is available. Around 6:45, everyone finds a seat in the dining hall, where The Coffee House staff commences table service of a salad or appetizer, as the meeting begins with announcements, the introduction of first-time attendees, and the presentation by various members of reviews of recently-published books germane to the Revolutionary era. Books donated to ARRT are then auctioned off.

A hiatus is declared for general conversation while the main course is served. Around 8:00 p.m., as dessert and coffee are presented, the featured speaker is introduced. He or she offers a thirty or forty minute summary of the research involved in his or her recently-published book--heavily discounted copies of which are generally available for sale--followed by a lively question-and-answer period. The formal meeting is concluded around 9:00.

Take a look at our photo gallery of a recent meeting!

ARRT-NY's Recent Featured Speakers

April 2018 Brooke Barbier Boston in the American Revolution: A Town Versus an Empire
February 2018 Peter Lubrecht New Jersey Hessians: Truth and Lore in the American Revolution
December 2017 Robert Ernest Hubbard Major General Israel Putnam: Hero of the American Revolution
October 2017 Tom Shachtman How the French Saved America: Soldiers, Sailors, Diplomats, Louis XVI and the Success of a Revolution
June 2017 Arthur Lefkowitz Eyewitness Images from the American Revolution
April 2017 George C. Daughan Revolution on the Hudson: New York City and the Hudson River Valley in the American War of Independence
February 2017 Bruce M. Venter The Battle of Hubbardton: The Rear Guard Action that Saved America
December 2016 John Oller The Swamp Fox: How Francis Marion Saved the American Revolution
October 2016 Dr. Joanne Grasso The American Revolution on Long Island
June 2016 Todd W. Braisted Grand Forage 1778: The Battleground Around New York City
April 2016 Patrick K. O'Donnell Washington's Immortals: The Untold Story of an Elite Regiment Who Changed the Course of the Revolution
February 2016 John Steele Gordon Washington's Monument: And the Fascinating History of the Obelisk
December 2015 Kathleen DuVal Independence Lost: Lives on the Edge of the American Revolution
October 2015 Christian McBurney Kidnapping the Enemy: The Special Operations to Capture Generals Charles Lee and Richard Prescott
June 2015 Jonathan Carriel "The Stamp Act Crisis in New York City, 1765"
April 2015 Thomas Fleming The Great Divide: The Conflict between Washington and Jefferson that Defined a Nation
February 2015 Tim McGrath Give Me a Fast Ship: The Continental Navy and America's Revolution at Sea
December 2014 Richard Welch General Washington's Commando: Benjamin Tallmadge in the Revolutionary War
October 2014 David Young "Cliveden and the Battle of Germantown"
June 2014 Maureen Taylor The Last Muster: Images of the Revolutionary War Generation
April 2014 Phillip Papas Renegade Revolutionary: The Life of General Charles Lee
February 2014 Andrew O'Shaughnessy The Men Who Lost America: British Leadership, the American Revolution, and the Fate of the Empire
December 2013 Richard Radune Sound Rising: Long Island Sound in the Forefront of America's Struggle for Independence
October 2013 John Nagy Benjamin Church: Spy
June 2013 Kevin Phillips 1775: A Good Year for Revolution
April 2013 Stephen H. Case Treacherous Beauty: Peggy Shippen
February 2013 Christian McBurney The Rhode Island Campaign
December 2012 Todd Andrlik Reporting the Revolutionary War
October 2012 Arthur Lefkowitz Benedict Arnold in the Company of Heroes
June 2012 Thomas Schaeper Edward Bancroft: Scientist, Author, Spy
April 2012 Joseph Smith "Philip Freneau"
February 2012 Richard Berleth Bloody Mohawk: The French and Indian War & American Revolution on New York's Frontier
December 2011 Maya Jasanoff Liberty's Exiles: American Loyalists in the Revolutionary World
October 2011 John Nagy Invisible Ink: Spycraft of the American Revolution