In 1740, on this day American diplomat and spy Dr Arthur Lee was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia.
Birth of Dr Arthur LeeAt the age of thirty he was named Massachusetts correspondent to Britain and France. But his innocent belief in the revolutionary cause was challenged to the core by the extravagant lifestyle of Benjamin Franklin.
Later, in Paris, after helping to negotiate the Treaty of Alliance (1778) with France, he fell out with Benjamin Franklin and Silas Deane. He also identified Edward Bancroft, the secretary to the American legation in Paris, as a British spy. However Bancroft managed to persuade Lee to turn, although he soon recanted, and turned both himself and Bancroft in .
After the peace settlement, there was a proposal to establish a secret service because of events such as the Lee-Bancroft scandal. However by this stage, the US Government was near to implosion - no revenue
source, no curency and the unanimity rule. And then events came full circle when it was discovered that spies at the highest level of the USG were supporting the Commonwealth of Kentucky to negotiate a separate treaty with Spanish Louisiana for free navigation on the Mississippi River.