Nearly a decade ago, Brad Meltzer made an accidental discovery about one of the crucial moments in the life of America’s first president, George Washington.
Meltzer, 48, was researching for his next fiction book when he came across a history fact – in a footnote – regarding the 1776 plot to kill the founding father, which prompted him to keep digging until he unraveled a full account.
After dedicating 20 years to writing thrillers, the author spent the past three years working on his first non-fiction book and eventually teamed up with writer and documentary producer Josh Mensch to publish “The First Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill George Washington.”
Now the pair is uniting once more for the Fox Nation exclusive “Brad Meltzer’s Secrets of George Washington” where they unveil the “first conspiracy,” all while investigating other little-known tales about Washington.
“So nearly a decade ago, I find one of the great secrets I’ve ever seen about George Washington, in a footnote, of all places,” said Meltzer in a release sent to Fox News. “A footnote! It’s where all the greatest secrets always are. And in this footnote, it was a story about a secret plot to kill George Washington. I was like, ‘Wait, wait! A secret plot to kill George Washington. I need to look it up.’ And I start digging… into this story.”
According to Meltzer, a group of soldiers were handpicked in 1776 to serve as Washington’s bodyguards and became hailed as “Life Guards.” However, some of them were actually part of the plot. In the months leading up to the Revolutionary War, these soldiers, along with the governor of New York and mayor of New York City, reportedly launched a deadly plot against Washington.
When Washington learned of the treasonous plan, he quickly ordered the arrest of the guilty parties. Not only did he gathered 20,000 troops and citizens in an open field, but he also hanged Thomas Hickey, one of the conspirators, for all to see. Meltzer noted it was the largest public execution of its time in all of North America.
For the Fox Nation special, Meltzer visited the location of the hanging site, which was originally an empty field but is now New York City’s bustling Chinatown.
Most of the show was also shot in Fraunces Tavern, which is recognized as the oldest standing structure in Manhattan. It is the same spot were Washington famously addressed his troops after defeating the British in New York.
And according to legend, Washington was almost killed there in a different matter — by a plate of poisoned peas.
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